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  • Writer's pictureKristy Barkley

Who Is In Your Crew?

How often do you spend time thinking about your crew? You know, the people you surround yourself with? It can be coworkers, friends, mentors, people you allow to influence you over social media – These people are your circle of influence. If you aren’t surrounding yourself with people who lift you up, you need to find some new crew members! On the flip side, if you have no crew at all, you need to find a crew! I am not sure which is worse, having a negative crew or having no crew at all. Here is the thing, you can learn, be inspired and be encouraged by a great crew. But also, someone in your circle, may connect you with someone else, who could literally change your life. Repeat after me “My life can change for the better in one day.” My life coach, Sarah Centrella reminded me of this today. Her life changed the day she decided to accept Ed Mylett’s invitation on his podcast, yep that Ed Mylett. She had been working and digging deep for years and doing great things. But her book didn’t become a bestseller right when it was released, it happened 3 years later, based on the podcast she did with Ed and how powerful his reach is. Her life literally changed for the better in one day. With that said, I’ve been challenged to think of the various people in my life who have had a great impact on me, changed me for the better, introduced me to someone who in turn changed my life or just people who have been a good example to me, so that I’ve been able to learn from them. Then I decided to take it a little further and share it with you, because it may cause you to think about who is in your crew.

So here are my people…

1) Aunt Marilyn – Just yesterday while I was coaching someone and sharing with them organization tips and how to create To-Do lists and such, I realized that I learned that from her. There was always a list on the kitchen island with her to-do’s (which also helped us in the family know what she was going to be busy doing), there was a Honey-Do list for my Uncle Kevin, there was a grocery list and a separate Costco list on the refrigerator and there was a list of things I needed to get done. I didn’t realize how valuable that skill was until I was coaching someone who never learned it. It is a huge skill to have while running a household and 2 businesses! And in case you are wondering, even my 8-year-old knows how to make to-do lists for chores and also packing lists to make sure he doesn’t forget anything when we travel. This skill allows me to accomplish all that do, and I honestly don’t know if I would have learned it, if it weren’t for my Aunt.

2) Colby Jubenville, PhD – When I got pregnant with Isaac, out of wedlock and before I was done with my bachelor’s degree, I made a pact to myself and my GG (grandma) that I would finish school right away and then go for my master’s once he started kindergarten. When I interviewed with Dr. Jubenville at MTSU as a part of my application process for my MS, I can honestly say that all I knew was that I didn’t want to be 60 and still working in a restaurant, even as a manager, and that I was passionate about how athletics can change lives. Over the next 12 months, Dr Jubenville asked the right questions, believed in me in a way that I don’t ever remember a teacher believing in me before, made suggestions based on my talents and at the end of the day, he recommended me for an internship with the Nashville Predators, even though I’d only been to one NHL game in my life and I had no clue what was happening on the ice. That internship led to a full-time job, which then led to a different job and then led to my first company, MaxxV (Max Five), a sponsorship and endorsement company. Because of Dr. J, I learned that I was capable, I was smart, I had something great to offer, I can have good strong conversations with powerful women and men, and I was worthy of being heard. And as my health got better, those lessons have allowed me to start what is now my 4th company. In case you were wondering none of them failed. I chose to close 2 of them for various reasons, but they were both very successful.

3) Deanna Bishop – God put us together in Aug of 1991 as strangers in a dorm room, and no one has found a way to break us apart yet. I could truly write 50 pages full of Deanna and Kristy stories, but I want to focus on how she has been an example to me regarding finances. I had long ago accepted that I was horrible with money, I had proven it time and time again (and thankfully my dad never cut me off, my mom never stopped sneaking me money and my husband never divorced me)! But Deanna was always smart with money and with her husband, she became even smarter. She set such a good example for me, even though I never chose to follow it. I think often she got frustrated with my spending and I used to think she should loosen up and spend some of her money on an expensive purse. We couldn’t have been more different. I didn’t want to be like her, yet I was in complete awe that she was able to just go buy a house, or two. Not get a mortgage, not see what she qualified for, just legit go write a check for a house out of her family’s bank account. I mean who does that? My best friend does, yet I still wasn’t picking up what she was laying down, yet I was always impressed. So, this summer when I began working through some of my issues with Sarah C, money was my biggest and it affected everything I did. If I am being honest, it also effected how I was in my close relationships. I have tried to keep Deanna up to date on the progress I was making when it comes to money, but when we talked yesterday I was able to tell her everything that had changed and what my plans were and how it all felt to me; she was over the moon, genuinely so proud of me! My husband is grateful that after 13 years, we are on the same page. But Deanna, I could practically see her ear to ear smile through the phone. She has been proud of me a million times before over 30 years, but I have the feeling that she might be the proudest right now, because she has been laying the foundation for how I could live for a very, very long time. I have been watching her, she has been setting an example, she has shown me what is possible.

4) Brandi Feanny – I am fortunate to have some amazing friends that I am still close with from college, past jobs, people I went to church with over the years. But I hadn’t felt truly, truly connected in Florida until I met Brandi. And please don’t misunderstand, I have made some great friends here. But I feel like I didn’t branch out and start making those friendships stronger, until after I met Brandi. She introduced me to sooooo many people in our area. She introduced our family to the Coral Ridge Yacht Club, which is where we have become friends with even more people and drawn closer to others who were just acquaintances before. When I am with Brandi, I feel safe to be 100% me. Crazy, mad, anxious, happy, silly, scared, and just totally care free. She was my safe place in FTL. She has now moved, and it sucks, but she will always hold my heart. When I am excited about something, I call her. When I am mad and need to vent, I call her. She hasn’t left my life, she just isn’t able to sit next to me anymore and that is okay, because my time with her changed everything about how I feel living in Fort Lauderdale.

5) Nicole Batey – We met when I was a bartender during grad school and she was scooted up to my bar more days than not (she is now many years clean and sober, and I am beyond proud of her). She was hysterical, loving and kind. We chatted with a bar between us for about 18 months and then I left to start my next grown up job and we lost touch. Thanks to Facebook we reconnected, but nothing super profound, until she posted a picture of her weight loss from Plexus. I reached out, I needed to try it (keep in mind that I was at what we now know was my worst point medically with my brain injury, I couldn’t exercise, I didn’t do much and I didn’t really need a weight loss thing, even though I could stand to lose some weight). So, I ordered, and within 2 weeks, my constant headaches were gone. That alone, could have been enough to change my life. But then I had more energy and I started to be more vocal to the people around me and start having conversations. By week 3 my husband said, “I don’t know what this stuff is or how much it costs, but you have to keep taking it.” 5 years ago, right before I started my Plexus supplements, the doctors told us that I would likely not recognize my kids and family by 2016 and that I would be in assisted living by 2018 because my memory loss was so rapid and brain function was declining so quickly. Yet as I sit at my desk writing this, there are almost no signs of a traumatic brain injury, except that I do still get headaches every so often but they are typically stress related; and if I have lots of in person or on the phone conversations in a day, I have to not communicate for a few hours. Most people have no idea that 5 years ago I didn’t know which shoe went on which foot. Plexus not only changed my life but gave me a new and improved life. If I had not bartended as a single mom, while in graduate school and interning with the Nashville Predators, I would not have met Nicole. If I hadn’t met Nicole, I am not sure that you would be reading this blog today, and that is not an exaggeration.

Do not ever doubt that one person can change your life. I could go on and on listing people, but honestly, aren’t you done reading my list and ready to take an inventory of your crew? Do they lift you? Inspire you? Make you greater? Cheer you on, even if your idea sounds crazy to them? Are they loyal? Do you know, no matter what, they have your back? If not, find a new crew. Surround yourself with people who believe in you. And if you have been burned before, so you are living in isolation with no crew at all, get back out there. Living a life of solitude cuts you off from so many opportunities, you just never know when your next connection will change your life for the better in just one day! In closing, I pray that no one is offended for being left off this list, I assure you, you are on my list and in my crew, but didn’t make it on the blog; you know who you are and hopefully you know how much you mean to me.

You don’t have to take my word for it…listen to this 19-minute podcast and you will understand what I am talking about!

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