Karen Allen Details the Mindset Reset That Changes Everything

Karen Allen

When I was 29 years old, my husband was murdered.

Yes, you read that correctly.

That Monday started off like any other. I was at work, recruiting for a critical high-level position. I’d been on the phone with candidates all day, and a few of the interviews needed to be scheduled for after office hours. So I texted my husband, Richard, and told him that I was going to have to make some calls from home that evening.

At the time, Rich was a newly established CrossFit gym owner. He’d opened the gym six months earlier on his birthday weekend, in March 2013, and in those few months since the grand opening, business had grown quickly. It was an exciting and busy time for our family. We really had the teamwork thing down pat. You know how a relay team has to pass off the baton smoothly to one another while running their race to keep pace? That was us.

Rich would start his morning super early because his first class of the day was at 6:30 a.m. I’d often wake up to a text or a sweet note on a Post-it stuck to the door of the microwave. I’d get the kids up, fed, dressed and out the door, dropping off our son, Caleb, at the gym before taking my stepdaughter to school. During the summer, however, Rich was full-blown daddy day care with both of the kids at the gym. Although he was focused on growing his business, he loved having his kids around—they were his pride and joy.

On this particular day, I texted to tell him about the interviews I had to do from home that evening and asked if he wanted me to come get the kids or if they wanted to stay with him. We arranged for me to pick them up from the gym, where they’d been with him all day.

On my way there, I received a phone call from work regarding the candidates we were interviewing. When I pulled into the parking lot, I was still on the phone with the hiring manager, so Richard quickly loaded the kids in the car. We waved goodbye, and I drove away.

That was the last time I ever saw my husband alive….

That night changed the trajectory of my life—forever. The next year was pure hell as I sought answers and didn’t get them. (Even now, years later, I still don’t have closure to his case. “It went cold,” as they say.)

So yes, friend, I know that life can be hard and unfair, and I know what it feels like to have the wind knocked out of you. But I also know we’re not defined by our hard times.

Let me say it a different way: YOU are NOT defined by what’s happened to you. You are defined by what you do. And your character is defined by how you respond to the things that try to break you. I know this is true because I have walked that road. I have used tools to build resilience and to rise up to meet life’s challenges. So I know without a doubt in my mind that you can use these tools, too.

Excerpt from Stop & Shift: The Mindset Reset that Changes Everything (Sound Wisdom, 2022)

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2023 issue of SUCCESS magazine. Photos courtesy Karen Allen/Sound Wisdom

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