The hardest thing about moving towards your goals is often taking the first step. For most of us that just involves “doing something”, but for one woman it meant overcoming a lifelong addiction.
I’d love to introduce you to Kerri Anne Kedziora from Canada. She messaged me explaining that she had been a hopeless, homeless alcoholic who had been fighting her alcohol addiction for 27 years.
You can hear my full conversation with Kerri on my weekly podcast Goals Do Come True. I was intrigued to find out and share with you how Kerri made such a major breakthrough.
A major breakthrough
Kerri: “I realised that I really needed to start treatment. I knew I had to do every single thing I possibly could to be as healthy as I could so I tried every activity they had going from yoga to painting. I was doing anything I could to open up my mind. I left treatment realising that the sky is not the limit; I could have the whole universe if I wanted it. I set out to create the life that I was, in my opinion, destined to live.”
Kerri showed an amazing level of determination to make this shift. Many people might have stopped there, but she went on to set herself even bigger goals. Kerri went on to share that she had worked part time as a cleaner for more than 20 years, mainly to fund her alcoholism, but what she chose to do next is inspiring.
Kerri’s next step
Kerri: “I decided to become financially independent. I had the skills so I created my own cleaning business which now employs 34 people. Now I’m working on my next big goal which is running a six-week online programme teaching new cleaning businesses how to raise the standard of care and cleaning on vacation rentals. It shows them how to avoid the mistakes that I made in the first two years of business; they can make two years’ progress in six weeks.”
That in itself has been a big achievement, but Kerri had built momentum and clearly did not want to stop there.
Kerri: “All of what I did was to fund one bigger goal that I’d had since I was 20 years old, and that is to open a resort where people with disabilities can bring their whole family (grandparents, children, friends). We’ll have ceiling track lifts from the bed to the bathroom, easy access to care, perhaps some care staff available so that mum or dad can hop into town for a night out without worrying. I believe we’re within two years of making this happen, and all of this is because of the goals that I set myself and the belief that I could do it.”
What really grabbed my attention with Kerri is the relatively short time frame in which she made these major life changes. Seven years isn’t a long time, and to go from being at rock bottom (homeless and addicted to alcohol) to the verge of what we call a big hairy audacious goal (BHAG) is incredible. Kerri’s drive shows that it doesn’t matter where you start, you just need to start. Kerri lost 90 per cent of her revenue during Covid-19, but even with that setback she kept moving forward towards her goal.
I always encourage people to write their goals down and revisit them. I’m interested to know what process works for Kerri.
Kerri: “My brain is pretty scattered, ideas come and go. I have five different notepads and I write in whichever one is closest to me. I might not look at it again but I believe in the power of writing it down because that makes it real to your psyche. More than anything I speak my goal out loud. I speak it and speak it and speak it and I tell the people around me all about my goals and how I will attain them. I don’t fear ridicule.”
What to do when your ideas are met by criticism
When someone chooses to make big shifts in life there will always be people who are closed off to their new ideas. Envy and jealousy, and all of those unfortunate emotions, are there and that can make it more difficult for the person who is challenging how their world is and choosing to make it different. I love the fact that Kerri carried on regardless of what other people thought.
Kerri: “I think that anybody who has negative feelings about what I’m doing is fighting their own battle in life. I hope that when they are triggered by those feelings they recognise them and it might help them take a step forward in their own life. I don’t intend to brag about what I do but you know what? I overcame a 27-year addiction with alcohol.
Everybody should celebrate when they grow as a human being and I want to teach people to do that, to help empower people to be proud of their accomplishments because none of us are perfect. We all have issues.”
A helping hand
I loved Kerri’s positivity; when you have a goal it helps you to keep moving forward rather than focusing on what’s around you and feeling stuck. I think a lot of young people could benefit from Kerri’s example, and from goal-setting education.
Kerri: “Goals keep me on the right path. There’s a generation of children out there who have been almost forgotten by their parents or their parents don’t have the ability to help them. I want to help them. I employ them.
The very first person I hired with mental health issues came to their interview, sat down and told me that she had bipolar personality disorder. She’s been with the company for years and her life has evolved. She’s a single mum with four children. She’s not perfect, but we’ve learned how to work with her to empower her.
It’s important to be kind, caring and set good examples. We love to work with people who need a hand up. We want to show them how to set and reach their own goals.”
Kerri’s passion and commitment will take her far. We learn from other people’s experiences and resilience but too often we become caught up in our own limited thinking. Kerri had one final golden nugget to share.
Kerri: “Anything that anybody else has ever done, you can do. You just need to find the way. Don’t allow yourself to live in imposter syndrome thinking everyone else is better than you or that you can’t do it. You are worthy of anything you desire; know there’s a way to get there. Keep asking. Keep looking. Take a step forward every day.”
Kerri has also written a book Powerful Secrets Guaranteed To Motivate Your Cleaning Staff.
If you’ve been inspired by Kerri’s story and want to go after your goals and get the most out of life I’d love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org