Kimberly Lackey is an Integrative Health Coach and founder of Empath Coaching and a walking poster child for self-healing. While battling cancer and going through menopause at 25 years old, then later facing life in a wheelchair after being diagnosed with reactive arthritis and going through a divorce, she continued to receive answers from medical and psychological professionals that simply didn’t feel right.
Kim was living in excruciating physical pain – unable to walk or even squeeze a shampoo bottle – and the only option presented to her was to take pain pills, steroids, and live on biological drugs to suppress her immune system. After a lot of soul searching, Kim made a decision to be proactive in her health. She previously had lymphoma and worked hard to strengthen her immune system after chemo. If she had followed her doctor’s recommendation to suppress her immune system via drugs, it could have brought her out of remission for lymphoma – something she most likely would not survive again. So even though she was in tremendous pain, she knew she could fight through it and opted for more holistic methods and detoxing to treat her arthritis. It took several years to rid her of the pain and reduce inflammation so she could have her body back.
She also had the opportunity to help numerous family members and friends navigate their own health challenges and apply what she had learned going through cancer and arthritis, to assist them in making healthcare decisions. This led Kim to launch Empath Coaching to work with others through coaching, nutritional counseling, motivational speaking and more. Salonpas sat down with Kim to learn more about her practice and how she got to her healthy place:
When faced with a cancer diagnosis, many people become very negative about their prognosis. How can someone face a diagnosis, like you did so early in your life, with positivity and emotional fortitude?
Some of my positivism is innate, but the other part is about making a choice. We know that having a positive attitude affects everything in your life; this is a scientific fact. Being positive helps you to be more grateful, and positivism builds on more positivism.
Instead of simply thinking, “I need to be more positive,” take action to move toward this. One thing I did for myself while battling cancer was placing stickers a friend gave me around my house – in the bathroom, on my bedside table, etc. They represented strength and positivity, and were little reminders that made me smile.
Look to the future and think about what you want. Is it to go on safari? A road trip across the U.S.? Whatever it is, make a plan and create reminders for yourself. You won’t be stuck in this place forever. You have to believe there is an end to chemotherapy or radiation, and feeling poorly.
What was the ‘eureka’ moment when you decided to become an integrative health coach?
Friends and family kept telling me I needed to do it. Through my own perspective, it didn’t seem like a big deal. People came to me because they saw early on that I had helped myself. It came naturally to give nutrition or other advice; even before cancer I had an interest in this area. Everything came together after my divorce and going through that transition. I started listening to friends and family, and thought I could create a business around helping others.
Tell us how Empath Coaching is different from traditional health coaching?
My motto has always been that people need to be empowered to trust themselves and get back to who they truly are. What do they want from life? What inspires them? While nutrition is an important aspect, it’s secondary to an overall healthy lifestyle and strong mental health.
Working with others, I provide the gift of facilitating and validating your own healing journey through coaching, nutritional counseling, motivational speaking and more. You have what it takes to live your best life – no one knows you better than you and I am here to help you remember that!
What unique challenges has COVID-19 presented with your coaching practice, and how have you dealt with these challenges?
Luckily, the majority of my coaching work can be done online so there hasn’t been a huge transition. I’m not doing any in-person speaking, but I’m able to continue coaching and writing as I normally would. Even when I was living in Maui, I had clients in Florida, for example.
COVID-19 has brought certain topics to the forefront for people – keeping stress levels down, boosting immunity system, etc. This is what I talk to clients about on a daily basis.
Tell us about a typical day in your life; from when you arise to when you retire.
Each morning, I read the Daily Word from Unity. I write in my gratitude journal and read daily affirmation cards. Then I take my vitamins and make a smoothie. If I’m not exercising, I have to stretch. I also use a ProsourceFit Acupressure Mat, and lay or stand on that.
I tend to work in chunks throughout the day and I have to take several 15 minute+ breaks. I go for a walk or stretch, sometimes I ride my bike. I always eat lunch outside unless it’s raining.
Several times a week, I take a bath with Epsom salt and use essential oils. I make several types of calming tea. This is my ritual! Otherwise, I’m making dinner, writing or meeting up friends.