Description: Welcome to Flourish & Friends hosted by Kerri Voyles and Esther Kontny! We’re kicking off our pod by chatting about starting something new – how to know when it’s time, maintaining momentum, and the shift from dreams to goals. Plus, discover a radical candle alternative and powerful books we’ve recently read.
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Kerri: Hello and welcome to the Flourish and Friends podcast, to our very first episode. I’m your host, Kerri Voyles, and I’m here with my friend and collaborator, Esther Kontny.
Esther: Hey friends.
Kerri: How’s it going in, uh, Australia? Esther, how’s the weather been?
Esther: The weather has been so rainy. It’s been raining off and on for the last few weeks, and I know it’s springtime, but it’s just way too much rain. Apparently there’s a La Nina year, so if you know what that means, good for you. Brownie points. What about in Kansas City? I, I, uh, have this feeling that it’s fall there
Kerri: It is fall. It is fall in KC, and it’s lovely loving the weather. The leaves are turning and it’s one of my favorite times of year.
Although, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s going up, it’s going down. It’s variable as you know,
Esther: Uh, yes. That’s one of the things I do not like about the Midwest
Kerri: Well, if you don’t know Esther personally, Esther recently moved across the world to Australia,
Esther: So if you hear any technical things, it’s because the internet is working very hard to connect us.
We met in Kansas City though, about a year ago when I first started working for Flourish Creative, we just started collaborating and it’s been awesome.
Kerri: Yeah, I was so grateful to be connected with Esther when I was looking for help with content creation, and she’s turned out to be just an amazing collaborator, and I’m so grateful to have her here as co-host to this new podcast.
Kerri: So our goal for this podcast is really to create a new avenue for our flourish community so we can kind of gather around conversations, important conversations around growth and flourishing, and we call it flourish in Friends because you all are our friends, our community, and you’re welcome here in this dialogue and in this conversation.
Esther: Yeah, nothing is really off the table because how we lead our life spills into how we lead at work, and overall, our brand reflects that, especially as
Kerri: Definitely. Yeah. So today we’re chatting about resilience, purpose, and leadership all around the topic of starting something new.
But first, let’s start with some fun things that are giving us life.
Kerri: So kicking it off with fresh picks. As Esther mentioned, fresh picks are just different, fun things that are bringing us life that we’ve recently discovered either personally or professionally, again, anything in between. What is your fresh pick?.
Esther: So just yesterday, me and my husband, Cody, discovered scented lava rocks. And I am so excited. We bought, I mean, it’s kinda a high price point, but candles are getting too expensive. Okay. And I’m burning through candles so frequently that I’m trying to find some, some solution and this, you know how, at stationary stores, they always have a bunch of gifts.
And I always buy those gifts for myself.
Esther: I’ve heard of scented rocks before. But I hadn’t seen lava rocks and I am convinced that the lava rock is probably superior, cuz it’s so porous. So, what you do is you put drops of the scent into the rocks, and then they just permeate your house. the scent that we chose, the rocks have been soaking in the scent since they’ve been packaged.
Kerri: what, how would you describe the scent
Esther: There’s Musk in it. like a perfume. I’d imagine a fashion designer wearing it’s kind of earthy, but kind of still feminine, anyways. Very excited about it.
Kerri: I love it. It sounds like an amazing scent to set the ambiance in your apartment. Smell is so
Esther: I know. Yeah. And that’s why I always burn candles. And I’m , this droplet thing is $30, which is as much as a candle, but it’s gonna last probably a year, at least. So we’ll see, I’ll give you an update on how long it’s lasted.
Kerri: I can’t wait to see it. You’ll have to picture too.
Esther: Yes I will. Okay. Kerri, what’s a fresh pick for you?
Kerri: This is, I don’t know how or why it took me so long to discover this. I already knew about it, but I just never did it, but we’ve been eating chia, seed pudding. Finally, We’re really into smoothies. It’s our normal morning thing
Kerri: And we eat chia seeds in our smoothies, but for whatever reason, I had the inspiration to just make the chia seed pudding with chia seed and almond milk with a little bit of vanilla and a little bit of honey.
And you just put it in the fridge overnight and. Yeah. If you like chia seeds, it’s very chia seed. you don’t, you won’t like this, but I’ve really been loving it. And it’s super easy. Cause I, I mean, I love making our smoothies fresh, but it is kind of process because then you have to blend the smoothie and then you have to clean the smoothie. So this has been a nice, easy, the night before, make it and you have it in the morning, so that’s my fresh pick. Chia seed pudding.
It feels healthy. I don’t, I think it is, but it just feels healthy when you eat it. So right. now we will dive into our conversation on starting something new.
Esther: Let’s start maybe with how, you know, it’s time. I know a lot of people want to start some new things, but they might delay it because of a number of things. So how did you know it was time to start something new in your life?
Kerri: That’s a big question. Yeah. I feel like it really depends on where you are. Of course. And what the thing is that you’re considering. I think if you’re starting something new, that’s really big. That’s gonna shift your life pretty tremendously. Whether it’s for me starting Flourish or I know for you, I’d love to hear more about you and your husband moving abroad to Australia I think.
Giving it the appropriate amount of space to breathe and time to reflect depending on what it is. And I think in general, people wanna be intentional about what they do add to their lives because we have so much, our lives are so full. So when we think about starting something new, having space and holding space to be intentional about reflecting and evaluating on those things, where am I now?
And where, where do I wanna go? And things that’s new are going to be something that we want to, that we, I say we, but I mean, I, that I want to invest in and something worth pursuing. So that’s something
So those are just a few of the things I think through. How about you? How do you feel when you’re evaluating, is it time to start something new?
What do you think about?
Esther: Well, I think a lot of times I have to be conscious of my desire to escape. So. A lot of my imagination of wanting to start something new. It’ll run off. Normally when I am not enjoying my present situation. So I pause and reflect on, okay, is this just me trying to get out of a difficult situation or Is it actually coming from a place of health.
So if I am like, okay, I’m, I’m healthy and I’m content, but this job or this situation doesn’t really feel like it’s working anymore externally. And that could mean changing a lot of things. So for me I always do a mental or internal check. So I, at least before moving, I really wanted to make sure that we were just leaving and then arrive in Australia and then be like uh, did we make the right decision?
You know, there’s still that doubt that comes in my head, but I, I know since I’ve made a decision out of a healthy place, it doesn’t really have any feet. So, my checks are always spiritual check, mental check, physical check, relational check and professional. So is it leveling me up or is it me escaping something is definitely something I think about.
Kerri: I love that. I feel like you hit on something that is so important and that I don’t often think about which is, am I escaping something? That’s a really deep question. That is also really important as we think about new things, both big and small, but to have that self-reflection. reflection is so important and so key and can save a lot of energy down the road, too. Energy might not be the right word, but just, it gives an opportunity to, pause first before starting it.
Esther: Yeah, that’s true.
Kerri: I am an Enneagram three. So I very much think about the future a lot. I see the gap. I call it the gap. I am always seeing the vision and how cool it could be. And it’s a blessing and a curse because I do have a lot of vision. I have a lot of ideas, but something that. As I’m thinking about starting something new or just ideating something that’s been really helpful for me is to be able to give myself space to dream, but have, have a, a separation between dreaming and ideation and then actually converting those dreams into, okay, now I’ve made a choice this is now a goal. And I found that that’s really helpful. Internally, just for myself to make that distinction So I still have space to think and dream and play and then, you know, hone in and make decisions through a checklist. You just said something about thinking through values, thinking really strategically. then once I’ve done that thinking, then I can kind of convert it into a goal.
And I do this both personally, but it, or sorry, professionally, but it really helps personally too, my husband, I know, I start talking about all of the dreams, his mind kind of goes towards, oh, these are to-dos now. And I’m like, no, no, no, we’re just in dream phase.
Esther: That’s the same.
Kerri: It’s been helpful. To say this is just idea time. These aren’t I’m not saying we’re starting something new. These possibilities and I love possibilities. So
Esther: Yes, that’s so true. I do the same thing to Cody. dreaming big dreams. And he’s such a practical person. He is like, oh, I don’t know if this is possible., no, no, no. Not this year, even, I’m just letting you know, this is on my mind. Yeah. In the same way. I also like to think about it in that same dream aspect.
What am I doing? That’s working towards those dreams. I think that’s something I’ve. Been growing in, cuz I’m someone talking about the enneagram. I would classify myself as a five. fives have a really hard time taking what’s in their head and actually applying it and doing it. And so a, a good question I ask myself is how am I working towards that goal?
And that helps me figure If something is right to step into, or if it’s not. I think a lot about my professional life. Up until this point has been this, let’s just try it because I’m still early in my career. If it doesn’t work, I can always pivot and do something different. But yeah, what does my current situation, is it serving me into my future? Or is it not, you?
Kerri: I love that. I’d love to hear, you know about, making the big decision to sell all of your belongings quite literally and move overseas once you’ve made that decision. And you’ve talked a little bit about how you kind of process that, but how is it now that you’ve made it, started the new, and now it’s in progress. What does it look like for your momentum?
Esther: That’s a good question. I think a lot of it is scary because everything has been new. I think my mind’s eye, going into it was like, new is so exciting and it’s refreshing. And I didn’t also expect new to be exhausting and take a toll on me. My mind is always being engaged, cuz usually it’s only been in spurts, like vacation or getting to see a new place.
You always know you’re gonna go back and settle into what you know. And so finding the things that feel familiar in the midst of so much change has been really vital. I think even as, as small as choosing to go to a very similar church setting that we went to, we thought we would wanna change it up.
But realizing once we got here, the sameness actually feels really refreshing, we know what to expect. And so little moments of finding. Yeah, familiarity in the midst of all the new, and then also just realizing that a lot of things internally come out. I felt very vulnerable at this time, in my life that I didn’t expect to feel.
Just because of, I don’t know, you step into this new thing, and then all of a sudden you feel exposed on all ends and you’re like, oh gosh. What did I do? But realizing, okay, how can I embrace that? And how can I nurture myself and give myself space to really feel that.
I don’t know, protection from other things like my relationship with God or my relationship with my husband. And then allow these new relationships I’m making with other people. I don’t know. I, I want them to be my old relationships that are three plus years old, but allowing them to be what they are, which is new relationships.
Kerri: Holding that space to make the decision, you’re starting something new and then to let yourself feel and be reoriented by whatever that new thing is, is important because you can’t. We only have so much capacity. So in life, when we start something new, we’re inevitably taking away something too.
So it’s both new and it’s in the analogy of with you know, planting seeds and having seeds grow. We’re also uprooting things that there was no space for anymore. And it’s easy to say. Another different thing to do because it can be painful and, or take time when there is such a high once, once you do make a decision and you are starting off on something. So I love, I love how you that and just your journey and where, where you’re at.
Esther: Yeah, I’m sure, you probably experienced something similar, maybe at a smaller scale when you decided to leave the comforts of a full-time salary job and then go out into entrepreneur life. There’s lots of risks involved in that.
How did you feel, what did you need when you stepped into that, that kept you going and has helped keep you going to this point.
Kerri: I think it’s, It’s a combination of a lot of different things. Certainly having the space before making the decision again, to pause and to think about what are my values, what am I looking for? What if I had the opportunity to design my own career what would I want to do? And what would I want it to be? And what would I fill my day with and giving myself space to dream and think on those things was really fun.
And also the opportunity to speak with other entrepreneurs who have done it because a decision like that, I felt, at least. Like this is impossible or this is just gonna be way too hard. And I mean, I love a challenge, but it, it just seems so out there. So surrounding myself and talking to people who had done it before and what they learned and what their journey was, was really helpful.
I also think you’re making a decision. For me, this can be tempting to get too much advice and not create your own path. So I, trying to really balance hearing others’ journeys while just taking what made sense for me at that time. And. would say in general, just this whole journey of being an entrepreneur. I started Flourish before the pandemic and I was part-time and was able to go full-time in August of 2020.
But those were some really tough months with a lot of mindset. Like, why would I leave a secure job when the world, who knows what the heck is going on with the world? And for me having those relationships and cheerleaders and people who’ve been there before. Tell me that you can do this, gifts are needed. services will be valuable and are valuable just step by step making that transition. even to this day, I think there’s always. You know, I always have a little bit of doubt, I’m human. But surrounding myself with people who are encouraging to lead me on, but also are able to go through the hard things too, because it’s not, it’s not all roses.
I think a lot of people in my generation have glamorized, you know, being your own boss, all of that hustle culture. And it really is and that’s okay. There are different parts that I like about doing it that someone else might like something completely different about you being an entrepreneur. So for me, I think the community piece is really key. And when you leave a team atmosphere too, that was the other part I really like.
Connecting with people and working with people. so to go out on my own, I had to be really intentional about still having that community around me and that community with the people that I got to work with and trying to create that community approach too. So yeah, that’s just, that’s just a little bit, a little bit of it, but I think, something that. You, I know I’ve, I’ve seen, you talk about, it’s just kind of this idea of starting something new is, is a risk
Esther: I would say that yeah, change, it’s, it’s so uncomfortable and I think that. Life without risk, right. you don’t really get to see the reward. So I think that life is meant to be, we’re supposed to take risks. And I think when we step out the reason we feel so vulnerable and we feel so out of our comfort zone is because we’re actually awakening things in us.
And we, our senses are now heightened, right? Anytime we step out, our senses are heightened. And I think that the higher the risk, the higher the reward, but there’s also the risk of more failures. Right. And so keeping all of that into consideration. I remember in college one of my professors early on, he gave this whole talk on failure and about how we need to reframe failure.
So I think ever since that point, I started thinking of failure. A lot of the time I’m already naturally reframing it into, oh, that didn’t work. I’m just gonna move on and try something new. So yeah, I think the things that I think about is to embrace the uncomfortableness you know, embrace the failures and know that they’re actually leading you somewhere.
And be prepared to shed some tears and some regrets along the way. And you’re, you’re gonna lighten your load as you move into that new thing, you know?
Kerri: amen. It’s like building a new muscle. It takes time to develop and. I guess going back to the plant analogy to water it and to help tend to it it’s this new little thing in your life or new project, it doesn’t have to be big decisions in life. It can be what’s right for me to focus on next quarter or what am I, what am I hoping for relationally next year?
To be able to like ideate, and give ourselves that permission to pause and think about what is something that we feel is worth the risk? What is, what are some seeds we can plant for the future? Even if we don’t feel confident enough right now to do the big thing. What are some small seeds we can plant in due time, could in the right environment, could you know, grow and flourish and that’s, that’s often the way, I mean, things in life go, so, yeah. And then holding space for, for pruning and taking out what isn’t serving us anymore and letting things evolve, what it, what it was three days ago, or three years ago be different and it’s okay to shift.
And it’s okay to, to use that to pivot and, and redirect towards what is feeling right for us in season
Esther: So when we think about moving forward, I always think about the roadblocks that come up and I think our dream should be bigger than whatever roadblocks come up, our vision should we should set it, so that it’s big enough that it can encompasses all those changes and twists and turns that come up.
And then, maybe For all our listeners to think about is your vision, is your dream big? And write it down, write about what you see. You can be specific, you can maybe be risky and even dreaming about the certain specificities and give yourself people who are around you that know this dream.
Here, you talk about what allows you to process it. I think that’s really helpful. And just see where your next step leads you. I think that’s all we can do, right? Is we can set our dreams, set our vision and then just take the next right step as Emily P. Freeman would say…
Esther: All right onto our last segment. We wanna highlight some bookmarks. What are you reading or watching that is inspiring you either personally or professionally,
Kerri: I would recommend to bookmark the Ted talk called? What Makes Life Worth Living in the Face of Death by Lucy Kalinithi sounds pretty heavy cause it kind of is but my husband and I were just reading the book called when breath becomes air and its about her husband, he’s a doctor and his wife wrote the book as kind of his memoir as he was dying of cancer and he’s a neurosurgeon, so she just reflects. On the journey and kind of where she is, and it’s really powerful. So if you’re looking for a powerful thing, definitely bookmark it, and I highly recommend that.
Esther: That just gave me goosebumps.
Kerri: yeah, yeah. I highly recommend the book. So When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalinithi, and then her Ted talk, which is what makes life worth living in the face of. So what’s yours maybe less, less
Esther: Yeah, well, I just finished reading bread and wine by Shauna Niequest. And I loved it. I think I’ve read her other book Present Over Perfect. But this one was. Now they’re really easy to read and full of anecdotes around sharing life around the table and tips on hosting. As well as a few recipes sprinkled throughout I’ve tried a couple recipes which have been tasty. I’m just really inspired to have people of our own host.
And so this was just a good read. About that and how friendships, how they ebb and flow through the years and through life. So it was beautiful.
Kerri: Well, thank you for joining us for our very first episode of flourish and friends podcast. We hope that you enjoyed this episode kind of focused on starting something new as we start something new, which is this podcast. And we’re really excited and grateful that you’ve joined us and listened this far.
We’d love to hear from you. So please give us a rating and leave us a review wherever you’re listening to us. And again, feel free to send us a note. email@example.com
Until next time, live well and flourish.