“… we ultimately, just by living our lives to the fullest, by pursuing our own dreams and then sharing our stories and sharing our dreams, it’s almost as if it allows other people to say ‘Hey, you know, okay, well, maybe I want to do something like that’ or ‘What’s my dream?’”
Toni Reece: Thank you so much, Mindie, for agreeing to be part of this Project, and before we begin, can you please introduce yourself?
Mindie Kniss: Absolutely. My name is Mindie Kniss, and I’m an integrative coach here in Portland, Oregon. I work with clients basically helping them to step up to their potential. My motto is “Live Your Dream, Rock Your Life” because I think it’s supposed to be fun. I’m also an editor at two literary journals, so I have some writing background in there as well that keeps it interesting.
Toni: Well thank you for showing up on the Project.
Mindie: Thank you so much, Toni. I think it’s such a great idea, and I’m just excited to be a part of it.
Toni: Oh, fantastic. Well, Mindie, when you think of that word inspiration, who do you inspire, and how does it happen?
Mindie: You know, part of … I guess the obvious answer is my clients that come to see me, but I was thinking about other aspects, you know, because not everybody is a coach, and yet everybody can inspire somebody.
A story that I thought of was I had spent some time and traveled in East Africa, and when I came back I was just sharing my stories. I had written some stuff about that experience and shared the stories, and I remembered the reaction from the crowd that was there that evening. And then even later on someone coming up to me and saying “Mindie, you know what? I know I need to go to Africa because there’s something that I need to do there. There’s some work I need to give, or energy I need to donate, or money I need to donate. Something I need to do there, and you really inspired that.”
So what I learned from that is that we ultimately, just by living our lives to the fullest, by pursuing our own dreams and then sharing our stories and sharing our dreams, it’s almost as if it allows other people to say “Hey, you know, okay, well, maybe I want to do something like that” or “What’s my dream? What was my dream in life? If this person can go pursue that and do that and come back with stories and experiences and growth through that, you know, what am I missing? What can I do in this lifetime that is great or that I feel is great?”
So I think that just by living out dreams and then sharing our experiences, that’s one of the best ways I’ve found to inspire.
Toni: Absolutely. How do you get your story, your experiences, out to others? How do you find yourself in places that you get to share that?
Mindie: Yeah, I think there’s a variety of ways, and what I love about living in today’s society is that technology is brilliant. You know, there’s so many different options. So for me, it’s either writing on a blog or writing in a newsletter to my clients or, you know, even just something as simple as posting a status on Twitter or Facebook.
Sometimes you’ll get comments back that just say “Oh, you know what, I really needed to hear that today” or “Wow, that’s a great perspective. Thank you for sharing that.” And it could have just been some random thought of like, hey, this is what I’m thinking about today or this is what I’m doing today, and somebody might say … you know, and I’ve definitely seen that from my friends and colleagues on those sites is they’ll post something and I’ll think “Yeah, exactly! Why didn’t I think of that?”
But it’s so easy these days. So whether it’s technologically based or just doing some speaking gigs locally, or talking to corporations that are looking about or interested in social responsibility and corporate giving and all of that type of thing, there’s so many options. So I think I would just gather a mix of those and kind of put little pieces out in each of those areas.
Toni: How do you think the way you come at your thinking and the stories that you tell, how do you think it helps other people to explore their own potential?
Mindie: You know, I think that it’s always a live-by-example thing. You know, they look at somebody who … I mean literally my whole story – this going back to the Africa piece of it – was I wanted to go to Africa. That was like the first and foremost dream in my life since I was a child, and if I can share that with somebody, what that might inspire them to do then is to reach inside and maybe brush off one of their dreams that could have been from childhood or from, you know, long ago in their lifetime. And they can say “Okay, well, if Mindie did this” – and it’s not like it was easy, you know, I definitely share the struggles and the challenges along the way as well – it’s real life, so I’m very clear about that — but “if she can do it, why I can’t I do X? Why can’t I do whatever it is that I want to do?”
So it’s truly, I think, living by example, and then allowing others to see that example. Allowing other people to be a part of it or to contribute in some way, to learn from that example, however it goes, but it’s just doing it yourself and then shining that light.
You know that quote Marianne Williamson talks about, when you shine your own light, you’re allowing other people to shine theirs more brightly. And I think that’s very true in this case, especially with inspiration, because it’s contagious.
Toni: Gosh, I’m listening to you and I’m thinking I would want to be part of that process. I would want to learn, and if I’m listening to your story and I’m inspired by your story and I want to reach down and grab my dream again and dust it off, gosh, I think I would be brave enough to do that.
Mindie: Yay! That’s the whole thing, you know? Sometimes it’s just about getting to the practicality of it and looking at, you know … let’s say for you, Toni, okay, you know, what would you be really good at? What’s the skill set or your talents, natural abilities, and then what do you just love? Because not everybody is going to go to Africa and work in orphanages, you know? That was my dream, but not everybody wants to do that.
So looking at … for anybody, what is that that you love? What are you so excited about and just really lights you up and just gets you excited? I think the piece that sometimes can be missing – because everyone just says “Oh, well just figure out what you’re good at and what you want to do. Easy enough.”
But I think the missing aspect is what is your contribution then to the world or to society or to humanity in general? You know, how are you giving back from those talents and those skills and your passions? What are you doing? You know, because that is that missing piece of contribution, and that’s then the piece that not only are you inspiring other people by your example of contributing, but you can live that inspiration to the people that you may be potentially helping in some way.
Toni: Absolutely. So what inspires you, Mindie?
Mindie: Oh, I … you know, everything honestly. Anything that moves me. And you know, when I say that, I mean it’s a literal, physical response. It’s a visceral feeling. And it could be music, it could be a brilliant speech, it could be poetry, it could be … you know, I’m so inspired by so many different things, and especially, especially by people stepping up to their potential like my clients that come in, and they say “You know, I think there might be something here for me. I think that there’s something that I can do, and maybe I just don’t have the tools or I don’t have all the pieces put together yet.” They’re wanting a little assistance with that. I say “Yes, let’s go. Let’s rock!” Because that to me is the most inspiring thing ever.
Toni: And when you find yourself looking for inspiration or maybe needing inspiration, are there tools or resources that are your go-to things that help you to build upon that inspiration? Are there things that you use on a consistent basis?
Mindie: Sure. I would say there are two things. First and primarily would be getting outside in nature, and luckily in Portland, Oregon, there’s a lot of great places to do that where you can just get away from the city and be, you know, just sitting by a river or a stream and listening to that water and letting that energy just flow is unrealistic … I mean, it’s just so calming and it just soothes me so much. That alone is inspiring, because it lets go of all the chaos of the day and everything else that’s going on and just lets me be, which I think our natural state is inspiration, so that’s kind of where that brings me to.
The second thing I would say is the people in my life. You know, my friends, family members, and I have deliberately picked them, chosen them, manifested them, however you want to call it, because they are inspiration to me. You know, they’re people that are living amazing lives and feeling amazing things, and exploring and growing themselves so that when I need a little bit of a boost of inspiration, I know that I can go to any one of them, call them on the phone or send them an email, or just get in touch and say, you know, “Let’s chat for a little bit,” and that alone can boost me up.
Toni: Have you always come to the table this way as far as knowing what you want, going after it, you know, putting those goals out there, achieving that goal of going to Africa, knowing that, you know, you wanted to do something different with a career? Have you always had that sense of – I don’t know if purpose is the right word; you would have to say if it is – but have you always been that way?
Mindie: I would call it … the word that I would use for it is adventure, and to that, I would say yes, I’ve always looked at the world as a big potential adventure and say “What am I here to do, and what can I do while I’m here?”
You know, every day that we have is … I just remember, this might answer your question a little bit … I remember going into my Corporate America job, the first job that I ever had out of college, and telling my boss “Yeah, maybe I’ll hang out here for, you know, a year or so, just to get my feet wet, and then I’m off to do something, you know, important. I’m off to do something ‘real’ with my life.”
And of course, just for everyone listening, it’s not that it happened that easily. I ended up being there for seven years, and then finally when I got out and, you know, did my own thing in coaching … but yes, I mean, definitely was always having a dream of going to Africa, always having a dream of writing books and inspiring people in some way, whether it to be sponsoring a child in Africa that they can make a difference in their life, or you know, a new career path. Anything … it’s everything, and yes, I would say it’s always, always been a big adventure for me.
Toni: So what are you doing now to explore your own potential?
Mindie: I am continuing to learn and grow, and I think for me the biggest potential aspect is business-based right now. I’m always really interested in learning more about how to be a better businesswoman and how to run my business better and kind of grow that potential that I see in my business to the next level, and continue for that to unfold and to blossom.
And it’s also relational right now. I’m in this amazing relationship, and I think for the first time in my life it’s really been such a learning and growth experience mutually for both of us and so that has been really fun too, and there’s huge potential there.
So it’s kind of like I’m just walking right into these different aspects of my life and saying “Okay, what’s next? What’s the next biggest and better thing?”
Toni: You’re opening a lot of doors for yourself, aren’t you?
Mindie: Like I said, it’s all a big adventure.
Toni: Well, Mindie, we would love to keep tabs on your adventure and see where it takes you. We will have your website at the bottom of the transcript, and for sharing your information with us today and being part of this phenomenal Project, we cannot thank you enough.
Mindie: Oh, well, thank you so much, Toni. It was a pleasure.
Toni: Take care, Mindie.
Mindie: All right, you too.
For more information about Mindie Kniss: KnissCoaching.com