What do you want to ask for yourself that you need today? Women especially give so much to others but yet don’t give to themselves, and in this conversation Michelle McGlade, Kathe Crawford emphasizes why that has to change. Kathe is an author, speaker, and master life coach who left her corporate gig behind to live what she calls a Truth(FULL) Life. She now works with individuals, leaders, entrepreneurs, and startups supporting them to realize their purpose, possibility, and impact. Diving into her book, Unlocking Secrets, Kathe reveals how she’s been keeping her life a secret in the sense that there are pieces of her she couldn’t really show the world for fear of judgment. Bring all of yourself forward today. Discover how Kathe was able to heal her broken heart, become whole, and began living her truth.
Secrets To A Truth(FULL) Life With Kathe Crawford
We are going to learn more from the beautiful, Ms. Kathe Crawford. If you didn’t have a chance to meet her, you’re going to want to read part one of these episodes. Let me tell you a little bit about Kathe. She is an author, speaker and master life coach. She made the shift back in 2016 after 24 years, a full career as a highly regarded sales executive was some of the world’s most iconic brands like Cartier and Chanel. She decided that it was time to stop waiting for the right time, so she left her corporate gig behind to live what she calls a truth full life. That’s the essence of what you feel in this episode. She’s a powerful woman, very successful in her own right, still beautiful and vivacious. You feel that when she talks. She’s like, “Here’s the truth. Take it or leave it. I don’t care. It’s my story.”
I think that’s what you feel in these episodes. She is on a mission to inspire and empower others to share their stories, wisdom, and experiences. She wrote an acclaimed memoir called Unlocking Secrets: My Journey to an Open Heart, which we dug into the shame and fear around secret-keeping in part one. As a certified master coach and CEO of her consulting firm, she works with individuals, leaders, entrepreneurs, and startups supporting them to realize their purpose, possibility, and impact. Let’s dig into part two with the beautiful, Ms. Kathe Crawford.
I couldn’t give you my couple cents of what to look for in this episode because it’s juicy in such a good way. First of all, I love it. It’s a short part of this episode, but if you are somebody who has ever heard these words, “It’s easier for you because…” I know I’m not alone. I’ve heard this shit ton in my life. “It’s easier for you, Michelle, because…” Kathe and I get up to this a little bit and I love her smackdown and her eight-word reply for any of you who have been thinking that. Read that part of the episode. The other piece that is the juicy goodness that I think will be powerful for you is there are a couple of things.
One of the sentences, she says, “I use that against me,” and his discussion that we have is at the core of how we as women especially, give so much to others but yet we don’t give to ourselves and why that has to change? You learn that in every single one of the episodes. As soon as I started investing in me, that’s when my success flourished. You’ll learn if you start paying close attention as I have and trying to point out the through-line for you that almost every single woman I’ve interviewed talks about that.
The other thing is from Kathe, reflecting on it might be the most powerful of the entire conversation. She says, “The only thing I could own was how successful I was. It’s insightful the systems of success we create. Tatiana talked about that, the systems of success we create as a high performer. I was connecting that when Kathe said, “The only thing I could own was how successful I was.” I thought it was insightful to being a high performer, to keeping secrets, to having that duality within our lives and not bringing all of us forward. Pay attention to that.
It was seamless. I never realized it, but I was one of the women when you’re starting to hit your 50s and you’re like, “Is this it?” I survived it all. This is what I want to say to everyone out there who’s reading. You’ve got to switch at some point from survival to striving. Because one thing that I know for sure, even if stuff comes up for me, I have to remind myself, I always wind up standing up. I always get back up. We always think like, “I don’t know if I could recover from this. I don’t know if I can bounce back. This one’s bigger than me.” That’s when I started to learn and I had to own that. That was hard. It might sound easy. I’ll share my story with women and they’re like, “This is so powerful.” I’m very humbled by that because, to me, it was doing what I needed to do to protect my family and the people that I loved. What I teach women is we’ve got to protect ourselves too. We’ve got to take care of ourselves.
It is because you were able to do it and you came out on the other side, but it was at a cost and the cost was inside of you. Thank goodness you have been able to go on the journey to heal.
I think we’re all on that journey in our own ways, in our own direction. When we talked about the bridge and the transition, it’s not over. There are circumstances. We have a parent that’s ill or we’re taking care of them, but we don’t see the end in sight. If we see the end, the outcome is always sad or a loss. One of the things that I learned in this whole journey was that our biggest fear is what’s on the other side. I’m here to tell you that what’s on the other side is amazing. It’s a gift. What we’re all searching for every single day is right on the other side of fear.
My sense about you is you’re still getting started.
I’m going to always get started. They put me in the ground, burn me or wherever they put me, but this voice has been ignited.
What is percolating under the surface for you that you haven’t put out there yet?
What’s percolating for me is I don’t know if it’s writing a book about it or start with talks, but I want to be the new role model of what it looks like to grow old. Because I don’t think we have a lot of role models out there. I think that we have some amazing women, but I’m talking about the woman that took the bridge, left what they knew and started something new. There are a lot of single women out there. There are a lot of women that their children grow up. We always think our kids are going to take care of us and maybe they’re off 3,000 miles away. It’s like, “How do I grow old?” Growing old used to be something that we needed to do because we had worked hard. When they came up with it, we’d retire at 60 because we worked in factories and we’re exhausted and enjoy your life. What’s happening is people are starting to enjoy their lives much earlier and that’s what we start to work in our 50s. I enjoy working and help women start to map that out at a much earlier age at 50. It is attainable and achievable.
People say, “Look at me. I was widowed in my 30s. I had two kids. I had to build a career. I’m still a daughter. I’m a grandmother. I’m all these things and look at the life I’m living?” If you would have said this to me years ago, I couldn’t get from point A to point B. It’ll happen for everybody else but me and it can help. My next venture is to not show hundreds of millions of people but to stay in my lane. I sold my house. I live in an Airbnb for a couple of months. I go do service work somewhere. You can do anything that you want to do, but I don’t think we have what would it be. We don’t hear about women doing this stuff.
I want to unpack this. I love that this came out. I’m glad I asked. Many women especially, I don’t know why. Maybe I talk to more of them. “It’s easier for you, Kathe, because…” “You can do that Michelle, but that’s not realistic for me.” They’ll come up with all sorts of reasons, “Because you’re widowed, it’s now easier than you don’t have somebody or because you’re married.” You can’t win. They’ll come up and attach to whatever they see in you, in your life that they don’t have. How can we unpack that for the woman who’s reading who’s like, “Those two are totally privileged?” We’ve never struggled. It’s all good for us. How can we come to this? What wisdom do you have to offer?
The only one that’s blocking you is you. I could have sat here and I was that woman listening to Talk Radio and these are fabulous women that I wanted to be like. There are people in my C-suite. They have a nanny as I’m running off to daycare. I can’t be five minutes late or I’ll get fined. They have no idea what I’m going through, but what comes from that is strength and wisdom. Until I stopped telling myself that story of who I was because a spiritual teacher is the one that triggered all this for me. She said, “I don’t know anything about you. I know you were widowed. You have two great kids. You wear great yoga clothes. You work for these fabulous companies. I don’t know who you are, but I’m pulled to you, I gravitated to you. There’s something there but there’s something you’re not telling.”
There was something I wasn’t telling at that moment and everybody felt it. I had people after the book came out that I worked with or were my managers or CEOs, they were like, “I had no idea. You’ve worked for me for years and it never came up or you never discussed it.” I had one manager who said, “I never even knew you remarried.” I didn’t share any of that. I would say to those women that are reading this that you’ve got to acknowledge what’s true. What you know to be true is inside of you. Until you accept it, acknowledge it and honor it, you’re not going to move anywhere because it all starts with telling the truth.
You don’t have to scream it from a building or write a book about it, but you’ve got to get real and honest with yourself. When I woke up one day and kept saying “You want to keep waking up like this?” Instead of a lack of, I started looking at the abundance in my life. Everybody else had a husband. Everybody else was going to grow old with their spouse. They had dual retirement funds and everybody’s life was better than mine. I got past that a lot, but it was always that little thing on my shoulder that said, “You’re different Kathe.” I used that against me instead of owning the power that I had.
Let’s slow this down. What Kathe said that I want you to know is, “I used that against me.” The essence of what you’re saying is it’s all in our mind. We were doing it to ourselves.
It’s interesting because we only do it to ourselves as women. We don’t do it in our jobs. We don’t do it in our relationships and our kids. We give all we got, but when it comes a time, we get in our heads. We cannot do what we can do for others and ourselves. Until I own that, that’s not being selfish.
This is a connection that went off in my head. Do you believe that it is why women are attracted to and thrive in the community because it helps us overcome what’s in our nature? We cannot change our nature. We can only acknowledge it and come together and honor it.
We don’t honor our gifts. We don’t honor that we like one another. We don’t honor that we can live in harmony and community because I know that we’ve touched on that. You and I have talked about that too. How other women treat other women. It’s not just sometimes men. Most of us as women are in survival mode. If you’ve got to that corner office, it probably took you a long time to get there. I went in easily to walk away from it or give it up and I’m going to fight to keep it. All that says to me is we’ve got a lot more work to do as women. We’re saying we’re standing united. We still struggle because it’s our environment, our culture, and our society.
We’re always waiting as women to get the rug pulled out from under us. Women in their 55, 60 with their husbands leaving them. We always hear about that, but what about the women who were 55 and 60 and saying, “I’m out of here?” It’s a shame, but it shouldn’t have to be about taking sides. We’ve got to start doing for ourselves. To go back to your question when you said that change, it was when I started. The book is not about the secret. It’s about how that secret came to be, but the secret was the journey to learn to love me.
It’s been a secret that turns into a great gift.
I have women that have come up to me and I cannot believe the stories that people tell me. The reason is that they feel safe. I’ve given them permission. I’ve told my story. The other little thing that I would love to create is that woman, the group of truth-tellers. We have a safe place to be able to share our stories. I would say there are AA meetings and it’s like, “What about if we had a meeting where women could go on their way home from work and say, ‘I had the worst freaking day, I’ve got to go home to this. Before I go home and open up a bottle of wine because I’m single and I’m going to eat something bad, let me go here and connect with women.’” You go home and your bucket is filled. I would love to help women fill their buckets because mine was so depleted.
You’re filling my bucket.
You always fill mine and that’s what we need to do for one another is to fill each other’s buckets. That’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life doing. You see how easy I was like, “I’m going to fill people’s buckets.” I’ve got to fill my own.
My marketing brain kicks in. You’re going to spill their bucket, get it all out on the table and then bring them together and then fill each other’s buckets.
We have to evolve that. We’re going to talk more about that.
It’s like a local fill your bucket club. You can have this “Go fill your bucket club” all over the country you just pay a monthly fee.
Worldwide, we’ll have chapters all over and it could be these women, that’s what they need and start their own community. I’m sure there are things out there and I know that things out there do exist. It’s like, “How come I didn’t know about that? How come I didn’t hear?” Many people are silenced. That’s what happened to me. The little girl who was that rebel walking barefoot and was going to change the world got smashed down. I want to say this because I think it’s important because a lot of people say this to me. We do what we have to do and at that time, I did what I had to do. My question to everyone is, you don’t have to do that forever. Larry had been gone. I told my other son several years ago. What he said to me was, “My whole life makes sense.”
I understand you do what you’ve got to do, but how much of it is self-inflicted? You’ve done it to yourself. We convince ourselves of these stories we’ve made up.
I do a lot of coaching around stories. When I have a client, we’ve been working together, they get to the point where they’re like, “Kathe, I’m going into the story.” We’ve got many chapters to that story. We’ve got a story to pull out for every reason, every circumstance and every why. I was a storyteller. You start to believe your own stories and that is very true. I believe that my life would crumble.
Our truth is our reality.
The truth is not so bad. It’s a cliché. The truth will set you free. There’s freedom. I talked to many women. Look what happened when we watched the Weinstein verdict. It was the validation. One of the girls was like, “He was there and I was here.” Whatever happened wasn’t the point, but that power that something holds over you, whether it’s an incident in your life, it’s a secret or it’s a tragedy.
Trauma is the exact same scenario. When you were describing some of your experiences, I was like, “This is similar to the process I went through of grieving when I lost my dad.”
I write about it. When Larry died, even though I had this eight years or seven years to prepare, nothing prepares you. I remember going to Barnes & Noble because this is during the height in the late ‘90s and self-development. I said, “I’ve got to go get a book on how I grieve. How do I grieve?” Because when I first started this journey, that’s what I was going to do. I was going to be a grief counselor. I would go to these grieving programs that they would have at a local church or wherever. I didn’t know what grief meant. I didn’t understand the process, that there were stages of it. All I knew was everything else in my life, I needed to fix this. I’m like, “Now, I’m going to grieve and a year from now, I’m going to manage that too.” I’m process-driven because the only thing that I could ever own was how damn successful I was. I took all of that analytical stuff in my head and mentalizing and I applied it in my job and it worked like a charm. It didn’t work in your personal life.
There were very few books and I said, “This is wrong.” I did a lot in grief work. I’ve done a lot of work on trauma because people, doctors, and therapists would say, “You’ve been traumatized.” I’m like, “I’m not traumatized. Look how strong I am. I got it together.” I looked like I’ve been traumatized but I wouldn’t even allow myself to grieve because I had to let everybody else grieve. These are all patterns that I’m sure as you read, they show up. I do believe that how we do one thing is how we do everything.
I’ve been running around saying that.
People go, “I’m different at work. I’m different here. The patterns are there.” It’s how we do everything. If we change that one thing, our lives completely change and evolve and it’s always for the better. Change that one block and your life will unfold. I never knew it was telling this secret. I went to a workshop. It’s like, “My teacher said I should go release this story and I’ll be fine.” I was like, “I don’t know anyone there. I’ll go tell my big secret and life will go on.” Readers out there, from that experience and workshop that I did not want to go to because I’m like, “Kathe, when you’re going to stop fixing yourself,” someone heard my story and said, “You should write about it.” From there, everything unfolded. The minute I released that secret, that story a tear streamed down my eyes because she turned out to be the vice president and editor of Hay House. She said, “Do you write?” I said, “Write? I don’t even talk about this. I have journals filled with it but no. This is the very first time I’ve ever said it.”
She encouraged me. She said, “I think about it because it’s such a powerful story,” but this goes back to I was standing up there not from a place of power. I’m trying to get healthy, whole and fix my broken heart. Tell me what I’ve got to do. It wound up, that’s exactly what happened. I was working with the coach and she said to me, “Are you ever going to write that proposal?” I said, “Everything’s good,” because it was good. I had a great job. I live in the city. My kids are settled. “Kathe, why do you want to disrupt this?” That to me, after 30 years of trying to figure out why Larry got AIDS was the answer is to open my voice and use my voice.
There’s so much. The first thing is that I was thinking, you wrote a book, writing a book was never a goal of yours. It’s the universe at work. Because if you hadn’t read the book, the book was doing the work for you. That was the work for you. While I was processing all that, it hit me over the head. It is something powerful that you said that will speak to the woman reading who says, “Everything is great. Why would I disrupt that?” How many people are sitting there thinking that it’s good enough? I know I’ve been in this, “Who am I to ask for more? Who am I to want something more?”
Even when it was bad, that was the pattern, “Why would I ask for help?” When everything was good, “Why would I disrupt it?” I couldn’t ask. I couldn’t do any of that. Who was I? Everything’s fine. Don’t mess it up. Everything was wrong. Don’t let it fall apart. How you do one thing, even when you think you’re in a better place and you think you’ve done the work. I was traveling to India. I was taking women on retreats. I, at that point, was doing great work. I was like, “This is good. What do I need a book for?” The book is not about me. My story is completely different, but they’re like, “I heard my mother in your story or my kids were this or that incident that happened at work.” They’re not alone. That book is about you’re not alone. We’re not alone. We’re together.
I am dying to know what you’re thinking. Please reach out. Send me an email, connect with me on LinkedIn. Comment on the website and share your thoughts. This is a conversation. These women are bringing themselves forward fully with vulnerability. They are exposing the innermost workings of themselves. The purpose behind that for me, for you, is to inspire you to do the same without fear. I think Kathe lays it out there in all of her glory. Let’s have a conversation. How has this impacted you? What will you do differently? How will you bring all of yourself forward? There was one thing in my notes that I didn’t mention. Kathe lays out the lesson. She lays out the lesson for herself. It may not be your lesson, but I think it’s insightful. She says, “I could not ask. I didn’t know how to ask.” That was the through-line for her in this episode. I didn’t know how to ask for what I wanted, what I needed. At a minimum, what do you want to ask for yourself that you need? Think about that and we’ll talk to you soon.
About Kathe Crawford
Kathe Crawford is an author, speaker, and master life coach.
In 2016 after 24 years as a highly regarded sales executive with some of the world’s most iconic brands, including Cartier and Chanel, Kathe stopped waiting for the ‘right time’ and left the corporate world behind to live what she calls a Truth(FULL) Life.
With the mission to inspire and empower others to share their stories, wisdom, and experiences, she wrote her acclaimed memoir, Unlocking Secrets: My Journey to an Open Heart.
As a certified master coach and CEO of her own consulting firm, she works with individuals, leaders, entrepreneurs, and start-ups supporting each to realize their purpose, possibility and impact.
Kathe has trained with some of the world’s top spiritual teachers including Ram Dass, and master coach and coauthor of The Prosperous Coach Rich Litvin, and The Ford Institute.