Interviewee Name: Karen Parsons, Human Excellence Coach
Company Name: Successful Solutions
Avil Beckford: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Karen Parsons: I am a life and business excellence coach, speaker and author. I help empower successful professionals and organizations to further excel, using my depth of understanding about human potential and how to leverage it. The beginning of any change must start with awareness. You cannot change what you cannot see. So I assist my clients bring to the surface; limiting beliefs, perceptions and behaviours that are the hidden barriers to achieving their highest potential. I then provide them with transformational tools, processes and techniques for implementing lasting and positive change!
Avil Beckford: What’s a typical day like for you?
Karen Parsons: I usually begin my day early, 5:00, 5:30 am, it starts with a coffee. I usually start working on the computer right away, replying to emails, planning my day, preparing for coaching sessions, client meetings and so on. The morning is my favourite and most creative time of the day. My day can vary depending on whether I am in my office, home office or at a client site. I make sure I always schedule time for meditation and exercise and of course family time.
Avil Beckford: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
Karen Parsons: Fortunately for me I am a very motivated person. My challenge is to do less, not more. However, for those times that I do feel down and less motivated, I listen; is it time to slow down for a little while? Take a break? Or is it time to forge ahead and get past that little voice in my head that wants to quit. Knowing the difference is key. I teach my clients the subtle differences between the authentic voice pointing you in the right direction, guiding you to be the best you or the voice of fear, the ego, the sabotaging voice of negative self-talk. When you learn how to consistently plug into that authentic voice you move from being motivated to being inspired!
Avil Beckford: If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
Karen Parsons: I would have realized sooner the importance of being in the moment and enjoying the ride instead of thinking happiness comes from getting to the destination.
Avil Beckford: What’s the most important business or other discovery you’ve made in the past year?
Karen Parsons: Discovery for me is a daily process that builds upon itself. I don’t think there is one that I could highlight.
Avil Beckford: What are the three threats to your business, your success, and how are you handling them?
- Being an excellence coach means that I assist clients push the envelope, expand their possibilities, and fulfill their highest potential. Many corporations understand the necessity and immense value of giving their leaders and their teams, the tools to improve themselves and be even better. But there is a greater amount of companies that still see this type of training as an expendable luxury. So my challenge is to make sure that I package what I do in a way that they can fully understand the tangible benefits of investing in excellence coaching in terms of higher productivity, engagement, retention and profits.
- There is so much to do in my business, marketing and promotion, thoroughly preparing for client sessions, ensuring that I am up-to-date on leading edge thinking and solutions as it pertains to human potential, development and business excellence, following up, writing seminars and keynote speeches, it can be overwhelming at times. I have to be vigilant in my prioritizing and focusing and goal setting.
- I am approached by so many people, associations, charities, and media to help them. Give a free seminar or workshop, free coaching, interviews, articles. I am so grateful that they see the value in my work and I got into excellence coaching because I want to assist people live out their greatest potential and create meaningful and lasting success. So my motivation is to always say yes. The threat is not finding the balance between the paying work and the free work. So now I really pick and choose what gratis work I do and which is going to make the greatest impact for others.
Avil Beckford: What’s unique about the service that you provide?
Karen Parsons: I think the uniqueness begins with me. I have a unique combination of experience that enables me to relate and add value to clients in a wide variety of areas. Firstly, I was a search consultant for 18 years and worked with thousands of professionals in hundreds of corporations. So there is a lot of knowledge and expertise that I can impart in the area of career coaching. Also having worked with so many professionals from start-ups to large corporations I have an in-depth understanding of business and can add a lot of value as a business strategist. So I have many clients who actually use my services to talk about specific business situations, client issues and so on and we strategize and come up with solutions. I also have a unique personal background that has given me many life experiences that I have learned so much from that has translated to being able to help my clients design the life they really want to create for themselves.
My clients consistently share with me that they feel I have the ability to hone in on what their roadblocks or hidden barriers may be and empower them to bring them to the surface where they can see what the issues and challenges are. Making visible to them what was causing them stress, what was driving their choices, their behaviours and then giving them practical ways to change what needs to be changed.
Avil Beckford: Describe a major business or other challenge you had and how you resolved it. What kind of lessons did you learn in the process?
Karen Parsons: One of the biggest challenges for me was when I seriously injured my back and was in bed for five months and then years afterwards of pain and rehabilitation. In that situation I was forced to change. I was forced to slow down. I was forced to become more reflective, I was forced to accept that some things were out of my control.
I learned so much that we wouldn’t have time today to discuss it all. But to summarize, I learned the importance and necessity of finding balance. I learned how to find the good in what happens to you that may not seem like it is so good at the time. I learned to live my life with gratitude. I learned to trust and let go more to where the flow of life wants to take me instead of always trying to control where I was going. So being more open and in tune to the clues and synchronicities of my life. Lastly, I truly connected with my authentic self and that is the greatest gift you can receive.
Avil Beckford: Tell me about your big break and who gave you.
Karen Parsons: I didn’t have any big break. My success has been a steady climb.
Avil Beckford: Describe one of your biggest failures. What lessons did you learn, and how did it contribute to a greater success?
Karen Parsons: There isn’t one big failure that comes to mind. I actually don’t believe in failure. There really is no beginning or end to success. It is a process of ups and downs. The trick is to realize this and not let the circumstances of life control your inner experience.
Avil Beckford: What’s one of the toughest decisions you’ve had to make and how did it impact your life?
Karen Parsons: To leave the search consulting business. I was one of the top search consultants in Canada and was enjoying a thriving career. But through the back injury I described earlier and really connecting with my authentic self, I knew that I was meant to do more. To push myself to new levels. Most people would think I was crazy to leave something so successful to pursue a new career but I knew that I had to. If I didn’t then I wasn’t living my life to my full potential and for me that would be a tragedy. The impact of that choice has been so many life lessons learned so much growth as a person. It was the greatest decision I ever made. I can truly say I have lived a life of no regrets and I am not afraid to take risks and push myself to new heights. For me it would be a very sad story if I lived this life in the comfort zone.
Avil Beckford: What are three events that helped to shape your life?
- An incredible, strong single mother raising me.
- The marriage to my husband who has supported me and has a similar life philosophy.
- The birth of my daughter and how much she has taught me.
Avil Beckford: What’s an accomplishment that you are proudest of?
Karen Parsons: I really like the person I am becoming and I am most proud of the fact that I continue to work on how to be a better person and even though it may be painful at times, I don’t let that pain or fear stop me. I push through it and the result is tremendous fulfillment, happiness and success.
Avil Beckford: How did mentors influence your life?
Karen Parsons: My greatest personal mentor was my mother. She was very successful in business. Very tough and wise. My mother gave me one of the greatest gifts a parent can give. She instilled a belief in me that I could do anything, that the only limitations were in my own mind. Wow, what a powerful gift to give a young woman.
Avil Beckford: What’s one core message you received from your mentors?
Karen Parsons: The other mentors in my life were all of the incredible authors of the hundreds and hundreds of books I have read. Like Wayne Dyer, Anthony Robbins, and Deepak Chopra. They were my mentors at the beginning of my journey into the field of human potential and excellence which really began 20 years ago. The core message for me would be to continue to work on yourself, growing and learning is a life-long process and you have to continually push past your limitations.
Avil Beckford: An invisible mentor is a unique leader you can learn things from by observing them from afar, in the capacity of an Invisible Mentor, what is one piece of advice that you would give to readers?
Karen Parsons: Find a personal practice that connects you to your authentic self, the voice that guides you instead of letting others and the circumstances of life guide you. We all have so much mental chatter and we are moving so quickly through life that we don’t stop to question, “What do I want out of life? What kind of work experience do I want to create?” Continually question where you are and what you want and figure out how to get there and most importantly enjoy the journey. That’s really what it is all about.
How can you use this information? What do you have to add to the conversation? Let’s keep the conversation flowing, please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Many readers read this blog from other sites, so why don’t you pop over to The Invisible Mentor and subscribe (top on the right hand side) by email or RSS Feed.