Broke and Homeless
In this episode, I have the privilege of speaking with my friend and client, Karen Barno, a retreat leader, and international motivational speaker.
Karen is the CEO of a highly successful organization, also mentors women who get to mid-life and wonder “is that all there is?” and is a certified Shaman and Reiki Master. She shares with us her story of going from broke and homeless to a recognized business leader.
In this episode
We talk about:
- how she overcame abuse as a child and being incorrectly labeled as “special needs”
- when she knew that her drinking was getting out of hand
- how her fear of success held her back so many times
- the challenges she had to work through to support a successful organization while building her own successful business
Connect with Karen
Resources from this episode
- Blue Rose Bookstore: A Journey of Healing by Karen Barno
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
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JM: Hi Karen. How are you today?
KB: I’m fantastic, and yourself?
JM: I’m great. Anytime I talk to you, I’m very well. I’m so excited to talk to you and share more about your story so thank you for your time.
KB: Thank you so much for inviting me. I’m excited. Let’s do this.
JM: I know, it’s going to be fun. I always know it’s going to be a meaningful conversation with you, you’re like one of the deep divers and those are my favorite people to talk to so let’s do it.
KB: Oh, thank you.
JM: You and I have talked before, we work together, a little bit about your story. You have a really amazing story. I know on your website, you kind of, correct me if I’m not getting it quite right, but I know you refer to yourself or your experience as “broken homeless to CEO” so tell us your story because it is amazing.
KB: Ever so briefly, I was sexually and physically abused from my very earliest memories which is about three or four years old up until I was twelve. I was also, I think there’s a link between the abuse there [inaudible 00:01:00] linked together, I had a speech impediment so I was considered special needs because I couldn’t say my Rs and my Ss. But keep in mind, this was many, many years ago before people started to really look at why people had speech impediments. I then fell on sixth grade and smashed my front teeth open so I had chipped teeth, I mean, I was the full pack of a train wreck.
JM: Oh, it’s hard.
KB: Then to link it all together, I was also underperforming at school because I have special needs so I figured, “They must be right, I must be dumb,” so I didn’t do well in school either.
JM: That happens a lot, I find and it’s interesting, I wish I remember all these like random pieces of advice and information and I can never remember where they came from and I feel so bad. This isn’t like my wisdom, this is somebody else’s wisdom, but I saw some advice when my kids were very small and it was that we lived up to the expectations that other people have for us especially as children, we live up to the expectations of the adults around us. If the expectation is that you are an achiever and you’re capable and you’re intelligent, you tend to perform better.
So sadly, so many times, when we’re not really taking the time to understand why a child is falling through the cracks or why a child is underperforming, there is that stigma or that label of, “Oh, special needs, this person struggles, his academics are a challenge,” and a lot of times kids will also live up to that expectation unfortunately. It’s amazing when people really find out how far you have come from having to overcome that in your life. What happened kind of out of childhood, as you became a teenager and a young adult, what was next?
KB: Still pretty much underachieved until when I hit my senior year in high school, and the universe always send you angels, the universe sent me my first angel when I was eleven and I was out in the [inaudible 00:03:00]. I was out in the snowbank sobbing because I was just done, it’s just wasn’t a good thing when the angel came and said, “If you can make it to eighteen years old, things will get better, won’t be great for you still but it will get better.” That carried me through and then in my senior year in high school, I had a teacher, a public speaking teacher who I was wrongly, I thought, put into her class and she told me at the last day of class that she had asked to put me in there. It was accelerated college level class. There was like, you know I’m not very smart and I ended up doing quite well and she really put me on the right path. She encouraged me to apply for college which I got accepted and my parents were like, “We’re not paying, you’re not that smart,” and my parents are wonderful, I mean my parents are really great, they were not abusers and they were great parents. They just had three kids and I was the slug.
JM: It’s so tough and I think it really is a good thing when we can look back at the difficult parts of our childhood or our relationships with our parents and try to understand that we, as parents are all just doing the very best that we can and sometimes they find themselves with limitations or with predicaments. It’s so hard because we can wish that things were different but I think it serves as [inaudible 00:04:16] to remember that everybody is just kind of doing the best that they can do. Did you go on to college? Did you find a way to make that work or did you decide to go a different way?
KB: I joined the air force. I was from very, very small town and when college has taken off the table, my parents said I should be a secretary, and there’s nothing wrong with being a secretary, but the first time somebody asked me to get their coffee would be the last time so I knew that was not the path for me.
JM: That’s not your personality.
KB: I’d say [inaudible 00:04:43] shorthand, back in the day, [shorthand was 00:04:45] my mom who was a very good secretary and I couldn’t figure that out either so I joined the airforce as a medic.
JM: Wow, I didn’t know that.
KB: Yep, so if you have heart attack and if you need infiltrate, anything like that, I’m your girl. I can still take care of you.
JM: I’ll remember that the next time we’re together if I need the heimlich or something. You’re a gal.
KB: Yes, your arm falls off, count on me.
JM: Let’s hope not, but it’s good to have you as the safety blanket.
KB: Good to know.
JM: So what happened after you came out of the air force?
KB: Fortunately back then, the GI Bill was made available so I was able to register and start going to college so I started to go the UVA, you know a typical, my fashion because I still had so many, so many demons that I wasn’t even aware of, I had blocked that I was sexually abused until I moved in with my husband, well, who’s not my husband.
JM: Oh my gosh. How old are you at that point?
KB: I never knew it. I was twenty-seven.
JM: Wow, so you’d gone years.
KB: All those years. I was filled with dysfunction, a lot of drinking, I just couldn’t figure out why until I was able to put the pieces together. College, I never really officially graduated until I was in my thirties because again I just kept, I go first semester and then I wouldn’t go and then I’ll get a job and then I’ll get fired. It just was really, things still really weren’t coming together for me.
JM: In just a very tumultuous time.
JM: What happened with the drinking? Because I know that was really a key part of your story and really part of let’s say hitting rock bottom, it sounds kind of cliche, but it really was part of you opening your eyes and making this huge transition into where you are today with helping other people, tell us a little bit about that time.
KB: Whenever I got really stressed I would start drinking a lot. I finally had found this really fantastic job that I was being paid over forty-thousand a year which back then the equivalent today would probably be sixty-thousand dollars. For somebody like me who didn’t really have a degree that time and really was very not functioning well, it was a great job. Then they started talking to me about being the first female area sales manager and I just couldn’t have that. I couldn’t have that level of success in my life so I just started drinking nonstop and within a month, month and a half of them interviewing me for area sales manager, I was fired and lost everything. I had made sure when I blow up my life that I would totally blow it up. I mean of course it’s subconscious, so I mean I lost everything but my car.
JM: Wow, so looking back now you can see where that kind of self-sabotage came in. That’s interesting because that has been a very timely topic for me working with clients and just talking with different women entrepreneurs online, through social media is how often we self-sabotage when it comes to success. Success just seems so terrifying sometimes or not being able to envision the path to that success and I think sometimes just our lack of confidence and feeling that worthiness that we deserve that success and that we can get to that point and sustain the success, I think that’s a very relatable feeling for a lot of people. Unfortunately the drinking kind of became the self sabotage for you. What happened after that?
KB: I think in order for us to be the success individually, we have to see ourselves as others see us because usually when you are becoming more and more successful, you have somebody in your life that sees you already as a success. They could be a spouse, they could be a mentor. When people could see me as an area sales manager, I couldn’t see that because I knew that I was a train wreck and I knew that I wasn’t a good person. That’s what self sabotage to me comes from. Fortunately one of the people I worked with at the time said, “You know, in my apartment I have an extra bedroom, you’re welcome to come. Stay until you get back on your feet.”
JM: Another angel.
KB: Another angel but that worked out pretty well, we’ve been married now thirty years.
JM: A sexy angel.
KB: That one worked out great. And so [inaudible 00:09:18]
JM: How did that impact in that relationship? I mean was that a support of time where that friendship grew into something where he helped you with the drinking into kind of see some things differently? What did it take for you to really get to that place where you’re like, “Oh, my gosh, I see that this is really what I’m doing to myself?”
KB: He’s amazing, so it still took many, many years of drinking and stop and drinking, drinking and stop drinking. After I moved in as her mate, obviously things escalated and we got married about four years later. I got pregnant almost immediately after I got married which shocked everybody including me. Our daughter was probably about two years old and I was driving to work as a nursing assistant—then again there’s nothing wrong with nursing assistants but at this point I had a college degree and so something to consider that a little underperforming—I got a speeding ticket, one-hundred-ten-dollar speedy ticket. Although my husband made great money, to me, I’m no longer hurting myself, now I’m hurting him and my daughter. Now I’m spilling over into their lives so that was one of my first defining moments of, “This has got to change.” You would think being homeless was, it really wasn’t, and typically with people it isn’t, it’s not a big thing that changes, I mean it’s a smaller more defining moment when they realize, “This has got to change.”
JM: It’s amazing that you are willing to do that for your family. It’s interesting that you say that because I find that very relatable. My family of origin struggles with substance abuse and alcoholism and I agree, I think a lot of times, even hitting rock bottom doesn’t really do it. Unfortunately for a lot of people, we say rock bottom, it’s like how much worse could it get and if you’re already in a place where a lack of worthiness or self-esteem has contributed to where you are, it’s like, “What’s one more thing because I deserve that.”
Then I think a lot of times these people too even when it comes to harming their families, at that point, they’re so deep into it that they can’t even stop. I applaud you, I just want to like take a minute and really acknowledge how incredible that is that you went through that experience and said, “I can’t continue to do this to my family. I think a lot of people will be like, “Oops, speeding ticket, you pay it and move on with your life,” but you really took a moment and thought about what was happening for you and your life and the impacts that you are starting to create for your family. It’s amazing.
KB: Thank you. I would just always manage to be surrounded by that one person who believed. I think that’s all you need in your life, you just need that one person who believes in you.
JM: That’s amazing. At that point you realize you’re having this negative impact on your family, luckily you do have that one person who is there to support you, did you decide to seek treatment? What was that process for you? When really did you come to realize that you, as a coach, as a mentor, as a person who is very spiritually aware, that you wanted to move this forward into helping people as a career?”
KB: I did it completely on my own. I read unbelievable books on change, on impacts of sexual abuse and physical abuse and how to change. I read Brian Tracy and Tony Robbins and if you name them, I have read them and studied them because I do believe there’s just a common theme on how to change. There are six or seven common themes, steps to take the change, you just have to be willing to make the change and stick to it because it’s like everything, it’s not easy, I mean I had to completely change my life.
I at one point weighed two hundred thirty pounds. I was a mess. It was just gradual steps. The first book I stumbled in [inaudible 00:13:14] bookstore, about two weeks after I got the ticket, was Think and Grow Rich. I took it home and I read it cover to cover and I didn’t get it. I’m sure you read Think and Grow Rich.
JM: I have. It takes a few times to absorb it all.
KB: I didn’t understand it. I didn’t understand that the point was think and grow rich. [inaudible 00:13:34]
JM: They’re such big concepts, if you’ve never been exposed, then they’re such huge concepts. I think it’s funny, I will make sure that we list that book title in the resources of the show notes for this episode because I can’t tell you how many people I talk to and how many I’ve interviewed for the Catalyst Conversations podcast that referenced that book. I myself have read it, now probably three or four times and I get something different out of it every time. It really is such an amazing book. But, I agree, it’s definitely something that will change your perspective
KB: It will and also The Alchemist. The Alchemist is probably one of the books I’ve read in the past five years that I’ve had a profound change on me as well.
JM: What is that about?
KB: It’s about a young shepherd boy who runs into an angel in the town circle. He had seen a palm reader who said he was going to see the pyramids and an angel shows up and says, “Yes, you should go to the great pyramid,” and he talks about his journey to the pyramid. I can’t tell you the end because that is kind of pointless to read the book but it’s just where you are supposed to be.
JM: Oh, I love it.
KB: We’re all where we’re supposed to be and if you follow the omens, if you follow the messages laid out for you in this life, things become a lot easier, if you’re open or receptive to looking at a message and going, “Oh, that was meant for me.”
JM: It’s so true and it’s funny, you and I think really bonded immediately on that topic. For people who are listening that don’t know, Karen and I met at a conference out of state and I sat next to her and it just so turned out that this person sitting next to me was from one town over from where I had flown in from. I have another company that is called Red Balloon Social Media and the significance of that is that was named after this experience that I had where I was really looking for a sign, and it’s a very long story and we won’t get into all of it, but the sign was a red balloon. I needed professional change at that point, I needed some inspiration and Karen had heard of red balloon and the story and those signs have always been very meaningful for both of us so we really immediately bonded over. The fact that if you ask for help or ask for a sign or ask the universe to help you make a decision or a change, it is there. But like you say Karen, you really have to be receptive to that.
KB: You do. A real quick story, I have a girl in my office whose boyfriend was applying to work with major league baseball and I told her, I said, “We should ask for a sign,” and then the universe will tell you, “Yes, he’ll get the job,” or “No, he won’t.” About two months goes by and she’s in my office and somebody walks into my office to bring Christmas present and hands her a red rose. I looked over and her eyes are tearing up and I’m like, “It’s just a red rose, take it easy.”
JM: Like, “Why are you crying?”
KB: She’s like, “No, that was my sign,” and two days later he got a job with the Boston Red Sox.
JM: Oh, yehey, Red Sox. Wow, that gives me chills. It really is amazing in all the times and it’s so funny because sometimes that sign doesn’t come exactly the way that I’m looking for it or exactly what I’m looking for it because it has to kind of take its own time and its own form, but if you ask, that sign is always there.
KB: I think it doesn’t come, especially in the beginning, because hers was a red rose on an ornament, a friend of mine’s husband is a great artist and he painted everybody’s ornaments so it wasn’t a red rose, it was an ornament and I think the universe does that at first to see if you’re always paying attention.
JM: Then the signs get bigger and bigger and bigger.
KB: Yeah, exactly, then after a while it’s like, okay, I asked for a sign for a white dove and about three days went by and I thought, “You know, I never got that sign,” and my daughter had me stay in at the house when I picked up her shampoo, that was Dove shampoo.
JM: I love that. It’s funny, while we’re on these stories, I’ll share a quick one. My sister-in-law, we had talked about this topic of how you ask for a sign and you will get it, she had a decision to make, big question and she landed on, “Okay, a gold crown, show me a gold crown if this is the sign for me,” and the next day in the mail, she got a piece of mail that, if you’ve ever seen the hallmark like the foil stickers that they give you to seal the envelope, and they’re gold crowns. We always laugh at how those signs really are present if you ask and look for it, so great stories. Tell us more about what you’re doing now.
KB: I decided, because the CEO comes into play when I get offered this job, this [inaudible 00:18:24] four of us started an association Arizona ALFA, so I was one of the original founders and because I was the only one—and I still laugh at this, it’s been twenty some years—I was the only one at the table, there’s five of us, that was not a multi-millionaire, wasn’t even close. The other four were multi-millionaires, one owns a huge, well she’s passed, but she owned a huge dairy company that you would recognize the name right away. Because I was the non-millionaire, they’re like, “You can run the association,” and they didn’t realize what a train wreck I was. They didn’t know me well enough to know that.
JM: Even then you were still feeling like that.
KB: Yeah, even when I first took this job, the first couple of years, there was a lot of drinking because people perceived me, when I would go to meetings, people would have diet Cokes because they knew I like diet Cokes or they would come say, “What do you really like?” and they would do everything they could to have what I wanted there and I wasn’t used to that type of respect. It made me even more train wreck and it was a couple of years into this job where I thought, “I’m making the best money I’m ever going to make here so I’ve got to really, really get it together.”
At that point it was when I really had to see our company get it together and after finally getting everything together and getting drinking under control and everything I thought, “You know, people would hear my story to that and they would be like, ‘Can you help me?’” So it really just started to help mentor other women to know that you can figure this out if you’re willing to take the time.
JM: That’s really incredible. I think for you to get to a place where you have been willing to face down your demons and to deal with them but then to be given a gift, I really look at that as a gift when you can then relate to other people and support them. For a long time in my young adulthood, I think I was still maybe in some shock from some of the experiences that I had growing up and some of the kind of the family dysfunction and trauma. I think a lot of times we kind of stop and ask ourselves, “Why me?” We do the pity party like, “Why did this happen to me?” and sometimes there’s just really no good reason for it or we have a lot of resentment and a lot of frustration and it becomes overtime a question of, “Well, what do I do with that?” It has been such a blessing.
It’s hard because in a lot of ways there are things that I wish I hadn’t gone through but you can’t change the past but I can say like I am now able to relate to so many people in so many situations and I am so much better at my job and connecting with people in an emotional place and understanding the bigger picture of what’s happening with their businesses and why? Because I have had similar feelings or I went through a similar experience that they have gone through I think what a gift that is for you in that same situation where, I don’t ever want to think that we have to go through these terrible things to really elevate ourselves in that way, but what you’ve gone through, you’ve made the best of it, you’ve really given that gift to other people, paying that forward and helping them with their issues and their problems.
Tell us a little bit more about karenbarno.com. Now you are at the place where you are running this amazing organization. Tell me a little bit, remind me because you guys, in this position, you are working with assisted-living facilities, but then you’ve also started karenbarno.com
KB: Correct, the Arizona ALFA is an education lobbying off. We lobbied out at the capital, we run bills to support our members which are the Senior Housing building [inaudible 00:22:00]. The statement on the side, my side hustle is karenbarno.com where I mentor women when they hit—and I don’t like the word, because I think it’s just an old word that we haven’t managed to eliminate from our vocabulary—but help women when they hit midlife because for me, when I hit about forty-three, forty-four, when I really looked through out and said, “Is this it? Is this going to be my life? And if it is going to be my life, is it the life that I chose?” I believe that we all choose our lives, I mean, we chose our childhood, I chose that path. I know some people in the podcast go, “Well, that’s b*******,” once you realize that you chose your life, it becomes freeing, because when it’s your choice, it’s a much different choice than having something done to you, it’s much different to be able to say, “Okay, I chose to have that done to me,” and I just think it’s very freeing, so just kind of helping women when they get to that intersection of “what’s next?” and “wtf.” It’s always a wtf-moment.
But you know the kids are older, that we hit that age that’s about when our kids are older, they’re on high school or college, whether you’re married or not, doesn’t come into play, it’s just you look around and say, “Did I take that job or those jobs or do I have this career because it’s a career I wanted or do I have this career because it’s a career that I was good at, that I made money at, but it got me to taking care of my kids and okay, now who am I?”
JM: Right, and now what are the choices that I’m choosing to make going forward because I agree with you, I think our reality is something that we create and I think sometimes we fall into things or it’s very unconscious or unintentional. I think especially when you’re in a time in your life where you’re either taking care of kids or building a career or doing both at the same time, there are so many demands on our time, there are so many priorities that sometimes that little inner voice of what do I want and what do I want to consciously choose and create gets drowned out, you’ve come to that place finally where it’s not those priorities and everything pulling your time and attention are not quite as loud so I can see that I’m not quite to that age bracket but I’m getting closer and closer everyday and I can see how that happens to women.
On another note too, I really agree with you on looking at what you chose. I think a lot of times it feels sort of metaphysical for some people who are more analytical to think like, “Oh, I chose this family, I chose these parents, I chose this path, I chose these experiences because they are the things that my soul needed.” I think there is something to that. But even if you are somebody who doesn’t believe that, and there are horrible things that happen to us that I think are not our choice, we learn from them but we wouldn’t have put those things on ourselves or other people.
But here’s an interesting thing that I recently heard and I remember the source on this one because I just listened to it, Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday podcast, if you’ve not heard it, you absolutely need to, it’s amazing. She talks with author Eckhart Tolle who is absolutely incredible. He’s written several books. I love them all. He makes the statement that if you choose to look at it as if you chose it or as if you created it, you become more empowered to move forward in resolving or evolving and just moving things forward because you’re not stuck in that resistance of, just like I said before, “Why did this happen to me?” trying to avoid things, so whether or not you believe that on a spiritual level that you chose it, if you just look at it as if it was something you had chosen and what you need to do to change it, it will move you forward faster. I think that is such an amazing point.
Let’s talk a little bit about the challenges that you have experienced in launching karenbarno.com and really building that business as a service to women who need the help that you can provide. What are some of the challenges that you have experienced?
KB: I think the first challenge, everything you ever wanted is on the internet of course.
JM: Of course, and the things you don’t want.
KB: But I need to know how to do this and how to do that. But it’s trying to find the right coach, the right mentor that can get you that way, first of all you have to resonate with them. Second of all there are so many coaches and so many mentors out there that haven’t done it themselves. Everybody out there is running a seven, eight, nine-hundred-million-dollar business and they’re all business coaches and you find out that they never really did it themselves.
JM: Oh, anybody can hang a shingle these days.
KB: Yeah, so I run into that and that’s what attracted me to you because I realized, when I read your autobiography, I think any woman that gets into car racing is badass.
JM: Oh, that’s my long, long past history.
KB: Yeah, but that’s still badass. But that had got it and has done it multiple businesses in multiple areas to me is a real thing. That is trying to find what fits you. What fits my personality? Is it speaking in front of people? Is it being online? And obviously, fear, you have to find something that has, as you call it, the accountability phase, that can look at you and say, “You know what? Karen you can…”
JM: “I love you but I’m not letting you get away with that.”
KB: Yeah, and because of my position and because I’m considered very influential in Arizona in certain areas, I can get away with a lot. I’ve had coaches that I intimidate which is crazy to me, I’m not, “What good are you doing to me if I’m intimidating you?” I mean this is not.
JM: It’s funny, I think a lot of times too people in power almost crave that push back because they’re making the decisions all day long, every day for everybody for everything. Sometimes they’re just looking for somebody to set a limit or a boundary or to notice the way that something was stated or the tone of the voice to say, “Hang on a minute, there’s something else going on here,” so you’re absolutely right. It’s so hard to find the right coach especially if that person is intimidated by you. It really is such a personal choice if you’re looking for someone who can help you to be successful.
KB: It is. Successful people, whether you are a CEO or you own your own business, if you are doing well, you are used to pushing boundaries. It’s what you do and I think as human beings, it is incumbent upon us to push boundaries. I have told you how many times, you know I’m going to push boundaries, if you tell me the call is for ten minutes, I’m going to see if it’s thirty because I wanted to see what kind of boundaries you have.
JM: I’ll remember that.
KB: Yeah, and then people are like, “Well, this person always pushes me around,” no, you don’t have boundaries, set up your boundaries and people will take advantage of you. I think that people that do well in life are always checking boundaries and I’ve been checking boundaries since I was little kid though, so maybe it’s just my personality.
JM: I see that about you more and more. I like that.
KB: Yeah, I was always the one that when the teacher said, “If anybody says [peep 00:29:28] they’re going to get kicked-out and I was the first one to go, “Peep.”
JM: You’re the maverick, you’re going to push it.
KB: Yeah, why [inaudible 00:29:33] kick me out and [inaudible 00:29:35] what I did and so I was like, “Then why did you make the threat?
JM: Yeah, I love that. It’s so funny, it’s very true, that really can be such a challenge especially as you find more success. More success is finding those people who are willing to speak the truth to power and to tell you what they’re really seeing, it can feel very difficult. I know we’ve talked a little bit too about the fear around success, tell me a little bit about that because I think it’s so relatable. I think so many people really do feel terrified of their own success, what has your experience been with that?
KB: I think a lot of people, and again if you have any type of abuse in your life, abused people have a tendency to carry shame with them because they’re shameful of what happened to them and we always think it’s our fault, what could we have done different, what could I have done as a five-year-old which was absolutely nothing. But we still carry that shame and as we get more successful and more people look up to us, at least for me, it was a battle of, “But you guys don’t know I’m really not that good of a person. If you knew who I really was,” so I think telling my story also kind of help there with the, “Okay, this is who I am, you all, and if you still like me and still want to hang out with me, that’s awesome.” How do you define success for years? I defined success to money, I mean I come from affluent parents so money was always talked about, “What does this person make? What’s that person make?”
I went to school with the CEO of this large company back home, my mom would be like, “What do you think her parents make?” “Oh, I don’t know,” I mean, it’s not like something we eat when we’re talking about what we eat. I would set my goals based on income and I’ve realized recently, that’s not what sings to me. Money flows easily and effortlessly to me, what sings to me is changing lives, it’s getting women to understand that whatever has happened in your past, we can heal it.
JM: Oh, I love it.
KB: We can change how you look at it, we can change the meaning you put to your past, so you can take control of your life and be who you were meant to be, not who everybody else told you you were.
JM: Oh that’s beautiful, Karen. That’s amazing. I think it really underscores the fact that when we know our purpose and we’re serving that purpose everyday, it’s important to look at money from a pragmatic standpoint sometimes, but I think so many times we get so stuck on, “We need the money, we need the money,” that becomes the sole focus, the money, the money. It’s easy to also put that conversation off when we don’t feel worthy of it or we feel afraid of, we don’t know how to generate it. But really when you are serving your purpose and you are passionately taking care of the people that you are here to serve, that money comes, it does come to you, abundance, all kinds of abundance comes to you.
KB: It really does. When I say, people are like, “Well, money is not important to you because you have money,” and I agree with that, I mean and that’s probably why my goal shifted when I didn’t have any money than money to make, when I took this job, they offered me forty-thousand dollars, I almost fell out on my chair because I had made that ten, fifteen years, it was like, “Wow, you’re going to pay me forty-thousand? I’m in.” Of course, you know, I’m looking around, “What are you guys thinking? You guys hella make a million so you could pay a little bit more.”
JM: Right, that comes later, you have to start the job and then you justify it.
KB: But we didn’t have any money so it was a brand new, not for profit, so they were all writing checks out of their own checkbook. [inaudible 00:33:09] made me money was key but I think as you get older and as you get more comfortable, then you start focusing on—and I get it, the midlife thing—what has meaning to you.
JM: Absolutely. There is so much in this conversation that I love that I would be listening to this several times, I’m sure. Before we go, because we’re almost out of time, we’ll have to talk again soon, but tell me more about your book. You are the author of Blue Rose Bookstore: A Journey of Healing, what made you want to write that book?
KB: It’s really semi-autobiography, and as I tell people, it’s up for them to figure out what part’s a lie, what part’s truth, because it’s semi, so there’s a fiction, it’s a fictionalized autobiography, so there’s a lot of fiction wrapped into a lot of truth. Obviously, the main character, Annie Walker, I’m in love with because I developed the character, but everybody I talk to, to the person who has said, “When I first started reading your book, I hated Annie, I couldn’t stand Annie because she was an entitled, empowered, because she’s a very strong CEO, she runs companies, she has private jet, I mean she has it all. But when she’s home alone at night she’s a complete train wreck.”
I was interviewed on a radio show once and they said, “Why did you make her have money?” I said, “Because I want people to understand that she was a millionaire, her life was still a mess. Money doesn’t solve that problem. It just takes people through her journey, she meets a guide at the Blue Rose Bookstore, a woman who guides her through really looking at her past and trying to put meaning to what had happened to her. Then we have flashback to things that happened in her childhood and in her college years and then at the end, she just comes out the other side because she’s able to first, realize it was her choice and second of all, to put meaning behind it, to understand why did it happen and what it was up to do with it. Are you, Jen, going to carry your childhood around with you or are you going to say, “I’m going to go find women that have had the same childhood so I can let them know, ‘Look at me,’” and so it’s just the decision point for her?
JM: Right, you can take control, you can change. You can be successful. That’s so awesome, Karen. How can people who are listening reach you?
KB: They can go my website, karenbarno.com. My book is available of course on Amazon. They can be on my Facebook page which is Karen Barno. There’s a theme, everything’s Karen Barno.
JM: Easy to find.
KB: Or LinkedIn. I’m one of those early adopters, so as soon as [inaudible 00:35:51] social media comes up I’m like, “I’m on it.”
JM: I love it. And you do a lot of live streams on Facebook so I would urge anyone who’s listening, if you want to connect with Karen, definitely visit her on her website but look for her live streams on Facebook, I mean she’s there all the time dispensing great advice and interacting with her audience so definitely check that out.
KB: Yeah, in fact today, it’ll probably be about your choice. I do live stream five days a week.
JM: I’m going to look for it. If you would like to reach out to me, please feel free, visit brandwithcatalyst.com. We have a contact form and our phone number and our mailing address on the Contact us page, I would love to hear from you if there’s anything I can do or if you have any questions I can answer. Karen, thank you so much. It was awesome to talk with you.
KB: Thank you for inviting me and I look forward to working with you in your platinum program.
JM: Yehey! I’m so excited. I can’t wait to dig in and I’m just so glad you’re going to be there. You’re going to do amazing things and we’ll have to do another interview in a few months and everybody can hear about the amazing progress we’re making and all the people you are serving, I can’t wait.
KB: I’m just going to say I’m going to invite myself back in a year so they can all hear about how wonderful I did after [inaudible 00:36:59] this platinum program.
JM: I know, you’re tough like you’re not like the best before and after because your before is already so good but I know your after is going to be even more incredible so we’ll have you back. Thanks, Karen, have a great afternoon.
KB: Great, thank you very much. Take care.
JM: Take care.