Ep. 54: How To Communicate Effectively to Reduce Relational Tension with Kingsley Grant
Jamaican American, Kingsley Grant is a National & International Motivational Speaker, Corporate Trainer, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Relationship & Career Change Coach, and Podcaster. He is also a published Author.
He focuses on helping aspiring coaches, speakers, authors and leaders quickly craft their dream and ideas into reality. He teaches them how to share and monetize their expertise and experience and acquire time and financial freedom doing what they have always wanted to do.
Kingsley writes for the Huffington Post, Addicted 2 Success and The Goodmen Project.
He is a proud dad, husband, a man of faith and an entrepreneur at heart. He is the President of Helping Families Improve Inc a company that focuses on improving communication within relationships.
In this episode, Kingsley discusses the importance of communicating effectively with the people around you. And how effective communication is the key to reduce relational tension.
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Kingsley Grant:Kerry-Ann, thanks for joining me onSuccess Caribbean Style. How are you?
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Thank you for having me. Listening to you reading that intro is like, “Oh my God, that’s me?” Thank you so much for having me. Thank you. It’s a pleasure. It’s finally great to hear the voice. You communicate via social media, but put in a voice to the person is also another way to kind of build that community, so thanks for having me.
Kingsley Grant:Sure. You’re welcome. It’s interesting you mentioned how listening to your bio and read back*, I remember on one of your shows, I think I had written an article and…
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Yes, I just said that.
Kingsley Grant:Someone read – I think your brother or someone read it, like “Oh, that’s me?”
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Yes, yes. It has that effect because you are going through the motions and you’re doing, doing, doing, and it’s only when someone else reads it or you take a moment and pause that you are like, “Wow, I did that.” Yeah, it’s a good feeling.
Kingsley Grant:Yeah it is. Kerry-Ann, because this show focuses on entertaining, empowering and inspiring the audience, and how they can overcome obstacles and achieve their dream, we want to hear some of your stories. Tell us a little bit about your migration story.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Actually, August 25th was – it’s 23 years since I’ve been living in the US.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:I had no choice in the migration. I left Jamaica at the end of my ninth-grade year and moved with my mom and my brothers to New York. I still remember flying into JFK on that American Airlines flight, and it was just like wow. It was a culture shock. I’m like this airport is bigger than the community that I live in. I came up in ‘93, and I can honestly say that there were some culture shocks, but nothing compared to what I know other people went through because I came to New York City, I came to Brooklyn which has the largest population of Caribbean people outside of the region. I was fortunate to go to a high school where I called it the mini CARICOM because there was every Caribbean island represented there, and I had teachers who were from Jamaica. It was almost like being home away from home.
Kingsley Grant:That’s interesting because not many people, like you said earlier, have that kind of experience so I’m glad that started out kind of okay for you. We’re talking a bit more about how your assimilation process went as you kind of blended into the culture. Here’s what I’m going to ask you, what’s your favorite dish that you miss from your homeland, from Jamaica?
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:I don’t know if I – my favorite dish is soup. Everybody knows I love soup, love, love soup, but I really prefer red peas or pumpkin soup. I really love it with lots of dumplings, boiled breadfruit and corn. I love it.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Yeah, it’s like one of the best things. I could get it here, but the breadfruit is not by the same, so it’s only when you go to Jamaica that you can get it with a good boiled breadfruit.
Kingsley Grant:You feel like you’re really eating a yard dinner or breakfast or lunch or whatever the case whenever time you eat it, like you said dinner, you probably have it more for your dinner or lunch, or both?
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:I don’t care. Everybody knows me, soup is soup. I will drink soup for lunch, dinner, breakfast. As long as it’s good, I’m going to drink it.
Kingsley Grant:Awesome. Kerry-Ann, tell me about one phrase that you have from Jamaica that has stayed with you over the years, and explain what that phrase means.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Well, I don’t think I could pick one, but they all kind of mean the same. I’ll go with “puss and dog nuh have the same luck” or “what is fi yuh cya be un fi yuh”. They kind of really mean the same thing. That really stuck with me. My grandmother and my mom, they drilled that in me, to really not to look at what other people have that if it’s yours, it’s just going to be yours, and however one person gets to something, you may not have that same luck and vice versa. “Puss and dog nuh have the same luck” or “what is fi yuh cya be un fi yuh”, those are like two that really – I mean it sticks with me because every minute they said it, so I have no choice but to.
Kingsley Grant:Have you had any experience where that phrase kind of played out where you said, “Oh man, this is really what this means to me, because here I am going through this right now. You know what, puss and dog nuh have the same luck, because look at what I’m going through.”?
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:In a lot of things, I think going back to what we said before, even though I came up, it was like home away from home. I think that home away from home was only like that for me because my mom was an adult. I went to high school. I was still a kid, and I was fortunate to have kids. And so, seeing how some students would take advantage of the laid-back and not so strict atmosphere, I would see kids who would just do certain things and I would never do that because they could get away with it, I don’t know if I could. It turned out that in the high school that I went to, one of the teachers actually came from Montego Bay and knew my mom, so it was just – I really wouldn’t have their luck if I had ever tried, not that I would, but you never know who knows you, and because of that puss and dog cya have the same luck.
Kingsley Grant:You mentioned – that’s very interesting you mentioned just now, the teacher who knows your mom. Growing up in Jamaica, I remember when I was a small child, in our neighborhood, everybody knows your family, knows my family. What happened was if I did anything in other areas where people may know me, and other kids can do it and get away with it, I could not because everybody’s going to tell Mr. Grant, that’s my dad. Mr. Grant is not going to only whoop me, but the neighbors also – or not neighbors, the community, the people…
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Going to join in.
Kingsley Grant:Oh, my goodness! You don’t have the same luck when other kids can get away – no, not you.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Yeah, that’s exactly right. Even in my adult life, I saw it, you would wonder why – in early 20s, you would wonder why someone was having more luck. You never know what they had to go through. When I experienced it myself, where to this day, I’m like how could somebody be jealous of me, because to be jealous, you would have to or want what I have, you would have to go through every single experience that I had. You can just pick and choose which one you want. And so, if you want X, you have to go through the process of all the adversities that I went through to get to this point because that’s what helped drive me to have what this person is considering success that they want. You can look at what other people have and say boy, you want it. You don’t know how they came by it.
Kingsley Grant:Let’s ask how you define – you used the word success, how would you define success knowing there’s so many definitions out there? How would you define it?
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Success, it’s an internal thing. I’m hardest on myself. When you’re hard on yourself, it’s very hard for you to see your successes. Success for me over the years, have been learning to really be kinder to myself. In being kinder to myself, it’s allowing myself to take a moment and appreciate the accomplishments big or small because the earlier, the younger me, hearing the bio being read or on the podcast, I would find some word that I said wrong, even somewhere, the sentence doesn’t sound right and I have to fix it. It’s knowing that whatever I’m doing, at all times I’m doing the best that I can, and because I’m doing the best that I can, I just need to be kinder to myself. Trust me, Kingsley, it took me a long while to get here because I didn’t have that traditional road to success. I had a lot of challenges, so success is an internal thing.
Kingsley Grant:I appreciate you mentioning that. I find sometimes, Kerry-Ann, that – I know for me, because culturally, I think for the most part, and this is not a broad statement, but I know for myself that there is a driven idea around success. I know growing up that I needed to show some of the externals. It’s more like okay, my dad would be hammering you, education, education, become like a banker or a teacher or something that is like a status, “Oh, my son is a banker. My son is a teacher.” That was a driven thing for me. I felt like if I didn’t accomplish something like that, I was feeling. I don’t know how that was for you, if that was true or not for you.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Kingsley, I don’t know if you have enough time, but really just the cliff notes. In Jamaica, I grew up in the Common Entrance system that no longer exists. If I’m in the Common Entrance, I’m in high school, I’m 10. Going through the process, by the time I would have graduated, I was 15. I was so driven that when I came to the US, refused to let them put me back a grade, so I graduated American high school after 12thgrade a few months before I turned 17. By the end of my first year in college, I was pregnant. And so, you know Caribbean people, “lawd Jesus”, all the shame. And so, for a very long time, I carried that burden that I failed because while it was good and everyone was cheering me on, “Yes, you’re young. You get into college, you get into X amount of colleges and you do good. Oh gosh, you go have belly”. All of these things, and really it drove me crazy, and then I dropped out of college. I did three years, and I said you know what, I have a child to take care of. My mom, I didn’t want to depend on her. I just moved out and I just started doing things on my own, carving out my own career, finding alternative ways to learn because coming from the Caribbean, education, education, education. The more degrees you have, the better it is. Education, education, education. Here I am, like I didn’t even finish college. You feel inferior. You feel inadequate. There’s just so many things I had to battle with. It was like internally I could have conversations with people, but being on this platform and talking about it, I’m waiting for somebody to say, “How you can tell me about entrepreneurship and career and you didn’t finish?” All of that, but I know that it is because I took an alternative route, not the route that’s defined by culture to get to success. I still found levels of success, and say you know what, we can do this. Everyone has some pressure, somewhere from the family. That pressure can drive you, but you also have to know when you have to define, you have to create your own unique path to success.
Again, going back to the “puss and dog nuh have the same luck”, not everyone can take the straight road. We’re going to divert, but it’s knowing how to survive when you have to make a detour, and that is what we don’t have because we are so hung up on we didn’t take the straight and narrow road to that success. For me, yes, I feel it – up to this day, my mom might say, “mi neva tell you yuh should drop out a school”, but I never stopped learning. I never stopped learning. I’m an avid reader. I’m always taking some courses. I have so many certificates for all the different courses that I take. In this age of technology, things are coming so fast, you’re learning that by the time it gets to school, it’s outdated. You have to be able to know how to keep abreast, know where to get that information, and then use that information and your competitive advantage to be successful. I completely understand. I tell you boy, that period, I was so stressed. I was so stressed.
Kingsley Grant:As I was listening to you, I was very intrigued as you kind of shared about – because that thing – you’re onto something very important here, because it’s a major shift from the cultural traditional way. Of course, for me, going back a few years, I was so driven, and I was asking myself the question: why do I feel that I need to go for these degrees like you mentioned earlier. One degree after another degree. I felt like, “Okay, Kingsley, why do you need this?” I remember one day I sat down, I was now about to go for my PhD, and I’m thinking of the question, “Okay, Kingsley, why is it that you want a PhD?” I really had to wrestle through, and would you believe, I could not come up with a better reason than this: that I have a PhD. I had no other driven reason that made sense. I was thinking all that money, and I just said forget it. That was my turning point. I was wondering, how did you then shift, such a big shift occur for you, knowing that pressure is there, knowing that your family – even this cultural, internal voice in your head that says you’ve got to do all of these – school, different things, and if not, then XYZ. How did you shift and become so comfortable, as I hear in your voice, with this idea of choosing a different path and making such a successful transition to pursue that?
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:I used that same energy but I turned it someplace else. I had moved out. We moved from New York to another state, and I decided to move back. I decided that you know what, I have to take care of my daughter and I’m going to go back to school. The same drive to – because education is like, we all grew up “Labor for learning before you grow old. Learning is better than silver and gold.” That whole thing, we were drilled with that, memory gem. On spot, you would have to recite it. That’s how much it was beaten into us.
Kingsley Grant:You know, I’m sorry, I had to pause there. You just brought to me back – I totally forgot that – subconsciously, these things are in your mind and not knowing how they really work and play itself out. I really appreciate you touching on that just now. Wait a minute, that’s so true. We had to memorize that whole thing and it became a part of our subconscious. No wonder, I was so screwed up.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Yes, yes, it’s so drilled into you. It’s drilled into us. And so, I had to take that same energy because I’m like, okay now I’m a single mom. I don’t have the money to go back to school right now and so, I have to figure out how else am I going to learn. What really allowed me to be comfortable when I moved back to New York, I got a part-time job that turned out into a full-time job. They paid for me to go and do Word, PowerPoint and Excel courses at this place. I can’t remember the name of it. That was really the aha moment for me. It was like wait a minute, you have places where you just go to learn things and you get certificates to do this? When I found out this alternative way to get information that – by the time I was done with it, I knew more about Excel or using Excel and Word than my friends who were going to college knew, because I was actively using it. I found a shortcut, and using that same drive, I’m like okay so I don’t have to go four years through school, I can find shortcuts that work just the same way. And so, I was just a glutton for information. I would go through these things. Then I also recognized that, my friends, they were in college, they had their paper, I would edit papers. I would read. I would help them research. I was still getting education in some way, but I was using that same energy and that drive to succeed, to have knowledge, and to have all this education in another way.
I learned very quickly that – the thing about education and teaching us to get all these degrees, it’s great, but what it does not tell us is how to succeed or how to handle when the unexpected comes up. And so, what I find happens with a lot of Caribbeans, when they are not happy in a job or they are not getting enough money, “I’m going to go back to school”. When I’m doing this or – “I’m going to go back to school”. Going back to school means you’re taking on more debt. Unless you are a doctor or you are an accountant and you need to have certain types of credentials, there are other ways, and the rise of the internet is just like why are you going back to get a Masters because you want to raise, whereas, I’m going into job interviews with the experience. I’m getting offered more than my friends who are just out of college because they don’t have that work experience. Very early I saw that, and I just use the same drive in another way. Do I still feel a way about not getting a degree? Absolutely, but do I feel that same level of failure that I did when I was 18, just have a baby or when I moved back to New York? No, I don’t. I just know that, you know what, I’m going to find some certificate course or something, and I’m going to take it because I need this. It’s less time. It’s less money. I’m able to adjust to this learning curve or ramp-up much quickly. That is why the platform exists, to show people that you already have this competitive advantage. You have this drive that’s built in. It’s been like embedded in our brains the minute we could talk. Use that drive and find other ways where you could take advantage of the opportunities, because it’s almost as if they gave us tunnel vision; that’s just one thing we need to look at. I understand that. I probably wouldn’t be able to do that if I didn’t move back to New York and understand that hustle that I needed to survive in New York.
Kingsley Grant:Was there a point, like as you’re going through all these processes, that you felt like man, being back in Jamaica would have been so better than being here? It sounds like you had a very supportive system because you sound like a Caribbean culture was being there, your family was there. It sounds like you did have necessarily a homesickness that I find some people do have when things are not going well, they are like maybe if I was home, I could at least – somehow things would have been better, which we know it would not, but we have those moments where we just think that way. Did you have any of those?
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:There is home and there is home-home and there is home. New York was home – home, Jamaica is home, and then my mom lives in another state, Wisconsin, so that’s another home. And so, when you’re young and you first come here, a lot of people have the same immigrant story; you come, you are with family and then you wear out this welcome. It’s like all this craziness, and you’re like but I was fine back home. At that point, I really didn’t have any choice but to be here. I did miss home, in terms of home was my grandparents. The beauty of it was there was always letters. My grandmother would always try to keep in touch. When we first came up here, internet wasn’t a thing. You had to get your phone card and save up to call. Now – when I was able to call, I would hear her. I mean my grandmother is that rock and that source, that believe me, if I don’t know what I need prayer for, I’m like – she could just hear it in my voice and she breaks out in a prayer. That is really, really – and then the whole church prayed for you because she’s going to report it to everybody.
And so, I really had that support system and then I had people here knowing that I had ambitions. They would see that drive and they would support that drive. Sometimes when people don’t support you – I had the number one driving factor, I had a mouth to feed. It really didn’t matter if I was homesick, I just had to figure out a way to do something. The beauty of it was my mom didn’t kick me out, I kind of moved out. I still had grace and favor. I’m like, “Hey, mommy!” And she would be like all right – or my uncles, but they wanted me to succeed but they also respected the decisions I made to become independent early, and to know what it was like to be on my own. When I did need help, they were always there, welcome arms saying sure let’s do this, what you need, how much you need. They knew that if I had to ask them, I had done all that I could do on my own, and asking them was at that point my last option, and they knew this.
It was like my mom, my second semester of college, I didn’t have enough money, and at the time, we just came up. My mother said, “Mi nah trust nuttin!” Because she couldn’t understand loans, so coming from Jamaica and you have to take out a parent plus loan, a big loan, she doesn’t understand that. She knew that when the woman at school told her what I had gone through, she recognized that I went through so much to figure out an alternative way for her not to take out a loan, so by the time, I came to her and said, “mommy, you have to take out this loan”, she knew that that was it. I had no other choice and I did the best that I could. I think from there, she knew that if I needed something, it wasn’t because she was my first choice, not that she isn’t always my first choice, but I’ll try to address it or figure it out on my own before I come to her. Family is big for me. They are huge.
Kingsley Grant:Wow. I really think that it’s really – again, when I listen to your podcasts and the whole Carry Onidea and the platform, it makes sense to me, number of things I hear on your show, that what you described, this is kind of giving me the backdrop here, the back story so to speak. I want to ask. You’ve overcome a number of obstacles, as this show is all about overcoming the obstacles and achieving success, you’ve overcome the obstacle of parenting, the college experience, the [22:45]experience. Was there any other obstacle you had to overcome that stood out to you, before we get into your own platform, what you’re doing today?
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:I think career wise. You go into corporate America. Before I even graduated high school, in corporate America, we did a program with a law firm. At this time, I was a couple years still coming from Jamaica, so you have a little accent in there and stuff like that. You are so conscious of this accent, to the point that you start “hemphasizing” the “h’s” where you weren’t trying to. It was just like you’re so self-aware, to the point where I learned – I remember one day my brother-in-law called me at work. I heard his accent and I’m like which Jamaican man calling me. When he told the story, he’s like which woman is this talking on Kerry’s line. I learned to do what we call this code switch where I was able to just go into this and talk like there is no accent, there is no hint of an accent. People even thinking that I’m a bill collector, my family, because I’m just so like white of the accent versus I can talk to you and I could drop in a little word, even that. Within your career, it’s like understanding that culturally, I may not fit in but I belong. I bring something to the table. Even though I can talk properly, I am still able to drop in a few words here and there. My co-workers appreciate that. It’s not being looked down on. This is years ago. I mean we live in a different culture where it’s like, it’s much more multicultural, but back then, it was almost as if I didn’t want anyone to know that I’m Jamaican. It was just like – I can be Jamaican when it’s time to have fun, but in the workplace, I don’t want anybody to know that I’m Jamaican.
Kingsley Grant:Yeah, it’s interesting that you mentioned that. I just interviewed someone recently also, and that was one of the things that came up, because way back when, it was a big thing. I was sharing with her that I remember there was a kid from Haiti in the Miami area who about, 12 or 13 years old, at the time, if you had an accent, you don’t speak as much because it’s kind of tough because people make fun of you and they would try to kind of use what they are hearing and turning around. It’s almost like you are a sideshow. This kid went on and committed suicide because he could not, and that’s the reason why he had, he could not fit in. He could not speak the way all his friends, the Americans spoke, and he could not take it and he committed suicide. It was a serious problem at one time. To overcome that, was really – or to find a way to make it through and push through. Even though, I believe it’s a great accomplishment because sometimes people got hung up on that and couldn’t get past that.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:I mean, again, in your social circles, it’s no problem but when it goes to career, it’s a problem, not only in the accent. I was talking to another colleague of mine on the podcast, and we talked about, even the food you bring to work for your lunch to warm up. The aroma is different. The way that we socialize, this is something that is very big that I’m trying to get the community to understand. As Caribbean people, we believe heavily in meritocracy because we understand that growing up culturally, we saw only certain families do business, or certain friends, they got advances, so we really believe that if I work hard, you should reward me, and holding down the head to work. That’s not how the system or corporate America works. How we engage socially at work – we can say, “oh, I don’t come to work to make friends” so you stay to one side. In doing that, we are ruining our career because we are not – the minute we decide to take a job, we are choosing to play a game. You cannot bring major league soccer rules to an NFL game. Any job – you can say well I’m not here to play a game, but you are. It’s the interpersonal skills. It’s how well you do your work. How well you do your work is not enough. If Mr. M has the boss’ ear, and Mr. M doesn’t like the way you socialize, I’m sorry. That’s just what’s going to happen, but that’s a cultural thing. That’s why most of us don’t have mentors because we nuh waan nuhbody to help wi, wi know fi do wi job.
Kingsley Grant:Exactly, right?
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Wi know fi do wi work. This whole thing of making connections, no mi nah fren up fren up or kiss up kiss up. These little things, they affect us in the way that we ultimately become successful. That has affected me. I look back and I could think of how many opportunities I missed because I shied away from it, because you don’t want other people to feel like you are upstaging them because you don’t like when people upstage you. You judge people for the same things you don’t want to experience. I remember I worked at a law firm, and the partner there, I mean to this day, one of the best mentors I had, and he would always find opportunities to just say “come on, come, you did it”. I’m like no, no, no. I don’t want that attorney to feel that way. He would look at me like what? You found this. You did this. I look back and I’m like wow, what would have happened if I actually stood in that moment to say yes, I actually did this. It’s not too dim anyone else, it’s not to put anyone else to shame, but I was dimming my light for a long time because I didn’t want anyone else to feel less than. When you do that, you become used to dimming your light so much that you don’t know how to shine bright anymore. It feels weird. In this day and age, if you’re not shining your light, you get left behind.
Kingsley Grant:It’s true.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:It’s learning how to navigate or understand our culture, and navigate. Mind you, Kingsley, wi nuh have no problem beat chest enuh. Olympics, all of us were beating chest.
Kingsley Grant:Exactly right.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:We have no problem, but when it comes to work and institutional and structure, we become timid. I think it’s because, again, we were taught go a school, go a work, doan gi no trouble and stay out a people way. These subconscious things just affect our behavior. We no longer have to – something I can’t remember, they become so stored in our long-term memory that it goes on autopilot. We don’t even know when we are doing it, it’s just autopilot at this point. Those are the struggles that I had to overcome, and still I’m working to overcome at this point, to say alright, yes, I know how to do this, I can lead, yes, give me the job, I’ll do it.
Kingsley Grant:I’m so glad you’re bringing those things up. I think what I hear, and which goes right now to your Carry On Friends, because I think what you’ve just shared in the few last minutes was really just so compact and just so filled with what I believe, the mentality and the mindset that had to be almost renewed and reprogrammed. I find that until that happens, we won’t be able to break through that glass ceiling. We hit the lid and we can’t get past that. I appreciate the fact that you have established your own platform. It sounds like this is the kind of message you are trying to communicate. Tell us some more aboutCarry On Friends, the platform, what your overall objectives are, and how are you using that to kind of break through and helping us in the Caribbean to kind of think differently and pursue our dreams in a bigger way.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Carry On Friends, it started because I wasn’t seeing a lot of myself. This is nothing against all the other Caribbean platforms, but you mature, it’s not about partying as much anymore. I want something that would speak to me because at the time, I was going through something with my career, where people weren’t understanding me in my career. They thought I was – somebody had the nerve to say I was mean and negative. I’m like me, mean, negative? Not because I don’t talk up, laugh up or fren up fren up that means I’m negative. I was looking for resources or other things to support me, and to be quite honest, none of the other platforms would understand me. Not to say there is anything wrong with them, but there is the cultural nuances that as people from the Caribbean have that if you are not Caribbean, you won’t understand why we do certain things.
It first started up as a hybrid, or mixture of everything. As I continued to do it, I was able to focus a little bit more on what I was an expert at. At first, I had a little stuff about family and parenting. I’m a parent, but I can’t do the whole blogging about parenting. Nothing is wrong with that, but that wasn’t my area of expertise. At the time, I had a team of 23 young people that I had to lead. And so, I realized that people always came to me about careers. I was editing resumes left, right and center. Then people always spoke to me about businesses, ideas, and just different things that they wanted to do. I was able to focus on that. Then I realized that because everything is just like you see progression, we don’t get mentors or we don’t know how to have mentors or speak up or figure out – not everyone, but the majority of us, and because of that, there is a knowledge gap. Because I was a paralegal, it was just very easy for me to know okay, this is what you need to do to file a business. Mindful that I can’t give legal advice, I give links that you do the step-by-step – every Department of State has something. People needed resources to help them try to accomplish or achieve certain goals but they just didn’t know how to, and they probably felt more comfortable asking me because I knew their language. They weren’t begging me. They are like “Kerry, you always know how to do this.”
The platform was created to support people in terms of their careers and their business endeavors. Then I moved it from me telling to seeing what’s possible, because the other thing that happened, my daughter was in high school and a lot of the students in high school are minority students. And so, again, going back to you and I, Kinsley, you must be lawyer, doctor, accountant. The school was a technology school. If they are learning all this technology and your parents can only see the traditional job because there aren’t any brown and black people, enough of them doing this type of job for mommy and daddy to say, “Oh, Kinsley did that and he succeeded. You can do it, you can do it.” The podcast was just creating a platform so that other people could see what’s possible, because if you can’t see yourself in a role then you are not going to go for it. Some people, they are trailblazers, and they are like I want to be the first but the majority of us don’t say I want to be the first. They want to know that they can do it and they want to be able to have a benchmark or an example in someone to say that they are doing it. I decided that I wanted to have specifically Caribbean-American entrepreneurs or people successful in their careers, doing something and saying okay this is possible. It wasn’t just to highlight their success, but was to teach the audience something because again, everybody’s going through alternative ways to get information, so how do I make connections, how do I get over this – maybe you could come on and we could talk about the topic of how to get through or find out different ways of success, how do I get over comparing myself to others.
Personal development isn’t something black people, much less Caribbean people embrace as much. I love it because for me, my personal development is like I bought 30+ journals that I write through. I already knew the value, and sometimes I say maybe it’s because I grew up in the US where I find value in personal development, whereas, my counterparts may have just come here, or I don’t know what their reasoning is behind personal development, but it’s there to tell people that this is what we can do if you get here, this is how you can get to X. And so, that was why the blog was started. I haven’t done as much writing, but the next step in the platform is offering career services and entrepreneurship services. I’m still about to launch that: resume, interview preparation, job strategies because sometimes people just want to talk about what they are going through. My friends do this all the time. I’ve gone to jobs where they have given you a career assessment and I can tell you what the career assessment is going to say: you work hard, but the interpersonal level, the bar is all the way down to the bottom. They’re going to tell you what you need to do to fix it. I’ve gone through that process and I’ve had to strategize to figure out how to get to this. I wasn’t always here. I had to do the hard work to say alright, I want to be successful, how am I going to do this? What’s manifesting in 2016 was a strategy that I sat down with my brother-in-law, who literally has a birthday a few days away from me, so he really gets that drive and the ambition, and to say alright, in 2011, this is what I fleshed out and 2016, it’s manifesting. It’s not an overnight. It’s an intentional slow growth, but it can happen if you’re committed to it.
And so, offering services around career development and entrepreneur development, especially if they are in the starting phase or thinking about it, because the downside also, is everyone is saying oh I quit my job and I’ve made money, more money in my side hustle or since quitting my job. Like again, puss and dog nuh have the same luck. While that works for someone else, that may not work for you, so what are your plans? What plans do you have in place to get to that point? Everything you have to go into, you have to go into with a level of intention and expectation of failure. If you don’t anticipate the failure, then you are going to fail. It’s what my bosses do all the time. They go in knowing that there is a level of something that’s going to go wrong, but if something goes wrong, these are the systems that we have in place to try to correct it. It’s not saying “oh, you a badmouth mi ting”, no, it is preparation. It says planning mean nothing or something – but if you don’t put it into action when it’s necessary or reviewing them, it’s worthless, but you have to plan. That is what I’ve seen a lot of successful people do, they plan. They are intentional and they have a plan for something else. They have a plan if failure happens. They have a plan if something happens.
The next level is just officially launching those services. Right now, I have a coming soon page for the C&E*, which I call Career and Entrepreneurship Advisory Connect. It’s launching that, but I’m not rushing to market because I am mindful it’s just me. Part of being successful is being kinder to myself and self-care, so I’m not rushing or trying to compete with anyone else. I do it as my audience needs it. I also need to understand that I’m also an example, so I don’t want people to be burned out and have no time. What is fi mi cya un fi me, so if this is going to happen, it will happen. I have plans in place. For those who signed up because they are interested, I promise you I want to make sure that I don’t take on more than I can chew, and I could dedicate the time that you are trusting me to help you with whatever you’re doing. That is what I’m working on.
Kingsley Grant:I think it’s such a much-needed service, and I think especially people from the Caribbean who are trying to integrate within a new system, whether it’s in the United States, I would say away from the homeland, so it could be United States, it could be Canada, it could be UK. I find that there is a similar idea of a mindset shift and I’m hearing that’s what you’re kind of in a sense helping people to understand, because you can have a beautiful car on the outside, but if it has no engine to run that car, it’s not going nowhere. And so, the mindset as an engine, I believe it has to be also repaired or at least somehow overhauled so that the car can run smoothly. I hear that’s whatCarry On Friendsplatform is really doing, and I really appreciate you taking the time to share that. We are going to ask in a few minutes about how to find you and connect with you online, however you might have, but before we get there, I want to ask you maybe about one lesson that you would say through all these processes that you’ve learned, and you would like to pass on to someone who is possibly thinking of either migrating from the homeland or has migrated, but is trying to figure things out. What’s one lesson you would say here is what I would like to pass on to you that I would think is so important for you to know?
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Vulnerability is key to your growth, because again, culturally, you must tough. I was completely vulnerable in this episode because I’m now comfortable sharing my experience. Even if you weren’t strangers or people I’ve never seen, my friends have said to me I’ve gone through things to help them. That’s really what life is. You’ve gone through some experience in order to help someone else because you are also learning from someone else’s experience, but before you can get to that, you have to be vulnerable. This book I read, it changed my life, Brené Brown, Daring Greatly. It’s leaning into the vulnerability of our experiences and knowing that yes, this doesn’t feel good, it didn’t look like I wanted to and I’m ashamed and I have a lot of stuff. If you lean into it and accept that, but this story, no matter how embarrassing or how it’s not at the level of success that you want it, it’s still your experience so what are you going to do with it. It’s now my competitive advantage that I can use to help me be an authority to say well you know what, teenage pregnancy isn’t good whether you are a genius and you started college at 16, 17. It’s not good, but what do you do with that experience to make success on your own terms. I can speak to that. A lot of people may not want to, but even saying that, Kingsley, it took me – my daughter is almost 19, it took me 19 years to get to that point. It’s still something that I had to learn and just accept and just kind of move with, or the experiences in the workplace. Daring greatly means that understanding that vulnerability is just something that we have to get comfortable with, and until – if you’re fighting that icky feeling like you don’t like it, that is where your growth opportunity is, to say you know what, this is something that I just need to accept because the sooner I accept it, the sooner I can move on to that greatness that really lives in me.
Kingsley Grant:Wow. I was going to ask about a book. You mentioned a great book by Brené Brown. I think he’s a great author. Thanks for sharing that part. I think also that vulnerability is a key, and I think it’s so true, it’s when we’re able to do that – and it’s so hard especially for the Caribbean, but I think you put your finger onto I believe, one of the most important things that we need to possibly learn to do, is to become more vulnerable, because that opens up a whole new world to us as you described so far earlier in the episode. If I was to say to you, Kerry-Ann, maybe as a question that you may be wanted me to ask or I didn’t ask, or there’s something you may want to mention before we wrap things up, what would that thing be? And then also, where can people find out more about you, and to connect with you, what’s the best place?
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Anyone could email me, it’s email@example.com. Also, you could give me a call: 347-875-0531. I’m also on social media at Carry On Friendsor @CarryOnKerry. If you have a question that’s not for social media, just send an email or a text. I usually respond within 24 hours, 24 to 48 hours. I’m really committed because I really feel like in order for the region to grow or for Caribbean people to do great things – I mean a lot of them are doing great things, but the thing about us as a people, when we’re coming up and doing the work, nobody knows you but the minute somebody gets this big position… I keep talking about the lady with Home Depot reach vice president, I don’t know what the title was. I’m like can you imagine, she probably could have used that little pat on the back when she was struggling with her little accent, when she was just like the regional manager. Don’t wait until someone gets a big title to acknowledge them. Acknowledge people where they are because they are doing great work where they are, and that level of acknowledgment that you give them can help push them forward. I mean I did say that success is internal, but having external recognition is also great because it’s that fuel to say man, alright good, yes, I can do it. Because you never know, everyone goes through bad days at work, and it’s that one day that you waan feel like you waan cuss somebody. Knowing that, don’t wait, success in your career or your business shouldn’t be only being in the papers or anything. That’s good, but understanding that where you are right now and the level you are is good enough and you are working to get better.
Any questions you have that’s about your career or an entrepreneur, you could send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or you could send me a text or call 347 – 875 – 0531. That’s also where you could ask about the C&E Advisory Connect which is launching soon. I only have a limited capacity because I said in order to support anyone who signed up for the program, I need to be able to have enough time. Eventually, I’ll feel like it could grow into something else, but for right now, I want to be able to keep it small which is a lesson that I’m teaching Caribbean entrepreneurs. Everything won’t big. Sometimes yuh affi really keep it small to know if this is really, really the viable thing and just grow and move forward with it.
Kingsley Grant:A blast. I mean I really enjoy your vulnerability. I enjoy you telling your story. I could just listen to you – just the way you kind of unpacked this whole thing. It was so cool for me and brought up such important pieces about how the subconscious and how things were drilled into us. That’s right, that is the reason why. Sometimes we don’t recognize and connect the dots. I really appreciate you bringing those in the forefront, and really bringing us a great job of just sharing today for the community. Thank you so very much.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Thank you. It was a pleasure to be on the show. I’m so excited. It felt like oh my God, I just bared all my soul to you and your audience, but I’m at a happy place where I could share that and say you know what, this is just really what it is. I have nothing to be ashamed of because I recognize if I was ashamed of that, then I’m ashamed of my daughter, I’m ashamed of my family, I’m ashamed of everything that I’ve done. I’m not ashamed of those because those are the wins that no one else sees, and they are always going to be mine.
Kingsley Grant:Awesome. Wow, Kerry, this has been such a refreshing episode. I really appreciate you just kind of downloading the way you did. This was so good.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Thank you. It was a pleasure. You brought it out, Kingsley. You brought it out.
Kingsley Grant:Well, I’m just sitting here thinking that you hit on some really key points and I’m thinking that man, sometimes we don’t realize subconsciously that we do things and why we do what we do, and you really were on point, just so much on point. I can’t tell you how much I really appreciate you doing all of that. Thank you for sharing your journey, your obstacles. Again, rightly so, the vulnerability came through and it was so authentic that I believe that made it so rich, rich, rich episode. Thanks.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Thank you for having me. Thank you, and continued success on your show because we need the platform so other people can understand that success is like – it’s like your fingerprint. There is no one way, it’s however you define it. You can have benchmarks. You have examples of okay, that’s what someone did, it inspires you to go forth and do your own thing in your own way, because at the end of the day, we all want to feel like we’ve done something, not so much the money, but like we’ve done something with our lives. I think that drives a lot of us especially Caribbean people, we’re like yuh waan feel like yuh do something, yuh nuh wukliss or yuh have ambition, you did something.
Kingsley Grant:That’s so true. I mean, Kerry-Ann, I tell you, this is a blast. I really think that after listening to a number of your shows, and just to see kind of get a feel of everything before I even reached out to you and stuff like that. I say you know wow, I believe that because you are a host, you understand the nuances of podcast, but also because I think it’s so different because you’re on the other side, but I heard a part of you today that I really hadn’t gotten through your show. To me, it just kind of adds to what you’re doing. Keep on doing what you’re doing and the success of your own show and the interviews, the short ones you’re doing are also great. That’s really good that you do those short – you call them minisodes, I think you call them minisodes? I like those. If you know of anyone who from any other Caribbean countries who possibly has migrated whether it’s to the USA or Canada or UK, and have a story to share, you possibly could say hey you know what, interviewing those people that have achieved some form of success in their own way, or if you know of anyone, please send them my way and I’ll look into it, they’re being a good guest or not.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:For sure. I know quite a few people who have just done wow. They’ve done some really, really amazing things and they’ve had struggles and they are going through it. I’ll definitely look and see which ones and I’ll definitely send them your way. I really appreciate it. I’m so thankful. This is my first interview, and I felt like your questions were so good. They created a space for me to just be authentically me. I appreciate the space that you held for me.
Kingsley Grant:Thank you. Do you know of Leslie Samuel?
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Yes. Actually, Leslie was one of the first podcasts that I discovered. I just love Leslie because every time he’s talking, you could hear him smiling. You hear the smile in his voice. I remember I reached out to him just saying I really want to do a podcast and it’s not going to be about tourism or entertainment, and he did say great because we are much more than that. I’m like exactly. I haven’t been able to catch up too much with his podcast lately.
Kingsley Grant:It’s so funny. The reason I mentioned him, I interviewed him for the show and he was saying to me, “Kingsley, you know what, I’ve done a number of interviews on people’s shows…”, but this one here is so much meaningful for him because I brought him back home. He said – he just went on and on and on, some great value of course that he always does. He said this allowed him to open up and be himself like he’s never been on a show.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Yes, yes absolutely. I feel the same way. It was just like I love my culture, but my culture did this to me but I figured it out. It’s really the space that you held. Maybe I attributed it to you being a licensed therapist. You know how to like just open up and say what’s on your mind.
Kingsley Grant:You did a fantastic job. Thank you, and for your patience as well because I’m so sorry about the earlier – it turned out very good. I’m looking forward to – two weeks from now, it should be out. By moving the show, of course, to iTunes this week so [53:25]because I just wanted to put a few shows and have it there, but I’m going to migrate everything over to iTunes. That should be up there and other platforms. I will let you know when it’s going to be out. I’m looking forward to having it out, and I’m excited. Thank you again and have a fantastic weekend, and taking time out of your busy day to do this. I appreciate it.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Thank you. I can’t wait until it comes out, and I’ll share it because I felt so good doing it. Thank you again, and have a really good procedure tomorrow. I hope everything comes out well. I know what it’s been like, trust me. I know, it could be nervous too even when you don’t expect anything, you just want it to be all good.
Kingsley Grant:Exactly, so thank you for that. I appreciate it.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Thank you again, Kingsley. I will definitely be in touch.
Kingsley Grant:Definitely, Kerry, thank you so much.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown:Alright then, bye-bye.