Kirbee Miller is "The Nourisher"

business grief meditation parents purpose questions research spirituality transformation transition Jun 21, 2022

June 21st, 2022
Ep 25: Kirbee Miller


Are you human? Do you get hungry?
If you answered ‘yes’ to those questions, then you can be a part of Kirbee Miller’s events mixing culinary with good conversation.
As a former hospital administrator with 3 science-based degrees, Kirbee is analytical. A few years ago, she decided to follow the entrepreneurial undercurrent that she felt was pushing her to food. Her delicious and accessible popcorn (of all things) was what garnered the most attention and even ended up in Grammy swag bags for attendees.
A tragic car accident in 2019 rendered her mom paralyzed and unable to speak. Kirbee left her full-time hospital job and became her mom’s full-time caregiver. All the while, Kirbee has maintained her drive to be an entrepreneur, pursuing her purpose as a nourisher to people who need to be fed physically and spiritually.

πŸ’₯ This episode is for you if πŸ’₯
-You know the struggles of being a caregiver
-You need encouragement to pursue your dream
-You’re analytical but feel a pull to explore spirituality

πŸ“ΊWhat you'll hear in this episodeπŸ“Ί
What does purpose and transition look like in real time? Kirbee Miller’s life is a good example. In this episode, she shares her journey as she balances entrepreneurship and full-time caregiving of her mother who was paralyzed in a tragic car accident in 2019.

She begins by sharing her big ideas on purpose and finding your path, but tells the story [13:51] of how she left her job to take care of her mom. 

-[20:46] Kirbee shows so much grace as she talks about her gratitude practice and the affirmations she says as she prepares for the day. You’ll feel uplifted and encouraged.

-[24:41] How many people can say popcorn changed their life? Kirbee tells the full story of how she started making popcorn and how it launched a whole new path

-[45:32] She also talks at length about unifying her analytical and spiritual sides. It’s a beautiful example of the evolution of a person who commits to follow their heart. 

πŸ”– Chapters πŸ”–

0:00 - Intro

5:12 - Why Kirbee’s on AMPstigator
12:08 - Magnetism of purpose
13:51 - How Kirbee left her job
18:51 - Being a caretaker for a parent
20:56 - Kirbee’s gratitude practice and mantras

24:41 - How popcorn changed her story
35:01 - Best time in Kirbee’s life
41:05 - Worst time in Kirbee’s life
45:32 - Unifying the head and heart
48:50 - When she realized her purpose to nourish
50:52 - What’s next for Kirbee

βœ”οΈ Connect with Kirbee Miller βœ”οΈ
KiNiMi Kitchen 

πŸ“ Show Notes & Mentions πŸ“

5 Truths of Purpose

Other AMPstigator episodes mentioned in Kirbee's episode:
-Ep 10, Delisa Guerrier, The Groundbreaker (Kirbee's friend)
-Ep 17 3 Questions to Deepen Self Awareness (with Lauren Lowrey)
-Ep 23, Clara Belden, The Untitled
-Ep 24, Frank Castellano, The Healer Part 2 


Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] < Intro >


Lauren: Kirbee Miller fills people up both physically and spiritually. She brings deep conversations into culinary experiences. It all started with popcorn, and before that with degrees in biology, chemistry, and informatics, and her role at Vanderbilt. But food, she found, was an equalizer. 


She was exploring it three years ago, when her life suddenly changed. A tragic car accident made Kirbee the primary caregiver for her, now disabled, mother. So she's doing a delicate dance right now nurturing people in her culinary events, while also providing for the woman who gave her everything. This is Kirbee Miller, The Nourisher.


[00:00:47] < Music >


Lauren: Hey, Kirbee.


Kirbee: Hello there?


Lauren: Thanks so much for being with me today. 


Kirbee: Thank you for having me.


Lauren: And cheers, by the way, it's never too early for this kind of thing. Okay, so let's get started here. I wanted you to be a part of this season, because I talk so much about purpose, finding purpose. Sometimes making the transition to purpose. Because a lot of times it's not what we're already doing. It's not what we're already living. 


Kirbee: That's right.


Lauren: And, so, we do have to make a conscious choice. And, to me, you represent someone who is in the middle of that. Like you had this life, you said, "This isn't everything."


Kirbee: That's right. 


Lauren: "How do I make it what I want it to be?" And you're still sort of feeling your way through that process?


Kirbee: Absolutely. 


Lauren: So let's start from the beginning where you were. Because you had this amazing job with Vanderbilt? 


Kirbee: Yeah. 


Lauren: Talk to me about


Kirbee: Yes, so I love having these types of conversations. Because we often think we're alone in things, all we have is this odd mix of ingredients that you're like, "Well, how do I figure this out and everyone else seems to be figuring out their lives." I think these conversations are so important. 


So, yes, I had an amazing career at Vanderbilt that I loved. That was fulfilling in some ways, and there always was this undercurrent, though, of, there's more. The things that come naturally to me, they're nourishing to me but then I was seeing how they were of service to other people. And, so, with that, I started kind of cultivating this lifestyle brand on the side, and that was kind of my outlet.


But there came a point, in life, where life was life, and it threw a curveball. Where a tragic incident entered my family's lives, and with one phone call everything changed. And in the midst of navigating that tragedy, that undercurrent, that you would think sometimes you just put a pin in those dreams or those ambitions, actually, became stronger and I really just-


Lauren: Why?


Kirbee: Yes, because I've gotten curious about that. That's one thing life has taught me, is get curious when you feel unsure, when you feel upset, when you feel jealous, get curious.


Lauren: Yeah, why do I feel this way?


Kirbee: Why do I feel this way instead of just like thinking, "I'm this crazy, bad person?" Get curious. So, for me, I think, it's because something that I've always known here that life is finite, and you seize the day. I was really having to deal with on a day-to-day basis. In that incident that happened, both my stepfather and mom were critically injured in a car accident. And, so, I was touching, seeing, smelling, having to make decisions every day for a scenario that wasn't planned. 


Lauren: Yeah, that was 2019, wasn't it? 


Kirbee: That's right, going into the first day of 2019. So, for me, I think that was the why. Because we can say that we know that life is short, and we have all these dreams and ambitions. But when you're really seeing that every day. When you're seeing people who did all the right things, and had pushed so many things off for retirement.


Lauren: Mh-hmm.


Kirbee: And when you're seeing that life just did what it does, it throws those curveballs. For me, that it amplified the urgency to really sink into that calling a bit more, instead of just flirting with the notion.


Lauren: It's interesting because I feel like that sort of wake-up call that you had, almost came a year and a half earlier than the rest of the world. The rest of the world had that wake-up call with COVID, it feels like. When our calendars got cleared and we were left with just our thoughts, and we had to say, "Is this really what I want?"


But you, almost, were coming into this earlier. So in a way you're helping others. You're helping other people who maybe came a year and a half later going, "Wait a minute is this what I want to do? Is this the timeline I want to do it on?" So how many people have come out of the woodwork to look to you, for help and support. 


Kirbee: They are so many. The text messages, the phone calls, or through other podcasts, interviews. The notes that come after where people are saying, "Wow, I really needed to hear that." Because, I think, we get this weird idea that one day everything will just align.


Lauren: Oh, let's dig into this, please.


Kirbee: We kind of fool ourselves into thinking like, "Okay, I'll kind of plan for it, but I'll get this giant sign or the conditions will be right." The conditions are never 100% perfect. But if you know that you're meant to do more, and more isn't always grandiose, and "I want to be a star." Or whatever it is. If you know that you're meant to do something different that's more nourishing to you, or you feel like you're on autopilot just to make it through every day. 


Those are things to really pay attention to, no matter what conditions you find yourselves in. So I really have been on the other side of numerous phone calls, email chains, people have found me on Instagram, just to say, "Wow, I have felt kind of untethered."


And like, "I'm just free-floating." And this helped me have a little bit more of an anchor, and for me, that is reaffirming. Because I've always had that type of relationship with people in my close circle. But part of the undercurrent was this pull, this calling to do that on a larger scale, just to help people navigate transitions. 


Lauren: Yeah, I do think that's a hallmark of purpose, too. I mean, it's something that I talk about a lot about. Purpose is never about the - Me it's about the We, it's from a place of service.


Kirbee: That's right.


Lauren: Purpose has to be something that enriches everyone or it's not purpose. Purpose is not ego-based, and so to hear you say that of like, "I need to do this and I need to do it for other people." 


Kirbee: That's right.


Lauren: Like, "I must do the work. It's, it's my duty to do the work so I can help other people, see that there's another side to this."


Kirbee: That's right and finding some type of hope, even if your life has felt like it's shattered. For me, it's kind of, "Okay, how do we reorganize these pieces?" And how do you have the courage to investigate some of those things that have been a part of your life? That maybe you made these agreements, or settlements, like "Oh, this is just a part of my life?" Well, how do you have the courage to say, "Well, maybe not anymore?" And that is not easy but it's necessary. 


Lauren: Well, how do you have the courage to do that?


Kirbee: I believe, from my own personal journey, and then just kind of walking along with others' journeys. Your courage comes from knowing that the bigger picture, the bigger goal, the bigger draw, has value. 


Lauren: Oh, interesting.


Kirbee: And the life that you're living, if you feel like you're on autopilot or living less than, it's not serving you, and it's not serving others. So that is a courageous act to be able to say, "This period of discomfort is well worth it." And, for me, I've seen it happen time and time again, and we make these narratives up in our head, like, "What are they going to say? What are they going to think? How will I survive?" 


Just use that courage to power through, and what you actually need will be magnetized towards you. I've seen that happen in my life multiple times.


Lauren: Oh, so that is another what I call like, pillar of purpose is like the magnetism that comes with purpose. Because it just happens. And that is, actually, how I started to find this in the first place. It's because I started doing stories at the news station with people who I couldn't figure out why I was drawn to them. And finally, after years of doing this very particular type of story, these profile stories. One night when I couldn't sleep, and I'm staring up the ceiling, it's like, boom, it hit me, it's purpose. 


I am drawn to purpose in all of these people. That's what they all have, that's what I want. So then it became this thing of like, "Wait a minute, if they have purpose, how did they find purpose?" And then I said, "Well, no one talks about finding purpose."


Kirbee: That's right.


Lauren: This is what I've got to do right now. 


Kirbee: Yes.


Lauren: And, so, then it became this, like, "I've got to find people. I've got to find all these people, and I got to bring them together, and we got to talk about it. We got to talk about the dark times." We got to talk about, it's easy to look at someone who's already successful after a transition and say, "Well, okay, well they did it, they're on the other side." 


But, to me, part of what's so interesting about your journey, right now, is you're still in it. You're not on the other side of it, you're still in it in. So how did you get from, actually, let's back it up to this point. When that point came you were leading people at Vanderbilt, very prestigious place to work in Nashville, and with great visibility nationally. When you said, "I'm going to leave this." What was the first reaction you got from anyone and everyone?


Kirbee: Yes, I'll tell you a few different pockets.


Lauren: Okay I love it, let's do it. 


Kirbee: So from people who have been in my inner circle, pre-tragedy, post-tragedy who know me well, their response was, "It's about time."


Lauren: "Finally."


Kirbee: "We've been telling you." In fact, prior to communicating that decision, I had just landed and completed a really huge project, and that led to a conversation for a role that felt like an ideal role. Something that in one part of my brain was like, "Yes, this is what you've worked for." 


And prior to communicating that decision, I told someone who I consider a friend and mentor who knows me well, knows my design well, and I told her about it. And I was expecting her to say, "Oh, wow, congratulations." You, kind of, look for those external validations, so you can say, "Okay, I don't have to do that courageous thing yet." And she looked at me dead in my face, and we need people like this in our lives. She said, "I wish I could be happy for you." She said, "But you and I both know that this is just going to prolong you doing what you know you need to do."


Lauren: Whoa, and what did you do? Were you like, "Yep, mh-hmm." Or did you just like stare at her like-


Kirbee: Yeah, it was that deeper knowing that was like, "Okay." But I'm so grateful for moments like that because we often, like I said before, we just flirt with our zone of genius, with our purpose. We visit it we get lit up, and then we go back to what we think we have to do. And, so, I was so thankful for her, and that was kind of the response from some people in my personal life. 


When I communicated that at work, there was the initial, "Okay." And then we were in a Zoom type of situation, we were still working at a distance. And, so, there was a communication, and then when we told the team. There people started crying, it was just like this big emotional thing. But, for me, where we make up these narratives, like, "Oh, no, I'm leaving this..." Instead there was an extreme peace. 


Lauren: Oh, God, what a relief, huh?


Kirbee: To say, "I can end this well." And that's another conversation when we talk about purpose and transitions. We don't really understand how to transition. 


Lauren: Okay, let's talk about it.


Kirbee: So that requires us to get curious. Really lean into our true design and if you don't know that about yourself, that takes some root work. And then you have to realize that transition is natural, anything that's living in life is growing-


Lauren: Mh-hmm, or dying.


Kirbee: Yeah, or dying. 


Lauren: Well, it's easier to be living.


Kirbee: But if you and I tried to go dig up some of our pants from fourth grade and put them on that wouldn't work out so well.


Lauren: Oh, God, no.


Kirbee: And, so, what fit you at one time isn't meant to fit you as you grow. So, for me, that transition can feel uncomfortable, but it should feel liberating, in a sense, it should feel peaceful in a sense, and scare you a little bit. But just the gracious words from the people on my team and the larger team, all the way up to our C suite. Folks that I worked with on a regular basis, who poured into me, to tell me what my journey with the organization meant beyond just the professional component.


What it meant to them to see a daughter showing up for her parents who were impacted by a tragedy, yet, still navigate a work situation in the middle of a pandemic and just those words, were affirming. Because how I decided to show up in that context, in the middle of the hardest time of my personal life. It helped me to know that, that left a mark for them, it hopefully, left an example for them. And then I could end that chapter well and transition. So that was the feedback that happened from a personal and professional standpoint. 


Lauren: Yeah, and it's worth noting, I mean, yes, your mother and stepfather had that terrible accident. But you took on a different role after that. I mean, you were the primary caregiver now.


Kirbee: Right. 


Lauren: And, I think, you're living a life, at this point, that many of us will eventually live, but you're living it now earlier. And, so, I think in a lot of ways to those older people that were saying, "Wow, amazing, good for you." That's also going to be in their future and it's just not there yet. And, so, you're kind of shining a light for people. You are the shining light, I feel like, for people to already see, "All right, I can do this." 


And, so, what has that been like, to take on all of the stuff that you have to do for your mom, and then at the same time, try to find your path? Do for your mom and do you at the same time? I mean, that has to take a lot of courage, I would say. From my vantage point, I think, it takes a lot of inner work and a lot of inner conversations. But what would you say it takes?


Kirbee: I would agree with that, and I'm thankful for the inner work journey that I had started prior to this happening. Where I really took the deep dive to look at some of the hard things in my past, and some of the limitations that maybe I felt were keeping me boxed in, I'd already started that journey. I'd already started the journey to cultivate a gratitude practice, which sounds so kind of foofy to people.


Lauren: No, please, I like foofy. I do foofy.


Kirbee: That's really the foundation. So those seeds had already been planted, and I'm so thankful, in hindsight, because when you get a phone call like that, and it rocks your whole world, and you just find yourself in a completely different context. And, so, I'm not going to say it's easy every day, it's absolutely not, it's an absolute roller coaster. Because you have children, I don't have children. So you know what it is to take care of someone outside of yourself, even when you're tired, you're sick, you're busy all those things.


Lauren: Yeah, they have needs.


Kirbee: That's right. And, so, for me, it was really challenging, especially, in the middle of a pandemic, when things are changing every day. You're at an organization that people are looking to be leaders, and we're trying to get creative with how we use our space, the stress there. To wake up in the morning and know that before I can really do anything for myself, there's a medication schedule. There's a diaper to be changed, there's a bath to begin, there's a lot that has to happen outside of yourself. So for me, though, there were so many days that just felt like "Wow, how did these cards?"


Lauren: Yeah, "And where am I? How did I find myself here?"


Kirbee: Yes, "How do I find myself?" And, so, what really did help me is that gratitude practice, and continues to help me. Because as you mentioned, I'm still in the thick of this, and different affirmations. And I know people might think, "Oh, they're really cute on coffee mugs and t-shirts." But they're even better when they're in your mind and heart. So one that-


Lauren: Okay, I want to hear your affirmations and I want to hear how you do them?


Kirbee: Yes, so, for me, when I wake up, I try to really just be present and I had to start with something as small as, "Okay, I'm in a safe place." The way that my body feels on this mattress being aware of that, because many of us get really good at dissociating from our actual being, and then starting with gratitude, there. And then I am a to-do list kind of person, so you wake up and you start running your to-do list, but that can be deflating sometimes. Because you can feel like you're on a hamster wheel. So one affirmation or mantra that helps me in the morning is, "It feels the same, but it's not the same."


Lauren: Okay, well, what does that mean to you? 


Kirbee: And it feels the same, because we're waking up at the same time. The to-do list has its core things that have to be done.


Lauren: Okay. 


Kirbee: And, so, it feels the same but it's not the same, because it is a new day. There are new opportunities, there are new people, there are new resources that weren't available before, and I'm not the same. 

And we have to remind ourselves of that, because it's very easy to run the same program. So that helps me to wake up with a new energy. Because you have to have something that you get excited about, something to look forward to. Instead of just feeling like you're in Groundhog Day just running the same day, over and over. And then another thing that has helped me is to shift from just this is a heavy responsibility.


Lauren: Oh, it's incredibly heavy. 


Kirbee: This is not what you thought you were going to be doing in your early thirties.


Lauren: What you are doing, this is heavy for you and for anyone, honestly, who's in the situation.


Kirbee: Yes, and, for me, what's also been helpful is to think about honor. To shift from, "Oh, it's just me." But just being able to have an honor to walk this path with them, that doesn't make it easy.


Lauren: I've got chills, because I think how much grace you have to choose to see it the way that you're seeing it.


Kirbee: But it is absolutely an honor and, for me, I just think about two people who were so fiercely independent. And within seconds to have that removed, and everything about their life, I feel like my life has changed. Everything about their lives has changed. And to be able to walk that path to honor who they were as people, before this, to be able to give them hope that, "This is what it feels like today, but I'm partnering with you." I say this to my mom all the time who has regained some verbal skills.


Lauren: I was going to ask you if she's able to speak.


Kirbee: Yes. I asked her, "Okay, I'm here you're here, are you still willing to partner with me to move forward?" Because, to me, honor is giving people that option, and agency, and authority we all want that. And, so, for me, on the days where I feel like, "I could, literally, just melt into this mattress and just let the world go on." It's like, "Okay, I get up not just for me, but for them, and the people that we impact." And, so, it's been a journey. 


Lauren: Yeah, I believe that.


Kirbee: It's been a journey. But it's cracked me open in the best ways. 


Lauren: How about its popped you up? We are going to talk about popcorn. Let's talk about popcorn. This is something that I don't even fully understand about your journey, but I love this. So let me just start with a personal story I grew up with my dad. Let me start it this way, actually, I did not have popcorn from a bag, until I was maybe 18 years old, and I was in college. 


Kirbee: Okay.


Lauren: My dad is a fiercely proud popcorn maker. 


Kirbee: Okay.


Lauren: Even his grandpa name is Pop-pop for his popcorn. 


Kirbee: Okay, it's a legacy kind of thing. 


Lauren: Popcorn is a legacy in the Lowrey household I'm just here to tell you. 


Kirbee: I love it.


Lauren: So when I learned that part of your journey started with popcorn. I was like, "I need to know more." Because, for me, popcorn is love and connection. It's family time at the end of the night, that is what all of the popcorn represents for me. So tell me about your such a funny question, I know in my whole life, I've never asked this question. Tell me about your popcorn journey?


Kirbee: Yes, I enjoy being the oddball and, so, popcorn was not a part of some vision that I had. I will give you the story in a nutshell. So about four years ago, as a part of a large-scale software implementation at Vanderbilt, and that required all hands on deck. 


Lauren: Yeah, hours and hours, and hours.


Kirbee: Hours, huge project. And there was one weekend where a lot of us, leadership team, were going to be at work on a Saturday, starting at 5:45 in the morning. And I woke up at three o'clock that morning, and I had to decide between going back to sleep. And then if you oversleep once you've gotten up, that's the worst feeling.


Lauren: Oh, totally. 


Kirbee: So I got up and I was walking around the house and it was dark, and I was like, "We're going to need snacks to get through the day."


Lauren: Yes, the woman after my own heart. I’m always into the snacks. I bring all the drinks all the snacks, food is connection, please. 


Kirbee: Food is connection, and it creates just this camaraderie, and it's like, "Hey, you're hungry get in there get some snacks." So I created this popcorn called the Cajun Pop, at that time, it didn't have a name. I just was at 3:30 in the morning, blending out spices, putting them on the popcorn. 


So I go we work the day, somebody opens the container it's gone in 20 minutes. It was a huge container, too, and they're like, "Hey, don't come back without more of that." So the next meeting we had there was some more popcorn. And right alongside this huge project, I was still crazy enough to be doing events out in the community, this is pre-COVID for my lifestyle brands. 


So I was at William Sonoma, and Pottery Barn, and Macy's, and I would just take the popcorn as I'm doing my demonstrations and talking to people about the brand. 

And then people were like, "How do I buy it?" And I'm like, "It's not for sale, it's just a snack." And then there was one event, it was a female empowerment event, so I was like, "I'm all about that." And I donated these little snack bags of popcorn. 


Lauren: Yeah. 


Kirbee: And it had my Instagram handle on it. After the event, later on that night, I get this message from another female business owner in Nashville. And she said, "I want to incorporate your popcorn into what I do with my company." And I said, "Oh, my goodness, thank you. Glad that you love it, it's not for sale." I'm not a popcorn person,


Lauren: You're like, "This isn't the plan."


Kirbee: This is not the thing. This is just a little side thing. She wrote me back and she said, "You don't understand." 


Lauren: You're, like, "Oh, excuse."


Kirbee: Oh, okay, she said, "I'm going to give you money, you give me popcorn." That started me on this journey to figure out, "Okay, well, how do we create this vertical and make this as something." Which, for me, I think it's a humbling thing, too, because there's not an event that I can go to in Nashville or now it's gone into other places, where people aren't like, "Popcorn," if they see me and I'm like, "This is humbling."


Lauren: Ain't that wild, you never thought, ever.


Kirbee: Yes, and it's like this little tangential thing and God is funny. Because having degrees in biology, chemistry, and informatics, you don't think people would lead with popcorn. 


Lauren: You're like, "I'm a smart woman, I swear to you."


Kirbee: Yeah, and meaning, and all of these things. But it's something as simple as that has created community and connection, and the popcorn has, literally, gone all over the world. 


Lauren: It's been grab me bags, like this is crazy. 


Kirbee: Yes, and it's been a part of some really neat events. And, so, for me, that's as we talk about transition and all of these things, I had to take ego and tell it to take a back seat and just get really curious and open, and lean into, "Okay, this is not something that I saw, but let's see where this can go, and where can this go alongside these other paths that I'm on?" So, yes, that's how the popcorn started. 


Lauren: Yeah, and then I love, too, that with KiNiMi Kitchen you've made it not just about food. I mean, it's the food, what does food do? It brings people together. But it allows you then to have conversation. So, obviously, the popcorn brought people together. But how do you use it now like this way of having conversations? And what kind of conversations are you having with people? 


Kirbee: Absolutely, so, for me, food is an equalizer. And I saw that power very early on, I started cooking when I was five years old. And it invites people into a moment without having to qualify for the time. You don't have to lead with, "Oh, I'm so and so."


Or, "I'm this." 


To be like "I'm important." If you're around really good food- 


Lauren: Yeah, you're going to talk about the food.


Kirbee: You're going to talk about the food, and then you start leading into meaningful conversations. And, so, that's why I really love the food component, and the kitchen component really transcends a physical kitchen, it's more of a concept. Because for many of us, that's where heartfelt conversations happen. That's where wisdom is passed on, so, for me, it's more of a concept. So the KiNiMi Kitchen concept has taken me into spaces, also, all over the world, to really invite people into, "Who am I?"


Lauren: Answering for themselves or you telling them, "You are this person."?


Kirbee: Answering for ourselves, and I've seen where people over good food and guided conversation, you can kind of see their, "I've never said that out loud before." So to be able to hear their own voice and give language to who they really are. Not who they've created and the quick sound bites that we articulate to be like, "Whoo, do you accept me now?"


But when we dig deeper, around good food, and around guided conversation, and questions that go a little bit deeper, people really get to unpack "Who am I really? And who am I outside of all of these extra things?"


Lauren: Yeah, the titles, the labels, who am I outside...? What other kinds of guided conversation, when you say that I imagine you have a guide that you like to guide people through? So what is that guide?


Kirbee: Yes, and it really depends on the event. So I have had the opportunity to lead private small events, private large events, and then corporate events. Some of the corporate events are some of my favorite.


Lauren: Really? It surprises me, I would think it'd be the opposite?


Kirbee: Yes, and it's the private ones I love and I have some really cool plans for those. But the corporate I love it because people kind of come in ready to just be structured. 


Lauren: Mh-hmm.


Kirbee: They're ready to, "This is a work event, I'm going to be work-like."


Lauren: And I'll even pretend I'm taking notes so that people think I'm really engaged. 


Kirbee: Exactly, and we do this thing to ourselves, sometimes, where we look for reasons why we don't belong.


Lauren: Yeah, that's like self-sabotage. 


Kirbee: Yes, and we think it's actually protecting ourselves. Like, "Oh, if I find the reason why I shouldn't be with them that I won't be disappointed, I won't be embarrassed." And, so, we seek those things out instead of reasons why we do belong. So in my corporate events, you see everybody, especially in COVID, we were kind of in Zoom, so I'm looking at these little boxes all over, and you see people like they're kind of stiff, not like all right. And, so, I start it off and I say, "Okay, I have a few rules." And you see everybody is like, "I knew it, there are rules."


And I say, "I have a couple of rules, so I need you to answer these questions before we get started." It gets really intense. And I say, "Are you human?" And you see them going like "Did she just ask us if we are human?"


And then a couple of people are chuckling in the little boxes. And then I say, "Do you get hungry?" And then you kind of see people (sighs) and I'm like, "That's it, let's go. No one gets left behind and we're going to be in this together." But it's important to set that tone, at the beginning, like you have everything you need. In order for this to be successful.


Lauren: Well, and that's such a deeper message, too. And I think we forget that a lot, especially, in a journey of any kind of self-discovery. It doesn't even have to be a journey where you say, "I'm going to find my purpose."


Kirbee: That's right.


Lauren: I mean, even if you're like, "Something's missing here, or who am I and all this? I need to find self." The beginning of that journey has to be with an understanding that everything you need is right here, and matter of fact, the guide is also already here. 


Kirbee: That's right.


Lauren: And you were listening to that, otherwise, you would have never embarked on the journey, to begin with.


Kirbee: That's right.


Lauren: Do you find that you have to remind people of that, or is there a lightbulb moment in your events, where you see like, the head nods where people are like, "Oh, they got it."


Kirbee: Yeah, I see it both ways. I see some people because everyone's on a different point in their path, you see, some people say, "Huh."


Like, "Yep, I knew it, and now you're articulating it."


So it crystallizes for them, they have that aha moment. And then for other people it takes a little bit more conversation, and more questions that maybe they felt as though "This is like a silly, woo-woo question." But then as we unpack it a little bit more, they're like, "Huh, this, actually, resonates for me."


So I see it happen both ways, and, for me, I want people to leave those events, whether it's virtual or in-person, really full physically and happy. But then full on this kind of different level.


Lauren: Like a spiritual level?


Kirbee: That's right, or they're nourished in that way. So that, "This won't solve all your life's problems, but maybe you have some additional tools, and resources to go on your authentic path." That's my goal, that's my intention in anything that I do.


Lauren: To bring nourishment?


Kirbee: That's right.


Lauren: I love that. Well, this is a perfect segue to play my favorite game. Which is the best time/worst time game, and you've answered one of the questions. But it's okay, we're going to start from the beginning. Are you ready to play? 


Kirbee: Let's get it.


Lauren: Okay, so this is the best time/worst time game.


Kirbee: Okay.


Lauren: When was the best time in your life? 


Kirbee: Oh, my goodness.


Lauren: Pressure is on.


Kirbee: I would say there are so many moments that are meaningful, but I'll share this one that's happened recently. I, through connection, and authenticity, had an opportunity to go to Italy, in September, to do what I love, and to be around like-minded people. And that opportunity came out of me being more authentically myself and making connections. 


And this was in the midst of just some really hard things, personally. I had just articulated, "I'm leaving my corporate job." And, so, for me, one of the best moments was when I was standing on the porch of this insanely gorgeous villa.


Lauren: Yeah, of course, you've got to be in a villa.


Kirbee: In the middle of Tuscany


Lauren: Wow.


Kirbee: And I'm preparing for this culinary experience with this group of women from around the world, but it's just me.


Lauren: Oh, wow. 


Kirbee: It's just me preparing, and I'm looking out over these lilac fields. And there's just this peace to say, "You listened, and this is what happens when you listen."


Lauren: Oh, my God, I'm like, "That's so beautiful, I can see what you're describing."


Kirbee: Yes, and none of that makes sense. 


Lauren: No, it makes perfect sense to me. 


Kirbee: To you. 


Lauren: It makes perfect sense to me. Why do you think it doesn't make sense?


Kirbee: I think, and this is what I love, because being a highly analytical person with a science background, you make it make sense. But then there is this other part where you're, like, "Lean into it."


Why it doesn't make sense is because we're still in the pandemic now, but conditions, I wasn't even sure if I was going to get on a plane and go to Italy. 


Lauren: Yeah.


Kirbee: I just left this job. And it just, on paper, I should have been somewhere making more plans, all right?


Lauren: Filling out a spreadsheet. 


Kirbee: You're right, there's another spreadsheet, and an algorithm, and a flowchart. With the inputs, the physical inputs, it may not have made sense. But the spiritual deposits, it made absolute sense because I allowed myself to be guided. I allowed myself to be vulnerable. 


I allowed myself to be honest about my intentions, and how I show up in the world, and how I choose to use my energy and my currency, and what I want that to mean with my time here. And, so, it made a lot of sense in that in that type of realm. And, so, that would be one of the best times. Where it was just like, "Huh, my imagination is coming to life."


Lauren: Yeah, wow.


Kirbee: Yes, because one of my favorite quotes by Oprah says, "Nourish whatever makes you feel contented, confident, and connected, an opportunity will rise to meet you." And I felt like I was standing in the middle of that-


Lauren: You're standing in the middle of contentment. 


Kirbee: Yes.


Lauren: Yeah, you are literally creating nourishment for others and nourishing yourself, at the same time. 


Kirbee: Yes.


Lauren: That's so beautiful. 


Kirbee: And, so, I have to say that is one of the best times.


Lauren: Quick deviation from this game we're playing. When was the point that you, because following a spiritual path or a heart-led path, soul-centered path, that's a choice. Certainly, for someone like you with three science-based degrees, analytical degrees, you had to make a choice at some point to stop letting this do all the choosing. Was there a point you made a choice to lead yourself differently?


Kirbee: I would say yes, there's always been this duality, always. And through conditioning, and, I think, our parents mean well, I learned well put the analytical one in the driver's seat, and this creative, more spiritually connected element maybe in the backseat, sometimes in the passenger seat. So I've never fully abandoned that part of myself is what I'm getting at. I've always had this private world of exploring things that didn't make 100% black and white sense. 


There were some times in my life where I felt as though I've focused a lot more on the structure. And I felt like I was really just suffocating in plain sight and, so, I learned to return to these other elements. But I would say, probably about five years ago, right around the time that I decided, like, "I'm going to put this idea out in the world more in a formal way."


That's when I decided to really allow myself to have true duality. Like, "I can lean on these things that have supported me really well, they're analytical, I can make you a strategic plan with the best of them." But then also right alongside that, "I'm going to allow this other world to have kind of a copilot element." And, so, that took me on a journey of reading different things, and really creating different practices. 


And, for me, that shifted everything the right types of people and opportunities were attracted. Where I felt as though there was more of a wholeness, more of an integration of who I am as a person. 


So I'd say that's about five years ago that I really made an intentional choice, that, "Even though this may not fit into a box for anyone else, I'm going to do these things. I'm going to start being more outwardly forward with some of these things that I'm feeling and thinking." And it's really magical when you do that because that is of service to other people, who have been waiting for this other puzzle piece.


Lauren: Well, they don't know they're waiting for it, but when they see it something clicks for them. Usually, it's how that works, I think. When was the worst time in your life?


Kirbee: I would say, for me, the worst time was right along with that accident that we talked a little bit about earlier. I had been in healthcare for a really long time. I had built amazing relationships at Vanderbilt, I was able to get my parents diverted in there. And I was hopeful in the first few hours after the accident, and kind of going back and forth between the rooms, and talking to the providers, and I was hopeful. 


But the absolute worst time, where I felt like that hope just got sucked out, was, probably, about six to seven hours after the accident. And I was able to talk and get my parents moved up in the CAT scan line, and one of the providers walked around the corner.


Lauren: And you could just see it, huh? You could see it on their face


Kirbee: Yeah, 100%. And they said, "We're so sorry. "And they went on to explain about the bleeding that was occurring in my mom's brain, and shortly after that, she would slip into a coma. And, so, I would say that moment where you've tried to rally all your internal troops, and my plans, and this, this, and that moment where you're like, you've reached the end of what you can do.


Lauren: Kirbee, have you ever asked yourself if losing your mom would have been easier, than what you're dealing with right now?


Kirbee: I do, and not just from the context of myself. But I also look at the journey it's hard for her, I do think about that. But here is where I found peace and what I actually know for sure. I don't think any of us can say that our childhoods were picture-perfect. 


Lauren: Right.


Kirbee: In our context, there were specific traumas and issues, and things, that had happened that were unresolved. And many of us, I think, my siblings included and my mom, we have learned how to just persist. 


Lauren: Yeah.


Kirbee: Not healing those things, but persist. And through this process, a lot of that has been untangled when my mom wasn't there. When she started to regain her cognitive ability and verbal ability, and through what we did every day that allowed us to have some really hard and challenging conversations.


Lauren: I bet.


Kirbee: And that allowed her to articulate some things that we never talked about before. And, so, when you look at peace and resolution-


Lauren: And healing.


Kirbee: I know before her time is over in this realm, I'm thankful that she got that peace. And I know, for sure, that I'm thankful because, again, with you and you're action-oriented, do you think, "Oh, that's in the past, I can make this plan." 


But I know that I wouldn't have been able to fully show up, as the person that I'm meant to be with that unresolved portion. So I do think about the ease. It would have been hard in the moment because you're like, "Oh, wow." Anyone who's lost someone traumatically and suddenly, there are so many questions. 


Lauren: Yeah.


Kirbee: And there are moments that you wish that you could have had. But I think it's two sides of the same coin, this life doesn't make a whole lot of sense. And, so, I know someone listening to this, who's lost, someone suddenly, probably could say, "Oh, wow, how could you ever think that it would be easier? I wish I had those moments?" And then for other people who have been in a care-giving capacity over time, for someone who's fully dependent, probably, understand it differently. So I think just our life paths will help us comprehend that differently, but that's definitely a thought.


Lauren: Yeah, and thank you for answering it so beautifully, and answering it in the way that it was intended. I mean, truly, it was maybe a hard question to answer. So thank you for answering it so beautifully. What's something about your nature that you've overcome or you continue to overcome?


Kirbee: Oh, wow, I think it's that intersection of the wildly creative and analytical, you can kind of be self-sabotaging in some ways. And keep yourself small because like, "Wait, this is what I feel, but let's make it make sense." 


Lauren: You're talking from two different places. 


Kirbee: That's right.


Lauren: I've had instances of that, too, of my mind is like, "No, I'm in charge." And my heart is like, "Ah-ah, back off."


Kirbee: That's right, "Do you really want what you say you want?" Then it doesn't always make sense. So I would say that's something that I've had to sit with and really get curious about. And a shift, for me, and it's a daily practice is, forgiving.


Lauren: It holds a lot of people back.


Kirbee: Yes.


Lauren: The choice not to forgive, I think holds people back from true transformation. 


Kirbee: 100%.


Lauren: Oh, that's a big one. 


Kirbee: And it's not always external, it's forgiving yourself and having grace with yourself. And I've learned to think some of my limitations, and some of those thoughts that you have about yourself. That if you heard someone saying it to your best friend, you'd knock them out, but you say it to yourself. And getting curious about that, "Where did this come from?"


"Why is this second nature?"


But there is just this part of you that tries to protect you, to try to keep you in your norm, kind of, keep you in this box that you've created for yourself. But I think there's a point where you realize this box doesn't fit me anymore. So, "I thank you for trying to keep me safe. I thank you for trying to keep me away from doing something so big." 


Because there's this thing like, "Oh, you know, the higher you rise the harder you fall." And, so, it's just all of these things that we do to ourselves, and who are you to do this? And, so, I've learned to think those thoughts and get curious. You're trying to protect me, but you're not the truth. I wish that the 12-year-old me knew that, 19-year-old me knew that. But that's a critical component of why I do what I do, and why I invite people into experiences. 


Whether that is over food, or conversation, or in other consulting work that I do. invite people into those moments where you can understand who you really are, outside of those, really, harsh critical things that we've layered on top of, "Who are you really?". And we have value there, that no one can take away from you. So, for me, that would be the biggest thing that I've had to wrestle with and continue to wrestle with.


Lauren: You're such a nourisher, and I love that, and I love thinking of that as being a purpose. I've never heard someone used that word, but it's just so beautiful. And I'm such a proponent of of naming each of these episodes with this word picture. I feel like every single one of these names need to create a word picture because it is the deeper meaning, it is the deeper embodiment, the deeper energy, it's all of that. 


Kirbee: Yes. 


Lauren: And I just love thinking of you as The Nourisher. 


Kirbee: Okay, and here it is.


Lauren: And here it is, girly. It's like we've workshopped your title just in this hour and I love it. When did you realize your purpose was your purpose?


Kirbee: Wow, when did I allow myself to agreeing that's my purpose?


Lauren: Oh, maybe that's a better question. 


Kirbee: Well, and I know everyone is different. But, I think, many of us have known things, but really agreeing with them would require you to be a different version of yourself, and you're just not ready for that. 


So, for me, I've always known, where they say, "Know in your knower." That I was meant to do much of what I'm doing right now, but it didn't. How do you put that in a box? Well, how do you put that on LinkedIn?


Lauren: How do you quantify that?


Kirbee: That is right. But life has taught me that, for me, the things that don't necessarily fit into a discrete description, really still are powerful, and healing. And, so, for me, I think I knew that when I started to put those little pieces of myself out into the world a little bit, and just the response from people.


Lauren: Well, there's a reward, right? 


Kirbee: That's right.


Lauren: I do feel like the universe is conspiring in your favor. You aren't meant to do those things, you put a little bit of yourself out there-


Kirbee: Put a little out there.


Lauren: And it's like, "Yes, do more."


Kirbee: That's right, the response and people saying, "Well, I've never thought about something in this way."


Or, "I haven't had someone who, actually, sees me." 


Or, "I feel like I'm empowered to do."


Or people who have come back after conversations or sessions and have said, "This is what I've done, and I've never thought I could do that." So, for me, that was that confirmation of purpose. Like, "Okay, you can be yourself, show up in the world with the science and the woo-woo, and there's a place for that."


Lauren: And be you-you.


Kirbee: And be you-you. That's right, we're going to have an EP come out with a song. But that's what I knew is when I started putting those pieces out into the world, and just the response, like, "Okay, finally, you've done it."


Lauren: Kirbee, what's next for you?


Kirbee: That is an excellent question. What's next for me is really continuing to be open, and curious, I know that word, we can use it so many times. 


Lauren: That's my favorite word, I mean, keep going, please.


Kirbee: Because we don't allow ourselves to be curious. We may say, "Oh, I'm in." But it requires-


Lauren: Curiosity, it requires time and space.


Kirbee: And vulnerability.


Lauren: And vulnerability, yep.


Kirbee: And, so, many of us, just like I said, run the same play every day, and that doesn't require curiosity. 


Lauren: Yeah. 


Kirbee: And it's a false kind of sense of safety. So, for me, I'll continue to be curious and continue to speak my own truth, and be led, and do the right next thing. And that has led to some, really, neat opportunities that might manifest themselves in this coming year. And I'll just continue to rely on that inner GPS, even if I can't put it into a pretty spreadsheet or algorithm.


Lauren: You don't need it.


Kirbee: That's right. 


Lauren: It doesn't have to be known, I would venture to say it's more powerful. And, I think, a lot of us don't embrace that, because we're almost afraid and how powerful it really is.


Kirbee: Absolutely and I'm here for it. I'm here for it. 

Now I think life has rocked me to the point where it's like, "Open your eyes and pay attention, and you don't have to hold on to these false sense, these different things that you thought your identity was made up of. You don't have to anymore."


Lauren: Yeah.


Kirbee: And, so, for me, I just think it's powerful, and I just want to help to create that ripple effect for other people.


Lauren: You're doing it girl.


Kirbee: I appreciate you.


Lauren: Kirbee Miller, thank you. 


Kirbee: Thank you.


Lauren: So what do you think? Tell me in the comments below like it, share it with someone who needs to hear it. I'm adding new videos all the time to help you reconnect with self, and then prepare for purpose. And since you're here, I've gone ahead and linked my playlist the episode AMPlified, it gives shorter clips from each episode. Still, though very much power-packed with encouragement, it's all right here. So thanks for watching, and I'll see you next time.


[00:48:44] < Outro >

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