Rebel Uprising Podcast

Question the Drink with Kari Schwear

Imagine crafting a message for an audience who doesn't know they have a problem, a problem to which you have the solution for.

This is the situation that our guest today, Kari Schwear, found herself in when she started her business, Question the Drink. Kari coaches her clients to question their relationship with alcohol. Her clients may have some issues with drinking, but not to the point of alcoholism, they are in the grey area.

So how do you craft a message when you are on the cutting edge of your industry and you're doing something that no one else is currently doing? How do you counsel people on a problem that they don't even know they have yet?

That's what we're talking about today! You'll hear:

  • The opportunities and challenges of being on the leading edge of a movement
  • Creating a message that gets people instantly curious and wanting to know more
  • How messaging has been specifically important for her business

I know that if you're an innovative, multi passionate entrepreneur you'll get so much out of this episode.

Listen in or read through the transcript below:

Resources mentioned in this episode

Kari's website
Connect with Kari on Instagram
Join the Gray Tonic Facebook group

Are you on the cutting edge of your industry? Are you doing something that no one else is doing? Maybe you've got an innovative solution. Or you're a multi-passionate with many tools and your tool box, but those tools get amazing results for your clients. Or perhaps you're doing something so innovative And so new that people don't even know that they have the problem you solve yet.

If you found yourself nodding yes to any of these questions, then you don't want to miss this week's episode of the podcast as it was made for you because it's exciting to be on the leading edge of your industry. Right? 

But it's also challenging because you've got to take the time to educate people, create conversations around the work you do and help people realize that they have the problem you solve.

This perfectly describes our guests today's conundrum. Kari Schwear is the founder of the Question the Drink Movement and she coaches people to Question the Drink, to question their relationship with alcohol. 

Her coaching is for people who’s issues with alcohol don't really rise to the level of an alcoholics anonymous, but they're also wondering if alcohol is negatively impacting their lives and they're curious about what their life would be like without it.

During the show, we talk about the opportunities and challenges of being on the leading edge of a movement. 

We'll discuss what Keri did to create this message that gets people instantly curious and wanting to know more. We'll also discuss why messaging has been so dang important to Keri’s business.

But before we do, let me tell you a little bit about Keri. She is a perpetual life learner, a seven time career path conqueror, and the co-author of the book, the Successful Mind, Tools for Living a Purposeful, Productive, and Happy Life. She's also a former gray area drinker that was called into the work she is so passionate about today. Keri is a gray area discovery coach for high performers, helping them to Question the Drink as they navigate stress overwhelm and the gray area of vices that are keeping them from their highest success and ultimate joy. 

Enjoy the show. And I'll be back at the end with some key takeaways and questions for you to reflect on.  

Michelle: [00:03:31] Hi, Keri. Welcome to the Rebel Uprising podcast. 

Kari: [00:03:35] Thanks Michelle. Really excited to be here with you today. 

Michelle: [00:03:38] I am excited too. I always love having my former clients on the show, and now my friends, to talk about their journey with their message and getting the word out.

So why don't we start with you telling our audience a little bit about your business. 

Kari: [00:03:57] Yeah. Sounds great. Thanks. And I will say it was so awesome to work with you, Michelle. It was one of the best experiences I have had and you really helped me early on in my business. And I'm just so grateful to you.

So yeah,  really it's 50% of the population that drinks alcohol is in the gray area. And so what does that mean? It's somebody that is more than socially drinking. But they're not physically dependent on alcohol. So this leaves this really big gap for someone to know where they might fit into. And a lot of clients that I have, AA and other type recovery groups is too much for them.

It's not exactly what they need and there's not a place for them to go. So that is why I created Gray Tonic. Gray Tonic  is my coaching business and Question the Drink is the name of my signature coaching program. And it's a way for folks to really understand their relationship with alcohol and where they want to be with the relationship with alcohol.

So I like to think of Question the Drink as a pattern disruptor. 

Michelle: [00:05:04] I like that. And because what's so interesting, especially when you and I first started working together, like the whole sober, curious movement was just bubbling up. So really your business was on the cutting edge, right? 

Kari: [00:05:20] Yes. It was one of the earlier ones coming out of that, the sober, curious movement.

And, I really am very careful with my language around being sober and recovering and all those sorts of languaging. Yes, I am part of the sober movement. In terms of my word is basically for those to really question the relationship, AKA. Maybe you're looking at it, your consumption with alcohol and taking a step back saying, Hey, how is this serving me?

How am I showing up when I do drink? And if that means that they're eliminating alcohol from their lives, then yes, they become part of that sober pool. But I've, I'm careful with saying sober and sobriety and recovery. Since that indicates somebody who has a physical dependency on alcohol and the gray area drinkers that are out there in the world, which like I said, is about 50% of the population that drinks currently is in the gray area.

That's a lot of people. And so they, Oh, you're sober. That automatically has this connotation of, Oh, you have a problem. And this is one of the biggest fears that people have is they're so afraid of what others might think. And because of that, they stay quiet and they don't look at their relationship with alcohol until something happens.

And they're forced to look at the relationship. So it's an interesting place to be for a lot of people. 

Michelle: [00:06:49] Yeah. And. It's interesting because I have friends who I would never think would have a drinking problem, but then they celebrate their sobriety now. And so I'm one, I also wonder is that word going to become not about alcohol dependency at some point in time.

Kari: [00:07:10] Yeah. And I do believe so. I think that the beautiful thing about all of this is that. We're starting to recognize as a society, it's slow going. Trust me, it's very slow going, but we are starting to recognize that, oh my goodness, we can actually have fun and a social life without drinking.

It's who knew? Right, and more people, more and more people are looking at eliminating alcohol as a way of living a cleaner life and also giving them. The competitive advantage that they need both in business and in their personal lives. If you look at some of the top people, the top leaders in the world, they do not drink alcohol.

They cannot afford to drink any alcohol. They need to remain in a posture of being at their absolute best. And alcohol does not fit into that lifestyle. And more people are starting to catch on to that. 

Michelle: [00:08:08] Yeah. So since you are doing something that is cutting edge, new and innovative, what has been challenging about getting the word out about your business? Getting that message out there. 

Kari: [00:08:22] The biggest challenge is, someone who is truly a gray area drinker, they don't know what to do. They're not bad enough where they've have any rock bottom or they've experienced any major issues in their life. So they think that they're okay. They might be drinking a little bit too much during the week or they're binge drinking on the weekends and then they have the hangover and then they feel like crap, but they're not in that place of, Oh my gosh, I need to do something about this.

So the challenging part for me has been showing them that there is a solution for gray area drinkers, because it's really more about the stress that they're feeling and they're coping with. And this is not 2020. It has not been easy for a lot of people. 2021, woo-hoo like let's move on to some bigger and brighter things.

And I think a lot of people are carrying so much weight of the world on their shoulders and forget even 2020. Let's talk about just, I don't know, living life stressful at work stress with the kids, stress with day-to-day things. And we've never been taught how to deal with that stress in a productive way.

How do we cope with our stress and a healthier way as opposed to turning to food or alcohol or pot, or any other negative behaviors that we do? Right. We've never been taught that. So my program is really looking at what are some healthier ways to cope and deal with that stress. And that's really the crux of everything that I do.

Michelle: [00:09:50] Yeah. So it sounds like your challenges are two fold first, your people. Don't really think that they have a problem that needs solving, they think what they're experiencing is rather normal, so they're not actively looking for a solution. 

So then it becomes this question of how do you educate them and get their attention in the first place? Cause that's always the hardest part. Right? Getting their attention and then educating them on what gray area drinking is, what Question the Drink is. So is that about right? 

Kari: [00:10:28] Yes. And Question the Drink really is the biggest message of all.

People hear that and they're like, oh yeah, it's not called quit the drink. It's called Question the Drink. So Question the Drink is really about, questioning every time that you go to drink questioning what it is, you're drinking, questioning why you're drinking. What is the outcome? How is it serving you? What are you using it for? Is it to deal with stress? Is it to numb out? Chill, relax, escape. What are all those reasons?

Once somebody starts to ask themselves those questions, then they can start to move forward with what that might look like as they continue on. The biggest challenge again is really identifying with some of my ideal clients.

And once they hear the messaging, they're like, oh my gosh, that is so me. And a lot of times they're seeking. Counsel or not counsel, lawyer council, but council, in terms of what do I do? I don't need a therapist. I don't need a recovery program. So they will seek out and look for a type of coach. And there's a difference between life coaching and what I do.

I am not a life coach. I'm not a recovery coach and I'm not a sober coach. I refer to myself as a discovery coach. I'm really helping my clients understand what's keeping them stuck. What is the stress that is keeping them held back? What are the things that they can and look at to do in order for them to rise to the next level and expand in their personal and professional lives?

So I do this, there are a multitude of the modalities and methodologies and what I call my pillars of disruption. And I take them through all of that. I

Michelle: [00:12:12] love it. I love it. And what's what I've always loved about, like the Question the Drink, 3 Word Rebellion. Is that in a person's mind, it just opens a loop for them.

Right? Like the first thing is Oh, I didn't realize I could Question the Drink and then what questions should I be asking? And so for just that alone, it has this. This bit of stickiness to it that it, like you said, it's definitely a pattern disruptor and it's a great mantra for any time they're thinking about picking up a drink.

Kari: [00:12:44] Yeah. Yes, exactly. That's exactly it. It's almost like thinking through the drink before they even have the drink, kids questioning that. So yeah, it really has been. Quite the movement. I created a Facebook group, private Facebook group called Question the Drink which by the way, officially was trademarked in the summer of 2020s.

Thank you for that, Michelle. You helped me with that. So yeah, it's really been a great name and a great way to get that message out. 

Michelle: [00:13:15] Yeah. So what has worked well for you in getting known for this message? 

Kari: [00:13:22] Consistency. Oh my goodness. Consistency of showing up reiterating, it's getting in someone's head.

If you can hit your clients. In their mind, your ideal client is what they're thinking, really understanding what their pain points are, what their fears are, what their challenges are, what their frustrations are and getting in their head. If you can emulate that thing game, then you've won.

Right? So it's really understanding what they're going through and keeping them up at night. And a lot of it is their fears. Especially with what I do, it is their fears of being found out that they are drinking too much or the other big fear, Michelle. And I know we've all experienced this imposter syndrome.

And that, that was my story. I was drinking, coming home from work every night, more than a couple of glasses of wine. And I'm from the outside world. Oh my goodness. I looked like I had myself together, professionally and personally, had the great job, great house, great car, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

But inside, I wasn't feeling that way. We tend to portray one thing when we're really feeling another way. And this is what alcohol quote unquote helps us do is to escape from some of that. So really it's getting honest with themselves and not as really scary for a lot of people. 

Michelle: [00:14:39] Yes.

And you've said some really. Good things that I just want to unpack for everyone. So the first was consistency and I noticed like after we worked together, I just saw that you weaved in a different direction for a little bit. 

Kari: [00:14:52] I did, I was lost. I was a fish out of the boat. I didn't know what you know, and that's the thing.

Michelle: [00:15:06] I just remember that because I remember we worked together and I'm like, what are you doing now?

And then all of a sudden you came back with a vengeance with the message it's like you veered and then you came back and then you've just been remarkably consistent ever since. And I, and hey, I applaud you because consistency is probably the hardest part of all of this. Yeah. And then the second thing I love how you're talking about.

You have to be in people's heads, you have to understand like the thoughts they're thinking to themselves, the talk they're thinking, and it is, especially when you need to get attention on your message. It's so effective when you can speak their language or speak to that imposter syndrome they're feeling because that will draw them in to the message and want to learn more.

Kari: [00:16:02] Yes, that is definitely, that is the magic. If you don't hit that you're going to miss out. And it's been a process to work through Question the Drink and itself encompasses a lot of what I'm trying to say, you can't just put a question to drink on a blog post and be done with it.

You have to speak their language. And it's really been a lot of massaging trying.  Trying something it's not working, trying something different, we all make mistakes. Being an entrepreneur is part of that is part of the journey. We have to try things and see what works and what doesn't work.

Pardon my interruption, but Kari has just said something that is so critically important that I wanted to emphasize. And that is the importance of doing audience research. And understanding the language of your client and customer. I am asked all the time. Do I really have to do audience research? And my answer is yes, you have to be paying attention to the language your people speak, and maybe you don't need to do a formal survey or a bunch of interviews, but even looking at how they're talking to you during. 

Intake calls, sales, conversations, and sessions. Can give you valuable clues for how to market and sell in your business. Now I'll let Kari get back to it.  

Kari: [00:17:37] And, at the end of the day, I love what I do. And that's what drives me. And it's just figuring out what that secret sauce is. That's going to resonate with my ideal clients. 

Michelle: [00:17:49] Yes. Yes. I always joke that Simon Sinek just didn't come up with, start with why, and then go on the streets of Seattle and be like, start with why people would've thought like he was bananas and you need to like, Figure out the message that supports your core message to really get it into people's brains so that they are attracted and resonate.

And you're, you've been doing that so well. So I applaud you for that as well. 

Kari: [00:18:17] Thanks, Michelle. That's not over, it's an everyday process, I'm still working at it. I don't think it's ever done. I think it's an ever evolving thing that we must be very conscious about. 

Michelle: [00:18:27] Oh, it's the same for me.

I do messaging for a living for other people and I am always re-evaluating my own messaging or sending out a survey to people so that I can get their language, or I go through all of my consult forums and pull out language. And every time I do that, I'm like, Oh, okay. I've noticed a new pattern here, or I can try this to get people's attention because for me it's all about great.

You have a great message. You have a great solution and how can we get that language to really resonate? And I think, yeah, it's always evolving. Oh my gosh. 

Kari: [00:19:08] Yes, definitely. And I think the more clients we have and the more research that we can do, and by paying attention to what they're saying is really important.

And seeing that consistency between those people with all my clients, I look at all their, between our conversations that we had or things that they said to me, and I can start to see some of the similarities between them all the same. It's everything I was feeling. And ironically for most people, your ideal client is yourself.

So it's, but we were too close to our work. Sometimes it's hard to take a step back and look at it from above. Wow. 

Michelle: [00:19:46] Yeah. So this brings me to the last question before the lightning round is what advice do you have for people who are also doing something innovative and different in their business?

Kari: [00:19:59] Oh, my gosh, don't do it alone. Find someone to help you. And here's the thing, because I just stated we are too close to our own work. And so what we think is good, maybe might be good, but it probably can use some improvements. And I think a lot of times when we can work with a coach, when we can work with another person or a partner, you can't just ask a friend.

Okay. It has to be somebody who is a professional at what they do. From the time you and I worked together, for example, Michelle, I have had probably three or four coaches in between them. I'm always working with somebody or hiring somebody to work with me to understand I've brought people on my team.

But even with that, having other people, coaches, business coaches that specialize in what it is that you're looking for, like with uni. It was a specialization of that messaging. Right. And it's still massaging that, or maybe it's understanding, like having a coach come in and work with you to help you with building out your processes.

I just worked with a time management coach, for example. I'm always looking to better myself and improve my business. And that is a constant effort of educating myself, learning new things and staying relevant. So I would say definitely don't do it alone. Have somebody with you and if you have this burning desire in your heart to create and do something in the world, it's going to take a lot of work.

And I think it's knowing that you're going to have days where you just want to cry and have a pity party for yourself. But the thing of it is that you're only three feet from gold at that point. And if you keep going, you're going to have a breakthrough on the other side of that. 

Michelle: [00:21:49] I love it. I think that's so important because I'm the same as you. I always have at least one coach. Sometimes I have two coaches, but they're working on different things in my business or in my life. Right. And yeah, getting that support that outside perspective, because we are so close to our work that we just don't see it clearly at all. And we forget what makes us brilliant. 

Kari: [00:22:14] Yes. Exactly. Exactly. And you and I are both coaches, right? So I'm a firm believer in having coaches. That's exactly why I love what I do, because we all need that extra help. We need somebody to walk with us and support us and guide us. That's exactly what a coach does.

Michelle: [00:22:32] yes. Yes. All right, Kari, are you ready for the lightning round? Oh, gosh. 

Kari: [00:22:37] Yes, let's 

Michelle: [00:22:37] go. Okay. There are three questions. The first one, what's one thing you're rebelling against. 

Kari: [00:22:44] Oh, my gosh. Okay. There's a few, but if I'm only limited to one, I would probably say the acceptance and the expectancy of our need to drink alcohol.

That is, that has always been one of the biggest. Pet peeves of mine is that society has really taught us and dictated to us that the only way that we are to have fun and socialize is if there's alcohol involved. And I just want everyone to Question the Drink. I really want them to understand. Why is it that they're drinking and why do they feel that way or believe that because it's really a belief system that we have been ingrained to have.

And so that is probably my biggest battle cry. 

Michelle: [00:23:29] So question number two. What changes do you want to create? 

Kari: [00:23:34] People's relationships with themselves. And of course the relationship with alcohol. And I think if they can get the alcohol relationship under control, it will help them expand in all other relationships in their life, whether it's personal or professional.

Michelle: [00:23:52] And finally, if people acted on this change, what do you think the world would be like? 

Kari: [00:23:58] gosh, people would be less stressed, more connected with one another. Oh my God. Can we just stop there for a moment? Connection in itself, we all. Desire to be heard, loved and connected with other human beings. This is what we were designed to be. And I think that if we can eliminate this distraction of alcohol out of our life as a negative coping mechanism, if we're using alcohol to celebrate only, okay. Great. But if, once we start using it for other means for negative, a negative way for coping, then once we can eliminate that, we can then have more energy, be more creative, have that love and that connection with others, which is really what life is all about.

Michelle: [00:24:48] So Kari tell everyone where they can find you and connect with 

Kari: [00:24:52] Pretty much everywhere on socials, “Gray Tonic”,It's all one word. And then Question the Drink is my Facebook group. I love anybody to join in. I have people that have been alcohol-free for years. I have people that are still drinking every day in there. They're there to learn and to question, and it's a fun group. It's just all about living a healthier, productive life. 

Michelle: [00:25:20] So good. So good. So everyone go check Kari out, especially if you are curious about questioning the drink because she is the person for that.

Thank you so much, Kari, for being honest, the show. 

Kari: [00:25:35] Thanks Michelle. It was so much fun being with you today.

This is a fascinating conversation and I'm so thrilled to see Kari thriving with the messaging that we created for her business. And I hope you learned about the gray area drinking question, the drink and why messaging is so dang important when you're doing something on the cutting edge.

 If you're listening to this podcast all the way to the end, you're most likely. Doing something new that's innovative. That is on the leading edge. So let's talk about a few key takeaways. 

Number one when you're doing something innovative and people don't know, they have a problem that you solve. They don't yet have the words to describe it. You've got to capture their attention. Get them to pay attention and then educate them. What I challenge you to do is to look at your own messaging. 

Is it making people curious because that's the brilliance of question, the drink, it makes people go, Oh, maybe I should. What does that look like? So does your current message make people lean forward and want to know more? And the second key takeaway. When was the last time you talked to your audience for the sake of research purposes? When was the last time you gathered their language to use in your messaging, your copy, your marketing, your social media posts. And honestly, if you feel disconnected from your people, take the time. Review the calls that you've had with your clients. Send out a three question survey. 

Listen, learn, and your message will resonate more. And if you like carry on the leading edge of your industry. And if you're like carrying on the leading edge of your industry and ready to attract clients and build your movement, I would love to help you create a message that demands attention, peaks, curiosity. So clients clamor to work with you faster than before. I'd love to invite you to have a conversation with me. 

About the 3 Word Rebellion messaging intensive I'm on a mission to help more amazing business owners like Kari, who do transformative work, spread the word about that work so they can sell and serve more. So let's talk and see how I can help you with your message. And you're at the, co-marketing get all the details and book a chat with me.

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