The Hazards of Being a Creative Overachiever
In this episode Kate speaks with Kimberly Grigg, a wildly successful Interior Designer from Myrtle Beach, South Caroline, who had figured out how to hack her creativity so that it was always ON. While this allowed her to build an empire for herself, it also literally almost killed her. She shares how that happened and what specific things she has done and continues to do to make sure that she remains healthy and able to express the gifts she was born to share with the world.
If you are someone who struggles with stuff around control or if you have been feeling lately that something in your life is not quite right whether it is in your job or relationships or even with your creative practice - I think you are especially going to get A LOT out of this episode.
I feel like there are so many of us who will benefit from what I think is somewhat of a cautionary tale from our guest Kimberly today. How significant the damage we can cause to ourselves and our lives when we stop listening to our inner voice. And how much more rich, enjoyable and purposeful our lives can become when we do.
If you could have been a fly on the wall during this interview you’d have seen me nodding vigorously throughout almost this whole conversation.
When Kimberly described the gut wrenching fear and guilt she felt after she realized she had to shut down the part of her business that employed 20 people and generated all that income all because the joy was gone.. I felt that.
I think we have all had to navigate getting out of least one situation that we created for ourselves through sometimes years of not listening to that quiet inner voice inside us.
And even though it almost killed her, she found her way out of it by tuning in and dedicating herself to listening to it. And she was quick to admit that it is not always smooth sailing - sometimes she goes back to her old ways, but life is so much sweeter and happier and fuller now that she has gotten out of her own way and makes sure to always check in and ask herself, “Does this feel Joyful? If not then, why am I doing it?
Things Kimberly and I talk about
-How she learned to hack creativity so it was always on, and how it almost killed her
-Being addicted to busy and how she made her way back from burnout
-How to “burn down your life” when you have accidentally filled it with things you do not love
-Learning to befriend creativity to have a sustainable relationship with it
-Filling the cup - ways she does this that have improved her quality of life 1000 fold.
-The simple routines that her doctor gave her to manage her stress and energy levels that she credits with saving her life
-How bravery fits into creativity
About Kimberly Grigg:
Kimberly grew up in a small southern town called Graniteville “on the other side of the tracks.” But, she always aspired to the good life and knowing what luxurious beautiful homes were all about.So, one day, she climbed a fence to attend a debutante party (that she wasn’t invited to!) just so she could get a peak at her all time favorite “wealthy” home atop the hill on the “right side of town!” It was then that her love of interior design was born.
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I was literally getting to my office at 5am 5am. I would work and I would somehow muster enough energy to, if I had to run carpool if I had to go pick up a kid, if I had to get to someone's soccer practice if I had, like I was doing all of it. No one was suffering. Not one person. Not one kid, one husband. No one was suffering. But I was. And slowly but surely, the business was great, but I was killing me.
Hello, love. I'm going to start off this episode by reading you something one of our listeners wrote was a review in Apple podcasts. They wrote Kate Shepherd, you've unleashed my doorman artist after 30 years of not painting. Because I didn't think I was good enough. This was after finishing my degree in Fine Arts. I've had lots of creative pursuits over the years trying to replace the desire to create art. Last fall, I came across creative genius. And it has changed my life. I'm painting again. And taking courses from Jane Donna Wald and Amanda Evanston. Thank you for putting your calling into action. Jane, Donna Wald and Amanda Evanston were guests early on Amanda was number one, and Jane had two episodes number five and six. And they're both incredible if you haven't had a chance to listen to them yet. This was submitted by somebody with the username card, wood, and card wood. If you're listening, thank you for taking the time to leave those words. For me. This is exactly what I hoped would happen when I decided to start this podcast last fall. And I am so deeply pleased that this show has changed and is changing your life. I hope it continues to inspire you and delight you. And that somebody reading the reviews decides to take the plunge and listening to the show. And then it changes their life to
and to everybody else. If you haven't had a chance yet to leave a review, or even if this is your first episode, please take a moment to pop over to Apple podcast over to leave me a review. It really is a powerful way to help me grow the show and to know that what I'm doing matters and makes a difference. The other thing you can do is forward a link to the episode today while you're listening to send it to somebody who popped up for you. And I also want to make sure you know to sign up for my newsletter, you can go over to Kate Shepherd creative.com. And sign up. There's so many goodies that are only available to you there, including a giveaway I do every month where I give away original piece of my art every month to somebody on that list, I want to make sure that you're a part of that action. If you're someone who struggles with stuff around control, which I will volunteer my hand up to admit that I'm one of those people sometimes or if you've been feeling lately, like something in your life is not quite right. Whether it's in your job or a relationship or even inside your creative practice. I think you're really going to get a lot out of this episode. Our guest today is Kimberly Gregg. She's the head of a wildly successful interior design firm who had at one point figured out how to hack her creativity so that it was always on. She built a massive Empire for herself. But it literally almost killed her. She shares how that happened, and what specific things she has done and continues to do to make sure that she remains healthy, and able to express the gifts that she was born to share with the world. It's a great conversation. Before we head into the interview, I'd like to humbly ask you to do two things. One, please become a patreon of the creative genius podcast. Packages start at $5 a month and include, of course listening to the podcast, but also bonus content that I create just for my subscribers. I think you'll get a lot out of it. Head over to patreon.com/creative Genius podcast to see if there's an option that feels right for you. And the second thing is, please remember my artwork and my nature jewelry morning Moon next time you need a little treat for yourself or someone that you love. I think of this conversation that you're about to listen to as somewhat of a cautionary tale. The significant damage we can cause to ourselves and our lives when we're not listening to our inner voice and how much more rich, enjoyable and purposeful our lives can become when we are. Here's my conversation with Kimberly Greg.
Hi, Kate, stunning to be with you. I'm so happy to have you on the show today. It's thank you for coming. Thank you. I appreciate it.
Yeah, it's really nice to have you here. We've talked before about the show a little bit and but I want to share with our listeners who are just joining us maybe for the first time about what we're doing here. What this what these conversations are about. I
I think humanity is glitching. And I think humanity is glitching. Because specifically, because of a really specific set of really limiting beliefs that we hold around creativity, I think we've been working on for decades, maybe even hundreds of years. But that have really informed kind of how we how we allow ourselves as humans to allow the intelligence of creativity to move through us. And I think we've gotten to a point where it's causing us to get, you know, like, we believe that creativity, first of all, only belongs in certain realms. And really, it's like, Oh, if it's, you know, painting or music, or like, we're really specific about where creativity can live. And we're also really specific around what creativity has to look like, like the products of creativity have to look a certain way or sound a certain way or fit in to a certain thing in order for us to sort of accept them.
And the big one that I think is probably the most tragic that we believe, and it's almost an automatic belief.
A lot of people believe that creativity only lives in certain people. You're either born with it or not. And if you don't, you know, if you don't have it too bad for you, and there's no, you know, forget it myself, just give up on it. And I know for a fact that all those things are not true. And so I'm on a little bit of a mission now, to have these conversations with people who are sort of a little bit more naturally comfortable with letting creative energy read through them. And just talk about like, what, you know what the process is like? Because I think there are a lot of myths around creativity and how they and how they can be in your life. So you're an abundantly creative soul.
Well, you've been, well, you I mean, you've been a floral designer, you've been a set designer, you are an event decorator, you've been interior designer, you've built a huge business around your interior design. I mean, I think you wrote in your bio, that you had this like, and you want to decorate the world. I mean, that feels like, it feels like creativity to me.
Yeah, yeah. Okay. I mean, I laughingly say I came out of the womb with that mission to decorate the world. I don't know why I was the child that while many children drew flowers and things of that nature, I would spend hours upon hours drawing house plans. I don't even know why. But I love house plans. And so I have this weird thing in my brain, I guess it's a dichotomy. So I have the left side and the right side. And I would say they're both fairly equal. And I grew up in this really small one traffic like town, and people around me, you know, they worked in the mill, and they didn't have time for creativity. And as a child growing up in that town, if you didn't work in the mill, you had a farm. And we had both. And so, you know, everything was busy. And like you, I had chores, that five, and like they were real big major chores. And so I would find my off time. And even when I was doing my chores, I got through them. By my creativity, I had countless imaginary friends, all of the pigs and the hogs on the farm were friends, and then they had imaginary friends, too. And so no one really fostered this. It was just I was kind of weird. I was weird in my creativity. And I don't know, I couldn't stop. And so I think if, if you're a parent of someone who is highly creative, creative, that, like, in today's time, I probably would have noticed that wonder why my kid draws house plans all the time. That's kind of odd. And instead of things, I mean, I might doodle, but my obsession was house plans. So, you know, I would begin to think like, wow, you know, she has both sides of the brain going because my little lines would be so perfect. Which is so odd, because my process is not that at all anymore. Like I'm, I still I do think I've been able to run a business because I have both sides of the brain working. And I know that like there are days when I'm really working on numbers that I have to stop and say I gotta go express something. So I'm gonna go lay somebody's room out or house out, but but I like both sides, which is kind of weird that I do.
Yeah, well, I mean, I think we're all sort of with the more people I talked to the more I realized we all sort of come in with it almost seems like we have this like preset blueprint of things that we love, and things that grab our attention and that just naturally have this like art you were curious about. And I love that you said that about you know if you're parenting somebody now who Because, who who's interested in things? It can be clues that can help you actually, we can cut out so much suffering in a person's life if we like, just help them. Okay, here's, here's the thing you love and where you're going to end up anyway, probably, how do I help you?
I think fostering it. Like, you know, my family didn't have time to foster things like that. It was, you know, we had chores to do. We had my mother work, my father worked, we had to get to work, we had to get ready for school, all the things that go into day to day living. It just wasn't thought of until I was about nine years old. And maybe a little younger. But my best friend's mother was a seamstress. And I was enchanted. She made these elaborate clothes, they were beautiful. She made window treatments for her home, her home was gorgeous. I had never been into anything like that before. And I was fascinated. And I begged her to teach me to sew. And so she took me on because she thought if I would learn to sew, that her daughter would want to learn to sew. So my friend, however, was one of the ones who said, I'm not very creative, I'm not creative, I can't do that. And she really didn't want to do that. And, and I did so. So I couldn't get enough of it. And so she would even take me to the fabric store. And let me pick out and buy and design my own outfit. And then would help me learn how to make it to craft it. Now, she was a perfectionist, if I had one scene that was wrong, I had to rip it out. I didn't like that part. But the other part of it was, it was mesmerizing. And I had no idea how important learning to sew would become in my career. Like knowing how to sew teaches you how to sequence things. And I'm really good at sequence sequencing, because I'm not good at saying it. But I'm good at sequencing. Because you have to do certain things, you can't just put the zipper in certain things have to be put together before you put the zipper. And you can't just put the sleeve in. And I learned all that through learning to sew. And then the creative part was that I also got to design the outfit. And that was so fascinating to me. Yeah, yeah. And how amazing that you got to have that gift of a person in your life to teach you how to do this. When did you realize that you had to do you had to devote your self to the creativity like that this was like, you know, you it's undeniable, I have to have a career and creativity somehow these are these things are just too much of a desire for me to ignore. So coming from that small town, my father wanted me to have what he considered a better life. And so he was very, he was definitely sure that I was going to have a college degree. Whether I fit the college mold or not, which I did, it was important to him. And I would honestly say I think part of my college degree was to appease him. But he, he would not consider that I would go to art school, or that I would even go to design school, or that I would do any of the things that I wanted to do. He wanted me to get a business degree. So I did with an emphasis on marketing. And I all of my electives were in in interior design. And so I also during that time period, all of my friends were in the design program, and they couldn't do the economics class. And I wanted and I just I drew all their chairs I drew I did all of their floor plans, and they did my economic stuff. And so it was like a win win. And, and so I was always hanging out in the design department and I I knew that there somewhere along the way I knew that I would have to create even if I had a day job. And fortunately, for me, I started the day job. I was a manager and I am not a manager. I am here to tell you I can do certain things really well but I don't manage. I don't manage people well I just that's not my strength. And so I couldn't fly out of that job fast enough. So I started looking around and I started putting together that hey, I'm living in Myrtle Beach. And there are people who come here for conventions. And if they come for conventions, what do they do for entertainment? And I got this idea that I could entertain them somehow. And so an event decorators back then it was there was no model. There was no business I could emulate there was, I don't know, I just had some weird idea that people would want this kind of thing. And I ran across this dance troupe. They were like hula dancer kind of things. And so I said, well, like, where do y'all perform? And they said, sometimes the convention groups will hire us. And I thought, well, what if I could turn this into a tropical paradise? And what if I could build props and equipment? And I could haul it into these hotel ballrooms, and I could create an entire experience around hula dancers. Well, I sold that somehow to convention goers. And then that led then hotel people saw that, like, people really had fun. And then I figured out how to charge for that. And then that led me to, instead of just a Hawaiian Luau, that, well, why couldn't I have a Casino Night? And why couldn't I have a underwater fantasy night. So eventually, I ended up with props and equipment for probably 25 or 30 Different themes. And I started doing themed events all over Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Virginia Beach, I was traveling everywhere. And it was a pretty illustrious career, except most of it happened on the weekends. And most of it happened late at night, I'd have to go take that entire party down and put those props and equipment back in my warehouse. Well, somewhere in here, I was getting a little older. And I thought, I want a child. And I wasn't married at the time, I had been divorced. And I thought, Well, how am I going to get a kid? And I thought, well, maybe I should consider adoption. So at night, on my way home from work, I would stop by the local Italian restaurant, and I would order an appetizer and a glass of wine and sit at the bar. And then I would go home. And so I was sitting there that particular night. And this girl that I had met through the convention business, who used to book me for conventions was there. And I said, Oh, gosh, I haven't seen you in forever, like, where are you now? And she said, I'm actually doing therapeutic foster care. And I said, Oh, I've always wanted to adopt a child. And she said, okay, and the next day, I got an application, I filled it out. And nine days later, I had a child, not nine months, K, nine days. Now, I'm telling you, I couldn't even make this stuff up. Like this was designed intervention. I can barely lift my chin up, desk. I know. I know, like, and I had no idea how to parent, I was single. And I had this business. And I thought, oh, I'll just work it out somehow. And so I did. But I knew that I had to get out of those hotel ballrooms. I could not be carting this child into a ballroom at two in the morning. And she was seven years old at the time and as a special needs child, and we were just working it out. Like I'd literally remember riding down the road driving her and she's sitting in the passenger seat. And she says to me, mommy, you're supposed to tell me not to eat the snacks before dinner. Like that's how much I knew about parenting. So we had fun, really like creating our life. And it was the coolest, neatest experience. And she's now 3536 years old. And so I sold that business. And shortly thereafter, I met my now husband and I, he took on my daughter, but he had two children. And he basically was the primary caregiver of these two kids. So now I'm single girl has a child. And now I have three kids that I'm responsible for. And so I was about to go nuts. So I started like decorate because I wasn't working for this brief period of time and I don't sit well I don't not do things well. So suddenly, I started decorating everyone's houses like and I loved it because I didn't have to tear it apart, I didn't have to create this beautiful setting and tear it up. So in that, I really started the design business. And is, shortly thereafter I got pregnant, I was never supposed to have children, I wasn't able to have kids. And not only did I get pregnant, I got pregnant twice. So an Oh, and in between there, my husband got this bright idea because all the people like I got my little girl from the state. And she was a foster child. And so I'd met all these people within that system. While they used to call me all the time. And this was back when we had answering machines. And they'd leave me these messages on my machine that would say, we've got this little boy for you. He's so precious. He's so this, he's so that we've got this little boy for you. And I'm like, I've got three kids now a new marriage and starting this new business, I can't even keep my head above water. No. And my husband would say, aren't you at least gonna meet him? And I'm like, he's, you don't meet them? Like, if you meet them, you're done like this. He kept saying to me, Well, I think we should meet him. And then we found out his name was George. Well, I have five generations of George's on my side. My husband has five generations of George's on his side, long story short, we met him, we kept him. And that made number four. Then I got pregnant. Number five, then my doc said, There's no way this was a modern miracle, you cannot get pregnant. You're like, Okay, I literally was pregnant. Two months after I delivered number five, you are meant to have a lot of kids, I guess.
So then, I my business by now, like, really, when the youngest turned four or five, it had taken on a life of its own. So at this point, now you're doing interior design, you've now you've built this business, and you're growing, and it's now it's getting quite big. Yes. And, yes. So by now it is turning into this thing. And, and and, you know, this is kind of, I've often wondered a lot about this phase in my life, because here's the truth. At some point in all of this, there was like many of us have these callings, I know you've had it with your podcast, I've had it several times in my life. And I did feel called to decorate. And it had really been with me since even a little girl. But like, really the tap on the shoulder. This is your life's work. And, and I thought, Okay, I'll do this. But like, You got to show me how, and you gotta like, give me the tools. And I can honestly say, Kate through all of this, like, you know, there would be months where things were tight. And, you know, I've got to make payroll, and I am not kidding you like the day before payroll, when I'm all stressed out, or whatever, the money would just show up, it would just be like, a god wink or something. And so it always was good to me. Except when I took it into my own hands, and I would almost try to control it. And I have that propensity in me to want to control things. And you know, I think like a lot of us do. And mine would take over sometimes. And I was building this business and I wanted to be successful. And I wanted to show my Dad Hey, look, you know, I got out of that talent. I did it. And you know, and I did it big and I was so determined. And and in so many ways that got me through. But I kept taking it into my own hands, taking it into my own hands, not listening. I found myself to what like you're saying trying to do is trying to control things and not listening. What were what was trying to happen and what. Yeah, I wasn't listening to my inner voice. I wasn't like, suddenly the joy was not there. Suddenly, all I did was work, work work. And what I found is I instinctively created a coping mechanism for the creative with the creativity. I figured out what my process was. And I could repeat the process on rote. Like people would say Don't you ever get blocked. Don't you ever get writer's block? No, I don't, I don't, I can't afford to, I got overhead, I got 20 people on my staff, I've got 12,000 square feet to support, I've got inventory, I don't have time for block. So I'd figured out a way to just be productive. And, like, let it flow instead of control it or try to control it. And I'm so glad that you that you put it that way, because I feel like one of the things that a lot of people, myself included, although I'm much better with it, now, we sort ofwe look at block as a bad thing. are, you know those, but actually what guys, I'm hearing, you're talking and I'm thinking about, like all the things coming at you and you know, all the responsibilities and things you've got to do. And you're actually creativity needs to take a break sometimes and so that I can rejuvenate itself so that you can have a rest and recuperate and get new ideas and be inspired. But if you've kind of circumvented that, you know, you've said you've got this great, right brain part of you that like can chug, chug, chug, chug, chug, get it done and strategize, you figured out a bypass to avoid the break, essentially. And think I was afraid I'd lose it cane. And I don't know, I think I mean, I know it was fear based, that unsure of but I, I was, I was literally getting to my office at 5am 5am. I would work and I would somehow muster enough energy to if I had to run carpool, if I had to go pick up a kid if I had to get to someone soccer practice, if I had, like I was doing all of it. No one was suffering. Not one person, not one kid, one husband, no one was suffering. But I was. And slowly but surely, the business was great. But I was killing me. And I wasn't taking those breaks. And for me, it was just, it was no longer fun. It wasn't joyful. It wasn't creative. It was just what I got up and did on a daily basis. My clients were thrilled. But I wasn't you weren't. So what happened? Because, you know, you hearing that story? I'm like, Okay, well, something that because you're not there now. So what happened, I show up in my office. And I had a girl working for me, who was a design assistant, who had actually been to pharmacy school. And she knew a lot about health. And I was standing at the copier. And she asked me a question that is that I would so know the answer to about a window treatment. When I went to spit out my words, they would not come out of my mouth. I could think them, but nothing came out. So I thought, Okay, what's going on? I can't talk. And then she asked me another question. And she's watching me now. And she knew that I had just gotten a phone call from one of my kids, that my loved dog of my life was standing in the middle of highway 17. My best design assistant, my left hand right hand had just turned in her notice. I had 48 projects going on at one time in my brain. And I was suddenly paralyzed. And she asked me the question again, and all that came out of my mouth was gobbledygook. She held up a sign and she said, You are having a stroke.
And suddenly my words came back and I'm like, You're insane. I'm not having a stroke. And she said, Yes, you are. And then two minutes later, I couldn't talk again. And literally, my delivery team picked me up and took me to the hospital, someone called my husband. And I was immediately if you're a stroke victim, the only thing that trumps you is a cardiac victim. And they are neck and neck. I was in the emergency room and back on the table so fast it would make your head spin. I suddenly had no awareness. I could not even tell you my children's names. And yet I could see all this flurry around me and I was in a full out stroke. My blood pressure top number was over 300 and and I wasn't a stroke victim. I didn't look like one. I mean, I'm not overweight. I don't eat fried food. I am the cleanest eater you'll ever meet like I have none of the typical stress factors are factors that I had stressed but I none of the factors that would go into having a stroke. So I was in ICU for four days or four night. It's and I, even while I was in the hospital, I sent to my staff to bring me files and wallpaper. But I did. I was so afraid that I would let someone down I was so afraid that, like, what if I couldn't produce this work? What if, what if? What if, what if I was so afraid and everything was fear based. And so my husband said, if you bring her one more anything, I will put a lock on the door, and I'll never open it again.
That, so that close that down, and my doctor who was probably a lifesaver, I mean, talk about angels that enter your life. My doctor came in late, late, late one night making rounds. And he said, so I've seen all these people come up and tell you to like slow down, slow down, slow down. And then he said, I recognize people like you, and you didn't have a stroke because of blockages you have blood pressure that spikes when you get stressed. And it's a thing. And and I know that you cannot slow down, you're not wired like that. So I'm going to tell you to speed up, but you're going to speed up in the right way. And I thought, Okay, this is weird. What does that mean? He said, I want you in the gym, five to six days a week, burning cardia, you are a person who has to burn, I want you to find another creative expression other than your work. And I want you to do it daily. I want you to do more than you've done, I just want you to do it differently. I want you to work a schedule of hours, that is no more than six hours in a day, figure it out, you're a smart girl. So with that, my life changed. And I can't say that every day, I'm perfect at any of that. Because I'm not it's a journey. And but I really kind of put it all in slowly over time. I put it into perspective. And, and I've, I've learned if I've learned anything, it's I'm really not in control of all of this stuff. It's a gift and it should flow through me. And it should be joyful. And when it's not joyful, then I'm robbing myself of the gift, but I'm robbing others of the gift I was meant to share. I really had to figure out how to simplify my life enough to start, like having fun again. And it's not it wasn't easy, it's still not easy. There are so many times that I can get obsessed with whatever. And the next thing I know I'm doing that thing and like that's my that's my challenge. It's my challenge in life I feel it now. I can even feel my blood pressure rev up like I can tell when I'm out of my flow zone. And when I get out of my flow zone, it is time for me to step back and take a break and meditate and really assess where I am in my processes. And and really like ask myself, does this feel joyful? If it does, then why are you doing it?
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What do you think are your are the things that you've taught yourself or that you've learned that help you to stay clear about that? Because I know that you and I are so similar. I'm just revved unlike marveling at how and it scares me a little bit because I you know, I have a little bit of high blood pressure, especially when I get stressed out and I also you know people ask me, how do you actually do all of the things that you do?
And I just to me, it's like I don't know, I just I just do them all like I just want to be making things I love. It's not coming from an anxious place it's but it is an energy that I kind of feels like a fire hose coming through me like I just have to write. Sure. So and I'm sure I'm sure we're not the only ones and maybe there are people listening to us right now going okay, yeah, I need to have some sustainability in my creative practice and in my own being how to
what were the things that you've done that that yeah, that helped you the most to get through that.
So just like my doctor said, Really and truly, you have to work your body out. And I don't mean get like, I believe in strength training too. But for me, I'm a cardio freak. Now, I wasn't during that time, I didn't have time to work out. I mean, I wasn't out of shape. But I didn't have time to work out. I was busy at work, and I was busy with kids. So the first thing that I did is I carved out, I put my oxygen mask on first, I guess, is the bottom line. And I said, You know what, Kimberly, Greg, you're worth it, you're important. There's a lot of people depending on you, there's, you have been gifted this, this job, this career that you love. So if you're going to sustain any of this, then First things first, go to the gym. So I enrolled in a boot camp. And the first three weeks was torture, I thought, Oh, my God, I'm gonna die, I can't even breathe, only to end up like, at 61 years old. I'm as fit as any 23 year old that's in that gym. And I'm proud of that, like, I worked my tushy off to be fit. And not only do you get the physical benefit, but like, I can tell you, I have gone into that gym wanting to wring my plumbers neck, or my painters neck or whatever sub or services that I'm performing for someone, only to go in burn endorphins, and come out and feel like I can handle this, I got this, I get a whole new mindset just from that. So that's the first most that gets on my calendar. Daily before anything else, it's so important right now I'm really into yoga, I'm really kind of into mixing it all up. And because I do get, I kind of get busy brained and get bored with things very easily. So I feel like that's number one. The second thing I did is I learned to communicate a little better. I learned to say to clients, look, you're important to me, you know that I love my work, I love what I'm doing for you. But I can't produce your house in two weeks. And if it's important for you to have your house produced in two weeks, I'm gonna have to pass and none of them passed, and are none of them passed me up and I didn't pass. What I found is that clients were a lot more forgiving of me than I was of myself. And then I just needed to figure out what made me feel joyful in the process. So I could bring them joy, not bring them some grumpy girl that like just couldn't like just was doing the job to do the job.
Well, I think we're so scared to to lay out boundaries for ourselves. Because you know, like you said, when you're coming from a fear base place, you're like, if I set this boundary, that I can't do it in two weeks, I'm going to lose the job, or I'm going to lose the Commission, or I'm going to do whatever it is. And so we just we say yes, we almost become, you know, being willing is really important. But when you're too willing to it just you just spend yourself it just you lose yourself.
Yes. And that was what had happened. I was lost. So I also knew that from a number standpoint, I had to lessen my overhead. I couldn't. First of all, I told you, I don't like to manage people. So I had to get that monkey off my back. And I didn't you know, managing 20 people on a daily basis was a whole episode in and of itself. So I had to get that monkey off my back. I had to get the 12,000 square feet of merchandise off my back. And that was probably the hardest thing for me to do. I'm a people pleaser. So it was really hard for me to say, Hey, listen, guys. I'm going in a different direction. And I'm going to downsize. And, of course, I had thought of jobs for everyone who I was not bringing with me because that's just my nature. And I wanted them to have good jobs. And in the end, all of that just worked out beautifully. I didn't have to find them jobs. They were they were big grown ups, they could do it themselves. Like I didn't have to control that. And my lease finally ended on the 12,000 square feet. So I moved into a smaller, more manageable studio. And I closed the doors to the retail portion of my business. And that took guts and courage. It had been with me from the beginning of time and I thought it was such an important part of my business. COVID helped me out there because COVID came around and some days you're open some days you're not and all that stuff. So it was a natural progression to say I'm not in the retail business anymore.
I want to focus on clients and what I do best. And then I have to say, moving into my, what I do in my free time turned into really the most beautiful art practice that is just for me. And, you know, I have sold work before. But that's not my mission. Right now I've got, I've got a career. And while at some point, I might really want to move into art in art sales, right now, I'm really just basking in learning and absorbing and painting for freedom and painting from a flow state because I have no pressure around my painting whatsoever, I get to try new mediums I get to make messes, I get to mess up, I get to throw things in the trash can, and there are no strings attached. And it is beautiful. And I can't say enough about, like that feeling of for me, I don't sit well. So at night when I get home, and, you know, the kids are all grown now. But like, I don't, I don't have quite the responsibility. So when I feel like my husband and I have spent our time together, I can literally escape to my studio. And with no pretense of anything, create.
It sounds like it's, I mean, I'm just so happy for you. Because you've really reconnected with the joy of creativity, you know, the purpose of, and I feel like creativity is an energy like a palpable kind of almost, I've described it as almost like a being that lives inside of me. And we're, you know, you went from, from kind of harnessing it and making it your work horse and burning yourself out and realizing no, that's not the way coming back to this beautiful place of, you know, letting it move through you. And I wonder what you're noticing, because so I feel like creativity is trying to say something through us, you know, it's got a message, and it's using our hands to create these things and or our mouths or, you know, to write things to say that, what do you think it's trying to do exactly what it's saying to me. And it is, you are enough.
And I've sat with this a long time k, because, you know, in the midst of all of that, you know, there were hundreds of other struggles that we won't get into that led me to the point that I'm in today, or the point that I'm at today. And I feel, I knew that I wanted to come to work and feel joyful, I knew that I wanted to be surrounded by people that wanted the same thing. So like, we don't have a culture in my current business like before, where we have rules, and we have, like, you go to lunch for an hour and you do this. And yet, like we don't have any of that, like we are, we are a small little group who enjoys our clients who enjoys our relationship with one another. And we're just kind of happy beings. And so I couldn't get there. Because it was fear based because I thought I wasn't good enough. I thought I didn't deserve all this. I thought like, I don't know why I just thought like that I was this odd person with this weirdly creative stuff. And that maybe I just wasn't enough, but only to find that on the other side of it. All that stuff was given to me. And that I would be almost like how to how to say it slapping the gift in the face if I didn't really realize that it was a gift and that if I didn't use the gift in the proper way, which also included loving myself not just loving everyone else and doing things for everybody. But really loving me taking care of me and doing that habitually. And doing that first, that made a huge difference in my life. I love that so much. I wanted to ask you a little bit about bravery. And where bravery fits into creativity. Because I think one of the things you know, creativity calls us to be curious and explore things and try new things and, and, and sometimes those things require some bravery. Sure. And what a great question that is. So you know, for me, I think even
even starting a business, like back in the day when I started that event business, I had no idea what I was doing. And I just
I knew I would. And I was so determined that it was going to work, there was no way that business was not going to work. So that was a brave, bold move, I didn't have money. I didn't have I didn't have $2,000 Like, and I started a business. And I didn't know how I was gonna pay myself or whatever. But it all worked out. And so I think that was brave. I think, something that called for bravery that I did, I think just you asking this makes me think back and realize, moving from that 12,000 square foot store, with 20 employees had become my identity.
And for me, I think the bravery came when not only I made that move, but I looked inside of myself, to find out who I was what I wanted. And that was a bold move. And it was brave. And it was hard, I cried, I cried every day for two months, because I missed my identity, I missed my life, or what I thought was my life. And I was scared, and I was unsure. And moving to a smaller business model was like starting over. And I had to like, none of the old systems worked for this business. I had to create new systems, it took the took a good year to do that. And, you know, if nothing else, it was a brave, bold move. And one of the things that it even shows up in my my painting, but it shows up in, someone told me this recently, it shows up in my work. And I didn't realize it until a client said it to me. But she said, you know, why hire Do you
know? And she said, Well, of course I admire your work. And of course, I knew that your work would revolve around me. And my work is not I don't have a style. My work is very centered on a client and what I call a client's DNA, their design DNA. And so she said I knew you were going to get all of that right. But something that you do that is unlike others, is that you will take a risk. And, you know, when when you interviewed Pam Bates, and she said, make a bold stroke, and you about stroked out
laughing because that was so terrifying when
I felt that energy so much through those words, because that is what I do, especially in design, not always in my art practice. But in my design practice. I take a risk. I take that. And I and I'm I didn't know I did until she said that. But now I look back on it. And I do do that. And I'm proud of that. The so I want to go back a minute to what you were saying about how you know how hard it was for you to walk through the fire of letting all that burn because you burnt your life down basically, you know, you said none of this. None of this is right. I got to burn it all down. And that is and I've done that in my own life. And I can I can tell you I know how hard that is. What was the guiding light for you during that like, when all because all the stories come up, right? Like, why are you doing this? This is crazy. You shouldn't do this. You had it all that. Like there's so many inner voices on our committee of voices that we have in there. That, you know, telling us why what we're doing is so crazy why we shouldn't do it. What kept you going? I believed in me. And I didn't know I believed in me. But I had this inner belief that I was meant to do this. But I was meant to do it in a way that brought me joy and others joy. And that's the part that I was missing. I kept giving the joy away. I was giving it to clients and then blaming them for taking it. But I was giving it but I knew that I had this inner drive. That was also a gift. I knew that I had this calling that I didn't want to turn my back on. And and I believed that that was going to get me through it somehow. So it didn't it did.
So for someone who feels like Okay, I am listening to these two talk and I'm realizing there's something in my life I need to burn down. But I don't maybe believe in myself that way yet or I don't feel brave enough to do that. What's the process when you because you kind of can't unknow when there's something that isn't working in your life. And it could be a career, it could be a marriage, it could be, it could actually be your art, it could be that you've like become really, you know, known for and built up this thing around being us a potter, and now you realize your love is painting or whatever it is. There's something in your life that that that joy isn't there. But you don't necessarily feel like what is what's the what's that? What are the steps? How do you? How do you take a step towards that? Because it's counterintuitive to burn your own life down, right?
Yes, it is. I mean, it will. Well, I have to say that everyone has a different process. I know for me that I talked through it a lot, and often probably to ad nauseam with my husband, who is a wonderful businessman, we approach business two entirely different ways. And I have to keep the way he does business kind of over here somewhere. And the way I do business over here, like he approaches everything from numbers, I approach everything from my heart, like, I'm just wired like that, and doesn't make a whole lot of business sense. Like he would never have started a business without a business plan. I'm like, Who has time to write a business plan, I got better things to do, I need to go create something. So we're different, but I admire his business acumen. So I probably talked him to death about it. And there were many times he talked me off the ledge. So having someone that you can confide in is really important. I do believe one of my favorite books is law of attraction, which was written years and years, 1000 100 years of years ago by Napoleon Hill. And he talks about surrounding yourself with a mastermind group. And I've kind of always done that. But I'm very particular about who's in my mastermind group, because, you know, I really got to believe in their processes, too. So, in any event, I had a little mastermind group with mostly my husband, but a couple of other business women who I trust, then, for me, a lot of times it was take it to the canvas, like I get a lot of joy and ideas and peace from just going up to that little art studio and making art. And that is important. I will say during that time period, I was selling art. And I took that off, I just took that right off my plate, it was too much. I was that's two completely, that's two jobs that I had the first shift and second shift, and I didn't need two jobs. So that helped a lot. I believe in meditation, and developing a meditation practice, whatever that is for you. I'm one of those guided meditation people, you'll often see me at lunchtime in my car with a guided meditation on and like just taking a little break. And so, you know, that part is kind of special to me. And it's my time to like just unwrap a little bit. And so and then things that really like that I find a lot of peace in our walks with my dog and walks with myself. And I'm fortunate I'm I live literally a block from the beach from the ocean. So just sitting and listening to the ocean and, and just breathing a minute. And that was kind of what was missing in my life. As I wasn't breathing. I was just running. It was a race, and it was just a race. So I think everyone has different processes of how they get through the burning down of your life. And I mean, to be fair, there were many nights that I cried and I cried and I cried. And there were moments I wasn't sure I was getting through it. But like I knew deep down I would but there were moments of doubt and fear and an anger and like how did it get to this and all of those things happened.
I it's kind of led us to this perfect moment, which always happens at some point in the podcast where I tell you about the word that I pulled. For today's show, I always pull a card. You do? Yeah.
Because what you're describing is, is a willingness to listen, like you've created for yourself all of these ways to listen to your body, it needs to move, it's got extra energy. Now we talked before the show about how we both have poodles who are very high intensity dogs, and they need to be run and I feel like you know we're kind of saying that about our systems too. They have all this extra energy. You so you're willing to work with your system and give it what it needs. You're willing to listen and be quiet and you're willing to be led and do the thing that your inner self is telling you to do. And so I'm going to show you the card for the listeners can't
willingness, willingness, willingness, love, it never ceases to amaze me. Oh, perfect. Well, and as you were telling me the story about like, all the children that you kept collecting, I was just like, wow, this person really is like, she really just is willing, like you've said yes to life so much, which also I just want to reflect back to you feels like to me part of your magic is that you've just, you know, you've got this energy, you've got this drive, you've got this calling, and you're not only willing to say yes to it, but you're just like, you just seem to say yes to everything that life throws your way. And that that is wonderful. And it also, you know, if you're not careful with how you carry that, it can hurt you when you've learned from it and all that stuff.
As my husband said, if you opened on boiled peanut stand on the side of the road, you would find a way to turn it into an empire. So that is my challenge. i You're right. I I tend to say yes. When maybe sometimes I should be think saying, hey, caution, caution, caution. It's not my nature. But I think part of my downsize has created in me a lot of No, I don't think I'm a good fit. And that is bold and brave, like to turn a client down, who is standing there waving, like major dollars at you. And if my ego gets involved, I want the dollars. And I know I can do the work. But when I start hearing these little signs of this isn't a good fit. This isn't the right match in personality, or in spirit, or they're already robbing the joy a little bit. Or maybe like we're not a good personality fit. But maybe that's not necessarily a genre that I want to play in right now. And I have a hard time listening to that to be fair, but my staff is so attuned to it. And we're so in tune with this new way that we do things that I can see their eyebrows raising. I can see them going man Are you sure are like when I stopped to think about it after a we've met with a client? I don't. They even said I don't think this is a good fit. I think well, I need your you're onto yourself too. I mean, you're I am now. Yeah, yeah. And and willingness just as a little side note, willingness, I feel like willingness is also about saying no, like, willingness isn't just like, you hear the word. And you think, Oh, I have to say willingness means I have to say yes or no willingness is also the willingness to be to be able to say, actually, that's a no for me that you know, and that requires bravery and willing to be authentic with myself like, but that's a biggie. So yeah, you're right. Wow, love that word. Yeah, I can't believe we're at this point in our conversation already. So fast. I do. Go on for days. And we will, let's do it. Let's have you back.
I do have one more question for you. And it's the billboard question. I love this question. Yeah, so I'm gonna say it again. It so
if you had a billboard that every person in the world who ever had this sort of knowing that they had this gift, or this calling or this thing that they were just so interested in and wanted to pursue, but for whatever reason, didn't feel that they were good enough or open enough or didn't have enough of what it in them, whatever it is to them, but that reading this message from you would reach them. And if they would inspire them to maybe look at it a little bit differently. What would you what would you put on the Billboard so so I hope I can do this justice. I love this question so much. And I'd love to hear your, your,
your interview ease, answer this so I even jotted something down. But it's such a good deep philosophical question. And I could answer that probably in 100 ways, but I'm going to just stab at this. So initially, what came to me is play out loud. And stay for ever curious, all while listening to your inner knowing.
That's perfect. Thank you. And you know, sometimes you don't even know why you feel a certain way until you have a conversation like we're having right now. And, and, and it causes you to kind of look back and, and, and champion, the road that you just traveled because this isn't still very new for me, but still very much a part of how I got here.
Absolutely. Yeah. And I think that's another you know, we were talking earlier about how we're so hard on yourself, we often don't give ourselves credit for you know, even the part of you that worked so hard and did all that stuff like she's magnificent. Look where she got, you know, like she created all that for you. I mean, she overdid it a little bit.
It's It's okay. We're just learning.
Thank you for coming on the show today, it's been an absolute joy.
Before I share with you my closing thoughts on the conversation you just heard, I want to make sure you know about the beautiful, intimate online community I have just created for us so we can be in connection with each other, and support each other. As we reconnect with deeper layers of our creativity. It's called the creative genius family, and it's a private Facebook group, you can head over to the creative genius podcast Facebook page and request to join, we'd love to welcome you. If you could have been a fly on the wall during this interview, you'd have seen me nodding vigorously throughout almost this whole conversation. When Kimberly described the gut wrenching fear and guilt she felt after she realized she had to shut down the part of our business that employed 20 people and generated all that income. All because the joy was gone. I felt that I think we've all had to navigate getting out of at least one situation we created for ourselves through years, sometimes of not listening to that quiet inner voice inside us. And even though it almost killed her, she found her way by tuning in, and dedicating herself to listening, finding out who she was and what she wanted, and being brave enough to walk it out. And she was quick to admit that it's not always smooth sailing. Sometimes she goes back to her old ways. But life is so much sweeter and happier. Now, she has gotten out of her own way. And she makes sure to always check in and ask herself, does this feel joyful? And if not, then why am I doing it? If you take one thing from this episode today, I hope it's a gentle nudge, to be brave to look inside yourself and find out who you really are, and what you really want. And take one brave, bold step toward making that a reality for yourself. Make sure you're signed up for my newsletter. I pick a random person from my email list once every month and send them an original piece of my artwork. It's one of my favorite things to do. It takes a lot to put together the show. Please consider supporting me to do it. You can visit patreon.com/creative Genius podcast to find out more. And please keep my jewelry or paintings and especially gratitude birds which keep selling out in mind. Next time you're looking for a treat for yourself or for a loved one. You can find everything I've mentioned on Kate Shepherd creative.com Thank you for being here, for opening your heart and for listening. My wish and intention for the show is that it reach into your heart and stir the beautiful thing that lives in there.
May you find and unleash your creative genius