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  • Kim Meninger

It’s Okay to Not Know

Updated: May 12, 2023

It’s Okay to Not Know


In this episode of the Impostor Syndrome Files, we talk about the power of pushing through our fears and doing the things that scare us. Many of us stay in our comfort zones and avoid taking risks because we’re unsure of the outcome or we don’t have a perfect plan yet. But doing that is not neutral. It leads to regret and missed opportunities. My guest this week, Kathleen Taylor, shares how her curiosity and willingness to connect with others has led her in meaningful new directions. We also talk about how we can all get more comfortable not knowing.

About My Guest

Kathleen Taylor is a self-described storyteller, who believes that everyone has a purpose and a dream and always has had a passion for learning about other people’s stories. At a young age, Kathleen’s love for travel, music, adventure, and curiosity of people was evident. She would run around her neighborhood with an old tape recorder of her mom’s, eager to interview anyone in site and would spend hours listening to their conversations. Throughout elementary school her heroes were Anderson Cooper and Lisa Ling who she watched every morning from school on their news show. Kathleen has spent her career speaking with brilliant scientists and engineers across the globe, connecting them to impactful teams. She offers strategic insight to her leadership teams to support long-term growth development and business plans. But if you ask Kathleen what she is the proudest of throughout her career, it would always be the trusted partnerships and collaboration she has built with her people. Originally from West Chester, PA Kathleen attended Dalhousie University in Halifax Nova Scotia, earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree and spent years studying as a classical pianist. The world is Kathleen’s favorite destination. She has grown in her professional development working in both Canada and the U.S and has spent several years working as an ESL teacher for children throughout China. Her drive for adventures and passion for learning about other cultures has taken her to places such as Vanuatu, Fiji, Taiwan, Japan, France, Monaco, and Australia where she lived for 2.5 years.

Kathleen loves learning different perspectives through the eyes of other people, and she’s an individual who believes you are only one decision away from creating a new you.

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Transcript:

Kim Meninger Welcome, Kathleen, I am so excited that we’re having this conversation. And you and I have had some conversations offline and I can’t wait to share this one with our audience. Before we jump in, I’d love to invite you to introduce yourself.

Kathleen Taylor Kim, thank you. I am so excited to be here. I’m not gonna lie. I’m a little terrified at this. I’m really excited to be on your podcast. First and foremost, I want to thank you, you know, I want to thank you, because you graciously gave me some time. I mean, we went from being complete strangers to when I did Rob Maloney’s podcast. And you know, I had reached out to you I had, had seen your your TED Talk, everything that you were saying really resonated with me. I was invited on Rob’s podcast, Ron Maloney is now one of my favorite people in the world. His messaging, his podcast, the heart and hard work one really resonated to me. So that’s why I wanted to jump on that one. In fact, I even heard from Rob today who sent me this brilliant message of you know, Kathleen, you got this, you deserve to be there. So, you know, thank you, Rob, as well. But Kim, thank you, you know, my conversation with you really meant a lot. And then it was just so crazy because my conversation with Rod really talked about how one conversation with the right person can put you on the next path. And now here I am on, on your podcasts. So thanks for having me.

Kim Meninger Oh, thank you. And I love that you say it that way. Because I feel like my entire career or my entire life has really been a reflection of what you said. Right? And I think, yeah, curiosity about other people, the willingness to be open to new conversations has just led to so many magical opportunities and experiences. And I want to start at the beginning with you because one of the things that I found so fascinating, and just, it’s adorable to imagine is that you talk about storytelling being so central to who you are, and how it started back when you were a kid. So can you tell us about?

Kathleen Taylor Yes. Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. You know, my, my family reminds me of this. And I have all these, all these pictures as well when I was really little, but I’ve just always been fascinated with people and their stories. And when I was a little girl, my mom had this cassette, cassette player with, with a microphone, and I used to just run around the neighborhood, and, you know, beg the neighbors for me to interview them. And, and you know, I just used to just love it. And then I’d go home and replay the tape and listen to all of their stories and the true essence of who I am when I really reflect and think back on it. And, and, you know, it’s just so ironic that I’ve made a career out of it now is I just love listening to people’s stories, and then retelling them and sharing them and having that connection with people. And building relationships really means the most to me.

Kim Meninger Well, and I was just having this conversation recently, too. And I was thinking about it more in a workplace context because I was thinking about how we tend to get really intimidated in meetings and certain kinds of settings. And when we have relationships with people, when we have, you know, even if you don’t know everyone in the room, when you feel that sense of human connection to other people, you just naturally feel more confident, right? Because I think our natural tendency is to look around compare ourselves to other people to always think I’m not as good as this person, or is how is this person judging me when I say this idea? Everyone’s gonna think it’s stupid, right? But if you feel like I have a general understanding of who these people are, and I like them, right, I respect them, we just feel safer and more comfortable in our space.

Kathleen Taylor Absolutely, I completely agree with you, it, it’s one of those things that I’ve really carried in my life where I’m not a naturally confident person, you know, when, when I go in to do anything, I really have to sit back and, and work in the positive mindset and really encourage myself and, you know, I did that when Rob invited me I have never done a podcast before you know, Robin and I our paths kind of crossed some LinkedIn. We both really enjoyed the messaging that we were putting out there the encouragement, I really enjoyed his podcast, you know, really trying to help people with self-development and seem insane with you. So when he invited me initially excited and then the fear kicked in a few seconds later. And then I went on onto the podcast and I looked at all of the previous guest lists and then I started to psych myself out you know, everybody on there had Ph.Ds and Master’s degrees and I have listened to, you know, another individual that was on there that had worked with Mother Teresa and I thought, How am I going to go on there? I’ve, I’ve never worked with Mother Teresa before. I don’t have a Ph.D. And you do, I think it’s just human nature where you just naturally start comparing yourself. But then I really listened to your podcast. And, and that resonated the most with me because you talked about, just because you’re coming to the table, it doesn’t mean that you all need to have the same experience. There’s value in having people in a room that offer a different perspective and a different area of expertise. And then I just had that moment, of course, Kathleen, I mean, that’s important in any situation, why am I constantly comparing myself to other people, I’m able to offer value because I have a different background, or I have a different perception. And that’s how you grow, you have all of these other people in a room that can offer that knew all bounce ideas off of each other. That’s a true collaborative environment, and I believe in it. But when you’re in the moment, and then that fear factor kicks in, and you’re psyching yourself out. And you really need to that rational part of your brain needs to take over and calm yourself down and put things into perspective.

Kim Meninger Absolutely. And I can relate to that entirely. Because there are definitely two sides of my brain, the one that knows exactly why I’m being irrational and dominate. Right. And I think that is, if we can access it. And that’s one of the things I talk about a lot is, once we know that’s happening, once we know that there’s this part of our brain that is purely fear-based, that is purely designed to just grab us and bring us back into the comfort zone, then we can start to recognize it for what it is and bring the rational part of our brain more intentionally to the surface, right, because one of the things that you so honestly shared was that you were excited and terrified. Yes. You did. And we were talking about that. And I said, you know, that’s a perfect combination for growth. Because if you were just terrified that maybe this isn’t the right place for you. But the fact that there was a part of you that wanted to do this, right, there’s a part of you that was excited about it. And another part that was saying, setting off all these alarm bells have, Oh no, this is dangerous. That’s the perfect time to say yes, and to just do that scary thing because I often joke about the fact that as a person who has lived a lifetime with anxiety, my natural tendency would just be curled up in the fetal position and never do anything. But…

Kathleen Taylor Oh, absolutely, I absolutely agree, you know, the me 10 years ago, most likely would have either just said absolutely not, I can’t do a podcast, or maybe, you know, cancel at the last minute. But I’ve just been really on a personal journey to be more deliberate to be more aware of that growth mindset. And, you know, this year, especially I’ve had such a great mentor at work that’s really helped me on my journey. And you know, he’s always saying, you know, you’re not growing, if you’re comfortable, get comfortable being uncomfortable. And that was something that I took to heart. And I think a lot of it is the self-reflection part and really being able to sit back and you had mentioned that, you know, as well being very deliberate, having an idea of when you’re being triggered. And what does this mean? And why is it happening? And it is it’s human nature to have that fear come in, when you’re doing something that you’ve never done before. It’s the fear of the unknown, right? So you have two choices, you can either take that step forward, giant leap of faith, and trust in yourself and have that confidence that you have everything inside of you to be able to do this, or you succumb to it and let the fear hold you back from even getting started. And you know, this year I stepped back and really just was, was just going through the motions of okay, here are my strengths. These are the things that I do want to work on, and being deliberate in that and I just think all the time, who would I be? Or what would I do if I just let go of the fear? And as soon as I feel that feeling, I know that I have to move forward and do it and not and not let that overcome my decision.

Kim Meninger I think that’s so powerful. And one of the things that I often think about too, is that we don’t spend enough time thinking about what we lose by not doing the scary thing we are so, we are so programmed to think about the risks of the action. And if we’re not willing to move past that Fear, we will let it hold us back. Many of us are playing small right now we’re not taking those big bold moves. And if we took the time to balance the equation, so to speak by saying, okay, yes, of course, anything scary comes with risk, there’s the possibility that this won’t go well or won’t have the effect that I’m looking for. But there are also consequences to not doing it. And the regret, of not taking that step. Right is very powerful, too. And I think we don’t give enough attention to what we lose by not stepping outside of our comfort zone.

Kathleen Taylor Oh, absolutely. And you hit it. I mean, when I think back, I think that I would be more comfortable with my choices. If, if I knew that I went forward, and then it didn’t work out the way that I had planned, then deal with, with that regret part, you know, the wishful thinking of what could have happened if I had just brought myself to take that jump. And that part, I think, is really significant, at least for me, you know, I always just want to be able to work through that part of it.

Kim Meninger Yeah, exactly. And I think that that’s something that we can more consciously tune into to it’s just having these little, whether it’s a visual reminder or something to say, okay, yes, I know what’s scary about doing it. But what’s scary about not doing it too, just so we have full information, right? Times when it makes sense to not do it, there gonna be times when it makes sense to do it, but to just at least do the due diligence.

Kathleen Taylor Make sure, absolutely, absolutely. I agree. 100%.

Kim Meninger So I want to ask you about your career because I think it’s really interesting. And I had forgotten until you brought it up just recently about how you’d started out with music. So can you talk a little bit about your journey?

Kathleen Taylor Sure. Sure. Absolutely. So I, I started taking classical piano when I was a little girl, and that was just my passion, you know, every single day, I just couldn’t get enough of it, you know, I would just sit down at the piano, and play for hours. And next thing I know, it’d be, you know, five, six hours later. So I just always assumed that my life would revolve around that. And I ended up when I first started off, going for piano performance, music education degree. And, you know, after spending some time with within, you know, student teaching, I just realized that, although my passion was performing, I just didn’t want to be teaching within a school setting. And you know, I really enjoy teaching one on one. So I went through, and I actually did spend some years I had my own studio that I was teaching out of, which then led to, I was teaching online as an ESL teacher, for students across China, which I absolutely loved. I did that for years. And, you know, it just used to always blow me away, where we would start off and you’d have, you know, a little kid who would just be completely scared, they’re seeing you for the first time, and you’re just making eye contact, and you’re smiling. And then just to see the progress that you would make with somebody, you know, having language is a complete barrier, and you go from not being able to really communicate in that respect. And then weeks later, now, you’re, you know, you’re speaking English. And now the next thing I know, they’re taking me all over the city was showing me their friends, I, you know, I was teaching, they’d be on their phone or their tablet, we’d be in a park, or you know, we’d be all over and it was so rewarding. And, you know, then basically, I went through a period of my life where, you know, I had spent all these years thinking that music was going to be it and then had to really transition and figure out okay, well, what’s next for me? And that’s reflecting back. I think I was the hardest on myself, during that period of my college years, so I was all always had a really deep appreciation for science. So I thought, Okay, I’ll do Bachelor’s of Science and biology. And you know, I’m sure that’ll open up some doors. And really, when I look back on it, I really just didn’t know what I wanted to do next after graduation. And I didn’t have a five-year plan and it wasn’t sitting well with me. I was, I was really hard on myself. There was a lot of negative talk, comparing myself to all of my other friends that were doing these amazing internships and you know, it was definitely a time period where I was expecting to have it all figured out and that’s my message now when I’m speaking with a lot of students that are going through their degrees that are, that are you know, graduating that so Qaeda not have it all figured out over the next few years. You know, you’ve made it you’re graduating. Now let’s just figure out What is your next logical step? You know, when I’m chatting with them, there’s so much pressure that they’re trying to figure out, okay, what internship should they take next, you know, which position should I go with. And so a lot of pressure and, and I think at the end of the day, when people are sharing out their stories, especially from professionals that are so many years into their career, to go back and speak with students and actually say, Hey, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, after graduating, I just took, I just took a jump, there was an internship that came out, and they appreciate that, and that’s my messaging, when I’m speaking with people, and I know a lot of my colleagues as well that It’s okay to not know. It’s okay to not have your whole life mapped out. Because guess what, life’s gonna come in, and life’s gonna, you know, maybe knock you down a few times and put you on a completely different path than you thought. And you’re gonna have to go through that. But just take the next step and keep moving. And don’t let that fear of not having your whole life mapped out to your expectations keep you from initially trying.

Kim Meninger And, you know, I can relate to this too, because I’ve had my own sort of windy career. I think there’s something really comforting about feeling like you have a five year plan, we all like the world to be predictable. We…

Kathleen Taylor Sure! It’s the safety net, right? You think if you have it, your setup, you’re going to execute it.

Kim Meninger That’s right. View is so limited, especially at that age, right? And even, even if we’ve been in the workforce for 2030 years, you still only know what you know. And I think putting that pressure to have definitive answers to these questions is very short-sighted. And it actually speaks to some of the things you and I were talking about, with regard to curiosity around people, because I think if you’re too rigidly attached to a specific career plan, then you miss out on the spontaneity and the, the sort of organic opportunities that present themselves. [Yes] That’s where the magic happens, right? I feel like, you know, it’s that one chance encounter with somebody that you never thought you’d have that brings you down this whole new path. And if you were really committed to this other plan, you never would have been open to that.

Kathleen Taylor Oh, abs… Absolutely. And that’s, you know, Rob and I spoke a lot about that on, on, on his podcast, and it’s really led me in my life, those chance encounters, you know, every day, I really just believe that you have a new opportunity in choosing who you want to be, and where you want to go. And I had this incredible moment, you know, one of the summers where I’d come back from school, and you know, I had shared with you before that, you know, I was really hard on myself during that time, seeing all of my friends going off and doing these internships and I had gone back and I was waitressing at one of the restaurants that I had worked with the previous summer. And I think it was my first day back and my first table and in walks this business woman with, with her business partner, and they sit down. And you know, the things that she was ordering was very specific, you know, so for example, she had ordered her drink, and then she said, I want you to bring his drink out like six minutes later, after mine on I thought, This is crazy. I’ve never had this trip before. I don’t know why she wants this man to wait for his drink. But okay. And then the rest of the meal was like that, you know, she wanted certain things to come out timed. And then his Conway coming out at alternating times as well. And then different sauces at different frequencies. And I thought this is, this is so crazy, what is happening? And then at the end of the meal, after I cleared everything. And you know, she looked at me and she said, You must think I’m completely crazy. And I laughed at her. And I said just a little bit. I don’t know what’s happening. And then the next thing I know, she took out her business card, and she pushed it across the table and she said, I want you to come work for me. And that conversation with her. You know, I had, I had a conversation and it really did you know, it ended up working for her for numerous summers, I learned so much from her from life perspectives and businesses well, and the rest of my career has really been based on chance encounters with the right people. And I firmly believe that, you know, every day I’m speaking with people over the phone, and I always tell them, you know, what, if one conversation with the right person can put you on a completely different career path. I say that because I need it because it’s happened to me, you know, you go into, you go into certain situations, assuming that things are going to work out a different way. But the people that you get to speak with along the way can have such a huge impact and you know, it’s not going to be all abs, you know, opportunity isn’t going to come through, it’s not going to be this big shiny door that saying this is it, come on, oh, come open it, you know, sometimes it’s just, you know, a crack of the door opening. And you always have two options, you either explore it and see where it goes. Or you put your head down and continue doing what you’re doing. But I’ve always been somebody that has just embraced every conversation, I’ve gone into any conversation with somebody thinking, I’m going to learn something, this person is going to teach me something. Now the lesson could be what not to do and what not to be, it could be something, you know, down that road. But, you know, when I look back on my career, it’s just been so rewarding, because I’ve just truly spoken with some of the most talented engineers and scientists and I’ve learned so much about their careers. And it’s opened up a different perspective and a different way of thinking for myself, and I’ve, I’ve really valued every conversation I’ve ever had.

Kim Meninger I have a question for you. And I don’t know if you’ve thought about this, but I find it interesting, because what you’re describing is, these conversations can be really uncomfortable for a lot of people, right? Your personality types. There’s a vulnerability there, whether it’s in what you’re sharing, or even just reaching out to somebody who may not be open to a conversation, you also described yourself as not an, a confident person, right? So how do you? How do you reconcile those two sides of yourself? Like you’re obviously willing to go out there, you reached out to me each other, out to people, and I would describe that as like a bold, confident move. So how, how do you process that in your own mind?

Kathleen Taylor I think, because it’s genuine, I reached out to you because I genuinely appreciated the message that you were saying on your talk. And for me, you know, everybody has life moments, you know, they do it, you know, you go through, and we all have different traumas, we all have different experiences. And I think it really molded you into the person that you are. And with mine, just going through I know you and I have touched on this, you know, previously, you know, I went through a period of my life where, you know, my traumas just really included, you know, miscarriages and baby loss, and, you know, few others that really impacted me to fully embrace the moment to really be present. And I’m one of those people where, if I believe something, or if I want to say something, I tell that person I, you know, with my friends and my family, I’m always telling them how much they mean to me because I don’t ever not want to say it. And then something happens. And now I’ve missed out on the opportunity. And now I’m, I’m at somebody’s funeral saying those words. So I live in the moment. I’m somebody that embraces that. And, you know, when I heard your messaging, and it resonated with me, I wanted to tell you that, you know, and I thought it was impactful. So I guess my answer to your question is, I’m not somebody that’s going to say something for the sake of saying it, I wholeheartedly believe it. And I think when you come in to anything, and you can be authentic, and when you can be genuine, I do believe that people can pick up on that, you know, each and every day, yes, obviously people are, you know, sending out LinkedIn messages, and there’s some where, you know, you feel this, the sales side of it. With me, it’s just, I believe that, I believe that and I think when you’re having a conversation with people, if you can share your vulnerability, your vulnerabilities and you can share your stories and you’re building that connection with somebody. That’s how you start building, you know, the communication where you feel like you’re sharing and anytime I’m speaking with people, I wholeheartedly enjoy helping people you know, so I love learning about their backgrounds, and if I can play any, any single part in helping them get to the next stage of their career. I really enjoy that part of it. I think everybody deserves to have somebody in their corner as a supporter, you know, and, and, and I just, I love being able to sit back and being able to identify people’s talents and what they’re so good at and, and, you know, helping them see that part of it and you know, he can play a part in somebody’s development. I think that that’s an incredible and incredible place to start.

Kim Meninger I so appreciate that. And what you’re making me think about too is I often think about how really leaning into your core values can help push you through some of the other Why scary things because what you’re describing is that what’s more meaningful to you in that moment is not whether or not you’ll be rejected by this person that you reach out to. But the value you hold around telling someone how you feel, and that it’s more important to you to put that out there than it is to worry about the potential negative consequences of the outreach. And that’s something that I, I think is available to all of us like, it’s not necessarily something again, going back to the rational versus irrational part of our brain that we’re gonna consciously think about. But it’s available to us when we find ourselves in these at these crossroads, right, like, do this or do I not do this? And I often think that if you can get to a place where, when you’re standing at that crossroads, to ask yourself, who’s the person I want to be in this moment, right? Like, who? What are the values that I hold most dear? And which action is going to be in greatest alignment with those values? Is it not moving forward? Or is it moving forward? And that answer is going to be different to everyone, but what I’m hearing you say is, I’m so committed to being in the moment and sharing how I feel with people that, you know, I’m not even thinking necessarily about what, what bad things might happen, or at least it’s not as important to me as it is to do what I feel.

Kathleen Taylor Absolutely. And you know, your messaging, I mean, you, you talk a lot about impostor syndrome. And it is hard. I mean, it’s hard for people to get out there and put their voice out there and actually say, Hey, I live with this, you know, I’m afraid to do these things, and your messaging and Rob’s messaging, I think it’s important because at the end of the day, it’s truly helping people. And I think that there’s power in that, you know, when somebody else can sit there and listen, and if your story can help, and it’s resonating with somebody else, and it’s making a difference. And, and that’s why I wanted you to know, you know that it made a difference for me, and I really appreciate it and keep doing what you’re doing, because it’s reaching people. And I think that’s important to share that feedback is, is that, you know, I appreciate that it probably took a lot of courage for you, in your talks to get out there and talk about your journey and your story to talk about, you know, I wasn’t the most confident person in the room, I doubted myself for years, I was questioning if I should go back to school and get an engineering degree. So I can come back and have conversations with engineers. And I sat back and I thought, this is fantastic. You know, this is the positive messaging that should be out there. Because what happens is, somebody listens to that. And then they feel that they’re less alone. And then maybe they’re gonna start talking and then somebody else that hears that it’s resonating with them. And then there’s powers in numbers where you build each other up, find, find your people, I mean, that’s what I do, if I’m going through something. Or say, for example, I go on a podcast, the first one, the second one, I reach out to the people that I trust the most. And, you know, they, they give me the reassurance, you know, when that irrational part of my brain is trying to talk me out of doing it, it’s comforting to know that you have a support system.

Kim Meninger You’re so right. And I think what you’re really describing is humanizing our interests. Right? And it’s like, if I can be human with you, and you can be human with me, then we can get past so much of the artificiality. And that like you and I were talking about earlier, everyone else seems like they have it all figured out, right? And then you can actually pull back the curtain and realize, Oh, she doesn’t have to figure well, if she doesn’t have it figured out, then I’m doing okay, right, you happen unless you create them happen when you’re sitting in the middle of a meeting, right? Like you have to take the initiative. And I think for me because I get asked this question a lot people want to know, how do I reach out to somebody who’s a stranger, you know, what do I say? What, how do I do that without bothering people? I don’t think you can ever go wrong when you do what you’re describing, which is to just show genuine appreciation.

Kathleen Taylor Sure, making, making the connection and, you know, and I think it’s, there’s certain things that will come naturally to some people. Absolutely. You know, there’s, there’s certain people that, you know, may have this inner, you know, personal attribute that they’re just so great at making connections, but then they have to really work at other things. And I think that, you know, if you can sit down and really reflect and get an idea of, you know, well what do I want to work on? I mean, it’s not, don’t consider it a weakness, just consider it Did you know these are the things that I want to create some more opportunities and really worked out so I can get stronger at, you know, public speaking for me is one of them. I mean, I’m not, I am not a naturally confident public speaker, but it’s something that is really important to me and I want to get better at so you start creating opportunities for yourself where you can build up that muscle memory and apply it every day. And, you know, go back to just on a personal note for, for my son I have, I have three kids and my, my middle mine, Jack when he was born, happiest baby, you know, really, really happy baby. But when we are approaching with him being 616 months old, it was flagged to us that, okay, something, something isn’t right. And I jumped in with, you know, early intervention, I didn’t really know what was happening. He would cry every now and then but was just missing the milestones of the babbling stage. So there was no talking there was, there was no sounds wasn’t moving his lips. And I felt helpless. You know, I went to some professionals and they said, Okay, well, we should jump on, you know, early intervention with speech therapy. And we’re walking down that road. And you’re, you’re, you’re going through and you’re ruling things out, right? And I felt so helpless as a parent, I really didn’t know what to do. So I did the only thing that I’m really good at, and that’s jumping into research and reaching out and building connections and finding people and I ended up you know, building a team that could really help me support my son. And we went down a road where he was eventually diagnosed with selective mutism. So severe anxiety disorder. And for years, he went completely mute, I had no idea what was going on. I drove for the first few years, you know, identified some schools that would help set him up for success, you know, with other individuals that had a severe speech delay, and I really didn’t know what we were dealing with. We went through testing, you know, easy death, we went through genetic testing. You know, we went through testing for autism. So there was definitely a very overwhelming time. But that power of anxiety for certain people can be so paralyzing and overwhelming. And I don’t know if you know, obviously, your background is psychology, but selective mutism, you know, was definitely a world that was new to me. And, you know, he was I’ll never forget this day cam, you know, he was completely mute for years. And, you know, I found the best psychologist within our area that specializes in selective mutism. And then the best speech therapist that specializes in selective mutism, because not many do, and you know, tutors, and they are family to me now. I mean, we’ve been on this journey together for you know, seven years, and I’ll never forget, it was the first time that we were in a car, and I think he was close to four years old. And, and all of a sudden, I just hear this delivered voice that just said, I love you, Mama. And it was just the most overwhelming moment, I will never forget that I don’t remember when my girls told me for the first time, which, which is, that makes me a little sad, but they were talking for, for so long. But it was definitely a long road of you know, trying to set him up for success. And, you know, his little body was just in fight or flight mode all the time with, with severe anxiety, and soon and now we’re on a completely different path. He’s a thriving little nine-year-old guy who tells me he loves me all the time. And we’re always talking hockey, and but it’s just, you know, trying to kind of figure out, you know, what, you’re what you’re working with, and, you know, jumping on that and creating resources to help you along in on your path. And I think there’s a lot of kids even that have those thoughts. It’s not really within adults. I mean, it’s it can stem so early on, and having those conversations about how you’re feeling and putting words to them. Because for children, I mean, they don’t know what’s going on. They don’t know, what they’re feeling is a severe panic attack. And you know, and you see that evolve. You know, I think they say that it’s kind of like an around the time of girls especially like nine or 10 years old, where they start kind of not wanting to participate in certain events and anxiety. It can be just really paralyzing and it can happen really, really young.

Kim Meninger It’s so important to talk about because again, I think that it’s not doesn’t always feel safe to talk about I have openly shared my anxiety story with anyone who will listen because I want people to know what’s normal. I want people to know that it’s okay to talk about it. And I think that if we stigmatize it, people aren’t gonna get access to the support that they need. And a lot of what we’re talking about a lot of this self-doubt that we’re talking about is rooted in anxiety. It’s rude. Have you want to feel normal? We all want to get things right, right? We’re all looking around, we’re asking, am I doing this right? It, am I going to be punished for this might be humiliated? And the more we can just strip away the barriers and just be human with each other, get to know each other, hear each other’s stories, everything that you’re saying, is just such a powerful antidote to that natural feeling of discomfort that we have in these kinds of situations. And it’s just so inspiring to hear your story and the way you’ve approached your own life as it relates to managing some of these challenges.

Kathleen Taylor Awe, thank you, Kim. I appreciate any, you know, what the best way that I was able to steer it, is with other people’s help, you know, what I mean? Just trying to connect, have a support system, finding the right people, you know, a lot of reflection on my part, you know, obviously, I want to grow as a person and I want to grow as a professional, and then, you know, obviously, helping my son along the way, you know, I don’t want to see him, you know, struggle with, with, with that. And it’s basically, you know, identifying, okay, what is this? Let’s put a name to it, what’s triggering it? And how can you move forward, and it’s just working at it every single day, and fighting through the urge of running and hiding from it.

Kim Meinger I think that captures everything, like, you know, you’re in the story of your son, obviously, that’s a more serious and more specific situation. But I think what you’re describing is a template for everything, like you name it, right? And then you can, once you’ve named it, now you can access the resources to help you through it. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Kathleen Taylor And now, you know, I’ve been on this personal journey for myself where, you know, I think it was maybe February, I just woke up one day, and I thought, enough, I didn’t realize how exhausting that negative talk was, in my head, I was so mean to myself, I thought, My goodness. And I actually started counting the negative things that I was saying to myself during the day. And you know, if I’d mess up what I would say, I thought, I wouldn’t say this to another human being, but why am I doing it to myself, and I just made some deliberate choices where I thought, Alright, I can’t live like this anymore. And I’m going to, I’m going to be more proactive with my health. So I decided, you know, who’s gonna wake up every single morning, and I’m going to start my day with Ron, I downloaded an app, put my air pods in, David Goggins got me out of bed for the first day at 5 am. And I put, you know why, obviously, the negative talk in my head, I need to start listening to other people’s voices. And this motivational app was really inspiring to me. So anytime the negative talk would, would come into my head, I put somebody else’s voice in there and listen to it. And that moment of, in the morning, where I can just, you know, run for an hour, and I have that time, to really give me some great reflection. There’s just so much clarity there. And, and, and focus, and it calms me and it really gets my day started, as opposed to just the alarm going off, and then you’re running, trying to get kids off to school. And it’s just, it’s just so crazy. I start my day, every morning and just having that time for me. And then I’m more focused to jump into work and, and it just, I’ve always been an overthinker. I’m always thinking about what’s going to happen tomorrow, but it pulls me in, it pulls me in, helps me focus on what am I doing today. What is my goal? And then I have that self-talk where all right, Kathleen, we’re going to be uncomfortable. today. We’re gonna do some uncomfortable things. And then I go with it.

Kim Meninger Oh, that’s so inspiring. I seriously, Kathleen, I could talk to you all day. And I just, I feel like your story is so helpful to so many, and I’m just grateful that you’re willing to share it here.

Kathleen Taylor Ah, thanks, Kim. I, you know what, I really appreciate it. You know, at the end of the day, everybody is going through something. And I think that’s my message is don’t go through it alone. You know, you’re not the only one. Reach out to people that you trust, build up your people of support, and just talk about it, you know, and just know that you’re gonna get through it.

Kim Meninger Absolutely. What a powerful way to wrap up this conversation. Thank you.

Kathleen Taylor All. Thanks, Kim. Thank you so much.

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