As you mature, you sense the need to change and grow to accommodate who you have become. After spending years accommodating partners and children, putting your own needs on the backburner, you eventually reach a point when you know you need to take better care of yourself and stop self-sacrificing.
These days, choosing yourself is a radical act of self-compassion, yet it is an essential task on your journey to self-actualization - being the person your soul designed you to be.
Getting off the hamster wheel of life by taking a sabbatical can give you a new lease on life and help you connect with your passion and your true purpose in this lifetime.
C.K Collins did just that! She walked the Camino de Santiago and found herself.
In this episode she shares about her book: The Swipe Right Effect: The Power to get Unstuck and her exciting MOMENTUM program.
C.K. Collins' website
This episode of OWN THE GREY is brought to you by I AM.
Take the first step to Uncover Your Life Purpose by visiting www.debrajones.ca/courses
This episode was brought to you by I AM.
Take the first step to Uncover Your Life Purpose by visiting www.debrajones.ca/coursesSupport the show
NEW! ** Support the show **
CONNECT with Debra Jones
Debra Jones: Welcome to Own The Grey, a podcast to dispel the notion that aging is undesirable and setting new positive attitudes. I'm Debra Jones, and I believe you can be vibrant and healthy throughout the best years of your life.
As much as we wish it weren't the case sometimes, change is a guarantee in life. In a lot of ways, change can be good. It forces us to grow, to try new things, to expand. It makes us deal with our fears. And when things go well, it can make us feel accomplished. However, it can be challenging to accept change when it comes up. We are creatures of habit, and when our routine gets disrupted, it can be jarring. We can suddenly find ourselves stuck wondering how to navigate our life and lacking confidence to make a move in any direction. Well, big changes can bring up a lot of complicated feelings, including grief for the loss of what has been. So whatever you're feeling in the wake of big changes, know that it is normal. Fortunately, there are many tools available to help you adjust to big life changes so that they're not so distressing. C. K. Collins has written a book to help people move forward in life. She is my next guest on Own The Grey. Welcome to the podcast, Kelly.
Kelly Collins: Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to talk to you today.
Debra Jones: I'd like to begin by asking if you would share with our listeners about the life changes that you experienced and that led you to writing the book.
Kelly Collins: Absolutely. In 2017, I had this trifecta of change. I couldn't imagine a whole lot more change that I went through, but I have three daughters and my youngest graduated from college, so it was actually officially an empty nester. And I discovered there had been betrayal in my marriage. So there was a divorce coming my way, or I was instituting a divorce. And because of a divorce, the business that I had built over eight years and loved to run and loved to give people jobs and all of that, I had to sell it because I didn't want it to get torn apart in the divorce. So all of these different parts of my identity were gone, and I'm still the same person. But the way I present myself to the world and the way I saw myself as accomplished, all of these things changed. So I sold the company and I stayed for three years, as was required by the contract, and then I retired in 2021. And I traveled all over the world. I took a sabbatical for a year, potentially two years. I was just going to see what happened. And at the one year mark, I had built up this book and I had it outlined. I was manifesting it, in a way through a gratitude practice, and I didn't realize what I was doing. It was beautiful how it happened, but as I was traveling I was being very purposeful about increasing my gratitude. I know, we all know, but it doesn't ever hurt to hear again. If you're focused on your gratitude, you can't think about the bad stuff. There's no room. There's no room in your brain and in your heart. And so that's where I was. I was trying to focus on this friend said this to me and it helped me and now I'm happy. This friend said this to me and it changed how I saw myself. And I would give thanks for that person and for that discussion and that sometimes hard things I had to hear, but still it was there. And one day it hit me like this gratitude for these things that have been shared with me. Each one is a chapter in a book and what took me four years to find people on a hiking trail and find soccer moms and people that I knew through business. Over four years, all of that came to me and I built out this toolkit and I wanted to put it all in one place and pay it forward with gratitude so that other people could hear what my friends had shared with me and how they had helped me. And that became the swipe, right effect. The power to get unstuck. It's my story. Each chapter is a piece of advice. And then I also interview the person who gave me the advice because I thought it was really important to learn how they came to know to use a vision board, how did they come to know to have a self love mantra, what happened to them. So it's really eleven people's stories and how they learned what they taught me.
Debra Jones: Wow, that is so inspirational. And I can see how powerful that could be because we all are navigating our way through life, right? And we all need each other to help give us little signposts and little arrows and suggestions. And that's what I do in my healing practice too, is I just throw out a few suggestions and some of them stick, some of them don't. And for you to have had the pleasure of having some friends that were wise enough to give you some advice that actually worked, and then for you to have the wisdom to put it all down in one place so that, as you said, pay it forward to help other people, it's wonderful. So the Swipe Right Effect is the name of your book. How did you come up with the title?
Kelly Collins: Well, it's definitely a play on dating apps. And I was single. I got married when I was 21. I had been with him since I was 19. So here I was at 52 years old getting a divorce. I haven't dated in 33 years and I didn't really know what I was doing. And I definitely put myself out there too soon. And I was working on myself the entire time. But I should have given myself some more time. And instead of swiping right in a dating app and looking for validation from men on the other end, I should have been swiping right and choosing myself. And so the toolkit is really about choosing yourself, swiping right for yourself because you have a choice. We all have a God given or universal given, whatever it is that you believe we have this right to choose and it's just there. It's innate in all of us and sometimes we don't use that choice right away. In the book. I'm like, you have a choice to make and it's powerful. That's where your power lies, is in your choice. And not making a choice is a choice. If you're not choosing yourself, that's a choice. If you are not trying to get better and heal and let the anger go or love yourself, that's a choice. Doing nothing is a choice. And so I wanted everybody to kind of have that visual of swiping right and the swipe right effect. To me, if you swipe right for yourself, the effect of that is you regain your power, you find your way out of stuckness or you become unstuck, but you just start to find yourself. And I learned last year it was just kind of that final step of my healing and it was right before I wrote the book. I did a course with Catherine Woodward Thomas called Calling In the One and she makes you list all of the things that you want and your partner, and then she says narrow it down to five. And then she says, now go be those five things, put that out into the world and now you will find your partner. And it just made so much sense to me that I began to understand a little bit beyond just the word manifestation, but actually being who you want to be with. Be that person. Yeah, it was powerful.
Debra Jones: Yeah, that's a gem right there. And as far as the challenges that you faced, what were some of the big ones?
Kelly Collins: In the end of the last six years of my marriage, I was fighting. I knew something was wrong. I tried to confront it. I'm not great at hard conversations. Well, I am better now. But then I was so confused and frustrated and my intuition was saying something big is wrong. And I kept being told by my partner that nothing's wrong, everything's fine. We've just been married a long time and now they call it gaslighting. Well, back then I didn't know. I just knew something was wrong. And I was being told that my intuition was wrong. And when it was over and everything came to light that my intuition was right, it was still really difficult for me to trust my intuition. Especially when I went back out into the dating world and I was trying to make decisions about selling my business. And there was all this self doubt I had never had in my life. I was always self assured. I believed in myself, and that was so difficult. And then I would say the hardest thing was the pain, anger. And the only way to get past that for me personally was forgiveness. And I would forgive, and then it would come back and I would be like, but I forgave. The pain is supposed to go away now, right? And I had to learn that forgiveness is a practice, and you must do it over and over and over. It is not something you hit a home run and the home runs over. It's way more than that. It's batting practice. So I had to learn. And that was something when I learned about a whole new level of manifestation, I realized I was the one who was bringing that pain around. And hanging on to that pain was not hurting them. The two people who had hurt me, it was only hurting me. And it was so hard for me to understand that. And my friend Laura, and she's in the book, I talk about this conversation, and she said, please, I was driving from Nashville to Boston and she said, please listen to this book on your way up. And it was the secret. And it said twelve words in there that I was like, that's what I needed. I didn't know what I needed. But then there it was. It was, I forgive you. I release you. I want you to be happy. And I just made that my practice. I told my kids, I told my parents, I told my sister, I told my friends to hold me accountable. If you see the pain and the anger, it's okay to remind me. I gave them permission to be on my side for me. Because she helped me see that I was the one who was causing myself pain now, not anybody else.
Debra Jones: That's powerful stuff. We can talk about pain in therapy sessions over and over again, but until you actually come to the realization of what it's all about, there's no shifting and changing it. What were those words again? Just so we can reiterate them?
Kelly Collins: I forgive you. I release you. I want you to be happy.
Debra Jones: Beautiful.
Kelly Collins: One more thing about that, because I think there's probably a lot of people out there that go through something like betrayal or even the death of a spouse. I mean, I've been near that recently. And there's anger that comes then too. And so it's a grieving. A divorce, you grieve. A death, you grieve. But one thing that even after I forgave him, I still felt this frustration. And it turned out I needed to forgive myself. I needed to forgive myself for staying in a place where I was not loved. I needed to forgive myself for not trusting my instincts. And I needed to trust myself, I mean, forgive myself. Sorry for staying angry, for so long. So there was a lot of I had to look in the mirror and say those twelve words to myself over and over and over again, too.
Debra Jones: It's not an easy journey, is it?
Kelly Collins: No, it's not. But I'm happy now. I swear I'm happy now. And there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You got to keep going.
Debra Jones: Yeah, really well, I also learned that you took a trip of a lifetime, and one that's on many people's bucket list. Can you tell us where you went?
Kelly Collins: Absolutely. It was about six weeks after everything came out. I had this day where I got three signs in a row, and they were powerful, powerful signs. Then my friend Bill had been telling me I needed to go hike the Camino de Santiago, a 500 miles hike in Spain. It's really a spiritual journey. It's much more than a hike. And he had done two. And when he came back, I saw the changes in him. So I trusted him when he said that it saved him and that it would help me. But I couldn't see how I could do that. How do I leave my company for seven weeks? And how do I you look in the mirror and you say, hey, boss, can I have time off? And then you say to yourself, yeah. I was like, it was really that easy? It wasn't easy because I had a lot to do to prepare my business. Right. But I did do that, and I left four months. Really? I guess it would have been five months after everything came apart and I had filed for divorce, and it was my mom's 75th birthday, and she was getting a lifetime achievement award from this nonprofit. So I stayed. I set my time to go the day after that so I could be there with my mother and celebrate her, and I took off. And it's basically you start in the French Pyrenees and you climb up and over that, and you're in Spain. And then you hike south and then west 500 miles through Spain, and you go to Santiago de Compostela, and that is where the remains of St. James are, in a cathedral. And I will say it did start off as a religious pilgrimage. But everybody who's on that trail, whether they're religious, spiritual, atheist, they're still a pilgrim because it is a journey. And what I learned was this deep respect for everybody on that trail with me, because we were all there because we had a question. We were all there because we had some kind of need in our life. And there's just this instant respect for each other, because, you know, you're all there to do the same thing and to do this hard thing, this beautiful thing. And we all know our lives are changing at every single moment, and everybody we meet is going to change our lives. And it's so incredibly powerful. And I learned some seriously life changing things on that trail that made me a better person.
Debra Jones: Wow. I've never done that trip. And the way that I perceive it, tell me if I'm wrong, is that the hike is one thing. I mean, that's a challenge if you're going up mountains. And I'm sure it's not a paved path, is it? No, but I imagine when you're sitting down, taking a breather, that kind of thing, and then somebody walks past, maybe. Do you stop and talk with each other? Is that what it's for? Or are you really on your own?
Kelly Collins: Some people are very solitary and you can see it on them. You can feel the vibe. Every once in a while, I would just kind of push a little bit and see if they are just an introvert and did they need to talk? Because I'm a total extrovert. I get uncomfortable when people don't want to talk to me. But silly, I know, but there's this rhythm that you're walking and I took literally 3600 pictures on this trip. I love to take pictures, and I just did it with my phone, but they turned out great. But you would be walking and you'd stop to take a picture, and so you'd end up passing each other and stop again. And then it always is. I'm Kelly. I'm John. I'm from Nashville. Where are you from? Sweden. Where did you start? How far are you going? And it's always the fourth or fifth question, why are you here? And so it opens it up immediately to talk very candidly with total strangers. And they taught me, every one of them, the beauty of just listening. And because I'm an extrovert and I'm a fixer and I had the hero complex, I had all these things that made me feel important that were actually really superficial. And I didn't realize it at the time, but I was the kind of person who'd say, oh, I know how you feel, or oh, yeah, that's happened to me too, and it's not true. I don't know how they feel. And that exact thing didn't happen to me, and I didn't realize it. I wasn't trying to be a bad person before, but they showed me how to make space. That's what they called it, was making space for someone. And learning that skill made me, I don't know, calmer. It made me happier. It made me feel more loving. It's amazing. It's more loving to shut up and listen to someone, right? So that made me a better mother. It made me a better friend. It's made me a good coach. It made me a better boss before I sold my business. And I think it makes me a better partner when I find my partner.
Debra Jones: It also would make you a better podcaster because I hear you've got your own podcast. Tell us what your podcast is about.
Kelly Collins: It's called the Swipe. Right. Effect the power to get unstuck just like my book. And I want to keep learning since all of this happened to me. I am a voracious learner. I mean, I'm reading probably five self help books right now. I can't get enough. And part of that is because I want to help other people. And so the podcast was a way for me to continue learning. But my word for this year is gather. And so I was gathering at book clubs and book signings and book discussions and study groups because I was building a workbook. So I was doing study groups so that I could test out different practices. And I was expanding the empowerment practices. And I started realizing, like, if I just keep talking to people who are really smart, like all my friends in the book, then other people can listen along and I can learn, and they can learn with me. And that was the point. And we talk a lot about choosing yourself and what that looks like. We talk about dating a little bit, but we talk about dating and how do you do this? And it's still about you, and it's not all about the other person. It's a skill.
Debra Jones: It is. Yeah, I can totally relate because that's what my podcast is about, too, is just we don't have all the answers ourself. We can't possibly have all the answers ourself, but when we invite people to share their wisdom, everybody grows. Even the person sharing the wisdom. I find when I share my wisdom, I know what I know. How do I know that unless I share it?
Kelly Collins: Right?
Debra Jones: So it's a two way street. It's a wonderful way for everybody to grow. So there's another project that you are about to launch, and it's something along the lines of when you feel that your life is okay, but something is missing, there's got to be some more to life. And I hear that a lot in my practice, too. But we don't necessarily know which direction to go. How are we going to find the answer to the piece that's missing? And I think maybe you've got the answer you want to share about that.
Kelly Collins: Well, I mean, this is a process I've been through with this voracious need to learn. I've been taking tons of Master classes. I joined Masterminds with authors. I've joined masterminds with coaches. I've joined Masterminds with professional women. They're former CEOs that come together to talk about, wow, it's really weird not to be a CEO anymore, and what do I do with all that energy? Because I was retired, I was, like, really investing in myself. I said, I'll go back to work if I can find my passion. And so I really went on this path to find what I realized passion meant, life purpose. And also with all the book discussions and the book signings and all of the things that the book was bringing to me, I kept seeing this almost completely common thread that women in their 50s, maybe even late 40s definitely early 60s. We've raised the kids, we've done the business thing, and we're probably still doing the business thing, but we feel like something's missing. And that's because we're being called to use all of the things that have accumulated in our soul, all of the pain we've been through, all of the recovery that we've had, all of the love that we've shared, and all of the wisdom about how to get through things. And I think it's there and it needs to come out of us. And there's a book called Holy Moments by Matthew Kelly. And he says that is your heart and your mind, your soul, your body, telling you that you are completely in tune, that you know you have more to give and you just have to figure it out. He calls it a sacred call. And I just thought, wow, that's what I'm seeing in all these women. They have this sacred call and they don't know what to do. So what I've done is put together a six month program. I've hired six master class teachers who are experts in each subject. Because I don't consider myself an expert in every subject. I can talk about it, I can build an empowerment practice. But again, I want more. I want to learn too. And so each month we have a new subject. We're going to do life, purpose, visioning, wealth, mindset, personal brand of generosity and gratitude, letting go of all the bad things that are holding you back, like limiting beliefs or past trauma. And then it ends with mentoring. And we give the women a circle of twelve women and we give them the toolkit to know the difference between coaching and mentoring, first of all. And then the next circle of women that comes together, the first circle mentors, the second circle. Nice. Yeah. So every month it's a mastermind and homework and a one on one session with me to walk through the homework, answer any questions, vent, cry, I don't care. Whatever we do together is beautiful. And then two weeks later, we do a mastermind on that subject. And the next month we do the same process with the next subject. And the whole purpose is to see your new purpose, your vision, your legacy. Because I think after the mentoring, you know what you have to give. You're building your legacy. And I just think that's always been such a male thing, such a financial thing. And I want women to realize we can't take all this with us. We can't share the wisdom once we're gone. I mean, maybe if we wrote a book or something, but now is our time. Now, this time right here is what we were made for. This is when we are supposed to give of ourselves in a whole new way. And that's why we feel that call and we just have to recognize it. And then figure out what we have to give to the world that is.
Debra Jones: So powerful and needed and just perfect time for something like that. I've got lots of people I can send your way, that's for sure. How can people find out more about this?
Kelly Collins: I have a page on my website at ckcollins.co (.co, not .com) www.ckcollins.co/momentum. But even if you just go to the website, you'll see up on the menu bar, you'll see the word momentum. And I'm calling it The Momentum Effect because the women are giving each other momentum. The program is building momentum, and I love the definition of momentum. It's like energy coming from an external force and an external energy providing you energy, and then now you become the energy that's going to help someone else. And women providing momentum for each other is just the effect of that is extremely powerful. And so I have three daughters. I see that they don't have mentors in their workplace, and I don't know that I can do something about that at this exact moment. But if I start building something and other people come along, then I know it's going to have that ripple effect, and I believe it.
Debra Jones: So as far as the legacy that you are leaving, this sounds like a really noble legacy. What is your real core reason for doing what you're doing right now?
Kelly Collins: I know that women all over the world have made great strides. I just read the book Lessons in Chemistry with my book group, and it's a story of a woman scientist in the you read that and you're just like, wow, how oppressed we are. And I know how blessed I've been to have been able to build a business and sell a business and take a sabbatical and travel all over the world by myself, that would have been unheard of just 50, 60 years ago. And I don't feel like women understand how powerful we are. And because we are just the natural caretakers, natural givers, we're not the natural hunters and the things that the men were built to be, we have so much more to give. I feel like we're using 10% of our potential, and I think a lot of that is because we don't know how to support each other. And when you're raising your children, you're focused on that, or when you're building a business, you're focused on that. But once you rise above that because of a certain age, it's not something you can do when you're 25. You don't have the wisdom yet. You haven't been through life yet. I want women to see that all the things they've been through, the loss, the joy, the pain, the happiness, all of these things have made you who you are, and they have made what you now have to share. And I don't want this to be just Kelly's circles. I also am going to have a certification where other people can learn to facilitate and lead these circles because I want these circles to be everywhere. I want them to be in Australia and England and Scotland. All the places have women that don't understand what they have to give, don't know how to build their own legacy. And I don't know. I just know this is my life purpose and I think it can be a business for other women. There's a lot of women who get laid off at 50. They get downsized. You might have built a business and sold it. You may have just become an empty nester and you haven't worked for 30 years. What the heck am I going to do? Well, help me build circles. You make money from this like people are going to pay to be in the circle. This is a business plan where women can be empowered themselves and then go out and empower other women. And when I close my eyes and meditate on this, it is so beautiful. That what I'm dreaming about and what I hope that I can help other women dream for themselves.
Debra Jones: You this episode of Own The Gray is brought to you by I Am. Discover your unique talents, realize your potential and align to your path. Take the first step to uncover your life purpose by visiting www.DebraJones.ca/courses.