I have some confessions to make about who I am, and what my work is really about. It’s time I shared them fully with you. Forgive the lateness in doing so, but even I didn’t fully understand that I was hiding until recently.
I think the best way to fill you in would be to share with you how these insights came to me. This is a longer, and important, story that I promise will be interesting. So grab a cup of tea and allow me to share.
I’d been wrestling with the question that all “business gurus” insist we must know the answer to if we’re going to be in business. “What problem do you solve?” I spoke with my homeopath about this, and she said to me,
“After all the years I’ve worked with you, I still don’t know how to refer you to others because I don’t really know what you do.”
Ouch! This led me down a path of exploration and research.
I started reviewing all of the intake forms from my clients over the years. Why did they come to me?
The most common problems people wanted me to help them with were to have more clarity/direction, a sense of purpose/meaning/fulfillment, more confidence, greater balance/harmony in life, better relationships, the ability to realize and live up to their full potential, move beyond blocks and self-sabotage, manage stress, gain new perspectives, and to trust and care for themselves more.
This is a great list of “problems solved,” so why did it seem so hard to articulate what I do?
Then I decided to look at the reviews, and what people have shared after working with me. The main benefit they said they received was that ultimately, they feel more connected to themselves, to life, and to more meaning and empowerment.
I realized in seeing this that I’d been trying to express the benefit of my work, but that is much more nebulous than the reasons people come to me. While it warms my heart beyond measure to hear someone say that they feel like they really know who they are and that their life has more meaning after working with me, that doesn’t translate well to the people who just want help solving certain problems. They’re looking for something more concrete that they’ll get out of working together. I realized I need to speak more about why people come to me in the first place, and trust that the outcome will speak for itself.
I shared this with a dear friend who also does this type of work with her clients. She said to me,
“Kim, you’ve been trying to be something you’re not. You’re not a coach.”
My first reaction was to have my entire stomach in my throat and want to throw up. I paused, and she continued. “You are a Spiritual Mentor. You bring people so much more than a list of completed tasks with specific outcomes.”
I breathed a sigh of relief, as I knew she was right. I’ve never liked the title of “coach” because it never felt adequate to describe my work. Mentor felt better, but what does that really mean? I had to look it up, and found that the definition means “trusted advisor,” and the etymology is “an agent noun of mentos, meaning intent, purpose, spirit, passion.”
An advisor in the realm of meaning, intent, purpose, spirit and passion…now THAT sounds more like what I am about.
I shared this with my coach and dear friend, and he said to me,
“Kim, it doesn’t really matter what you call yourself. What matters is that you believe in yourself.”
Three powerful, bold statements, all in the course of one week, coming at me and asking that I take a deeper look at who I am and what I’m about!
I went further, wondering what the people who’ve worked with me over the years have in common. Many are mothers, though some fathers too. Many are entrepreneurs, coaches and healers. But the common trait they all have is that they’re all leaders. Even the stay-at-home moms I coach are the types who show up in leadership roles in their communities, their children’s schools, and definitely in their families.
I know that many people see me as a leader, but am I really qualified to say that I’m a Mentor of Leaders? I started doubting myself, hearing the questioning voices in my head saying that I’m not trained enough, I don’t have the right credentials, I am not experienced enough, etc. Then, the most remarkable thing happened.
Did you know that our Spirit Guides can get frustrated with us? I didn’t until mine yelled at me! Yep. After these doubt-filled voices in my head, she came up to me and yelled:
You went through military officer training, excelling and outperforming most of your fellow trainees. You worked for the Federal Reserve Board, presenting to Alan Greenspan and being published in one of their publications. You went through the Finance Leadership Development Program at Lockheed Martin (formerly GE), managing contracts, auditing systems, and being responsible for financial accountability. You were on the school board and chaired the building development committee of your son’s first school. You stepped up to be the Undertaker for your friend’s mother’s home vigil. You’ve had two businesses and managed two others. What more leadership training or understanding of what it means to be an effective leader do you think you need!!!
I laughed at first, and then I cried. You see, I’d never really thought of these things as significant enough. In fact, I thought they made me weak, and I even felt ashamed of them.
I bet most of the people reading this would have no idea that I went through these things in my life. I don’t talk about them.
Now that this was all staring me squarely in the face, I had to ask myself why. Why have I not spoken much of these aspects of my life?
The truth is, I felt ashamed. I came within months of being commissioned as an Air Force Officer, but I couldn’t go through with it. Something in me felt so misaligned with what I’d be signing up for. It’s not easy to leave the military, and I felt tremendous pain around the decision to leave and no longer “belong” to the community I’d been a strong part of. People thought I was crazy to leave, particularly given that I’d now be saddled with tremendous debt for the school loans I’d have.
When I took my job in Washington, D.C. at the Federal Reserve, I had no idea how prestigious a job there was considered to be. A friend of my aunt’s connected with me upon moving there, and took me out to a fancy meal on the top floor of some building I don’t even recall. We were the only two people being waited on and served. I felt like I was being courted, but I was too naive to have any idea why. When I saw her again upon deciding to leave the job to follow my heart toward my soon-to-be husband, she didn’t even look at me. I was nothing to her.
I left the corporate world too, feeling that I could barely breathe in the stuffy, rigid controls that I was experiencing. Even while I was successful, receiving great reviews, I felt little room for the creativity I longed for, and took a leap to go back to school. Again, people thought I was crazy to leave a safe, secure job and venture into the unknown.
For years, I’ve believed that these moves were something to be ashamed of. I didn’t talk about them because I didn’t want people to think I was scattered or unreliable. I felt lost, like I was running away, and couldn’t find where I belonged. I thought there must be something wrong with me to have walked away from these opportunities many people would give anything for.
But then it hit me. As I looked at the clients I’ve worked with in my coaching career, many of them, while being leaders, were unfulfilled. I considered many friends my age too, and how many I know that have climbed the corporate ladder, done what they were “supposed” to do, and still found themselves dissatisfied.
I realized that for the last 25 years, I haven’t been running away from anything.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I now see that I’ve been moving toward my soul. I didn’t sell out to the cultural “shoulds,” and in fact moved on from them when I could feel that my soul was suffocating.
Now, perhaps if I’d had more maturity and understanding 25 years ago, I wouldn’t necessarily have had to leave the military, government work or the corporate world in order to find myself, but I finally realize that I have had courage to move toward my soul rather than sell out to what is expected by cultural norms. I used to think I was cowardly. I felt ashamed and inadequate. Yet now, after all these years, I finally see the gift in all of it.
This is a powerful discovery of the truth that our so called weaknesses are actually our greatest strengths. What I felt most ashamed of and embarrassed about is actually what gives me the expertise and understanding to do what I truly long to do.
I’m here to serve leaders who are ready to move beyond the status quo, step into the lives they know are possible, and show up more authentically as their true selves.
I’ve always had a passion for Human and Earth evolution. I firmly believe that if we are to bring the future into being in an evolutionary way, we need to show up as the true, evolutionary leaders we’re capable of being. I also believe that we cannot be a leader of the “we” until we are fully aware of and rooted in the “I” within us. This is no small task, and requires tremendous commitment and courage.
I’ve spent the last 25 years deeply connecting to who I really am, understanding human development, and following my heart, all while continuing to be the leader I was born to be. While I may not have always had the “success” of fame and fortune (as defined by our modern standards), what I can say wholeheartedly is that I’ve always felt fulfilled. It’s not been easy. In fact, it’s been downright painful at times to follow the path of my heart and soul. But when I look at my life, I see that every step was completely worth it.
I want every person I mentor to feel the same fulfillment. I want you to wake up every morning feeling profound gratitude for your life, knowing that where you are is perfect, and recognizing the person you see in the mirror as being the real you.
I want to see more leaders showing up with an evolutionary leadership perspective, one that includes both the masculine and the feminine principles, working together in perfect harmony.
I want to see leadership include the realms of intuition, Spirit, creativity, regeneration, compassion, empathy, love, and comfort with the unknown. These are the realms of the feminine, that can be powerfully married to the realm of the healthy masculine’s focused action.
Masculine and Feminine must come together for regeneration. So it makes sense that if we want to see evolutionary, healthy progress toward a future we can all be proud of, we must bring these elements together in our leadership as well, whether we’re leading a business, an organization, our families or simply our own lives.
We should all be playing the lead role in our own lives!
Leadership begins with you, the human being, who is willing to integrate all aspects of yourself, to face the shadows, and stand in the truth of who you are. From that place, you’ll be able to see the truth of who others are, have compassion for their struggles with their shadows, and create in a collaborative way that honors the leader in others as well.
So, there you have it, my true confessions. My leadership experience is vast, and my soul connection is deep.
For 2018, I’m releasing and leaving behind the parts of me that believed I wasn’t enough to mentor other leaders.
I’m ready to step into and own the truth of who I am, and show up to support other leaders to do the same.
2018 is going to be a year of significant shifting, and that requires leaders who are ready to meet the shifts in an evolutionary way.
It’s time to stand in the truth of who you are, release all that isn’t serving your evolutionary path, and realize the fulfillment you deserve.