Who is Dr. Kim?
Leadership Alignment Coach
I am the CEO and Founder of The Nightingale Firm. As a Leadership Alignment Coach, I help leaders take off the armor of their professional roles to align their passion, purpose, performance and resources. My goal: To help Leaders create lives they don’t burn out from. In addition to being a Certified Coach, Speaker and Trainer, I am an author and host of the Leadership Antidote Podcast.
As Kimberly A. Hires, PhD, RN, my professional career includes degrees and experiences from some of the top institutions in the US including Johns Hopkins University, the National Institutes of Health, and the University of Miami all before the age of 30! I’m an award-winning professor and leader development expert. I am a wife to one of the top chefs in Atlanta and mommy to the most amazing boy on the planet! My tribe resides in Atlanta, GA.
How did I get here?
I spent most of my life in the suburbs of Long Island, New York. I am a first-generation American and the first ‘Doctor’ in the family. My family ignores when I try to make the distinction between a medical doctor and the doctor that begs for money for a living (aka scientist) to no avail. I’m the type that begs for money.
For immigrant families, education and performance become the tools to measure success. I had a terminal degree. Check. No more school. Success meant joy, right? What did I have to complain about? I was earning 6-figures, had a flexible work schedule, had traveled the world, married and had a healthy baby boy.
At that point in my life I could perform at any task. And perform I did. Passion and purpose didn’t matter. I was great at what I did; well on my way to becoming the youngest tenured professor in the history of my department and already marked to become Associate Dean before 40.
Then I hit the Wall. I struggled to get up and go to work. I struggled to maintain the health of my marriage. I oscillated between rage and exhaustion. There was no middle ground. Motherhood switched to autopilot. Thank God for pictures because the first few years of my son’s life, I genuinely don’t remember. I wasn’t present in my own life. I was simply existing. Intentional living, what was that?! So I did what I did best, I performed.
You can’t out perform burnout.
No amount of rest, beach front vacations, shopping or socializing helped me. I felt like a zombie in my own life. One day I was sitting on the sofa and my son was sitting at my feet watching television. I was numb. I felt as if I was having an outer body experience. I was watching myself in my living room.
I had never felt like this before. Who was this? I’m hurting them. I began to plan my own suicide. I reasoned that I would take the smaller car because my husband was going to need the larger vehicle for use with our son. The smaller car was not car seat friendly. I was going to crash the smaller vehicle into a tree. I chose this road in the picture because it did not have street lights and houses. This would ensure the likelihood of dying because first responders would not get to me quickly. I planned all of this quietly with my son sitting at my feet.
Suddenly, my son jumped into my lap. Grabbed my face with both hands and yelled as loud as he could, “Mommy, I love you!! I love you!! I love you!!” His actions startled me. I hadn’t uttered a word. How did he know? I realized I was crying. The Nurse in me took over. I had a plan. All of my training taught me that being suicidal is one thing but once a person had a clear plan you had to act. I had a clear plan.
So I took action. I reached for my phone sent a text to one of our dearest friends. I typed, “Do you still have the name of the therapist you used for your divorce?”
Help was on the way.
Life after burnout.
At the recommendation of the therapist, I obtained a full work-up with my physician to ensure that my experience wasn’t attributed to hormones or chemical imbalances. I was clear. The cause: Burnout. I was at the far end of the burnout continuum. That was me, an Overachiever all the way. Six months of therapy followed by 6 months of coaching. It took me a solid 3 years to fully recover.
Years have passed since my burnout experience. I can confidently say I am on the other side. I no longer wear my Performance hat. I no longer say Yes to opportunities that do not allow me to align my passion, purpose, performance and resources. If I can’t bring all of me, I don’t go.
Looking back, I was never a good fit for my job. On paper, absolutely. In reality, not at all. The misalignment contributed to the severity of my burnout. My performance and resources were completely out of sync with my passion and purpose. When feelings of regret try to creep in, I give myself grace in knowing that I did not know how to assess for that at the time.
Now, I am committed to helping other Leaders rewrite their stories. My consulting helps organizations to develop strategies to protect their Leaders.
Am I sorry I went through any of it? No. Because how else would I know how to help you?
If you don't want to burn out, stop living like you're on fire.
They took off their uniform when they got home, but couldn’t remove the armour.
Christina Maslach, PhD
Burnout is nature's way of telling you, you've been going through the motions your soul has departed; you're a zombie, a member of the walking dead, a sleepwalker. False optimism is like administrating stimulants to an exhausted nervous system.
What I Do
Coaching, Speaking & Consulting
I help Leaders and organizations address an often unspoken pain point: Leadership Burnout.
Leaders are more vulnerable to burnout, yet no one checks on the Leaders.
Leadership Burnout is directly linked to job satisfaction, quality of life, productivity, employee retention and leadership retention/turnover.
Leaders avoid speaking about their burnout to avoid stigma and potential impact on future job opportunities.
My coaching style focuses on addressing the Whole Self, not just performance.
Get In Touch
- (404) 954 – 2604