We are excited to have Karen Allen in our show today. Karen is a Mindset expert, TedX speaker, and the Founder of 100% Humanity. She has built an amazing speaking career despite setback after setback. She is a wonderful example of resilience and living on her own terms.
As a coach, motivational speaker, and author, Karen Allen’s thought leadership
empowers people to harness the power of their mindset and develop the self-awareness necessary to overcome challenges and achieve their full potential.
After the unexpected loss of her husband, followed by years of transformational experiences, Karen reclaimed control of her fate by rediscovering and healing herself from the inside out.
Since 2014, Karen has studied the human mind, positive psychology, and post-traumatic growth. Combined with her own experience, these learnings have paved the way for her to guide her clients with research-based habits to get them moving and ascending in the direction they crave.
Karen is the creator of the mental exercise: Stop & Shift, a practice that saved her own life. She now teaches this method to help others jumpstart their mental strength training. It's a simple yet powerful technique that helps you release negative thought cycles and move to more productive and positive thinking. Stop & Shift is designed to help improve a person’s thinking, guiding them to make better choices and subsequently create a healthier & happier life. In addition to keynote and breakout speaking services, Karen offers her clients support through 1:1 transformational coaching, group coaching programs, retreats, and corporate wellness initiatives.
During this episode, you will learn about;
[00:00] Episode intro and a quick bio of the guest; Karen Allen
[01:42] A bit about Karen and how she got into what she does
[02:40] Becoming a widow before 30 and losing nearly everything she had
[06:22] Taking the paradigm shift
[10:31] How Karen came to terms that entrepreneurship was Harvey
[14:03] The mindset she had to have for overcoming the failures along the way
[16:39] Do you track your competency checkpoints
[19:59] Why having gratitude is so positively impactful
[22:43] How mentorship can help to overcome the challenges of entrepreneurship
[25:06] How Karen found her first mentor and tips she shares on getting the most from a mentor
[30:01] In the first dollar from rendering services
[38:12] How Karen balances her life and filters the priorities
[43:24] What Karen wishes to have invested more resources on
[46:36] If the old Karen would meet the current Karen
[48:12] Wrap-up and call to action
● The small and big moments in life help us align with our identity. [11:43]
● You have to believe in your ability to evolve and grow. You also should have faith in
ever that will contribute to your growth and traction. [14:10]
● If you try to pick three things daily that you are happy and grateful for, your life will
● Being positive doesn't always make things better, but being negative always makes
them worse. [22:03]
● If you love to serve, putting a price tag on your service is very hard. [30:42]
Connect With Karen Allen
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[00:00] Karen: And I mean, I can imagine that it's even harder for all of the folks in your profession, because on a day-to-day basis, you're seeing the hardest parts of. You know, you're seeing people go through really difficult struggles or loved ones walking through that with their loved one. Um, you're seeing end of life, you know, you're seeing people have to cope with that news, not even just going through it, but even like delivering that news.
You all are constantly inundated with really heavy and hard emotions, but that's why I think this is such an important conversation to have, because you know, that's part of your reality, a part of your reality, that'll never change, right? Because it's just part of your profession be even more intentional about amplifying the good about bringing in the positive about taking care of yourself.
[00:53] Pranay: Hi, and welcome to the, from MD to entrepreneur podcast, inside local, how to become a physician entrepreneur.
Hey everyone. This week, I'm happy to speak to Karen Allen resilience, expert and keynote speaker. She not only found a way to survive the tragedies that be feller, but somehow found a way to thrive. We will talk about how she began to pick up the pieces and the many successful habits that she's picked up along.
Hi, Karen, how are you doing?
[01:26] Karen: I'm good. How are you Pranay?
[01:27] Pranay: I am doing well. I'm so excited to talk to you today.
[01:30] Karen: Same. I'm excited to be back, be a little more chatting together.
[01:34] Pranay: Yeah. Yeah. So for listeners that haven't heard your story, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got here?
[01:41] Karen: Yes, absolutely.
Well, today I feel very fortunate to be able to help people with their minds. So talk a lot about personal growth and all of the different resources and tools that are honestly already in our daily life. We might not just be using them to their fullest. And I didn't learn about this because, you know, I wanted to be a life coach and I graduated from college knowing that I was going to help people with their mindset.
Um, I had no idea what I was going to do, to be honest with you. And, uh, and I ended up following the path of HR and getting into recruitment. Cause I just love working with people. But then I found myself up against a life event that I did not foresee. You can't plan for these kinds of things. And after going through that incredible tragedy is when I just started recognizing the importance of personal growth and really being more intentional with that, because it impacts all areas of your life.
But to back up a little bit and kind of unpack what that was, I was 29 and I was in. I was actually working for a home building company when this happened, but it was married, had a beautiful blended family. My son was two and my stepdaughter was seven and my husband had just opened a CrossFit gym. So he was just honestly thriving.
He found that thing that he loved to do. It was a beautiful blend of his desire to help people with their physical growth and also their abilities. He had one lady in our box and she was 84 years old, I think maybe four, but she was in her eighties and he just loved that. He loved that she was there wanting to get better, but this one particular day, I had to do some interviews from.
And so I went to pick up the kids and my son was going to be at home with me and my stepdaughter was going to go to her mom's house. And so while Richard finished up the last class of the day at the box, he would then pick her up and head home. And so it was, it was a pretty normal routine. So when I got home, I got my son Caleb settled, and he was watching, um, Disney and eating dinner.
I had like all distractions going, right. Cause I, I needed to get on these interviews and I needed him fully distracted. But while I was on the first interview, I was using my house phone and my cell phone started to vibrate. And I thought that maybe I put an alarm or something on or forgot to tape. But it was going off nonstop and became distracting.
So I looked at it and I noticed I had several missed calls from one of our gym members. And as I was thinking about what could have possibly happen, you know, I was just thinking about Richard having an injury. Um, but my thoughts were running. They're running very fast. And in that moment she was, she called again.
So I had just enough time to ask the candidate a question. And put him on mute while I answered her call to find out what was going on. And so when I answered her call, I heard screaming. I mean, she was screaming. I heard people in the background screaming, and I remember only being able to make out one word and that was shot.
And so once I heard that I was still trying to process it and exactly, I didn't know all the details. I barely knew anything, but I knew I had to hurry up and get to the gym. Right. Get off the phone with the candidate as fast as possible. Get Caleb over to our neighbor's house and the lie, a hundred something miles per hour down the highway.
So once I got to the gym, I actually pulled up to the parking lot and it was already roped off. So there were first responders there, policemen, there were news reporters there. And I don't remember who told me, but when I arrived, they did tell me that someone walked in and shot my husband while he was teaching the class, the CrossFit class.
And he died instantly and the person did get away. It's several years later, you know, we're at eight years now and still it's, it's considered a cold case at this point, but. That moment actually created a ripple effect of other losses and other changes that completely disrupted my life. I mean, not only did I become a widow before I was 30, but I ended up losing my house and my car and my job was the last straw exactly.
A year later, I was suddenly let go. And I mean, when you talk about rock bottom, I felt like. Well, I honestly felt like, what did I do to deserve this? Like, am I really that terrible of a person that I would have all of this bad stuff coming my way? And like, I'd like to think I'm not a bad person. Right?
Like, I really, I just, you can imagine this stuff. And so it was when I lost my job, that I sat there in the car crying and I remember thinking to myself, okay, I have two options. I can either go find another corporate job, which would be the sensible route. Right? I have a child I'm a single parent need benefits, steady paycheck, but what is more important to me right now?
The most important thing is for me to put Caleb first and I think, and this was very, like, I had no idea. I, again, I was thrown into this position, but all of a sudden it started bubbling up to me. I think if I were an entrepreneur, I could always put him for. That I would have the freedom and flexibility to be the best single mom that I could be your best mom, that I could be, that I would have control over my income.
So he would never feel the strain of a single parent income. And if I needed to be there for every birthday cake, classroom celebration, I would be there. Right. I'm his only parent I gotta be. I gotta be able to show up. So I gave myself a timeline and I was like, I have two weeks to cry my eyes out, as long as I need.
After those two weeks, I have one month, four weeks to figure out how I'm going to get my first like income. I leveraged my recruiting skills at that point with the connections that I had to try and just get like some contracts. I was like, I just got back. I put food on the table and keep the lights on.
But even though that's what I use to start generating the momentum of being an entrepreneur and really doing it on my own, you know, I had to build my confidence. I was already rocked, but by doing that. It helped to give me a little bit of space. Cause I didn't have listened. We didn't have life insurance, so I didn't have money saved up.
I didn't have social security. I didn't have any of this. I had zero financial support, so I really had to figure out how to do it from zero. So I gave myself that time. I used the resources that I had as I started to build that I continued to feel. Like this is now, but it's not forever. And I knew part of it was because there were things that I needed to do to really get in alignment with who I wanted to be as an entrepreneur and business owner.
And at that point I was on the very early stages of this is survival. This is survival with hopes of it turning into, you know, the vision that I have for my life and my son.
[08:34] Pranay: Thank you for that amazing story. You know, I think about your husband and I assume he was probably around your age, um, at that time healthy obviously, cause he does CrossFit and probably multiple times a day.
Uh, you probably didn't even think about what would happen without him. Right. Retirement, all this stuff. Probably just never even crossed your mind.
[08:55] Karen: Never. I mean, I it's like how do you prepare for the end of life when you're just at the beginning of. You know, we don't think that far, we think about our three-year or five-year plan, but yeah, it was a, it was a hard shot cause we did not have anything in place.
And I don't know, it was just, it was a hard reality, but it also, I really think that we can grow through our troubles and I went through, I've been through a lot of painful stuff. But even that gave me a different perspective on some of the things that we need to have in place for our children and the legacy that we want to leave for them.
So it was hard. Trust me, but I found a lesson out of it so that it wouldn't be for nothing.
[09:35] Pranay: I love your, your thought that you gave yourself two weeks. Um, I call, I call it the pity party. Um, I applied for something called a fellowship, or you do further training for medicine. I actually didn't get it twice.
I'm like, okay, I'm going to give myself a couple hours to just think I'm the worst person in nowhere. Get it out, get it out. Call myself all of these names. And then after that,
[10:00] Karen: For the listeners. Like you have to know, like I say this in my Ted talk, like, you can feel sad. You can feel angry, you can go to crazy town.
Just don't build your house there. You can go there. Like that's part of being human. That's natural, but like, that's not the foundation you want to set for your, for your life.
[10:15] Pranay: And you thought about corporate life, first entrepreneurs. Um, but you know, most people don't actually even know any entrepreneurs in their life.
Um, how did you, how did you pick between those two choices and how did you even know that entrepreneurship was a choice for you.
[10:31] Karen: Man.It was less about, this is being totally honest. It was less about what job I wanted and more about the kind of life I wanted to create for myself. And I just knew that I had to put him first and I'd been in corporate America as a single parent for a year up to that point.
And I am telling you, uh, corporate America is not kind to single. They don't have a lot of bandwidth or grace for all of the things that we have to balance and that we have to take on. And like, if your kid gets sick and you have to leave early, you gotta go. Right. Sorry. But, and I was in a position where I didn't have anybody else who was helping me.
It's not like I live near my parents or my siblings or anybody. It was literally all on me. So it was less about okay. Which is going to be a faster. Or what's going to be, or get rich quick or how it was not about any of that. It was all about what is the type of lifestyle I want to create for my son and I
[11:28] Pranay: And control. Right? Is it sounds like you were ready to kind of take the reins? Uh, yeah. Yeah. I totally agree about being a new parent. Myself. Corporate medicine is not friendly. You know, someone gets sick, my wife gets sick.
[11:42] Karen: Yeah. Yeah, it's tough. I mean, but I think that's how we align ourselves with who we want to be.
Right. I think that can help us in the little moments and the big moments. And in that moment, I just knew that there was going to be a struggle, trying to get my legs under me being an entrepreneur. I knew that, but I was willing to make that sacrifice for the longer term goals. And I remember this very specific point where I was not making a lot of money.
As a matter of fact, I was doing like three or four other like contracting gigs. And my parents were helping me at some point. And I mean, I felt like an epic failure. Right. But I was like, why can't I just get this thing going? And I remember having this moment where I was in my pity party and I was allowed to be there and I had to remind myself.
The whole point of me even starting this journey and not knowing the foundation that needed to be laid to have a successful business, but like just starting the journey was because I wanted Caleb to always know I would be there for him. And I could look back and maybe this was around, we'll say year four.
And I still, I still you're afforded and feel like I had my legs under me, but I knew, and I saw for a fact that my son was thriving. He had peace in his heart. He was loved. So did I create the lifestyle where he knew mommy would always be there first? Yes. I was like, okay. I can count that as. And yeah, so let's get back to making the money right now, let's queue.
But I had to pause for a moment and like stop beating myself up that I didn't have the full picture already signed, sealed, and delivered, but that I was building it. And then I was effectively building it and that what I measured as success in that moment, wasn't the amount of money I had in my bank account, but the amount of love and my son's.
And like, I need to know, is he okay? Is he healthy? Does he have a place of peace? Yes. So that's how I measured my success until the money started coming. If that's helpful. Yes.
[13:36] Pranay: It's super helpful because I'm into starting it's, it's almost failure after failure, right. Or, you know, another way to look at it is just another attempt that didn't work.
And eventually you'll find something that works, uh, you know, into starting you, you talked about being a rock bottom. UIC and did some different stuff in entrepreneurship and it probably didn't work all that well because that's how it always starts. How were you able to deal with that failure having so much stuff going on in your other life?
[14:03] Karen: Yeah, I think a big part of entrepreneurship that probably isn't talked about enough is the faith element. And you have to believe in your ability to grow and evolve. And you have to have faith in all of the other things that are going to contribute to your success, but are out of your control, right? So like sometimes you're starting this business and you think that you need to have a certain structure in place, which is true.
But what if along the way you meet a mentor who opens your mind to new possibilities, ways to create that structure, that's going to have less of a financial impact on you, right? There are people who you may not know yet, there may be opportunities that haven't been introduced to you yet, or there's knowledge that you don't even have yet that will contribute to your success.
So what I found is along the way, as I kept falling and scraping my knees, is that every single point I would just ask myself, what can I learn from this? And that wasn't to, you know, dismiss the pain or the real emotions that came from that. But I knew, and this is how I actually stumbled on the terminology growth mindset.
I knew that if I was going through something that was painful, that was hard. Like any kind of challenge. If I could at least learn something from it so that it helped me to be better the next time around it was a win. So instead of my mindset being, and I'm an athlete by the way. So this is very like true to form.
Instead of me thinking win or lose, it was all wind or. If I can learn from this I'm winning and if I win, then I win. That's just it. But you have to adopt that mindset because along the way, like you are going to miss out on opportunities or you're not going to be selected, or you're not going to hit the benchmark that you thought you would be able to, but are you going to stay in the game?
So that's the first thing is I had to change my mindset, that it was never going to be win or lose, and it was going to be what I learned. Then I also had to, um, I call these competencies. I had to reflect often on the things that were going, right. Because I noticed that we so often only focus on the things that are going wrong.
So you actually have to intentionally balance out your mindset. Like this is part of positive psychology. You have to remind yourself of the good, think about it. Like how often are we always doing on the stuff that didn't go right. Or the missed opportunity. Right? Like we will think about that obsessive.
It's already happened. It's gone. It's done. Right. You got to like disconnect from that a little bit, but unfortunately, because you thought about it so much, it's taking up a lot of real estate in your mind. So I'm saying from this point on, as you're listening to this podcast, moving forward, try what I call competence.
Checkpoints. Just look back at the last month, even look back at the last year. If you want to. That's fun. I do that with my coaching clients. I'm like, look back at the year and just write down a win for everybody. What'd you like a win or learn. And if you look at that, what happens is it builds your confidence to see how far you've come, that you have been able to get through every tough day, right?
That you did face something that was against you and you came out on the other side, right? Like you have to remind yourself of those things, because what it does is it doesn't just build your competence, but it gives you some momentum. And I feel like between those two, I was able to. Appreciate the things that probably didn't feel like wins, you know, those failures.
And instead of letting them drag me down, I could use them as fuel for growth. And then on the flip side. Okay. Yes. I've looked at the things that aren't great, but I also make room for the things that are great too. And if you can bring that into balance. That has really helped me to keep my head on my shoulders in this journey.
That just is it's arduous.
[17:45] Pranay: Yeah. And you know, it's funny because us doctors are, so we suck at being able to think about the positives because you know, you get, you apply for medical school. It's one of the hardest things you do and you get in and you're like, okay, I need to get a really good residency spot.
You forget how much effort and how lucky you are to get into medical. And then residency and publications, and it just kind of goes on. You're accomplished, has almost disappear. You only think about, you know, what can I get next? What can I get next? And then you realize. Get that in it doesn't really bring you that much happiness.
[18:17] Karen: Yeah. And I mean, I can imagine that it's even harder for all of the folks in your profession because on a day-to-day basis, you're seeing the hardest parts of life. You know, you're seeing people go through really difficult struggles or loved ones walking through that with their loved ones. Um, you're seeing end of life, you know, you're seeing people have to cope with that news, not even just going through it, but even like delivering that news.
So you all are constantly inundated with really heavy and hard emotions, but that's why I think this is such an important conversation to have is because, because you know, that's part of your reality, a part of your reality, that'll never change. Right? Cause it's just part of your profession. Be even more intentional about amplifying the good about bringing in the positive about taking care of yourself, right?
You're taking care of others 90% of the time in your profession, and then think about at home as well. So make sure you are carving out that time to like fill your cup back up. That is so necessary.
[19:17] Pranay: Yeah. And now gratitude almost seems like a buzzword, but it, it is cliche and a buzzword because it works, you know, and I can say a gratitude journal completely changed my
[19:30] Karen: Yes, yes. I didn't know it at first. And it did feel very silly, but going to sleep at night was super hard for me. You know, I would start falling asleep thinking about. Uh, how my husband died and if he was scared and all of that stuff, or I would be alone. So I'd be stewing with my feelings. And I started to just fall asleep saying, thank you.
Like thank you for this pillow. Thank you for this roof over my head. I was so basic with my gratitude because I was in a really, really tough space. But I later found out through my studies of positive psychology. That part of the reason gratitude is so impactful. Um, long-term, it helps to change your internal belief system instead of being pessimistic or cynical.
You can really root yourself to the good things that we often miss, and that will change you to a more optimistic belief system. But in the short term, it's actually firing off as I'm sure you all know these neural connections, that if we were not intentional about expressing gratitude, they would become.
And they would just like be left for what to be like brain toxic waste that tends to be fleshed out. Right? Like, so if we cultivate gratitude than it is helping to like, change our brain release some of those good chemicals that help us to feel good. And then also yes, changing our internal belief system.
It is so powerful, even when it's basic.
[20:54] Pranay: Yeah. A challenge for my listeners. If you try to pick three things, you're happy for grateful for a day, for a week, it will completely change your life. One of those days, I'm like, uh, this parking spot was five feet closer. And my one yesterday, you're like, oh, there was an extra shrimp in my, uh, rice bowl.
But, and then your brain just thinks like, I need to find something to be happy about later today, because I need to write that stuff down. So your brain is like, okay, where is it? Where is it? Where is it? And that's, that's the kind of person you want to be? You know, one quick story. Uh, I was at the hospital one time and, uh, someone was pretty sick.
One of the nurses was pretty cynical. I'm doing drugs. I was like, oh, maybe he just accidentally took a little bit too much, you know? And she was saying, that must be a pretty good world that you live in. I was like, yeah, my role is pretty awesome. You know, I just said the best out of everyone. And if it's not, so it's not. So, but you know, it doesn't hurt us in the best for everyone.
[21:56] Karen: Absolutely. And honestly, you know, I heard this and I don't remember where it was, but I S I say this a lot because it's so true. You know, being positive, doesn't always make things better. But being negative always makes it worse. So if I have to choose one or the other, I'm gonna go with the positive and that's not to neglect the hard stuff, but that's just to say, like, I choose how I want to live, how I want to see people, what energy I want to bring in. Yeah. I shoot I'm with you. Pranay. I choose the gun
[22:26] Pranay: And, you know, entrepreneurship itself is it's tough. You know, it's tough. It's lonely. You know, we don't want to sugar coat it, but having that positive gratitude and psychology just will kind of help you. And one thing you talked about is mentors and just talking to people. Could you talk a little bit about that? Cause that's game changing as well.
[22:45] Karen: Yeah. I have mentors in my life for, um, they all play different roles. And they know it because, you know, it's just the conversation that we can have and the intersection. And so I have one amazing mentor who really helped me to understand the speaking industry.
And there's so much to that, that you don't know coming in and you're not going to find Googling it. Right. And so he was very gracious in taking me under his meme, teaching me the business side of it. Cause I had the passion, but I needed to learn the business side of it. Um, I have another mentor who she helped me to.
There's a lot of, um, I don't know if everybody's like this, but I will say most humans are uncomfortable talking about money. And I think when it comes to your business, you even get a little more touchy about it, right? Because there are ebbs and flows, especially in the early time. So I have one mentor who, the reason she even came into this role.
We were working together on something. And then I just called her one day and I said, Hey, you have a successful business. I really love what you've built. I feel stuck on this. And I don't know if this is the right thing. And I don't know how to find this accountant who can help me? What should I be asking them?
Because it was just new information to me. I had no idea how to enter it. And so I started talking specific numbers cause I told her, I said, I have to like break free from some of this, you know, stigma, that money should be hush, hush, and I need transparency. Side note transparency saves time. So if you are looking for a mentor or if you're looking for specific information in your business, like ask for what you need, be very specific about don't waste time beating around the Bush.
So she has been somebody who from a more strategic view of my business and really understand how to grow my business, how to position it. She has helped me from that financial aspect, which. And then I have other mentors who, you know, our relationships have kind of come and gone, but they're still really good relationships because another part of mentorship that I found is like, you may have mentors that stick around for decades and you might have some that are just around for a season and they know that and you know that, but it's always a mutually beneficial relationship.
It just felt good to kind of get to that level of maturity is to say that sometimes just like relationships, some mentorship relationships are just for a season.
[24:59] Pranay: You know, back in the beginning, how, how did you find your first mentor? Because you know, that's something that we all kind of struggle with.
[25:05] Karen: Yeah. So true. So true. Um, I remember there was a mentor who, I don't remember exactly how we met it. Might've been just a mutual connection, but I realized early on that they weren't a match for me. And so that's one thing I just want to throw out there. Just because you may go into a conversation thinking this person is going to come out and be your mentor, or maybe you were introduced to someone do not feel that pressure, like take a little bit of time to get to know.
Now that information was helpful because in the next introduction, I didn't go into it thinking this person's going to be my mentor. But I knew that we were introduced because, and this is my mentor and my speaking business, he was so much further along than me, right. Decades ahead of me. And so we just had a very casual coffee conversation where I told him, Hey, I'm a speaker I'm up and coming.
He was like, oh, I'm happy to teach you anything. So we just had a coffee chat at the end of the chat. I didn't say anything. He said, Hey, if you ever need anything more, like I'm happy to mentor you. And it was like an answered prayer. Like I'm not even going to lie. It was literally, I went into it, not wanting to project any expectations, but I came out with exactly what I had hoped.
And that was somebody who would be like a trusted advisor. So the mentors that I have stumbled across had both been through, um, introductions. The third one also was through, uh, introduction and, uh, and the other two were more like, um, we knew somebody who knew somebody, it wasn't a direct introduction, but all of them, I would say are through the network.
Right. Good people know good people. That's why I say like, just say what you need. You never know who knows someone who would be a good match for you.
[26:51] Pranay: Yeah. I find that a lot of people are really shy, especially in the starting of entrepreneurship of talking about what they want and what they want to do, because I want to just protect it.It's like this nice. Globe of perfection in their brain. And by saying it out loud, it kind of makes it real.
[27:07] Karen: Yeah. And honestly, when you get connected with folks, whether you're in a peer group or whether you find a great mentor, what you find when you do have a lot of great ideas, but. You either have ideas that need some work, right?
And maybe you need some other resources to help refine it. Not saying it's wrong, but it needs to be refined. And you don't know how to advance your work. If you don't share it like that is huge. You have to take the plunge, you have to do something. You have to put it out there. You have to share it with others because their insights are going to help you to refine whatever that idea.
[27:44] Pranay: Yeah, it's crazy. Uh, every once in a while I'll have a question and it would have spent take me weeks to get an answer. And it takes two seconds task. Someone that really knows what they're doing.
[27:53] Karen: That's right. Or someone who walked through that experience and maybe they fell flat on their face. And they're like, let me save you some time.I do that with people all the time. I'm like, what do you need help on? I will share any of my experiences to save you time. Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
[28:06] Pranay: You know, there's people out in the world like you most, you know, after, after a while they want to give back. Right. And they want to give back to people that are excited, you know, need it.
Um, but I love that you, you had a date, a coffee date and you didn't really ask for much, you know, I think people will notice this sincerity and it's, you know, it's the same for medicine. If you want to get into a publication, you know, just show earnest interest. I find that a lot of people will kind of forget what got them into medicine.
Cause you're obviously very talented, smart. Ambitious. Just if you use even a fraction of that in entrepreneurship, almost every doctor.
[28:42] Karen: Oh yes, yes. And another thing is sometimes we don't know how to phrase our questions because we don't want to look like we're asking for our handout. So, um, hopefully this helps someone cause it has absolutely been a game changer for me.
If I am meeting someone for the purpose of like wanting to glean from their wisdom, I kind of do it this way. I explain the problem. All right. Explain where I am. And then I would say, if you were in my situation, what would you do that? Right? There is like a game changer because now they're putting on like, oh, I'm using my ex.
I'm not telling you what to do. I'm telling you from my expertise and from where I've been in my experience, things that I know, how would I handle this situation? And that right there is like, it unlocks a new level of things.
[29:30] Pranay: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And I love it. You know, you are as powerful as your network for sure.
[29:36] Karen: That's so true.
[29:37] Pranay: You know, uh, another problem that people have in, especially in the beginning is asking for money, right? I know you were in a situation that you can't, you couldn't be working for free for too long, but it's still, it's still a little bit difficult to ask for your first dollar or your first $10.
Could you talk about. What were you thinking in that situation and how did you kind of go about it? Yeah.
[30:01] Karen: So the first deal that I closed was a, uh, deal with like a land development company and I forget what they were looking for, but. Remember, I was coming from corporate recruiting, but I knew how much external recruiters were getting.
So first thing is, if you do some research, then that helps you to at least feel more competent, that it's not crazy that you're asking for whatever money you are. Right. Cause you're like, okay, I'm not asking for quarter million dollars. Maybe you are, Hey, more power to you, but that's not where I was leveling myself out.
Right. I was like, I need to get better. So first I did research to know and feel confident that I was compared to. Second thing is, and this was a big deal. If you are someone who loves to serve it is very hard to put a price tag on your service because you just love to serve, right. That's like your soul's work.
So initially when it came to recruiting, I mean, I was able to see what, you know, competitors would make. And I could like draw a line and I could do. But when it came to like my speaking services or my coaching services, I'm, I'm thinking in my mind, this is my passion work. I shouldn't have to charge for this.
And I'll tell you what got me out of that ridiculous defeated mindset. It was one moment. And I hope this is a breakthrough for someone where I was crying my eyes out. And I thought I am sick and tired of struggling. And this is what popped in my mind. Kindness does not pay the bills. It was that moment where I was like carrying, you can give and giving, giving, giving, give, but that is not going to put food on the table for your son.
How are you going to change your mindset around money so that you can allow more to flow into you? So you can develop that abundant mindset so you can create more space and know your value and know your work. So what that unlocked initially was the very basic principle that like your time is valuable and anything that you are doing for other people, it is okay for you to put a price tag on cause.
Right. Cause it could, you want to take care of your family don't you, so don't feel bad about that. But the second thing that it unlocked for me was something that I probably didn't know in the background. And that was my relationship with my. Like, I, it was so much about when you step into like, you're paying me for my services or what I'm creating.
It's weird. It's like, you know, it's, I don't know what happens in that, but for me, I had to really like, see like, no, Karen, what you are offering is creating a huge value it's meeting a need, right? It's yes. You deserve all this to come to you. And so by kind of just like tweaking that and seeing it, it helped me to see.
To generate income is really just a means of amplifying the work that I can do. So the more I'm able to generate the more good work I'm able to do, not from this place of, oh, I need to get greedy rich, but no, I need a lot of money to do all the things that my heart really desires. Right. Like, I think I've told you some of my crazy ambitious goals.
I'm like, I want to have like this, uh, uh, retreat center. I want to help widows in India. I want to have this like foundation where it helps or if it's, I have all these big things, but I realized that money is just a tool. A tool that amplifies your good and your work in the world. So it was a lot of like money, mindset change so that I could have a healthy exchange that I could build by value.
[33:25] Pranay: And it's all about impact, right? You know, unfortunately in this world, there's only one Karen, we could have, the world would be a better place with a lot more, but, uh, it's, it's making that impact because you can only be on one stage at a time. Right. And you, you know, you need to take care of. Children. And I really think the more you have, the more you can give to us, there's some level, you know, you don't need a billion dollars.
I mean, maybe you do. I don't,when you're financially secure, you can start doing things and taking care of people. Anytime there's like a family event, like, uh, when we got married a couple of years ago, or my son was born, my dad donates money to there's this house in this really small village that my dad lives in, that takes care of widows.
And we actually went there. And so at our wedding, we went and we, you know, bought food for a couple of days. And, you know, he's only able to do that cause he's been invested in stocks and, you know, um, dependent and, you know, really be able to kind of give back to the community.
[34:30] Karen: Exactly. And honestly, I think about it, even in the sense of the contractors that I work with and, you know, the people who helped me in my.
Every single time that I pay an invoice. I literally say a little prayer things like I'm so grateful I can pay this person and let this be a blessing to them. And you know, like, it's almost like, I think the difference is you think about some people are like, I need as much money as possible. And other people are thinking from the abundance mindset, which is money flows through me.
Right. So when I receive money, I'm able to give more and do more. And that is that's the mindset to have as you're growing.
[35:05] Pranay: Yeah. And it's a lot, your family too. Right? A lot of times we, we, even in entrepreneurship, we trade our, our time for money. Right. And at some point, and I I've been doing this more recent.
I used to work a lot. I used to work like 300 hours a month and yeah. Yeah, yeah. And those are scheduled hours. Um, But, you know, I, I did that for like two years, but now I'm able to say, Hey, I'm buying back my time and I'm working like a hundred hours. Then I was a little bit of pain for, um, you know, and it was when, uh, I was, uh, just dating.
So it wasn't married and didn't have a kid. So, um, now I'm able to, you know, work a lot less than I think a lot of people never get to that stage where they buy back their time.
[35:50] Karen: You know, that's a really great point because I. I recognize that part of my financial goals were very much because I'm a single parent.
So like paying for all the extracurricular activities. And my son is growing a half a shoe size every three weeks. Right. Like keeping up with that. So all of that requires money. So I need to not feel any shame about how much. Two or how I want to generate, right. Including not just taking care of my household, but the contractors who I paid, like I'm building a business.
So obviously that takes money. But what I knew as I started to build this out, and as I started to be more strategic about the business I was building was I didn't want to like be a slave to the dog. I wanted to be able to set my business up so I can generate the income I needed, but also so that I could keep the lifestyle that I wanted and my lifestyle wasn't about the material things.
It was about the time I could spend with my son. It was like, I'm the only person going grocery shopping, right. Or doing the dishes, or I don't want to feel stressed by all of that. So then I started to think about, well, how many hours a week do I want to work so that I can leave room for the gym for going to my son's games for doing all the, you know what I mean?
So you start to get into this mindset of. Money is important, right? It's important for livelihood. It is a tool that we all need, but really think about the bigger picture about the lifestyle that you want, because while money plays a part in shaping that lifestyle, really how you manage your time plays the biggest part in that lifestyle.
And so I knew if I'm working like 20 to 30 hours per week and the rest of the week, I'm able to. Content creator network or whatever, right? Like that's time well spent because then I am still on full. If you will. My tank is on full to invest as much quality time into my son as I am the quality time into my work.
So think about that too. It's not just the dollars. I love what you said. It's also about the.
[37:51] Karen: And Karen, how would you, how do you find that balance? So say it's Thursday and someone's giving you a new opportunity to speak in two weeks, a couple thousand dollars. They say, it's your you're going to. How do you, how do you look at that and how do you consider, okay, this is gonna be something I pursue or there's a big chunk of money that I'm going to say no to.
[38:11] Karen: That's a good question. First. I would look to see if there's any conflict with anything that I have already, you know, said yes to an obligation, personal or professional. Right? So if there's a personal obligation and I know that it's super important. I'm not going to move that, but if it's a personal obligation and I'm like, oh, I could actually push that back a week.
Right. You, you already know that. Um, so first is to look for any conflict and obligations that I have then this is probably even before that, I always just make sure I'm aligned with the request of the client, you know, whatever they're asking for. So I would actually put that before any, um, conflict and obligations.
Um, but I will say that I already blocked my time. Very strategically. So my Mondays and Fridays are like, no camera day. I'm just sitting here working on the book or cranking out content, maybe even admin stuff, but Mondays and Fridays are like, I'm not on camera unless there's an event. Unless there, I will always, you know, uh, open up those days if that is the day of the event.
Cause there's usually less flexibility, but because I blocked my time off pretty well right now, I manage my self care time and my personal time. I don't get on the computer before 9:00 AM. I'm not, I'm not even checking email on my phone because before 9:00 AM, I'm doing meditation. I'm getting my son out the door and he's not feeling rushed and I'm not distracted.
We're enjoying that quality time to start our day together. Um, after I do meditation, I take my time. If I'm like straightening up my room, make my bed every single day or, you know, little things like that to get the house in order. And then at the end of the day, I try to not schedule any calls after three 30, because that's when my son gets.
Now, thankfully I'm in a current living situation where, because over the pandemic, I moved in with my sister. And so it's great to have other adults helping out. I'm just saying that isn't, that seems like a luxury luxury. So there's a little bit of flexibility, but I, the reason I mentioning that is because even though I now have she and her husband, two capable adults in the mix, I still protect my time with my son.
Like, I'm not just saying, okay, now you can go to. Every once in a while, but yeah, I think that's the order of priority is just to make sure it doesn't conflict with any obligations. Um, I always make sure that my time is carved out with time blocking and that helps me to keep that.
[40:31] Pranay: I love it. And you know, other people have said, you know, you pay yourself first, right?So you, you always choose yourself and your family and it's, I can, I can say it's difficult. My wife has to remind me that all the time. It's, you know, there's always an extra hour, an extra two hours, you know, when you think about the future. Yeah.
[40:52] Karen: And it's the time you don't get back. I heard this really great video.
He said, if you're given $84,000, uh, $84,600 every single day, every morning, when you woke up and you were told, Hey, you have to use all of this because it's gone at the end of the day. It doesn't roll over till tomorrow. You would try to use all that money. Wouldn't you you'd be like, be very intentional.
You would use as much as you could make the most of it. But we get 84,600 seconds and we wasted so much on things that are not giving. Value or bringing good into our lives. So it's like, we think about that in the dollar sense, but like time, time is valuable too. And you don't get it back.
[41:32] Pranay: I don't know if this has ever happened to you and you say you're going to start something at one o'clock and it's 105.You're like, oh two o'clock. It is.
[41:40] Karen: Yes, definitely. I try. I've tried to be better at that. Um, but sometimes I'm like, I don't even go to two o'clock I'm like, it'll go til tomorrow. Like I'm just, especially if I'm writing.
[41:52] Pranay: I know, I know it's, it's so hard and, uh, blocking time is such an important thing. I use this timer too, and I'm like, I can sit here.
It's 25 minutes. I can sit here, do what I'm supposed to do or do nothing, but I can do nothing else. I'll stare at wall. Or I do what I'm doing. I'm just, sometimes I'm just looking at that clock. There'll be like two minutes left. I really can't work on this anymore.
[42:21] Karen: Yeah. But you know what, that's being real and that's being human, you know, you need in the moment, Matt is okay.
[42:28] Pranay: Yeah. Yeah. You know, it's, it's funny. And uh, people telling me all this time, I feel like I'm not very productive, but other people will tell me. They're like, I don't know how you're doing so much.
I don't know. I feel like I do so much more.
[42:41] Karen: I know I felt the same way. I have somebody who said caring. You're like a duck where you're so smooth on the surface, but underneath that we're know you're going a million miles per minute. And I told them, I was like, I still don't feel like I'm going fast enough.
I was, I still don't feel like I'm getting enough done. I think that's why I like checklists so much, because it helps me to look back and really see like, no, Karen, you did get 45 things done today. Maybe not 97, but you got 45. So like you'll get about.
[43:06] Pranay: Yeah. Yeah. And you know, since we're talking about Haim and money, um, you know, in the beginning of entrepreneurship, uh, money's usually pretty tight.
So where is, uh, something that you actually wish you spent more money on? It could have been kind of rocket fuel for when you were.
[43:23] Karen: Well, I'll tell you that actually came later. It wasn't in the beginning for me. Um, because in the beginning I actually had a couple of like, not so great experiences where I did invest a large chunk of money and they didn't deliver.
So I was scorned by that. I was like, oh, this is how I'm going to teach myself. I wouldn't say. But then when I did get to the point where I was making money and I needed to delegate, that's when I, so it was later for me, it was delayed, but it was the same thing. And I'll tell you what, the first thing I did, I invested in a business manager because as a speaker, you do a lot of outreach.
You do negotiation. There's a lot you do before you get to college. And I knew that if I had someone who handled all of that admin stuff and I just had to show up, once we got to contract, I was going to get so much time back on my calendar time that would help me to create content and more resources, you know, do outreach and, um, even do more consulting with some of my CEO clients that it was going to give me so much more time back on my calendar.
So that was the first investment I made. The second investment that I made. The second investment that I made, which was also back in my business was, um, my copywriter, because I'm a great orator, but me having a conversation, you know, it would take me four extra hours to, to write out a half an hour conversation, right.
Or something like a video. So what I found is that, uh, she edited my book. We would get on. And we have an hour, one call a month in one hour, I can give her two blogs and four emails. Like I have six pieces of content that I can deliver in one hour to her. And she's, she's my voice. Right? She's using all the things that I'm saying, but because she has more of the bandwidth to write, I now have a very trusted source where I can give you all the ideas and like she's.
So this is what I found in those two examples. Both of them put time back on my calendar so that I could shine in the areas that light me up the most. Because there's going to be areas of business that you're like, I'm not interested in this. I don't want to have to do this. There's a lot of delegation, you know, and you're just like, you're uninterrupted.
What are those things that don't bring you energy in your business? That's what you should look to delegate first. And if you do that, then it frees up. Not just like time on your calendar, but even the mental space. Because after having that one hour conversation with my copywriter, I know that it's taken care of.
I don't have to think about it again. So that's how I would advise people. It's like, what are the duties or responsibilities or tasks in your business that you actually don't enjoy find there's someone out there who loves to do that, find that person. And then you can collaborate both like best about both worlds.
[46:00] Pranay:I don't know if this has ever happened to you, but you were talking about not being able to sleep sometimes just getting in bed and didn't just waking up and you're like, oh shoot, this has to be done.
[46:09] Karen: Exactly, exactly. Because when it's things that you care about when it's things that you know are give you energy, you make it a priority. You're getting it done. But if you're really not that interested, it will slip your mind. So give it to the person who you know, is going to get it done.
[46:24] Pranay: So Karen you've grown so much over the past eight years.
What do you think the Karen from back then with think about, uh, what you've been, what you've grown, what you've created and your relationships?
[46:35] Karen: Oh, man. Um, I did not think I would be here today. Like I couldn't even imagine myself being happy again. I couldn't imagine myself feeling peace. That was so like far, far away, it was unthinkable.
So I think that the Karen then first of all, she would look at me now and be like, dang girl, you did it. You did it like you got. And I also think as I'm starting to get teary-eyed I cry a lot, but I think that I would tell her if I could talk to her, I would tell her one step at a time, one step at a time.
Because there are good things on their way to you. And if you just stay the course, all of the people, all of the opportunities, all of the ideas, they are going to come to fruition, they are going to help you to do that thing that, you know, you're meant to do that you're meant to bring to this world. So just one step at a time, one step at a time, I think it was a Martin Luther king quote.
We said you don't have to see the whole staircase to take the first. And honestly, when you are an entrepreneur, it looks dark like it new don't always see that light at the end of the tunnel. But if you just take one step, like what do you just need to do today? Everything will fall into place. It always does.
Especially when your heart is in the right direction.
[48:02] Pranay: Karen. That was beautiful and a great place to stop. Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.
[48:07] Karen: So welcome anytime.
[48:12] Pranay: I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, please leave a review on apple podcasts and Spotify and share this episode with a few of your friends.