Today we’d like to introduce you to Kimberlee Kenyon.
Kimberlee, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born and raised in Missouri and had a great, comfortable life. However, 4.5 years ago, I was just tired of living in Missouri and feeling stuck. I decided to pack up my car and head west to California! I started off in Temecula and eventually ended up in the beautiful San Diego! Luckily I was able to live with a friend I met in college years prior. The move west wasn’t easy, as I left my comfort zone, my close life-long friends, my job and everything else in between. Upon moving to California, I spent the first six months unemployed while trying to find “that job” that I knew I deserved and that lit up my soul. I eventually had to settle for something to pay the bills. Then I moved to San Diego, which had me commuting back to Temecula every day for a year until I could find something locally.
For the last 2.5 years I worked for a local company in San Diego and really enjoyed it for the most part. However, I still didn’t feel 100% fulfilled. I was really good at my job, loved my co-workers, enjoyed building rapport with our Members, but something was still missing. I have been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time around amazing people (friends and co-workers), who have these brilliant minds and are grinding to make a change in the world. I knew that had been missing in my life and I wanted desperately to find it. My roommate, Pam, is a prime example and a huge inspiration to me. She quit her corporate job a few years ago and has been setting the world on fire! Watching her live in her truth and strive every day to make a difference in the lives of the people around her, inspired me to want to do more.
I recently quit my corporate job and am now working to find my passion. I take time each day to research companies that are making a difference in the world, as well as positions that inspire me. I am seeking out what lights my own fire, what inspires me to get up every day, and what will bring me purpose. It was and has been a crazy decision, and once again something that doesn’t have a known behind it, but I think that is part of what makes life great. We don’t have to follow the social norms and sometimes taking risks are the best decisions of your life. I am hoping to find my place in this crazy world and I knew I wasn’t fulfilling that for myself with how things were going.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It definitely has not been a smooth road. Becoming an adult and knowing what I wanted to be when I “grew up” has not been easy. Some people are born knowing what they want to do, they stick with it, and they are perfectly content and that is great… for them. I have always had many interests, love learning new things, and tend to catch on to new things quickly, so defining that in a “career” has been challenging. Honestly, there are so many unknowns in life and just when I feel like I have a grip on it, it easily changes. I catch myself “winging” this adult thing more often than not. I know the basic principles of: pay your bills on time, don’t spend more than you make, make sure you eat well and drink water to survive, take care of your personal belongings, treat people with love and kindness, etc. However, there are so many things that I have just had to figure out along the way like: doing taxes, maintenance on my car, IRA’s, 401k’s, investments, etc. I sometimes think high schools need a class, Adulting 101: Everything You Need To Know To Be a Successful Adult. My advice, don’t get discouraged when it seems dark. I promise you there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel. You may not be able to see it right away, it may not make sense upfront, and things may be muddled for a bit, but keep a positive attitude and it will come together.
Always follow your heart. I don’t think life is meant to be stressful all the time. If you don’t like your job, change it. If you’re in a bad relationship walk away. If you want to move, just move. There is no sense in doing the same thing and expecting a different result. If you don’t enjoy it, change your course and find a new way. Also, each person’s path is different. Each person has their own struggles, barriers, outlying issues to overcome, so don’t compare them to yourself. That path is for them, not you. I use to see other people’s highlight reel, per say, and compare it to myself. It’s a recipe for disaster.
I have truly learned to love myself and be proud of who I am. I am still working on repairing years of negative thoughts and self-placed insecurities. These don’t get fixed overnight, but they are repairable and in progress. Self-love will be the thing that powers you through the struggles. If you love who you are, you will truly be unstoppable.You are not less than anyone else, your flaws are beautiful, and you really can do whatever you want in life. Don’t let anyone take your light or your laugh. I have struggled through the years of caring what everyone else thought about me and worrying if my decisions would be approved by them. I made life decisions based on what I thought others wanted for me and because of that I was never truly happy. Those steps in life, although I don’t regret them, didn’t bring me as much joy as I hoped. I have continued to work on loving me and now the decisions I make, bring me a joy that no one else can take. It is a completely different feeling and is what has started to fuel my life. My struggles are my own and my struggles are what make me who I am. They do not define me now, they fuel me.
A piece of advice though… life will ebb and flow, don’t let it define you either. Find gratitude in everything you do or what is done to you, even the bad situations. You will notice an amazing change within you if you can do that. There is this place of peace that surrounds you when gratitude is at the center. This newfound peace will be unshakable, it will become part of your foundation. Struggles are inevitable and out of your control sometimes, but how you respond to those struggles and redirect them are in your control.
Please tell us about your work.
I am currently unemployed, as I left my FT job at the end of March. I am actively searching for a position and hope to find a new work home soon.
In the meantime, I have been working with Pamela Covarrubias, owner of Spread Ideas, Move People! to help support her in all her business ventures. She is doing some truly amazing things for the community and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from her. Helping her has started to bring back my passions. I really love writing anything from content/mission statements for businesses to blogs about life and travel. I am also a huge foodie, so that is something I would like to incorporate more in my work.
Over the last few years, I have truly honed in on my unique abilities. I am extremely detail oriented, have a natural ability to find inefficiencies and find ways to improve them, and think projects all the way through to identify barriers prior to beginning them.
There’s a wealth of academic research that suggests that a lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women has materially affected the number of women in leadership roles. Smart organizations and industry leaders are working to change this, but in the meantime, do you have any advice for finding a mentor and building a network?
My advice for finding a mentor is… actually find a mentor. I spent the first 25 years of my life without one. I never knew the importance of having one or how someone could really inspire you the way a mentor can. It goes back to that thing about “adulting” I mentioned above. I had to learn along the way of its importance. It’s always great to have people in your corner, especially those who believe in you, push you to be better, direct you when you have no idea which way to go and support you in times of uncertainty. Also, have more than 1 mentor. There is nothing in the rule book limiting you to only one. Anytime you find someone you want to learn from, ask them if they’d be interesting in mentoring. You will be surprised with how something as simple as asking can transform your life.
What has worked for me, at this moment, is being vulnerable and transparent with those around me. I mentor when I can and however I can, even though I don’t always feel I have a ton to offer. When you are real with others, it allows them to be real with you and in those moments they naturally want to mentor you as well.
I am still learning the process of networking as I am an introverted extrovert, so it isn’t always easy for me. However, I do naturally build rapport and good relationships and that is something that is invaluable. I am also very fortunate my roommate is an extrovert. She helps pull me in directions I need to go when I am unsure. Over the years, this has helped me go from an extremely shy individual, to someone who can spark a conversation with a stranger. She is a great mentor and someone I truly look up to.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: kimmykakes04