Proper sleep. Lack of sleep is a form of torture. For all bodily functions to perform properly, you have to get enough sleep. Your body needs time to rest and rejuvenate itself. This is the core basis of your immune system. Sleep is a no-brainer and non-negotiable if you want to feel good mentally and physically. Keep in mind the “right” amount of sleep looks different for everyone — it may not be eight hours. Know what your body needs and get that number of hours.
Many ancient traditions around the world believe ‘wellbeing’ or ‘bienestar’ is a state of harmony within ourselves and our world, where we are in balance mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
As a part of our series about “How We Can Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kimberly Lackey, Founder of Empath Coaching and an Integrative Health Coach. Empath Coaching is Kimberly’s approach to guiding others to stay on or get back to their right path, while building a life they love both mentally and physically. She works with individuals and families through coaching, nutritional counseling, motivational speaking and more. Additionally, Kimberly is the Chief Success Officer and a Certified Practitioner at NES Health, a world leader in biogenetics. She is also a nationally published author and speaker in the health and wellness community. Through self-discovery, Kimberly hopes to cause a ripple effect in healthcare that spreads positivity and uplifts people to be their best selves.https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/5ce842ae1ffd6e38a12400941dd655c6
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Growing up, on my mother’s side of the family, the mindset was very much that “food is love.” There were a lot of big meals with a lot of carbs — bread, butter, rice and beans. This type of food made me go right to sleep and even to this day, I will “pass out” after eating a lot of carbs. I wasn’t as comfortable being around my father’s side of the family and wouldn’t eat much, but when I did, it was mostly junk and fast food. As a result, I had skin issues and very low energy. Needless to say, I didn’t have a good relationship with food as a child.
On top of this, my parents got divorced at a time when there wasn’t “conscious uncoupling” and weren’t working together on my behalf. I felt sick a lot of the time as a child and it was on me to communicate this, but given my young age and lack of being surrounded by adults that understood these sensitivities, I didn’t even know to speak up. I wanted to fly under the radar and keep everyone happy. My parents didn’t speak the language of the health and wellness world, so they didn’t know what to do with me. Looking back on this, it’s why I speak to groups now — to encourage others to speak up for their personal needs and take ownership of their health.
What or who inspired you to pursue a career in helping others? We’d love to hear the story.
While battling cancer, going through menopause at 25 years old, later facing life in a wheelchair, as well as going through a divorce, I continued to receive answers from medical and psychological professionals that simply didn’t feel right. After a lot of soul searching, I made a decision to be proactive in my health and listen to my intuition. Through a variety of healing methods and modalities, I overcame cancer, reactive arthritis and several other long-term ailments, as well as reset my mental outlook.
After this, I began helping others organically. Family and friends would see what I was doing to “get back on my right path” as I like to call it, and would reach out to me for guidance. Once we spoke, they would comment that my story is unique and inspiring, and would encourage me to share this with others. I thought what I was doing was fairly normal, and it wouldn’t have dawned on me to take it a step further and help others in this way. So overall, it was a collective effort from family and friends that made me realize I could do more.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
This is 100 percent my grandmother — my Omi (Omi means grandmother in German). She was a powerful, independent woman with strong convictions. Omi encouraged me to be anything I wanted to be. She taught and instilled in me what it means to be successful outside of monetary value. Omi always said that if I followed my passions and was clear with who I am, the rest will come to me. Any time I would struggle with believing that I could be successful in what I wanted to do in life, she would tell me of course you can, you just need to be clear with what that is. If my aspiration was to speak about nutrition and make seven figures a year, it was my wish and it could be mine.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of pursuing your passion? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
When I first launched my coaching business, I didn’t listen to my own advice, and learned the hard way where I needed to be focusing my efforts. As an empath, I know I take on other peoples’ issues and struggles personally; it’s the nature of an empath. This is why I’m better suited to speaking to or working with large groups, rather than one-one-one coaching. Over time, I found myself creating something I loved, but my time and effort was going toward something I felt was a job versus something I was excited about. Today, I’m focused on group teaching and speaking, and find it most fulfilling. The takeaway here is listen to your intuition and own advice!
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
There are so many I love and resonate with but my favorite is “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” (Neale Donald Walsch). I fully believe growth comes when you’re uncomfortable. This discomfort can be a sign of greatness just around the corner. Yet, even if you fail in something, realize that you didn’t do anything wrong — at least you’re trying, which is more than most can say. I wish more people could lean into the unknown, change, etc. This is where they will truly start living. To be human is to feel a range of emotions and they aren’t always positive. Even the feelings that feel uncomfortable in the moment don’t mean there is reason to be fearful; it is just an indicator that is trying to steer us where we need to be. We just have to have the courage to be patient, listen and take it all in rather than reacting too soon or numbing the discomfort.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I’m currently writing my first book which shares my story of overcoming health challenges and personal resiliency. I want to help others believe they can do the same and offer a model for accomplishing this.
I’m also developing the Success team at NES Health, a world leader in biogenetics. I was contacted by NES after they came across my coaching business and brought on to coach and train their approximately 5000 health practitioners, who in turn have thousands of clients. This perfectly aligns with my goal to cause a ripple effect in the healthcare industry on a large scale. Being an intrapreneur at NES is a dream role.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In my writing, I talk about cultivating wellbeing habits in our lives, in order to be strong, vibrant and powerful co-creators of a better society. What we create is a reflection of how we think and feel. When we get back to a state of wellbeing and begin to create from that place, the outside world will reflect this state of wellbeing. Let’s dive deeper into this together.
Do you have a specific type of meditation practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.
I have found that Hypnotherapy as a form of guided meditation gets to the root of mental wellness by speaking to your subconscious mind. It heals or re-programs more positive patterns.
It’s well-known how helpful meditation is, but I don’t beat myself up over a set way to do it or for how long.
I start my day off with meditation even if it’s just five minutes, or listen to something quick on the elevator to go get coffee. Regardless of the method or length, I don’t skip it. Ideally, I also end my day with meditation before I go to sleep.
Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellbeing? Please share a story or example for each.
- Exercise and stretching. Moving your body throughout the day is so important. If you’re at a desk, make sure you have spurts of time where you can run, stretch, walk or work from a standing desk and practice good posture. For women, if you’re wearing heels, kick them off when you can or swap out for sneakers if you’re not in a meeting. Give yourself that balance. The most important thing to remember is just because you can’t do an hour of HIIT training or run five miles each day, doesn’t mean you should skip exercise altogether. Do what you can when you can; this is better than nothing at all.
- Proper sleep. Lack of sleep is a form of torture. For all bodily functions to perform properly, you have to get enough sleep. Your body needs time to rest and rejuvenate itself. This is the core basis of your immune system. Sleep is a no-brainer and non-negotiable if you want to feel good mentally and physically. Keep in mind the “right” amount of sleep looks different for everyone — it may not be eight hours. Know what your body needs and get that number of hours.
- Eating right. Similar to sleep, this may not look the same for everyone. One type of diet doesn’t fit all, but there are a few constants — avoid sugar, bad fats and processed foods. We can’t expect ourselves to be successful, high performing leaders and not give our bodies proper fuel to do so. Eating well is a form of self-respect and self-care.
Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are some great ways to begin to integrate it into our lives?
Wherever you go in the U.S., you can typically get most foods year-round, so it doesn’t necessarily come naturally to eat only in-season foods, but it’s a great practice. I was in Maui recently and it was a good reminder that farm-to-table is a better way of eating because you’re getting fresh ingredients — they aren’t flying in fruits and vegetables or genetically modifying food. A natural rotation diet is the way animals eat in the wild and the way our bodies naturally avoid food sensitivities. Yes, this can be a more expensive way to eat but it promotes community and overall health. When food is grown and cooked in a healthy way, this is infusing positive energy and intention into your body. Approaching food as a healthing fuel source is a mindful practice that serves us much better than ordering from a menu of endless possibilities with little to know effort from the consumer.
Of course we’re all busy and this may not be practical for every day eating, but you should try to do it when you can. Create time during at least one meal a day to integrate gratitude for the people that grew it or prepared it, that you’re able to pay for the meal and appreciate what it’s doing for your body.
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellbeing? Please share a story or example for each.
- Choose to be around positive people. Negative people or “energy vampires” will have an impact on your mindset and health.
- Establish healthy boundaries. As a recovering people pleaser, learning the power of “no” has been one of my greatest lessons. As a Western society, we have to get better at learning to manage the stress, when to say “no” to over-scheduling ourselves and learning to take time for ourselves by tuning out the constant chatter that is available to participate in (e.g. social media).
- Gratitude journaling. Our overall health relies heavily on the state of our emotions. Finding ways to be optimistic and positive can greatly strengthen your immune system. When you can turn to gratitude, it makes it easier for fears to become smaller. You shouldn’t ignore anxiety or worry, but it’s possible to make sure it doesn’t have a front-row seat in your life.
Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellbeing? We’d love to hear it.
Such a cool question! It’s scientifically proven that when you’re smiling, chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin are released that fights off stress and increases happiness. This is so powerful and clear you should smile as much as you can. Smiling creates momentum in a positive direction. If you’re having a bad moment, think about something that makes you happy/smile. Place triggers around you — positive post-it notes on your mirror or happy pictures of memories you love. This creates a shift in your day that can mean all the difference.
Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellbeing? Please share a story or example for each.
- Have a journal prompt. I use The Daily Word. It’s easy to read and implement, and very grounding for the day. Gratitude allows you to think positive for the rest of the day.
- Define your passions and purpose. They will likely shift and change throughout your life, so create a process to check in and focus on them. One helpful tool is a vision board. You should also have someone that you can share your goals with and will hold you accountable. Allow yourself quiet reflection time to explore deeper meanings of your life and self reflect on your personal patterns in order to understand that when bumps happen you actually are in the driver seat and control your destiny. Being self aware helps minimize stress and anxiety and prevents small daily occurrences from throwing you off track of your path to your dreams/goals.
- Look for deeper meanings in daily activities. Take time within your day to stop and smell the roses, as they say. Notice signs as they appear to you.
Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate overall wellbeing?
Again, there is scientific proof that nature is grounding. Putting your bare feet on the ground creates positive ions. Being around bodies of water such as waterfalls literally helps wellbeing. Get out in sunlight. Every organ and cell functions on a different light frequency and you need to have the full spectrum of sunlight to charge body and operate optimally.
If you need a shift in your day, go outside and walk in the grass or sand. On a larger scale, travel and experience other areas and cultures.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I would hope to inspire people to focus on their own personal happiness; grounding themselves and being clear with own intentions. Encouraging people to follow their dreams and be comfortable with who they are — there really is only one of each of us.
If everyone would turn inward — not in a selfish way — but by being happy with who they are, this will create our best selves and lift others up. The world would be a much better place.
A specific tactic would be to create a nonprofit teaching young people how to grow gardens, cook and make healthy food, then give it away to people who are sick. This teaches kids the power of growing, how to be sustainable and how to be good to others.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
Jonathan Fields of the Good Life Project. He has a way of empowering people in a kind and gentle way, with a positive tone. He aligns success with passions so if you follow his methods, you will be successful. I use his Sparketype Assessment quiz in my work, which is meant to uncover your passions and what you should be doing in life.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.