What are you doing for yourself in 2023? For your health, your family, your colleagues or employees … It’s a question a lot of us ask ourselves this time of year. What if this year you were more aware of the world around you? We had the opportunity to talk with Kelly Sayre, Owner & Founder of The Diamond Arrow Group and Author of Sharp Women – and it’s an enlightening perspective, to say the least.
Kelly was born and raised in Rockville. She moved away for college but came back to the area in 2006. “I left to see what else was out there. There are so many cool people and places in the world, I wanted to gain experiences, and expand my perspective. Most of my family lives in Central MN so I felt the pull to return when I wanted to start my own family. I’m grateful for my midwestern roots and the opportunities I’ve had to live and visit other places.” She started The Diamond Arrow Group in 2017.
“The question, ‘what is situational awareness?’, was planted in my head in the fall of 2016. I had attended my first women’s self-defense class and loved learning the physical aspects of defending myself. At the end of class, an instructor made a comment along the lines of, in reality-the last thing you want to do is get into a physical fight, you need to be situationally aware to avoid danger. My brain did a full stop. Wait, I’m supposed to avoid using the skills we spent the last four hours working on, and the skill I’m supposed to use 99.9% of the time, we didn’t cover at all? My curiosity went into overdrive.”
“The more experts in personal safety and protection I talked to, and the more questions I asked, the less information and training I could find on what it meant and how to be more situationally aware as an average person (not law enforcement or military). But every one of those individuals said it would be great if there was training out there to help people avoid dangerous and potentially violent situations, especially from a female perspective. Women tend to be the target of people with ill intent because in general, we’re viewed as weaker.”
“When I studied the tactical world of situational awareness training, I recognized many of the critical, foundational skills needed to be in tune with your environment were skills women used every day to be caretakers, empathic friends, and natural communicators. But no one was connecting those dots and teaching us how to use our superpowers for personal safety in a relatable way. I decided to share what I was learning and how I was implementing situational awareness in my everyday life. It’s been an exciting journey and I’m passionate about reaching as many people (both men and women!) to show them they can live life on their terms and stay safe.”
The Diamond Arrow Group situational awareness training stands out from the rest because it aims to show the everyday person how the foundational life skills they use every day to be successful at home and at work can be used to help avoid and prevent a threatening situation from happening in the first place. It shifts the focus away from violence and physicality and more toward instinct and mindset. “The Diamond Arrow Group aims to be the precursory training in the personal safety realm. I teach you how to use and sharpen the life skills you already have to recognize the early warning signs that something is “off” in a situation, so you can try to avoid it escalating to a physical fight. This all includes understanding how all your senses observe your surroundings, getting to know how your perspective of the world is formed and impacts how you view potential danger, learning the verbiage and how to articulate what you observe, and different options for action to keep yourself safe. I’m a firm believer in building the mindset that your life matters and if you need to escalate to using physical force to save your life, to do so swiftly and with as much power as you can generate, so you can escape and get to safety. And, to balance out what can be a heavy and scary topic, I infuse humor and fun so people actually enjoy the training.”
In addition to nationwide trainings, speaking engagements, global podcast guest spots, and being featured as a situational awareness expert in industry publications, Kelly is working with the local community to share the tools and knowledge of The Diamond Arrow Group, too. “There is an organization starting to build a presence in the St. Cloud area called 500rising. They are passionate about making a difference in the stubborn statistics of violence against women. They will be hosting free public women’s self-defense classes this spring/summer. Anyone interested in attending these classes should “like” the Greater St. Cloud Public Safety Foundation Facebook page to get notified when they open registrations.”
In February 2022, Kelly published Sharp Women, where she breaks down ways for women to deal with everyday situations using their best self-defense weapon — their intuition. “The private messages I receive from people all over the world regarding the impact Sharp Women has had on them are wonderful. So many tell me they’re grateful there is finally a book that discusses real-life situations and options on how to handle them, with a realistic and female perspective. I also love the adrenaline rush I get after speaking or training people on situational awareness. To see the transformation from when they first sit down, wondering what the heck I’m going to talk about, to the lightbulb moment of ‘this is all common sense, but no one has ever taught me this before!’ is gratifying.”
“It’s so cliché, but there are no stupid questions when it comes to your personal safety. Zero. Zilch. Nada. And, there is no judgment on my part for how someone survived a traumatic event. I’ve been fortunate to train with some really brilliant instructors and it was repeated over and over again, there is no wrong way to survive something. I encourage everyone to let The Diamond Arrow Group be their go-to when they have questions or need guidance on personal safety. I don’t have all the answers, but I know a lot of smart people. If I can’t help you, I’m happy to put you in touch with someone who can.”
“I feel fortunate to work with excellent and passionate business leaders to help The Diamond Arrow Group through all the challenges of being a startup. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not easy to get people to understand why my work is so important and how they can support it. I don’t have a typical business model – and if people are successful at applying what I’ve trained them to do, nothing happens. There are very few for-profit organizations that operate that way. Finding mentors who understand and know how to scale a business that bases its success rate on clients celebrating nothing, makes things interesting. The people who take my calls, agree to partner on events, recommend The Diamond Arrow Group to their networks, and offer to help with my out-of-the-box ideas, mean more to me than I could ever express. If I could give one piece of advice to anyone – whether in business or your personal life – it would be to remember that when you need this relationship, it’s too late to build it. My business wouldn’t have made it through the pandemic without those strong relationships. Be a good human.”
To learn more about Kelly and The Diamond Arrow Group, or join the movement, go to their website and sign up for emails, follow them on social media (and encourage others to do so), listen to their Thrive Unafraid podcast, read and review Sharp Women, or share a recommendation if you’ve heard Kelly speak and want others to know the value. “I can’t begin to find the words to describe how these things keep me motivated on the hard days. I study the worst things humans do to each other, in order to try and prevent them from happening in the future. So when I read a review or get a message that someone listened to their intuition and nothing happened, it makes my heart happy.”