Do you ever wonder how some people are able to take the adversity in their life and turn it into something incredible? Today’s guest, Kimberly Pendleton, is a women’s empowerment coach and focuses specifically on working with people who know that self-love and healing from trauma is what will help take them to the next level. Kimberly helps women utilize the power of confidence in order to make their lives and businesses better. 


Tune in to hear: 


  • Critical tips on how to build your confidence from an empowerment coach!


  • How Kimberly was able to turn her adversity into something incredible and how you can too.


  • Why finding your inner structure can help you build your outer vision.
Today’s guest, Kimberly Pendleton, is a women’s empowerment coach who helps women build their inner structure to find their outer vision.
Podcast Episode  

Live Replay

Transcript of Episode

Leah Gervais: Hi visionaries. Welcome back to the Your Biggest Vision show. I’m your host, Leah Gervais and I am excited and honored to have a very inspiring entrepreneur with us today who’s also a very dear friend of mine, Kimberly Pendleton. 


Kimberly Pendleton: Hi everybody. Thanks for having me, Leah. I’m so excited to be here.


Leah Gervais: Thank you so much for being here. So Kim, well actually Kim, I’d love to pass the mic to you and see if you would just share a little bit about what you do in two or three sentences.


Kimberly Pendleton: Yeah, absolutely. I am a women’s empowerment coach and I focus specifically on working with people who know that deeper self love and connection, even healing from the past like bad breakups or sexual trauma is what will help take them to the next level. So a lot of relationship coaching and self love and confidence coaching and just trying to all around make life better for women on planet earth.


Leah Gervais: I love it. And you know, I love the work you do and I wanted to have Kim on here for really two main reasons. One I think, think her story and how she built her business out of something that at the time may have seemed like the worst thing in the world or one of the worst things that could have happened. Um, you know, really hits home for me. Obviously many of, you know my story and the trap tragedy I’ve gone through in my own journey. Um, and I think it’s such a Testament to so many of the obstacles many of us deal with if and when we’re at crossroads in life wondering what we’re going to do with them. Kim is an amazing example of doing something incredible with that and I really wanted her to share that with all of you. Um, because even if you’re going through something that’s sort of like a micro tragedy, maybe it doesn’t seem like the end of the world.


We always have the opportunities to use it with something more powerful. Um, and then I also wanted her to share the work she does because she’s changed my life. She’s made me a better entrepreneur. Um, many of you know, I’m new newlywed, so it’s not even in the sense of I need, I was needing dating, coaching, um, but she’s just so intuitive and so in touch and I really think helps women find that inner structure that they need to build the outer vision that they have. So that is what Kim is going to share with us today. Um, and so can, let’s, let’s go ahead and take it back a little bit. Why don’t you share with us a little about how you started on a journey of working with women and how you ended up having something happen to you that started this business.


Kimberly Pendleton: Yeah. Thank you so much. I love, of course, everything you’ve said and I think one of the big themes that I’m learning is threaded through all of my work and my life is just that like everything is so connected and when I try to deepen in one area, it ends up spilling over and lifting up other areas of my life too. So it just feels like, yeah, exactly what you said about doing that inner work and having the outer outcomes. Um, has just been so true. So for me, you know, I wonder if other people listening will relate to this. But I was finishing school. I actually was, um, a grad student. I was doing my PhD and studying women’s studies and teaching women’s studies and feeling really connected to that work, but was like really not sure how I wanted to take it out into the world.


And when I finished, um, and defended my dissertation and got the PhD, the natural next step was to go on the academic job market and I just wanted something else. And I felt so guilty about that actually. Cause you’re really like not supposed to do what I did, which was coaching business. Any business, um, business owners were bad, making money. It was bad, like much mindset work that I still honestly have to do. Um, that got laced in with my education even though I’m so grateful that I had it. But you know, I was in that zone for so long. I’ve just like, you know, you work so hard, it’s like noble to be broke. No one’s listening to the say, but you’re just gonna like keep writing these papers anyway that are going to get filed away into the library and like never see the light of day versus having like a blog where you’re writing about self love and sex and like anyone can read it and anyone could share it and then you’re like setting up one on one coaching with people and actually like sharing what you know.


And so I really started first just dipping a toe, like a workshop here, there, like a little thing online. And then like once I realized after connecting with people like you and like other coaches and seeing what was possible, I was like, Oh, I could bring everything together. Everything I’ve been through, everything I’ve learned what I want for the world, my vision for women, you know, I can just like put it out there and it could all be so much easier. Not that it wasn’t still hard work, but it got to be so fun and it was such a great experience to get started even though it was terrifying.


Leah Gervais: I love that you share that. You know, you have to kind of work out of this guilt of success. And I can relate to that on a somewhat similar level in the sense that I went to a Catholic school growing up and I’m still un-molding that  like Catholic guilt that is deep within me about praise of poverty essentially. And it’s fascinating. The Bible actually doesn’t praise poverty at all. It’s like the Catholic church that does, I mean the society like wait a minute, like you actually, you should be generous, but if you don’t have money, you can’t be a gender. I actually think that, you know, for you, I have so many questions I’m asking you, so I need to be careful not to get on too many tangents, but when you’re studying women’s studies and empowerment, it’s somewhat hypocritical to them, you know, allow the students or even encourage them to not be empowered.


Totally, yeah, I think there was a big shift for me when I realized like, Oh, if I get paid for this work, if I can support my family, if I can share with others and be generous and live the kind of life that feels really supportive and inspiring to me, like I can do more of the work because it felt so obvious. But it took me literally years to put it together and it really helped me drop my story around. It’s wrong to get paid. I should be doing this for free if I really cared. That was required. Um, and it just became like so much more clear to be like, Oh yeah, great. Do the work, get paid, do more of the work. This is perfect. Like when you do more,


Leah Gervais: I love that. It’s fascinating. The things we have to give herself permission for that.


Kimberly Pendleton: Yeah.


Leah Gervais: Um, so what was, where did your interest in women’s studies come from? Taking it back a little bit further, how did you decide to get your PhD in women’s studies?


Kimberly Pendleton: That is such a good question. My mom actually talks about how even from a really early age I was committed to like a fight for women’s equality. That like didn’t totally make sense. She was like, why are you so upset about like you’re not, I am in, we live in California and like things are actually pretty good. But I made her, I learned about take back the night I think from a celebrity, I think I saw a celebrity like Rachel Lee cook or something wearing a take back the night t-shirt. And I like wanted to know what that was. And then I found out it was this March for like women’s safety and I begged my mom to take me and the two of us drove up to Sacramento and held a little candle and marched for take back the night. And I think of that as such a clear beginning of feeling like, Oh, there’s like this whole movement and this whole community and there’s like a ton of us who want things to feel even better.


And so even before I fully understood it, I think that like I was just like excited to figure out what role to play in it was, and then, I don’t know, it just kind of stacked on, on top of each other. You know, I like so many of us, um, had friends and experiences myself where like I was face to face with inequality or like sexual harassment or even sexual assault. And I remember like each time thinking like, Oh, like all of these are like galvanizing me to do more of my work. Like I didn’t feel shut down each time. I think because I had so much support and like along the way was learning so many tools, but it just felt more like this is reason to act. I don’t know that I would necessarily say I got more and more angry because even though I do feel angry about injustice, I don’t feel like overloaded with it. But it was like, I feel like at each moment whether like it’s a boy getting called on in class instead of you or like going to a party and not feeling safe because of something that happens. I remember like, Oh, I have the option right now of shutting down or like getting louder or doing more or showing up more. And I think that like it just ended up leading me here.


I just like kept marching basic with my candle and was like, whoops, now I’m here. Um, but I definitely also share an experience as you know, with religion and church being so important to me and it being very confusing to navigate like gender, sex, being a woman, having a body that like looks like this, you know, and also trying to be like the good church girl. And it ended up being just like another layer of that and like how to figure out what to do. And is there a way to empower women and liberate women? Um, I feel like that wove into my story a lot too.


Leah Gervais: Wow. Uh, I’m sure so many people can relate to this. And one of the things that most strikes me about you, which I’m sure is a result of so much work and your, it sounds like innate bravery to look. It’s in, in ways a lot of people wouldn’t even dare to do. And I think that that’s one of the things that has struck me the most about entrepreneurship that I did not expect was really having to, you know own personal development and really actually know myself in a way that I never had been asked to do and ask questions that I never- and if I didn’t do this, probably never would have had to. I think that that’s been a huge gift, but it’s also a huge unexpected challenge because that, that’s the hardest part of this all is asking yourself, you know, why am I the way I am about spending money, about, um, what worrying what people will think about me, about making money, about selling things and it can be very intense- what the answers to those questions bring up. And so all of this is to say, my question for you is where do you feel like you have developed the confidence to do that and then continue even further with your competence to support other people in doing that? I mean, that’s so brave of you. And if someone out there is feeling like they don’t have that confidence, what tips do you have for them to start developing it?


Kimberly Pendleton: Those are such good questions. I think I completely agree that nothing has held a mirror up to the areas where like, I’ve most needed growth quite like entrepreneurship. It’s like, oh, okay, like here’s another corner and bob-web and like a dusty bin of old habits and beliefs that need to be completely re-evaluated. And I definitely think that if anyone is on the fence about it or is feeling scared about launching or taking the plunge and like making their side hustle, their main passion, this is probably what’s underneath the fear is like there’s no hiding anymore when it’s just you and your work and like putting it all out there. Whether you work on like kind of that more personal side of things in your business or not, they come up anyway. You know like a big thing that I see with my clients is that as we do more and more of that kind of like deeper healing and empowerment and like drop old stories about what’s limiting them as women and figure out what they really want in love and in their life they end up launching businesses or writing books or becoming speakers or something in like kind of a big way that they didn’t even expect anything gets because of that confidence.


Just like you were saying, they’re healing the wounds around showing up and being visible that so many women internalized and so I would say that that confidence, it’s like kind of chicken and egg. It’s like you do more healing, you feel more confident. I mean, and I’ve seen this go for men too obviously like everybody is kind of in that cycle, but one thing that I’ve noticed that can really, really help is starting to imagine who the version of you is who’s already done the work. Like I, when I start work with my one-on-one clients, we do a process of kind of visioning who are you at the of this and like starting to make decisions and feel into things and move through your life as that future you now I sometimes think of it as being able to borrow confidence from my future self.


Like she’s already got this, figure it out. She’s looking back at this moment being like, Oh, it’s so cute you’re here. Like that’s okay. And I can just start to think like, okay, what would she say next? What would she do? Where would she invest? What risks would she take knowing already that like life is already here in this like future self. And then the other tip I would say is to like find community and I can help support you. Even like before Leah and I started recording today, we were talking about like texting each other back and forth for support and I feel like just knowing that there are people who get it, who see that vision for you who can like almost remember your confidence for you even in the moments you forget is such a secret weapon and so many people think of entrepreneurship as working by yourself, which is close to being true, but it’s really just working for yourself, but you don’t have to be by yourself. Yeah. Have people in your world supporting you and cheering you on and holding the vision for you when you start to wobble because we all do and then like you got to be brought back.


Leah Gervais: Totally. I love both of those types. So actionable and especially that last one that’s, you know, as you know why I have poured so much of my time and energy and resources into my mastermind. And that’s why people see such success with it is because, um, you might not think you need someone, but you, I was like the most skeptical of masterminds and coaching in the beginning. I wanted like the irony is not lost that I was the first to be like, you are asking people to pay, you know, sometimes five figures is you know, up there to do what like talk regularly. And that’s like those were the things that ended up getting you the biggest results. And those are the things I hope business is about. So I love that tip. Um, okay, so kind of a tough question and I want you to answer this however it feels good. But you, you work with people who have gone through trauma, who have gone through tragic breakups, who have gone through really dark, sometimes demoralizing experiences. And I know that you sadly have gone through some yourself. Um, and you know, you had a huge breakup. I guess I just kind of, I ha this is an open ended question for whatever you want to share about what you went through, how that informs your work now and how you were able to find purpose through huge abuse.


Kimberly Pendleton: Yeah, I know. I so appreciate that question. And I love sharing more about these experiences because I have learned how common they are and that’s definitely part of my mission and my work is to make that not true anymore. But for now, you know, it’s hard for me to think of a woman that I know who, whether or not she experienced something herself, has oriented her life around like fear of something happening, you know, like the way we walk out at night or what we’re willing to do or where we’re willing to go. Not because any of this is ever our fault, but just because we know that like the world is scary still. And like we see and hear about stuff all the time that is so traumatizing and upsetting. So I ended up feeling like whether my clients and friends were holding like personal stories of trauma or they just had kind of absorbed so many messages of like, it’s not safe to be a woman.


Like it’s not safe to be out at night. It’s not safe to be visible or to be alone. Then there’s this kind of vicarious trauma that’s just like all around you. And either way, what I’ve found is like the same things that helped me move past my own sexual assault. And honestly even my own like really deep breakups, which I CA, I mean I know they’re different, but like ended up impacting me and son, similar ways of just like shut down, you know, like close up, put the walls up, don’t let anybody in, you know, it’s better to be safe and like kinda locked away in the tower than it is to just like keep trusting and be out in the world. And so a lot of what I ended up learning myself like is what goes into my work now and even into my signature program uncover.

But for me it took like a decade. Like, I feel like I was like traipsing all around kingdom come. I was in my grad program still so some of that helped. But I was also going to therapy and doing trauma healing and then eventually coaching training and all these different things and I look back at that process and think like, I mean I’m so grateful for it and it definitely worked in the sense of giving me all these tools and helping me really heal. But I was like this could be easier. Like how could I condense this for people? And I feel like uncover is that tiny or journey but like 10 weeks instead add like 1% of the cost instead of it being like a hundred grand, like literally going to get your PhD. Like you could skip the PhD in the divorce if you want and you can go straight to the end part where you get to have more pleasure.


And that is actually, that’s what makes me think my work a little different than what else is happening in the field. Although I hope that that changes and that soon everyone’s talking about this, but pleasure and beauty and joy, I’m kind of thinking about what we do. Why and instead of just what we don’t want has become a foundational, like linchpin of what I see helps people heal the most. It’s like, yes, we want to process all the harm and all the pain and like we want to think about how pleasure can have a bigger role in everybody’s life. And I actually think that’s going to be the next direction we see feminism moving is really honoring pleasure as a tool and even as like a tool for revolution.


Leah Gervais: Mm. I love all of this and I mean, I can just even, you know, speak to how that shift has really shown up for me. Um, so at the time of this recording, we are in the thick of code 19. We are in the middle of the pandemic. New York is on its knees. It’s very tragic. And, um, I have continued to run it my business obviously because I’m blessed enough to have a virtual business and that hasn’t shifted that much. But I’ve realized that the biggest shift that I needed to make, and I needed to make it quickly because I will be honest, for the first couple of days where I was starting to work when New York was shutting down, I was not in a good place. I was very anxious. I knew it was all self-inflicted, but I couldn’t really get out of it and what needed to happen and what changed and now is making me feel really great, honestly. 


And I want to be clear, I have an immediate family member who has been diagnosed with this. I am not like separated from it or trying to be insensitive about how serious it is, but by really, really ramping up my self care and a lot of that have been things you’ve taught me to do. Um, and a lot of it, a lot of it has been easy things. Take a bath every day, make sure you exercise every day, make a really decadent Boulevard oatmeal instead of microwaving wine that has like really healthy foods and fruits or like whatever. Um, and one I have had less time to stress because I’m busy taking care of myself and to you then totally, totally lead from service. And I’ve realized that this pressure of getting ahead or paying attention to the economy or you know, worrying about spending habits has somewhat become lost on me because I know that I have a filled up cup and I can serve my audience and that will withstand economic fluctuations because if the economy is down, I can still serve them where they’re at.


And so I can totally vouch for how this inner inner paying attention and you know, your, your message on paying attention to what you do want and you know, putting yourself in an environment that feels really to you, it goes far beyond the surface and it really can make you such a better entrepreneur. And with that, I want to shift over to a question about kind of your work for entrepreneurship in general. Um, actually I have two questions. So this is kind of a feminist question that I have has haunted me for a long time, which is just that in the wave of feminism, what are your thoughts about how we as women have maybe just become more masculine and more feminine and in essence kind of put more work on our plates because we’ve wanted to work, which is super great and everything, but men haven’t really stepped into the roles that have been women’s roles since forever. And now we’re just asking more of ourselves and I think more getting tired more than ever. And I would just love to hear your thoughts because I don’t- it bothers me.


Kimberly Pendleton: Totally. No, I mean I think that’s a huge question and actually the context that we’re in right now is so relevant to that like inquiry because I know so many people are home right now in this moment and a lot of the help that they have relied on to run things like even teachers at school or nannies or housekeepers are like not available. And what households are finding is that all that stuff’s falling back on women and even women. And even couples who had made so many strides and pushing toward like more equal routine and prioritizing like her work and her space. It’s like when the kind of shit hits the fan, it’s a little bit back to like the default setting is, she’s in charge of everything. And what I’ve noticed is that this has become almost like a incubator for couples to see like, and family is like what still needs adjusting, like within themselves about like what setting could be recalibrated here so that that doesn’t feel like our default.


And I actually think that that’s going to apply, you know, far beyond just this kind of crisis time. But thinking about, you know, when I imagine who’s in charge of this or like who it’s important to, or even like who is handling the mental load of keeping track of everything that needs it’s to happen. Even if you’re then like parsing it out to different people, including your partner. It’s like if that’s still all falls on women, they’re never going to create what they’re meant to create as Epic. You know? And there’s this amazing Virginia Wolfe essay that some of you have probably read or might remember where she reflects on like what if Shakespeare had had a sister and like she was just as brilliant but she didn’t have time to write a bunch of plays because she had all these kids that she had to take care of.


There was like no space for her genius to come through and we’ll never know. I think she calls her Judith for some reason, which has been her name. Um, but it’s like so basic in some ways and so powerful at the same time. And you know, I I think to just get really personal about it. Like we were watching, my partner and I were watching working moms the other day and I started like crying. I was getting so emotional just like not the point of that show. It’s hilarious. But I was like, this is so unfair. Like it was trade trailing women going back to work after having a baby. I just like no accommodations for their kids, no accommodations for like their way their bodies needed to be like moving through the day. And I was thinking about entrepreneurship as like another option and a way that women really can create lives in which being a person with children is still possible and you can make enough money doing things that like light you up and still show up in your house and like be there for your family.


And it just feels so insane that that is not the case in more industries right now. I actually think maybe this pandemic will eliminate that more industries could operate that way as more people like experiment with working from home. But like in the meantime I think every woman should start her own business and every man because like being a father doesn’t have as many provisions in our workplace either. You know, it just seems like in order to have the flexibility that we need, like I’m just so grateful that this path is out there. I know that’s like maybe more than you bargained for. 


Leah Gervais: I mean, I love that answer. And you know, you and I have had discussions about this before at length and maybe I don’t talk about it enough on my own platforms, but in my view, this is my contribution to the feminist movement is doing what I do and helping people have location, independent businesses. And if that means they want to fly to Tahiti and work there, then great. And if it means you want to not get dressed so you can stay at home with your kids, then great too. But having that power of choice and being able to show people how to create that for themselves is in my eyes. You know, I’m using like what I’m naturally good at, business coaching and doing it in a way that empowers women. So I totally agree and I love, I love your take on it and I love your advice on that.


And I obviously could talk to you forever and ever. But I guess the final question I’d love to ask you, that kind of ties together, you know, your experience and the, the close work you do on women with intimacy, um, and our entrepreneurial audience is that, you know, now you have found yourself in a really beautiful relationship. I have been lucky enough to meet your partner. He’s a wonderful person and it’s clear that he is lit up by watching you be lit up by what you do, which is I think the biggest dream and goal. And um, so I’d love to hear what you think are maybe two or three tips you have for someone to create as to create that support in her relationship or maybe find a relationship where that there’s that support that you didn’t know beforehand that can help her be a better entrepreneur.


Kimberly Pendleton: Yeah, I love that. I know, I’m like, I just want to listen to these words and then I was like, wait, there’s a question in there. I can totally repeat it now. I mean, I think that like one of the things that I am really struck by looking back at my own journey is how at different points along the way, very dramatically, I remember thinking like, it’s too late for me. It’s too late. It’s too late to start a business. I don’t even know what that is. It’s too late to have like an Epic love. It’s too late to like end this relationship. I’ve already done so much here. It’s too late. It’s too late, it’s too late. And I look back now and I’m a little bit like, girl, you’re 23. Like it’s not too late for anything. But I also remember that feeling so palpably.


I’m thinking, um, you know, a little bit of like, Oh, those people get to have these things. They get to have an amazing marriage and an amazing business and an amazing life. And I’m just not one of them. Like they’re the lucky ones, not me. And I would say that like the number one shift that is going to open up every possibility is just realizing like, it’s never too late. It’s literally the opposite of too late. Like any moment is like the right moment to change the way your mindset is integrating like what’s possible for you and what’s possible for your love life and your career and your money and all the ways that you want things to be. And if I could go back and give my younger self a snapshot into life right now, like this relationship and this life and this kind of, you know, set of routines where like I’m so encouraged and like feel so adored, I would have just never for a minute doubted. I would have been like, Oh, that’s where we’re headed. Great. Like bring it, I can handle any of the things on the way. But along the way I just like wasn’t sure and just had to have faith, but I didn’t really know what it was faith in and now I would just love everyone to feel like, okay, if I want something to be different or feel better, like that’s possible for me.


Leah Gervais: Yeah, I love that. So just this, this never settled mentality for amazing. Okay. Well thank you so much for sharing all of this with us. I have three kind of lightening questions for you. Are you ready?


Kimberly Pendleton: Ready.


Leah Gervais: Okay. What’s your go to on a bad day?


Kimberly Pendleton: Cup of coffee.


Leah Gervais: I love it. Okay. Um, what is your, uh, proudest business moment?


Kimberly Pendleton: Proudest business moment? I launched I think teacher training certification this year and was just like so proud of 30 women who enrolled, which totally exceeded my expectations and the thought that like, it won’t just be me doing my work. It’ll be this kind of like army of coaches and teachers who like are going to go out and create like versions of this for high school girls versions of this for like cancer patients. Like everybody’s dream is so incredible and they’re all gonna take the like intimacy and confidence tools and like then make their own. It’s incredible. So I think just launching that.


Leah Gervais: Awesome. Congratulations. A business book or a podcast that has really helped you?


Kimberly Pendleton: Hmm, that’s a great question. Um, there are so many good ones, but I would say that one that I haven’t heard as many people talking about is chill printer by Denise Duffield Thomas. I don’t know if you read that, but it really helped me think like I could build a business around my strengths and like what makes my kind of life work rather than fit into a mold, um, that like some someone else had created and that felt really, really liberating.


Leah Gervais: Hmm. Love that. I haven’t read that one but I have read another book by her. She’s, she’s funny. Yeah. Okay. And where can people find out more about you?

Kimberly Pendleton: Yeah, I would love to connect. Anyone in Leah’s world is already someone I know. I would love my stuff all lives at That’s where you can read more. I have a ton of free resources on there, um, as well as information about my private coaching and programs. And then I’m online @KimberlyRosePendletonPhD on Instagram.


Awesome. Well thank you so, so much for being here with us. Thank you for all of this. I’m so grateful for you. We will also link all of that in the show notes. You guys should check out her Instagram. It’s just like a feel good place to be and she’s always posting inspirational things and just things that make you feel so okay about where you are, wherever that is in any moment. So love everything you do. Thank you so much for being here, Kim and ULI, you, you’re the best. I know you’re going to help so many and you visionaries out there. This is to your biggest vision, and I’ll talk to you soon.


Instagram: @KimberlyRosePendletonPhD


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