Lead a Life You Can Love

Embrace Your Authenticity & Lead a Full Life Despite Mental Health Challenges

May 09, 2023 Jamie Smith Season 2 Episode 40
Embrace Your Authenticity & Lead a Full Life Despite Mental Health Challenges
Lead a Life You Can Love
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Lead a Life You Can Love
Embrace Your Authenticity & Lead a Full Life Despite Mental Health Challenges
May 09, 2023 Season 2 Episode 40
Jamie Smith

This episode spreads the message that being weird was never a bad thing and that it's okay to not be okay. It’s about how to show up more authentically in life so that you can find deeper connections, more joy, and more fulfillment. Guest speaker and really rad human, Kylin Jordan, helps spread mental health awareness as she bravely shares about her journey and proves that you can live a very full and successful life despite dealing with mental health challenges.  

Kylin Jordan is owner of Employ Acadiana, President of her local public library foundation, a disabilities rights activist, and a shining example of what leadership is all about in her community. Check the resources for ways to connect with her and for her favorite book suggestions mentioned in this episode.

Contact/Connect with Kylin Jordan:
Kylin on Facebook
Kylin on LinkedIn
Employ Acadiana on Facebook
Q&A with 20 Under 40 Honoree Kylin Jordan: 'Always be true to yourself and live by example.'-Article in The Advocate by Adam Daigle
Kylin's Fave Book Suggestions:
Atomic Habits by James Clear
Sycamore Row by John Grisham
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

CDC-About Mental Health page

Support the Show.

Book a Complimentary Discovery Call
Become a Supporter of Lead a Life You Can Love
Suggestion or topic you'd like to hear me explore?
Send it to Jamie@JamieSmithCoaching.com
Interested in being a Guest Speaker or a Sponsor?
Click here to book a Podcast Introductory Call

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Show Notes Transcript

This episode spreads the message that being weird was never a bad thing and that it's okay to not be okay. It’s about how to show up more authentically in life so that you can find deeper connections, more joy, and more fulfillment. Guest speaker and really rad human, Kylin Jordan, helps spread mental health awareness as she bravely shares about her journey and proves that you can live a very full and successful life despite dealing with mental health challenges.  

Kylin Jordan is owner of Employ Acadiana, President of her local public library foundation, a disabilities rights activist, and a shining example of what leadership is all about in her community. Check the resources for ways to connect with her and for her favorite book suggestions mentioned in this episode.

Contact/Connect with Kylin Jordan:
Kylin on Facebook
Kylin on LinkedIn
Employ Acadiana on Facebook
Q&A with 20 Under 40 Honoree Kylin Jordan: 'Always be true to yourself and live by example.'-Article in The Advocate by Adam Daigle
Kylin's Fave Book Suggestions:
Atomic Habits by James Clear
Sycamore Row by John Grisham
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

CDC-About Mental Health page

Support the Show.

Book a Complimentary Discovery Call
Become a Supporter of Lead a Life You Can Love
Suggestion or topic you'd like to hear me explore?
Send it to Jamie@JamieSmithCoaching.com
Interested in being a Guest Speaker or a Sponsor?
Click here to book a Podcast Introductory Call


Welcome to All Things Leadership, where together we will explore and discover what leadership is all about, so that you can start leading the life you want to live. 

My mission is to inspire, motivate, and excite you to become the best version of yourself, at home, at work, and everywhere in between.

I’m your host Jamie Smith, now let’s talk leadership.

Jamie: 00:36 
Hey y'all I am super excited for today I have a leader from my hometown joining us her name is Kylin Jordan, and she's just a really rad human y’all. She was just named a top 20 under 40 Acadiana Leadership Award honoree. She's an entrepreneur and the owner of Employ Acadiana. She's the President of the Lafayette Parish Library Foundation and she's just a super cool chick with bright yellow hair spreading sunshine all over our community.

Jamie 1:06
I asked Kylin to be a guest on my show not only because of the amazing leader that she is, but also because her authenticity is just admirable and I thought that she would just be a great person to have a conversation about authenticity with, and just about what it means to be authentic, and how when you get to know yourself, and you start to show up as yourself in life, you can create some pretty amazing things. No matter what is thrown your way. So, I'm excited for her to share her story, so let's welcome her onto the show.

 Jamie 1:43
Hey Kylin. Thanks for being here today and thanks for just being an amazing example of what leadership is all about in our community. And congratulations again to you on top 20 under 40. How did that recognition feel for you?

 Kylin 1:58
Thank you. Oh it felt surreal it was like we were all living in a dream almost. It was really awesome to just know that all of these people were coming together to celebrate us. That we were making a difference in our community. And of course it's nice to be recognized, but that you're doing all the stuff behind the scenes, and you forget that what you are doing is important and so just getting that recognition felt very surreal, that’s the only word I can use to describe that.

 Jamie 2:30
Yea, I would imagine so.  So I think that I would feel very similar because I mean much of what we do as leaders in this world is selfless. It's not you know, it's not typically things that we do for us, it's things that we're doing for other people, or in service of other people. And so yeah, I think that, you know, the recognition for that has got to just feel validating in many ways for the work that you do.

 Jamie 2:56
Well, I would like for you to maybe just start by sharing about your business. It's very selfless business, but I just want you to share about what you do, in that in that beautiful business of yours that you created.

 3:08 Kylin 
So, Employ Acadiana is basically, for lack of a better word, a staffing agency, but what we do is so much more. So I work with people with disabilities. All shapes and sizes. All anxiety, depression, down syndrome, just all over the, all across the board. And what we do is; we match them with employers in the community. I have people who have started a stockers. I have managers. And what we do is, we work one on one with them, and we provide on the job training, on the job coaching, all at no cost to the employer or the client. And we just make sure that we get a good match and we provide services for the life of their job.

 Jamie 3:55
That’s so amazing. What do you think is the most fulfilling or most memorable moment that you've had thus far in your business doing that work?

 Kylin 4:06
Oh man. I have a lot of clients that still keep in touch, but I would say that my favorite part of it is whenever they come to me and I see this person sitting in front of me. We're talking and then seeing their transformation at the very end. When their case is “closed” and they no longer need my services. Seeing the transformation, that they, from beginning to end. Because really what I say is that these people, all they need is just a cheerleader really, because they have in them to do what needs to be done. They just need the confidence boost. I was a cheerleader in high school so it kind of makes sense. But I really say that and that's what anybody really needs is just a little cheerleader on the side. Just, you know, one-on-one, their little team. But that, seeing that transformation is my favorite part.

 Jamie 4:58
So much of what just came out of your mouth, I was just like over here nodding, like heavily in my mind and I'm like that is the work right? Like I can resonate with that so fully as a coach. And the exact same feeling, the exact same thing that I love the most about my job, is seeing that transformation. Where somebody starts with you, to where you help guide them to be at the end of it. And it's just beautiful. It is just a beautiful experience and to know that you left your thumbprint, you know, you had something to do with that. It's just so, there's so much pride there. There's just so much pride. And I was gonna say the same thing. You said it first. But I was like doesn't everybody need that? Right? Like just everybody could use that encouragement in life, that cheerleader in life. We, I think about that often how when we're young, when we're kids we get encouragement coming from all directions at us, all the time. If we're lucky I guess, you know, depending on our upbringing. But most of the time you’ve got teachers in your life, you’ve got coaches in your life, you’ve got a pastor that’s helping to encourage you. But if we didn't have those people growing up then we wouldn't learn how to do something as simple as ride a bike. Right like you have somebody telling you to get back on the bike again and again if you have somebody encouraging you. But like as adults the things that we face are a little bit more tired than learning how to ride a bike. The obstacles and the challenges that we face as adults are things that we need encouragement for way more, you know, then then things that we got encouragement for naturally when we were kids. And so I think as leaders if we can all just be encouragers and be the cheerleader for people in life, that's important, no matter what you do so…

 Kylin 6:46
100%. Absolutely.

 Jamie 6:48 
Well I think that you mentioned that you started… when did you start your business, share that?

Kylin 6:53
So I started it during Covid. May 2020 is the actual, official start date, but I've been in the industry since 2017. And I was working for another company and I just saw an opportunity and, you know, people behind me, my parents are like you really should maybe think about doing this on your own you know? You have the tools, now you just, you know can put yourself out there. I was like No. And I had thought about it for a little while and it started to just come to fruition. And just piece by piece, and then COVID happened, and I had originally intended to start it way later. And then COVID happened and it gave me the opportunity to sit at home and really start something from the ground up. I never started a business before. I don't know what I was doing but like it gave me opportunity to google and research and put all these resources together and start it. So officially came to be in May 2020. And then once we slowly started to open back up. I was working. I was doing like Waitr and Doordash and I was waiting tables and bartending. I was doing so many jobs at one time just to get it up off the ground. I have a very supportive family and thankfully they helped me a lot in that. But yeah I was working like 4 or 5 jobs. 

 Jamie 8:17 
Wow. Yeah that's, you do anything to make your, make your dream happen right? And how beautiful is that that your family though, was such a big support in that for you, and we were just talking about encouragement, like you had your family telling you go on do this, like you can do this. I also just think that I want to spotlight the fact that you said you had four or five jobs during that time frame. I think a lot of people, a lot of people might have this dream to have their own business and they just think oh I'll quit that job and I'll start my business and everything's gonna be hunky dory and yeah that's not usually how it works. And there's a lot of grinding that's gonna have to happen for you to get that business off the ground and you definitely, obviously put in the work and did what you needed to do to not only support yourself but to support your dream and your vision of having that business and so good for you.

 Kylin 9:17
Thank you. Yeah it definitely wasn't easy. And I don't think, I didn't really know what I was getting into when I started it. But I knew that it needed to happen. I knew that there was more for me to give than just staying with the company that I was with. But I never wanted to be this big company and I never wanted to grow. And that was actually one thing that I said from the very beginning was I don't want employees because I don't want it to become bigger than what I can handle myself so. But here we are three years later and we’re growing.

Jamie 9:54
How does that feel in retrospect?

 Kylin 9:56
There’s just so many people to help. Yea, I was like you know never say never put it that way. 

 Jamie 10:05 
Yea if growing is even something that’s even put on the table as an option, how do you not entertain and see where that goes?

 Kylin 10:17 
Yea, and it just so happened I have a friend and who really wants to be part of it. It just works out like I’m not out there searching for anybody to come join me it's how it all kind of revealed itself through these last few months, and it just kind of happened so, very thankful. And it's still in the, you know, the new portion of it. We're not you know, growing right now, but it's in the talk so even talking about it is pretty cool. 

 Jamie 10:46
Yea for sure. And you mentioned how you just like, before you started it you said something about like there's gotta be more or like I just want more than this and I have more to give

 Kylin 10:56

 Jamie 10:57
So many people out there, I know, have that same nudge happening… of like there's got to be more, or I have more to give. And so many people just let it be that thing that just pokes at them and it never goes further, because of fear, because of whatever, you know, maybe holding them back. And just kudos to you, and just shout out to you, and all of the things because you know, you having that ability to respond to that calling, and you know to listen to yourself. That voice that was like I have more to give.  Do you remind yourself of that, do you still feel that way, like I have more to give?

 Kylin 11:40
I do have more to give and fear of failure really keeps me going to be completely honest. You know I don't want to fall flat on my face right now. I'm already going, you know doing these things, and making you know, lives better anyway that I can, but do not, there's no way that I can fail now. So, I really just put one foot in front of the other because there's a lot of new things going on in my life right now that I don't really know what I'm doing. I’m just slowly just one foot in front of the other, just doing the next best thing, the next right thing, and it's seems to be working right now. So catch me in six months and ask me again. 

 Jamie 12:22
Yeah. I mean owning a business is a learning process. Like, I mean that’s an understatement right? Like I would say the same. I'm just kind of in the woods like on an adventure and I just learned something new every day. And I just, every time a new thing pops up, I'm spending like 5 hours researching how to do that, and then I try it out,you know. So, it is challenging. It is extremely taxing as well but, it's all worth it in the end for that, I think we go back to that transformation that we see in the people that we serve and that makes it all worthwhile.

 Kylin: 12:59

 Jamie 13:01
There was something else that you just said that…I think that it’s so interesting. You mentioned fear of failure being the thing that’s keeping you motivated. Isn’t that so ironic how fear of failure can be the thing that stops us from getting going in the beginning, and then once we’ve started, it’s now the fear of failure that’s motivating us to keep going because we don’t want to see that happen?

 Kylin 13:25
Right, whatever keeps us going I guess.

 Jamie 13:26 
It’s crazy.

 Jamie 13:29
Yeah. It’s crazy. You know what though? You have a ‘why’. Theres a ‘why’ fueling you for why you don't want to fail. I would be willing to bet that it's not just about the fact that you, personally, don't want to fall flat on your face. It's about the fact that this business, this community that you've built. You don't want that to fall flat on its face and you're the leader you're the leader of it right? So there’s a bigger why fueling you behind all that.

 Kylin 13:55
Right. Right.

 Jamie 13:58
What would you say is your why or your mission for your business?

 Kylin 14:02
To really help as many people as we can and to bring awareness to the community that, you know educating people on disabilities that…we’re all the same. Like one in three people have a disability and it’s really. I want to, I want Employ Acadiana to leave a mark saying that we were authentic too and we educate our community on disabilities and we advocate for the people that we need to. I don’t want it to just be a company that you know, I leave to somebody else or whatever and just pick it back up. I want it to be known that we’ve left something bigger than us. That make sense? Like I want the education part and the advocate part to always be what E.A. stands for. 

 Jamie 14:58 
Yeah. I love that. I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that’s what it stood for, that’s awesome. Well Kylin last time we spoke I asked you if there was anything you’d like to use your leadership voice on while you have this show as your platform and you said that talking about mental health is really important to you. So I would love for you to maybe just start by sharing with us why mental health is such an important topic for you and I think this is a good, what we just talked about, is a good segway into this right?

Kylin 15:30
Yeah. So, I have learned more about mental health in the last year and a half than I’ve ever wanted to learn. I’ve recently learned about myself, I am bipolar. And I have just recently learned that, and it’s been life changing to educate myself on the subject as well as everybody else too. Because it has taught me…it’s made everything make sense. All of the stuff that I felt as a child, as a young adult and even as an adult just a few years ago. It has made everything make sense and educating myself on the subject has… I’m my best version of myself that I’ve ever been currently right now. I can honestly say that and that's because of everything that I've learned, all of the resources that I've gathered, and just all of the info that I've just picked up anywhere that I can. I'm always trying to learn and it has helped me be a better person, be a better leader, be you know just better all around, and I think it's important to talk about it, to be honest about it. And I don't try to cover up the nasty. I try to actually let it rain from the rooftops because it's important. If everybody… if more people were honest about how they felt, I think that a lot more people would come forward and be okay with not being okay if that makes sense.

 Jamie 17:07 
Yeah. Yeah. It's okay to not be okay. Yeah, spreading that message. Well thank you for your vulnerability and just your bravery to share something like that with me; someone that you haven’t known terribly long, as well as all these people in our beautiful audience that are listening today. But just again, thanks for your vulnerability for sharing. 

 Kylin 17:33

 Jamie 17:34
Mental health is something that should be talked about more and it seems like the world is slowly but surely moving in that direction which is amazing to see 

 Kylin 17:44

Jamie 17:45
But I love that you’re being part of that movement to normalize talking about it. You gave a statistic on disabilities a second ago and there’s a statistic on mental health. The CDC says one in five Americans experience a mental illness in any given year and that more than 50% of us are going to be diagnosed with a mental illness at some point in our life. And that’s striking I mean to think about right and the fact that we’re at a time and a place in our world where 50% of us are going to experience something having to do with mental health/illness in some way shape or form in our lifetime, and we’re just now starting to talk about it? It’s crazy.

Kylin 18:25
I know. Yeah, so, I think that's what COVID has given us, was it's definitely changed the staffing industry. But seeing it, I was just telling my mom this the other day, I was like I love how people are now being okay with talking about what they need as a person and not hiding everything and everybody's so much more open about talking about their feelings and like you said, like this is just now happening? But I think COVID really gave us that jumpstart that push to have these conversations.

 Jamie 19:02
Mmhmm, yeah, I agree. As terrible as COVID was, I think many people can agree that there is also a lot of good that came out of it, for sure. Yeah, and bipolar, depression, chronic anxiety, I mean there's so many of them, those being the ones that I think most people are more familiar with, and probably the most common ones that are talked about, just out in the open. The anxiety, the depression, the bipolar. I think bipolar, I think that one is probably talked about a whole lot less. You know so I think that makes you even more brave that you're coming on this platform and saying something like that because I think there is a bit of… like a negative, you know there's a negative connotation attached to that word and I think for the same reason that…

 Kylin 19:49
100%... that if you were like, in a you know, you were really happy, or sad, or you were in a mood; “What are you bipolar?” Yeah so I know 100% what you’re talking about.

 Jamie 21:01
Yes, yes. So, yeah I just think that you talking about the bipolar is extremely important and maybe just shed a little bit of light because you said that when you learned that that's what was going on, you said that you're the best version of yourself that you've ever been, now that you know this of yourself. And you understand what's happening inside of you and what's been happening inside of you for a long time. Like that is a huge like nugget of wisdom for anyone out there I feel like that might be going like what's happening? What's going on with me? Why am I feeling this way? And not to shy away from looking for the answers because those answers that you find can make you feel more normal than you’ve probably ever felt because now you have this understanding of what is happening inside of you. And so, can you just share a little bit about maybe like what led you to even seek help? What were some of the maybe flags for you that for anyone out there that is wondering like hmm…

 Kylin 21:08 
Oh, that is a loaded question. So just to go back like yes, it’s mood swings, but it’s so much more than that. You feel with everything in your being, like whether you feel really happy or really sad. Well I’ve always been either really into something or not into something at all. Or really really excited about something or not excited at all. There’s no middle ground and I’ve always been like that and that’s just, what I’ve always said, was ‘oh that’s just me’ but my baseline is, I hate using the word normal, but for lack of a better word, what a normal person’s baseline is. I don’t have that. Mine is probably five notches higher than the typical person. But I’ll never forget, I was in a new project of redoing my closet and organizing it, and I was in a complete manic state. I didn’t know that at the time. I was on my floor with all of my stuff from my closet and I just had all this chaos around me. And I remember I had tears in my eyes and was like I’m exhausted, this cannot be how normal people live, somethings wrong. And I say wrong to describe how I was feeling at the time, there was nothing wrong with how I felt. But I was just, I was exhausted. I don't even know another word to explain it. And I had looked up some therapists and I went through three before I found the one that I currently have. She's amazing. But it took, you know, going through all of that. Really being honest with my therapist about all of the nasty stuff from my childhood and stuff that I had never dealt with and we've unpacked 34 years of stuff in the last year and a half and it was hard, and it was a lot of work, and it was nasty, and it was gross, but oh my God how relieving it's been. And I still continue to unpack stuff. So the weight that's just been lifted off my shoulders is, I don't even have the, I don't even have the words to describe it, it's so, it's refreshing to know that I was able to find all this stuff out, but also that I could use it to help somebody else because I know that there's people…I'm not the only one that's ever felt like this you know? When people are scared to approach the subject or people are scared to tell somebody all their stuff. And that was you know, the hardest thing. I never knew what an intrusive thought was and I thought I was the only person that had them and when I found out that everybody else has them two that I was like I'm not weird I'm not, you know, this is actually a normal. So just knowing that, knowing the words. So I never had the vocabulary and now that I do, I'm able to help somebody else.

 Jamie 24:24
Yeah. I love that so much. Like knowledge is power and can help you in so many ways. Last time we talked you mentioned how even with all of the nasty going on in the background, you still have all of these successes to show for. And so I just want to just shine a huge light on you right now of being an example of how you can still live an extremely productive and an extremely fulfilling life even dealing with all of that nasty stuff behind the scenes…

 Kylin 25:01

 Jamie 25:08
…that nobody else gets to really experience aside from maybe the people that are closest to you, right? But it’s amazing that with all of that going on, that you can still be the person that you are and still show up as the person that you are in this world. So I mean do you have any like words of wisdom or any guidance that you feel you can share with other people that are… because I think that it's really easy, I don't know if easy is even the right word, that's such a delicate subject but I think that when we are diagnosed with anything… it's easy for that to become a huge part of our identity right? We can or we can start to use that as an excuse for why maybe we're not doing XYZ and just have this ‘it is what it is’ mentality and ‘this is just my curse that I'm now doomed to deal with for the rest of my life’ and so I just want you to maybe offer a different perspective to people out there because clearly you have, you have fought through some things and shown up and created some amazing things in your life.

 Kylin 26:14 
So, labels is something that when I was younger I hated. I had so many labels. And now I’ve turned it to be, I still have the same labels, but it means something different because I know who I am now as a person. So yeah I might be bipolar but it doesn't give me an excuse to you know, be anything negative ever or that ‘is just the way that it is’. No because you have a responsibility to be a better person for yourself, and for your peers, and you know community, or whoever it is around your family. You don't get to be cruddy or crappy just because you have something that no one else, or you know, not everybody has. If anything, that gives you a reason to educate yourself just so you can help other people. But you know, the advice I would give is just be honest. Be willing to be honest because you're never going to get rid of all of the stuff on the inside and you're never going to really work through it if you're not completely honest with yourself. And that's finding somebody, you know, I have friends that don't know all of my crud. But that, finding that therapist and finding that one person that you will tell everything to… because you're not able to unpack all of that until you are 100% honest with yourself.

 Jamie 27:43
Yeah, and it's tough to be 100% honest with people in your life sometimes for the reason of: the people that are closest to you know you the best, and I'm putting up air quotes, that people that are closest to you are going to be the ones giving you the unsolicited advice or they're going to be biased in their response because they know you and so having that, yeah like a new person, a therapist, yes, is definitely something that I would recommend as well. For anyone struggling with mental illness of any kind right? Like you need someone to talk to whether you feel that way or not, I think, you know, Kylin is here as somebody that's experiencing this first hand, and she's telling you guys that talking to a therapist has changed her life for the better. So yeah bottom line get help there is help out there.

 Kylin 28:35

 Jamie 28:36 
Alright, so now Ms.Kylin, I would like to get into the other half of our topic for today which is authenticity. So, let’s talk about authenticity and why this is another area for you or another topic that’s important to you. I read in one of your interviews, you said that you wish you had learned to just be yourself sooner or that you wish you could have told your younger self to just be herself.  just be herself so can you speak to that for us?

 Kylin 29:04
Oh yes. So I have spent, and I'm sure we all have spent the majority of our lives trying to be like everybody else, because in school you know, you don't want to be this different one or the outcast. And I was actually looking through my meme collection that I have and I came up on a meme and it was Mama Roo and Baby Roo from Winnie The Pooh. And it's the mom looking at the baby and she was like, she said me to little me, weird was never a bad thing. And I was like oh my gosh, that just made me cry in the middle of the store.

 Jamie 29:38

 Kylin 29:39
Because I spent so much of my younger years knowing that I was different but thinking that that was wrong. And I was always called the weird one or you know the outcast and really that's like the coolest place to be honestly because who wants to be like everybody else? But I feel like, and that's just you know being a kid, and it's hard to tell a kid to be authentic, and be yourself when you're, you know, you want to be like everybody else. So I feel like we're not ready to hear that until we processed a lot. But I don't think I would have been ready as a child to hear that. But I'll go to my grave spitting it to my nieces and nephews. Just be weird and be different and it's okay, you know, you don't have to be like everybody else. But I feel like man if I would have known that a long time ago, stuff would be different but it's okay.

 Jamie 30:39
Yeah, I think that, it's a really cool thing. I think that like, just the question of ‘if you could tell your younger self something what would you tell them?’ I think that's a really cool question for just anybody to stop and ask themselves every once in a while. Maybe every few years as we continue to grow and learn. It's like, ‘what is something that I wish I would have told my younger self? Like that can tend to bring up some like deep perspectives that you've gained in your life, so that's really amazing.

 Jamie 31:11 
Okay so the weird thing I love. So I was talking to someone the other day about this and I think I went on social media and posted something, but I was thinking back to, and I might have read some of my journals or something, but I wrote in my journal. And I distinctly remember the day that I was in my bedroom with one of my friends as a teenager and I just was like, we were talking about weirdness, for whatever reason, and I was like you know what? If you're not weird, you're not being yourself. And I just remember like stopping in my tracks and going like I need to write that down like this is a good quote, like I need to remember this one. And sure enough, you know, here I am like 15 years later or whatever and I'm remembering and recalling that because yes, embrace your weird.

 Kylin 31:57 

 Jamie 31:58
Like literally we are all weird. We are all different. We are all unique in our own ways, so technically we're all weird right? Whether we claim that about ourselves or not. So yes, just embrace your weird. It is okay to be yourself. There is no box that you need to fit in and you're going to live such a more joyful life if you do put in that effort to just show up as yourself and stop trying to be like everybody else.

Jamie 32:29
So, what does authenticity is oftentimes city like when you just think of the word authenticity like what does that word really mean to you and like when do you feel like you made this shift from going like being the girl that was trying to be like other people to being this girl that's like it's OK to be me in all my messiness.

Kylin 32:48 
You know so authenticity, it's just being genuine. And you know showing up no matter how nasty it can get and just being honest. I think that that would be authenticity definition, Kylin version. I think that I really made this shift, and I gained a lot of self-confidence, and started going to therapy, and I learned about bipolar, and PTSD, and just all of the crud that I was dealing with, I learned who I was. And I learned about me and that made me, that just made me, something happened inside. I don't, I can't explain it. And it made me realize that there's a lot of things that I can give to help other people. And it just made me be confident because I know… now I know this about me. Now I know that that's what this was, or this is what it was called, and I can confidently say that I've experienced it, and I've come out the other side of it and this is what I've done in the midst of it. And that's what gives me confidence because I'm not trying to lie. I'm not trying to say that I didn't do these things because I've lived it, and I I can't be anybody other than me and you know I say the wrong thing, you know, I stick my foot in my mouth 90% of the time, and show up with my yellow hair, my tattoos, and I’m different. But it like, it took me so long to be okay with this. It's, I'm 35 years old and I’m just now figuring this stuff out.

 Jamie 34:32
Yeah I think we're all still figuring it out together, so you're good. I love that though. I think that's one of the things that struck me about you, you know, it's because like obviously the yellow hair caught my attention when I was just searching the web and looking for who my next guest speaker would be. But I was just like you know what, I love that she doesn't fit the mold, it's the reason that I chose you is because you are your authentic self right? Like because you are willing to show up as yourself is why I picked you out of how many other honorees that were honored as top 20 under 40 right? There's nineteen others, do that math. I suck at math, but I can do that! But yeah, it's like your genuineness and your willingness to just be who you are is rare you know? Especially in the world of leadership. When you're being recognized for any type of leadership anything, I feel like when people think of leadership they think of like ‘oh you're going to see a business woman in a, or a businessman in a suit of some kind, and high heels on, and she you know, they all kind of look the same I think, in people's mind. And it's one of the molds that I'm trying to break with this podcast is that leadership applies to everyone and it doesn't matter what you do, who you are, what you look like, what your title is, none of that.Like it's just, leadership is going to make you a better person at whatever you do in your life and you can be an amazing leader with tattoos and yellow hair and put your foot in your mouth 90% of the time and it's okay!

 Kylin 36:18 
Thank God.

Jamie 36:19 
It’s okay. Yea, I love it. You know and I think about authenticity… I was brainstorming last night about just what does authenticity mean to me. And like what do I think of when I think about authenticity. And one of the things that came up for me, I was like you know how you know how when you make a purchase sometimes like it'll say on the tag or like in the description that it's authentic right? Or maybe sometimes you're actually looking to purchase something special and you wanna make sure that the purchase that you make is authentic right? And so I was like okay so when you think about it like that. So what does that mean? It means that you're making sure that the thing that you bought came from, or was made, you know, wherever it says it was made in or came from right? It's you want to make sure that it's from the original source, so to speak. And that means that it's authentic and so when you think about it that way it made me go ‘where did I come from? If I want to be authentic, where did I come from? And what is my original source?’ And it's like well, if you want to get really high level with it, or thinking on a grand scale, it's like okay my source is God. My source is the universe, the universe created me right? So like what did the universe create me to do? What was I put here to do and to me that starts, I start spinning into well what are my personal values? What are the things that are most important to me? And if I'm living in line with those, than I am being my authentic self and doing what I was you know, quote created to do. And so it's just really it was I don't know it was just an interesting thing. I was like you know, you see authentic on a tag and that guarantees that it was made from where they claim it was made from. And so, it's like if we're going to come out into the world and say that we're authentic, then we need to be thinking about what are we actually made of and is it really our original self or is it a knockoff? Are we knocking off somebody else?

 Kylin 38:21 
I like that

 Jamie 38:22
I wanted to ask you if with you now being at this place in your life where you do feel like you're you're genuine, like you're actually comfortable in your skin, you feel like you're being the authentic leader that you want to be, what all areas of your life would you say that's impacted because when I think about our… I think about us as a whole human right? I think about when I'm improving myself in any area, let's just say communication for example, what are all the different areas of my life that that's going to positively impact? Family, community, friendships, work, emotional health, I mean all of the things right? So what would you say, where have you seen the most positive impact or changes in yourself now that you're living this way?

 Kylin 39:08
Living this way my mental health and my self-image… so the way that I feel about myself has significantly changed. Most of my relationships have all changed for the better. Me and my friends, and they've been on their own mental health journeys, kind of, we all went at the same time. And we are a bunch of adults just communicating like you're supposed to. So all of those relationships have just improved. My family relationships,my relationship with my mom, my dad, my sister. These have all been impacted in a better way and I I've learned what to accept and what not to accept. And you know I've lost people along the way too but that's okay. It's made me, it's impacted my professional life. I have been introduced to people and things that I never would have been able to be part of otherwise. So it's really just opened up doors all over and I've tried to, my mental health is my number one in my life. That's, I have to take care of that before I can take care of any anything or anybody else and that being on the forefront has impacted every aspect of my life. Because if it's not going to bring me joy or be good for me, then it's not allowed in my life. And setting those boundaries were, now that I’ve learned how to set a boundary everybody gets one. That’s what I say. They’re my favorite to give. They really are but it took a long time to learn how to properly set them but.

 Jamie 40:55
I love that. 

Kylin 40:57 
I swear everybody gets one. 

 Jamie 40:59
Like Oprah with boundaries, you get a boundary, and you get a boundary, and you get a boundary…

Kylin 41:05
100%. And it has made my life significantly better. And being, it's made me be open to criticism. I used to hate some criticism but now I take it in strides. And because I want to be better always. I want to… and that's what I had to learn was I'm not gonna be my best self every day because I mean I just, two days ago I couldn't even get out of bed,  I mean it happened and I have to remind myself that it's not a continuous flow. It's going to be ups and downs and that we're always gonna be working on ourselves and that's something that I still have to remind myself you know? I couldn’t function on Monday but I’m back at it on Wednesday you know I mean it happens.

 Jamie 41:58

 Kylin 41:59 
Ya know and I think being honest with myself and that’s able to help me to help others.

Jamie 42:07
Yeah I agree. 

Kylin 42:08
I don’t even know if I answered your question, I went off on a tangent. 

Jamie 42:12 
No. you did. Yeah, we were just talking about all the ways it's positively impacted impacted your life, showing up more authentically. And I think what I heard in that, above everything else, was just the impact that it's had on all of the relationships in your life. And so I think that the research that I've done around authenticity, the learnings I've taken in, whatever you want to call it, always correlates, you know, how much improvement you're going to see in your relationships and your connections with people when you are showing up as your authentic self, in line with who you actually are. But it's like we can either show up in a conversation with somebody and we can just say all the things that we think they want to hear from us. We can be the person that we think they want us to be. We can look to our left and our right and we can try to mimic those people and show up that way in a conversation. And you may still very well have a lot of fruitful relationships being that that kind of person or behaving that way but the second that you start to really lean into who you are. When you start to open up a little bit to people about what's important to you, about what you're passionate about, and you let them see the flaws. There's just a different kind of magic that happens in that interaction when we can see those flaws and we and when we can sense the genuineness from the other person that it's just so much more attractive, and it's so much more, you just have those deeper conversations, deeper connections, deeper relationships with people when you are willing to just be who you are. It's 100% true, in in everything that I do. I always think about this example I talk about this often. But it's like people, I give advice to people or I coach people on how to get up in front of an audience and speak without you know all the fear of public speaking for example. I was terrified to get up in front of, speak at an audience, when I first started doing that. However, over the years, what I've learned to ease that fear, to ease the anxiety that I get around thinking like ‘oh gosh they're going to think I'm silly if I flub up my words, oh gosh they're going to think, that I'm not going to look credible if I forget what I'm saying, or if I you know, to like, just all of the things. I'm judging myself right? Like we all do but one of the things that I learned is just like look… like I'm gonna make mistakes, I'm gonna sound like a nerd. I'm gonna probably talk really fast and get really passionate. I'm probably going to forget what I'm saying at some point and all of that is just part of this package deal. And So what I started doing at the beginning of my speeches at the beginning of my talks was ‘hey guys like sometimes I get a little nervous. I talk a little fast when I get excited about something. I’m also kind of a geek. I get a little nerdy and cheesy sometimes so feel free to laugh you know…’ so I just kind of get all of that out there on the front end especially when I’m feeling that pressure to show up as someone else or I’m not feeling comfortable in my skin. I almost just put myself on blast and that way…

 Kylin 45:43
I like that.

Jamie 45:44
It just takes the pressure down from a 10 to like a 5 you know? Like okay it's all out there. They already know. Now they can expect it. My laundry is hanging out to dry.  So I think that that's a good maybe tip too for anyone that's just like trying to hide those pieces of themselves that maybe they're ashamed of. It's like no, just share it with people because guess what they have all those other little things too and they can relate.

Jamie 46:10 
Okay well miss Kylin, you are on the board for the Lafayette Parish Library Foundation. And congratulations on your new position by the way. How’s it feel to be a President?

 Kylin 46:22 
Feels like a lot of responsibility. 

 Jamie 46:27 
Yeah, that’s probably what any President would say. You’re a good President. 

 Kylin 46:32 
I'm already killing it. 

 Jamie 46:35
That’s right. Well let's share our love for reading for just a minute. I love that you and I are both book nerds. Actually have a book club that Kylin is going to be in with me tonight so I’m super excited about that, but how, when did you discover your love for reading?

Kylin 46:52
Very very young. I actually just asked Mama the other day, I said did I go to kindergarten knowing how to read? She's like yeah, a little bit. I just I remember from, I mean as long as I can remember, books have always been my outlet. I love to read. It I’m so nerdy like growing up if I wasn't reading a book, I used to copy them. I used to just copy them page for page, stay up until like all hours of the night.

 Jamie 47:18
What do you mean copy them, like write?Like literally write the book?

Kylin 47:22 
I just copy books, yes I would just write, word for word, in my notebook. Because I don't know, I just was obsessed with books I guess. And I always I grew up, my first job I ever wanted to do when you're young, and they’re like what do you wanna be when you grow up. I wanted to be an editor from all magazine. That is what I always said. I do still intend to write something. I just I want to write a memoir. I just gotta figure out about what.

Jamie 47:57
Yeah, that's me too. I'm like definitely, goal for life is to write a book. Just not sure on what yet.But I’m gonna get there. 

 Kylin 48:02 
I know. Everybody should. 

Jamie 48:05 
I think so too. 

Kylin 48:07 
You’ll know when it comes to you. 

Jamie 48:08 
Yes. Indeed. Yeah. But yeah it’s like the, there’s something really appealing about having the opportunity to leave a tangible legacy behind. Like to have a piece of you that's gonna live on in the world forever after you're gone. There's something really special about that and I’m like yeah I want to be a part of that club.

Kylin 48:27 
Absolutely, 100%.Especially if like you don't have any kids, like I don’t have children, nor do i intend to, but you know we gotta leave something.

Jamie 48:36 
Yeah, yes ma’am. Yeah yes ma'am II I fully believe and it's a cheesy statement but like leaders are readers I say that all the time and it just sounds so cheesy but I mean any you talk to any leader out there like they're probably someone who is wanting to better themselves on a consistent basis most leaders are in that personal development space or they're trying to be at least a little bit better than they were yesterday for the most part and so if I I just don't understand the logic behind not reading I'm like I just don't I I like wish that I could force everybody to just open a book and try it out. I’m that passionate about it. 

Kylin 49:20
Yeah. You’re right.

Jamie 49:21 
It will literally change your life. And I think so many people that I talk to respond and they think that, or they think back to like their school days. They think back to high school or college when they were having to read books out of obligation and they were books that maybe they weren't interested in. And so you just take that dislike for reading from school into your adult life and a lot of people never give it a go again. And it's like, I just want to encourage everybody out there to pick a topic, any topic that you're interested in learning about, for your own personal interest. Not for work. Not because anybody else wanted you to. Like just pick something you're interested in whether it's fiction or nonfiction. I don't care. You do you. But pick something and just try it out. Just give it another go because if you're somebody out there saying I don't like to read right now, I would challenge the ‘why’ behind that. Because I just find it really hard to believe that if you find a book that is about something that you really are interested in, or that excites you, or that creates an escape for you, or whatever it is, that you're going to end up reading the dang thing, and you're going to be really excited to read another one. I think that everybody, I truly believe everybody can have that experience. What’s one of your favorite books?

 Kylin 50:34
I agree.  I have a girlfriend, one of my girlfriends, and she doesn't read, and I’m just always trying to get her, I'm like just pick something up, just please try something. And my other friend we’re nerdy. We read a book, we have our own little book club every other week with one of them. I’m just like please, just pick up the book, just try something, just anything. And she’s like “well maybe” but she never does. 

Yeah. It's truly a missed opportunity if you're not, it just really is. But I've done a lot of reading around leadership and around management even back in the day. Just a lot of personal development, a lot of self-improvement books. I can say that that is what created, not only my love for leadership, but it like the books that I have read over the last I would say probably 14-15 years since I started picking up those kinds of books, they've changed my life, like for the better. I don't think that I would be sitting where I'm sitting today having the beliefs that have, having the values that I have, just all of it. Like books are I feel like a big part of what made me. 

Jamie 51:47
Want to talk about authenticity and what makes us… right? Like I feel like books literally made me in many ways and I'm so thankful for them and I'm so excited about them and I just, it's like my favorite part of the day to just crack open a book or to just sit in my jacuzzi with a book and a glass of wine. That is the good life for me.

I had no idea you were the big fan of books, so yeah we're gonna have to talk. We're gonna have to give each other lists.

Yes ma'am, yes ma'am.

Like we need a bigger to be read list.

Yes, exactly. But yeah, so yeah. I think just bottom line here guys; I think that Kylin and I both are urging you to pick up a book. Find something you're excited about and just try it out. And if you don't like to actually flip the pages, you know, technologies come a long way. Well Kylin, what is your, I know this is probably a really hard thing to answer, but give me what is your, one of your favorite fiction books, and one of your favorite nonfiction books. What’s some good suggestions?

Oh gosh okay. So favorite fiction. John Grisham is my man. I love him so much. I got to meet him a couple years back in Austin. Such a huge fan girl, oh my gosh. 

Jamie 53:07
Yes it's amazing.

Kylin 53:09
So his, Sycamore Row by John Grisham is, and just everything about him, but what I love about John Grisham is that he ties everything into like the last minute. And it just all comes together, and the last paragraph, last sentence. It's beautiful. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is also really really good.

Jamie 53:33

Kylin 53:35
Nonfiction i am a big advocate for Atomic Habits by James Clear. Such a good book.

Jamie 53:42
Oh, Atomic Habits, is that you just said you're cutting out a little bit.

 Kylin 53:46 
Yeah. It is fantastic. I recommend reading it once a year, like once every 6 months, just pick it up. 

Jamie 53:54
100% I read that this past year for the first time and yes I agree with you. I feel like it's a book that I could go back and read over and over again. And it's just, it's like it's just one of those holy crap books like that everybody needs to read. If you're trying to have any kind of good habits in your life and you're struggling to do that, struggling to have those habits. James Clear's book Atomic Habits is going to help you out. I think I talked about that book on another episode of my show actually. It's a good one, it’s a good one.

Kylin 54:26
Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins is also a really good one. 

Jamie 54:28 
I have read that one as well. I love that. Good suggestions. You've got good taste. Well amazing. Well we have had some really great conversation today around authenticity, and around mental health, and around our love for reading. But before we wrap up our conversation today I just want to ask you if there's anything else that you'd like to share with our audience today. Any last words of wisdom anything like that?

Kylin 54:57 
Definitely want to thank you. Meeting you has been amazing. I'm glad that you came to our foundation event. Thank you for that. I can see that this is going to be a relationship that we continue to talk and definitely, the book club. But if anybody feels a certain kind of way after listening to us, or if they are nervous, or just want to reach out to anybody. I do want to give my info out there. No I’m not a professional but maybe I can help you in any kind of way. And just remember that being weird was never a bad thing. So just live your authentic self and as hard as it may be in the beginning I promise you, that you will come out the other end a bigger and better person and that much happier.

Jamie 55:47 
Yeah, thank you so much. That’s so beautiful. And absolutely. I can include any way that you want me to include a way for people to connect with you, learn more about you, you can you can share that right now. Where would you like for people to connect with you if they want to learn more about you? And I’ll include that in the shownotes. 

 Kylin 56:07I’m on Facebook. Kylin Jordan. But you can email me kylinjordan@employacadiana.org.

 Jamie 56:14 
Alright. Well I will put it all in there ma’am. Thank you so much for not only a heart warming conversation but we went to some vulnerable places and I think that these types of conversations are the ones that are the most impactful for people. When were talking about the real deal stuff here. So just thank you for bringing this to the table today and for being this voice for a lot of people that I know need to hear it. So say that one more time about weirdness, I think everybody needs to hear that one last time. 

Kylin 56:47 
Being weird was never a bad thing. 

 Jamie 56:50 
I think that’s where we’re gonna end it.  Alright now you have a beautiful rest of your day and you are absolutely 100% correct. We will nurture this relationship. I feel blessed to have you in my life already and I’m excited to see where it goes. 

Kylin 57:03 
Thank you Jamie 

Jamie 57:05 
Thanks for listening today and if you enjoyed this one, do me a solid. Leave me a five star review and that written review. These help me more than you know with my podcast gaining more exposure and listeners like you that are out there and need to hear this message. Until next time y'all, go out there and lead the life you want live.