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Episode 24: Blooming Beyond Limits

An image of a woman with the caption "The Kerry Barrett Show Episode 24: Blooming Beyond Limits: Overcoming Self-Doubt, Building Confidence, and Embracing Personal Growth, with Treva Graves"

In this enriching episode, I had the pleasure of welcoming Treva Graves, a dear friend and an expert in personal branding. With a decade of experience, Treva, the brilliant mind behind Bloom Personal Branding, shared her captivating journey—from childhood insecurities to navigating through the challenges of school bullying.

As Treva recounted her personal transformation, it became evident that the turning point in her life was marked by a decision to take control. Seeking mentorship and venturing into pageants, she discovered a path to boosting her confidence and overcoming the insecurities that had plagued her.


Hello, joining us today is one of my dear friends, Treva Graves. She’s a personal branding specialist. She’s got a book out, there is a retreat that she’s planning. She’s got a whole lot going on my fabulous brand. Take a second to introduce yourself to the audience. 


Yes, thank you. Well, I’ve been in business for about 10 years now. I am the founder of balloon personal branding. And I felt like bloom was such a perfect name. Because to me, Bloom is about growing, thriving and achieving. And I consider myself kind of a late bloomer. My focus is really to to help people do just that, whether that’s in personal branding, building their image, helping them overcome impostor syndrome, and building up that confidence, I’ve always felt that confidence is kind of in the roots of your success, if you don’t have it how can you be successful at anything? 

So I like to start there and just kind of help people grow, thrive and achieve, and I love what I do. I know you do, and you’re really good at it. And one of the things that you and I talked about a while ago when we first met, is that you have a really personal story about your own sort of growth, if you will move from a place of insecurity to a place of abundance. And like many of us, there’s that gauge that we bring from us or from our former lives, our former selves, if you can, sure share a little bit of that story. 

What was this journey like for you, this goes back so many things that happened in our childhood, sort of maps out what may happen in your life. And I grew up in a household with very loving parents, but my mother, who I love dearly, by the way, but she was kind of the authority figure in our home, she was very well put together. Always dressed to the nines, expected everything to be perfect, perfect house, perfect appearance, pillows, fluffed on the couch.

I mean, literally everything had to be perfect. And my personality just kind of wasn’t like that. My mom would walk into a room and command, I’d be the ones littering off, hugging the wall. And so, it kind of really fueled my insecurities and self doubt about myself and then I got into school, and I just became the target of bullies, horrible mean girls. That eventually when it got so bad, I was just living in fear every single day. 

And I was physically assaulted by these girls. And I just had this epiphany moment. This was back when I was a teenager. And I’m like, I can’t live like this anymore. I have to do something to stop this. And so I just kind of made this decision. All right, let’s have a come to Jesus moment with myself. Because they felt like I’m the one that’s letting this happen. I have to do something about it. I was giving all of my power away to these bullies. And I wasn’t, I was fearful. I wasn’t being myself. 

So I eventually got hooked up with a mentor when my parents started to help me through this. I eventually got into pageants believe it or not, and I really, really started to develop my confidence in being with these pageants. And being in pageants, wasn’t necessarily like, oh, I want to be on stage and be pretty, but it was, it was like this competition within myself. I want to prove to myself that I can do this.

And so I will tell you, there were definitely bumps along the way and I still made mistakes and let other bullies kind of into my life, but eventually I figured it out. And I wrote a book about it. The book is primarily geared for women, but men could learn something from it too. But I go through the steps in my book, the book goes through all of the crap that I went through, to get to the other side, like that imposter syndrome. 

I find it rears its head pretty frequently, I had a similar sort of background, similar viewpoint, if you will, with bullies. And it’s surprising how long that experience can live with you even now. I sort of feel like it raises its head every now and then. And it’s just being aware, really new ways to deal with it. 


So what is the book’s title, we’re gonna put it in the show notes? 


Yes, it is called Self-Doubt Detox: 5 Steps to Beat Your Bully and Bloom Confidence. So I take you through the five steps of believing in yourself, loving yourself, taking advantage of opportunities, learning to do the power of observation, and mentorship. And I’m really proud that it became a bestseller on Amazon, I just am anxious to spread the message. And it’s really about taking back your power standing in it and believing in yourself. 


Can you give us a little bit, we’re not going to give away all the juice, but a little detail about what each of those steps is? 


Because I imagine that incorporating them is not just as simple. Here are the five steps, it probably takes a little time. And I would imagine you’ve been very intentional about living these five steps every single day. First of all, you need to get clear , what are your goals? What do you want out of your life? Like I tell people confidence is not a sprint, it’s a journey. And you’re not just gonna wake up one day like, I’m confident now forever, because, as you said, Impostor Syndrome, those other bullies can kind of ebb and flow in your life. And so being very intentional, working daily at it, little baby steps to keep you going.


I’ll give you a little framework that works for me when that impostor kind of rears its ugly head, and I developed a framework and it’s called act, and I call it act, because we need to act, we need to be intentional with our thoughts. And so A-acting is just acknowledging self doubt, and is never going to fully go away. And so, acknowledge that it’s there. All right, here you are, again, the C is to cancel. And sometimes what I do is I just imagine, or use imagery or something that says stop, or I don’t care if it’s a stop sign, imagining or thinking about just him to the face, whatever it is, just stop. So I want you to cancel that thought, using stop. 

And then T is for transform. So let’s transform this, this negative feeling by saying this, and  what, you can even label your bully given a name if you want to, and just say  when you are here, all right. But I’m not going to listen to you today. 

I’m doing great. I’m moving on, you stay wherever the heck you choose to be. But I’m not listening to you. And I’m moving forward, because I’m going to have a great day today. And so it’s just using little simple things like that, to help you get past those moments. I think the biggest mistake that we’ve made, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman , it’s it’s nothing to do with gender, we have let Impostor Syndrome into our comfort zone. 

And that’s not where imposters should be, they live and they feed off of that comfort zone. And so we have to get them out of it. And there’s all kinds of things I talk about in the book to help you to help you do that. That’s funny, I gave my bully the name of Jen. And I gave her that name because it was the actual name of one of the worst bullies I know. And it’s her voice, sometimes telling me things, things that are crappy about myself or feeling like


When the insecurity rises, and it’s interesting, you mentioned something that sounds sort of simple, whether it’s realization at the stop sign or putting your hand up the sound very simple, but you still have to be diligent about it, just because you were aware, then you have to do something just sort of squash that thought. Because a lot of times there’s this internal dialogue that’s still running and it’s run for so long, it’s sort of baked into who you are. It’s constantly playing in the background, we don’t even recognize it. 

So how do you become aware of that? Because I’ll find every once in a while I’m, something happens. And I’m thinking, why am I? Why am I doing that? Or why am I ill equipped? Or why am I enabling whatever the case may be? So my question is, how do you become aware of it, it’s going to take that daily intention to work itself out the beautiful thing about our brains, and I’m sure many of your listeners may be aware of this, but our brains are neuro plastic, I mean, we can retrain our brain from  thinking from negative to positive, we’re actually born with our brains wired for negativity, believe it or not. 


And so that’s why it takes daily intention to keep working at it. Like I said, it’s never ever going to go away. But using act or practicing positive affirmations, I mean, I’m a big believer that some people may laugh at them and think, Oh, that’s so silly. But for me, I start my day, every single day, since February 2 1980. Yeah, that’s the day when my bully Jenny by the way. That’s fine Billy’s name but that’s Jay, when everything had to change for me. And so I started in my day, thinking positive thoughts. And I will literally stand in front of a mirror and say three positive things to myself. 

But that helps me, you have to figure out what works for you. Maybe it’s journaling, maybe it’s having that once a week coffee date with a friend or a mentor that you can just have that time with to talk to. But like I said, it just does, it takes a lot of work. And some of us there may be a little bit more susceptible to listening to our bullies than others. But you can do it, you can do it. 

And it’s just, it’s really about taking ownership of, of your feelings and believing in yourself. Because if you don’t believe in yourself, who the heck will nobody want to hang out with a wishy washy. Oh, my gosh , I’m going to fail today. I mean we want to hang around positive people. And so buy my book, and you can learn more about it. It’s interesting. 


You mentioned wired, and I’ve heard that described before, is sort of like a negativity bias. And it’s something I guess, from our caveman days, almost like we’re looking for negative because the negative signals danger. And so we know if you see a negative, it’s something you have to pay attention to in order to survive or not get kicked out of the caveman clan, or whatever the case may be. 

So those terms, if it makes sense, it’s how I think of it. But it’s also interesting when you talk about trying to rewire or retrain the brain to move out of that space and move into one that’s positive. So I have two questions about that. Number one, affirmations, do you use them? How do you come up with the right ones? Do you have a strategy? Are they all the same? This is more than two questions. Does it depend on


What’s going on? Yeah, it does kind of depend on what’s going on that day. I did a lot of research online, and I wrote pages and pages of them. And then I put together kind of my top 100 Bill, that’s a lot. If you go to my website and download, there’s a free download of my 100 favorite positive affirmations. And yes , I do public speaking and so I’ve got some that I kind of use those days when I have to go out and speak in front of people. 

I used one this morning, right before I got on this podcast with you. So it does kind of depend upon  what I’m doing for the day? Yes. Just a question that I have for you because we’ve talked a lot about positivity and there’s also a lot of talk lately, articles written about something that is called toxic positivity. And my understanding of that is that it’s almost like not acknowledging that you’re in pain or that there’s something going on. Do you acknowledge how you navigate that? Do you train to overcome it with gratitude? Or how do you handle those moments, if those moments of self doubt are creeping in. I’ve never been someone that just tries to suppress things, I deal with it head on, and that doesn’t matter, whatever it is, in my life, I just deal with it at that moment. 

Because if I don’t, I will just end up curled up in a ball on the floor, and I just can’t do it. 

I’ve had peace and harmony in my life, and this goes for anyone. I mean, you want to have that balance, well being I mean, if I am, if I am really off, I gotta find a way to balance myself. 

And so I’ve always been someone who just if I’ve got conflict in my life or whatever it is, I’m going to talk to that person, let’s solve it. Let’s compromise whatever we have to do, or I’m just completely unbalanced. And just then that would consume my thoughts. And so I don’t want that to happen. 


I know you have this retreat coming up this coming year 2024. It’s the first of its kind to tell us a little bit about what it’s all about and how people can find out about it. 


Yes, well, I’m really, really excited about this. This is a little bit of a new adventure for me, but I was approached by a retreat company. And they had asked me to partner with them to offer a women’s retreat. And so we got together, we brainstormed these ideas, and we had all of these things planned, but then we’re like, wait a minute, let’s take a step back, and actually do a little bit of research and do a survey. And, and this, this retreat is for four women. And our results produce two really amazing points. Number one, when women want to book a retreat for themselves, the number one thing they want is rest and relaxation, so lots of self care. 

And number two, we also found out that many women are looking for ways or strategies or some tools they can put in their toolkit to cope with life’s challenges. So it could be anything from raising your kids, taking care of an aging parent, maybe you’re wanting to rise the ranks at work, all of these different things that life throws at you. What are some ways that  we could help women with these sorts of challenges that happen in life. 

And so we put together a retreat, it is called Flourish Women’s Retreat. And we have an amazing lineup of all kinds of self care activities from facials, and pampering sessions to self defense classes, fitness, yoga, kayaking, all kinds of beautiful nature walks and things. I’m going to be doing a style consultation with each woman to jazz up their wardrobe and know their colors. 

So there’s gonna be all of these fun things to do. And then we’ll also throw in some mini sessions on those coping strategies, dealing with burnout and stress and have you lost your mojo, I mean all of those kinds of things. Our meals are all going to be gourmet. We’re bringing in a wonderful chef, and it’s just going to be a great weekend for women to come together, experience these things, make connections, and leave feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to tackle life again. 

And this is all happening at Riverbend Retreat FLA in Riverview, Florida, which is just outside of Tampa, and it’s from February 16 through the 18th in 2024. And I’m offering your listeners, if you want to come and bring a friend, we’re going to give each of you $200 off the weekend. So I’m really, really excited about it and I hope that you will consider it. 


If people are interested in learning more about the ways that you work with people or just even learning a little bit more about you and your business. Where should they go? 


Yes, my website is bloompersonalbranding.com. You will find everything about me there. All of my all of the things that I’m involved in and things that I’m doing and also to get my best selling book. And contact me I’ve got a free brand strategy call. So every time a new person is interested, I always give them that little free call at the beginning to help them get started. 


Yeah, give them a drop some of your wisdom on them and point yeah, right action wisdom of which you are absolutely full of I’ve known you for a few years now and forever. And like I learned something new every time that I talked to you. You are awesome. And congratulations on such a successful year and an amazing year to come. It sounds like you are my friend. It was such a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you for being here.

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