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Hidden Gems: Meet Diane Gatza of Confident Cards

Today we’d like to introduce you to Diane Gatza.

Hi Diane, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I am the Founder of Confident Cards, a line of daily affirmation cards to cultivate positivity and resilience during life’s challenging moments. I have to be honest, I probably never thought I would be saying those words or starting a business centered around affirmation cards, but I now know all of the challenging parts of my life get to now be expressed to help others in a meaningful way.

For over ten years, I worked as an engineer in water supply planning and policy in Los Angeles focused on developing creative and environmentally sustainable water supply solutions for the LA Basin. I enjoyed that work very much and loved the creativity of developing innovative solutions to complex problems in a collaborative setting, but I have always felt like there was something more for me in life, but I wasn’t sure what it was. I’m sure many individuals out there can relate – you hear that whisper and sort of ignore it. Then the whisper gets louder, and louder, and louder until you can’t ignore it and have to throw your hands up and just try the thing that is calling you.

The whisper in my life became a yell when I was diagnosed with postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and postpartum OCD (who knew that was a thing?) after the birth of my first child in 2019. As an engineer and planner, I thought I had everything prepared, did everything “right” and had all the stuff to be set up for success. I ended up finding out that I couldn’t been less prepared for the deep and complex emotional and mental facets of becoming a parent. These were all things I never heard spoken about before I had kids. I would just crave wanting my old life back, try to figure out why I still wanted more outside of being a mom, and dealing with immense feelings of guilt and shame around not only wanting but NEEEDING real breaks and help. I was looking for ways to cope with these feelings and I felt totally alone! After going to therapy and realizing just “coping my way out of it” for the next 18+ years didn’t seem reasonable, I began a process of diving into why I felt these feelings as a result of discovering who I really was.

I began surrounding myself with all kinds of positive material and noticed a lot of personal development books, motivational speakers and podcasters talked about the importance of developing a morning routine. So, I begin with the simple task of making my bed. It’s all I could think of accomplishing at the time when I felt like my life was crumbling around me. I would celebrate the small win of making my bed every day and slowly it began to make a difference mentally with the “what starts in motion stays in motion” concept. After making my bed, I would sit down and pull a card from “The Universe Has Your Back” card deck by Gabby Bernstein. I would prop up my daily card by my computer and look at it all day for support and guidance. It felt like every day, I would pull a card and just say “wow, I really needed to hear this message today!” I always loved the thought-provoking messages, feeling understood through the cards and journaling about what it meant to me. This daily practice became the single biggest force of positive change and rediscovering my resilience in my life that I still practice to this day.

Several months into this process, I began feeling called to help other mothers learn to find their inner strength and feel confident to do motherhood their own way. After trying a few different things, I heard a voice inside telling me to make cards for moms. So, as many entrepreneurs start, I created what I couldn’t find, which were daily affirmation cards specifically curated to support, encourage and motivate individuals during pivotal life events- starting with motherhood. With that, Confident Cards was born!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Overcoming postpartum depression was not a smooth road but one filled with many peaks and valleys. There were times when I wondered if I would ever feel like “me” again because sometimes I would think things were great and then I would just hit another roadblock, which I now lovingly call “detours.” I think many individuals who have felt, faced and overcome depression of any sort can relate. I can absolutely say the effort, emotions and time I put into my healing was worth more than I can put into words.

For anyone who has started their own business, is an entrepreneur, runs a company or is in work for themselves, they probably understand the “bumps” of getting a business going or keeping one going for that matter. Exploring another passion outside of my stable career in engineering and pursuing something that people legit told me I was crazy to do, wouldn’t make any money doing or just didn’t understand what I was doing took a while for me to get over. Realizing that not everyone is going to see my dreams or understand them and becoming 100% OK with that was the biggest bump along the way. Doing the actual work for the business was the easy and fun part! I am also blessed to have had some mentors and cheerleaders along the way who have encouraged me to pursue my passion, including a previous boss of mine who might not have understood affirmation cards but believed in me and my vision to help people and encouraged me to pursue it.

I heard a quote at one point about how entrepreneurs set out to create and teach what we ourselves need the most. That couldn’t have been truer for me.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I didn’t always know I wanted to make daily affirmation cards, but I have always felt a deep sense of wanting to help others. I believe the affirmation cards are a tool for me to be of service to others in a widespread and meaningful way. Affirmation cards are similar to playing cards, with the card backs being all the same and the fronts of each card having a different positive affirmation for the user to think about, say out loud, journal about or reflect on and feel empowered. You can pull a different card at random every day, keep a meaningful card out on your desk that resonates, use them as a part of a meditation practice or pull a card as a part of a morning ritual. The possibilities are endless and I love hearing feedback from the users of the cards of all the fun and unique ways they use them.

The power of positivity and encouragement and the uplifting impacts they have on our mental health have been studied and proven in many research studies, including some out of UCLA. I’m sure we have all been there, knowing someone going through a challenging time that we can’t necessarily relate to directly or we want to let them know we love and support them, but we don’t know how. I created these affirmation cards to help fill that need of showing up for someone, even ourselves, in a meaningful and impactful way. I have received so many stories from individuals who have given the affirmation card decks to friends or family and received the warmest thank you messages because the recipient felt so loved and supported and thought of them every time they used the cards.

My flagship affirmation card deck is called The Confident Mom and it is a deck of 40 daily affirmation cards. These cards are filled with the words I wished someone had shared with me when I was struggling as a new mom because I believe that vulnerably honest voice can be hard to find today. I wanted to make sure the cards conveyed realness and allowed moms to feel like someone else out there understood them and was encouraging them daily. After the amazing response to The Confident Mom affirmation cards, I have decided to branch out into other areas of life where everyone needs meaningful support. I always start with the life events I have been through, or have been impacted by, and ask myself what I needed to hear during those times. I currently have five other affirmation card decks in prototype for release in early 2022.

How do you think about happiness?
If I had answered this question before I was a mom and went through my dark night of the soul, I would have probably rattled off a list of accomplishments because I used to assign my personal value and happiness to those things. Today, I find great joy and happiness in my “flow state” which is creating, connecting with and supporting others and spending meaningful time with my family. I now know happiness comes from within and it took me time to really figure out how to facilitate that every day. It’s a practice!

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