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Dream BIG! We Did! - The Origin Story of Impact

Posted by Kathy Laster on 08/16/2017

Cristina and I often get asked how it happened that we started our company.  This is my version of our story.
This past weekend, I found myself sitting in one of my favorite places in the world.  My husband and I chose to celebrate our wedding anniversary at our lake home.  I was on the deck, looking out at a view of the lake that has a restorative impact on my being. Our place is nice, nothing super fancy, but it is our little oasis.  Just the night before, we had commented that next to having our children, building our lake home is the best thing we’ve ever done. It is where we have gathered with friends and family through the years. It holds our heart and memories of years gone by and holds hope of many more special moments ahead. As I reflected, I was reminded of something else important about our lake place…

Our Story
It has a very special place in our company’s origin story. It is where Cristina and I first began to dream about what we ultimately wanted to do with our lives, a collaboration that eventually led to the start of our company. It was 2002. We were both in the throws of becoming licensed as psychologists and finishing up our doctoral program, where we had first met. Cristina’s family, coincidentally, owned a place along the same lake front area, just a few lots down from ours. One night, we were at the lake, sitting around a campfire talking and realizing how much we had in common. We had both chosen the same topic for our dissertations - Work/Family Balance.  I held a strong corporate business background.  Cristina possessed a unique bent for entrepreneurial start-up businesses. We talked of our interest of becoming consulting psychologists, expanding our scope beyond the clinical realm by combining our business acumen with our psychology training. We thought our unique skillset in group dynamics and human behavior would be very useful in organizational settings.  We were inspired by the idea that impacting leaders  could have a far-reaching rippling effect on greater numbers of people. We had both dabbled in consulting already and were excited to find another psychologist with similar interests, dreams and values.
There we were, roasting marshmallows while our kids ran wild having fun. We were enjoying a couple of glasses of red wine as I shared with Cristina an opportunity my sister had offered me to facilitate a weekend team retreat for her all female law firm she founded in Plano, Texas. We decided to co-lead the retreat. After our experience, we reflected on how much fun it had been and that we couldn’t believe we were getting paid for something we loved doing so much.  Little did we know how a seemingly wistful conversation about our heart’s desire would become the seedlings of something very big in our lives.

Fast forward four years.  Our enthusiastic bubble for working together had burst when Cristina’s husband took a job in Arizona three years earlier.  While in Arizona, Cristina focused on her family, having added a new addition! She had recently moved back to Oklahoma and had started a practice in her community.  I was solidly entrenched in a busy clinical practice in mine. We had basically lost touch with each other.  I visit my good friend from my AT&T days in St. Louis.  She implores me to watch The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, with her.  For those of you that haven’t heard of it, it is a book and/or video that encourages you to wish for your heart’s desire and put it out to the universe.  It taught us that if you make a wish with all your being and you put it out to the universe and truly believe it’s possible, the universe will conspire to make your wish come true. 

I had to admit, I was a little skeptical of what I had just seen, as I already knew of the power of affirmation.  Nevertheless, it got my thinking going, and when I awoke the next morning I found myself wondering about what was my heart’s desire; what did I wish for?  The seeds that were planted during that campfire talk with Cristina apparently had taken root. The idea of starting a company popped into my head.  Me?! (Self-doubt knocking, and I answer back). Why not me, I thought?  I’ve had a very successful business management career with a breadth of experience in a number of functional areas having been on a senior management development program, I had earned my M.B.A. and now I had earned a Ph.D., complete with psychological training, clinical, and board leadership experience. I was at the age where I was told I was in the mecca of my career. I was still not really believing this “Secret” stuff, but jazzed at the idea none-the-less.
I arrive home and the very next day I received a phone call from Cristina who I hadn’t connected with in almost 3 years.  She said, “Hey, I’m thinking of going one of two ways with my career and wanted to talk it over with you. I’m leaning toward consulting since I had such a great experience in my healthcare management and consulting residency rotation.”  I said, “Cristina, we need to talk!” We immediately began to discuss possibilities, excited about picking up on our previous dream of building a consulting business together and remembering the fun we had working together. 
About this time, I shared with my sister that I wanted to get into organizational consulting.  She connected me with an amazing consultant who made an incredibly generous offer to mentor us through a year-long women’s leadership program on scholarship. Cristina and I enthusiastically accepted her gift, benefitting greatly by getting to know each other’s styles and work on our own effectiveness, leadership capabilities, and self-management. This effort was invaluable in laying a good foundation for our partnership.  It is one of the reasons we now offer a partnership selection assessment service to clients considering entering into business together with someone.  Ensuring a good fit is fundamentally critical if a partnership is to be successful.
During that year, the universe continued to converge in our favor! A colleague offered to trade out services: naming & branding for consulting and coaching services.  Then, a local bank president asked to be our first client after hearing about our work. Next, a friend of a friend approached us to help lead a retreat for an academic institution leadership team.  Thus, in 2008, Impact was launched!
It had been 6 years since Cristina and I sat around that campfire talking about owning a consulting company, a dream that seemed completely unattainable at the time. Now, here we were, equally invested co-owners and founders of a company, possessing a strong partnership with aligned values and dreams, wonderful mentors and associations, a name, logo, and website, and our first clients…a dream come true! 
As many of you know, we are going strong, enjoying our work and significant year-over-year growth, still finding it hard to believe we get paid for what we love to do, and being honored by a growing list of amazing clients who allow us to work with them, and who continue to inspire us.  After almost 10 years in business, we are extremely grateful for all the mentors, clients, friends and family who have helped us to be successful.
The Business Case for Dreaming Big
So, what’s the moral of our story? Dream big, wish for your heart’s desire, stay positive and good things will happen! Recently, we led a visioning session for a group of high potential leaders in a construction company.  Being mostly left-brainers, it was hard for many of them to wrap their heads around wishing and envisioning what they want. Sometimes, we allow what we view as realism to limit us.  By giving ourselves permission to dream, we free up the deepest desires in ourselves to come forth and take root. Whether it be for you as a person, as a leader, as a department/division, or as a company, never underestimate the power of Dreaming BIG!
Was it the universe conspiring, divine intervention, or was it the power of our subconscious?  Some say a dream is merely the voice of our higher self reminding us that we have boundless potential and urging us to take advantage of it. Psychology teaches us we each have the equivalent of a personal genie within us. It is our subconscious. Its sole purpose is to serve us. It serves us by regulating our heart and breathing rate, body temperature, and the flow of hormones, just to name a few of its many functions. But another major function of the subconscious is to grant our every wish! And it works tirelessly, 24/7, granting us what it believes we want.  Our subconscious is programmed to give us what we think about most of the time.

5 Top Strategies for Dreaming BIG!
What do you wish to do, be or have?  What is your heart’s desire? What do you dream of? Use your imagination and intuition to explore your desires and see where it takes you.  And most of all, don’t for one minute, quit believing in yourself! The best way to attain our dreams is by combining the power of our conscious and subconscious minds. We use our conscious mind to become aware of our dreams and formulate plans to achieve them. Here are our 5 top strategies for dreaming BIG!

  1. Focus on what you want, NOT what you don’t want.  Eliminate all negative words and use only positive language.  Your subconscious cannot tell the difference between the two.  It moves you toward whatever you say, whether it be negative or positive.


  1. State your dream in present tense, as if it’s already occurred. It should be a specific, clear, and descriptive affirmation of your dream. Create as vivid a picture in your mind of what it will look and be like when your dream is achieved. Let yourself feel the emotions you envision.


  1. Have faith in the process.  Believe your heart’s desire will be granted.  Look forward to it and expect it.  


  1. Gratefully acknowledge when events and happenings align with your dream. As the saying goes, “The more you are grateful for what you have, the more you will have to be grateful for.”


  1. Write down your wishes and dreams and expand upon them.  This will bring great clarity and make your affirmation more vivid.  Consider creating a vision board that you look at everyday to keep your dream in front of you.

Email us or comment on this post, along with a mailing address, and we’ll send you one of our luggage tags, Work Smart, Dream Big!  And, you might even pick up a copy of The Secret, or any of the other following books, and see where it takes your thinking! 
10 Helpful Books: (Source: Rotary eClub One, Chuck Gallozzi)

  1. Wishing Well: Making Your Every Wish Come True by Paul Pearsal
  2. Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
  3. Awaken Your Power! The Secret of Life Revealed – How Your Thoughts Create Your Reality by Joe Rapisarda
  4. The Genie Within: Your Subconcious Mind – How it Works and How to Use It by Harry W. Carpenter
  5. Wishing: How to Fulfill Your Heart’s Desire by Elizabeth Harper
  6. Wishing, Well! A Guide to Creating Your Dreams Through Cosmic Ordering by Steven Hall
  7. Take 10! How to Achieve Your ‘Someday’ Dreams in 10 Minutes a Day by Rory Cohen
  8. Refuse to Choose!: A Revolutionary Program for Doing Everything That You Love by Barbara Sher
  9. Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want by Barbara Sher and Annie Gottlieb
  10. Get What You Want? Workbook to Reactivate Your Passion for Life, Find Your Purpose and Achieve Your Dreams by Kenneth West


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