Join Gail Kraft and her guest, Nancy Meek, Co-Founder of The Women 360: Making An Impact (formally Smart Women, USA), Manager of Business Development at JFQ Lending, Inc, and author of Ignite The Fire Within” How to Find The Resilience to Reinvent Yourself as they discuss stepping out of your comfort zone, creating a life of love, and the need for life to have even more purpose.
You’ll find her on Facebook: The Women 360: Making an Impact, Instagram: nancymeek1, LinkedIn: nancymeek1, and her book coming on Amazon: Ignite The Fire Within, how to find the resilience to reinvent yourself
Gail: Hey everybody, Gail Kraft here from The Empowering Process Podcast series and we have with us here an amazing woman, Nancy Meek, and we’re going to talk a little bit about her story and her journey through creating a woman’s group and writing a book.
Right now, she’s a loan officer, who knows if she’s going to stay there. Nancy has been in the people helping business for over 30 years both with patients and clients. She is an advocate for finding your true self and creating a life you love.
She has co-founded Smart Women Series USA that supports and educates women of all backgrounds. And believe me, I’ve joined. So, welcome Nancy. It’s so great to have you here.
Nancy: Thank you Gail. Thanks for having me.
Gail: Tell us a little bit, we were talking just beforehand that this is a little bit of a journey. You did not actually make changes in your life to start a woman’s group. You never once thought that you were going to write a book and you’re going to be hosting your own podcast pretty soon as well.
Life takes us on a journey. Talk a little bit about that journey for you and how things just shifted.
Nancy: Okay, does it ever. I joke about this in the book too that I’ve always been called the queen of reinvention because I’ve done so many things. As I run into friends and people I haven’t seen for a while they always say, “What are you doing now because I know it’s going to be something different?”.
And going back to the past patient wise, I was a dental hygienist and I saw lots of patients that way and saw the same ones for 24 years, so I was very close to all of them and just loved them dearly. Finally retired from that field.
Did a few other things in between, I was an aesthetician an EMT, a couple of different things? But I circled back around to real estate because I enjoyed it and this time, I chose to go into the loan end of it. Which was interesting.
I took the course, got licensed. My poor husbands like, “Oh another license, where are we going to hang all of these?” I kept doing that. I told him if I pass this test, I’ll do it. If I don’t, I’m not retaking it, it’s awful. I came home and said, “Oh I passed. I guess I’m doing this”.
There are parts of it I love because again you get to help people and work with people. But along the way I started learning that there was a lot going on for marketing in social media that I didn’t need in patient care that I needed in this field.
I happened upon a group by Ryan McHugh called Apex and I started following him because he was teaching all kinds of marketing with social media, was really good at it. I was far from his demographic because he generally spoke to 30-year-old males and I’m clearly not that.
But something resonated with me. So, I went in person to one of his classes in Dallas just to see what he had to offer, and it was pretty amazing. For somebody who wasn’t even posting pictures at the time I learned a lot. That was a couple of years ago.
I started developing that mainly because I wanted to build my business and it was great as a loan officer and that started thriving and taking off. Along the way somewhere I thought I’d really like to do something meaningful too because I’ve done so many great things and I always come back to wanting to help people.
I kind of just got directed along with a couple of gals, we brainstormed and decided we should start a women’s group, that’s what we really want. We were at the time in our life where we have the experience, we have the wherewithal, we want that kind of thing in our life.
So, we started Smart Women Series USA and it was basically a speaker-based event series. We started throwing little events first and then they mushroomed, and it grew, and it grew and that became more of my passion than anything I was doing.
So that was fun. I became more and more involved in this Apex group which is a mastermind as well and lots of great contacts, which is pretty much how I came to meet you. And great people and training and mentoring. So, I’m still very much a part of that. I fly to Dallas once a month, we all get together.
But the women’s group has the biggest fun surprise because even with Covid which closed us down from doing some of the events we would have done, we’ve still grown and grown and had a very supportive group of females that seem very engaged, and I’ve just been really pleasantly surprised.
Because the last event we had was a year ago January, right before everything started to break, and we had some phenomenal speakers agree to come and speak at no charge. We had sponsors that took care of the food and the drinks because we wanted to make that event open to everyone at no charge.
We didn’t charge for any tickets; we don’t charge for the membership. We had over 200 people come. It was in a helicopter hanger and it was very exciting, and the helicopter took people for rides and speakers spoke. We knew we were onto something.
Our next one was slated to be in October, this past October, and we had 500 people slated to go. Of course, we had to cancel that and postpone it. We’re just now talking about putting some events, not that large but smaller ones together again because everybody’s ready to get together and meet each other.
We do virtual things but as you know it’s a lot more fun in person.
Gail: You just don’t get the hugs, you don’t get the energy, right? It’s just not the same, yes.
Nancy: No. So, we’re dying to get back on track and do that. Then the other piece of it that came from all that is now instead of actually being the loan officer for the company I’m at I do the business development and that would have never happened if I hadn’t had all the social media training.
So, I’m able to do something much more creative and fun that I enjoy because a lot of business development is events; so, they go hand in hand. We sponsor things for the women’s group so that goes together. In the meantime, I started a wine club which is just for fun and we also push the Melbourne and there’s lots of crossover with the women’s group and the wine club.
Gail: Five more days, right, five more days.
Nancy: I’m finishing up 75-Hard, five more days, and I can drink wine.
But they all just mushroomed together and now it’s very busy because I have all three that I’m juggling with events and things. But they’re more like minded with each other.
I’m just loving it. Then along came the idea of doing the book which came from Apex as well, we were very much encouraged to put together a book. As I was working with my coach on that I started putting my story together of all the goofy things I’ve done and moving to Memphis when my husband was in graduate school and that whole experience. There were just all kinds of goofy stories.
But what I found was in the women’s group as I talked to people, they had some very dramatic and inspiring stories that people probably need to hear. So, I started asking who wanted to contribute to the book and I had an overwhelming response.
And it’s not all females, we do have males telling their stories as well. But it ended up being a compilation of a lot of different things. I figure there’s a story in there everyone will relate to. I’m just hoping it really motivates and inspires people to understand you’ll get through this, you can reinvent yourself, you could start over. You can do it.
Gail: Exactly and we were also talking about people being stuck in a career that they’re not happy with because I was. Because I was making good money and what it did was it afforded me to play on the weekends but it also during the week and honestly on the weekends too my soul was being sucked dry.
But I didn’t have, and I tell it like it is on this podcast, I didn’t have the balls to walk away, until I was fired. And I had been in high level positions in other companies and to be fired I was like, “Who do you think you are? Do you know what you just lost?”.
It was the best thing that happened to me because I did not want to go back to corporate America after that. And I started doing consulting work and things of that nature. It’s at a point, and that’s what your book seems to be about, there’s a point, a tipping point, where you make a decision that you’re going to stay in that rut and not get out of it and be miserable or know that there’s something better and go find it.
Nancy: Exactly and that’s what my mantra is. Aside from the fact that it’s obvious I want to help and support and educate women. What I really want to do is have them create a life they love. That’s why I say it that way because so many people do get locked into something, and the fear is what holds them back is “I know what I have and I’m comfortable and if I go out and try something else yes, I might love it, it might be great, but I might fall on my face.” We all face that any time you make any kind of a big change in your life.
I was hoping that what this book might do is resonate with people that you can overcome that and there are tools you can use to help make yourself take those steps and look at it differently and take the leap because you only get one shot, right?
So, you don’t want to be stuck in that forever and ever. You really want to get up every morning and go, “I feel really good about what I’m doing.
Gail: Right absolutely. I call it, and I’ve had many clients, well not many, I’ve had clients that we get to the edge, we’ve done all the prep work, we’ve done all the planning, we know exactly where we’re going and we’re on the ledge. I’m like, we’re ready to pull the trigger, lets jump, I’ve got your hand.
You’re not jumping alone this time; you have a coach. And there’s a percentage of my clients well that’s the end of our coaching sessions.
Nancy: Wow. But that’s a great feeling for you, very rewarding.
Gail: Well for those who jump. It’s those who turn around and go back. That’s like mm. There’s something underneath that we need to work at. It has nothing to do with whether or not you can create something. It has to do with why you are holding back, what is the fear, and it’s not the normal fear.
We’re all afraid of failing. We’re all afraid of being embarrassed. We’re all afraid of shame. So, no one, no human being is not affected by those and I don’t care how successful, because come on Nancy you do well, right? And you still have those moments where you’re like oh shit. Do I want to take this?
Nancy: Anytime you try anything a little different. And that’s why one of the tools I offer is coaching and mentoring. I tell people, I think they don’t understand to invest in yourself really is a worthwhile thing. It’s something you must do. Even if its short term, if it’s just someone else to be the voice of reason that’s telling you this does make sense and you can do this.
Gail: Right? Exactly. I also am in a mastermind group and its all coaches and today we had a coach’s corner where we’ve brought questions and we help solve it for each other. One gentleman, and there is a process in this group, well you’re a new coach you start off with this you start off with that and he has a training course or a group coaching course, so he’s ready. The first step is to have a challenge or an opt-in. He said I don’t have a challenge; do I need to stop and create a challenge? And I’m like, I’ve never done a challenge.
I’ve had plenty of training, plenty of motivational speaking events, right? It never occurred to me that I have to do a challenge before I can do that, no. These are just suggestions, it’s not the bible, right?
Gail: Right. And we’re all like jump, jump, jump.
Nancy: Well, there are so many scary parts to it. Its fear of the unknown and you’re right the embarrassment thing is real. You are going to have, as you probably know, the people that are going to most judge you and criticize you likely are the closest to you.
Nancy: And that is the hardest thing to take when they’re telling you, “Oh that’s stupid. Don’t do that. Doesn’t make sense. Why would you leave your good job?”.
Gail: Oh my god. Get a job with the government, you’ll have a good retirement plan. That’s what I grew up with, right? Like, what?
Nancy: Oh yes, my dad was very corporate and while they were very encouraging; and you get that you can do whatever you want but really what they were expecting you to do is go to college and get a corporate job. Okay, but that doesn’t work for everyone because after a while that doesn’t serve you.
Gail: Right and in this day and age we’re so fortunate. We’re able to ask the question what else is there, right? And that’s the type of client that I get. So not so much the client that is looking for more or looking to build more but the clients who have built and they’re not feeling their soul.
Nancy: But don’t you feel like, and you probably went through this too, you kind of reach a point, and I associate it with having more experience in life, but when you’re getting past the, in my case, raising children time and career time, eventually you look around and say, well I need more purpose.
And so, then you start thinking about what can I do that would be a sense of giving and that would make me feel like I’m making a difference. I think a lot of people reach that stage at some point in their life and if you’ve got all the other things that you’ve done in your past, I guess they help direct you one way or another.
But there’s a chapter in the book too where it’s just about people that wanted to make an impact. So, they didn’t have a terrible necessarily a death in the family or anything, but they just finally reached a point where they said I want to do something more purposeful.
Gail: Right exactly. And that purpose is the biggest driver. My podcast is about purpose, finding your purpose. Because it’s really interesting because purpose is not this God given thing. It’s like we don’t have a path we have to go down, right?
We’re here by choice. We have choices, right, free will. And our purpose is to have fun, to experience, right? And so, when I work with clients and we are looking for purpose we are looking for something that resonates with how you feel.
Does this feel right? And we identify the feeling what’s perfect for them and then we name it. Mine’s delicious.
Nancy: It’s good, right?
Gail: Right, if it doesn’t feel delicious, I’m not going to do it, right? So, some of those stories in this book you are writing, in the process of writing the book, is this what led you to also wanting to now do podcasts?
Nancy: Yes, pretty much. It was kind of a step-by-step thing as we went. Everything led me to something else and I had toyed with the idea, shelved it, until I got the book further along and a couple of more things in place and then that fell into place too because a lot of the contacts, we’d made with the women’s group one of my partners is in radio and so forth.
So, we had several contacts that do podcasts and radios and things. I was not wanting to try to put that all together by myself. I’m too overwhelmed as it is. So, when we found this gentleman who had a studio and he said, “Well I’d love to have you gals come in here”.
And for a fee we can have the producer do the editing and do this and that and I thought that’s the way I can do it. So, it sort of fell into place at the right time where she and I were both ready to go forward and do the podcast. So, we’re putting the pieces together now and hopefully we’ll have that going too.
But I’m sure you know, there’s so many choices of things you can do that you feel like are worthwhile that you have to really pour yourself into them, so you’ve got to…
Gail: It’s really hilarious. I had a one to one with someone this week, Gail I can so push your coaching. I can so get you more clients. Let me help you and like, my focus is the podcast. No, let me help. I’m like, no. Finally, I said, “You know how you can help me?” because he wanted to help me and I love him, thank you.
I said when I’m ready to launch I will share with you my links and I want you to push that and promote that for me. He finally heard me saying that’s where my focus is. So yes, when I’m ready, so we’ve got another meeting in a few weeks to get that happening.
Nancy: Well good. It’s a whole thing. As you know it’s just writing the book and then doing podcasts. They’re big projects so in order to do them properly I wanted to be able to give it a little time and attention.
Nancy: There our days.
Gail: We met through 75-Hard, and Chris who is creating a mastermind locally called Iconic. So those who don’t know what 75-Hard is it’s a challenge. It’s a physical and emotional and mental challenge. There are physical things that you have to do but the challenge is getting up in the morning and committing to doing them. And then drinking a gallon of water and living in the bathroom for 75 days.
Nancy: The real part of the whole thing.
Gail: That’s hurt me as well, and no alcohol so that’s no wine. Pure water no flavor. So, my lemon water, I missed my lemon water for 75 days. Through the process I know I had some aha’s. Where there some aha’s for you during that?
Nancy: Yes. Mostly just the fact that I was able to do it because I’ve always worked out, but this requires for people who don’t know two 45-minute workouts a day, one has to be outside. Now you would think being in Phoenix that wasn’t a big challenge for weather, not like what you had.
And we did have warmer weather but for instance last week we had, I don’t know, three or four days in a row with gale force winds. And you had no choice. You had to go out and walk in that for 45 minutes and now I’ve had allergies ever since because I’ve been out in the middle of this wind.
But you realize there’s not a choice. You’ve made this commitment; you’re going to do it. So, my poor husband who’s doing it with me to be supportive. We come home when he got home from work and we put on all our stuff and go outside and get our 45 minutes in.
It definitely will stay with me because while I may not continue drinking a gallon of water a day, I was never great at drinking water so I know I will drink more. I now know I can go 75 days without sugar. I would have never dreamt in my life because I love a chocolate chip cookie.
But I haven’t had one of those for a long time. So, you definitely have taken away. You can’t not change after doing that 75 days.
Gail: No and for me I mean yes, the food was a bit– I worked with a trainer because I have personal issues, and I lost only six pounds, but I lost two inches on my waist. The muscle is incredible. She’s like, you’ve got definition in your arms you never had before Gail. I’m like I know, and I have a butt.
Nancy: I know, it’s kind of fun really. It’s in time for swimsuit season. So that was a good move. But I also had those wine club meetings where we do tastings because I’m running a wine club and I have to show up and not taste the wines. It’s kind of humorous. I just got to tell you guys enjoy I’m not going to be tasting it, but I’ll get you all here together.
Gail: It was a good mindset exercise. So, if anybody’s interested in it leave a comment, I’ll connect you with Chris and definitely join his 75 hard group. But you feel good when you’re done at the end of the day because you honoured your commitment.
And what a great feeling to end the day because if you end your day whatever mood or attitude or thought process you have as you go to sleep that’s what you wake up to. So, to go to bed feeling that you’ve accomplished something you wake up knowing you can accomplish something.
That’s why I started the podcast. That’s why I made some major changes, and you’ll see some shifts happening that are subtle because of this experience. But I love your wanting to give and help women in particular. Yes, not excluding men, but women are a little different.
Another person that I talked with and I’d love your feedback on this. Here was her takeaway of women in business because we were talking about corporate America and how it has to change, right? And she feels that women in corporate, we were talking corporate in particular, got too masculine in order to climb the ladder, right?
I know I did, right? Which is why I didn’t like it. And they’re starting to reembrace their femininity and their feminine power and their feminine strength. Men are starting to get comfortable with the shift in their life and become softer. There are more men now who embrace their feminine side without being embarrassed or ashamed or people think I’m gay. No, you’re soft, right?
You don’t have to hunt kill, right? You can shoot from afar, right? And so, there’s a levelling starting to happen and in that levelling an understanding of each other. That was never there before.
Nancy: I think that’s true. I haven’t been in corporate America as much as you because when I was in patient care it was a small private office. But with the mortgage industry and a couple of the other things I did I witnessed that and I do notice that seems to be the case.
Everybody is more meeting in the middle and more aware of all the things that go with it. I can’t imagine having when I was in my twenties, I didn’t have to work corporate and that probably would have been a real challenge. Because back then I think it would have been a whole different world than it is now for sure. For sure.
I should say too, I didn’t tell you this, but when we do everything with the women’s group the other thing, we do is we always partner with a philanthropy and the one that we’ve worked with the most is Fresh Start Foundation for Women.
And that’s been a really fun surprise because they have a whole foundation where all they do is take any woman off the street, it doesn’t matter what your situation is, and it’s not to live there it’s to be trained and they do everything from teach you how to use a computer, do a resume, consult with an attorney about things, so you can go back out in the world and be successful.
And it’s just a fantastic organization. So that was an exciting piece we didn’t even expect to have that we added that’s really good fun.
Gail: Awesome. I might actually use that information. I have a panel for the podcast that I’m pulling together now. The discussion we’re going to have first will be about rape. I have people who want to get on the panel with me on domestic abuse, right?
And dependencies like alcoholism and drug abuse and things of that nature so that we can talk about where do you go for help? And that’s basically at the end. We’re going to talk about pulling yourself out. So, reinventing yourself, you’ve been very fortunate to be able to reinvent yourself from a space of being okay where you are but just ready for a change, right?
Gail: We don’t need the brick over the head to shift, right? That was my big lesson, right? Because I need the whole brick wall sometimes on my head before I pay attention. Not anymore. I was like if this feels like it’s time to change then it’s time to change it. That’s okay, right?
It doesn’t mean you’re disrespecting where you were before. It just means it’s time for a change, right?
Nancy: I say in the book too because my story wasn’t as dramatic. I did lose my mother very young, and it had a lot to do with me feeling like you better do everything you can because you don’t know how long you’ll have. That was a motivation.
But as far as the dramatic things that a lot of people had I wanted to let people know that you have permission to change, and you don’t have to hit rock bottom. You can still say, “Okay there’s something that interests me, and I don’t it so bad but maybe that would be better or maybe that would serve others”.
There should be a lot of reasons you do it not just because only because you hit rock bottom and you don’t have any choice.
Gail: Right. It’s interesting from an Abraham Hicks perspective, right? A lot of times people hit rock bottom because they stay in resistance, right? Then when you hit rock bottom you give up the resistance and that’s why you float back up, right? So, let’s keep floating guys, let’s not resist at all.
Gail: Right? We can all stay afloat and hold each other up and move forward. So, I love that your mission is helping women in particular but people stay afloat and make a shift if they want to.
Nancy: Yes, I encourage it, I really do. Because people have called me crazy but every time, I make a change whether it works, or it doesn’t, and I’ve had plenty of things flop along the way. I built an online business and poured my heart and soul into it and it didn’t go, but I learned a lot from it, and I don’t regret it.
I think you should still try it. If it’s something you’re dying to do, go do it.
Gail: Right? I’ve gotten so that I’m not ashamed of failures because I’ve had so many.
Nancy: Me too basically, right.
Gail: Yes, that’s didn’t work. Okay what did work? Not much but that worked. Okay so we won’t do that, and we will do that next time. That simple.
Gail: It’s that simple.
Nancy: If you’re not failing, you’re not learning.
Gail: Yes, exactly because you’re not jumping off the cliff, right? And you’re not going to die. That’s another line of mine. When I moved out to San Diego from Boston– lots of fear in the Boston community and I had people come up to me, you’re so very brave.
I’m like why? Because you’re moving 3,000 miles across the country. I said to beautiful San Diego, right? I don’t understand. But Gail you’re leaving your family. I said, will I have a roof over my head? Probably. Will I have clothes on my back? Absolutely I’m bringing my clothes. Will I have food in my mouth? I’m sure I will. What else do I need?
Gail: What’s there to be afraid of, right? And that’s basically the attitude that I have. There have been times when I didn’t have a roof over my head.
Gail: Yes. That’s a whole other story.
Gail: For a short time and I didn’t have much food in my mouth either because of a choice that I made that blew up in my face. But guess what? Within six months I was rocking and rolling, right? Rocking and rolling.
Nancy: You learned how to get back up, so that’s the key.
Gail: Yes, and that’s just it guys. And especially if you’re involved– reach out to Nancy, she will have information at the bottom where you can contact her. Get involved with her woman’s group. You don’t have to do it alone.
There are resources that you can turn to, there’s information that is out there. There are stories that you can listen to for encouragement. There are tools techniques processes and support. I’m so happy that I met you. That I’m part of that group of yours now.
Nancy: I am happy too.
Gail: I know. I will get to see you face to face when I do my road trip for sure. Either I will hit you in Texas or I will hit you in Arizona depending on the timing of my trip.
Nancy: Okay, perfect. I look forward to it.
Gail: Thank you so much for your time and everybody this is Gail Kraft from The Empowering Process podcast with Nancy Meek and definitely her woman’s group Smart Women’s Series USA. And maybe Scottsdale Wine Club if you’re in that area.
You’ll find her on Facebook: The Women 360: Making an Impact, Instagram: nancymeek1, LinkedIn: nancymeek1, and her book coming on Amazon: Ignite The Fire Within, how to find the resilience to reinvent yourself
Nancy: Yes, it’s kind of fun. Thank you for having me, I appreciate it.
Gail: This was great. Thank you everybody. Bye-bye.