Kimberly Spencer: Warrior for Possibility #43

Warwick Fairfax

November 10, 2020

Her resume is wildly impressive: best-selling author, award-winning screenwriter, successful entrepreneur, celebrated fitness trainer and health activist — she even won Miss Congeniality at the Miss California USA pageant. But Kimberly Spencer‘s accomplishments hid her demons — bulimia, trying to be who others wanted and expected her to be, a victim of emotional self-sabotage. When she realized she had the power to crown herself whole, she stopped breaking off pieces of her personal and professional selves to fit into others’ boxes. That revelation has led to a career as an internationally acclaimed speaker and high-performance coach who helps audiences and clients reassemble the diamonds within and build lives of joy and significance.
For more information about Kimberly Spencer, visit www.crownyourself.com

Highlights

  • The childhood crucible of her father’s addiction: (7:57)
  • Why she’s a “warrior for possibility” (11:02)
  • How her emotional struggles led to bulimia (12:08)
  • The ways in which “just-world bias” complicate crucibles (14:02)
  • The perils of adapting our behavior to fit others’ expectations (18:23)
  • The crucible of getting bought out of her e-commerce company (25:24)
  • When she found a life of significance (32:15)
  • How beliefs are a lot like clothes (35:21)
  • The importance of examining the stories we’re telling ourselves (37:25)
  • Why is critical to not focus on how you’re broken, but how you’re well (38:22)
  • How we can be both perfect and still perfecting (42:52)
  • Key takeaways from the episode (46:34)

Transcript

Warwick F:
Welcome to Beyond the Crucible. I’m Warwick Fairfax, the founder of Crucible Leadership.

Kimberly S:
It’s kind of like if you smashed a diamond, right? So you get to the point when you’re forming this diamond, when you find it, it’s this mucky dirty rock, and you got to have those cuts and those shapes and those things. But what happens when life, the drill, whatever, cracks that diamond and splits it to where that it’s no longer this beautiful, perfect, shiny rock, but something happened where it like the laser broke it. Well, you still have a diamond, it just needs to be refined and cut. It needs to be perfected again.

Gary S:
Have you ever felt like that, like a diamond blown apart, that what you thought made you valuable was gone in an instant? If so, you’ll find some encouragement and insight to discover your true value, your unique vision in today’s episode. Hi, I’m Gary Schneeberger, the co-host of the show and the Communications Director for Crucible Leadership. And today our guest is Kimberly Spencer, an award-winning high-performance coach and trainer, Amazon bestselling co-author, international motivational speaker and the founder of crownyourself.com. Where she helps visionary leaders build their empire and stand out in their full potential in their bodies, in their businesses and in their relationships. Kimberly is proof of something we can’t say enough here at Beyond the Crucible, that it’s better to make your own mold than to conform to someone else’s.

Warwick F:
Well, Kimberly, thanks so much. I’d love to talk here in a bit about what you do in helping people and women in particular, throw off limiting beliefs, just finding their own story and their own journey in Crown Yourself. But tell us a bit about yourself now. You’re obviously from the US but you’re not in the US right now, so tell folks where you are.

Kimberly S:
We are currently in the Gold Coast of Australia. My husband was appearing in the Gold Coast, ironically, with the cast of the Walking Dead for a convention back in March when the pandemic was starting. And we just decided if we’re going to be on lockdown, we would prefer to have the beach as our backyard. So we rented an Airbnb and have been bebopping in Airbnbs ever since, which has been about seven months of a lot of fun and a lot of growth. And it’s such a beautiful time. We could not have picked a better place and space for us to be. Things are opening back up then my son actually gets to go to pre-kinder where he can hug other children, because that kid is a hugger.

Warwick F:
Now, how many kids do you have?

Kimberly S:
Just him for right now.

Warwick F:
And he’s how old?

Kimberly S:
Three.

Warwick F:
Three. Okay, wow. So this wasn’t like a planned, permanent move to Australia. You were just kind of stuck there so to speak on the Gold Coast, which in Queensland sort of semi-tropical beaches, they’re probably worse places to be stuck than the Gold Coast.

Gary S:
Yeah, that doesn’t sound like being stuck to me.

Kimberly S:
Yeah, we call it stuck by choice when people ask, when you get stuck at it. We did have plane tickets back, but instead we put my parents on those plane tickets and said, we’ll stay here, so.

Warwick F:
At some point, you are going to move back to the US.

Kimberly S:
Yeah, at some point, perhaps, but it’s always been my husband and my vision to travel around the world and to have online businesses and to be able to work from wherever and specifically to be able to allow our children to be raised by experiences of different cultures, instead of just reading about them in a book. And that’s something that’s very important for me. And so this vision, it took a lot of faith and courage. And as I just said on another call earlier today, I said, trust really is my word for 2020 of just, it’s kind of like bungee jumping. Like I’ve bungee jumped once before in my life, when I really felt a need to throw myself off a building, but I wanted to survive. So I said, hey, let’s do bungee jumping. And there is this moment when you’re bungee jumping and like, it takes the act of courage, like of leaping off of a platform to be able to then perilously plunge toward the ground.

Kimberly S:
And there’s a moment of surrender and trust that, that rope is going to catch you. And when it does, it’s the most freeing and yet supportive feeling I’ve ever had where suddenly you’re flying through the air because you know you are fully 100% supported. But it took a plunge to get there in essence, where you didn’t know if you were going to hit the cement and have a really bad accident or fly through the air with the greatest of ease and that’s really what 2020 has felt like for me of like giant leaps of faith and of really learning to trust where certainty lives in my body and what certainty feels like.

Kimberly S:
And what I mean by certainty is like the world around us can like throw us curve balls obviously, thanks to 2020 we all know that. But with the curve balls, there is a certainty that you can cultivate through those experiences that I’ve spent my life cultivating. That is a certainty that no matter what happens, you can figure it out. When I felt like staying in the Gold Coast would be the best for me, the best for my husband, the best for my family, I said, let’s stay here. Let’s do this.

Kimberly S:
And I remember having a conversation with my husband. I said like, “Where are you on the decision scale?” Because for me, once I make a decision, there’s no going back. Like that’s like, but I have to be at 100%. That decision is made in my soul and in my gut and I know where it lives in my body. And I was talking to my husband, he said he was like 90% there. I said, “If you’re not 100% then we go home.” I said, “Because I can’t be the only one who’s certain, because this is, it’s not just me who’s staying. It’s …”

Warwick F:
Those are very wise words that have good marriage advice. Make sure you’re both on the same page. You’re both committed and be willing to give up, not like give up, but just, I don’t know if the word is compromise, but just you give the other person the freedom to say yes, when you say, I really want to do this, but if you are not with this, then let’s not do it. It actually increases the chance they’ll say yes, ironically.

Kimberly S:
Yeah, and he wanted to do it, he just wasn’t certain 100% because it was that act of faith. And then finally he took about an hour. He really sat with himself, he got quiet and he came back, he was like a 100%, let’s stay.

Warwick F:
Life is an adventure. So you obviously live that, which is awesome. So let’s go back a bit. And from what I understand, you grew up in Los Angeles area, San Fernando Valley, no less, which I guess, was valley girl or whatever came from that. I’m sure not everybody’s like that because …

Kimberly S:
Yes, I have worked hard to lose my valley girl accent.

Warwick F:
Oh, you probably never had one.

Kimberly S:
But it does flip out after a couple of glasses of wine.

Warwick F:
So tell us about growing up. I understand you, like a number of people, you had some challenges that made it a bit difficult to figure out who you were and self-sabotage. So talk a bit about some of that growing up, because I think that sets the scene of who you are now and what you’re passionate about.

Kimberly S:
Yeah. It really did set the scene because I grew up with my dad who … my parents are the most generous human beings. And yet they like everyone has their own demons and my dads was addiction. And so growing up with an addict and my mom was the quintessential co-dependent who really didn’t want to deal with feelings because they were messy. So she would just, she had like what I call ostrich syndrome. She would just pop her head in the sand, everything’s fine.

Kimberly S:
And for me, I think that we’re blessed with the children that we need to highlight parts of us that we’ve kind of lost. I know that with my own journey into motherhood, my son has just blessed me with this unshakable compassion that I see an empathy that he has is just, is profound. And so I think I was blessed to my parents to remind them of feeling, and that there is safety and actually freedom in allowing yourself to process and go through all of the feelings and emotions and whatnot.

Kimberly S:
But it took me a long time to get to this point because I saw my dad, he would escape from his feelings of shame and guilt and anger and rage. And my mom would pretend like they didn’t exist. I mean, when I was a kid, I was very emotional. It was a very emotional kid because injustice just bothered me to my core and hypocrisy specifically. And so when I would see hypocritical behavior in my parents, I would kind of feel this like rage of just like, I feel like I just wanted to shake them. Not only just because of the hypocrisy, but because I saw their potential.

Kimberly S:
That’s always been something that I’ve been able to see in others that like many of my clients that I work with now, when they come out on the other side and they’re like, “Oh my God, Kim, did you imagine that this was possible for me?” And I was like, “Yeah, I saw it from the beginning. Like there was no doubt in my mind that you could not achieve that.” Like it’s just, I see potential and I see possibility in everyone. So when I grew up, I had my dad who was the addict, but I also had the moments when he was sober. So I say that I grew up with four dads, which was great because it did teach me sensory acuity at a very young age-

Warwick F:
When you say four dads, how do you mean?

Kimberly S:
Yeah. So I grew up with the asshole alcoholic dad. The painkiller popping manic dad who would go on wild whirlwind shopping sprees and bring home tons of random crap. The stoner dad who was really laid back, just super supportive, just kind of just chill, would just hang out on the couch. And then the really cool sober dad who would take me to the park and was really, really, always supportive and taught me some of my greatest pieces of entrepreneurial advice, because even though my dad was an addict, he was able to build a multi-million dollar company through his addiction.

Kimberly S:
So I was like, if you could do that while drunk, like imagine what your potential, like just the untapped potential. And that’s the thing that just makes me this such a warrior for possibility and a warrior for potential is when I see that potential, that’s really being sabotaged by ourselves in many ways. That fear of really stepping into that unknown and into that all that you really could be. And it does come from having those feelings and being able to experience those emotions of fear and shame and guilt, and then moving into courage and then taking those acts of courage every single day.

Warwick F:
So how did that look like for you because I know, I understand that you had some periods of self-sabotage, maybe some, I don’t know, if eating disorders the right word, but some obviously having a dad with no sense four personality types that you don’t need to be a psychologist to know it’s not good for kids. Which dad am I going to have? I mean, I don’t have that kind of a parenting experience a little bit in terms of, who am I going to see now? So I have a little bit of understanding of that, not at the same level. But talk about how does self-sabotage look for you at the time?

Kimberly S:
Well, for me, my form of self-sabotage was not understanding what to do with all these big emotions. Like I saw my dad escape from them. I saw my mom suppress them and repress them and pretend like they didn’t exist. And meanwhile, like there I was with all these feelings and I didn’t have any way of processing them. And my way of processing them did become bulimia. If you think about it in a metaphorical standpoint, like I would shove all my feelings down and then I would explode. And that was the feeling and the pattern that I was used to for years growing up in my household.

Kimberly S:
It’s like eventually, eventually the lid would come off. Eventually you can’t escape from it, from your feelings forever. So eventually there would be a moment of like volcanic release. And that was just how I learned how to control that was in a way of binge-ing and purging, which is not obviously healthy. And the biggest belief that I struggled with was being enough because I thought maybe if I was smart enough, then my dad would stop drinking. Maybe if I was skinny enough, then my dad would change. Maybe if I was this, maybe if I was that. So it was always this constant fear of being enough when it was never my stuff to be enough or like, yeah.

Warwick F:
I mean, you obviously, have a lot of clients and friends who’ve probably been through similar circumstances. Do you feel that you see this pattern of when the people are broken around you somehow as a kid, you think, well, it’s my fault. As crazy as that … because how could it possibly be your fault? It’s not your fault, but somehow I don’t pretend to fully understand it, but you’ve seen that I imagine. Did you feel that in some weird sense that it was your fault which just sounds crazy?

Kimberly S:
It does sound crazy. And in doing the research for my book I stumbled upon this really interesting principle called the just world bias. And what I’ve seen from high achiever is, especially high achievers that instead of taking that more victim mindset where they blame everybody else outside of them, high achievers are very skilled specifically at putting themselves in that sort of villain standpoint, where they put themselves at fault and they take responsibility for things that aren’t their responsibility, like other people and other people’s feelings.

Kimberly S:
And what I found was this thing called the just world bias, which we all have. And we see it in the news nowadays with like when a woman gets raped, then people say, oh, she must have been asking for it or oh, she must’ve deserved it, or oh, it must’ve been her skirt or something ridiculous like that. And it’s really our toddler brains have this like desire to be, for the world to be fair. I mean, I hear it with my son of like, oh, that’s not fair. And I’m like, oh, so that’s where it comes from?

Kimberly S:
Our toddlers have got, like and our subconscious minds are like toddlers. So when we are the victim of events, whether in childhood or in adulthood, and I’ve had both, that are unexplainable things and acts of human cruelty that aren’t our fault, but that are this period where we can either hold onto it and hold on to like, what happened? That what happens with this just world bias is it’s our belief that it is our fault, that we must’ve done something to deserve it. And especially with high achievers who are incredibly skilled at putting themselves at fault for things that aren’t their fault, then it’s like, just like when we hear those things of that woman getting raped or whatnot, and somebody says, oh, she must’ve deserved it because she must have had the skirt or whatever, but that’s our brains doing the same thing to us because we’re putting ourselves-

Warwick F:
And the crazy thing is people do say that.

Kimberly S:
Yeah.

Warwick F:
I would say more so in times past and more so in certain cultures, which it’s hard to think how people don’t say that, but they do say that certainly in times gone by and other places. There’s this phrase, I understand you mention that, see if, I don’t know if I’m accurately quoting it, but you felt broken and something about breaking off pieces of yourself to fit into other people’s mold. I mean, that’s a fascinating thought. Talk about what you mean by that about breaking off pieces to fit into other people’s mold.

Kimberly S:
So, because I didn’t feel enough, I felt like I had to conform to being what other people wanted and maybe that would be enough. So once I started to heal myself from bulimia, which I did with no psychological or medical intervention, I then realized that our, the deep stuff, like those beliefs around what we deserve our worth, our enough-ness, they’ll merge into a different form if they’re not dealt with in that original thing. So while I healed a lot of it with my body and I felt finally enough in my body at the age of 22, I was able to walk down, the moment that I walked down the Miss California pageant runway in front of a crowd of 5,000 in my bathing suit, I felt free.

Kimberly S:
I felt that was where I really crowned myself in essence, where I just, I stood on that stage and I felt like the body, I got this. Like my body, I built up the trust with my body again. I had really transformed my perceptions of my body. The problem was, is I had the three deep seated beliefs of worthiness, of enough-ness, of deserving, they then jumped forms into my relationships. And so in my romantic relationships, I would be very skilled at playing the part that I thought the other person needed to love me.

Warwick F:
It’s almost like a sort of a marketing concept. What brand does that person want? I can be that brand. I can be that person who they’ll like. I mean, it’s, which may work in business, but it’s certainly not a good idea in relationships.

Kimberly S:
And it doesn’t work in your soul, like your heart, your gut, your soul knows when your BS-ing yourself. But that was also, I grew very skilled at that because just from my childhood experiences, I knew I would have to adapt my behavior for the alcoholic dad or adapt my behavior differently for the stoner dad, or like, I learned very quickly how to adapt my behavior, so I adapted in my relationships to the behavior that I thought my partners wanted.

Kimberly S:
So maybe they didn’t want the silly side or like the ambitious side. So I would hide those parts of myself and it was suffocating. And it just got to the point where I remember it was two hours before I met my forever husband, and I was praying as I was driving to this networking event. And I was like, good Lord, I just want to be authentic and I want to travel. Those are the two things I wanted.

Warwick F:
That’s a two interesting concepts, authenticity and travel.

Kimberly S:
Yeah. And so I remember when my husband sauntered up to me at the bar and he said, “Hi, my name is Spike.” And I said, “Hi, my name is Kim.” And he said, “Kim, I got one question for you.” I said, “What’s that?” And he said, “Are you single?” And I said, “Well.” At the time I was in a relationship, but it was one of those, it’s complicated relationships. It wasn’t really going that well. And I said, “I guess you could say I’m in a, it’s complicated.” He said, “Great, at least I’m not barking up the wrong tree, let’s grab a drink.”

Kimberly S:
So we grabbed a drink and we started talking. And I remember there were moments where I had to summon the courage to keep that commitment that I had made just a couple hours earlier, where I knew that I could easily fall into default behavior of agreeing that, sure. I like ’80s music. I don’t like ’80s music.

Gary S:
Oh, no. Oh, no.

Kimberly S:
Except Depeche Mode. I am a Depeche Mode, like I have converted to Depeche Mode, but-

Warwick F:
I have to say just really briefly. I was on somebody else’s podcast and one of their questions was, what’s your favorite ’80s artists? And I must’ve given the right one because I said, “I can’t really think of any, I’m not really an ’80s person,” so go figure. But-

Gary S:
I’m sorry, Kimberly, I cut you off in a very important point just because I’m an ’80s music fan.

Kimberly S:
Great, it’s all good.

Warwick F:
Which one of us gave the right answer? Anyway, go ahead. So you risk your future.

Kimberly S:
Gary was horrified, how could you not be into the ’80s music?

Warwick F:
So there you are with your future husband and you’re almost about to say I love ’80s music.

Kimberly S:
Yeah. And I was almost about to say, just hide the fact that I’d been previously married because that was something I felt deep shame about running off with a Navy man and then getting divorced nine months later. I was incredibly ashamed about that. But I said, I remember the moment, it started with ’80s music and then it just kind of spiraled out of there where I did everything that you’re not supposed to do in a relationship where I just kind of baggage dumped.

Kimberly S:
I said, “Yeah, this is me. This is what I’ve done. This is what I’m really not proud of. This is how I grew up. This is what happened. You like what you see?” And he was … my husband had gone through his own crucible with his ex-wife being unfaithful and untruthful, and he loved it, he loved the authenticity.

Warwick F:
See that, that’s the sort of thing. I mean, I know we haven’t really talked about it, faith perspective, but from my faith perspective, sometimes if you’re honest with yourself and with the other person, the Lord honors that in some way. And if you would just put on the mask, Kimberly and figure out, okay, which Kimberly shall I pull out of which drawer, the funny, the extrovert, the smart, the ambitious, he might’ve said, you know what? Bye, not interested. I mean, who’s to know, but it’s possible, right?

Kimberly S:
Yeah. It’s definitely possible. I think, because we know when we’re BS-ing ourselves and other people feel it too. Like if you know, then what is the energy that you’re putting out there into the world where people are just like, I don’t know, there’s something about you, but I don’t know. I don’t know what that is.

Warwick F:
So I’d love to hear what you’re doing now, but just as we kind of transition, I mean, you’ve done a lot of things. I mean, while you were, maybe from a health and physical standpoint, you felt good, but you mentioned there were other sides, there was pieces you were still trying to figure out, but you weren’t just sitting around. I mean, whether it’s Ms. California and everybody’s seen the movie Miss Congeniality, but you actually won that award, which just briefly tell folks what that is because I think of the movie and it’s probably not quite that … Tell us what that is.

Kimberly S:
So Miss Congeniality, I won it in the Miss Teenage California pageant and it’s funny because I won it and I was so excited because it came with a scholarship and everything. And then I dropped out of college two weeks before I was supposed to start. So I didn’t get to collect the scholarship, but it’s basically for the friendliest person in the audience. And it was one I remember because pageants, I got into pageants when I was 15 and that was like right in the heyday of my eating disorder.

Kimberly S:
But part of my eating disorder was the fact that I didn’t have peers around me that mirrored my ambition, that mirrored my drive and my desire to serve. I was running for class president and I remember I expected to like end at least hunger in Los Angeles within the year. So I have been unthinkably optimistic since forever and I always can find a silver lining in pretty much anything, including all my past experiences that I’ve been through. And I’ve been through some pretty gnarly ones. But the beautiful thing is that … Oh Gary, did you have something to say?

Gary S:
I was going to say, to Warwick’s point when he was talking about all the things that you’ve done. I mean, I read the intros to all the guests we have on the show and it was hard to breathe at some points because there’s this-

Warwick F:
What?

Gary S:
There’s so much stuff there and you didn’t even put it all in your bio. You, for instance, some other things that people may not know about you, that you have on your website, that you co-wrote a hardcore, a motocross movie called Bro. And you have still have yet to ride a dirt bike. Your favorite color is glitter. Okay, we could have gleaned that a little bit. My favorite one that you have listed here, Kimberly and we’ve talked about this, you do your best writing while listening to movie scores from superhero films.

Gary S:
So I just want you to know that today I dressed for the occasion in my own, if you’re watching it on YouTube, I have an iron man t-shirt on. And then I’ve got an enormous iron man pin on there as well. And you didn’t even mention your experience with Shark Tank. So you’ve done all of these things. You pitched something on Shark Tank and-

Kimberly S:
Well, not on the … I pitched something to the first round of Shark Tank auditions. So it was not like, I didn’t actually pitch to the sharks. Our products got featured in Times Square and then the casting director actually for the Shark Tank auditions lived right down the street from my office, from my eCommerce company. And he’d seen the product and he was like, come in for the audition. And so I brought the product and I pitched it.

Kimberly S:
And I don’t know what happened after that because a week, I think it was two weeks later, my partner said he wanted to buy me out, so that caused that split. And that was my own crucible in itself because that buyout was the first time I’d ever … First of all, it was three months before my wedding. And so I was dealing for the first time in my life with lawyers and they don’t send nice emails.

Warwick F:
No.

Gary S:
No.

Kimberly S:
They don’t typically send lovely, loving, like emails that are full of support. It’s just like, it was the first time I’d ever had my integrity called into check, or my capabilities called into question, or my background or my education experience. None of which was called into question when I first joined the company. So we ended up signing the buyout agreement three weeks before I got married and just because I didn’t want to deal with lawyers on my honeymoon. And I came up with the idea for Crown Yourself actually when I was in Italy because I was wondering like, what the F am I going to be doing when I get back home? Because-

Warwick F:
And before you get to Crown Yourself, just to finish what Gary was saying, what’s amazing is you mentioned that film, Bro. You had a Pilates studio, I think Fitness with Kim. You run four marathons. I mean my gosh, it exhausts me just thinking about-

Kimberly S:
Five.

Warwick F:
… running one. I mean it’s … You created, I guess the stretching device with Shark Tank. I mean, you were kind of going full throttle. I mean you were kind of going at it. But as you were going at it, you were probably, were you trying to figure out, okay, who am I and trying to be authentic and hence Crown Yourself was birthed out? So talk about Crown Yourself and how that linked to all of these things you were doing because you were driven and from the world’s perspective you were succeeding. What’s not to be proud of? I mean, what’s the problem. You’re going full throttle and doing incredible things.

Kimberly S:
Thank you.

Warwick F:
But yet, was there something missing as you were doing that or, I mean or …

Kimberly S:
I think what was missing was alignment. It was alignment, but it was also, I always was allowing myself to follow my curiosity. So I thought for years that it was Hollywood, that it was screenwriting, that it was making movies, that it was becoming this producer and then I would have the income and the impact to be able to serve in the way that I wanted to serve. Well, that was A, a bit more challenging and B, soul sucking to be constantly cast in the role of hot girl number, whatever, where I was like, there’s no meat to that story. There’s like, that’s just some like ditzy girl, that’s this like it, I didn’t like those roles.

Kimberly S:
I met my co-writing partner at a networking event. I was very entrepreneurial with my show biz endeavor. So I was like networking like a crazy person. And I understood to some degree like entrepreneurship is just building relationships. And so I cultivated relationships and he eventually came to me and he wanted me to produce this movie that he had no script. And I said, “Well, how about me?” And so I’d always been really good at making very audacious asks early on. And so I made the audacious ask, he said, “Great, write 10 pages of a scene, we’ll pass it off to the executive producer.”

Kimberly S:
I wrote 10 pages of three guys that walk into a strip club. I got the notes back with like, “How do you know what happens in men’s minds?” And I was like, three guys in a strip club, ain’t that hard? But so I wrote this thing that nobody expected. Like I love surprising people and doing things that nobody expects. And I also love transformative stories. So this movie was at least the opportunity that I could write a story about a young kid who’s trying to fit in with the cool crowd.

Kimberly S:
So it wasn’t about motocross, it was about acceptance. I understand that on an emotional level, because I had just gone through a breakup with the first boyfriend, the first love of my life. That was because he was trying to be accepted into this other crowd that I was like, whoa, that’s not a crowd I want to hang with.

Warwick F:
As you were doing all these things, how did you get to a point where you found kind of the real Kimberly and you’re able to be yourself? I mean, do all these fabulous things. You haven’t stopped being adventurous. You haven’t stopped being driven, which is great. But somehow I feel like what you’re doing now, what you’re teaching other people and other women to do is different. So talk about it because it feels nuanced, because on the outside it may look like, well Kimberly’s life is not really that much different, but yet it is in some sense, isn’t it?

Kimberly S:
It’s different because I know what business I’m really in. And I mean, that is like my purpose. And no matter what form it took, whether it was screenwriting or being the president of an eCommerce company or my fitness, every single one of those businesses was the business of transforming people’s stories because I had to transform my own. When I was transforming, I transformed people’s stories through writing that film. Like when I was approached by the mother of this boy who saw the film and changed his life because of that film that I co-wrote, like that was amazing.

Kimberly S:
And when I heard that, I was like that, that is what I want, to transform people’s stories because when I had that dream achieved, I was like, I was surprised. I’ve always had this very strong internal dialogue ever since I recovered from bulimia where I was surprised that I was only 90% fulfilled. I was like, this was a dream that I’d waited for a decade to manifest into reality. And suddenly it was there. And my name was on the big screen and it was a moment instead.

Kimberly S:
Two weeks later, when I hear from the mother of this boy who came to the premiere, that her son changed his life. That moment, I was like, that’s what I want to do. And that was the same reason as to why I got into teaching Pilates as well, because I wanted to transform people’s stories about their bodies because Pilates transformed my own story about my body.

Warwick F:
It’s interesting as you say that because in Crucible Leadership we talk about, life’s about living a life of significance, which we define as a life on purpose dedicated to serving others. And what we say a lot is nothing wrong with being successful, but success in of itself is not really satisfying. It’s like, okay, you reached the top of the mountain. It’s like, well, then what, right? Ants crawling up an anthill, you reach at the top and it’s like, okay, well now what?

Warwick F:
There’s nothing wrong with it, but when your perspective is, I’m here to serve others. I’m here to help that, talk with that mother and the boy who saw the movie, helping people in Pilates classes, that to me brings joy. We all want joy in life. We all want a joy filled life, a joy filled marriage, joy filled family. But when you’re … It feels like you’re using your talents and your ability and your drive in the service of others. I mean, is that fair? I mean, do you feel like, as you’re doing that, that is bringing you joy?

Kimberly S:
Oh, 100%. Like having been able to grow Crown Yourself and serve the people that I have been blessed with to serve through the community that I’ve built has been one of the greatest experiences. It took a ton of courage because after I was bought out of my company, I definitely had my doubts. I had my fears, I questioned everything because that’s like, I’d had such fear. But after a year and a half, it was when I found out I was pregnant, that I was just like, I know that I’m meant to serve on such a bigger level than just teaching fitness or than just helping people with their back pain.

Kimberly S:
Like I want full on transformation. Like one of my clients, she texted me. She’s like, Oh my gosh, her daughter finally got back in touch with her after years of distance. She’d gotten divorced from a crappy marriage. She’d moved into a beautiful home. She’d found alignment in her business. I was like that, that is what I live for, the fact that she was no longer living someone else’s life of what someone said that she should be doing, and instead, actually in her 50s started leading the life that she always dreamed of living and fully living it. And that-

Warwick F:
There’s an important point in what you’re saying, Kimberly, that I want listeners to hear is there’s nothing wrong with running a Pilates studio-

Kimberly S:
No.

Warwick F:
… and that’s great. But for you, you felt like not a higher calling, but maybe for you, it felt like playing small. Not that it is playing small for everybody, but for Kimberly, it felt like there was another mission, another journey and you wanted to be faithful to it, in a bit like bungee jumping, you mentioned earlier, not being afraid to jump, right?

Kimberly S:
Yeah.

Warwick F:
And listeners really need to hear that is, don’t settle. Don’t settle for something you know, yeah, I’m doing fine, but there’s more to life than doing fine. There might be a bigger mission. Something that is really calling you, beckoning you. Listen to that voice. Take that leap. Don’t just settle. I think that’s kind of what I’m hearing. And in your approach with Crown Yourself, I know there’s three components, including eliminating negative self-talk and creating high-performance patterns, helping support change and growth. Talk about some of these elements. And certainly one of the keys, I think from what you’ve mentioned is eliminating that negative self-talk. Talk about why that’s so foundational to changing your story, to crowning yourself in the best sense of that word.

Kimberly S:
Well, I think a lot of times beliefs are like wardrobes, but a lot of times we get stuck in the same outdated clothes that we don’t realize are outdated until we recognize that they’re not really fitting in with the rest of the surroundings or they don’t look anything like how we want them, we think we look. And so, one of the things that it’s less about, it is about eliminating the negative self-talk. But I think there’s always going to be that voice of fear or doubt that just, it’s there for our survival and making friends with it in a way of understanding that why it’s there is really important. Because when we know that it’s there for our survival, then we can see where it’s trying to keep us small so that it thinks it’s keeping us safe.

Warwick F:
Right.

Kimberly S:
And courage, acts of courage, it takes courage to sometimes just start by questioning it. There is power in our questions. And so as a coach, what I do is I just start asking people questions that they’ve never thought to question before. Questioning their beliefs. Questioning their habits. Questioning what they’re doing and why they’re doing what they’re doing, and how they could maybe do it differently to then work back from the goal of who they want to become instead of working toward it from their perspective of where they are now.

Warwick F:
Right. Just understanding what are your beliefs. I’m sure you ask them, is this belief, is this emotion, is it serving you? I’m sure that’s, you probably delve into that and just helping. You’re right, I mean, primitive people, I mean, there was a reason for fear, the saber tooth tiger is coming and you got to run, climb a tree, run into a cave. I mean, there’s a reason, they can serve you. But on the other hand, some of those negative emotions can bind you up and just stop you growing and moving. So you help folks unpackage that, is that kind of part of it?

Kimberly S:
Unpackage that, and also examine the stories that they’re telling themselves. I’d question always very frequently, the big one that I question the stories of being busy, because life will expand to meet you where you choose to expand, but that means you need space to expand and grow. And if you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re the story of busy and I did this, so that’s why I know it so personally like the story of such busy-ness, that I’m so busy, then there’s no space for that expansion.

Warwick F:
There’s no space to change or to grow.

Kimberly S:
Yeah.

Warwick F:
Like you can say, oh, I’m so busy. I’m running my Pilates studio and it’s doing great. I don’t have time to think about anything else. While that maybe wouldn’t serve you and you obviously took a different path in which you took time, in some sense to examine what is that I want? Who am I? Where do I want to go? Some of those big questions.

Kimberly S:
Yeah. And when I started really looking at my schedule, I was like, I’m not that busy. Like I’m busy, but I’m not that busy. And am I busy doing the on-purpose things? Am I busy doing the things that really move the needle? And that’s the key is so often we’ll busy ourselves with things that we think we’re supposed to be doing or should be doing, or that are the things that we … like there’s almost this like pride in how long your to do list is, with a lot of high achievers that I see kind of stay stuck.

Warwick F:
What you just said is so profound. I want listeners to get this. You said, “Are you busy with the things that are serving your purpose?” Or something to that effect. And I think 90% of people, they don’t ask that question. I’m sure a lot of your clients that you chat to and talk to, it’s like hmm, gee, I don’t know.

Kimberly S:
I was really blessed to learn that lesson early.

Gary S:
This is a great time to do what I like to say, talk about landing the plane. I heard the captain, the little bell that goes off and the plane. He’s asked us to fasten our seat belts because that was a very excellent point. And I’ve been wanting to ask you this, the entire time that we’ve been together here Kimberly, because what you’ve just described, what Warwick has framed up for listeners as well, is that your life from the outside looking in, people who would have known you before you were living as joyfully as you are now. May look at you and say, well, it’s not that different. Kimberly’s still working hard and working fast and her to-do list is long.

Gary S:
And there’s one thing that you wrote about a nickname your husband has for you that I think is fascinating because I think what it says, it says something very instructive to listeners. You say your husband calls you honeybee because you’re always buzzing around. And I want listeners to hear that because Kimberly is still extremely busy. She’s still working hard. She’s still focused on things, but she’s focused by her words on the right things. She’s focused on the things that bring her joy, the things that her passions really ignite, the things that help other people that on purpose look to help other people.

Gary S:
And you listener in your crucible experience, as you bounce back, you don’t have to do a 180 from what you’re doing, right? You certainly haven’t done a 180 from the outside looking in, you’ve got an emotional 180, but in terms of the way you apply yourself, that’s the same. And I think that’s important for listeners to realize you don’t have to reinvent every aspect of yourself. You have to reorient yourself. Is that fair?

Kimberly S:
Very much so. It’s like the metaphor of the plane, where if you’re flying from New York to Los Angeles, it’s those constant checking ins of are you one degree off course? Because one degree off course could land you in San Francisco or Baja, California. So it’s those constant check-ins of alignment. Of questioning, is this the highest and best service that I can be doing right now? Like, and I asked that too this morning.

Kimberly S:
I looked at the meetings that I had today, the podcast interviews that I had today, is this the best and highest service that I can be doing right now? Is this me operating in my genius zone? Yes. And I’ve seen a direct correlation between people’s income and the amount of time that they’re spending operating in their genius zone rather than busying themselves with all the tasks and all the things and all the stuff that they could be busy with.

Warwick F:
And what you just said again is so profound, is that you tend to think, oh, to be successful I have to put on a certain mask and be a certain person. But we live in light of who we truly are, and we live our authentic selves, all things being equal, you actually might be more successful is counter-intuitive, but it’s not, authenticity is not against success. It can be in line with it. There’s one, maybe last thing that I’m fascinated by that I heard you say that, when you work with folks you’re not focusing on how they’re broken, but how they’re well.

Warwick F:
And yes, counseling, dealing with some of those negative things are important, but you don’t want to just wallow, not wallow, but deal with that. But just, there are parts of us that are actually not broken. They’re diamonds or gems. They’re parts of us that a beautiful. That’s a very different way of thinking, that sometimes even when we’re broken, there are parts that are beautiful and well, so what do you mean by that?

Kimberly S:
It’s kind of like if you smashed a diamond, right? So you get to the point when you’re forming this diamond and when you first find it, it’s this mucky dirty rock. And you’ve got to have those cuts and those shapes and those things. But what happens when life, the drill, whatever, cracks that diamond and splits it to where that it’s no longer this beautiful, perfect, shiny rock, but something happened where it like the laser broke it. Well, you still have a diamond, it just needs to be refined and cut. It needs to be perfected again.

Kimberly S:
And so what I constantly tell my community is you’re both perfect right now, no matter what you’re going through and you can also be perfecting. So it’s not an either or scenario, it is an and which is the great paradox for our brains to kind of wrap our heads around that you can both be perfect and enough as you are and can keep growing and can keep perfecting and can keep growing your skillset and can keep improving.

Kimberly S:
And so I see that potential for growth while also seeing them perfect in the moment of whatever it is that they’re going through that is true for them. As we work on transforming their perspective around what they are experiencing to see how could they look at that differently so that they could find those growth opportunities and thus sharpen and reform that diamond to be just as beautiful and sparkling as it was, and maybe even better.

Gary S:
I’ve been in the communications business long enough to know when someone says something like that and there are people listening in, they want to know, how do I get in touch with the person who just said that very profound thing. So Kimberly, how can our listeners find out more about you and Crown Yourself?

Kimberly S:
It’s simple. You can go to crownyourself.com. When you hop on my website, you can download my free, You Are Worthy hypnosis, which is a deep subconscious reprogramming to start working on those deeper beliefs of worthiness, enough-ness and deserving. And you can always connect with me on Instagram at kimberly.spencer. Hit me up in the DMs if you love this episode, please take a screenshot of it. I love seeing and responding and being in communication with you. And you can also join our Crown Yourself Facebook community, which is pretty straightforward. It’s just search for Crown Yourself and you’ll find it.

Gary S:
I found it today, in fact I joined, so.

Kimberly S:
Yay! Awesome, I love having kings as part of the community.

Gary S:
I will see more of you there. Warwick, the plane has landed, but we’re still getting up and collecting our bags. So you get one more question that you can ask Kimberly.

Warwick F:
No, I mean just an observation. I love that phrase we’re perfect and perfecting. Just the concept you mentioned that we can be successful and authentic. We can be successful and really not trying to be somebody else, but we can just be who we truly are. So it sounds like you’re helping others both to be successful, but be comfortable in their own skins, be comfortable with who they are and not as somebody else once said, not faking fine, pretending to be somebody else. But yeah, that phrase, perfect and perfecting, that’s I mean, again, I hate to use the P word again. That’s very profound. So I love that concept.

Kimberly S:
I love Ps. We got power, princess, it all fits in.

Warwick F:
Well said.

Gary S:
Well, that is the sound of people getting off the plane. So thank you, Kimberly. And for listeners, I want to wrap up with three takeaways from this conversation with Kimberly Spencer that I think will help us all as we look to move beyond our crucibles. The first point would be to remember this, life will throw you curve balls. We call them crucibles here at Crucible Leadership and Beyond the Crucible. But those curve balls cannot just be survived. They can be hit out of the park to continue the baseball metaphor. You can grow and thrive by digging into your faith and your confidence and your tribe, leaning on them. You can set a straight course to a better life, no matter how bendy the circumstances might seem at the time.

Gary S:
Point number two, succinctly put by Kimberly. BS is bad, to yourself and to others. Honesty, transparency, authenticity, lean into these things, manifest those things in all of your relationships. It may be uncomfortable to share your truth. Kimberly gave examples of that. It was very uncomfortable for her in certain times in her life, truly uncomfortable to share her truth, but she did it. Not everyone will applaud you when you do share your truth. But life on the other side of you doing that, of being authentic, of being truthful, of being who you are, life on the other side is worth well, the BS. You have to go through to get there.

Gary S:
And then the third point listener that you can take away from this is, never settled, but strive. If you feel like you’ve been created for more, if you like what you’ve done, but you want to love what you do, take it to the next level, take the leap. It takes courage to pursue your vision and passion. Kimberly downloaded kilograms of courage in our interview today. She’s found joy by seeking something that helped others. You can find joy in that too. A key way to getting there, as Kimberly said toward the end of our conversation, I love this phrase. A key way to getting there to that joy is operating in your genius.

Gary S:
So listener, until the next time we’re together on Beyond the Crucible, thank you for spending time with us. Thank you for digging in to learn how you can learn the lessons of your setbacks and failures and build a better life, a life on purpose, dedicated to serving others. We have a favor, Warwick and I do. If you liked what you heard today with Kimberly, if you’ve liked what you’ve heard in the past on the podcast, we encourage you to hit subscribe on the app on which you’re listening right now so you’ll never miss another episode. We have a new one every week, every Tuesday, we’ll drop a new episode. So click subscribe, you’ll never be surprised when a new one comes out.

Gary S:
And remember, as we part company here that your crucible experiences are painful. They’re tough. They’re curve balls, but they’re survivable. More than that, I’ll make up a word here, they’re thrivable. If you learn the lessons of your crucible, if you apply yourself to that, you bring your passion and your vision to the table, it’s not the end of your story by far. In fact, it can be the beginning of a new story in your life, a new chapter in your life that can be the most rewarding of all, because it leads to a life of significance.

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