Archive of ‘Inspiration’ category

The Irony of Self-Reliance

When I got married and changed my last name to Leatherman from Schuler my mom, a New York newspaper editor, wrote an article lamenting that she should have taken me to more NOW rallies and less shopping malls. She worried about me losing my identity. And many years later when I left my steady job to be home with my babies, she worried even more.

“Always be able to take care of yourself” and “never depend on anyone else to take care of YOU” are lessons that run deep.

I also recognize that we women are born with fierce independence. My 9-year old daughter hates having things done for her. If my southern-born husband opens the car door for her, she will step back until he “get’s out the way!” and there have been more than a few occasions where she’s closed the door and reopened it herself.

And so for many years there is a sentence in my bio and in our mission here at Wise:

“Kiva is passionate about teaching women to be self-reliant with their resources of time, money and intellectual capacity.”


And it’s true – I imagine an ideal world where no one stays in a job they hate, or a bad relationship or compromised in any way to have their needs met.

Everyone of us deserves freedom. And the ability to make money is the keystone to freedom. When we can take care of ourselves we have choice.

friends at the beach AND… now that I’ve created this for myself (and get to enjoy the confidence that comes with the day that you realize that you could lose everything and still take care of yourself and your family – no problem)…

I realized the other day that I am MORE reliant on other people than EVER.

The bigger Wise gets, and the more women who gather here in this house of Truth, Community and Actual in-the-flesh results – the more I require tending.

I’m learning to allow others to take care of me. To let me be the one being supported instead of always supporting.

And even with my clients, being SUPPORTIVE instead of THE SUPPORT (which, btw, is WAY more empowering for them).

With a LIVE 3-day Event coming up, and history of getting REALLY sick after live events, I asked myself “What would it look like for me to NOT get sick?”

It looks like my husband coming with me to Los Angeles and holding me while I sleep at night. It looks like working on my nutrition and endurance with loving suppotubingrt leading up to the event. It looks like inviting INCREDIBLE colleagues to come and share their gifts so that it’s not all on ME.

And in the rest of my business, it looks like (Finally!!) having a team that tells me what to do and when to do it- instead of me pulling all of the weight of the ship.
And friends: It looks like friends who I can cuddle up with and crumble into a puddle of tears from time to time and who allow me to do the same for them – no saving, mothering or fixing necessary.

At home it looks like an amazing Nanny and Housekeeper. My next desire: a true-blue personal assistant who can simply help keep it all together.

There is no freaking way I could be self-reliant anymore… Why would I even want to be? And that, my love, is the ironic outcome of becoming “self-reliant.”

So much goodness,

5 Shifts that Change the Way You Play with Money (Part 1)

I’m about to get real with you…

It’s time for you to stop being a victim of your circumstances when it comes to the relationship you have with money.

There are a million reasons why it’s time for you to stop, but the reason with the most immediate importance is that you can’t create two opposing conditions in your life at the same time.

What do I mean by that? (more…)

The Article That Got Me Fired Up…

And 5 Things to do about it

I read this article this morning (you can read the infuriating article here)  and something inside of me snapped. I feel angry. I feel like I need a megaphone and a huge stepladder so that I can shout out to the world, well…to women and REAL men (I’ll have more to say on what that means in a bit) to wake up. To be honest, it’s women that I want to shake. I want to reach into your core where I know your power lies and turn you on. I want you to engage your power to – I promised myself I wouldn’t curse, but I’m really, really wanting to – to bleeping stop hiding and do your part to change this. 

A little context if you don’t want to go read this anger inducing piece in the New Yorker – it’s LONG. A reporter snuck in to a Secret Society Gathering of the worlds most influential and successful investment bankers, moguls and hedge fund managers. And their behavior was less than inspiring, let’s just say. Their complete disdain for those they serve was apparent and any sense of responsibility for what has occurred in our financial system was noticeably absent.

There are serious, serious problems in the world… problems that are not being solved simply because the concentration of wealth and power in this country and around the world lies with these men. They aren’t actually men though. They are little boys playing dress up in gray haired bodies that wear Armani suits. And in the case of the New Yorker article mentioned above, they’re playing actual dress up in drag and Mormon costumes, laughing at the financial calamity that THEY CAUSED.


Ode to the Boys Club


I’ve been wanting to be “one of the boys” since I was about seven. Despite my penchant for ballet dancing and pretty clothes wearing and my complete lack of any athletic prowess – I’ve always wanted to be in on the boys club.

I remember being in grade school gym class and being completely offended by the teacher’s explanation that boys were naturally stronger and would therefore be better at the whatever it was we were supposed to be doing. I marched my little seven-year-old-self right up to that big man and told him he was a CHAUVINIST!

He laughed. And then he said that I was the one with the problem since it was just a simple fact that boys are stronger than girls. Especially scrawny blonde ones like me. Harumph.

My mom had to fight the good fight against the boys most everyday. Her chosen profession (journalism) had been a man’s world for basically ever when she entered in the early 1970’s. She often found herself marginalized – sometimes by women who had more internal man-power than she did, but more often by men who didn’t think that women could handle the “real reporting.” Years later she would tell me, “do not cry at work… whatever you do. NEVER let them see you cry.”

Of course I picked a career in boys world… finance. I LOVED being on the sales desk of about 40 guys and THREE women. Of whom, of course, I was the “girliest.” I seriously loved it.

They made fun of my giggling, my squeaky voice, my short skirts – but like big brothers would. AND I made sure that I was always the most well-read, the most informed, the smartest blonde in the bunch, so that I could prove to them that I belonged in the boys club.

But, despite the playful banter and the loving smack downs, I knew, deep inside, that I was still looking in from the outside. Sometimes it was subtle. I’d approach a group of men talking shop and feel the ranks energetically shutting me out of the conversation. Or sometimes it was more blatant – the assignment to drive the beer golf cart instead of being invited to play from an actual golf cart.


15 Ways We Leak Our Power


shineWe’re women. We’re famous for it. We hide our power, give it away, put ourselves down, hold ourselves back, or we don’t acknowledge our own real power … to shine, to make the most of our lives, to accept and to feel that we truly deserve the best for ourselves in our own lives. I’m not talking about the outdated macho definition of power, as in to “power over” someone or “power through” something difficult….not that power. I’m also not talking about the confidence and bold courage we earn as we feel our fears and take steps anyway. I mean the power that comes from living a life in line with our values, knowing our goals, and the REAL reasons we want to accomplish them. It’s the electric current fueled by our soul- that inner knowing of what we want, what we are here to do, and why – that gives you the feeling that you can do anything. But all too often on the path to owning our power we give it away or hide it. We’ve become REALLY good at finding creative ways to do it. Like:

1) We say”I think” rather than “I know”.


A New Way of Thinking about Investing


In my days in the investment management business, I was taught some “incontrovertible” truths. I was taught that given enough time, markets will always go up. I was taught that proper diversification was far more important than stock selection. I was taught that all you needed to do was buy low and sell high to do well with your investments.

 I believed all of it.

I believed that companies numbers were indeed their numbers and that banks would use our deposits in ways that benefited small business and community.

The thing is, while there are a great investment opportunities for women – I believe now, after much reflection that we need to broaden our definition of Investing. Because the system described above is clearly a broken system.

Markets will go up over time, except when they don’t.