Monday, February 22, 2016


Last Friday I got to meet the top income earner in It Works, Kami Dempsey, and I just wanted to hug her. Seriously. Granted, I'm a hugger by nature, but even with that fact out there allow me to explain before you think I'm some maniac.

Our team leaders, Liz and John Enter, had asked Kami if she would be willing to come to a One Team One Mission Wrap Party in Mankato, Minnesota. She graciously agreed to come, and that fact alone would have been amazing enough. 

What made it even more special was the fact that Kami offered to spend the afternoon with just our team, and what a special three hours that was for us! She listened, inspired, encouraged, gave advice and so much more. At the end of the afternoon is when I found myself thinking, "I want to hug her, but I can't even explain why." After two days of mulling this over I figured it out. 

Actually, the credit really goes to my husband Jesse. When we finally had a chance to sit down and talk about Friday and what I took away from it I was having a hard time putting it into words. While I was able to describe why she is a great leader, I couldn't quite find the words to say why the whole experience was so amazing. He nailed it on the head when he said, "Besides being a great leader, she is genuine and humble." That statement couldn't be more true. Being genuine and humble are different characteristics, yet at the same time they are closely related. 

When you are the top income earner in a company you probably have the right to strut your stuff a little bit. I mean, you are at the top, right? You are the head honcho. Snap and people should come running. It just makes sense. For this leader, though, it was just the opposite. For the nine hours she was around us she gave her all to help us.

Kami is kind of like the girl next door. You instantly make this connection with her and you feel like you have known her forever. What a great characteristic of a leader...someone you can truly connect with and someone that takes the time to listen to you and give you solid advice. As our evening session got underway she pulled me aside and asked if I would take a picture of Liz and John getting the presentation started. After I took that picture I turned to her and asked her if I could take a selfie with her even though there was a time for photos later. She graciously said yes. We took the picture, and right afterward she turned to me and said, "Oh my word, I'm sorry. I have such horrible coffee breath." I just about died and wanted to give her a high five. Why? Because at that moment it solidified to me she is real. 

This woman "gets us." She knows where we are coming from, the struggles we have and where we are trying to go. Kami was a former teacher and coach that had the goal to stay at home with her kids. She had the goal to help her husband make ends meet. This leader is listening, giving advice from the heart and truly wanting the best for each and every one of us. 

It wasn't just the coffee breath statement that lead me to this conclusion, but everything else that was said during the course of the day. It was just her funny statement that brought it all together. At that moment I wanted to ask her if I had spinach in my teeth, but instead I offered her some gum. 
And She makes six figures a month. Yes, a month!! One would never guess it. She gives all thanks and glory to God. Her faith is evident to all around her, but not in an "in your face" or showy kind of way. 

During the Q & A session there were multiple times when she would say, "Personally this is how I would handle the situation, but you should really ask your sponsor/upline. Their philosophy might be a little different." That stood out to me a lot as well, because once again she could have taken the stand that because she is at the top her way is the best way. Yet, she didn't. A humble leader...truly wanting the best for everyone.

I don't want you as the reader to think I'm writing this as an obsessed Kami Dempsey fan. If you have, then the point of this blog has been lost. I wrote this to talk about leadership in its truest form. Kami is not the first leader I've known like this, but it just struck a chord with me so I wanted to share. You can have every leadership characteristic out there (hard worker, determined individual, knowledgeable, courageous, dependable, etc.), but at the end of the day your team or whomever you lead wants to know that you care about them. That you are with them day in and day out for their successes and their struggles. You are there to help them because you WANT to help them, not just because in the end it helps you. 

The CEO of It Works is Kami's father. She talked about how she worked hard for what she has, that it wasn't just handed to her on a silver platter. I have never met our CEO (Kami's father), but I've heard him talk on multiple phone calls, presentations, videos, It is obvious Kami is a case of  "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree." Being able to meet Kami, spend time with our team and other It Works teams just solidified the fact that I chose the right company for me. They are passionate about helping others with their health and wellness, and they are passionate about helping each other grow. Days like that prove the point that this company is not a pyramid scheme. We are truly better together, no matter where we are in the company. I LOVE that, and I love our leaders.

Simply genuine.

"People don't care how much you know 
until they know how much you care."
- Theodore Roosevelt - 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Soundtrack of Life

A few weekends ago I experienced a time warp of sorts. It was crazy.

I took my first solo road trip since we've had kids. It was wonderful for many reasons, primarily the fact that I got to my destination in record time due to not having to make frequent bathroom stops for our girls. I traveled a lot with a previous job, so I loved the feeling again of hitting the open road on my own.

Unbeknownst to me, an extra benefit was listening to music that I literally haven't listened to in YEARS. I took along a CD case filled with music I've had since high school and college, some I had bought and some were made by me or for me. After we got married I hardly listened to them because Jesse and I don't exactly have the same musical taste, and I've almost never played them around my girls.

The result? My answer would be: PURE JOY!! There are so many songs I had forgotten about as the years have gone by that when I did hear it again I found myself proclaiming, "Oh my GOODNESS! I LOVE this song!" I proceeded to sing out loud and dance (as best you can in a car) for 6 straight hours Sunday during my return trip. Don't get me wrong, I am well aware how totally idiotic I looked, but I simply just didn't care. My throat was literally sore by the time I got home.

Just a small sampling,,,

The thing that amazed me the most was the fact that it literally sent me into a virtual time warp. No longer was I a wife and mom of two, but certain songs sent me reeling back to whatever time that song reminded me of and I had a rush of emotions, senses, etc., that come with special memories in life. For 6 hours I wasn't a 39 year-old. Allow me to explain with a few songs, musical groups and genres.

I Think We're Alone Now by Tiffany
This was by far the earliest musical memory that popped up. This shot me back to sometime in grade school. It was New Year's Day, and we had our traditional family gathering at my cousin's house. The men watched football all day and we ate A LOT of food. That year my cousin Angie and I were listening to the Top 100 hits of the year. This song came on and Angie and I sang it while making up our own actions to go with the song.

Commence the time warp....It just conjured up a million memories, sounds, and LOVE that encompassed that special Scharf home.

Just Another Manic Monday by the Bangles
This initial time warp sent me back to my high school days playing basketball. One of my friends, Beth (Loftin) Kolb was our basketball manager, and we happened to always sit together on the bus rides to and from games. We would listen to music on the way. This is a song we would listen to for a reason I would rather not say, but it conjured up memories of having to get on a freezing cold bus at night after games....the cold bus seats...trying to find part of your sack lunch left because you were starving after the game...trying to catch a quick nap on the way back but bus seats are not get my drift.

Commence the time warp....I felt I was actually on that bus. It was crazy.

Counting Crows
If you have never been to Summerfest (the world's Largest Music Festival) in Milwaukee, you have to check it out. Sometime after college a bunch of us went to a Counting Crows concert during Summerfest. I listened to a bunch of their songs and...

Commence the time warp...I felt like it was a summer night and I had a Miller Lite in my hand and a smile on my face. Good times with friends are the best.

Counting Crows Concert
Dancing Queen by ABBA
Anyone who knew me during my college years knows this memory.

Commence time warp...The sights and sounds of the Gasthaus in Watertown, WI and whispered promises of, "What happens at the Gasthaus stays at the Gasthaus." Whatever...lesson learned.

Sappy Love Songs
I hate to go here, but I have to because it is/was real. This whole "genre" speaks to the boyfriends past. Ugh. What a dichotomy of remember the great times, but what finally socks you in the gut like a rock was that feeling when those good times ended, for whatever reason it may have been. There were probably three breakups that rocked me to the core and were so painful to me.

Commence time warp...I was enveloped with brief flashes of amazing dates, sweet things said...followed shortly after by crushing heartache.

Country Music
I swore up and down that I would NEVER EVER like country music. But, then I went and met someone from Texas, fell in love with and married him and that was the end of that promise. Country music embodies our months dating and the beginning of our life together.

Commence time warp...A wistful smile crept across my face as I was remembering the piece and quiet of sitting on his pier, watching him fish, drinking a beer and remembering the scrumptious taste of eating a torta (a small piece of heaven) while we talked about our future plans.

At Jesse's property on his pier...we loved that place.

There are several others that I could share, but this blog would get ridiculously long, so I'll just end with one final song.

This is the Time of Your Life by Little Steven
This is the time of your life...
You better face it, don't waste it...
Don't think about the future, don't think about the past
There's just this moment, better make it last...
This is the time of your life.

I realized everything I reminisced about on the trip were things that really made me a part of who I am. Part of me missed a lot of those memories, And just like that I was reminded of how great my current soundtrack is as well.

No lie, just as I was relishing reliving my life in songs and not wanting my time warp to end, as I drove across the tracks into New Ulm this song came on. Gone were thoughts of leg warmers and bad hair, long ago family memories and heart aches, athletic endeavors and wedding dances. What songs 10 or 20 years from now will remind me of when I was 39?

None. As I walked through the door into our home my current soundtrack took over. My soundtrack is now filled not with songs, but with laughs, shrieks, cries, some bickering, books being read, "I love you" statements, requests for hugs, squeals of joy...and the list could go on and on. As the girls (and we) age, this soundtrack may have similar songs, but just tuned in a slightly different way. I will relish those times as well and thank God for every single minute of it; past, present and future.

Simply couldn't write a better soundtrack.

How I was welcomed it!