|Credit: Kathy Gruver|
Hi Kathy! It's been at least 3 years since we last crossed paths. What new endeavors are keeping you busy?
So much. I started increasing my hypnosis and coaching practice. My speaking engagements multiplied and I have the privilege of traveling around the world to deliver my talks on stress, mindfulness and communication. I’m studying more and more and just finishing up a phenomenal coaching program. On a personal note, I left a 20 year relationship, my father passed away and I’m in a great relationship now with a phenomenal man.
One of your initiatives highlights the correlation between stress and communication. What are the common pitfalls of communication that yield more stress in life overall?
Oh absolutely. It is so difficult to communicate well while in a stressful situation. There are several reasons for that. First off we tend to be in a reactive state rather than a responsive state when we’re stressed. Also, when we are stressed we are looking for danger in the environment and that means we are more sensitive to negative things. So we are going to be seeing things through the lens of negativity. That definitely can lead to misinterpretation, knee-jerk reactions, hurt feelings and judgments.
How have you become a better communicator while educating and sharing your insights with audiences?
For me personally, in teaching others to communicate well it has really forced me to look at my communication habits. I was always an interrupter. I was so sure I knew what the end of the sentence was I would just start talking over people. For the most part I stopped doing that. And I have mostly eliminated the word ‘but’ out of my vocabulary. ‘But’ and ‘should’ are two words that I recommend people eliminate.
I recall you sharing while growing up Mountain Dew was your 'go to' drink. :) As your health and wellness interests developed over time, your outlook shifted to improve oneself by learning about different modes of medical and holistic healing. How has your wellness journey evolved specifically over the past decade?
LOL. Oh yes the Church of Mountain Dew. That was a thing. The more I learn and the more I expand my capacity for knowledge the more I have to really take a look at myself and question what I’m doing with my life. Whether it’s nutrition or healthy relationships or communication or meditation. Once you have knowledge of something it’s really hard to go back to those old ways.
And I wouldn’t want to.
You've penned at least seven books. Out of your book collection, which book was the most challenging to write and why?
Well, the first was not easy because I have no clue what I was doing. Lol. But I guess I have to say Journey of Healing was in parts the most difficult. I told a lot of personal stories in it. There’s one chapter on how I was badly bullied as a kid and it was really hard to put on paper. Very few people knew that. I told the story of how I was walking home from school one day and was jumped by a girl. The only people that ever knew that were me and a few friends that were there and the girl and her friends. Having to write that brought up a lot of shame and humiliation. But once I got it out (and cried a little bit), I will admit I found it to be incredibly healing! I think writing is one of the most cathartic things we can do for ourselves. And I’ve had so many incredible compliments on that book and specifically that chapter. So I know it really has an effect on others.
Are there any writing tips you can share with new authors?
Absolutely. I actually coach other authors and have an entire talk I give on writing books. The first thing is just go for it. Put pen to paper or fingers on the computer keys, or dictation and just get it out. And don’t think about it as writing an entire book. That seems so incredibly overwhelming. Think about it as writing a few sentences that become a paragraph that become a chapter that becomes a book. Break it down into doable chunks of what you want to say. As far as publishing goes, everybody thinks they want a traditional publisher. And that’s great for some but isn’t usually unfit for most authors. Think about what you really want from writing that book. Why are you writing the book? If it’s going to be a vanity project or something that you sell at your office or give away to friends and clients, a traditional publisher is not going to be the route to go for you. There are many low cost if not free self-publishing options that will get you the results you want. Also know that traditional publishers are not easy to get. Many will only go through an agent, which also takes a while to obtain. You have to write proposals that can be up to 50 or 60 pages. And it’s not quick. Most books through publishers take 12 to 24 months to get on a shelf.
You've designed a privileged life and career that takes you all over the world for speaking engagements. Is there a particular city or country you're wanting to visit?
All of them. Can I say all of them? I have been truly privileged that I’ve been to the top seven places that I’ve always wanted to visit. I would love to go to Istanbul. I would love to go somewhere in Asia, maybe Japan or Vietnam. I’ve never been anywhere in South America and would love to see Machu Picchu. I think that might be the only thing that’s really left on my bucket list.
I want to see everything.
As an avid fan of hip hop dance, who are your favorite music artists that entertain your senses?
If you could be a musician, whom would you love to collaborate with?
This is a really hard one for me. I am terrible at knowing musical artists. I just dance to whatever my teacher puts on and I love it. I do love Lil John. Which is sort of funny for a middle-aged white woman. I really like harder music. Driving beats and lots of swearing. LOL. Which is also contrary to being in the healing arts. But it’s just what I like. Growing up I was a huge fan of Van Halen and Queen. Always wanted to sing a duet with Eddie Van Halen. Now I’m really dating myself.
You also host Women's Transformational Retreats. Who are the ideal candidates that can benefit from this wonderful activity? What types of transformations take place at these various venues?
Thanks for mentioning those. Of course they are on hold because of everything that's going on in the world. But when they are back up and running they are phenomenal for anyone who's at a crossroads in their life, who wants to stretch themselves and experiencing things that they might not experience otherwise. We do dance class, trapeze, improv, things that are really scary for some but stretch you out of your comfort zone. It's really an adventure. Just like life.
What is the most daring thing that you've done in the past year? What did you learn from this experience?
That’s really a tough one. I have been staring at that question for a while. I live my life in a daring way so nothing is really standing out. I decided to restructure my practice and cut back on massage to add in more coaching, hypnosis and speaking. Then that sort of fell apart with the pandemic. This might be a weird answer but I fell in love. And after getting out of a 20-year relationship that is pretty scary and daring. Didn’t think I would get back into a relationship so quickly, but less than a year after leaving my ex I happened to fall in love. I really had to trust and allow myself to be vulnerable to let that happen. That seemed pretty daring.
As a former actor, how can the universe ( or Hollywood ) entice you to play yourself on Netflix or the big screen?
I’d do in a heartbeat. LOL. I really do miss acting and have on numerous occasions considered moving back to Los Angeles and giving it a shot again. I was really damn good at it and think now with what I know about business and marketing and having a bigger confidence in myself. I think I would have a better chance at a career in it. Everyone tells me I look like a young Meryl Streep so perhaps we can play each other. LOL.
Please share with audiences how they can contact you and support your valuable projects.
Oh sure, I’m all over social media. I run a really fun Facebook group called The Empowerment Project and I’m on LinkedIn and Instagram. My sites are www.KathyGruver.com & www.KathyGruver.coach for anyone interested in working with me one on one. I love to help, so please reach out. I know this is a difficult time for many and you don’t have to go through this alone!