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11 Karen Laos and powerful lessons from her cats

by Danielle Woolley & Elizabeth Gearhart
March 7th 2023

If you love talking about cats, but your friends and family are kind of over it. This is the podcast for you. Join your hosts, Danielle Woolley and Elizabeth Gearhart on the Jersey podcasts where e... More

If you love talking about cats, but your friends and family are kind of over it. This is the podcast for you. Join your hosts, Danielle Stray Wooly and Elizabeth Calico Gearhart on the Jersey podcasts where everyday cat lovers share funny stories, challenging situations and ask their questions about cats. All right, let's get right into this episode. Oh, ho, you're such a good boy. You're such a good boy. Okay. I know we should be introducing Karen, but we have to get our priorities straight here. Please introduce us to that adorable kitty cat in your lap. This is Mojo and he is a rescue kitty that came into my life as a redemption of my sweet spas that went missing Back in on September two or 3rd. And it's really cool because Mojo was born the same day that my cat went missing. Oh, Gosh. So I call him my redemption kitty.

He is precious and so sorry to take the limelight away from you. But you just, it's very rare that we can actually catch the cats on one 100 per se. And I've joked a few times about stuff that's happened before and after the recording with my own cats. And, you know, people sometimes believe me because I think we've finally gotten up. So where a cat fell from a shelf at some point anyhow. But on purpose, because he knows I'm used, I'm always working from this spot, so he's used to me going like this and helping him down. But I was busy engaging on the podcast and not paying attention to him. So he just kind of you. So anyway, we'll back it up for a second. Hello, everybody. My name is Danielle Stray Wooly and I'm Elizabeth Calico Gearhart. And we are the Jersey podcasts and we are joined here today with a really fabulous woman that I'm excited to talk to. Um She has some cat stories, but she's also doing some really awesome things in the world. Um Would you like to introduce Karen Elizabeth? Sure, I would love to.

So Karen was on the passage to profit show that I co host with my husband Richard. It's a syndicated radio show and she's empowering women. And the reason I invited Karen to be on this podcast is because she's got so much positive energy and she's so much fun to talk to and she has really great ideas also for communicating and making your point get taken the way it's supposed to. Her wealth of knowledge is profound. And so I, but I really just want to have fun with her today because she's a cat person too, I guess. Yes, let's have fun. Let's talk about cats. Let's do it. So before we dive into a couple of stories, um and I almost want to say lessons just from, you know, just the pre information we were chatting about. They're not just stories but some lessons. I think that people benefit hearing. Um I want to just check in because this is our, our stick. We like to check in and see how is Max going, maybe just a short version of how things have been going on with your kitty cat, Max Elizabeth.

I will keep it short and sweet. So I had a major breakthrough. As I told you, Danielle, I managed to get a stool sample, which I've been trying to do. I locked him in the sunroom with a ton of food and water and didn't let him out, gave me the stool sample. So people who haven't been listening are probably tuning in right now. Like, what did I just get myself into? So I took that to the vet. So we don't know why he keeps scratching his face. He was so miserable and throwing up all the time. I just quit all his medicines except for the one that is supposed to be the anti scratch medicine. And I know he had a really bad stomachache this morning. He ate like four bowls of wet cat food. So his stomach had really been bothering and he's walking around purring and happy again and everything. So sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. So anyway, we'll see what this comes back with. And then I have a friend whose sister is a vet and she said, bring her to my sister if you don't get the answer. So I said, I just want to see what the, the test for parasites and the feces comes back as, and if I don't get an answer, I'm taking her to your sister, which will be that number five.

But that's okay. Yeah. No. And through this, this um I want to say group, but we have a community. So I guess that's a group but just through having these conversations, being able to connect with other people and just talking out loud of what we're trying or not trying to, you know, the cats, so many different things can happen to so many different types of cats and one thing men at work for the other. So if we could just continue to connect people, share our experiences that are going on, um That's a good day in my book because we're helping inform people and saying we're still waiting, we might have somebody that listens and says, oh gosh, I had that happen and here's exactly what I did. So if that's, you can go to our website, the Jersey podcast dot com and send us a message or a call or a text. And with that, I know I'm going fast cause I'm just really excited to spend the rest of the time talking with Karen. So Karen, welcome again. Um We had quite a few things that we thought would be great to talk about and we like to kind of go with the flow and just see where the conversation unfolds. But I really would love for you to share more about what you touched on early on already about the day that your cat went missing.

So I know there's a little bit of a lesson tied to that as well. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I honestly, I don't think I've cried so much in my entire life and it was during the pandemic. So it was also just one of those times where you want to have things solid in your life, you don't want to have more change. And it was the weirdest fluke because she would always go out on the balcony. No big deal. And it was one of those nights where I was so fixated on my work, sitting on the couch with my computer. My husband was watching TV, show with his headphones on. And about an hour later, I was thinking, where's spas? And oftentimes she would jump down to the balcony below every once in a while. And so I would, I figured, oh, I'm just gonna go call the tenant, go down and get her and nobody could find her in the entire building and the great thing about the building where I lived at that time in San Francisco is that there was such a sense of community and it was the quintessential San Francisco experience where cats are kind of roaming around in there.

There was an internal balcony as well. So, really fun community. And she went missing for the, yeah, I looked for her for two weeks, day and night and it was, it was really traumatic and I honestly, I think like any of us when we're going through something emotionally, it feels like it's never gonna end when you're in it. Yeah. Well, I gotta ask you, Karen, did she have a microchip? She did. So you may still get her back. How long has it been? Three years? Oh, well, maybe not because I had cats go missing for months. One cat went missing for eight months and showed back up when we were moving, we moved to a new house and he got out and he didn't come back. And then Thanksgiving, my son came from, back from college. We were running this house and he and my husband were cleaning up the backyard and he came, he said, Mom Kushi came back. I said, oh, come on, don't do that to me. That's too painful. Stop it. And he's like, no, he really is back and there he was after eight months.

But, yeah, I had a similar experience too and I was younger. So I don't remember exactly how long it was. It felt like forever. Right. Like I thought I was gone for good. Um, had popped out of the screen. Um, the storm window, I guess wasn't like, snapped. Right. And just was able to make it through out there. But I believe he was not fixed because back then I didn't know any better and I was a kid, my parents didn't know any better and just the middle of the night, similar story to what I was talking about about another cat that found me, but I had my window cracked open and I just heard, heard him crying down the street like in the middle of the night. So he went out and he was actually bad boy because I'm pretty sure he went out. He had his fun got with all the ladies and then just said, alright, I'm bored, I'm gonna go home now and just kind of rolled up in the middle of the night and came back. So. Well, I think she was living somewhere else and eating because when he came back on Thanksgiving day, he ate like three cans of food. He was starving. So yeah, and then he stayed with us after that. I still have him. That's so amazing. I mean, you hear about these stories of cats disappearing and then coming back.

Yeah, but yeah, but I'm glad that you have a microchip though because with the rescue that I volunteer with, we've had instances where we thought we were rescuing a cat didn't have a chip here, wasn't tipped, it didn't have a collar. We did the usual posting online and checking with all the shelters and nothing. And then somehow someone connects us to them and says, oh, my cat was missing. But how is it missing if it didn't have all those things on it? Like I really, really wish that everybody had the accessibility to get my chips put on all the cats because we want to reunite them, right? Because I had another cat, a black cat that again when we were moving, escape and she was living under a woman's porch and the woman was feeding these cats a lot like you do Danielle with cats and she finally was able to catch her and took her to the vet. Same vet I used because it wasn't very far and found the microchip and they called me up and said we have your cat. I was like, you gotta be kidding. Yeah, I bought my own microchip reader because I'm so nervous that when I do trapping because I tried to just focus on my individual like area now because I was getting too much.

I was getting burnt out by being all over the place. Um, but I'm just worried that I'm going to trap somebody else's cat and get them fixed. And also I have my own scanner. I bought it on Amazon. I keep it in my car or my book bag, depending on. Yeah, I guess what we're saying, Karen is, you never know. I mean, three years is a long time. Yeah. I mean, honestly, I feel like it was a representation of other things in my life that I was trying to control. And it's really interesting how let's talk about that because I know this, that piece is devastating. Right. And my heart hurts for you a little bit. But I like to think something happened greater which, you know, you can share a little bit about that. Yeah. Absolutely. Well, it was a definitely dramatic experience. So that I looked at what is this really about? And even my husband who was the most kind, compassionate and empathetic person after probably a month, he said, honey, it's a cat like I know you loved her. Um But I want to encourage you to move on and it was, it was funny because it's not really funny.

But, you know, it was one of those, like, I, I felt the same thing, like, what did he say? Let me talk to him. I know. Exactly. Well, and that's what's so funny is that he rarely ever says anything firm like that. He's so easy going. And so I was thinking what? And I was kind of piste off, but it did make me look at what that is the root, what is the root issue here? So I really wanted to figure out from a personal growth perspective, what was going on and without getting into a lot of detail, it really was about, hey, I, there was some representation of control, which is another issue in my life. But the redemption part which I find so fascinating is that because I volunteer sometimes at a cat rescue and they will tell me when they have kittens in the house, you want to come and socialize with kittens. I mean, what could be better than that? We have 16 kittens. Can you come and hang out with them? So I I went hung out and that was a couple of months later.

And of course, that's when Mojo came into our lives. And it was really funny because Chris, my husband goes serious, another cat that you're bringing home because we would foster a fair amount. Let me be clear. I would foster a fair amount. And when I came home with Mojo, he had never experienced a cat that was so affectionate and that in part is the redemption to me about the ability to grieve. A traumatic event, be able to release it and heal from. It allows you to be open to other and new things. And so Mojo is so much more affectionate than Spaz was. He lets me pick him up all the time. He's very pliable and he's so much a better fit for me than spas was even. And you know, at the time, I would have like hearing myself talk now, you know, at the time I would have been mad at myself. Like, how can you betray spas and all of that?

But I really believe that he is. Yeah, he's like this redemption kitty. And I'm not, it's funny every once in while I go. Are you because he has some of spas qualities? So then of course I go spas. Are you in there? Well, I think your point about being able to put something in the past to allow yourself to move forward and to be able to recognize in yourself that yes, it was traumatic and it was horrible, but it's passed in my life. It cannot, I cannot let it affect my life. Now, that's, that's really important. And there's a book that was on the best seller list for a long time probably still is. It's a nonfiction book. The Body Keeps The Score by Bethel Vanderkaay. Did you read that? I didn't read it but it's on my, on my list. I, it's about trauma. I read the whole book and then he actually, he's in Boston. So we actually went and saw him that we went to a workshop where he was the main speaker and we were talking to one of the people that works with him.

And the guy said you read the whole book and I was like, well, yeah, not all at once because it's, it's really intense. But it does talk about how trauma affects your life. And so when I saw the title I thought, oh, it's going to be another thing, like, if you don't eat enough vegetables your whole life you're going to, you know. But no, it's about how, how trauma gets trapped in your body and ways to get it out of your body so that you can live a better life and not keep having these things haunting you from the past. And that was really brilliant that you were able to do that and move forward from losing spas. Yeah. And what I love about the fact that you, you took that as your takeaway and this actually aligns with stuff I'm working through is what jumped out to me is the control part of like, you know, I can do X Y Z because I have to, you know, make sure the cat is okay first and just kind of applying it to my own life or we couldn't go on vacation because who's gonna take care of the cats outside? Like at the end of the day, they're cats like they're not helpless. So then how much of that was making about me? Like, oh, they need me or I have to be there for them. Like, no, no, no.

I finally got to the point where I'm not that special, the cat will move on and find someone else if they truly need to. You know what I mean. Yeah. Well, that's exactly it, isn't it? I mean, my husband's what, at first when I was mad at him for saying that I, what I worked through and in conversations with him, it really was about his observation about me letting it totally consume my life and not do anything else, including some of the responsibilities and that, that is really where the heart of it came from. And I do think that, you know, I know we're talking about cats today but anything that gets a hold on us such that we're not able to be free and live our best lives truly as cliche as that may sound. But it's really true, those things that hold us back that get in our way and that we every day have a choice when we get to choose how we act, how we think, how we feel. And I think that's also a really important thing to remember is that we all have the power of self agency.

Yes. And that's part of why I stepped back from some of the rescue work too because you hit it. It was consuming me um to the point that it's affecting my health, which is actually a good set up to our next guest. So the next person coming on is talking about how she took burnout through her nonprofit that she was doing through cats and how she put it into other things. So my focus has shifted to like I'll do what I do best and Elizabeth has teased me a few times, but now I kind of own it that I'm techy. Um So that's where I can make a bigger impact without driving myself as crazy. Um At least for the time being doesn't mean that I won't be out there trapping with everybody again soon. But for now I can help with social media, I can help with fundraising. I can help with the networking piece and I'm still making an impact and when it comes to the cats in our lives and the guilt we feel because maybe they die on us unexpectedly or we don't feel like we did enough for them. Yeah. Well, there's, there is a woman that we want to have on the show and I know Danielle, we said we weren't gonna talk about future people because in case it doesn't work out, you just get too excited.

But yeah, she's gonna come on, I, I spoke with her. Yeah, she wrote a book and she has a severely autistic son who communicates with her and is hooked into the universe in a very special way. And she's very spiritual. And he said to her, all you have to do is love me. And when you think, yeah, you don't have to live my life for me. You don't have to fix me. You just have to love me because I came down like this. And when you think about the cats in our lives. I mean, they really are the royalty of cat hood. Right. Mine are. Anyway, I mean, they have a nice warm place to sleep. They have really good food. They have people that love them. Like, you know, the, and Max is sick and I'm doing everything I can for him, but in the end he's gonna, we're gonna have to help him figure it out himself. Right. Yeah. So there's another teaser. Heidi Room is going to be a guest coming up soon to just have to work it out in the schedule. Yeah, you'd love her, Karen. She is amazing. She, you know, you should connect with her because she's another person that's really empowering.

But so I think that it's losing a cat is always really hard, but there's always a reason, I guess for everything, I mean, some people think there's always a reason for everything other people think that it's totally self controlled by, like, totally we decide how our lives go. And I don't know, I think maybe it's somewhere in between. What do you guys think? I, well, I have a really strong faith specifically. So I really believe that everything is orchestrated by God. So that, that's really my thought of. Okay. You know what? That's also part of my, there's a comfort to me in my faith to know that, you know, there is a bigger, bigger force in control and that helps me. Although I'm not really good at releasing control. Let's be honest here. But I do my best and yeah, I think what's, what I think is fascinating about, I think just at this conversation is that there is definitely a theme of loss for me related to cats, but it's always related to something bigger because I had mentioned our building that had cats galore in it.

But every one of them was owned by a person where they would go home to. But there was one cat, there was a woman in our building that was pretty definitely mentally unstable and she was, but she was fostering cats. And i it's funny looking back, she really wanted us to adopt this one and we weren't ready at that point. And then of course, then that cat, she didn't, she didn't necessarily, she left her door open all the time. So based this cat would roam anywhere in the building and it ended up spending most of its time at our place. And then we fell in love with this cat and this was over a period of about three years. And she finally said, well, why don't you have him? So she gave him to us, but we never signed anything. And then she caused a big ruckus to the point where it was, it was terrible. She was saying that we, she told all the neighbors, we stole her cat. She put up signs all over the building saying that we've kidnapped him.

And, I mean, you know, now it sounds so funny. We were, when you're in it, it's a lot. Yeah. When you see signs plastered all over the building, she put a picture of her cat with Rascal was his name, a black cat. And she put pictures all over up saying they abandoned, like, basically they took him away from his best friend, this whole thing. And I remember the day As we were, but, but we were in this control Phase two, like we're not gonna let her have him back. So then we kept him, we basically locked him in our place and he was miserable because he was so used to roaming the entire building. And I remember the day when I'm embarrassed to say, but I do think it's pretty funny yet another day, I will say it was not the first time that it was three in the morning. And I climbed up on the roof of the building to look to see if she was, if he was in there. Because at this point, he had escaped and then she was holding him back.

And I'll never forget when I was about to get, leave the our house. My, my, my husband is so kind. He looked at me and he said, honey, and I had my hand on the door ready to get to go three in the morning because I just want to ask you, is this the people that we want to be. Mm It really stuck. So it depends on what kind of mental state I'm in. So I might have been like, yes, in this moment I do. Or it could be, maybe if it wasn't three AM, it could be more of thank you for, thank you for that input. And then, you know, if you would have said yes, I'm going to do this. You would have climbed up there and fallen off. Like, exactly. Well, it's funny when we got married, I remember saying to my husband, honey, what do you want our home life to be like? And he just threw out, I wanted to be peaceful, safe and fun. And that became our couple home life values. And so when he asked me that question, he followed it up by saying, does this meld with our value of peace?

Oh God. That was talking about stab in the heart of I was so mad because I wanted to go up there and see like, where did she still head back? And I will tell you when he said that I went to bed the next day I woke up and we went out to lunch and this was a period of months that we were back and forth with her and we had lunch and I, we both looked at each other and said, oh, what a relief. We're so sad and we never knew what happened to him. But we're so sad that, I mean, so relieved that it was over. Yes. So there goes that control theme again. Exactly. Exactly. So then tell me how, because I think you said you have two cats now. Right? Yes. Yes. So tell me, how did we get there? Yes. So, Callie is my calico. I told Chris, seriously Callie, like we couldn't get more creative. I named my cat Kelly to go ahead and at the time because I was traveling a ton.

So for those who haven't heard that story yet, actually wound up being my, my husband's cat, she played me to get into my house. She followed me home from the trail when I was on a walk or a jog or something and um traveling a ton back and forth to California. So they were like, oh, what are you gonna name it? And my neighbor saw me feeding it like I had those little mini bananas like after I worked out what they were called. So he just named her banana. And I'm like, no, I don't like that name. And so we named her Callie. Um, and once cli and when she came into my house though, she became my husband's cat, just gravitated to him, loved him to the point where like if his car was coming down the street, she come flying down the stairs because she knew it was him. I would come in and she'd be like, oh, hey, you know, like a little cat. Yeah. So our calico Checker. So if you look at this on Instagram or youtube or anywhere you can see she's in the general's uniform because she ran the house when she was like, she had a checkerboard on the top of her head. So we called her Checkers, but I would call her Chex mix and if a commercial came on TV, with Chex mix, she would look at it with this look on her face like what the heck do you want with me?

What's so funny. So cute. So cute. Yeah. So my, my husband, he's very kind. I make most of the decisions in the household because I have the strongest personality. So when he speaks up, I say okay, I relent. All right, Callie, it is. So Callie and Spas were sisters and they came to me through a rescue, the rescue organization that I volunteered with. So when, so those two were very connected. So when spas went missing was actually interesting to me because they would sleep together and everything. They were so bonded. And it was really sad when at first it was only though about this is the surprising part. It was only a few days, Kala, we would go out on the balcony and just look out and it was sad. She's like, where's spas? Spas? But it was funny that within a few days she was just like, okay, this is, this is my life and then Mojo came into our lives about almost want to say a year later.

And at first she wasn't happy about it, of course, as trying to integrate cats in the household. But now they're really fun friend, they grew each other and sleep together. So it's really great that they're both together like that. That's great. And it's interesting cause I'm almost picturing like a chess game, like one cat's moving in other ones going out. There's another lesson coming from here and there's another net need met goodness. And it reminds me too of like how we wound up with four cats. We said we would never have more than one. Um But it's because, you know, my heart was broken because our cat was sick. Um Callie wound up passing a couple of years ago. I kept saying last year on a couple other episodes, but the pandemic has been 10 years long. It feels like it was a couple years ago. Um And so then I also had to traumatic things come up for me personally. So I was looking for something like, okay, I'm gonna volunteer more. It's going to be the way I help and then we accidentally air quotes. Um, foster failed. Um We had a couple successful fosters, but I just grew so attached to these and it was just those things where if I hadn't been there that day, the cat would have died.

And then, you know, if I hadn't brought him in and, and even went away for a couple of days. So my husband took over and foster duties and he had, um, a wound on his back that had gotten infected and opened up. So we think he had gotten attacked before we saved him. Um, and it just split back open. So I'm like, oh, he can't be adopted. Now, he's got to stay in a silly little cone and we just grew so attached to him that we wanted, keeping him and the other cat as well. Um, so they're now off the streets, it freed up two more spots in the other foster location. So they were able to go back to the same spot and able to bring in more cats. And one of them we found out too was very sick and probably wouldn't have made it. So it's just like, it's something I can almost see myself getting addicted to doing. And that's why I had to stop because it's like, oh, what's one more? It's one more. I think we have like a good balance now. Like I just couldn't handle more than four, especially with the outdoor strays that we take care of. two. Oh, yeah. That's a lot. That's a lot. Well, I remember after spazz went missing about a month later I started, I was just, again just in air quotes looking at the rescues in the neighborhood and found this beautiful.

I love Siamese cats and it was a Lynx point darling little kitten. So I went, of course, just to check it out. And that was another really powerful, very short lesson within two weeks, took the cat home. But also I had never experienced a cat With this much energy because even in the room where you go and meet and greet the cat in the shelter, he was, she was jumping like eight ft in the air trying and scratching at the door, trying to get out. But then when I would hold her, she would per, but then she would hide and then she would jump and I was told that she was a stray. So she was a feral. But yeah, exactly. And so we only had her for two days and I tell you, we put all the barricades you could imagine in place to make sure that she was not going to get out. And then there was this little window that had one, I couldn't believe it. And it was again another four in the morning.

My husband comes into the bedroom and he goes, he had gotten up to the bathroom. He goes, I, I think I saw something out the window and I said, no, we've barricaded everything and it's just that little window way at the top and I couldn't believe that she got through that little slat and then there, she was all of a sudden we turn on the light she looks in, I run out on the balcony which is a long shared balcony And I'm running, you know, frantically, half asleep about to get her and then I see her put her paws down like she's gonna jump, she jumps down like a 30-40-foot lands on the cement, but like a cheetah. It was actually fascinating from an animal person perspective to see her just land. There was that split second of pause where she got her around it like she landed right on all four paws and then took off. And man, I just, I was beside myself, another one of the situations and then I'm out there trying to find her.

And two weeks later, somebody found her, this was through the app next door which I find so great of the neighbors and somebody found her and I went to, I was so excited, but they said she appears to be injured and then I took her to the vet and they said that she had a seizure and then we put her to sleep. I mean, it was just also fast. But again, another, another experience that you can't control things. And I don't know, I think I was just not feel guilty about it because you did all that you could possibly do. And God willing, you know, we know when we get a cat, we're gonna outlive it. God willing. I mean, you know, and so we're never prepared Right. I know. Well, I mean, and this is another thing too for, for anybody listening was one of the lessons I learned from that experience. There's multiple more emotional lessons. But the very practical lesson is when I, of course I'm emotional. Like, yes, I want to say this is during COVID.

So I couldn't go in, the technician comes out on the street and he says I need your approval for a $600 X ray or whatever it was. And I kind of, uh you know, it was sort of those okay. But then after, when the vet called me and I just kind of said, well, because she said, well, she had a seizure, her back is broken. I'm like, what are my options here? And I, at that time, I wish I had asked that question earlier because they didn't tell me until after the X ray that I paid for. Not to say that it was about, about money. But it was more the principle that, wow, if she was already in that situation, I don't think I would have paid for the X ray to say, hey, like, let's put her to sleep if that's the best course for her. Now, on the other hand, if I hadn't paid that money, I wouldn't have known that her back was that messed up. So there's a lot of things you could say to that.

But I did feel like if I, if that ever happened again. I would ask first, what are the options rather than just somebody saying, you know, I need your financial approval. Well, and we talked about some of that kind of stuff earlier on a show where like somebody was told to do all these drastic things to our cat to keep it alive and just like, no, I'm not going to do all that. And our cat lived anyway. So it's, it's kind of like cats have an incredible ability to heal themselves. And I think we forget that and we do need to treat them sometimes. But like your husband says, it is a cat and I, when checkers was 14 or 15, they wanted to cut her open and remove Some lump on her, a tiny little spot on her lung. And I'm like, no, she's an older cat that would be torture to her. She wouldn't understand what you're doing and she doesn't really need it. And, you know, so she lives till 20 and she's miserable and hates me the rest of her life.

Right. So, and she lived to 16. So, yeah, I mean, you loved the heck out of her too and she had to pay her royal and she loved her life. She got to eat whatever she wanted. She got to go out in the backyard and sit in the sun, she got to terrorize the other cats and put them in their place. So it can't happen. Yeah. And I mean, we are having a great time. We so appreciate you being here, Karen. But before we wrap up, um I would like to have you share a little bit about what you're doing in the world because part of what our show is about to is highlighting people doing awesome things or making a difference or nonprofit. They're really, you know, that's near and dear to their heart. So maybe just connect with everybody a little bit, tell them how they couldn't connect with you and stop babbling. How's that? You're not babbling? I'm I'm a recovering Rambler myself. Not that you were rambling, but that is one of the things that I help people with is how to stop rambling and get to the point.

But I will say that when I was just a story when I was six years old, it's really what is, what started me on my journey that my dad gave me a few dollars at a flea market. And he said, go have fun but never pay full price. And I had no idea that you could negotiate. So that's really when my love for negotiating was born and he always taught me that you can ask for whatever you want and believe that you can get it. So that was really a powerful lesson in my life. But then at the same time, I had this, This other experience where based in my parents' household that where I grew up that my mom was very much submissive to my dad to the point where she lost her own voice. So I had to navigate that throughout my life. And so that brings me to where I am now, which is being on a mission to eradicate self doubt in 10 million women in the next 10 years. So based on some of my story and the mixed messages that I received as a kid and just how so many people, particularly women are missing opportunities because of one thing we don't speak up.

And so I'm a communication expert and confidence cultivator as I like to call myself specifically to help women with how they come across in their presence, but also in their message. So I'm focusing on that right now and it's, it's really exciting and if anybody wants to learn more, I've got a variety of resources, definitely lots of free stuff front on my website. And probably the thing that most people have given me feedback on is my freebie on there called nine words to avoid and what to say instead. So that sounds good. Yeah, it's really, it's gotten a lot of good feedback. So my website is Karen Laos dot com and that's K A R E N L A O S dot com. So thanks for asking and we'll put that in the show notes too. So you were such a pleasure to chat with. I feel like we could talk all day. Um, but not too bad. You're on the west coast Karen. I want to go have coffee when you come out to the east coast. You have to let me know we have to sit down together.

I know I do and, well, there's other routes of mine there because I went to college right outside of Phillipsburg, New Jersey. So definitely lots of friends, lots of, lots of community there. So I will definitely let you know Elizabeth when I'm there. And next time we go to wine country, I'll look you up. Yes. Yes. Sounds good for me. Alright, guys. Thank you everybody for tuning in and we'll check you out next time. Thanks so much for listening. Let's keep the conversation going. Give this podcast a rating so other cat lovers can find it, connect with the Jersey podcasts on social media or visit the Jersey podcasts dot com and leave a message, sharing a story or question about cats. Thanks again for joining us and we'll catch you in the next episode.

11 Karen Laos and powerful lessons from her cats
11 Karen Laos and powerful lessons from her cats
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