[How I Got Here and Started Doing What I Do]
Hi there. I’m Chris Kisling, and if I claim to know something about the special tribe I serve, it's because I have walked that path myself. Shy, sensitive, introverted, uncoordinated, smart geek/band dork, uncertain of my sexuality, deeply religious—from the very beginning, it was a perfect storm for feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I spent years looking for the instruction manual that had been left out of my packaging.
At the same time, I was conscious of a burning desire to connect, to love others, to help them find answers. In high school, I used to lie awake at night, excited and unable to sleep, picturing myself working with individuals and groups, helping them to find more purpose, comfort, and joy in life. I knew I had great potential, but I just didn’t know how to get out of my own way.
I tried several paths—first as a teacher and academic, working with students from kindergarten through college and beyond. Later, I entered the corporate world and rose to business development director for a national consulting firm, overseeing a talented team spread across several states. But, despite the many opportunities for service and connection in these positions, nothing quite answered that original ache—both for my own healing, and to do deep work with others on the concerns and goals closest to their hearts.
So, I continued my studies, dedicating myself to intensive personal growth work and training—first at the Option Institute International Learning and Training Center in New England, where I completed their premier mentor certification program, and then through a life-changing 10-month coaching/counselor training in the Bay Area, which I attended twice before serving on the faculty. This years-long journey involved careful examination of my personal beliefs, core wounds, and highest aspirations, as well as rigorous schooling and practice in the art of being with people—including myself—in a loving, supportive, non-judgmental space.
I emerged with an awesome array of skills to support change and growth in myself and others. These include deep listening, profound empathy, and the ability to create a safe container where the magic of learning to trust oneself and take risks can unfold. And, through this process, I found the courage to reach back across the years and take that excited and uncertain high school student’s hand; together, we stepped out of the safety of my corporate job and fully into the work that I love.
Today, nothing fuels my passion more than helping individuals and groups to move past the barriers that stand between them and peace, purpose, connection, and the pursuit of their biggest dreams. I've been privileged to walk beside so many amazing people who have generously let me into their darkest and most vulnerable corners as well as the light of their wildest hopes. They have allowed me the honor of loving them one simple question at a time, and they have used those questions and their answers to open windows, unlock doors, and transform themselves.
How about you—where are you at in your story? Is it our time to work together? If your gut is telling you that it might be, let’s talk soon. Because, truth is, I've been waiting since high school to meet you.