I knew this was really the information that was going to get them the results that they wanted even though it wasn’t necessarily something that they’d asked for.
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Hello, and welcome to today’s episode of Retreat and Grow Rich, the podcast. This is Darla LeDoux. I am your host today, and the author of Retreat and Grow Rich, the book available on Amazon, and in this series, we talk a lot about retreats and I interview retreat leaders and people who support retreats and to help that happen.
But we also talk about what is the bigger picture? What is the mission and why is it so important to be offering transformational retreats in the way you work and to bring this work forward in the world in a bigger way? And, so you are here as part of this series, which is called Transforming Out Loud. So one of the reasons I love retreats is, it’s the best container of support for transformation where we can really be seen, and heard, and known, and heal, and my favorite quote is by Kurt Wright, where he said, “as human beings, we cannot accept a part of ourselves we haven’t shared with another human being and had validated rather than violated.”
So my mission to normalize transformation on the planet, one intimate retreat at a time. Because in an intimate retreat, it’s the perfect place to be validated, rather than violated and begin to own more of who we are. One of the things that keeps us from doing this is the world of judgment that we live in, where it feels like it’s not okay to share this part of me. I often think of it as like hiding back here. It’s like it’s not okay to share this part of me that society has deemed wrong, right? I did it wrong. I messed up. This isn’t what a successful person looks like.
Yet, every single human being I’ve ever met has these things, and the more we can embrace them, the more we can transform out loud, the less necessary it is to get out of our normal life and heal, right? So that’s ultimately the vision. I always have said every iteration of my business, my goal is to work myself out of a job because it’s not necessary. So that is my goal. That is the inspiration for this conversation.
I am so excited to have this conversation today with Kristin Pelletier. Kristin is a phenomenal transformational leader. I have had the pleasure of working with her as a retreat leader, and a coach for her and her business, and she is an outstanding business owner, coach, and retreat leader in her own right. And Kristin, I hope it’s okay that I share, that one of the reasons that we started working together is you were doing this work, this transformational work, but maybe not charging for it, right? Kind of testing the waters to discover, do people want this? Does this really matter? And you have a different audience than a lot of our listeners and a lot of my clients.
So, I am just going to introduce you and then we’ll share a little bit about your journey to get here. So Kristin is a dental management consultant, and the owner of KP Consulting, and she helps her clients across the nation create practices, dental practices, that they love.
She understands the challenges and barriers dentists face and is passionate about helping them transform their mindset, and business, to achieve their goals. As an excellent communicator, she’s very intuitive and able to identify and diagnose areas of opportunity quickly and give workable and practical solutions. Kristin’s goal is to help dentists create a business, and most importantly, a life they love. Kristin and her team are bringing transformational change to a long list of clients through one-on-one consulting programs, mastermind groups, and retreats. So we’re going to give you a little more information about Kristin in a bit, but first of all, welcome. Thank you so much for being here.
Kristin Pelletier: Thank you.
Darla LeDoux: Thank you for being willing to have this particular conversation about transforming out loud.
Kristin Pelletier: Yes. I’ve been looking forward to it. I’ve had such the experience through our work together. Now being able to pass it on to my clients has been quite the journey.
Darla LeDoux: Yes. So tell us about your journey to becoming a dental consultant, because that was transformational in itself.
Kristin Pelletier: Yes. It was. So, I went to dental assisting school when I was very young. I was 18 years old, and at the time, I was testing the waters of potentially becoming a dental hygienist, but really, the reality was, I really didn’t have a plan. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I was getting pressure from my parents to get off the couch and do something with myself, and so I thought dental assisting school seemed easy and somewhat interesting, so why not?
And so I went to dental assisting school and became a dental assistant in about seven months. It was like a seven-month program, and I really liked it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a very good dental assistant, and I figured that out very quickly. I’m not that coordinated, and I would get bored during long procedures and wasn’t really organized. So it wasn’t really the right fit for me, but my boss, luckily at the time, saw that I have a lot of ideas because I started off working in a very new business.
And so she asked me to move to the business area, and it’s so funny, because I went home that night after she asked me to switch positions and I cried, because I thought she didn’t want me to assist her anymore, and I wasn’t that good at it. But I realized was that I really am an idea person and that was a much better fit for me, and I really learned all of the different aspects of running a dental practice over several years, and ultimately became a practice manager.
And then I was getting bored frequently, and what I found was, I would work in a dental practice, and I would see all of this potential, and I would dive in, and I would help the doctor tap into it, and share my ideas, and make it better, and it would run smooth. It was profitable. And then I would get bored and I would quit.
And so one day, I had the idea, maybe instead of calling myself a job hopper, maybe I could make a job out of doing the part that I love, which is going in when there is all of this potential, helping people tap into it, and then leaving. And so that was really my path to dental consulting.
Darla LeDoux: And, what was that like? Like the moment you said, “oh, what if I could make a job of this?” Like I relate it to when I was in corporate. I had done this whole project. We did all this research with our customers and then it came time to come up with the ideas. Like we knew all the insights and it’s like, oh, let’s brainstorm ideas. And my company hired an outside consultant to do that work. Like the fun work. And I was like, “well, how the hell do I get that job?”
Kristin Pelletier: Yes.
Darla LeDoux: What was that like?
Kristin Pelletier: I actually had that experience very early on when I was a dental assistant of a consultant coming into the practice. And I remember I was 19 years old, and on a break, I took the consultant aside and I was serious, I said, “I want to do what you do. How do I get a job doing that?”
And this consultant was the perfect person for me in that moment, because she didn’t say, “well, you’re only 19 years old.” Because at the moment I was thinking about applying that week. I was ready to go. And she was very kind about her answer and said, “if you really want to be a dental consultant, you need to learn every aspect of the dental practice inside and out and once you have that, then you are going to be ready.
And ultimately, it was something that happened that really kind of pissed me off, to be honest with you. I was in an office- and this is the best gift that has really happened to me or I wouldn’t be a dental consultant today- it was one of those practices where I went in and there was all of this potential, and we really worked hard at implementing some of the ideas and suggestions that I brought to the table, and there was a significant revenue increase.
And so I thought, at the time, that it was time to ask for a raise. And so- we had almost a year of significantly increased profits in the practice- and so I went to my boss, and I asked for what I thought was a big raise, which was $2.00 an hour, and my boss told me no. And luckily, I asked right before lunch because I got in my car and just cried. I was devastated that I had put my heart and soul into someone else’s business, but there really wasn’t any benefit for me, and it wasn’t an entitlement mentality, it was I want to help you grow as much as you can so I have opportunities to grow as well.
And so really, it was in my car, on my lunch break after being told no for that increase that I decided that I can make this into a job, and I’m not going to really invest this much of my heart and soul into someone else’s business that’s not going to also help me grow as well.
Darla LeDoux: Wow. Yeah. I relate to that.
Kristin Pelletier: Yeah, and it was a gift. At the time, I was angry but it was a gift, because it pushed me to look at something else where I could create something for myself.
Darla LeDoux: How old were you when you started consulting?
Kristin Pelletier: That happened to me when I was 30 and it probably took me a year or so before I left that practice.
Darla LeDoux: Wow. Amazing. Amazing. I first was trained as a coach in my 20s, and I was just like, who is going to listen to me? Like I knew I knew something that other people around me didn’t know or see, but I was so certain no one would listen.
Kristin Pelletier: Yeah. Well, I had that feeling in my 30s.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah.
Kristin Pelletier: I had that same feeling in my 30s. Yeah. Yeah. I’m very familiar with that feeling.
Darla LeDoux: Exactly. Cool. So then you started your consulting business, and I know you help people make more money. You help them with their systems. You help them with their team, with getting off insurance, and all kinds of cutting edge conversations in the world of dentistry. And then, so things are going well and for whatever reason you’re like, I just really want to host retreats. So talk about that journey and where that spark came from.
Kristin Pelletier: So that spark came from, it was really my own journey of becoming a business owner, and starting a business from scratch, and finding clients, and then the business growing, and growing pains, and all of those things that go along with operating a business. Especially if you’ve never owned a business before. And I had … one thing that I am really happy that I did was I started working with a coach immediately, even though I didn’t have the money for it. I just took out a loan because I knew I didn’t want to learn things the hard way and I knew there was someone out there who already knew how to do what I wanted to do.
But my own journey of transformation in becoming the person who could run a consulting business, there was a lot of work that happened there, and my clients at the time were only coming to me for systems and strategies. So they wanted recipes of systems that could be repeatable in a dental practice and strategy on how to understand the best strategy for whether it was overhead, or team, or systems or whatever they were looking for that was really business related.
But then the more I got comfortable just with my own transformation that was happening, and I love my clients, I love the clients that I work for, and I wanted to help them with this other piece, these things that I was going through, that I was learning, that I had already implemented, and I was really on the other side of, I wanted to share that with them. But that’s not what they hired me to do and so my creative thinking was to have these events just for doctors where I could teach the things that they didn’t ask for. That they weren’t necessarily paying for, but it was in my heart, and I knew this was really the information that was going to get them the results that they wanted even though it wasn’t necessarily something that they’d asked for.
And it was great in the beginning because it allowing me to really flex my muscle as a coach, not just a consultant, because there’s a difference between a business consultant and a coach. And it really gave me that space to freely explore that part of myself as a teacher, and that’s why I didn’t charge anything. It was really an added benefit to being a client. At the time, it was three or four times a year, they could come to these leadership retreats, and they are very expensive to put on. But I did it because I loved my client and I did it because I didn’t think that anyone would pay for personal development and all of these other limiting belief. And so that’s how it started.
Darla LeDoux: Yes. Okay. So I have lots of questions there. So I want to go back to you hired a coach right away, which I think, that’s something we have in common also. I feel so freaking lucky that I just … I ended up clicking a thing, and clicking a thing, and learning that I could hire a coach who could help me save years of time and energy, and I also put it on my credit card. So, how did you make that decision? Because so many people don’t. They try to figure it out on their own with all the free resources and what not.
Kristin Pelletier: It was actually a really difficult decision, because I didn’t have any support, because the people that I trusted the most, that I went to, to say, “hey, this is what I am thinking about doing” and the coaching programs that I signed up for right out of the gate, not having any clients or any idea of what I was doing, was around what I was being paid annually as my salary. So it was like a big risk. I was already really trying to be frugal in my life because it was really important to me to put my kids in a school that I felt like was a really good fit for them, and it really took every bit of my discretionary income to do so.
So, I was risking, if this doesn’t work, I’m going to have to pull my kids out of this school and maybe sell some things. I could lose everything.
And my dad and I laugh about this now, but my dad, he was one of the smartest people I know, he told me not to do it. He said if you really want to hire a business coach that costs that much money, save up some money and when you have the money to pay cash for, then do it.
But I had this pull, Darla, it was almost one that I couldn’t resist. It was something that I had this knowing that this was something that I was supposed to do, and I tried to put it on my credit card, but I didn’t have a limit big enough. So I put a portion of it on a credit card, and then this coach let me divide the payment by 12- because it was a 12 month coaching program- and the payment was over $1,000 on top of the large portion that I put on a credit card, and I didn’t know how I was going to pay for it. So I know it sounds super irresponsible, but that’s how sure I was that this is what I was supposed to do.
So I took the leap of faith, and I am so glad that I did.
Darla LeDoux: I am grateful that my first career was in engineering, and so I had a good income, so I had a good credit limit. I am always so grateful for that.
Kristin Pelletier: Yeah. I had to work it, Darla. I had to work it and pull a little from here, and charge some here and then finance the rest through the company. It was really a stretch for me.
Darla LeDoux: Well, it’s great to hear that. In case someone is listening, who is in a place where they’ve been thinking about investing, but they have a story that’s not cool, like they think that people like us just had it sitting around to do, as opposed to having to get creative.
I had downsized my life to where my expenses were $3,000 a month. I was a blanket no-thank you to any dinner invitations because I had no budget to go out to eat. I was at that place, and I invested $15,000, which was like half of what I was intending to make. So, it made no sense. So, I love it.
Kristin Pelletier: Yeah.
Darla LeDoux: So, as you are growing this business, and you’re working with clients and they want systems and strategy, and there’s kind of a context for that in the world of dentistry, right? There is a dental consultant that helps with that because just like coaches aren’t necessarily trained to run a business, dentists aren’t necessarily trained to run a business, right?
Kristin Pelletier: Right. They have very little training in dental school on running the actual business side of it.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. So they want help with systems and their staffing. It’s much more complex business than ours, for example. Yet, you had this experience in your heart of knowing that hey, it’s the leadership, it’s the transformation that’s really going to make the difference.
So before you started playing with that, and you were kind of in that awareness, and I think a lot of people can relate to this, and they are asking you, “hey, what software should I use?” Or, “how many appointments per day?” Or whatever. And you are thinking, “dude, wake up. You are missing the point.” I mean at some level, right? What was that like?
Kristin Pelletier: Well, at first it took me probably … even though I worked with a coach, really pretty consistently the entire time I’ve been in business, which is almost 12 years, at first, it was that I didn’t think that they had the same struggles that I did, so I was disconnecting myself from the doctors because their education level was higher than mine. They are doctors. So they are not struggling with the same things that I am.
So at first, because I had this kind of limiting belief that doctors aren’t human and that they are above me in some way, just because of their education and their status in society, that they are not having the same struggles that I was having in my own business. Like the fear. I mean, fear is a huge part of starting a business. But I wasn’t asking, and they weren’t bringing it up to me, because there’s also fear of working with a consultant. They are coming into your business and so, doctors don’t want … no one wants someone to come in and look behind the curtains when you are not sure you’ve done it right.
So they weren’t sharing with me, and I wasn’t asking, because I thought I was the only one that needed that kind of help, that had those fears. And so it wasn’t until probably I don’t know maybe five years into my-
Darla LeDoux: I just want to say that again. I thought I was the only one that needed that kind of help or had those fears.
Kristin Pelletier: And that it was a problem that I needed … that I thought I needed to continually work with a coach and in my own business, because I was flawed, and I needed so much help and I didn’t know what I was doing but everybody else did. That was my really my perception at the time.
Darla LeDoux: Isn’t that interesting? Right? When we think about the world of transforming out loud where we’re really transparent about what’s true, as opposed to the societal agreements like, “oh, I am meeting someone new, let me pretend like I have it all together” and not talk about what’s really going on. So you were really having to play detective to uncover what was really going on in their businesses, but with the assumption that, hey they are doctors, they obviously don’t have problems like I do.
Kristin Pelletier: Right.
Darla LeDoux: It was probably hard to see. So what changed-
Kristin Pelletier: It was hard to see. What changed it is me getting more comfortable in my own skin and in my business, and also, being on the other side because transformation for me has happened over and over and over and over again, and so being on the other side of certain types of transformation that I had gone through, it was easier for me to recognize and I just started to feel more comfortable to be vulnerable, to address things like fear and to address things like limiting beliefs, or address things like the energy that they are bringing into the practice might have something to do with the results.
And then being comfortable to share my own story with them, and then it’s like the flood gates open and that really happened at these events that were an added benefit, that I wasn’t really charging an additional fee for that I thought, well, they are not paying me anyway, so I can talk about these things, and if it’s a total bust, then there’s no harm, no foul, right?
So that was really how I did it. But then, it opened up so much more, and then my business really just took that natural direction because that’s where people need the most help, is with that personal transformation. Because I’ve learned once that happens, the systems piece, and the revenue piece, and the team piece, all of that really falls into place quite easily where I used to have to work really hard with a client to get the same results that we can get in a very short time.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. So once they open up to transformation, why do you think the systems become easier?
Kristin Pelletier: I think they become easier because they are more aligned with their truth. They are more aligned with their truth and they are looking in the mirror, because I believe the answer is within them. Instead of with traditional consulting, it’s looking outside, looking at the team, looking at the marketing, looking at patient base, all of those things, when really, when they start to do that personal growth and development work, it’s easy to make some of those tough decisions and changes in the business, and there’s not as much resistance from them or from their team.
Darla LeDoux: It’s like, I think about weight loss, and if people are losing weight because they think they should because society says we should, it’s a whole different thing than I have my personal reason.
Kristin Pelletier: Yes. Yes. So it’s really them being able to connect with their own truth about what’s true for them, because in dentistry, just like any industry, there’s the norm. This is what you do. This is kind of the model, and honestly, in the very beginning when I was just putting all of my focus on systems, another thing that I had in the back of my head was kind of that imposter syndrome where they are paying me all of this money to help them with their business, so I have to get their numbers up, and I have to get their numbers up as fast as I possibly can.
And so then I grew their practice right into something that turned into a life that they were miserable. Because it didn’t really fit what their goals were for their personal life, and they were getting burned out. The numbers look amazing. I had great results in terms of percentage of increase, but they were miserable.
And then I thought, well that’s exactly what’s happening to me. So then I went and did my own work on what really is important to me and my business, and then just sharing that with clients has made all the difference in the world.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. So, this belief that our bottom line, financial outcome is everything, had you driving them to do more.
Kristin Pelletier: Yes.
Darla LeDoux: And in some ways, they are like, woohoo, I am so successful, but in other ways, life was getting harder.
Kristin Pelletier: Yeah.
Darla LeDoux: And I know for people like us who, just people who are drawn to me and people who are listening to this podcast, integrity is so important, and if our work isn’t ultimately making people happier, and more joyful, and more aligned, and fulfilled, it’s like, ooh, that doesn’t feel good. That doesn’t feel good.
So you took the leap to integrate transformation, and I know you had your own transformation as a part of this. And, I love that you said, you said it was easier to see it in them when I’d healed it in myself.
Kristin Pelletier: Yeah.
Darla LeDoux: And this is the part which I am still, honestly, cracking the code on the best way to talk about this in my own marketing, because people know they want to lead retreats. They know they need a venue, and they need to maybe bring in a yoga instructor or whatever their vision is, but what people don’t get is that that is the work. It’s our own transformation that allows us to see others clearly without the filters of, like, right or wrong.
So when you had a filter of “well more money is better, period.” That’s how I know it’s worth investing in me, then you miss pieces, and then when you let them go, you see more. So, I know you want to share a story. Tell us a little bit about a recent transformation. As we’re thinking about transforming out loud, this is all about sharing the things that maybe we don’t want to share and don’t feel ready to share. Myself included in this series.
Kristin Pelletier: Yeah. Well, I think for me-
Darla LeDoux: So talk a little bit about what you had to heal and release to kind of go to this next level of actually charging for this leadership work.
Kristin Pelletier: Mm-hmm. Well, it was a lot, so it would probably be a whole series, but one piece that comes to mind is really just seeing my own worth, and seeing the value that I have to bring to the table, even though my path to getting to where I am today isn’t traditional.
I had a lot of shame around my lack of education, my lack of formal education that really got in the way of me being able to be the best coach that I could be, to be the best example and the best leader that I could be, and if I am hiding a part of myself, it didn’t feel authentic. It’s not that I need to go out and share what my credentials are if someone doesn’t ask, but I had a lot of shame around my lack of formal education.
And my entire life, my entire life, from really the time I was probably 16, until now, it’s been … it started off as this really deep secret to where just my parents knew, and then my close friends and family.And then I slowly started feeling comfortable, but really up until a couple of years ago there were maybe only five people that knew that I didn’t finish high school and that I didn’t go to college formally.
And I kept spending all of this time trying to bury that like it’s this dark secret that I need to hide because if people found out, they would think that I wasn’t smart. I’d be found out. I could be- they wouldn’t think that I was qualified to do what I am doing.
But through this process of transformation, what I’ve learned is that it’s really being proud of that and looking at it in a different way. So I took this story that I had created very early in my life, around 16, 17 years old, that I am not smart, that I can’t do what everyone else is doing, that I am a job hopper, right? That I can’t keep a job. I get there and then I quit if I get bored. And why can’t you just stay in one place? And all of these things were just kind of building this bigger and bigger story around that there was something wrong with me.
And really, the reality was and what I’ve learned is, is that I made a decision that was in my best interest because I didn’t have someone else there to advocate for me, that this form of education doesn’t suit me, and people who think like me need a different way to learn. And so what I did, is I went out and figured it out myself. I figured it out myself.
And I was always considered a little bit … well a lot, on the rebellious side, in that educational setting, whether it was skipping class or maybe, with respect, but calling out a teacher when something didn’t make sense to me. I just didn’t really fit in and it felt like a big fat waste of my time, because I wasn’t really learning anything. I was bored out of my mind and I wanted to go out and do stuff. And so I just … that’s what I did. I said I’m not doing this anymore. And it started off with my parents shocked that I just decided that … I decided that high school isn’t for me and I’m going to figure something else out. Figure out a different way.
And of course, my parents said no, you’re going to go to school. And so they would drive me to school. I couldn’t even drive myself because they had to make sure that I was there, and I went to such a small school in a little, just a small town in Oklahoma. It was one hallway. You could walk in the front door and see the back. So my mom would drop me off, and I would literally go in the front door, and I would walk out the back door, and I would go to the store and call someone to come and pick me up. And it wasn’t until legal action was threatened on my parents for having a truant person that they formally let me withdraw and then I went on my path. That’s when I went to dental assisting school shortly after that.
Darla LeDoux: Amazing.
Kristin Pelletier: It was this huge, shameful story that I have had to really work with. And I feel like I’ll get to a place with it, but every time to attempt to go to the next level, somehow, that creeps back in and I have sometimes a little more healing to do around it.
Darla LeDoux: Well, it’s even … you said, well I assumed because they are dentists and they have all this education that they don’t have these problems. This is a problem with me. And, so that’s just one example of where it would show up. But now you are leading in a whole different way where you are not just showing up in the context of dental consulting, but you are really innovating your own path and creating a whole different conversation, so it comes up again, right?
Kristin Pelletier: Yes.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah.
Kristin Pelletier: Yeah. It does. I mean it actually came up at one of your retreats that I attended.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. Do you want to talk about that?
Kristin Pelletier: And I thought that I was passed it. Sure. It was … it came up through one of the experiential exercises, and it really came up out of nowhere, and it was … so I’m at this retreat even though it was a retreat setting, I was learning something new and so I was in student mode and so what’s the perfect thing to trigger old shame about education is being back in student mode.
And I got so focused on “I have to take all of these notes, and Darla’s teaching something and it’s something that I am not used to. It’s something new and it’s important to me.” It was very important to me that I lost sight during the exercise that I was having a conversation with someone and really didn’t validate them, didn’t really even notice that they were there. I was in my head about doing it right because I can’t look stupid. Because I was in that classroom setting. And I had a little mini-meltdown about it. I went back to my room and I really, I cried. It really brought up a lot of stuff.
And then, if it’s okay with me sharing, I come back the next day, got through the day, talked to you about it, and then at dinner, I found out the two other people that were in the group that observed me have this little mini kind of meltdown over this, they didn’t know what it was at the time, that neither of them had graduated from high school. And so, it was this huge moment of, I’m looking at everybody outside of me as better than me, or they have something that I don’t when it’s not true at all. I have a lot to offer, and it’s really my purpose in this life is to help people with their transformation.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah.
Kristin Pelletier: And I have all the education I need, because I am an expert at transforming because I’ve transformed multiple times in my life.
Darla LeDoux: Oh, totally. So much. And, I’m even thinking about, because we had our first retreat that was more like adventurous, experiential, and then our second that was more educational and I’m thinking about like the layers that were released at the first, and then the layers that were released at the second, and how beautifully they worked together and how it’s always the perfect people, right?
Kristin Pelletier: Yeah.
Darla LeDoux: We had three of eight or nine people that were dropouts and we got a picture of the dropouts, and it was even still, like I know, because I’ve talked with one of the other people where they are like, “ooh, yeah it’s still … I’m not used to identifying myself that way”, right? There’s all the ways that you’ve tried to make up for it.
Kristin Pelletier: Yeah.
Darla LeDoux: Versus just owning, hey this is who I am. And so I want our listeners to sit with this for a minute and to really think about, because these are things that we don’t even realize that we’re hiding.
Kristin Pelletier: Right.
Darla LeDoux: Like what is it for you that is an obvious part of your story, yet you don’t tell it because there’s some shame associated with it? Because you think no one else will relate. It doesn’t matter. And there’s shame.
And I am curious Kristin, because I know, I remember leading a retreat, and here’s what’s interesting. It’s like we’re always doing our transformational work and we’re always growing ourselves. I’m always growing myself, and spirit partners with me and gives me experiences that are like, oh, okay, I guess I am growing through this now. So I am always doing that work, yet when I am leading, a lot of the work is work that I’ve done, right? People are drawn to me because I’ve done the work that they need to do, and yet sometimes, things just come through me that I’m like, I don’t know why I am telling this story, or where this is coming from, or how I know this about you. I just know.
Have you had that experience also?
Kristin Pelletier: Yes. I have so much so that I don’t prepare as much as I used to because it happens so regularly. Kind of that knowing. So a lot of what I teach is something that I wasn’t expecting to teach. It was more of a knowing and then me following that.
Darla LeDoux: Yes.
Kristin Pelletier: My best teaching comes that way.
Darla LeDoux: That’s a huge art to be able to trust that we have enough skills, and teaching, and knowledge, and whatever to just totally let it go, right? And allow spirit to flow.
So I remember I was at a retreat, this was years and years ago, and there was a client who had some shame come up. And she was shocked to discover that she had shame. And, so the goal was to really be with it, right? Because anything we can’t be with, won’t let us be.
So, we created a little index card that said “shame” that she set at her place, so she could be with it, and it was so scary to just even be with or admit that she had shame. And I was able to guide her through that to where she made friends with it, and she was a whole different person when she left. And then it was, like, probably a year or two later that I had my own deep, deep, deep shame come up to heel. And when I was working through that, I remember feeling, like, ashamed to have shame.
The sense of … the idea that we could even have shame was so shameful. Like I should be beyond that. I should be better than that. So I am curious, what’s been your experience with healing the shame around feeling like you weren’t smart? Feeling like you were different like you didn’t fit in our system?
Kristin Pelletier: Mm-hmm. Some of it is, I think that I feel so called to this work, that it’s, the more vulnerable I am and share with others, the more that they share, and I’m just realizing that everybody has it, and everybody has something that they maybe are shameful about, whether it bubbles to the surface, and they are acknowledging it or not. And I think for me, the more I heal, the more it helps other people, and the more transparent that I am, and the more vulnerable that I am and it gives other people permission to do the same.
And for me, it’s not … I wouldn’t say that working through shame is something that I set out to do because I knew it would help me grow in my business and as a person. It really just shows up like a barrier. I have this goal or something that I am trying to step into that’s bigger than myself, and then it just shows up out of nowhere. Almost like a slap in the face said, “oh, well you can’t do that because of this.” And that’s really what was the catalyst for me to work through certain things is it was holding me back. And I wanted to move to the other side of it. So I didn’t necessarily choose to work through it. It just showed up as a barrier to something that was really important to me. So I knew I had to do the work.
Darla LeDoux: How does that relate to the way you work with your clients now? Because now, you’re really getting at what’s important to them in different ways, right? So, it kind of circles back to what we talked about earlier. It’s like, yeah, these might be all the perfect systems, the most efficient office, but until that system is a barrier for something I care about, I’m going to resist it, right?
Kristin Pelletier: Right.
Darla LeDoux: So how do you see that show up when you are a dentist?
Kristin Pelletier: Well, I think some of it has to do with just helping … really giving them permission that they can have their own truth about what’s true for them, about what their business looks like and how much they work, and how they structure it, and how they do things, because you go to these dental conventions and everybody is striving to do the same thing.
So one, it’s just … and this is where my old rebellious side has come in to be a gift, you don’t have to do it the way that everybody else is doing, and what’s true for you … because I’ve really been wired like that since I was born. Always going against the grain or choosing a different path, and so one is just helping them understand that it’s a choice. That they can really take the time to look at what’s true for them and then design their business around that, rather than designing this business the way everybody else says that you are supposed to do it, and then somehow make your life, and your dreams, and your happiness fit around the business. So it’s really kind of reversing it for them, and giving them permission. And a lot of how I give them permission is sharing my own stories. Different stories of where I’ve had to do the same thing.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. And now you can see your stories and their stories as the same.
Kristin Pelletier: Yes.
Darla LeDoux: Because you’ve released that belief that somehow you are so different.
Kristin Pelletier: Yes. And, I am also, the more … because I have just … one of the things that I think is so important for coaches is that if you are going to be a coach, you need to have a coach. So you have to constantly be evolving and working on yourself in order to really earn the right to go into someone else’s world and ask them to do that. So I think it was just really working on myself had a lot to do with it.
And the more I work on myself, the better coach that I am to other people and so it’s just really evolved by working on myself and healing my own things that I needed to work on.
Darla LeDoux: Yes. I’m going to come back and ask more about that in a second. I want to go back to you said, “I’ve always been wired to choose a different path.” And I think it’s really important to kind of set that up for people who maybe are where you’ve been of when you were going through it, and I would challenge to say it was even before age 16 that you started feeling like school’s not good for me, or I am dumb or whatever story.
Kristin Pelletier: 16 is just when I decided to make my exit. 16, 17. So it was very young. But no, I knew I didn’t belong there from the time I was in kindergarten. From my first day of school. And I knew it when, I think it was my first week in kindergarten, I got paddled at school. And so at that time that was cool to do. You could just paddle a kid at school. I got paddled a lot. Really, all the way up through eighth or ninth grade. They still did those swats at school is what they called them. In kindergarten-
Darla LeDoux: They had the paddle when I was in school too, yeah.
Kristin Pelletier: Okay. So I got sent to the hall really quite frequently. And part of the shame around that was that I was the only girl getting sent to the hall. So there were a lot of boys that got paddled a lot. They’d get sent to the hall. They’d get paddled. But it was all the boys. But here I am, a girl, picking my own path and letting my intuition guide when I thought I should say something out loud in class or not, which wasn’t always the best choice.
And so I got paddled for the first time in kindergarten. So right then, I knew that I wasn’t doing what everyone else was doing and I felt like something was different or wrong with me because I was always getting in trouble. And I didn’t have the intention to get in trouble. I didn’t want to get in trouble. I didn’t want to be a troublemaker. It just happened. That’s my story.
Darla LeDoux: Well, it’s interesting. Right? Because there’s like two ways you can interpret that. One is “something’s wrong with me because I don’t know why I keep getting in trouble,” and the other is I don’t … which is, “I don’t belong here in a shameful way” and the other is “I don’t belong here in a higher conscious way,” right? To go, “This doesn’t make sense to me and I’m opting out.”
But as a kid, we choose something’s wrong with me because we aren’t able to look at it from that higher conscious perspective. Our conscious mind isn’t developed and we don’t have free will, really. So, you’re kind of stuck in this other context. So you’ve gone back and said, “oh, looking back on it, I see I was always rebellious. I was an innovator. I was intuitive.”
Kristin Pelletier: Yes.
Darla LeDoux: “I had all these different things going on. I was actually ahead of everybody in many ways.”
Kristin Pelletier: Yes. I have one story in particular that stands out is where I got in trouble for going directly to the superintendent’s office about something, and I think I was in seventh grade. And so I thought, well this is really important. Something needs to change. Who do I go to? I’m just going to go straight to the top. Went to the superintendent’s office.
So I was always looking for either injustice or things that just weren’t fair, or things that weren’t operating in the most efficient and effective way, and the reason I went to the superintendent’s office is because I didn’t get the grade I had hoped for, for a test that I actually studied for, which didn’t happen very often. And so when I got my grade back, I was really surprised. I went back and looked at my homework assignments that I used to study and they were the same answers. And so got an A on a homework assignment that had wrong answers on it. I used that to study, and then didn’t get a good grade on the test.
And so I went to my teacher and he just said … kind of did like that, and so I went to the superintendent’s office. And so I was just really wanting to be a change agent and I wanted to find things that weren’t operating the way that they could be at the highest level and change it, from a very early age. And I got called a troublemaker. Got labeled as a troublemaker for doing things like that.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. And you’re still doing it today.
Kristin Pelletier: I am. And I love it. I’ve made it my full-time job, is to shake things up and look for areas that things aren’t serving people. And helping them find a better way to do it.
Darla LeDoux: That’s awesome.
Kristin Pelletier: I didn’t realize I was in career training that early.
Darla LeDoux: Exactly. Exactly. It’s interesting because we are so similar in so many ways, and come from opposite paths because I was like, ooh, I’m not getting paddled. I’m going to be good. I’m going to follow the rules. I’m going to do all the things. And, I remember there being a part of me who- I always really loved and valued the troublemakers- because there was a part of me that was like, yeah they get it. They get something that I am not getting. I always kind of had this sense of they are opting out of something that’s stupid anyway. So …
Kristin Pelletier: And I was looking at the kids who weren’t getting in trouble thinking, why can’t I just be like them? So I think it’s always just looking outside of yourself and comparisons and all of those things. It’s like they get stored in your body and you carry them with you for a long time, and if you are not careful, they’ll really hold you back with your purpose and your potential.
Darla LeDoux: I wanted to circle back. I’m just thinking of your retreats and getting more vulnerable as you go. Along this mission of transforming out loud.
Kristin Pelletier: Mm-hmm.
Darla LeDoux: What’s the scariest moment you told a story at retreat and you’re like, they are either going to love me or hate me, and I am hyperventilating and I’m not sure I can do this, but I’m going to do it anyway.
Kristin Pelletier: I think really when I started my business, I was the ally of the dentist. So it’s everybody else and not you. So I was buying into that mentality of the answer was outside of them, and if we can just get your team in line, and we can just work through some of these team issues, it’s not you. It’s your team. And so that was me hustling for their approval. But when I switched, and one retreat was centered around the answer is you, so every problem, the answer is within you and it’s not outside of you and really saying, it’s not your team. Coming out of that closet and saying it’s not your team, it’s you, was really scary for me. It was really, really scary for me and it was probably one of the most powerful retreats that I was apart of, that I led for these doctors because I really gave them that container of support, as you call it, but also the ability to look in the mirror and see what’s really going on for them for the very first time.
But I was pretty scared because up until that point, it was just really agreeing with them that once we get these outside factors handled, then you’re going to have what you want and you’re going to be happy. And then, kind of flipping that on them, not just because it was scary to say it’s you and not your team, and the answer is within you, it was that I had been saying the opposite for a long time because a lot of my clients work with me for multiple years, and so it was really changing how I was showing up and that was really scary for me.
Darla LeDoux: How did you navigate that? Was there a story you told to help them feel safe?
Kristin Pelletier: I did. I used myself. So I used for each area that we were talking about under transformation of all of the, what I was calling them- breakthrough blockers. All of the different breakthrough blockers. This is what’s holding me back from success and it was really about looking in the mirror. About what kind of energy are you bringing into your practice and talking about things like limiting beliefs and fear. It’s not the team, it’s your fear to really step into that leadership role, and do what needs to be done to really align your vision.
So using my own examples, and I really think it’s important to share my own stories in that setting because it gives them permission to be vulnerable, and I think I need to continue to work on that because people … even when I dip a toe in and share a story, they are, like, shocked. “Kristin, we can’t even see that, or we can’t even imagine that with you.” And I’m thinking, I’m using one of the light stories here, you know, so continuing to evolve with what I share just because I realized that in my own path to feeling worthy, and trying to hustle for being normal, or being the way that I thought these dentists needed me to be, I created this illusion that people thought that life was easy for me, and I didn’t have any challenges.
So, I have more work to do around continuing to open up with those stories because I think the stories are a big part of it.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. That’s amazing. Yeah. We don’t even know we’re doing it sometimes, right? Which is why bringing this conversation forward is so important to me because when we’re holding that fear of what people will think, we either hold back on sharing, or we think it’s, like, not a big deal, right?
Or we’re … I’m even thinking about when I got divorced, and I knew I had a choice. I could have really easily gone into all the stories about “I was right, they are wrong,” all of this, and my friends were very eager to … I mean, I had a lot of friends that had done some consciousness training, so it was a mixed bag, but really eager to be like, yeah, F that, really jump in my boat and I’m the good one.
But I knew I had lessons. I knew I had made these choices. I knew there was healing for me, and it was a mirror for me, and I needed to choose to go down that path. And, like, imagine a world where we can really be truthful about what’s going on and what we’re feeling, and not feel the need to have to buy into whatever we think people are going to think of us, because of this thing. That really … they got their own stuff going on anyway.
Kristin Pelletier: Yeah. And I don’t know if this is true for you, Darla, but for me, my experience has been when I share something like that, especially when it happens and I didn’t plan to, I don’t know if that’s ever happened to you where you just shared something, it came to you. Like I just need to share this. And I will share it. Every single time that I do that, on break, after the retreat, or even in the moment, someone will share that was exactly what they needed to hear in that moment, and so that’s why I really try and just listen to my intuition and let go of what other people think about me and be more in service to them, more so than to my ego or protecting my own false identity, because I feel like the more I share, the more people it helps.
Darla LeDoux: I think that’s a great kind of closing point because you’ve said it a few times. Like this calling, this mission is calling to you and it’s more important to you than whatever the temporary pain is to get there.
Kristin Pelletier: Yes.
Darla LeDoux: Right? So it’s like, okay, if I just think about what people think or whatever, I might hold back. But when I think about the bigger picture of my life purpose, this temporary pain of sharing this story, or what people will think, or making a change, or making a decision, is small in comparison to that. That’s what I am hearing is like, yeah, we can, you know, worry about it, but when the rubber meets the road, when you know you are called, you’re called.
Kristin Pelletier: Yeah. And I think that’s ultimately what really sparked this latest transformation that I’ve been going through is that realization, and it actually happened at the retreat that I shared with you that I was really scared to make this change and to be vulnerable, and then also to really speak the truth in a way that I hadn’t before.
And it was actually in my meditation that morning that I had that realization that my vision and my purpose were more important to me than trying to keep this facade up of what I want people to think about me, instead of just being really real. And, really big things have happened since then. So I am glad that came through that morning.
Darla LeDoux: Amazing. Thank you, Kristin, so much for being here. And thank you for sharing.
Kristin Pelletier: Yeah. Thanks for having me!
Darla LeDoux: And for everyone listening, I am sure we have the random rogue dentist who is listening. Yay! Definitely check out Kristin’s work, and if you are not a dentist, definitely check out Kristin’s work, because I know your commitment is to continuing to telling stories, and becoming more vulnerable, and bringing your journey forward so you can impact an even broader audience.
So, if you are watching, you may not have the same experience as a dentist, however, as we’ve discovered, we have way more in common than not, and Kristin has amazing videos over at her site. So KristinPelletier.com/blog, and you can go over there and you can opt-in to get on her newsletter and watch some of her work. But continue to watch her as she grows. Thank you so much.
Kristin Pelletier: Awesome.
Darla LeDoux: … Kristin for generously sharing. Thank you for being a rebel and a dropout and willing to share that story and how we can come to the same path with different … or the same outcome, with different paths and at the end of the day, it really doesn’t freaking matter, does it?
Kristin Pelletier: It really doesn’t. It really doesn’t.
Darla LeDoux: Thank you for who you are in the world and sharing yourself with us and we’ll see you soon!
Kristin Pelletier: Thanks, Darla. Big hug.
Darla LeDoux: Bye!
Kristin Pelletier: Bye!
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