In honor of Women’s History Month, I want to share a story about a woman that was my very special to me, even if she won’t have her name in a book one day.
“Every idea I have is crap! I’m not very creative with these sorts of things.” Really, I’m not. I’ve been a salesperson almost my entire adult life. I’ve said it before – I’m not a marketing person. I do not come up with the branding, the slogans, or the big ideas that get companies noticed. I’m the gal that is really good at regurgitating good messaging and sales pitches, but not the one that actually creates them.
I read through the potential business name’s from my journal as I sat across from her in the wood-panel lined conference room of the SCORE office. I had researched things that had to do with love and relationships, like goddesses, flowers, and places. I tinkered with puns and turns of phrases. Nothing I came up with sounded cool. But I read each of them all off to Ann, my business mentor. Then I put my face in my hands and shook my head in disgust. “These all suck!” When I looked at her, she just smiled at me.
She asked, “What do you really want to say? What do you want people to feel like when they come to you for help?”
I thought on this for a bit, and I said that I wanted to solve problems, listen, goal setting, provide accountability and new perspectives, and to give them a place they would feel welcome. A place that was open, to a person that was open-minded.
“Let’s pick out 5 keywords from that,” she suggested.
I picked out focus, connection, comfort, and friendship. Then as we talked about what those things really mean to me, I talked about how friends feel comfortable, they can provide new perspectives or connections which are like new doors being opened for you, how opening your mind sexually is like opening a new door, you’re opening your doors…open the doors. And there it was – Open the Doors Coaching.
Ann was the first person, besides my parents and closest confidants, that I shared my idea with. She feels like was the first outsider to really believe in me. I was not sure how a SCORE mentor would deal with having a sex coach as a mentee, but she and I had a great working relationship. I respected and trusted her, and she respected and supported me. She thought I had a great idea and wanted me to succeed.
She helped me consider new ideas. She helped me with brainstorming. She built up my confidence by helping guide me through the early phase of establishing my business, deciding how to structure my business, how to get my business license, where to find classes on entrepreneurship, and organizations I should network with. Most of all, she believed in me.
Ann passed away from cancer this last weekend. I had been meaning to send her an email the last few weeks to let her know how I was doing. But I took the gift of the present and I put it on a shelf thinking I had more time. I regret not taking 5 minutes to type a simple hello, I’m great. I should have said thank you for everything, hope you’re well…but I didn’t. And now I can’t.
I can, however, move forward and grow my business, or “build my empire” as I confidently said to her early on in our meetings, because that would make her proud. I knew in life that she was proud of me as a woman, as an entrepreneur, and as someone who wanted to get out and change the world one orgasm at a time.
Ann Whitty was an entrepreneur, a coach, a mom. She was sweet and kind. She was supportive and honest. She left a positive impact on me, as I’m sure she did on hundreds of other people in her time on this plane of existence.
Rest in power.
“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so as long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.” Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
Kristen Thomas is the Owner and Head Coach of Open the Doors Coaching, LLC. She helps people nurture their love lives as a relationship, dating and sex coach. Follow Kristen via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Need help with your sex life or relationship? Striking out on dating sites? Looking to host a private group event or workshop with her as the coach? Email her at Kristen@openthedoorscoaching.com. Of course, comments and questions about this or any other blog are welcome.