Author Kim Pierce of Coconut Wireless Life discusses how she stays so productive in her laid back beach-life environment in Hawaii and how her new book is an excellent guidebook for living on-purpose with one’s life no matter your environment or present state of living. Kim discusses our ability to change our habits and overcome barriers to change, the importance of having mentors, creating a plan for living on-purpose, and how music plays an essential role in life.
“Fresh off the boat from the mainland, California girl and over-achiever Kim Pierce quickly realized her expensive graduate degree and past stellar achievements didn’t matter in Hawaii. The rules had changed. Books, bikinis and slinging noodles at a local restaurant with her boyfriend wasn’t the life she yearned for. So she adapted and now runs a successful business from her hammock in Hilo, Hawaii. Coconut Wireless Life is a reflection of this journey. Kim Pierce is a licensed therapist, co-founder of the Hilo Health Cooperative, entrepreneur and adventurer.”
Tell me a bit about about yourself- How did you end up living on the Big Island of Hawaii and making a life there?
I grew up in California, and about 11 years ago now I packed my surfboards, my books and my bikinis and I followed a boyfriend out to the Big Island and within about a year I realized that I would rather live here under a bridge than going back to what I thought was normal in California. But being here makes you really reconsider how you do things. This is a really special place, and so I got really creative about what I was going to do for work and for my life, and we’ve just continued to make it happen. It’s one of the biggest blessings of my life I think to be able to live on the Big Island.You call yourself an over-achiever, which seems quite believable with all you are you involved in. Can you tell us what you do, and how do you keep up your pace in the laid back environment of Hawaii?
I just grew up in one of those families where you go to school and you get a good job and you go to more school and you get a better job, and I did all those things and I have a Master’s in Counseling Psychology, I’m a licensed therapist in Hawaii and California. But I like to dabble in a lot of other things- I’ve developed a network marketing company that’s in four countries now- it’s a Swiss health and wellness company. I write, I’m a co-founder of a first consumer cooperative fitness center called the Hilo Health Cooperative which is on the East side of the Big island. What’s nice about having all those things going in the context of what you said, which is a laid back Hawaiian lifestyle, is that there’s not so much distraction and there’s not so much clutter. It’s really easy to just escape and find nice little places that are quiet so when I am working I’m really focused, which allows me to get a lot of high impact from what I do, but I don’t have to take as much time doing it. Because I do love spending time outdoors, and being with my family, I have a young son, and so I’m not constantly barraged with lots of things to do. I just spend less time doing it, but it’s very focused time.
Taking the seat of a teacher or a mentor, I think is a big responsibility. It means you have to be really mindful about what you say and what you do, and I think the most important part of it is that you gotta walk the walk.
I still hesitate, I kind of smile when people say “Oh you’re a bit of a mentor for me,” because that’s not ever something I considered. I’ve been so focused on being a really good protégé and a student of my mentors, but what I recognize is that I’ll end up being a mentor to people who are just earlier on in the journey. We’re all on a journey, and it’s not like one is better than the other. But I recognize now more and more, especially with the writing of this book and I do a lot of coaching and also as a therapist, you do guide people through a process you know, whatever they are going through at the time. And I recognize that the work that I do has a lot of universal value to it, and so taking the seat of a teacher or a mentor, I think is a big responsibility. It means you have to be really mindful about what you say and what you do, and I think the most important part of it is that you gotta walk the walk. And that’s something often, only you know about. And so I daily am like “Am I walking the walk? Am I doing the things I say I do?” Some times I have great days with that, other times I’m just a normal human like everybody else. And it’s something that will never end, that’s always the work. That’s the thing about being human, there’s always that work to do.
All mentors are, are people who are further along in the journey…they’re not idols, they’re just people who are further along, and they can be your mentor inone area of life
I’m happy you asked that. It is, I really wanted to create something… when I thought about this project, I was like- I just want something that I would want to use- and I am the kind of person that when I get a really great book, I want to write all over it. Like people know it’s mine, you know like when you were little you used to put book covers on your books and stickers and pictures of whatever you were into. I wanted it to have that feeling about it. So it really is designed as a guidebook, it’s broken up into four sections- there’s Habits, there’s Mindset, there’s the Service section which is literally a workbook component where you write in a lot of what you’re doing, and then the Mentor section. And there’s areas for doodle space and suggestions for things to do, and you write little notes to yourself and there’s chances to really do some self-reflection, and I think that’s necessary. You’ve got to get some dirt under your fingernails to make this journey happen. Only good journeys come with dirt under the fingernails, and so you will have that experience if you utilize the guidebook as much as it has been designed to be used by you. We tell people it’s not really a good book to loan out, in fact we’re going to start running a deal where you can buy two so you can have one and buy for a friend, because I always have people like “I don’t want to give out mine, because I’ve written all over it.” It becomes really personal.Right, and you actually recommend and encourage people to write in this book.
Absolutely. Plus, there are studies to show that if you start writing stuff down that you want, you are like 80% more likely to get it. This is no exception.
People are doing too much. We live in a world now where people are massively connected and massively distracted. The amount of things people are doing are more, the quality of things that they’re doing are less. So the fact that most people don’t stick with anything has become commonplace. That’s unfortunate in my opinion, although it’s totally reversible.
I only get to say this because…
I came from a family that was musically deprived, I mean my parents just didn’t listen to a lot of music growing up. So I was never listening to good music, or like I didn’t understand much about the history of music and it wasn’t until college, being around a group of people that I was around where that started to happen. I think that music is such a gift, to fill an environment for yourself to help you stay focused. There are only two musicians that I talk about in Coconut Wireless Life, and I basically listened to just that music for an entire calendar year. It was helpful for me when I get in a bad attitude, which I get a bad attitude sometimes- it’s just helpful for me when I put on my iPod or radio- it’s the easiest most accessible thing to help you change your attitude really quickly. And it’s necessary sometimes to get out of a bad attitude or to increase a good attitude to really get focused. Plus I’m a runner, so I like being able to put on good music and jam, and I know you can appreciate that.
You dedicate an entire chapter to discussing mentorship, and having a mentor can truly have a positive impact on one’s life. How vital do you believe it is for people to identify someone in their life as a mentor, and why?
It’s essential. This discussion is an example- a part of Coconut Wireless Life. This morning I was with a mentor, because I’ve gotten a chance to be in a working capacity- if you do it right I guess, and you do well enough they say “hey you can come join in on more projects.” And that is an example of what I was doing this morning before we got on this call. All mentors are, are people who are further along in the journey. You know, I’m a mentor for someone who’s starting to figure this out earlier on, and I put myself in situations where I can be around those who’ve figured it out much better than I have. So it’s essential, but what’s really necessary and it’s why the guidebook is set up in the way that it is, is that you’ve got to do your homework first. A mentor doesn’t want you around all the time, they’re already doing those things that you want to do, and so you’ve got to do you’re homework first. You’ve got to make sure you have good habits, you’ve got to make sure you have the brain space ready so you can absorb all that a mentor is going to be able to teach you which is incredible. The other really important thing Sasha that I think people forget about mentors, is they’re not idols, they’re just people who are further along, and they can be your mentor in one area of life. Just because someone is your mentor doesn’t mean they’re your mentor of all areas of your life. So an example is I have a mentor named Julie, and her communication skills are incredible. She’s been a toastmaster for over a decade, she speaks publicly all the time, her demeanor, I love being around her as another powerful influential female. I have two mentors here locally, but then also a couple others and I’m really on purpose about why they’re my mentor and I get really focused in my time with them so that it’s concentrated on those, because that’s where I get the most gains. Mentorship is so important, it accelerates all your learning. What is it- “the best hindsight is someone else’s foresight?” So smart people learn from other people’s mistakes, that’s what a mentor provides. They’re just like “don’t do that Kim, that’s a bad idea, I did it 10 years ago! Let me just help you jump over that one quick.”
You touched on this just now, but establishing habits and creating a plan are noted as extremely important in your book. What do you recognize as being one of the most difficult barriers for people in changing their habits and following through on a plan?
People are doing too much. We live in a world now Sasha, where people are massively connected and massively distracted. The amount of things people are doing are more, the quality of things that they’re doing are less. So the fact that most people don’t stick with anything has become commonplace. That’s unfortunate in my opinion, although it’s totally reversible. You can– by following the guidebook, or if Coconut Wireless Life isn’t for you, go find what is going to get you to your Coconut Wireless. I just wrote this, because I knew it was a way to get me there, and I knew it could get a lot of people there and so that’s why I felt impassioned enough to write it. If you are on purpose about creating an environment to cut down on distraction and then you spend some time on self-reflection about what it is that you do really want, the world colludes to help people who know what they want and know where they’re going. You’re only going to get to that place if you are on purpose about cutting down distraction, doing less, and doing a few things really well. And then put yourself in an environment of accountability. That’s the other thing, inCoconut Wireless Life we say “hey get your guidebook, but then go buy one for a friend- it’s like $11- and then talk about it.” Let it have life, let it generate something between people, and that holds a really wonderful space for people.
What is one thing you hope to achieve with Coconut Wireless Life in terms of influencing and inspiring others?
In terms of what I want out of the book- I just felt like it was a real passion project of mine. I had no expectations. What I had found is that it’s really starting to serve others in terms of groups of young women, of a lot of millennials, I’m getting a lot of contacts from actually businesses that have a lot of millennials. Because there’s a lot of brains and heart and energy in that generation, but not a lot of know-how necessarily, or not a lot of curriculum that’s entertaining enough for the them so they want to stay involved in it, and they don’t want to have the boring lecture speech about “here’s how you should live your life.” So if that is appealing to people, I know that kind of stuff is appealing to me. Because when people love what they’re doing you don’t have to motivate them- it comes from the inside. So I think what I hope to gain, or what I hope for people to gain is that they have that feeling of moving with a sense of purpose. In Coconut Wireless Life I say “stoked people,” and stoked people are doing things that they love and moving with a sense of purpose. And that’s different for everybody and there’s a lot of room in that to create for yourself. Everyone’s ‘Coconut Wireless Life’ is different- I’m sitting here in a part of mine, but you know, yours is going to be skiing in the mountain in Aspen and all the things you get to be doing.
Where can people connect with you and others to share and discuss their application of and experience with Coconut Wireless Life?
We’ve got a website and I’ve got an Instagram page. You can follow me on Instagram, there’s a lot of really great images going up on there. What’s cool about that is that people are taking photos of what those little moments- you know everyone captures those moments in their day where they’re like “Ah, this is my ‘Coconut Wireless Life.’” In the beginning it starts as glimpses- you know, I used to work like the 9-5 job, staring out the window wishing I could do something else. So everyone has those glimpses during their day, and the goal is to get more and more of those and start to glue them together.