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It all started in the late ’90s with a seemingly impossible situation and an imaginary magic wand. Kristin Kenney, CEO of Life in High Gear coaching, has navigated her business through the pandemic, guiding her clients to actualizing their goals and creating peace and satisfaction.
While working in marketing early in her career, Kenney volunteered as a Trailblazers mentor. Her mentee, Jewel Johnson, was a 12-year-old girl who had grown up in the projects and was passed from family member to family member, lacking a stable home life. Kenney saw the difficulties that Johnson was facing and wanted to customize her mentoring plan to help Johnson achieve her goals. One day, during a mentoring session, Kenney was inspired to pick up a pen and say to Johnson, “Imagine this was your magic wand. What would you like to do with your life?” Johnson expressed that her dream was to be a pastry chef and have a family of her own. Kenney worked with Johnson through the years, developing the principles of Life in High Gear coaching. Kenney’s idea for the business was born in the early ’00s, and it would be actualized in its current form in 2020.
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And what happened to Jewel Johnson? Now 38, she is a renowned master pastry chef. A judge on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, Johnson creates pastry menus for major food hospitality groups—and she has a joy-filled life with family.
Doing the work
While the results of Life in High Gear are life-altering, the process is not magic. “This is not therapy,” Kenney emphasizes. Life in High Gear uses negotiation and observation skills drawn from Jungian psychology. Kenney has developed a specific set of best practices for work and personal relationships. She is trained in Marshall Rosenberg’s nonviolent communication and negotiation methods and in the Gottman Institute practices for personal and romantic long-term partnerships.
Kenney’s method relies on what she calls “self-authoring,” boundaries, time management, goal setting, and negotiating—all of which are crucial to personal actualization and to corporate advancement. Kenney has successfully implemented Life in High Gear training with investment banks, medical practices, AI and data solution companies, and institutions including the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
In her one-on-one coaching and group courses, Kenney works with highly successful, driven individuals who are seeking to live bigger. A professional “fixer,” Kenney encourages her clients’ inborn resilience by using skills of strategy, observation, and practicality. “I find every client is leaving money on the table,” Kenney said. “Although my clients are all overachievers, each of them is lacking in one or more areas. Some have difficulties in business or in relationships. Life in High Gear clients all find success in their most challenging goals: meeting ‘the one,’ cleaning up their finances, breaking away from old habits, starting new businesses or amplifying dormant areas of existing businesses, growing generational wealth, and creating personal peace and satisfaction.”
Three pillars of success
Life in High Gear coaching took off one week before the pandemic struck. Kenney attributes the business’ resounding success during this uncertain time to its relevance to today’s lifestyles and both organizational and personal challenges of this decade. The three pillars of the business—public speaking/corporate training, one-on-one coaching, and group coursework—both challenge and meet the needs of highly driven, successful individuals who are seeking to kick their personal and professional life into high gear.
Companies and institutions have benefited from Life in High Gear expertise, as they regularly bring Kenney in to speak on her method, which encourages individual responsibility. “In our post-pandemic world, employees are no longer satisfied to work under uninspiring conditions,” Kenney explains. “They long to do meaningful work and to enjoy regular opportunities to broaden their horizons. Life in High Gear is ideal for this type of professional and personal development, as it relies on universal principles that, when individually applied, lead to measurable and incredible success . Companies love it, too, because it not only improves employee satisfaction but also increases company productivity and success.”
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Building on the three pillars of public speaking/corporate training, one-on-one coaching, and group coursework, Kenney is now expanding Life in High Gear with a foray into publishing—her first book is in the works. “There’s a great demand to bring this method beyond where it has already gone,” Kenney explains. “Everyone wants a magic wand, and everyone should have one—but I invite people to understand that the magic in the wand pales in comparison to what is inside each person. The strength of Life in High Gear lies in teaching and guiding clients to harness their own power to unlock their own unique magic.”