Kristie Kennedy has pushed beyond her past into a brighter future. She isn’t where she used to be and has found her way over or around the very things that would have taken many out of the game for good. Here she shares her journey, struggles, growth and how she is now living her destiny out daily.
Tell our readers what you do for a living now that you are living in your passion.
In a nutshell I EMPOWER women to shift from stuck to UNSTOPPABLE! My top areas of specialization are beauty, business, brilliance and body image education. As a certified impact coach, I support and sharpen enterprising leading ladies with simple success strategies to heighten their business acumen.
I provide image enhancement consulting for women who are ready to upgrade their personal style of living. Additionally, as a transformational speaker I provide keynote addresses, event hosting, workshops, facilitate panel discussions and spearhead the Massive Momentum Radio Show.
I provide a literary platform for emerging authors to showcase their genius in the Magnificent Living Women’s Empowerment Online Magazine. As a vocal artist, I provide musical performances at special events. Also, I am currently, I am contributing women’s wellness articles for the Huffington Post, Thrive Global and multiple online websites catering to working women.
What are some major lessons you have learned over the last twenty years that have stuck with you?
1) Fear will always be there.
There is a distinct difference between being hidden and hiding. The first is rooted in preparation and the latter trepidation. I’ve come to learn that unless I take personal authority over fear and crush it-I will be crushed by it. Not just me but my hopes, dreams and destiny. I don’t know how much time I wasted in my youth or how many opportunities were left on the table because of my apprehension to come out of the shadows of obscurity, pivot into power and step onto the stage of greatness. The key to overcoming your fear is fortified focus and an unshakeable faith. In my home office I have 10 vision boards on the wall that speak life into me when my spirit is depleted from public service or the relentless pursuit of purpose.
2) You are stronger than your struggle.
I’ve learned that my greatest ally is adversity and my most powerful nemesis comfort. One of my favorite quotes states that nothing great ever occurred in the comfort zone. I used to run from the call to leadership. Remaining in the background was undeniably safe. There is no accountability or responsibility and no pressure to perform continuously especially under daunting life challenges. Yet, I was always craving for more. I remember during the 8 year season of employment as a secretary while walking to work I would say out loud, “There has to be MORE to life than this!!! Something has to give!” As I look back in retrospect, that something was me. I was standing in my own way of success the entire time. Talk about a blind spot. Recently, I’ve coined myself as the comeback queen because the common thread interwoven in the fabric of my inner being has been resilience to rise above every obstacle placed in my path. During times of hardship, I would say to myself “I can live magnificently in the face of adversity!” One of my mentors told me early in the genesis of my entrepreneurial journey, “Never allow money to dictate what you can or cannot have or do. Never say quit and never say die!” The tough times taught me how to ascend from within and win again and again. I love the quote that says, “I will tell you how she made it. The fire inside her was greater than the fire outside her.”
3) It Takes a Village
I read online a comment by another female visionary leader who said, “I gave birth to this vision but it will take a village to help me raise it.” This is similar to the African proverb which expressly states, “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.” In the grass roots stage of business building I carried the weight of the vision primarily single handedly. I fed it day and night until it grew so massive that I had no choice but to summons for help. The right people began to link arms with me organically in the fight of my life. The one thing that can impede momentum faster than anything is having the wrong people on your team. Hire those who are on fire for your mission. Creating a movement demands an enormous amount of tenacity. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, “Only quality people.”
Where has Kristie improved since her teenage years?
1) Initiate rather than procrastinate. I used to be extremely lazy. I remember my dad saying, “You are going to sleep your life away.” I had no vision or awareness of my purpose at that time. I did not possess the drive to succeed. Everything about me was not just mediocre but often below the mediocrity line. I was always putting off for a better day. The best moment to seize any opportunity is often nested in the bedrock of discomfort. The lukewarm soul has no power to reach higher! You’ve got to bleed FIRE to conquer your deepest desires! Procrastination affected every area of my life it was reflected in poor test scores, showing up late for work, late night study in efforts to learn a month worth of content in 24 hours, delayed dreams etc…Marva Collins said, “Success doesn’t come to you, you go to it.” That is how I live my life.
2) Positivity over pessimism. I used to have the worst attitude and was often mad about anything and everything. I now say to myself, “Don’t get mad, get motivated.” In 2007 when I fell flat on my face after my second attempt at full time entrepreneurship I spent 10 months wallowing in self-pity. After coming out of that season of difficulty I said within myself, “I never want to lose that kind of momentum. I now host a weekly radio show every Monday to infuse hope into the heart of weary female leaders. Our aim is to ignite hearts, inspire minds and impact lives. There are countless individuals still working an 8 to 5 who feel imprisoned desiring the courage to break free. Until they can leave we will stand as a lighthouse of comfort to their souls. I always say, “Don’t let frustration fool you, let it fuel you.” Your frustrations will continue to exacerbate if you insist on searching for unconventional answers in traditional environments that delight in unchallenged mental confinement
3) Healed from Heartache. After experiencing incredible amounts of heartache often due to poor choices on my part I took time to facilitate my own journey of healing. I became aware that until I expected more of myself and others I would continue to attract toxic individuals into my sacred space. Whatever we permit will persist. It has been said that hurting people, hurt people. I am now on the other side of pain and it is beautiful haven of rest that my spirit delights to dwell in. Loved people, love people. Every day I seek to be a conduit of love and not hate. After over a decade of falling in love with myself I was blessed to marry the man of my dreams. He loves me lavishly and daily seeks to infuse my soul until I explode. I have learned to graciously receive an unconditional love that I am divinely worthy of.
4) Free to be me. Powerful presence begins with an acute awareness. In my childhood, I had no idea who I was or how I was to conduct myself. As a creative artist I’ve often been misunderstood, rejected, criticized, bullied etc. I understand now that my uniqueness and freedom posed a threat to those who were insecure within themselves. I don’t live my life for approval and acceptance because it’s a mute point. True fulfillment comes from the courage to be relentlessly authentic in a world full of plastic.
5) Calm in Chaos. Divine secrets are revealed the moment you decide to be STILL. As business builders we can often focus on the external structures but I know countless entrepreneurs who are no longer self-employed because they cracked under the pressure. When my back is against the wall instead of falling apart I dig deep within and search for the calm in the midst of the chaos. For many years I worked in highly toxic and dysfunctional environments. The chronic stress led to years of emotional eating and would often break out in hives from the internal anxiety. If I was going to thrive and not just survive radical changes would have to be made. Elizabeth Edwards eloquently expressed it best,” She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.”
Your life is different, but why is it better and what has been your personal growth and improvement plan and accomplishments after the hurdles?
I distinctly remember a time in my life where I was beyond broken and all I had were the sacred dreams hidden in my heart. Often people would see greatness that somehow I was oblivious to. Honestly, I cannot tell you the exact day that my eyes opened but when they did life shifted dramatically. Once the lioness is awakened within there is nothing or no one that can stop you from pursuing your divine destiny. Life is better because I am intentional about creating an internal world and external environment that reflects beauty, peace, hope, love and joy. When I reflect over my journey the individuals and even employment positions that I was connected to mirrored where I was mentally. As I evolved, so did everything around me. After I became aware of the value that I possessed and the power of my voice I began to use it to liberate others. Ten vision boards later, the adventures that I have experienced are by design and not default. I am determined to make the rest of my days, the best of my days.
Is there anything that fear kept you from pursuing that you regret?
It is very interesting that you ask a question surrounding fear. Most of my peers see me as a very courageous woman who is fearless. Honestly, there is not much that I will not hunt once I set my mind to conquer. Yet, the one gift that I held back on more than any others was the gift to sing. I’ve always secretly wanted to sing the National Anthem and have had a couple of opportunities that never panned out. In this season, I’ve come full circle and recently was asked to sing the National Anthem and I graciously accepted. My daily confession is, “Heel yes to success!” I used to be afraid to sing in my own home because I thought the neighbors could possibly hear me. I wouldn’t listen to my voice on my own answering machine. There were times that I would be on a talent show program and sit right in the audience and act as if I wasn’t in the audience. I was standing in my own way. I was very comfortable with serving solely in a supporting role until it was time to pivot into power as the leading lady of my own life.
Did you learn anything from your struggles that prevented you from making repeated mistakes or bad decisions again or did you find yourself in a revolving door of negativity? As it relates to business, one of the most impactful lessons was to keep your overhead low. I was constantly pondering what was on the other side of the 8 to 5 life? One day, I just took a leap of faith and not many months after my first real launch I fell flat on my face. In the 21st century a large majority of entrepreneurs are operating out of their homes. Additionally, as the face of the brand I MUST be visible. In order for the marketplace to avail delicate concerns into my care there needs to be a certain level of trust established prior to finalizing a business transaction.
What do you wish you had done differently looking back? As a seasoned leader, I would have focused on building a community of progressive minded individuals to collaborate with on a continual basis. Having access to high quality information influences high quality decisions which ultimately produces high quality results.
Often those that procrastinate are waiting for someone to “save” them and do all the work. They want the end result but don’t want to and have no interest in doing the work to get there. What do you think you were waiting for? Did you have examples around of you people pushing towards their goals? My first real taste of entrepreneurship came after being laid off when the company I worked for declared a budget cut. I knew instinctively that I could not have all my eggs in one basket because if at any point my employer decided to pass out pink slips my personal income could be affected. I had no choice but to sink or swim.
After almost a year of drowning I went back into corporate America and developed administration skills that would be highly valuable as a small business owner. The call to entrepreneurship was always ringing in my ear and I answered it again after attending a workshop entitled the Spirit of entrepreneurship. The woman teaching it was my first up close and personal example of a business owner. Later she would become my trusted advisor, partner and beloved friend.
At that crossroad, I was desiring a role model, someone leading by example it was inspiration enough for me to launch into the deep. It was a very tumultuous five year building period in full time entrepreneurship as I daily faced financial hardship with a major health issue simultaneously. I found myself back in Corporate America to obtain health insurance to cover the cost of a very expensive surgery to remove seven fibroid tumors. I told myself while going through one of the most difficult seasons of my life, “You can be powerful or powerless!” I chose to fight not faint.
I was developing a plan behind the scenes because once you’ve tasted freedom you want to keep feasting on it. I was recruited off my job to work at a medical spa in 2014 and seven months later without warning or justification I was abruptly terminated. I had given myself 12 months to transition into full time entrepreneurship for the third time which was to be a charm. In this instance, I was waiting for the stars and moon to align giving me that perfect sign. If you are waiting for the proverbial someday or one day, today is that day! In March it will be two years of living large and in charge. I can honestly say I am living loud, learning lessons and lavishly loving this unpredictable path I am blessed to travel.
Would you consider yourself successful (consistently reaching your goals and increasing your territory) or comfortable? I have learned that adversity is my greatest ally and the comfort zone my greatest nemesis. I am always pushing my own envelop. I don’t ever dwell on accomplishments for extended periods of time because it may cause me to become content with that degree of success. If I’m not challenged, I know that I am not changing.
How do you define success?
My definition of success is the freedom to express myself creatively in any capacity. It is playing by the rules that I write. When you hold the pen, you possess the power.
How do you use your personal experience to reach someone whose situation may be completely different? What I have come to learn throughout the vast spectrum of my existence is that the common language we all speak is L.O.V.E. The first thing I focus on is extending an arm of acceptance, expressing my humanity through understanding, creating a common bond of through relatability and paint a beautiful picture of endless possibilities.
What role players does every woman need in her support circle/village?
Whether she is a leading lady or serving in a supporting role we all need to have a core community of women who can replenish our empty souls. Consider at least fab five females to keep in your corner:
1) The encourager-she will lift your spirits when you are battling moments of self-doubt. Dreams you’ve placed on the back burner will be brought to the forefront when you step into her presence.
2) The straight shooter-she is going to challenge you to be real with yourself, cut the excuses, provoke you to operate at a higher level of excellence, place a demand on your greatness and sharpen every dull place in your heart.
3) The empath-she is sensitive, feels your heart and knows why you do what you do. This woman is acquainted with you intimately and understands your past struggles, present concerns and future aspirations. You can trust her implicitly and have unwavering confidence in her loyalty. With her listening ear she will not judge you, only love you.
4) The wild one– your life is full of responsibility, demand after demand you are going to need a place where you can lay your head down and let the inner child run wild! Foot loose and fancy free! Endless hours of talking pass by and all the laughter shared between you will do better than any medicine ever would.
5) The prophetess-she has a direct connection to heaven and can hear God’s heart concerning you. The bond established is not earthly but eternal. It is unshakeable and unbreakable.
Have you launched anything new in the last six months or planning to launch in the next six?
Yes, I launched my signature coaching program Massive Momentum: Passion for Action signature program designed to empower women with executive leadership skills to overcome procrastination, perfectionism and the pressures of life.
Currently, I am in the midst of rebranding my company and we’re gearing up for a community centered website relaunch that will have online courses focused on wellness for workaholics and confidence building keys for female business professionals.
Finish this sentence-“As long as I have _____________ I’m satisfied with the work I’ve done?”
My mother instilled the spirit of excellence in me at a very young age. She was adamant about doing it right the first time to avoid having to do it a second time. “As long as I have invested the very best of me in whatever I place my hands to I’m satisfied with the work I’ve done.” Thank you mama!
Adult-ing can be tough. What does Kristie still want to be when she grows up? You are absolutely correct! In the first month of the year I was already thinking about a vacation. Leadership spells responsibility 100 times over. I’ve been strategically moving into media. Since childhood I’ve privately entertained obtaining a leading role in motion pictures, traveling the globe as an international speaker, becoming a best-selling author and countless other limitless possibilities. I am a dream manifesting queen!
For more information on Kristie, please visit www.kristiekennedy.com.
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