Claire Darr: “Celebrate the wins for people”

Celebrate people. Celebrate the wins for people. I’ve found it an amazing way to turn a situation around for someone. Typically no matter what has happened or what the person has done there is a win in there if you are willing to authentically look for it. I say authentically because no-one wants a cheesy […]

Thrive invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

Celebrate people. Celebrate the wins for people. I’ve found it an amazing way to turn a situation around for someone. Typically no matter what has happened or what the person has done there is a win in there if you are willing to authentically look for it. I say authentically because no-one wants a cheesy cheerleader who is shallow and just saying something to blow smoke. If you can look for the true win the person possesses and show it to them it can transform a day or an experience and I’ve found help the person to start dreaming of better things that lie ahead.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place.

As a part of our series about how busy women leaders are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Claire Darr.

Claire Darr is a magnetic light and a force of positivity with a laser focus to make a huge impact on those she reaches. She is a mother, wife, daughter, friend and motivator for transformation and change. A reformed transactional attorney, turned executive recruiter and now transformational coach, she is on a never-ending epic life pursuit to encourage as many people as possible to thrive and enjoy this incredible chance we all have at life.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I’ve been many things over the years, lifeguard, bartender, fitness instructor, international transactional attorney, executive recruiter and transformational coach. My lifelong dream as a child was to be an attorney and I have 2 law degrees (one in the UK and one in the U.S.) to prove it. I thought law was the vehicle to execute my purpose of helping people change their lives for the better. Ever evolving, I figured out it wasn’t the best way to have a meaningful and direct impact on lives and made the transition to executive recruiting with a goal to change lives and families through finding them amazing employment opportunities. The onset of Covd-19 and its far-reaching impact on the economy and the recruiting market in March of this year showed me that it was time to continue evolving in order to reach people, as many people as possible. I took to social media with my recent and very personal story of transformational health change with a goal of giving this gift to as many people as possible. Through encouraging people to focus on their physical health and emotional and financial wellbeing I have seen immediate and direct impact in lives improving for the better. To date, I’ve helped over 80 people lose weight, regain their lives and start to thrive (all since March) and it has no end in sight!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?

Since the pandemic began, I have had the pleasure of being able to couple my executive recruiting business with my transformational coaching practice. I had a particular person I was trying to help with weight-loss and selfcare. She had recently lost her well-paying corporate position due to Covid-19 and found herself in tough place. She was balancing, looking for an opportunity to continue supporting her young family while also knowing that she had to start prioritizing her health and wellbeing. Finances were an issue on both fronts and I could see one was dependent on the other. She told me that she couldn’t possibly begin to think about taking care of her health and physical wellbeing until she found a new opportunity but this was in late March/early April and opportunities were not growing on trees. I knew she would land that great opportunity at some point and I wasn’t worried about that, I was more worried about her physical health and I knew that one directly impacted the other. Within weeks, I was able to secure her what has turned out to be her dream job. More money, a better long-term career opportunity and a better situation for her to be a present and loving parent. Within a week of that she embarked on tending to her health and wellbeing. Now 5 months later she is in impeccable physical health and shape. She’s looking and feeling better than she has since college and that confidence has changed her working life and family life for the better. It really is the perfect example of how intertwined our lives can be and I love that I was able to have an impact on every facet of her life.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am currently working to build out and train a team of coaches to work with me and that is very exciting. I know that in order to reach as many people as possible I need to expand and diversity how I/we can impact people. I’m not “everyone’s cup of tea” and I’m more than ok with that. It’s normal and to be expected that I can’t reach and resonate with everyone. I’m grateful that I’ve learned early in this business that the best way to have the biggest impact is to check my ego at the door and meet people where they are with the right combination of factors and influences.

I know diversifying and broadening my team’s coaching practice will only continue to grow and help others. It helps the coaches and it helps the people they impact. I’m seeing more and more people dream big for the first time in years and it’s exciting to know that they are experiencing life changing improvements in areas of health, emotional and financial wellbeing! It’s exciting. I want the ripple effect of what I know and do to be huge!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There are so many people I can give thanks to, who have inspired, supported and helped me along the way. The most influential one who helped me dream bigger and see that anything was possible is my life/business coach and friend Donna Elliott. Donna is a lifelong (40 plus years) friend of mine who took me on as a client and has been coaching me in every aspect of my life for 2 years. Donna has been instrumental in pushing me past my fears and helping me live and dream in the future. She has never gone easy on me and every time we talk (usually via zoom, she is in the UK and I’m in Dallas) I know I will walk away inspired, uplifted, and on fire but with some pretty big steps to take. She does not let me sit in the comfort zone or the “meh.”

In late March, when I was initially struggling about going public with my weight-loss experience she said something to me that has stayed with me to this day and has helped me overcome my limiting beliefs.

I was scared about posting a before and after picture publicly and announcing to the world that I had struggled. Quite honestly, the before picture was embarrassing and my ego and fear was front and center stopping me from hitting “post”. I was in my own head playing through the scenarios of who might judge me or think something bad about me, or laugh at me and Donna said quite simply “stop being so “insert curse word” selfish!” It took me aback and I sat with it for a while. She didn’t apologize, she doubled down and said, “you have a gift you can share with the world and if you don’t do this just because you are scared of what someone behind a phone or computer might think about you, you are not going to reach the people who need to hear it, stop being so selfish and share it with people!”

That changed everything for me, I channeled it and took a big gulp the next time I posted publicly and the next and the next and today I no longer take a big gulp I just do it because I now have proof of the numerous lives that have changed because I overcame my fear and shared what I knew and had experienced with the world.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?

Being everything to everyone, including me….oh and finding enough hours in my day.

I’m sure my story and the challenges I face daily (or should I say hourly) are very familiar to a lot of women in business.

My family of 4 has sheltered in place together since mid-March with very little help or support from the outside world. During this time, I’ve worn many hats and I’ve had to come to terms with not being able to wear each hat well all at once,….every single day. Like many women during this time, I’m a counselor, a teacher, a chef, a housekeeper, a CEO, a financial planner, a tax specialist, an interior designer, a referee, a cheerleader and that’s all before noon.

I have 2 small girls who watch my every move and listen to every word that comes out of my mouth. I have 2 very busy businesses that are people centric and emotionally charged and require me to give a lot of my energy to people. I worry about everyone, my children, my family, my friends, my clients, my aging parents who are in another country. I also decided right before Covid-19 struck to build a house, lose a 3rd of my body weight and start a new business venture so I had a lot of plates spinning every day. My challenge is how to wear the hats while spinning the plates and, huge revelation, take care of myself in the process too!

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

It’s simple, I started by putting myself first! And I’ve reclaimed my happiness!

And more importantly, I am not apologizing for it. The global pandemic did me a huge favor. It forced me to fully buy into what we all have been told for years “put your oxygen mask on first”. I never took that advice prior to the pandemic. I didn’t have time for that. I ran around like a lot of busy women in business constantly putting out fires, putting everyone, including the dog first and hoping that in the last remaining minutes of the day I might have enough energy to do something for me.

All of that stopped during the pandemic. I started to unapologetically, in a very loud and proud way take care of me first. That ranges from what I eat, to taking a walk when I need to, shutting (and sometimes locking) the door when I need to focus, and the hardest of all, asking for help, every single day and saying no to someone (sometimes multiple people) every single day and not thinking twice about it.

I now start my day with a “to don’t” list. I proudly own the things that cannot have my time and attention that precise moment. And sometimes, and I know this might shock some people that does include my children! I’ve found that putting myself first and saying no even to my most beloved ones has enabled me to be an even better part of their lives. It’s created more time for me to be fully engaged in life and I am happier. I’ve reclaimed my own happiness and I’ve discovered that those around me are better off when I’m happy and fulfilled.

Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?

One of the toughest has been to not take other people’s hardship or struggles on board. As an executive recruiter I have witnessed a lot of sadness, loss and fear during the pandemic. Well-qualified people losing their positions after 20–30 years with a company. No-one being “safe” from the financial impact of the pandemic and many people not knowing what lies ahead and being fearful of the future.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

I learned early in the pandemic that I wasn’t much use to anyone if I absorbed this fear and negativity. I had to find ways to be empathetic, compassionate and understanding while also staying positive, upbeat and hopeful. And most importantly, really meaning it! I had to start my day off right to make sure that nothing external that happened during the day could derail me from my goal. I began a morning practice of gratitude. Before I get out of bed, I list everything that comes into my head that I have to be grateful for, no-matter how big or small and I smile while I’m doing it. Yes, I smile! At first, I felt a little strange, lying there in the dark with a big smile on my face but it really does change how you feel and makes the emotion more powerful. I also list out daily the things I am currently grateful for and the things I am “faithful for” or put a different way I put myself in the future and what I am grateful from the future. In addition to this I spend quiet time reading, listening to something inspirational or listing and doing a brain dump of everything going on in my head. This helps me start my day strong and, on my terms and I’ve found it helps me stay strong and focused on the positive no matter what comes my way that day. And of course, I’ve experienced the opposite. On the days I start haphazardly without a plan, without my gratitude practice it’s easy to let other things creep in and dominate my day. I’ve learned that snoozing the alarm doesn’t serve me so I avoid doing it.

Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?

I am very structured. I start my day at least an hour, sometimes two before the rest of the family and the world “needs” me. That guarantees I will have time for the things that are important to me to set up my day properly and powerfully. Gratitudes, reading, planning, catching up on work from the prior day, quiet time with a cup of tea. I don’t feel rushed or that someone has stolen a moment from me.

Also, giving each other grace and leading from a place of love and second chances. By that I mean, not presuming I know what the other person is thinking or what is motivating them and always presuming the best. Even if someone does or says something that I find frustrating or I disagree with, I take a moment to pause and give them the benefit of the positive doubt. I ask why in an open and curious way.

Since the start of the pandemic I have also empowered the other people in my house to be independent and to do it alone. From my husband to my 4-year old. I don’t have to be the one to swoop in and save the day and I’ve let my ego go and gotten comfortable with “good enough”. It doesn’t have to be done my way and my way isn’t always the best or only way. Good enough is good enough a lot of the time.

Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?

As I talked about previously, getting up and hour or two earlier than everyone else has been the game changer for me. I’m not a morning person and historically would easily snooze the alarm and crave those extra moments under the covers. Not now. I set the alarm earlier and I now crave that time when it’s just me, no-one else around. I’ve also prioritized time alone throughout the day. Going for a walk, shutting the door and requesting that no-one disturb me unless it’s truly an emergency. Any of those small moments I can take during the day. They recharge me and I come back to everyone else more focused and engaged. Even 20 minutes can make a huge difference in recharging. It doesn’t have to be a formal meditation practice or anything like that. It can be as simple as indulging in a mindless tv show or organizing my closet. I do try not to spend the time mindlessly scrolling on social media. I am purposeful about my time spent there because it can leave you feeling more drained than charged. But I advise women to find whatever their special thing is that helps them bounce back stronger and do it, unapologetically!

Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

I’ve found there is always something to be grateful for no matter what is going on around you. I have not led the most charmed and perfect life by any means. I’ve experienced loss, trauma, scares, disappointment just like many people but I’ve found that the key to living each day with joy and purpose and to knowing in your core that there is “light at the end of the tunnel” is to look for the light, to look for the joy, to look for the things to be happy about and grateful for. I don’t ignore the bad things and pretend they don’t exist. I do acknowledge them and honor that they are there but I don’t give my energy to them. I make a conscious choice to enjoy the moment and to know that something better always lies ahead. Always. There is always something to be hopeful for no matter how small.

I do have my moments of feeling sorry for myself and where I want to have a “duvet day”. On those days I acknowledge the feeling, sit with it and give it some time and then decide what I’m going to do to make that something just that little bit better. I’ve found sitting with the feeling

5 Reasons to be hopeful

  1. You have true power over your life. You have the power to make or create anything you want. It’s just a decision, a mindset shift.
  2. Often during times of struggle if you look for it you can find the best opportunity.
  3. We’ve been given time to reset and focus on what is fundamentally important to us. Use this time wisely to figure out what that is.
  4. We have been given the gift of slowing down. Everyone is in the same boat, revel in slowing down and getting back to basics.
  5. You can reinvent yourself at any point. Now is a particularly good time to do that. Want a career shift, want to study or master something new, do it, more things are accessible to us now in our homes than ever before. Enjoy that!

From your experience, what are a few ideas that one can use to effectively offer support to their family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

Listening to them and giving them a chance to say how they feel and really validate how they feel, I think is paramount. Instead of jumping ahead to what you think they feel or projecting your own story onto the other person sometimes simply asking “why” can help the other person work through what they are thinking, and feeling and when they voice it that story they have in their head really may not be as bad in reality as they thought it was. Once you voice your fear it often doesn’t have the same power over you that it had when you kept it bottled up.

I look for ways to show the other person that they have a superpower(s). I truly believe that we all have superpowers and that we are here to use them. Each individual no matter who they are contains so much power to do and experience something great they sometimes just need someone to show them or remind them of their superpower.

Celebrate people. Celebrate the wins for people. I’ve found it an amazing way to turn a situation around for someone. Typically no matter what has happened or what the person has done there is a win in there if you are willing to authentically look for it. I say authentically because no-one wants a cheesy cheerleader who is shallow and just saying something to blow smoke. If you can look for the true win the person possesses and show it to them it can transform a day or an experience and I’ve found help the person to start dreaming of better things that lie ahead.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“One Life… Just One Life, make it count”. I have this phrase “One Life” on a sign in my office. I look at it every day. It is a reminder that every day counts and that each of us have such power to make a difference with our lives even in the very small moments when no-one is watching. It might be sending love and support to a friend, making a decision to give someone a smile. Wake up each day and know that your life counts and you have One Life and chance to do the very best with it.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow me on Instagram @iamclairedarr. I’d love to hear from you if anything I’ve said resonates or if I can help.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.