123. Personal Responsibility for Your Life with Kim Sutton

The Do a Day Podcast from Bryan Falchuk

Kim Sutton is a marketing and business automation mentor who focuses on helping small business owners get away from their businesses and back to the people and activities they love. She is also a mother of five kids, and someone who has worked to create a productive life through learning the power of knowing what to say Yes and No to.

And it isn’t easy. With major struggles from saying Yes too many times to everyone but herself, including in a marriage where she was marginalized and mistreated. Through those hardships, Kim has set course on a better path, which she shares openly and honestly in this episode.

Key Points from the Episode with Kim Sutton:

    • Kim is a mother of 5, including a set of twins
    • Over the last 7 years, she’s had to figure out how to own her space and make room for both the personal and professional sides of her life
    • This struggle has included some very dark lows and some great highs, which helps her help others create this balance and sustainability
    • For Kim, she was overwhelmed by anxiety to the point of being constantly exhausted because she couldn’t sleep
    • Despite being so tired, her anxiety just amped up further, making the problem worse and worse
    • Kim does a lot of work with websites and online marketing, and she shared a good piece of advice
    • Don’t focus on the numbers people tell you because numbers can be faked. You can tell what stories are real, so focus on the stories where you feel they’re right and real.
    • Kim grew up with a strong sense of not being good enough, with one of her parents’ sides having means and the other not, so she saw the disparity and judgment
    • She got her first job at 11, and always had a drive to have a job, support herself, and succeed
    • Her mother threatened her not to attend her college graduation if Kim hadn’t secured a job before graduating
    • Kim also felt the pressure from her first boyfriend, who she dated through college, and insisted on knowing where she was all the time, and made her move to New York after graduation
    • She knew she needed to break up with him when she found out she was pregnant, so they got married and stayed together for 8 years
    • They had moved to Ohio in that period, and she left him with two sons and no job or money
    • The situation with the marriage was so bad before she left, with her husband taking her car keys and forcing Kim to walk their older son to school in the middle of Winter with sub-zero wind chill
    • Kim took her kids, and got a job at Chipotle to make ends meet
    • It was nothing like the kinds of jobs she had before, but she realized you have to suck it up and do what you have to do sometimes, regardless of what your pride or past tells you about it
    • In that period, she met her current husband
    • They continued to struggle as her husband lost his job, so Kim started a side business as a virtual assistant (VA) to help support the family
    • This kicked off Kim’s struggle with how to say “No” to anyone she met or any request that came through
    • Some people take advantage of this, when they know you’ll never turn them down, and others don’t realize you’re agreeing to things you don’t have the space to take on
    • That struggle drove Kim’s anxiety but also is the teacher for what she’s gained in her self-understanding and realizing how to value herself
    • She said, clearly, she does not want to “Oh well” life
    • Kim had started lots of projects, but never finished any of them as she kept jumping to the next idea or request
    • This is something she calls Chronic Idea Disorder, and is the basis of the book she’s working on
    • Kim has had more than one struggle with extreme anxiety
    • The first battle started with her first business in 2005 (which ended in 2010)
    • She had a full time job at the time, and had to wake up at 5:30 each morning to work her 9-hour-a-day day-job, and then got home and worked on her online business until 3am
    • She had a thyroid issue at the time, too, so the lack of sleep and stress made this worse
    • In 2008, she checked herself into a mental health hospital, who never really dug into her sleep issues and just gave her medication
    • In January 2015, she had her twins, and spent the next 18 months going 20-22 hours a day, non-stop
    • It wasn’t just about the twins as her husband was very involved in their care, but largely driven by her work and her chasing of everything – the Facebook groups, the opportunities, etc
    • And yet, there wasn’t enough money to make ends meet despite that hustle
    • Rewinding a few years, her step-brother died, with it being an open investigation, but appearing to be suicide
    • As an entrepreneur, he was stressed and overloaded and felt he couldn’t turn to anyone, and Kim feels that no one should be in this position
    • So in 2016, finding herself in a similar place, she told her husband, who listened and was there for her to find help
    • She was praying at one point, seeing monsters filling her mind, then seeing a bright white light and an angel wing appear, clearing the monsters out, and she had the best night’s sleep she could remember
    • The next morning, she found something one of her kid’s made for her with an angel wing on her desk despite it being put away somewhere else
    • That was such a clear sign to Kim from God that she had to say no, clear things away and sleep rather than continuing to break up or de-prioritize her sleep for everything else
    • This is where her change came from, starting with sleep, and making more space by saying no to things like texting her clients over the weekend
    • She realized over the course of a year, she only ate dinner with her family 10 times, including the 6 other birthdays in the house, which was a real wake up for her
    • If we have needs, we need to let people know what we expect. This is our personal responsibility, or we should not expect to have what we want or need in life
    • She mentioned a pivotal book in her life, Worthy, by Nancy Levin
    • One thing she realized is that she felt she wasn’t worthy to spend money if she wasn’t the money maker in the family, which she says a lot of women feel in their marriage
    • Kim reapplied many can also feel that when serving someone else in a client relationship, which leads to devaluing yourself
    • There are so many ways we can give back to our community without giving away our 1-on-1 time
    • She asked how long do we give ourselves to beat ourselves up after we’ve messed up? Or how long do we get down? What’s healthy here?
    • It’s about taking responsibility for your life, making promises to yourself, but then keeping them
    • This process has taught Kim personal responsibility and accountability


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