Do you feel alive? Kim Nicol teaches us how to change and recreate our lives through happiness and smiles – just by being curious and kind with ourselves. She teaches us how to love ourselves.
Kim said ByeBye to her career as an Attorney to pursue a life of mindfulness, meditation, and yoga. The best part is, she now teaches these high stress jobholders that she once worked with how to relax, love life, and truly feel alive.
From Fortune 500 companies to the aspiring artist next door, she has a message that can change anyone’s life.
“It’s like discovering a super power you already have, but forgot about. I help you find it, access it, and use it skillfully.” -Kim Nicol
Kim and her message and practices have played a revolutionary role in relieving my stress and turning my life around, and I was one who thought meditation was the silliest practice on earth. I was so wrong. It’s beautifully powerful, and I hope you all can connect with her to discover the possibilities in your life as well.
- The Collected Poetry of Dorothy Parker
- The Gift – Hafiz
- Grace Cathedral – San Francisco, CA (and Labyrinth)
- Kim’s Mom, Dad & Brother
1 hr to create something, with anyone…
- Kim would undoubtedly create a musical with Steven Sondheim
To defeat Godzilla with her talents…
- Kim would use the power of meditation to change Godzilla… find out the exact details on the episode 🙂
Favorite Advice… (click to tweet)[Tweet “”Find and connect with people who whole-heartedly believe and support in you.”- Kim Nicol”]
- Kim’s Website
- Kim’s Learn To Meditate Program
- Kim’s Facebook
- Kim’s Free Guided Meditations
- Lift.Do: Steps & Milestone App. Achieve your goals with satisfaction! 🙂
Some of Kim’s Free Guided Meditations
Read the Interview Here:
Heath Armstrong: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to episode 4 of the Artrepreneur Now podcast, I’m your host Heath Armstrong. Today’s guest made a huge leap from being a full time lawyer to becoming a mindfulness, meditation and yoga teacher. Find out why that was so important to her and so much more, right now.
Heath Armstrong: Here we go now. Who wants to get funky? Who wants to get a little creative out there? Which one of you wants to get a little bit artsy now? Well then get on with your bad self.
Heath Armstrong: Joining us from the West coast, best coast in San Francisco, California, she used to be an attorney, but not anymore.
Heath Armstrong: She teaches mindfulness, she teaches meditation and she teaches yoga. Everybody give a warm, energetic welcome to Kim Nicol. Kim, you are the Antrepreneur Now. How are you doing Kim?
Kim Nicol: I’m doing really good Heath; I’m psyched to be here.
Heath Armstrong: Amazing, well Kim, I am extremely psyched for you to be here because you’ve done some powerful things to change my life and we can get into all that in a minute but before we start Kim, I’d just like to start this segment off with the little section called the Breezy 3s so our audience can get to know your creative side a little bit?
Kim Nicol: Yeah.
Heath Armstrong: So, what are your three favorite creative works?
Kim Nicol: So one of them is the collective poems of Dorothy Parker and she’s one of my favorite authors and she wrote a lot of great short fiction as well but her poems are fantastic because they’re, I mean, they’re sort of a kick in the pants. They all start out with a particular tone and there’s always a little twist, surprise and a little bit of this like, cynicism, but like a little optimism around it and when I was in my early twenties and going through a lot of heartache. It was like a lot of heartache in my twenties. I would read her poems and they would just make me feel better so Dorothy Parker for sure is on that list. And then the other two, one is this book by this 13th century Persian poet, it’s called The Gift and the poet is Hofez and when I was volunteering in hospice and working with people at the end of life, I would often read some of the poems from Hofez and they, even though they’re hundreds of years old, you know, they’re still so true about the beauty and sacredness of life, and being reminded of that and these really short, beautiful poems, is something that’s become a favorite of mine. Yeah, and then the other I would say is actually like a building, if we can include that in our creative work.
Heath Armstrong: Definitely
Kim Nicol: But in San Francisco at the top of Nod Hill there is this cathedral, it’s called Grace Cathedral and that’s at the top of, the highest hill in San Francisco. I don’t know if it’s the actual highest but it feels like it by the time you walk up. Like that very steep incline, and it’s just this beautiful, spacious, peaceful place kind of above the hustle and bustle of the city and in this cathedral there is a labyrinth and it’s the kind that lies flat on the floor and you follow this winding path, this kind of circulus path with all of these curves and turns and it’s like this moving meditation, and you follow the path into the centre and then you rest for a moment and you take a breath and take a few moments to reflect and then you follow the same path out. That’s the kind of labyrinth that’s there and it’s just one of my favorite, like favorite creative places.
Heath Armstrong: Wow, that does sound creative; I need to check that out next time I’m in San Francisco.
Kim Nicol: Yeah, definitely.
Heath Armstrong: Okay, so who are your 3 biggest role models or influences?
Kim Nicol: So my mom is definitely one of them and she’s just had an incredible life filled with adventure and challenge and love and discovery and she grew up in the Philippines and the story, you know the stories that I grew up with hearing her life and hearing how she managed to really transform and change her life from working in the sugar cane fields right, in this very rural and very like, very humble place and then going to school and you know, eventually creating a new school in her village and then eventually like rising up through all these different organizations and then you know like, the story of meeting my dad and then coming to the US, and all of these changes and new horizons that she met in this really fearless way always inspired me.
Heath Armstrong: Wow
Kim Nicol: So she for sure is number one. And number two would be my dad because he had sort of a very similar but different story where he grew up in the mid-west, and didn’t see the ocean until I think he was 27 and he had joined the Peace Corps because he had wanted to see the world and he travelled around the world coaching international track and field teams and had all these adventures. When I was a kid I grew up hearing these incredible stories from both of my parents and I just assumed that that’s like what every kid’s bedtime story was, you know, was about coaching track and field at the Olympics or about you know, working in these sugar cane fields or about you know, these, big parties like out on the farm. And like those two different perspectives of life from my parents in terms of, you know, the world is an amazing place and you should go out and see it and its okay to take risks and it’s okay to try things. Those two perspectives have definitely infused my approach to life which I know we’ll talk about later and then my third one, that’s a good question, I feel like my third one and you know, hopefully this isn’t too much of a let-down for you guys but it might be my brother.
Heath Armstrong: No not at all.
Kim Nicol: Keeping it all in the family but he’s one of my favorite people on this planet and he’s also an artist and has like a job, that is his job and he gets to have his job very near but then beyond that he has always inspired me by just the joy and commitment with which he creates and there is a part of my brain and you know, being an artist and having this creative drive there’s a part that I have always struggled with self-doubt which is around you know, like who am I to do this stuff and my brother is more like, ‘I’m going to do this because this is just, this desire that I have that I want to create because it’s fun and so whenever I feel like some hesitation or I’m feeling like a little bit uncertain, he becomes one of my role models where I think like, ‘oh just be like Keith, you know, he just makes stuff because it feels good’ and allow myself that same permission.
Heath Armstrong: That is wonderful to share and I think that you’ve had the joy of being surrounded by people that are happy and like-minded and it is infectious or infectious I’m sorry. So do you have a bucket list?
Kim Nicol: I don’t have a formal bucket list?
Heath Armstrong: Do you have a creative bucket list?
Kim Nicol: Well, yeah, okay so I have like a list of things, I think of it in terms of yeah if I die before I accomplish these things, I’m going to be a little bit bugged out. I’m going to be like, ‘what? you had life and you didn’t do these things, why else were you there? You were alive and you didn’t do these things.’
Heath Armstrong: That’s actually a more logical way to put it I think.
Kim Nicol: Yeah, I mean I’ve had adventures and I have travelled and I have done all kinds of interesting random things and sometimes those adventures just come up and you take them because they’re fun and they’re there and it’s just, it’s an exciting opportunity, like I was a volunteer at the Olympics in 1996, I worked at World Cup soccer in ’94, I have, I was a college athlete like I have studied abroad, done all kinds of those things but for me, my bucket list in terms of creating comes down to writing. And that is one of my closest, like closest to my heart practices and its around wanting to write and then sharing more of those writings with others, so its writing the poems, its writing the books, and for me I think it really all comes down to that aspect of my creative life.
Heath Armstrong: Please do continue writing because I get ultra-excited when I get that email update from the blog so.
Kim Nicol: Thank you.
Heath Armstrong: And I’m sure that there are way more people than me that do.
Kim Nicol: Yeah, you know it’s interesting, a big part of my journey is learning how to let go of needing other people to read or somehow consume the work because I create better work when I let go of that concern and anxiety, you know, and of course there is a part that, like I am creating it in part because I want to share it with others and I want others to be able to experience a little bit of how I also see the world, like that’s part of what I want to share. And at the same time if I get into that place of thinking too much about ‘will people like this?’ ‘Will they read it?’, ‘What if they don’t read it?’ It can be really paralyzing so I’ve had to, I mean it’s interesting because a lot of what I do is I teach meditation and mindfulness and partly because I’ve learned in my own life it’s a really useful skill set, it’s a very useful practice.
Heath Armstrong: What is amazing about you I think is that you teach people that aren’t really that likely to meditate on their own or to go out and discover it on their own like lawyers or bankers or me, you’re not just out there teaching hippies that were born and bred in to it, and you’re teaching them to find that ease and power and clarity in their life that can change everything.
Kim Nicol: Yeah
Heath Armstrong: And you know my first impression of meditation, it was a bit skewed because I was out with a couple good friends and we went to a little music festival up at Topanga canyon and down in California and it was somewhat of a cult there I think that was putting it on and we didn’t know about, and we were in there, and we got intrigued by trading some strawberries or something. And there’s a lot of normal, well I wouldn’t say normal but people like us that were there also and then they were just these cult like people, they were all meditating, you know for hours upon hours sitting there and I remember looking up on this hill and it was kind of above everybody else and there’s just this naked dude up there holding a burning pot of….yeah he’s just standing up there holding a burning pot of sage you know while meditating with the other hand, and that was my first impression.
Kim Nicol: You didn’t say oh my gosh I want to be the man with the burning pot of sage.
Heath Armstrong: Well I mean somewhere deep down that’s exactly what I said but you know, took me awhile to get there and accept it.
Kim Nicol: Yup, I totally get it. I love that you were a person who was not really into meditation because that was me too. I was not into it, it seemed boring, like the idea you sit, and you just close your eyes, and you do what? Just hang out? It seemed, there was zero appeal to me and it’s funny because I did grow up in a real hippie town and I always kind of rebelled against the hippiness like I was this very straight laced, you know.
Heath Armstrong: Is that how you got into the attorney career field?
Kim Nicol: That might have had something to do with it, yeah.
Heath Armstrong: Yeah
Kim Nicol: Yeah but you know, kind of my whole image of like the hippie movement was very unappealing to me you know, I didn’t like the smell of choley and incense, I didn’t like the tie-dye. I just felt like these were people who were not being really productive in the world, they’re just kind of hanging out, you know, feeling cool just connecting to like nature and I felt zero interest in that. I’m like, no, there’s stuff to do, like, we have to get stuff done and you know, why would you just sit around and then you know growing up into this world of all this technology and there’s all this email and there’s all this work and there are all these things that have to happen so I was never drawn to meditation and in fact I just thought it was for hippies and losers. Like that was my inner, inner, you know my inner perception. And what changed for me was I had a friend and she was like, ‘Kim I think you would really like this meditation teacher that I go to, you should come check him out,’ and I’m like, ‘no, I don’t do meditation that’s not for me.’ She’s like, ‘no, no this is different, I think you’re really going to dig it.’ So she was a friend that I said alright you know I’ll check it out once and it was so cool, for the first thing we sat in chairs, we didn’t even sit on the floor, and this was a revelation because my whole image was ‘oh for people who meditate you have to sit on the floor, cross your legs and to feel like, oh you mean meditation can happen in a chair where I can be comfortable, that was a huge thing. But another big part was that a lot of our group class was around conversation of how do we experience life and how do we think about life and how do we meet the challenges and also fully receive and experience the blessings that come and go with life? This idea of things coming and going in permanence and you know willingness to show up in a full way for whatever life is unfolding for you and then we would do a guided meditation and these guided meditations, it was like wow, this is amazing. I’m having all of these thoughts , I’m having all these emotions and it would change like my inner weather you know, like I could come into meditation feeling stressed out and distracted and just very agitated and after five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes I feel like I just had this like three hour spa treatment. You know I just felt relaxed, I felt confident, I felt happy, I felt like oh like this burden has just been washed away and then I realized that even after I practiced on my own, even if it was just really small like 3 minutes at home or 5 minutes at home, I could find that same kind of experience and then when I was able to do that it just changed so many things for me, like in my traditional work life, and then also in my relationships and you know, people that used to stress me out all the time like it didn’t have that effect on me , and they didn’t change, the outside world is still the same, but I was different, you know.
Heath Armstrong: Yeah, it’s this phenomenal feeling that you can get from that and I always thought when you had to meditate, this was going on for 30 minutes to an hour and when I started practicing with your guided meditations you know, these four or five minute meditations they fit into my schedule perfectly but that 5 minutes, is the most important part of my day now and I’ve gotten to the point where I do it several times a day. Once right when I wake up in the morning to kind of ease my mind, when I get off and come home around 4 or 5 o clock and it’s been a stressful, hectic day and it just immediately relieves all the stress and anxiety that I have and then the rest of the day it’s like a brand new start, it’s so powerful. It’s like that feeling that you get when you’re a kid on Christmas morning, I mean you get this. You never thought you’d get it back again but you can.
Kim Nicol: Yeah, absolutely and what I love too about this practice you know, and there are like lots of different ways to do it and that’s what’s also cool is that, you know, I teach a certain way and it totally clicks with some people, and you know, and if it doesn’t click with a particular person that’s okay because there are other teachers and other traditions that I really think of it as a way to rediscover and access and train your own inherent super powers so it’s not like me as the teacher, I’m not like giving you some special something, I’m just kind of showing you like here look, here are some tools, some, you know, here’s a way to kind of guide you through this thing and you yourself will discover what you already have within you which is all of this, you know power, and capacity and resilience and peace and calm and when you begin to access that for yourself then you can start to apply it and create a meditation practice that fits into your life in a way that me as a teacher I could never prescribe. Like I give you kind of the basic recipe, you know like the training wheels, just like the on ramp and then you just take it and you fly and that’s what’s super exciting for me about doing this kind of work, so it lets people you know discover something that they already have, and then like go nuts with it.
Heath Armstrong: Yeah, you know, with the first time that I did it I got up and I felt, and this is not a lie, because this is not made up in anyway, I felt so energized and I hadn’t run in about 3 months, I went out and run four miles.
Kim Nicol: Wow.
Heath Armstrong: I could never run without music before and I did not run with music that time, and I just kept focusing on my breath and breathing slowly and it went by like a breeze and so from that moment on I have been running and I don’t run with headphones ever and I just, it’s so much better, and I never understood how people could do that before but this worked out, it’s fantastic.
Kim Nicol: Oh that’s amazing, I love that.
Heath Armstrong: Kim when you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
Kim Nicol: There are a lot of different things, you know, for a while I wanted to be a veterinarian cause I loved animals and we had a bunch of animals and I loved caring for them, I think at one point I decided I wanted to be like a stock broker and I didn’t really know what that was but I, it seemed important, you know, and I was born in the mid 70’s so like the media that I you know, and the stuff that I was watching in the 80’s and stuff I think it really glorified like the banking, Wall Street, New York, East Coast thing. I thought that’s where it’s at, and it’s funny because I’ve always been a like a writer at heart, I’ve always been like a creative person at heart but it took me a long time to think that that could be something I could do like in a big way you know, it was like you know, I’ll be a veterinarian because I like animals, I do you know, whatever but at the same time I was always being a writer, I was always being an artist, I was always being creative but that wasn’t something to be when I grew up, that’s something that I was right now. I guess that growing up meant I had to be different than I was as a child.
Heath Armstrong: That’s true.
Kim Nicol: Yeah, and then in some ways it’s true and in some ways it’s not true at all.
Heath Armstrong: Well we know that you grew up and got into the attorney field a little bit, so can you tell us how that happened and the turning point where you decided that you were going to make that leap into teaching mindfulness and meditation.
Kim Nicol: Okay, so there are, there are a couple reasons why I wanted to be a lawyer and I am going to be really honest here. One of the reasons I wanted to be a lawyer was I thought you know what, and at the time I was working in marketing, I was in marketing and brand development and I just had this feeling that people didn’t think I was smart, and this kind of bothered me. And I thought you know, if I go to law school, people will think I’m smart, and they might think I’m a little bit dangerous. Because there’s this, there’s this, like there’s a little bit of a thing with lawyers and this is still true to this day, it’s kind of fun because if I go you know, and I meet somebody and they ask me what I do or what I do or they ask me my story and if I say, you know, I was a lawyer or I am a lawyer, they go ‘oh really?’ And you can see them try and figure that out because I don’t feel like most lawyers, and so part of it was this idea that like I want people to think I’m smart and I want people to be a little intimidated by me like I want to be powerful and I also was still in my heart of hearts wanting to be a writer, and I thought well lawyers write, that’s a part of that job, this will be a very practical way to employ my desire to write, and I will tell you there are a lot of misguided writers who go to law school. I think for the very same reason and I, you know, I learned pretty quickly that you know, law school was amazing, it was, I learned a lot, it was an incredible experience but as I finished and I had spent some time working for the Public Defender’s office when I was in school and I had spent some time working in a judge’s chambers as an extern also in school so I really got to see a little bit more of the inside workings of the law and it occurred to me, I think I would be really good at this job and I think it would cultivate in me characteristics I don’t really want, like being very jaded and very cynical and a little bit hard-hearted because I think that’s what I would have needed to do to kind of survive and sort of protect this more sensitive side and I started to notice, you know, all the people who are lawyers, they all kind of complain about it and nobody looks happy.
Heath Armstrong: Yeah.
Kim Nicol: Nobody looks happy and I thought, you know, if that’s what success looks like, I’m not seeing any role models that make me want to follow this path. [00:25:04.09]
To hear the rest of this interview, you can play here or subscribe on iTunes: