Joie De Vivre, Living With A Ravenous Thirst For Life: “Instead of “sweating” the small stuff, make them louder, crank up the volume”

With Krista Skehan and Dr. Marina Kostina

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Because I have the total opposite perspective, I love “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” I think our lives are far richer with the tiny moments, the hesitations, the twinkle of an eye, the gesture of an open door — all those little things equate to something big. But instead of “sweating” the small stuff, make them louder, crank up the volume, and let them play a huge roll in life’s larger picture.

Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling unhappy, unfulfilled, unchallenged, and have nothing to look forward to? It doesn’t have to be that way. One idea that I always advice my clients is to “Get Out of your mind and connect with your spirit”. Be creative. I don’t care if you pain over the same canvas, or knit, undo- and knit again, or cook and feed it all to pigeons- I want you to get into the process of creativity as when we create we are out of our mind, we tap into the realm of the spirit and we learn how to manifest!

As a part of my series interviewing experts on how to live a “ravenous life” — a life filled with the passion, pleasure, playfulness and abundance that come naturally to those who dare to be authentic, I had the pleasure of interviewing Krista Skehan. Krista is an entrepreneur, creative director, designer, and professional artist. As founder of top-tier design firm Personify, she uses her visual expertise to turn businesses into emotional brands that move people. As an artist, Krista creates crave-worthy California-inspired paintings that explode with unapologetic joy and color. Her artwork has been featured in renowned galleries and garnered national and regional attention. She paints because at an atomic level it energizes and stretches her. Krista lives in Menlo Park, California with her husband Dan and two beautiful daughters Molly and Emily.

Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve painted on and off my entire life. My foundation in art comes from my mom who’s an artist and my grandfather who was a watercolor artist. I followed that passion, studying art and design in college and eventually launching Personify, a Silicon-Valley based branding firm with my husband Dan. He’s the strategy side, I’m the creative — and together we use art to make businesses better. We work with amazing clients including hotels, restaurants, fitness studios, innovative startups and more.
 But it wasn’t till after having kids — and working with a life coach on goals — that I started painting again. One of the techniques she taught me was write down when I felt the most joy-filled. From my “self-research,” I realized painting was when I felt the biggest heart and the strongest me. That hit me loud and clear. I immediately shifted my life to make time for painting — reshuffling priorities and literally carving out a space in my home to create my art. 
 I had my first art show last year showcasing about 35 pieces and haven’t stopped since. I paint about three-four times per week, juggling work and mom life.

Painting has unlocked a whole new part of myself. It not only brings me joy, and makes me a better mom, wife, and business owner/creative director — it’s the truest reflection of my soul, and how I connect best with myself. The better I know me, the more I know what I want, and greater I’m able to live my life purpose. Which makes life that much more amazing.

What does it mean for you to live “on purpose”? Can you explain? How can one achieve that?

For me, living “on purpose” means being laser-clear on what brings fulfillment. To achieve that, I’m constantly checking-in with myself and asking, “Is this what I want? What do I need? How does my heart feel?”

Knowing these answers helps make life decisions — big or small — so much easier. For example, one of my main goals is to be more relaxed. I could go to two different grocery stores to get everything I want, but then do a quick self-reflection and ask, “Will spending the time going to both stores actually make me more relaxed?” The answer is no. Then I ask which one (the food or being less-stressed) is more important to me at the moment.

It’s a simple, but powerful technique: take a deep breath, focus on your heart and ask yourself what you want. You might be surprised by the answer; it might feel wrong or scary. But once you align with your purpose it’s a freer way to live.

Do you have an example or story in your own life of how your pain helped to guide you to finding your life’s purpose?

Many times I’ve experienced pain doing what think I should do or assume others might expect of me. Before I started painting again, I thought about it all the time. But it seemed too self-indulgent. How could I do something so “frivolous” as paint when I had to raise two kids, run a full-time business, and cook dinner? I could barely get a workout in or put the clothes away. Who has time to paint? To play? To relax? To do that thing that we really love but doesn’t seem “allowed.” I thought it would surely cause immense guilt.

But I came to realize the only person on this entire planet that I can control is myself. If I’m not living my purpose, my true essence, then WOW — what is the point of it all? Painting is a catalyst for me — a fast-track to happiness. And the benefits have been extraordinary.

I didn’t realize it would have such a big effect on my life, and being mom. I used to feel painting was time away from my girls, and I was choosing one over the other. But seeing their mom do something that brings such happiness, makes them happy knowing it’s okay do the same.

The United States is currently rated at #18 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low?

The more we rely on technology, the less human connection we have. We can now get groceries, finish our laundry and sing our kids to sleep without moving, talking, seeing or listening. I believe eye contact with a total stranger at a grocery store is worth more than pressing a button on There’s something about folding my girls laundry that makes me feel more connected to them — remembering the day one hurt her knee because of the hole in the pants. No matter how good AI gets, there’s no replacement for one-on-one human connection, which equals happiness.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I’ve had people say, “Because of your art, I’ve made time to play the piano three days a week.” Or, “You’ve inspired me to buy painting brushes for my mom — she’s always wanted to paint but never had the time.”

If my art can bring a smile or inspire others to pursue their passion — well, that’s success that can pay it forward. But I believe it’s less about my artwork and more about how I embrace life and own it. That’s what I work each day to find and refine.

What are your strategies to help you face your day with exuberance, “Joie De Vivre” and a “ravenous thirst for life”? Can you please give a story or example for each?

1. Plan a Treat. Each day reward yourself with something small, but powerful. For me, that might mean DoorDash or a rain check from the looming laundry pile. It could be dessert or flowers from Trader Joe’s. Plan a little something, even if tiny, to look forward to and make you smile.

2. Use “growth mindset” to change a sour outlook. I’ve found that just by resetting my thinking to a different POV, a mundane task can become more exciting. Or what I thought was a problem becomes a breakthrough to a solution.

3. Inquire and Let it Go. Sometimes we need to let go of things holding us back. For me, it might be an unfinished painting that isn’t working or a negative feeling carried to the next day. Hear your thought, acknowledge it, thank it and move on. Don’t let worrisome thoughts steal your day and keep you from living the fullest.

4. Distribute the feeling — When I feel, do or see something amazing, I want to experience it artistically, express and share it — because I’m inspired when that out-pouring of love and life is shared with me. Let your exuberance not only fuel your day, but rub off on someone else.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?

Byron Katie’s book “Loving What Is” completely changed my mindset and how I process my thoughts. As humans, we make up so much in our heads that causes us pain, but in reality we actually have the power to free ourselves of that limited, toxic thinking. In the book, she does “the work” with many different people and you can hear the amazing transformations as they delve into their inner mind.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that relates to having a Joie De Vivre? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Because I have the total opposite perspective, I love “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” I think our lives are far richer with the tiny moments, the hesitations, the twinkle of an eye, the gesture of an open door — all those little things equate to something big. But instead of “sweating” the small stuff, make them louder, crank up the volume, and let them play a huge roll in life’s larger picture.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I’m working on a few amazing painting projects including a commissioned flower bouquet for a couple’s 20th wedding anniversary. I’m hoping when they see it on their wall everyday, it will forever remind them of their love for each other.

Another painting is for a woman whose mom just past away. I hope this piece brings back wonderful memories, and helps her children remember the times they had with their grandma.

I was also recently commissioned to paint a family’s childhood home that just sold. It was where they first learned to walk, celebrate their Sweet 16, and had their first kiss. My painting will serve as a time capsule and hopefully enhance all those memories through the art.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Find a life coach. Invest in you. Give yourself the space to reflect on what you want and need. It’s important to find YOUR thing, the essence of what makes you tick, gets your heart fluttering and brings your soul to life. If we all go inward to find our purpose, we would be living in a much more enlightened world.

Dr. Marina Kostina is a life and business fulfillment coach. She uses research and energy work to help professional women find their purpose and turn it into a profitable business. Dr. Kostina incorporates innovative marketing strategies and the creation of engaging, lucrative online courses to scale their businesses. As a result they enjoy what she describes as a “ravenous life” — a life filled with the passion, pleasure, playfulness and abundance that come naturally to those who dare to be authentic. Her book “Find the G-Spot of Your Soul” is available January 2018. Download a free gift from Dr. Kostina- an MP3 Meditation Album “Find The G –Spot Of Your Soul” and get unstuck.

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