Part of the What if? series by Kim Moistner-Bartlet
Inspiration and information for the Residence Life professional
Born and raised in Germany, “ich bin zufrieden” was a phrase that not only defined my mother-in-law, but was used by her on a regular basis. “I am satisfied.” A mother of five with a husband often away on military duty, she embraced a simple life surrounded by family and friends. She found comfort, joy and satisfaction in the life that she led. Her recent passing brought this phrase to life again for everyone in my family. I imagine that if we asked her to reflect upon her life she would have remarked, “ich bin zufrieden.” On the way home from her funeral, a long flight from Seattle to Wisconsin, I revisited my mother-in-law’s words and pondered the question, “Am I satisfied?” My mother-in-law’s passing served as a bold reminder that my time on this earth is limited. Am I living a life that will allow me to say “Ich bin zufrieden” when all is said and done? A closer look made me realize that a few changes needed to be made, especially in my professional life. Just two short years ago, I gave up my career in higher education administration to pursue my dream of owning a leadership development business. Traveling to universities to present leadership workshops allows me to inspire and educate student leaders and staff members. During those times that I’m on a campus, in front of an audience, I’m deliriously happy. However, the time between training workshops, working alone from my home office on things like sales, website management, social media and marketing, is far less satisfying. As a big-time extrovert, this shouldn’t come as a complete surprise to me. My reality is that while I love working for myself, I don’t necessarily love working by myself. Ironically, before leaving higher education, I had a great conversation with the comedian we brought to campus each year for new student orientation. He told me that while he loved what he did, he sometimes missed the team experience. “After a great performance when I go backstage, I’m ultimately a party of one. There’s no ‘team’ to get excited and celebrate with me. Rather, it’s back to the airport and on to my next show.” At the time I thought that lifestyle sounded pretty darn exciting. Two years later, I finally get it.
My mother-in-law’s passing inspired me to do a quick reality check of my life. It made me realize that I want to change the “what” and “how” of my business. I’m a people person! I need to create opportunities that will allow me to work with and inspire others on a daily basis, not just when I’m on stage. I want to be able to honestly say “ich bin zufrieden” at the end of every day. What about you? Are you doing what you TRULY want to be doing with your life? Are there dreams and goals that you’ve been putting on the back burner that need to be moved to the forefront? What if you took a few minutes out of your day today to ponder the life you’re leading? Use fresh eyes to take an honest look at your personal and professional life. When your last day on this earth arrives will you be able to look back and say, “Ich bin zufrieden?” Tomorrow is just a promise, not a guarantee. Seize each day and make the most of it. Here’s to living a life that is truly satisfying.
Submitted by Kim Moistner-Bartlett, Owner of Kimembee
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Kim Moistner-Bartlett – Big Idea Enthusiast & Kimembee Founder
Kim Moistner-Bartlett blended her experiences in business and higher education administration to create Kimembee, a leadership development company. Kim has held positions in First Year Programs and Residence Life at a number of institutions including The University of Southern Mississippi, Temple University, Philadelphia University and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She has received awards for her innovative presentations, most notably in the area of customer service within higher education. Kim received her Masters Degree from Ball State University and her Bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.