Cathy Reilly is the CEO of Sharing the Shine, a personal leadership coach and trainer, a mindset mastery coach, a wellness specialist, and international speaker. After two decades of advocating for others in the litigation arena, Cathy realized most people, including herself, lack the faculty to self-advocate. Cathy uses her education in psychology, business, and NLP in combination with her research and fact-finding skills, to develop and master processes that unlock potential, navigate change, drive growth, and create success in life and business. Cathy truly believes the foundation of success is found within us and our daily choices.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
My journey commenced in a tightly knit, faith-centric Midwestern community. I was raised alongside my parents, three siblings, and an extensive extended family. One vivid memory etched into my mind is the day my mother returned home from the hospital with my new baby sister. As she tenderly placed that fragrant bundle of joy into my arms, it became abundantly clear to me that family held the utmost significance in my life. From that moment onward, I wholeheartedly embraced a role of support in every aspect of life. At the age of 16, I embarked on my first job as a waitress in a cozy little diner. Coming from a background with limited financial means, I quickly learned that if I desired something, I had to roll up my sleeves and earn it myself. This early experience instilled in me a fundamental belief: to attain anything in life, one must put in the effort and work diligently for it. Even during my teenage years, I possessed a penchant for dreaming big. I recognized that I was limiting myself and struggled with shyness. Deep within, I held the unwavering belief that there was untapped potential within me, which drove me to overcome my obstacles and diligently work my way through college, despite the financial challenges, eventually graduating with a degree in psychology, business and pre-law. This pathed the way to my first career in litigation. Truthfully, during this young phase of my life, my sole objective was to navigate through it successfully. I grappled with social awkwardness, extreme shyness, and introversion, which left me with limited interpersonal skills. High school proved to be a challenging environment, with its fair share of unkindness, prompting me to eagerly embrace the opportunity to leave town and attend college. Once in college, my primary aim was self-discovery and acquiring the art of building meaningful friendships.
Tell us something about your initiative/business. What is it about and how is it helpful for people?
After college, I ventured into the field of litigation, dedicating over 25 years to supporting attorneys and the legal process. I evolved into a staunch advocate for my clients, firm, and colleagues. While I found great satisfaction in the law, the demands of litigation, including long hours, high stress levels, and unpredictable deadlines, took their toll. Everything changed when I became a mother. Priorities shifted, prompting me to reassess my career path and embark on my entrepreneurial journey while planning my exit from the legal firm. In 2006, I launched a successful direct sales company in parallel with my litigation career, providing the flexibility needed to balance work and motherhood. However, a series of health challenges struck. It was during this period that I nearly lost my life due to my reluctance to ask for help. Despite being a strong advocate for others, I hesitated, even refusing to advocate for myself. It was a turning point, inspiring me to invest in self-improvement, find my voice, ask for assistance, and become my own advocate. After a few years, unforeseen challenges forced the closure of my prior business, setting the stage for my current endeavor, which centers on self-advocacy, personal leadership, and wellness. In today’s world, there exists a growing demand for educating individuals on the art of self-advocacy — teaching them how to assert themselves, amplify their voices, become visible, and make a more significant impact on society. Staying within our comfort zones often means playing it safe, and my mission is to ignite inspiration in others, compelling them to embrace personal leadership and occupy the space they rightfully deserve.
While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?
The pandemic served as a powerful reminder of the urgent need for our society to enhance our self-advocacy skills, establish clear boundaries, extract valuable lessons from adversity, and cherish daily successes. Having personally navigated numerous health challenges leading up to the pandemic, I’ve wholeheartedly adopted these principles in my life. Today, I am more convinced than ever of the importance of imparting this knowledge to others. Let’s delve into the concept of setting boundaries. As both a business owner and a mother, I restructured my schedule to accommodate virtual meetings, enabling me to be present when my daughter returned home from school. Prior to the pandemic, many business owners struggled with this idea, insisting on in-person meetings, which often posed challenges for effective time management. Since the onset of the pandemic, there was a transition to virtual formats, creating better time management (and a happier momma). This bolstered the boundaries around my time and was critical to creating success. As entrepreneurs, we all must realize there are only so many hours in a day to focus on the tasks that uniquely require our attention to grow and scale our businesses. These are non-negotiable activities and should hold a top priority on your calendar and require boundaries. What are the non-negotiable activities in your business? In other words, what makes your cash register ring? Once you’ve identified them, the next step is to establish and maintain boundaries around these revenue-generating tasks. Lastly, I want to stress the importance of understanding that “no” is a complete sentence. As women in business, we often struggle with saying “no” and end up taking on tasks that don’t align with our roles or responsibilities. My advice to all my clients is to take a moment and identify your core values, both personally and in your business. Once you’ve defined them, consider displaying them prominently, whether it’s on a wall or your computer. This way, when you’re faced with requests for assistance on tasks that fall outside your scope or values, you’ll have a visual reminder of your boundaries, empowering you to confidently say “no.”
What has been the response of the users/consumers towards your venture?
When I address a group or engage in networking and recount my success stories, I frequently encounter reactions reminiscent of the famous line from the movie “When Harry Met Sally,” where people express, “I want what she’s having.” It’s evident that there’s a captivating attraction to individuals who exude confidence, authenticity, and genuine kindness. Embracing the core characteristics of confidence, authenticity, and genuine kindness has attracted many to my business honoring me with a best-selling book titled “Unleash Your Inner Voice”, recognized as Colorado Business Women of the year in 2018, multiple invitations to serve on the boards of prominent nonprofits, opportunities to speak globally, and the success establishment of a six-figure business.
How has your life changed because of your initiative/venture?
My life has undergone profound transformation, and I’ve evolved significantly as an individual. My upbringing in the Midwest, my extensive experience in the litigation field spanning over 25 years, and the journey of motherhood have all contributed to shaping who I am today. However, stepping into the role of a successful business owner not only draws upon the skill set I’ve honed throughout these diverse life experiences but also continually leverages and refines those skills. Each day, I find myself evolving into a different person than I was yesterday or even a decade ago. I wholeheartedly embrace change, consistently strive to develop and master skills that foster success across all facets of my life.
Do you have anyone who is the biggest support system in your life? Please let us know.
Without a doubt, my most steadfast supporter throughout my journey has been my husband, Tim, whom I affectionately refer to as my “Prince Charming.” As I mentioned earlier, all aspects of one’s life must harmonize seamlessly. Tim has gracefully stepped into the role of my life partner, offering unwavering encouragement, providing solace during challenging times, and being my loudest cheerleader. While we may not always see eye to eye (as is common in any marriage), we consistently return to our shared core values and what truly matters. In addition to Tim, my father plays a vital role in my support system. While he may not completely grasp the intricacies of my work, his unwavering support in the ways that truly count means the world to me.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity? OR Share a motivational message for the audience/women who are reading this.
I’d like to offer two meaningful quotes by Maya Angelou that have personally resonated with me, and I hope they will hold significance for you as well. First – Phenomenal Woman Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size But when I start to tell them, They think I’m telling lies. I say, It’s in the reach of my arms, The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me. Lastly, Our Deepest Fear Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. You are a woman – let’s hear you roar!