I recently had tea with my oldest friend, Kathleen Hassan, a respected motivational speaker, author and confidence coach. Growing up in South Weymouth, MA, Kathleen and I were neighbors at age five and remained friends through elementary school. While we travelled in separate groups through high school and college, we reconnected when our then boyfriends (themselves long-time friends) were roommates. Our life parallels from that point on quickly add up: we became engaged to those “boyfriends” then married (in the same church), purchased our first homes (in the same town) and each had two sons in quick succession. Twenty eight years later we remain fast friends, catching up whenever we can in person, by email, or on Facebook. I happily consider Kathleen one of my most loyal friends in the world.
I wanted to ask Kathleen about her enthusiastic quest to refine and reach her goals and her willingness to share her personal story to help people, especially teen girls, be their best.
E: Kathleen, you are my oldest and funniest friend. How am I doing so far?
K: Besides using the adjective “oldest” to describe me – you’re doing great!
E: At what point in your life did you realize you have a gift for helping people see their inner light? And please explain the term “inner light”.
K: When I was four years old, I knew I had a gift to be on stage and entertain. I used to star in garage shows and perform up on my dad’s workbench. I have an old, yellowed newspaper clipping from the time I donated my proceeds from a garage show to the South Shore Hospital. I was a philanthropist long before I could ever spell it! It wasn’t until many years later after embarking on a healing journey towards my own self-discovery that I understood that my purpose in life was to be a light for others. To me the term “inner light” refers to our highest and best self, that source of unlimited potential that is within everyone just waiting to be unearthed.
E: Can you name a couple of ways in which your own adolescence shaped the direction of your career as a motivator and confidence coach?
K: My dad died when I was ten years old and then my mother died when I was sixteen. I grew up hard and fast and made so many mistakes along the way just trying to fit in and looking for love in all the wrong places. But those challenges were the very things that set me on my quest for discovering the purpose for my life. I was on a mission to find out if there was more to life than pain and suffering. Once I discovered that within each of us lies the power to create a life we love, I was on fire to share these universal laws of success. I learned that it is not what happens, but how we respond that determines the quality of our life. I also learned that not everyone was aware of these success strategies and I modeled my career after some of the greatest motivational speakers and thinkers on the planet – the ones who had taught me how to unleash my own potential and shine my inner light. There are others, but uppermost in my mind now are Og Mandino, Jack Canfield and Zig Ziglar.
E: I know you speak in front of corporate groups and other adult-oriented programs, but you have a special focus on programs for teen girls. Why do you feel that group needs special attention?
K: As hard as I had it, growing up without parents, I believe that young women today have so many additional societal pressures on them to be “all that.” They are bombarded constantly in the media with unrealistic images and illusions of perfection. Reality TV has glamorized sex and drugs and over the top consumerism to the point that girls don’t have a clue who they are inside and they get their sense of self externally by having all the right “stuff”. These pressures can lead to drug and alcohol abuse, cutting, eating disorders and sexual promiscuity. The good news is that with a change of attitude and good coaching/therapy, (healing can happen when you stop blaming) these same girls can learn to shine their own inner light!
It’s a beautiful transformation and I feel so blessed to be able to help just one person.
E: Kathleen, I know that family is always uppermost in your mind and I’m happy to note here that you have two sons, each living his dream, working at a job he loves. Undoubtedly your philosophy of positivity and the power of choice helped guide Dan’s career in graphic design and Alex’s being drafted into the Red Sox farm system. Obviously, excellent coaching by their calm and collected Dad, Dave, had a positive effect on your young men as well. My question here is: do you continue the discussions with your sons about how they can consistently use positivity and the law of attraction to realize their goals?
K: Oh my God yeah… to the point where they roll their eyes and say “Mom, I get it!” And the fact that they get it is by far the greatest accomplishment I could ever achieve in my entire lifetime. The lessons that I had to learn the hard way are the things that have helped my sons stand head and shoulders above the crowd. They are both extraordinary young men and I am so incredibly proud to be their mother.
For more about Kathleen or to contact her,
please click: Kathleen Hassan is Your Confidence Coach