Authentic Conversations with Entrepreneurs Episode 8: “One Step At A Time” with Jody Klein

In this episode of “Authentic Conversations with Entrepreneurs” I spoke with Grief Educator & Coach, Jody Klein, on how to take it “One Step At A Time” in your business.

Katherine Morales: Hi everyone. Thanks so much for being here for Authentic Conversations with Entrepreneurs. I have here Jody Klein. He is a Grief Educator & Coach and founder of Strength.Beauty.Purpose.Coaching. So good to have you here, Jody.

This is our eighth episode of Authentic Conversations with Entrepreneurs, and as I do with all episodes, I’m going to explain what is an authentic conversation. What are we here to do? Well, today we’re talking with Jody, but in each episode we talk with entrepreneurs about the true journey of entrepreneurship. It’s not just the success, but it’s the challenges that we face, it’s the personal and professional hurdles that we cover and overcome.

So it is about humanizing that journey and talking about each entrepreneur’s unique perspective because we all share something in common. So I’m excited for you to do that today, Jody, in our eighth episode. The topic today is “One Step At A Time.” So I want to start, obviously say hi Jody, but if you can tell us what does this message mean to you and when did you first hear it?

Jody Klein: Thank you for inviting me. I’m really glad to be here with you today. One step at a time is really about just that. Small steps, baby steps, some people use that acronym or words to say that you just have to keep momentum. I think the biggest thing for me since I chose this path is to keep moving forward in some direction.

It’s easy sometimes as a small business owner, as a new business owner to get mired down and to thinking you have to be big immediately, and most of us aren’t I’m finding. Most of us are building with time and taking those baby steps or small steps, and that’s been true for me. That’s been true for me from life experiences, things that have happened in my life in the last few years since I kind of started this, that at times I’ve had to really step back a bit. Even take a step back instead of always a step forward to change my direction or to tend to something in my personal life.

Katherine Morales: Yeah, yeah. So, I know that you earned your coaching certification in the beginning of 2020. Interesting timing, right?

Jody Klein: Right.

Katherine Morales: But, I mean, tell us about is there a specific time where you felt this pressure to move forward? Or when did you say, “Okay, I started this business, but I’m going to do my own pacing, I’m going to find my own rhythm in this.” How did you align with that?

Jody Klein: Yeah, that was a struggle for me. I met you while we were still able to meet in-person at a-

Katherine Morales: Yeah, just before everything shut down.

Jody Klein: That’s right, just before COVID started. I can’t remember the month exactly, but we connected and that’s how I learned about your offering to come into your program. I did that in that fall, and I think leading up to that I had put a lot of pressure on myself that I wasn’t doing it right or knowing exactly what to do, or making the connections that I really needed to be making, and so I was struggling with that.

What helped me by going through your program is with the pillars and with kind of getting my own story and really making it authentic to me and not what I thought somebody wanted to hear, that helped me, that helped me a lot. It helped me slow down to recognize I don’t have to do this all at once, and focusing on having the right people, the right someones, as you say, around my fire was really what I wanted to do.

It really resonated with me the way you shared that, and I gained a lot from that experience in that time. It’s helped me recalibrate and understand, that for me it’s going to be one step at a time, it’s going to be at my pace, no one else’s.

Katherine Morales: Well, I love that. I mean, thank you so much for sharing that, Jody. I want to say hi to Brian Perry, because he’s on here and he’s a fellow friend of ours. But I think it’s interesting some of the words you used there, and I’ll go back to the authenticity piece too. But I think it’s interesting you used momentum, because a lot of times when you hear momentum, it kind of implies a certain speed to it, right?

Jody Klein: True.

Katherine Morales: You can let me know how you think of it, but what I often say is it’s the moments that make the momentum, so that allows you to really tap into momentum is made of micro moments. Which is kind of a Google term, we’ll give them credit for that. But I think each of those moments that you experience help you to determine the pace and direction you want to go in. Does that resonate? I mean, some of those experiences that you felt, at what point did you say it’s okay to set my pace?

Jody Klein: Well, I alluded to some things in my personal life that were happening, especially in 2021, and I had to step back. My mom is wheelchair-bound and she was having a lot of medical issues and she needed a lot of attention. I’m a person in her life that has the flexibility and lives close enough that I can help with that.

So, it took a lot of my time and I had to give myself the grace and give myself the permission to say this is the most important thing for me right now. I’ve got to be available and the business will happen as it happens. So, that was a piece of it, actually.

So momentum at that point at times felt stalled I guess, but it has picked up and I’m glad to say my mom’s much more healthy right now so far this year. That’s been a blessing and it’s been able to give me more time to focus on taking more steps and building more momentum.

Katherine Morales: Yeah. Well, and I think it’s interesting because a lot of times we think life happens and it gets in the way of our business, but, I mean, you tell me, but I think that from my own experience, even though things that, look at my necklace, paws, it has little paws on it, those moments that make you pause in life really feed into your business, because we evolve and we grow from that. I think specifically in giving yourself the grace, isn’t that something in grief coaching as well that’s important?

Jody Klein: Absolutely. The work I’m doing and want to do more work in, in grief in particular, I’ve discovered that, yeah, giving yourself grace. I mean, when you experience a loss, whether it’s the loss of a family member or a pet or job, there’s a lot of pressure. We tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to either move through it, get over it, or we have other outside voices that are telling us it’s time to move on, or you can get another dog or cat, whatever.

To me, we don’t do grief well here in the Western world, and we do, we want to move on. We want to not feel the pain, we want to avoid it and go around it, circumvent it in some way. What I’ve learned from the work I’ve done and from the studying I’ve done around grief is that there is no end around to avoid and to be healed or to have a healing experience, you’ve got to kind of experience it. You’ve got to heal it to heal and go through it to get to the other side. On that other side, there is healing of some sort. That may be that it’s just that you’re able to really have memories with more love than pain, and there’s something to be said for that.

Katherine Morales: As I hear you talk about that, Jody, and I’ve been so honored to know you for a couple years now, but I just know that there’s what you and only you can bring to this, right? You mentioned the pillars, so when we talk about authenticity, I think that that moves into your business too. Not just your brand, but how do I want to show up? How often do I want to be on social media? How often do I want to be marketing my business and going to networking events? And all these things. When it comes to the pressure or expectations or what we see other businesses doing, it’s easy to get caught in that race. Is that some of what you felt in your business in that first year?

Jody Klein: For sure. That was I’ve got to hit the ground running, I’ve got to do X, Y, Z. I need to figure out where I want to be on social media and what I even want to say on social media. I’ve got room to-

Katherine Morales: I have to, I have to, right?

Jody Klein: But yeah, it was internal pressure to perform at some level, and I found that it wasn’t healthy for me- And I had to take a step back. I was kind of forced to take a step back, and as you said, it kind of paused my thinking around that. It was a forced kind of pause and it was probably a really good thing for me.

Katherine Morales: 100%.

Jody Klein: After I went through your program, I was able to learn and understand that you don’t have to be on every social media platform. You choose how you show up and when you show up and where you show up, and that’s been a valuable lesson for me.

Katherine Morales: That’s great, that’s great. I love how you’re showing up on LinkedIn, I know we talked about that. But yeah, it’s interesting how you say words like recalibrate and that life happened and it forced you to slow down. I think that in my own experience and what I’ve seen countlessly with clients is that that is how it happens. If you don’t slow yourself down, something in life will happen to force you to slow down.

Usually what comes out of that, even if it’s a hard time, it’s usually the unexpected thing, right? But what comes out of that is opportunity for growth and recalibration and direction. So, it’s really interesting how you talk about that happening for you and how that’s what allowed you, you felt it, and you knew it in your practice as a grief coach, but to embody that same grace and time that you need to do it in your business must have been a huge shift for you.

Jody Klein: Yes, it was. So, where I am now with that in 2022 now is that I’m able to say to myself more easily that it’s okay if the progress seems slow, it’s okay. But what I love about where I am right now is that I am meeting and creating opportunities, relationships, building relationships that are going to lead to more opportunities, and I know that’s coming. I’m willing to continue building those relationships one at a time and just seeing the fruits of that, and I know already it’s paying off.

Katherine Morales: Yeah, I love it. So, at what point did all of this click and start to ignite you in your business? What specific relationships? How did you tune into that?

Jody Klein: To the grief work in particular?

Katherine Morales: Yeah, when did it, if we say gather around the fire, you ignited the flame and said, “Here’s who I want by my fire.”

Jody Klein: Right. Right. For me, it’s really pretty personal. This work comes to me as a result of the death of my father in 2016, or 2014, I’m sorry. I lose track of the day sometimes. But he passed away in an accident, a boating accident. I won’t go through all the details, except to say he was on life support for about three weeks before we had to make the difficult decision to say goodbye to him.

The day that he was removed from life support, I was in the … it’s North Georgia Regional Hospital, and they have a beautiful little courtyard or stream and garden. I was out there in the garden. It was a very beautiful day, sunny, gorgeous, nice gentle breeze, and when his wife came down and told me he had passed, I had just this guttural almost a how came out of me. I can’t describe it, except it was very raw.

Someone came to me, a stranger came up to me and wanted to console me, and I really didn’t want that.

I didn’t want that from a stranger, it was something I was dealing with. I’m afraid I wasn’t very generous at that moment, but what that left me with, and what happened though, is almost immediately I said, “Well, I’m the oldest, I have responsibilities here. I’ve got to let people know, I’ve got to tell everybody, I’ve got to help with funeral arrangements. I’ve got to all these things to do.” So, I very quickly shifted from that grief that hit me pretty hard in the moment to, okay, I’ve got to do these things, and I moved into that and I did all those things.

At the funeral, I read a poem and I did all these things, and I didn’t give myself the space to really go back and grieve. Then some five years later on the anniversary of his death, I wake up every morning, I have a routine and a practice of doing some meditation, and after that, I had this huge wave hit me. So it was just like going through it all again, but more intense and realizing that I hadn’t fully given myself the space or permission to grieve the loss.

Now, I realize that there are a lot of us that are in that place, that have been in that place where we’ve pushed it back, done the things we had to do, but we haven’t given ourself the permission or the space to fully grieve the loss, and I feel like now I have done that.

Katherine Morales: Oh my gosh. Well, thank you so much for sharing that, Jody. I know that’s deeply personal and I imagine that comes in so directly to the work you do with your clients and the losses that they have experienced.

There were a couple words you said there though that I think were liberating for every business owner and entrepreneur, and it’s space and permission. You even touched on expectations and that pressure, in a different context obviously. But I think that if there was one thing that I would want any viewer of this to hear from this experience is that it’s okay to take it one step at a time, but what that requires is for you to give yourself the space and the permission to figure out that pace, to figure out that direction. I always say what kind of boss do you want to be to yourself? You can be in business six, seven, 10 years and never ask that question. That is an important one.

Jody Klein: Yes. Yeah, how are you going to treat yourself, right?

Katherine Morales: Are you going to give yourself grace?

Jody Klein: Give yourself grace, being gentle and kind. Yeah, and I find I am better for me if I’m kind to me. I do better, I grow, things happen when I treat myself kinder. When I’m harder on myself and beating up on myself, that takes away any possibility for growth in my view, because I’m so focused on the negative.

Katherine Morales: It’s almost like putting roadblocks in the way, right?

Jody Klein: Right. I’m so focused on the negative that I can’t see the opportunities.

Katherine Morales: Yeah, yeah. Well, I want people to know where to find you, Jody, so give me a moment to pull that up. So here’s your site, SBP Coaching, that’s Strength.Beauty.Purpose.Coaching. Is there anything you’d like to share with our viewers today? Any parting comments?

I know you had this wonderful quote you shared with me about failure, which is obviously part of any entrepreneurial journey. Whether it’s you lose a deal that you were facing or wanted, or however failure comes in the business, it’s part of the pathway, right? But do you have that or you want me to read it off to you?

Jody Klein: Well, I’ll just give a shout-out. I’m also in a Toastmasters Club, and you’ve been generous to come and share at our club not too long ago.

But I have a fellow Toastmaster, Gwendolyn E. V. Monroe, if you’re watching, or if you see this later. I love her tagline in her email, and it’s, “Failure is not an option. We either learn or we grow.”

I’ve sort of copied that from her a little bit, borrowed, if you will, because I think that’s so true. It’s all a matter of perspective, failure is. We all are going to make mistakes, we’re all going to drop the ball, fail, if you will, but there’s an opportunity after each of those. For me, I know it’s true. I grow the most from the mistakes I make. When I’m able to see them from the perspective of not just a mistake, but an opportunity to learn something, to maybe improve and to grow, it’s a blessing.

Katherine Morales: I love that. I love that. I know you said too that it’s often the next step to success, that’s what you were conveying. I think it’s interesting to say that one step at a time isn’t just about pace as we’ve been talking about, but it’s also being unafraid that it may be the wrong step, but you’re still moving forward. So, thank you for highlighting that.

Jody Klein: Exactly, exactly. Thank you.

Katherine Morales: Well, as I said, you’re here on LinkedIn. Such a pleasure to have you, Jody. I think it’s a great message, it’s an important message for every entrepreneur. I often say there are two times in the year when we hear this proverbial shotgun go off, and it’s the top of the year and right before the fourth quarter. So, it’s good timing.

When you cut yourself in that race, remember this conversation here with Jody and setting your pace and just taking it one step at a time, because as long as you’re moving forward, you’re finding those moments, you do have momentum.

Jody Klein: Absolutely.

Katherine Morales: So thank you for having the courage, the heart to share your story, your authentic story. This will be here on LinkedIn, but also you can visit my website and see this recording. Tune in next time for our episode on September 15th at 1:30 pm ET with Lisa Michaels. We’ll be talking about “Following the Energy” in your business. So thanks so much, Jody.

Jody Klein: Thank you, Katherine. It’s a pleasure to be with you again, and I look forward to another opportunity.

Katherine Morales: Of course. Bye everyone.