Kerry Smith: “To create a healthy and uplifting work culture take responsibility; it’s that simple”
Take responsibility. It’s that simple. If you don’t like the culture that is underneath you or around you, you need to realize what your habits and thought process is a reflection of you. Joy is contagious, and how much joy and enthusiasm you bring to your team is directly related to that and how your team performs. Leaders also thrive when they give authority to their team members to be creative. Give them ownership, so they have a sense of responsibility, pride and they ultimately feel empowered (plus they feel important and honestly work harder).
As a part of my series about leaders who integrate mindfulness and spiritual practices into their work culture, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kerry Smith. Kerry is the co-founder of The Awakening Trainings, a self-development experience that sparks your innermost being, elevating beliefs in bold possibilities by removing the obstacles within that lead to true lifelong personal growth. Her participants learn to break free from self-sabotaging habits and develop the tools to live a fulfilled, purposeful life filled with meaning and passion. Smith’s boutique training is empowering and focuses specifically on inner changes on a cellular level. These exclusive retreats are experiential and proven over decades through the success of her graduates. Kerry Smith guides attendees through the original training, which was first developed by psychologists and spiritual leaders in the early 1990s. Kerry and her husband Colin Smith have professionally trained with spiritual and thought leaders including Robbins-Madanes Training, Brendon Burchard, Roger Love, Judith Kravitz and many more.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you please share your “backstory” with us?
I have been a high-performance coach for over 22 years and started in this profession after my Mom introduced me to her own training at a young age. It inspired me to want to help others after I graduated from the University Of San Diego and then I got into coaching professionally. A couple of years back my husband Colin and I teamed up to form The Awakening Trainings and continue the specific type of journey my mother first showed me. Her original training was called Source Seminars, and we changed the name to The Awakening Trainings to sort of “carry on the torch” while putting our own stamp on things.
Over the years I have trained with some incredible thought, spiritual and high-performance leaders which has helped us change the lives of our clients. Since I was young I have always been very spiritual and loved the idea of building a business that helps others thrive. I have my mother to thank for all of it, and of course my incredible husband and business partner.
What role did mindfulness or spiritual practice play in your life growing up? Do you have a funny or touching story about that?
My mother is very spiritual and that was a huge part of how it ultimately “rubbed off on me”, as they say. Because of that, I think how one raises a child is much more critical than one typically may assume. I was thankful she taught me to be individually unique, respect/listen to our planet, be kind to others and always be mindful to learn new ways to be genuinely in touch with our soul.
I am the middle of five children, and I was the only one that would go to meditation with my mother. I went from around elementary school age and would lay on her feet as I meditated. None of my other brothers or sisters went though, which makes it random but cute that I was into it from such a young age.
I also remember at one point attending a Christian school, but I was very open-minded and curious about all religions and spiritual practices. When in school, I liked/dated this Christian boy, and because of that I was very versed in the religion and learned much about their ways. I remember one specific day being in a circle with my peers once and they were all referring to god specifically as “Lord” but I was scared to say it that specific way. I had so many definitions because I was so curious about different faiths and outlooks, and ultimately that boy broke up with me because I didn’t say “Lord” specifically.
I respect and admire all religions and ways of thinking of course, but it made me think deeply that people get so attached to their definition and terms used for god, but ideally should be respecting all people’s views and have a more personal approach to spirituality.
How do your mindfulness or spiritual practices affect your business and personal life today?
Well, that’s a great question since mindfulness and tapping into our soul through spiritually taught methods is what we do as a business. It’s nice to practice what we preach, and for 20 plus years I have been meditating every day, practicing Yoga and dedicating myself to being a lifelong learner. When you are constantly living with an open heart and mind, it’s easy to always learn, and even easier to be a great teacher and guide.
I believe that spirituality is done on a minute to minute basis, not just on a Sunday. I have ten labeled alarms on my phone throughout the day to catch me on and off guard about my mindfulness. I have also have attendees of my training tell me that watching a real-life married couple with a team practice real-world challenges, in person and in tandem with others dealing with their own challenges. It really brings the idea of mindfulness, spirituality and that while being deeply personal it’s something we are all in together.
Do you find that you are more successful or less successful because of your integration of spiritual and mindful practices? Can you share an example or story about that with us?
Our trainings have been experiencing nothing but growth in attendance every quarter, but I would attribute that to word of mouth and the value our attendees take away from The Journey trainings. I would give credit to the unique combination of spiritual/mindful practices during the trainings, and how easily they can apply to each person’s needs and goals. For example, if one attendee is a business owner and another is completely lost in life for whatever reason, they are both attending the same training and receiving the same guided journey. The little takeaways may be different because of where they are in life, but the overall growth within and mindset shifts are exactly the same.
I also wanted to mention that spirituality throws people off. If you look up the definition, it actually means personal growth. It applies the same to someone who is lost, as well to the business person looking to grow and expand. It is 100% designed to the attendee, and although they are doing the same exercises as someone going through a hard time, it is still a personal thing. A good comparison would be a popular song that is loved by millions, and even though the song and lyrics don’t change, it is interpreted uniquely by each individual.
What would you say is the foundational principle for one to “lead a good life”? Can you share a story that illustrates that?
Your daily due diligence and what are you doing minute to minute is what really leads to a life well-lived. It’s about those habits, behaviors and your internal dialogue throughout each day. To truly lead a good life, take responsibility for all actions and stop placing blame on external sources.
A story that comes to mind that really defines my “good life principle” started after I had kids. One of my sons was born with many challenges, and the specific moment happened when I was at the doctors appointment where they broke the news. Most people would be in the appointment completely devastated and bowing to the doctor, listening for advice and leaning on every word. I immediately knew that mindset can set people up for a life lived like a rollercoaster. The way I handled it when I was doused with the news, I immediately took a couple of breaths (even at 24 years old), saw the situation in 3rd person, and saw that there was a gift in the situation and ultimately a way out from the pain.
I thought, what’s the next step in where I need to go?. I didn’t hold on to any end result, path or specific situation, and knew that happiness is not only a birth responsibility but a goal that we all need to achieve and maintain. It really made me take accountability for the situation, and I felt empowered to live with happiness and freedom so I could teach my son the same thing. Terrible things will happen to everyone at some point, but it’s having the tools during these moments to quickly come back into a state of happiness and full personal responsibility.
Can you share a story about one of the most impactful moments in your spiritual/mindful life?
One of the most impactful/mindful moments in my life was when I trained with Brendon Burchard. I had been a stay at home mom for 15 years, hadn’t been in the workforce for years, but ultimately was training to help other people. He told me “to take one step” and create a program and I would be very successful in doing it. I took one step in front of another and failed over and over. I didn’t have a following but knew that every piece is meant to add up and work out in the end.
I trusted that every step was leading me somewhere. It wasn’t pretty, but now looking back that was actually amazing. I always teach and let others know that consistency and discipline is the combination to success. Magic doesn’t happen in one instance, and it’s many years of practice along with a combination of many defining and progressive moments.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My mother is the reason I am where I am. 100%
When I left my first hospital appointment with son, I called my Mom. I looked in the rearview mirror while on the phone with her, looking at his head and she told me I was gifted with a child. Not only that, but that I have a responsibility to teach him that he is divine perfection. If were to teach him he is limited, he will be raised believing this. I choose to raise him knowing that there are no limits, and he grew up consistently knowing that anything is possible. I use this principle when teaching and guiding others, and is one of the most important things my mother taught me.
Can you share 3 or 4 pieces of advice about how leaders can create a very “healthy and uplifting” work culture?
Take responsibility. It’s that simple.
If you don’t like the culture that is underneath you or around you, you need to realize what your habits and thought process is a reflection of you. Joy is contagious, and how much joy and enthusiasm you bring to your team is directly related to that and how your team performs.
Leaders also thrive when they give authority to their team members to be creative. Give them ownership, so they have a sense of responsibility, pride and they ultimately feel empowered (plus they feel important and honestly work harder).
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
If we want immediate peace on earth, we need to create peace within ourselves. I help people purify their hearts, so they can give more love to the world. Most people try to help people with their problems, ultimately avoiding their own. That movement would grow on its own, and I am here just to plant the seed one person at a time. It’s really the only way it can be done.
How can people follow you and find out more about you?
Official website — https://theawakeningtrainings.com/
Learn more — https://theawakeningtrainings.com/breathwork/
Thank you for all of these great insights!