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Turning Tragedy Into Holistic Wisdom-Keisha Blair

Keisha Blair has the wisdom of a woman who became a widow at an extremely young age.

Keisha, an up-and-coming career woman, found herself with small children and many decisions to make about her life, career, raising her children, and finding purpose again. On this heartfelt episode of Grief 2 Growth, host Brian Smith welcomes Keisha Blair, a remarkable strength and resilience woman who turned her profound loss into a platform for growth and purpose. Enduring the tragic loss of her husband at a young age while navigating life with small children at home, Keisha’s story is a testament to the power of the human spirit when faced with unimaginable adversity. Her journey from despair to finding hope and purpose will inspire and resonate with listeners navigating their own struggles.

Keisha generously shares her experiences and insights, from the immediate grief of loss to the process of healing and rebuilding. Her wisdom, earned through her challenging journey, is a beacon of light for anyone wrestling with pain and grief. Join Brian and Keisha in a profoundly moving conversation that explores the hard truths about grief and how it can shape our lives. As Keisha opens up about her experience, she offers practical tips and sage advice on coping with loss, nurturing resilience, and finding purpose amidst unimaginable pain. Through her resilience and strength, Keisha transforms her personal tragedy into an inspiring narrative of hope and transformation.

Deeply impressed by Keisha’s courage and grace, Brian facilitates an empathetic and impactful dialogue that explores the intersection of grief, resilience, and growth. This episode is a testament to our capacity to transform life’s greatest tragedies into stepping stones for growth and purpose. Dive into this inspiring conversation and come away with newfound perspectives on grief, resilience, and the transformative power inherent in each of us.


Brian Smith 0:00
Close your eyes and imagine

what are the things in life that causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we’ve been buried. But what if, like a seed we’ve been planted and having been planted would grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes, open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. All right, everybody. Welcome back to grief to grow. today. I’m honored to have a very special guest with us. She’s an award winning international best selling author. She’s an economist. She’s a Harvard trained policy expert has been recognized by world leaders for her groundbreaking work. Her name is Keisha Blair. She’s the author of the phenomenal book, holistic wealth expanded and updated 36 life lessons help you recover from disruption, find your life purpose and achieve financial freedom. This transformative book has been lauded by CNN senior political analyst analyst Kirsten power as an essential guide to the art of recovering from disruption. And by iconic actress Kelly Rutherford, who also wrote the foreword she describes it as game changing. Keisha is often referred to as the mother of holistic wealth. She’s also the founder of the Institute on holistic wealth and the driving force behind the holistic wealth movement. her innovative approach to wealth that extends beyond the financial into the personal and professional realms of life has shifted paradigms and challenged conventional wisdom. Her expertise is Center as a set, as seen here, I should say as part of the Prime Minister’s supporting delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and East Asia Summit in Singapore. A profound insight and wisdom of featured in The New York Times real simple magazine, Forbes, the Harvard Harvard Business Review, Essence magazine and many others. Her viral article my husband died at age 34. Here are 40 life lessons I learned from it deeply touched more than 50 million people around the world and that exhibits a powerful impact of her messages. Her books and her wisdom have also garnered recognition from people like Maria Shriver, the editor is Oprah Daily Dot Oprah That produces a Jada Pinkett Smith read table talk, the lower coach show the producers of Mel Robbins show, as well as Yahoo Finance is the route final round. So I’m really honored that Keisha has chosen to be with me today. And with that, I want to welcome Keisha Blair to Creek to growth.

Keisha Blair 2:45
Thank you so much, Brian. It’s great to be here. And thank you for that wonderful introduction. Well, you’re quite an impressive person, I appreciate you taking the time to sit down with me today. I’m I’m really looking forward to talking to you about your financial work, but also what led to what you’re doing. So first of all, I want to say I’m really sorry about what happened to your husband, that’s something that you and I share is losing someone very close at an early age. But how did that affect you your life? And did that? Is that what led to the work that you’re doing? Yeah, no, absolutely. It had a huge impact on the person I am today. And it’s inspired this whole holistic wealth journey and the movement. You know, he passed away pretty young he died from a disease that is so rare, and most doctors will never see it in their lifetime and in a living person. Only in textbooks, so it’s it’s so rare that one in 1 million people get it each year. And it you know, it became a medical mystery when he died quite suddenly. It took one year for the autopsy results. And it was just a harrowing process. I remember the night he died. I walked out of the hospital room and you mentioned that viral article, Brian, I walked out of the hospital room that night with a white plastic bag with his belongings, some of the most precious things.

You know, like his wedding ring. And I remember thinking, you know, those aren’t the things that last, you know, what last is our legacy, the way we treat others, the more intangible things in life and as a trained economist, who, you know, worked on measuring GDP growth and measuring economic growth, it became very clear to me at that point, I’ll never forget, you know, holding that white plastic by and thinking there has to be more there is more to this. And so, you know, as I explained in the book, I you know, I went on a soul searching journey. And that inspired this holistic wealth framework that I came to develop while on sabbatical while on leave. But absolutely like this whole it’s perience with grief and having to overcome that kind of tragedy has absolutely inspired who I am and the journey and the whole holistic wealth movement and why, you know, I came up and coined the term holistic wealth. Because during the midst of tragedy, it becomes clear, right. And I know, you know, in the midst of tragedy becomes clear that, you know, it’s it’s how we impact others, it’s the legacy we leave. And it’s, it’s the intangibles, and it’s about honoring those who we love in our lives. So that’s basically the inspiration behind this movement.

Brian Smith 5:33
And how long ago was your husband passed away?

Keisha Blair 5:36
Quite a while. So it’s been, what, 14 years to be exact. And, you know, quite a lot has happened since then. So it’s, it’s taken that long, and I’ve been working on you know, writing since then, and working on everything the nuts and bolts of so this hasn’t been overnight by any means. This has been a long process of slugging through grief and coming up with this framework and, and really trying to educate others and, you know, inspire other people going through this type of a setback that there is hope. So it’s, it’s, it’s it has been a while. And it’s by no means I know, people hear my story. Sometimes I think, Wow, this is overnight. Like how did you do this? overnight? It has been, it’s been a long journey.

Brian Smith 6:27
Yeah. People do want to assign like, oh, look, it’s everything was fine, right. But so I like to set that that expectation for people that we can recover, and we can do better. But also, a lot of times, we can be very impatient with ourselves, and we’ll look at someone like yourself and say, I should be doing what she’s doing.

Keisha Blair 6:45
Yeah, yeah, no, absolutely. And even when I, you know, when it happened, when tragedy struck, it took me a while to even think about, okay, what do I do next. And then I decided to take that one year, you know, my things in a 40 foot container, rented my house, sold everything else, you know, took my babies, and went on that soul searching mission. And that was a whole process in itself, in terms of the decision to do that the mechanics of how I did what I had to put in place to get there. And that year, that was transformative for me. So absolutely, I think we need to be patient with ourselves, give the process time, there is no one size fits all process in terms of how we grieve, in terms of, you know, what we should be doing, when I often, you know, say to people that you know, grief, grief is like mushrooms, it just pops up. And you know, those, you know, things that happen to you along the way, make it fertile for that grief to grow. And sometimes, you’re fine. And sometimes you’re not. So absolutely giving your time to space, giving yourself the space and the time to grieve, and to figure out next steps is absolutely important.

Brian Smith 8:03
So I assume you were doing the economic work before your husband passed. Is that Is that correct? Yes, that’s correct. So and then you took some time to your to kind of reset, and then came back? How did it feel when you came back into that work after after that sabbatical?

Keisha Blair 8:20
Ah, it felt different. Because I was not the same person who was there before in terms of my mindset, my core values, I was transformed. And I you know, this impacted my work in a positive way. But also, it made me realize certain truths. You know, like I mentioned in the book, like I was on a path to being, you know, one of the few leaders chosen to leave the organization going forward. And even though I still went on that path, I realized that there were certain values that were more important to me, this work and my life purpose and my mission, in terms of connecting with people who were grieving and other widows and, you know, children with mentorship, and youth. Those are all so important. So that made a big impact in terms of, you know, how my career turned out, and the decisions that I’ve made afterwards, even with writing the book, and even with updating the book during COVID-19. So it’s unbelievable, once this happens, and you realize that your life purpose is so much greater and so much bigger than that. I mean, some career highlights that you included, when you introduced me, Brian, we’re after that sabbatical. Parts of the Prime Minister’s delegation and supporting delegation that was after that sabbatical, but still, I really feel like even it influenced my work. The type of advice I was able to give and leading into this phase of my life If that I’m in now with the Institute on holistic wealth coaching women on different forms of trauma, including money, trauma, coaching women on grief, it’s influenced that tremendously, and even the holistic wealth podcast. So I think, you know, if people are in a point where they’re thinking about transitioning, especially after you’ve been through a tragedy know that it doesn’t have to be in a vacuum, like all of your experiences can be used to influence to make the impact that you want to make, it doesn’t have to be one or the other, you can absolutely make the same impact within your job outside of your job, you know, or vice versa, like it really is that taking that holistic perspective of what you want your life to look like, and how you want to channel that grief. You know, just like what you’ve done brand with your experience. So that’s basically how it turned out in my own life. But it’s, as you said, it’s a process. And it takes time. And it’s unbelievable. That we can all get there, you know, in our own unique way. Because we each have stories that are so important to tell and that Durrell needs. So it’s, it’s really important. Yeah, and

Brian Smith 11:19
I did you mentioned so much there that when I wanted to dive into, you know, because there there’s I know, a lot of times when things like this happen, we feel like okay, my life is just over and I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for you. You’re You’re 34 As a very young age to pass away. You had a couple of young children, I think at the time. How’d that feel? I mean, how did how did? How did you feel at that time?

Keisha Blair 11:48
Yeah, so he was 34 as 31, I had just given birth to my second child, eight weeks prior. And I had a near death experience with my first child, which was three years before my husband died. So you can imagine when it happened to me, I was It was horrific with with the second pregnancy. That was also difficult. And you know, as I wrote in the book, like I was not healed physically, myself. I had undergone a traumatic pregnancy, like many black women. Because we’re the first one I’m a maternal near miss survivor. So for myself personally, in terms of what I was going through physically, that was hurting in itself, and then to have your husband suddenly pass away, and not having the answers not know why, like to us he was a healthy 34 year old running marathons at the peak of his life, a great dad, a great husband. And it was just a huge, huge loss. It was a shock to my system, I remember losing 40 pounds in like two weeks, I couldn’t eat. My stress levels were so high, I couldn’t breastfeed. Luckily, my friends came over in two times in the night to wake up to feed, you know, because feed Alex because he was eight weeks old at that time. So as you can imagine, my whole life was turned upside down. And that’s why I’ve stated in the book, that when you’re going through a period of grief, and tragedy, your relationships around your key. Those relationships can really provide that buffering that you need to, you know, go through that period. And, you know, it’s unbelievable, Brian, that when that viral article you mentioned went viral that was after my sabbatical. And I came back, you know, and they said to me, you have to write a money book, an agent said, You should write that booking you should write a money book. And I said, no, like, I cannot just write a money book. There’s so much more to this story to this, you know, than money. And it’s unbelievable that all those core facets of holistic wealth, were what got me through that grief. It was not only the relationships, but it was you know, taking the time to deal with my mental and emotional health. It was trying to get me on a path to eating well again into nourishing my body. It was spiritual self renewal everyday meditating, praying, thinking about and reflecting upon my life and where I wanted it to go. And you know, what was the story and what was the universe trying to tell me here? It was those various facets of holistic wealth that kept me afloat. And that’s what I think is the key in terms of building resilience and having that core, that core set of beliefs that can guide you through any setback regardless of what the setback is. But that’s why I think, you know, how we look at our lives and thinking about holistic wealth and thinking about living holistically wealthy lives where we’re, you know, not focused just on one area of our life. But we’re focused on all these different facets also helps us to build resilience, resilience. And, you know, it gives us that strength to weather setbacks.

Brian Smith 15:24
Yeah. You mentioned you had a near death experience with your with your first child, the how did that impact your view on life?

Keisha Blair 15:33
Yeah, I know, that is it’s become a part of my mission in terms of, you know, giving a platform to others, like myself, maternal near miss survivors, and those who have, are working in the field or doing advocacy advocacy organizations. And, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s tremendous, the barriers that black women face, it’s tremendous in terms of our healthcare, what we go through. And so for me, it’s basically been a part of my mission, it’s influenced this holistic world framework, because as I went through that near death experience, and I wasn’t the only one who’s whose life was at risk. My baby’s life was at risk. So both of us nearly died, he had the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. And so his heartbeat went to almost nothing like it. So, you know, health. And access to proper care is a big part of the narrative. It’s a big part of holistic wealth, especially for certain communities for the black community. And we’ve seen with COVID, in terms of what, you know, what we’ve been through, the black community has had the biggest losses during COVID-19. And if you look at the impacts afterwards, it’s it’s ongoing in terms of the economic and social impacts in terms of our health. And so it’s been a huge part in terms of this social justice piece and this healthcare piece of you know, of that holistic love framework. So that’s been a big part of my work, as well as just, you know, getting people more aware.

Brian Smith 17:17

Keisha Blair 17:18
I don’t think causes.

Brian Smith 17:19
Yeah, I don’t think a lot of people are aware of the health issues that black women have health issues to issues at the medical community, and how they have more often black women die in childbirth, for example. And it’s not just economic, it’s, it’s, it’s across all economic stress. So is that true in Canada as well? I know, it’s definitely true in the US,

Keisha Blair 17:40
it absolutely is true of Canada, as well. And you know, in terms of the causes the racism, the, you know, sexism, like, there’s, there’s a lot to unpack in terms of what it’s very similar in Canada, the contributing factors for black woman are pretty much the same. I mean, our health care system is universal care. So it’s a bit different in terms of the structure of the health care system here. But the underlying causes of why, you know, we don’t get the standard of care are still the same. They’re still absolutely the same. So.

Brian Smith 18:16
And that’s why

Keisha Blair 18:21
even with a health system that’s structured differently. It’s similar outcomes.

Brian Smith 18:25
Yeah. And that’s, I think, the most shocking thing. So I think a lot of times we think the black healthcare outcomes are because of economic issues. And but even when you even when you allow for that, it’s the way doctors treat women, and the way doctors treat black women in particular, that leads to these negative outcomes. So I’m glad that you’re bringing that forward. And I think it’s really important for people to understand.

Keisha Blair 18:48
Yeah, absolutely.

Brian Smith 18:50
So you when you came back from your sabbatical, and you mentioned core values, which is another thing I really want to talk about, because I think it’s really important, that we understand what our core values are. Do you feel like your core values changed after your husband’s passing? Or did they just become more important, or they become more prominent? How would you describe that?

Keisha Blair 19:12
Yeah, I think core values. It’s interesting that you asked that question, because I think from for me, personally, most of my core values had remained the same. I think what shifted with the tragedy was, okay, are they know, are they in alignment with the path that I’m on? You know, and will I be able to stick with the path that I’m on wholesale and retail and still make the impact that I want to make, do the type of work that I want to do? So there was a conflict? There was a conflict and I think it’s the conflict with the values that causes the problem for most people. Because when we look at what we spend our time doing for The majority of our work day or for the majority of our days, it’s in conflict with what we want to be doing and what we want to be achieving. So for instance, family was always a core value for me as a mom. But then how do I structure my day to spend more time with family? How do I structure my day to impact my family in the way that I want to and build a type of collective mission because I talk about building a mission, as well as part of holistic wealth? So I think with many people, I think the values are often in conflict with what we want to get done. And so it’s looking at where that conflict is why? Or what are we spending our time on, like doing that inventory? And then figuring out like, are, you know, are there things that are, you know, not in alignment, like, I often talked about, you know, this values pyramid that we can use to, you know, fish out our top five values? What are your top five values in that pyramid, and what’s out of alignment? Because I think that’s a way of prioritizing what we should be spending our days on and spending our time. So it’s important to look at not only values writ large, but what are the top five values? And is it in alignment with how I’m spending my time, which is, which is great, I think, for me, it was just kind of rejigging my life, so that it became more holistic. So, you know, if I needed to build out this framework, and impact the community in the way I wanted to, what did I do? What do I need to do? And so all of that work was basically, you know, given to me by readers, when the first edition of the book came out, readers came forward. And they were like, well, we want to be certified holistic wealth consultants, we want to go out in our communities and impact other women and teens. And some of them are now doing voluntary work with the YWCA of Canada, they’re doing work. And I mean, they’re certified holistic wealth consultants all over the globe, in their communities doing work. But most of them came forward to me saying, we want to be certified to do this work. How can we impact our community that way, because I, you know, we see where we can use this in our various communities. So basically, it was spending that time that, you know, I needed to craft these different programs so that women could go out there and impact their communities separate and apart from me in a way where they were empowered with this message and the tools and the framework to go out there and do it in a systematic way that was in alignment with the work that I had done. So that’s basically how the message has bred, it has been really organic routes that bottom up with readers just saying to me, you know, this is what we want to do, let’s see how we can work together to do it. And I find that once, you know, you become more aligned with your purpose, and once you become more aligned with those values, and you start putting them into action, then it becomes really easy for that to take shape. And for that work to take on a new, you know, meaning and, you know, start impacting in a way that you want that impact to take place.

Brian Smith 23:21
Yeah, I think that yeah, thanks for the answer. I think that’s a that’s a great answer. And I kind of think the core values tend to not change. We do change as people we grow. But I think core values pretty much stayed the same. But I think what happens when these tragedies happen to us, it causes us to reset, we examine things, and we accept in our Western society, living out of alignment with our core values, we just think that’s just what we do. We don’t we don’t even need to examine our value. I don’t even know what my values are. I just know I go to this job every day. And I know that I hate it. And I can’t wait till the weekend. I can’t wait to go on vacation. I can’t wait to retire. But we don’t really question like, What can I do different and when your life is just ripped apart? Everything’s up in the air, everything’s up for grabs. You say, Oh, I could do anything I want. What am I what do I want to do?

Keisha Blair 24:13
Yeah, absolutely. And when you know, as you said, you know, Brian, just know when your life’s ripped apart when mine was, I started thinking, Well, no, I’m a single mom. How do I spend more time with my kids like that was that became more need because not only was my oldest son Noah grieving the loss of his dad, but he had one parent left. And so where as I would be able to spend more time at work before he died doing the things that I you know, in terms of my career path, I had to set that aside and now focus on them. And that was no what was just you know, became a core need. Yeah, so that was it with with everything and then with me personally Only with taking that time that I needed. So absolutely, you’re absolutely right. In the quarterback, they’re always there. But you know, it often takes a reset. That’s required for you to say, Well, yeah, you know, I have to flip this, this switch. Now this is absolutely necessary.

Brian Smith 25:21
So during that time that you took off and sabbatical, which I think is so wise, if you’re able to do it, that’s awesome. Did you think like, about not going back? Did you think about doing something completely different? How did you realize that you could do what you were doing and alignment to your values?

Keisha Blair 25:39
Yeah. So there were thoughts, there were different thoughts going through my mind? At one point, yes. I thought, well, maybe I should not go back. Maybe I should just go full time into my, you know, into into writing I had started writing on sabbatical started doing different work on sabbatical as a you know, not work work, but exploring different passions. And, and, you know, different people started saying, well, you should explore those passions full time, like, don’t bother going back to work. Yeah, you’re obviously talented and gifted in this type of space. So just just focus on this. But at the time, I made that cost benefit analysis. And I’m, you know, if anybody’s listening in and are thinking, What should I do, I’m at this stage, I’m at this critical juncture do that cost benefit analysis. And this is where the finance comes in, as well. And this is where everything comes in, in terms of your family or age, do you have a young family at the time I did, I was 31, I was still very young. And I thought, You know what, like, I still had certain career goals that I wanted to achieve, which I did. I’ve always wanted, for instance, to, you know, to do certain work as an economist, and, you know, going back to work, gave me that opportunity, because I landed in a spot where I started doing this type of work, and being able to, you know, to participate, you know, in supporting delegations and that type of thing. And, of course, that is invaluable. And that became an invaluable part of my story. And it gave me certain skills, which were also invaluable. And I’ll never, ever forget that. So I think, you know, if, if people are listening in and are thinking, Well, you know, I’m at this point, I’m at this critical juncture right now, we’ll do that cost benefit, you know, what you need to achieve, you know, what your financial goals are? Are you there yet? How do you want to retire? How does your retirement look like, and I often tell people, you know, what, this is what we do at the Institute, we help people with their holistic wealth portfolios. And if you are at a particular spot, we’ll look at all your goals holistically. And think, think about where you are right now, in this moment, and what you want to achieve. And that’s what I did. And I figured, you know, what, I still have some career goals that I want to achieve. But yet still, I know that I have this greater purpose now, which will eventually take over, which will eventually be the emphasis and focus on my life. And, and that’s how I did it. So it was a slow transition. And I used my experience to gain the skills that I needed, because I knew I still needed to fine tune some skills. And you I wasn’t quite there yet. I was still young, still had young babies. And I needed to do more. And, you know, that was invaluable. So if somebody’s thinking of doing that listening in, then just think about where you are right now, what your goals are, what do you want your life to look like?

Brian Smith 28:56
Yeah, I just love the way you said that. And the way you did that, it’s like, instead of just throwing everything away and starting over I’m you have this incredible skill set that you could use, and you say, you say, Okay, here’s my, here’s my values. Here’s my holistic goals. Here’s a skill set I have, how can I take this skill skill set, and meld these two together? You don’t have to throw everything away. And I know people are like, I just I want to do something meaningful. So I’m going to quit my job and go do something else. It’s like, yeah, yeah, that might not be practical.

Keisha Blair 29:31
Exactly, exactly. And it’s one of the things to that with having holistically wealthy workplaces on the other side of it, for organizations to actually think about how they can accommodate employees who’ve had these transformative experiences, and want to make an impact in their communities. Well, how can we help you achieve your purpose? How can we keep you interested and focused at work? Yes, but with this newfound You know, experience that you’ve had and these new skills that you’ve picked up and this new impact that you want to make? How can we help you foster that? And for me, there was a bit of that at work as well, when the first edition of the book came out. And I got that tremendous support. That was tremendous. And so, absolutely, it’s not just about throwing everything away. It’s about thinking about how I can achieve this purpose in the most practical, efficient way possible. And yes, maybe early retirement is part of what you know, my long term goal is, but how do I transition into it? And how do I make it work financially, and otherwise, in a more holistic way, so that I’m not, you know, just, as you said, just taking these huge risks, and then not knowing how to deal with a setback if a setback arises?

Brian Smith 30:51
Well, we’ve talked a lot about holistic health, let’s, let’s define it, I’m excited to announce I have a great new resource. It’s called gems, four steps to move from grief to joy. And what it is, it’s four things that I’ve found that I do on a daily basis, to help me to navigate my grief. And I’m offering it to you free of charge, it’s a free download, just go to my website, www dot grief to G m s, and grab it there for free, I hope you enjoy it, to find a

Keisha Blair 31:22
holistic wealth is it’s a framework that, you know, I developed, and it basically it’s this new paradigm of how we define wealth. So traditionally, we defined wealth as, you know, net worth, and we looked at wealth in terms of our assets, and you know, more physical material possessions. With holistic wealth, we’re also looking at not just that, because that plays a part. And it’s mostly in terms of financial independence, more than just physical assets. But also mental health, or spiritual health, or emotional well being, or physical health, and also having a life purpose and meaning, and or relationships. So in the book, I go through each chapter, and each chapter builds on especially in the new version, a new edition of holistic wealth, each chapter builds on the other until we get to the part where we build a holistic wealth portfolio. And you can see the key, you know, facets of holistic wealth, they’re the key pillars. And what I’m saying here is they’re all interdependent. You know, we everybody knows that, quote, There is no wealth without health. And that’s so true. And it’s also more than that. It’s also all these key pillars that provide this buffering that we need, in times of setback that help us become more resilient and able to overcome these setbacks. So it also builds resilience, and helps us overcome, you know, these tragedies and, and hurricanes and storms that happen, you know, over a lifetime.

Brian Smith 33:10
Yeah, absolutely. I love the fact that you’re, you’re integrating this all together, it reminds me, I interviewed recently, a couple of people who are transpersonal, psychotherapy psychotherapist, which is something I really hadn’t heard about before. But they’re, they’re looking at the whole person and looking at spiritual, emotional, you know, as well as mental health. And in this case, when you talk about wealth, it includes everything in our life and includes, you know, resilience, as you’ve talked about a lot. So when people, when people do discover this, are they, the people that you work with? Are they often coming out of grief is that what leads them to you or are healthy, not healthy, but people who are relatively happy to they come to you as well.

Keisha Blair 33:53
So the women, the people who come forward are people who are often helping other people in a professional capacity. And they’ve read the book, and they’ve realized, oh, my gosh, I don’t even have half the tools I need to really help in the way I want to help. And it’s unbelievable, because let’s see, there are some that are financial analysts, who are working with people out there who have suffered various setbacks, and they’ve read the book. And they’ve realized that their training, and their experience hasn’t really equipped them to really advise on certain things, and they’ve read the book, and they’re like, oh, my gosh, like, you know, we need to be certified. We need to go deeper into the material so we can help others with these kinds of setbacks and give better advice. So we’ve had people from every industry and every walk of life, but the key thing here is that they’ve all felt ill equipped, you know, to really help people in the way that they really want to help. And so we’ve been building on that to help them to help people who’ve been through money trauma, because 80% of the population has some money from and especially if you’ve been through grief of any kind, any loss of any kind, you have so many trauma. And so helping them to help other people who’ve gone through this kind of trauma has been very fulfilling, because it’s just so widespread. And it’s not talked about that much. Even when we speak about grief, we don’t often speak about the money trauma part of it. We don’t speak about the fallout in terms of how that you know how that experience makes me feel about money in my personal finances now, but it needs to be spoken about, because I know I went through it. And I know so many people are going through it. And even as a trained economist, I can’t imagine if I didn’t have the training I had, how I would, you know, come out of this without the kind of support and help needed. So that’s one way that I’ve melded my experience in my background, having also gone through grief and loss to try to help others.

Brian Smith 36:08
Yeah, tell me about the money trauma. What do you mean by that?

Keisha Blair 36:11
Yep. So, you know, it’s unbelievable, as I said, 80% of the population almost 80% has some kind of money, trauma. And money. Trauma is basically just trauma that arises from some sort of financial situation. Most people though, have you experienced that even from childhood and have experienced, you know, whether it’s, you know, parents arguing about money, or growing up in poverty and growing up in scarcity. And even if you grew up in abundance, there can be money trauma, it just arises because of a wide, it could be intergenerational, it could be the narratives you’ve heard about money, money is evil, it could be any, you know, situation, and it can be something catastrophic, like a divorce, or, you know, your spouse passing away, or a child passing away, that causes some sort of financial implications. And even if you have things in place, like a life insurance policy, or even if you, you are in a state of abundance, and it happens, just the grief and those feelings can also cause money trauma, because of, you know, the feelings that arise in grief and the fact that your life has been upended. So we’ve been trying to do some work around that to educate people who’ve been through grief, people who’ve had a loss of any kind, it could be chronic illness, it could be loss of a job, it could be loss of a spouse could be loss of a child loss of a parent, any kind of setback like that can cause some form of money, trauma. And, you know, being self aware, and recognizing those feelings, in terms of your finances is one, one way that you can recognize, hey, something’s not right here, or, you know, I’m disassociating, I don’t want to think about my finances, I don’t want to think about money, I’m not checking my credit cards, I’m not checking my bank statements, I’m, every time I think about money, it just makes me feel nervous and anxious. And I get butterflies and I feel nauseous. Those are some, you know, some quick symptoms, and but being self aware, especially if you’re going through a period of grief, and loss of any kind is critical. Yeah,

Brian Smith 38:26
a lot of times grief, can actually trigger or can reignite other traumas that we’ve had. So as you were talking, I was thinking about, you know, your relationship with money, like when you’re a child, whether you had money or didn’t have money, your parents view of money, all those things, you know, are we carrying around with us, and then they get these, they get activated? When we go through an event. And we might even we might be carrying them around subconsciously, then they just suddenly come to the surface.

Keisha Blair 38:54
Absolutely. I often tell students who take the course with me, you know, plot your disruption timeline, and start from your earliest memory, and all those disruptions that you’ve had, think about any of those that had financial implications, or that impacted your money mindset, or your money situation, and really write it down and write down how much it impacted you. And I think if we go through our lives like that, and you think about, you know, so many people come on my podcast, and they’re like, Oh, my parents lived through. My grandparents lived through World War Two, or my grandparents had to flee as refugees, or my parents had to flee as refugees. And it’s impacted the way that they view money, their relationship with money. So thinking about all those disruptions into adulthood can give us an idea of really the kind of money trauma we’re dealing with, whether it’s significant or it’s just, you know, mild or but it really does put things into perspective.

Brian Smith 39:57
Yeah, and you mentioned some All times the word resilience, which is a word that I, I always talk to my clients about as well, because the time to build resilience is when you’re not not in crisis because we know these disruptions as you call, as you call them. We know they’re coming. You know, every, every one of us goes through them in some sense or another, whether it’s a health thing and divorce, you mentioned divorce, whether it’s, you know, losing a child or a spouse or financial setbacks with job. So we constantly have to be building our toolset, which it sounds like what you help people do to be ready for these disruptions?

Keisha Blair 40:36
Yeah, absolutely. And I actually train my students like the certified holistic wealth consultants to plan for two setbacks per decade because studies show and even when we look at different financial crises, like I’ve spoken about in my book, and I’ve studied as an economist coming up from, you know, the big one we had in 2008. And even before and after, we see where there’s been at least two big ones per decade, that globally we face, even if we don’t think about them, the other ones that we’re facing in our own personal lives. So if we can plan for two setbacks per decade, you know, to help us have that resilience that you mentioned, and build a portfolio that is resilient, then I think that’s that, you know, that’s that’s a good thing to do. Because we know setbacks are coming. It’s it’s just being ready for them.

Brian Smith 41:28
Wow, what would you say to SEPA? I have two feelings are one is it’s great to be ready for them. The other is that sounds like a lot.

Keisha Blair 41:36
Exactly. And if you look at this COVID period, I mean, we’ve been through we’ve been through a lot in these few years. And I mean, this isn’t typical. I know, this isn’t typical. But even as an economist, and I’m thinking this is unprecedented. This is like any, unlike anything I’ve seen in my memory in my living years. So even if we take this small period, you know, then we’re thinking, Yeah, we actually need to be doing far more than what we’re doing to build that resilience to build our portfolios to plan ahead.

Brian Smith 42:06
Yeah, this this last three years has been crazy on so many levels, on the economic level, but since we’re talking about holistic welfare, also, you know, it’s affecting all of us mentally and emotionally. And we’re still dealing dealing with supply chain issues and people, whether I’m going to work from home or go back to the office, and now there’s a conflict, because a lot of employers want to let the people come back to the office and people are like, I’d like working from home. Yeah, they’re quitting their jobs and say, I’m not going back.

Keisha Blair 42:36
Yeah, absolutely. There’s unprecedented disruption. And as I said, in, you know, holistic world, this is the art of recovery from disruption. It’s how can I build those? You know, if we’re talking about personal finances, it’s how can I build that financial resilience piece, so that I have everything in place so that if my employer says, Well, you know, we’re bringing everybody back into the office, it’s how I can put things in place so that I can make a transition out, or I’m thinking of staying, but I’m thinking of, you know, doing certain things, it really lends itself to the conversation that we’ve been having so far, Brian, in terms of how do we structure our lives in a way that honors those core values that were able to live that genuine, authentic life that we’ve always dreamed of, and it is doable, it’s just a matter of putting those pieces in play, and especially when you’ve been through a big setback like we’ve had, and one that is life defining, then it’s even more important to really take the time to do it.

Brian Smith 43:42
I know you work, you mentioned that you work, a certification program for people who are financial advisors, which I think is awesome. I have talked to my financial advisors about they’re really good anyway, about that kind of stuff, but I’m gonna let them know about your program. But you also work with individuals, and I guess you have like coaching programs or programs that people can go through. So tell me more about your individual work?

Keisha Blair 44:03
Yeah, so yeah, so the certification programs for sure, are for people who want to be certified to go out into their communities to help others people who may want to then earn revenue from it in terms of helping clients or add to their suite of services, and or go out into nonprofit organizations and be certified. But then, individually, I do help clients one on one, like I take on, you know, core set of clients on an individual basis. And that can also be in terms of just one on one coaching. So I referenced the art of recovery from disruption. There’s that piece also where I’ve had, you know, women come to me and be like, well, you know, I’ve been through a divorce or I’ve been through some kind of setback, and I need some mental work. I need to really bolster my mind that, and I feel like I’ve been down a rabbit hole a path that and going that I can no longer go down. I’ve had those experiences where I’ve had to coach people, just one on one through that. So there are the different key pieces of holistic wealth that require not necessarily certification, but require that kind of one to one PII somebody has been through something similar. And you know, I have the tools and other pieces that I can readily just pull on to help. And I’ve done that in terms of just one on one as well with people who need different very specific guidance in terms of building back a life from scratch, or, you know, just mindset work or something else, you know, that they’re thinking, you know, I need help with to kind of go on and I need someone who has done the work themselves and who’s figured it out.

Brian Smith 45:58
Yeah, I had a misunderstanding about the certification program. So it’s not just for professionals.

Keisha Blair 46:03
It’s not, and it’s not just for people in the finance industry, people who’ve participated, who are doctors, who are interior designers, teacher, teachers, nurses. So it’s, it’s, it’s for anyone who wants to be able to dive deeper into the work to help others. And so that’s the key, like, I get people who come to me individually, they just want to deal with their personal issues their thing. But once you want to help somebody else, as part of your mission, or you want to help somebody else through a suite of other courses that you might have or other online offerings, then that’s where the certification is very helpful in giving you those tools, because it also comes with the tools, you know, that you can use with clients. Yeah, it’s very helpful for that. Yeah, that’s

Brian Smith 46:53
fascinating. I’m glad. I’m glad that we clear that up. Because I could see a lot of people need people to do the work that I do. I think it’d be very, very beneficial for kids. All these things. I love the word holistic, because all these things tie together. So we often think of our finances as one thing. Our physical health is one thing or mental health is another thing, our spiritual health is another thing. But they’re all They’re all. They’re all tied together. And for example, if you’re financially stable, then that takes some pressure off of all the other things, you know, but if you’re not, then it’s like Maslow’s hierarchy, right? If I don’t have enough money, it’s kind of hard for me to self actualize when I can’t pay the electric bill.

Keisha Blair 47:36
Exactly. And it’s, you know, you mentioned the sabbatical part of it, for instance. So I do train people who wants to take a sabbatical, because you mentioned that, right? Like, if you’re not financially able to, then it’s very devastating when something happens, and you can’t take that time off to really grieve or to set your life in a different path. And that’s what having those key pieces in place enables you to do. And so other people can find they’re like, Yeah, I want to take a sabbatical. Can you coach me through that? Or do you have a course which we have for the at the institute almost equipped to help with that, because I went through that whole planning stage. And now I’m helping people to do that, who need to take that time off, and do it very productive and do it in a way where they’re not going to ruin their finances, or ruin their career. You’re doing it in a systematic planned way where you will come out, you know, with some key outcomes that we’ve we’ve outlined some key outcomes that will put you on a path to being able to you know, actualize your dreams, as you said, and to live the life you really want to live.

Brian Smith 48:47
That is that is so profound. Because as you said, we know we’re going to have a couple of events, you know, a decade, and we know something’s going to happen. So being able to have that buffer, because when you’re in grief, people that aren’t certain, you know, professions are like, Okay, you get three days, you get five days if it’s somebody else. Yeah. And so now you’re trying to deal with your career and all that stuff. And meanwhile, you you’re dealing with brain fog, and you’re, you know, because the first couple of years of grief, your brain doesn’t function properly. And it’s just it really prolongs I think that recovery period, you know, what you were able to do to take that sabbatical can make a transformative event, which because you’re just it’s a reset almost, it’s a we just said, you know, looking at my values, I’m looking at my skills, I’m combining those things together and you can do with that that pressure of the day to day haven’t been on nine to five going into the office.

Keisha Blair 49:45
Absolutely. And you know what, like, Ryan, I had to take a note I had to take no pay leave. And for the majority of us like I did one year for the majority of us, if not all, let’s say in a work setting, it would have to be no paid. For that current kind of time, right? But when you look at the cost benefit, and yes, I did give up, I did give up some stuff I did. But when you look at the cost benefit of what I was able to achieve personally, and in terms of a recent of my own life, like I can’t imagine, what would have happened, had I not taken that sabbatical, like, I don’t even want to think about it. And when I think about the path that I’m on now, because I was able to take that time, not only to build back who I was, but to think about how I was going to live my life, there’s just no valid monetary value that you can put on that.

Brian Smith 50:41
Yeah, you know, it reminds the conversations, we’ve been having my my daughter’s mid 20s, and all our friends are mid 20s. So they’re, you know, they’re thinking about careers. So they were encouraged into the careers and they’re thinking about getting married and having children. And my wife and I have had a couple concerts, my daughter recently, I’m like, I’m glad I don’t have to do that again. Because, you know, it’s like, when I have my career, I want to be independent, and then when depend on anybody else, I’m like, once you have children, you know, then then you’ve got, you know, soccer practice and swim practice, and basketball practice and all the things that they’re going to be doing. And if you’re both out working, you know, full time and you’re both like all about your career, I’m like, Well, I don’t want to navigate that. And we haven’t taught people how to navigate that holistically. Right? Because people think it’s got to be one or the other, either, I’m going to be super clear, or I’m going to take care of my family. Exactly, absolutely. And

Keisha Blair 51:33
especially in the face of a setback. And you haven’t taught people that and it’s so funny, when the first edition of the book came out, Arianna Huffington quote, quoted a line from the book on her social media than and I mentioned the education system, not having prepared me, I don’t have the exact quote from the book I wish I did right now. But basically, the education system teaches linearity. It doesn’t teach the art of recovery from disruption. And you’re absolutely right, it doesn’t, we’re not exactly taught how to balance all of these competing priorities. And we’re taught one, one thing, just this linear approach. So when you know, life doesn’t work that way, then it becomes confusion. And there is no real framework that helps us to get through this. So that was kind of my thinking, as well, especially as an economist about Well, I wanted to talk about grief. But I wanted to do it in a way to help others recover in a systematic way with a framework that was ready for them, because I felt like when I went through it, there was none. There were tons of grief books about grief stages of grief, what to do, you know, grief in your 60s 70s 80s, there was nothing there for me at 3131 just had, you know, a baby eight weeks prior to get back, you know, a life and to rebuild, and to think about how to do this holistically. So that’s the framework that, you know, I tried to provide to others and, and I’m glad like every time we have, you know, I get the opportunity to have this conversation, it becomes a blessing to me, because I know it’s so needed for people out there.

Brian Smith 53:22
Yeah, absolutely. It’s 100% needed. And you’re just such a great example of resilience and what we can do, and how, you know, I talked to so many people who they go through a tragedy, and they say what my life is over, you know. And in a sense, one part of us does discontinue and become a different person. I’d imagine you would probably say after you came back from that sabbatical, you’re you know, and way a different person you were when you when you left.

Keisha Blair 53:54
Absolutely, absolutely. I still remember the day, you know, sitting in front of my boss one day, soon after my husband died. And I remember him looking into my eyes and saying, we want the old Kesha back. We want the old Kesha back because I was, you know, you know, killing all these targets at work and achieving these milestones. And when he said that to me, I was like, Well, I don’t think the old Keisha is coming back, you’re going to get a different Keisha, a new version, but it’s not going to be the old Keisha.

Brian Smith 54:25
I am so I just got goosebumps, you said, I’m so glad that you said that. Because people are like, people around us just like I want to get I want you to go back to who you are. And my clients will come to me and say, Well, I want Am I ever going to be the person that I was? And I’m like, I sure hope not. I am. I’m a very different person than I was, you know, eight years ago. It’ll be eight years for me in exactly a month or month in two days. So I’m a I’m a different person, but that’s that’s a good thing. That’s not a that’s not a bad thing. Yeah, we are as human As we we want to avoid change, we want to avoid disruption, that’s natural. But the reality is we can’t we change, things change around us. Disruptions happen, as you said, at least twice every twice a decade. So we have to accept that way to figure out okay, what do I do with this? What? How do I take this? And how do I make it into something? You know, beneficial?

Keisha Blair 55:27
Absolutely. And I think it’s a lesson for those around us as well. So not just in the workplace or organizations, it’s a lesson for friends around who are witnessing this transformation. You know, and how do you support that? And how do you, you know, enable that, because that’s that wanting the old Kesha back? Wanting the old Brian back isn’t going to happen, you’re going to get a new and improved version. But how do we, you know, support that this new journey? That’s this new phase, this new season of life? Yeah.

Brian Smith 56:01
Well, after, after 14 years after your, your husband’s passing, and and this is a this is a delicate question, but how do you feel? Do you feel like things like this in life are planned, you know, by like, some sort of soul planning or something? Are? What are your What are your feelings about about that event now?

Keisha Blair 56:22
Yeah, so yeah, it’s unbelievable. Because going through the tragedy, I often wondered, you know, was this planned? Was this a part of what was supposed to happen to me? And I do think so. I am also a spiritual person. So I believe that our lives, you know, are ordered somewhat, I do believe that it was to be a part of my journey. There is no way you know that, with how my life has turned out that I could say otherwise. It has just been too obvious to me personally, with my story in my life, that this was supposed to happen. And it was to be used, as, you know, a lesson and for purpose, and to help humanity forward. And when I look at the unique skills and experiences of my life, not just the personal part, but my background, my training, my skills, my personal journey, it’s obvious to me that that happened for a reason. And that, yes, it was a part of that journey. You know, I remarried afterwards, and I did have a daughter and and my life looks very different now. But absolutely, absolutely. I do believe that this was part of my destiny, the work I’m doing now was ordered, and that I am just basically doing what was meant for my life. And it’s a soul calling and I feeling I feel it very deeply. And I feel that, you know, this message that I’m bringing forth, has been ordered. And so you know, it gives me great relief. And it makes me feel very whole and very comforted. That something so positive can come out of this great tragedy. And if I can use this to help others, then my life wouldn’t be in vain. And that might my children losing their father at any age where they’ll never remember his voice ever again, that won’t be in vain. And sometimes most times I pray that I’m able to do this in a way to truly touch the lives of others That’s my prayer right now that I’m doing it in a way that honors that so absolutely.

Brian Smith 59:08
I suspected that would be your answer just from the the feeling I get from you. You’re such an inspiration and your and your and your story and I believe in I believe that believing we have a purpose helps us achieve more you know, I can’t imagine living a life where I think everything is just random that this tragedy but fulfill me and nothing good will ever come of it I just it doesn’t work for me I know for some people choose to believe that way. But the people that I maybe a people are attracted or drawn into my life, but like someone like yourself, I’m like, Yeah, this has got to be ordered. This has got to be, you know, planned, and I don’t see the impact that you’re making. It’s so interesting, and I say this for the better people that are listening, because I know when you’re six months and a year in two years in three years, and this may sound crazy to you, but once you I want to give an example, somebody that’s 14 years into this and can see, see the path now behind them and say, Wow, that it made some sense.

Keisha Blair 1:00:20
Absolutely. And as you said, Brandon, you know, it gives great comfort and relief, that, you know, there can be that, that huge positive benefit and that impact on others. And absolutely, you know, I could go into detail about so many things that have happened, that have, you know, that are obvious of yours that, you know, this is this was meant to be and and that, yeah, we’re making an impact and doing the work. And I, you know, it’s great the work that you’re doing to and the lives that you’re touching in this space. So absolutely.

Brian Smith 1:01:07
It’s interesting, you talked about the detail, because people asked me like how I got to be where I am like, that would take a very long time because the synchronicities start to happen, you know, doors start to open, you meet certain people, certain things happen in your life. And again, they just, they’re not random. They’re not coincidences, like, you know, if you’re, you kind of get on your path things doesn’t mean you don’t have setbacks doesn’t mean you’ll have difficulties, but things do seem to go easier when you’re going in flow.

Keisha Blair 1:01:35
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And you’re right, certain people come into your life, you make these connections, and and it just, it just happens. And it gives you this greater awareness that absolutely, this is the work that you need to be doing at this moment in time. So absolutely,

Brian Smith 1:01:55
yeah. Okay. So tell people where they can reach you remind them about your book, your programs, all that stuff.

Keisha Blair 1:02:03
Yeah, so the book is available everywhere online and in bookstores. It’s on Amazon. It’s in Barnes and Noble target. It’s in bookstores all across the globe, and my website is Keisha The courses are available on the Institute on holistic I’m on social media, to Keisha overlayer on Instagram and Twitter and I’m on Facebook at Keisha Blair author, you can check out the holistic wealth podcast tune in to hear about other people’s lives and how they live this holistically wealthy lifestyle. And yeah, you know, connect. I love hearing from readers. So that would be amazing hearing from people who’ve tuned in or who’ve read the book.

Brian Smith 1:02:51
But it’s it’s been an honor and a pleasure to have you here today. Thank you so much for doing this.

Keisha Blair 1:02:57
Thank you for having me, Brian. This has been amazing. Thanks for having me on the show.

Brian Smith 1:03:01
All right. Enjoy the rest of your day.

Keisha Blair 1:03:03
Thank you. You too.

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