A typical day at work for Kim Kirkley inolves love and celebration. Kim is a Celebrant/Modern Minister. She works closely with her couples to craft a celebration of the heart. She works to understand the couples, to find out who they really are resulting in a ceremony that resonates with love and joy. On several occassions, wedding guests have asked Kim how long she has known the couple assuming she must their BFF. Modern Bride has even honored Kim’s work as a wedding celebrant where she received the Trendsetter Award along with wedding industry giants Vera Wang, Carolina Herrera, and Wolfgang Puck.
Kim didn’t always have a joy filled working day. After college, Kim attended law school with the intention of helping others. Though she experienced some joy being of service, the law environment was not feeding her soul. Kim found herself having to put on a mask to make it through the day. Kim knew she needed a change. Not knowing how she would make a living, Kim decided to work as a contract attorney. Contract work afforded her the opportunity to choose whom she wanted to work with and some much needed space to explore what she really wanted to do.
One fateful day while working a contract position, Kim got into a discussion with a woman who was recently married. The woman was unhappy with her wedding ceremony. As Kim listened she reflected on the pressure couples must feel to find an officiant who would not prioritize their beliefs over the couples’. The two women thought how great it would be to have a ceremony that ensured the couple could be celebrated with love and no judgment. A few months later, the woman handed Kim an ad she had cut out from the newspaper. The ad was for a training class from new organization, Celebrant USA Foundation (now Celebrant Foundation and Institute). Reading the ad Kim felt instantly guided. She knew this was the opportunity that would free her from her mask.
Since shedding her mask, Kim has had the honor of working with couples from all walks of life. She credits her couples for teaching her about love, joy and happiness resulting in Kim becoming a Happiness/Authentic Success Coach and author. In her latest book, Love Stories, Real Black Men Talk About Love, Marriage & Being A Good Black Man, Kim takes her celebration to the page to pay tribute to black men who are committed to their families and debunk the stereotypes of black men commonly seen in the media.
Love Stories, Real Black Men Talk About Love, Marriage & Being A Good Black Man, shares the life and love stories of eight men. Kim knew this book needed to be written from the reactions of friends when she would tell them about the couples she was marrying. They wanted to know more about them and what made these men tick. “My friend literally pleaded with me to write this book about contemporary black men in happy, loving, committed marriages.” So Kim embarked on the project of the book. The book is also a tribute to her Dad, a true “salt of the earth” man who lived his life for his wife and family.
Be it officiating a ceremony, coaching clients or writing her books, today Kim is a joyful professional. A person who has come to know her own spiritual self, allowing her to live an authentic love filled life devoid of her old mask.
SOUL Survey Questions
1. How do you stay focused and motivated?
I stay focused by writing down my goals once a day and I do my best to infuse my notes and my life with the sense that these goals have been fulfilled. My work and my life are so closely aligned that I do not struggle with motivation. I seek to make sure my work is the best use of my time and I have to remind myself to take time off.
2. How do you deal with naysayers?
I am very careful about who I share my dreams with. I really only share my
vision with a handful of people who I know support me and my dreams.
3. How do you blur the lines between work and play?
I love what I do — championing people to be who they are through ceremonies, talks, books and articles — this is fun for me. I strive to be my authentic self in all that I do and to grow in the direction of my dreams. That makes it fun!