I have the pleasure of knowing some amazing people. People who have done extraordinary things with their ‘ordinary’ lives.
They have inspired me to think beyond the ‘normal’ as to what’s possible for my life – and I hope that by getting them to tell their stories here, they might just inspire a few others of you too.
Karen Kimsey-House: Cofounder & CEO, The Coaches Training Institute (CTI)
Karen is one of the earliest recognized luminaries in the coaching profession. She founded CTI in 1992 with Laura Whitworth and Henry Kimsey-House – and together they created the Co-Active philosophy that informs CTI’s coaching and leadership programmes.
She is a tour-de-force, and was one of the primary reasons I chose to do their Leadership programme when I did – as she was co-leading it.
What do you remember about when you met Nicki?
I didn’t know her CTI story but I imagine that she was looking for something in the direction of freedom from old limitations and an expansion of self-expression. …the image of a powerful Phoenix stretching her wings and flying comes to mind.
For my side, I was delighted to be co-leading my 62nd leadership program. I remember being intrigued and excited.
Tell us a little about the life that you have created – and what you love most about it?
Gosh…I love my life. When people tell me that CTI has changed their life, I smile and say “I know!”. ..because it so changed mine. I was a whole lot of giddyup and not much focus. ..a thunderstorm trying to figure out which way to pee.
I’d been told all my life that I was too much. ..too loud, to energetic. ..too passionate. …too intense. CTI became a big broad canvas on which I could paint ALL of myself. All my heart and longing for the world and for people. All my power and intensity. All of my human shortcomings and failures. …all of it.
I love people. Period. I get a huge kick out of how different we are and how much the same we are. I’m wildly curious about what makes them tick, what moves, inspires and tickles.
Now, as I move towards the later stage in life, I have the freedom to do as I please.. ..to talk with people just because I want to, to love them just as much as I feel like, to be as corny or mushy, or edgy or bitchy or messed up or wise as I’m feeling right in the moment. It’s immensely satisfying.
What are the defining moments in having created this life you love?
At the time, I know those that loved me (my parents come to mind) scratched their heads and wondered if I would ever make anything of myself. Looking back, each piece was essential.
I started out in English and theater. …wanted to be an actress. My English studies gave me a deep love of language which I cherish to this day. Theater training taught me to use myself as an instrument. ..invaluable.
Growing up as a military kid taught me fierce independence and how to make my own way. Marrying Henry set me free to fly as high as I possibly could.
CTI was the context or container that pointed all that learning. I am most fortunate and blest in these things.
Who are your key supporters along this journey – and what have they given you?
First and foremost, Henry. He has never shied away from intense conversation. He taught me how to be in the moment and how to relish chaos.
My mother taught me how to be gracious and inviting and “social”. . .she was a Southerner to her toes.
My father taught me that I was a Kimsey and that I could accomplish whatever I set my mind too.
My Wasitu (Spiritual teachers in the Beauty Way) taught me how to remember always that I was a part of, and therefore supported by, Life.
How do you now ‘pay-it-forwards’? What support and inspiration do you provide to others to enable them to create a life they love?
I don’t know how to answer this question. I guess I just believe in them.
What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve been given?
I came back from a meditation retreat with these words firmly planted in me:
“Love is the Answer. ..no matter the question”
I think that’s really true. .. .that life is an ongoing choice between fear and love and my prayer is that I chose love as best as I can.
What’s next for you on your journey?
I think it’s to enjoy. ..as to be In Joy. To savor every single sweet drop of this remaining life. The whole ripe peach of it.
Co-Active Coaching, Fourth Edition has just been released. It is the proven framework for transformative conversations at work and in life
To have a chat and see whether Leadership might be a journey you want to take for yourself – get in touch with Nicki, and hear first hand what transformation is possible.