Maybe it’s a sign of getting older, but I find myself thinking more and more about the people in my life and how they got there – whether it’s a childhood friend or someone met more recently, all of our lives are filled with these stories of connections. They make great tales in group settings and long after the original meeting, we can turn back to them to reaffirm our loyalty.
I don’t remember exactly when Kim Roots and I first started working together. But there wasn’t a doubt that she brought a lightheartedness (along with wicked writing skills) and good nature to an office always on deadline. No matter how hectic her schedule or what she was called on to do, she seemed to handle each assignment with grace and good humor.
For me, for all kinds of reasons, it was a weird time. Not sure I was in the right place, increasingly stressed about other stuffing my life, it sometimes felt like a challenge just getting to the end of each workday. Doubts I had about my abilities seemed to be contagious, and from above came increasingly frequent feedback that – well, let’s just say it wasn’t anything to write home about.
Things came to a head on a Friday morning, when a mistake turned into a public dressing-down that my frazzled self couldn’t handle. As soon as it was over, I fast-walked out of the room and down into the stairwell, sobbing. I don’t remember a whole lot about the next hour or so; I do recall clearly the first person who come to see if I was okay.
Kim. She stayed long enough for me to pull myself together; her calm, reassuring voice helped me down off the proverbial ledge and was about the only thing that kept me from tossing my entire sense of self-worth in the dumpster outside. She may not have realized it at the time, but we were bonded after that.
I think there’s some kind of mythical thing, where, when you save someone’s life, you’re responsible for them. While I didn’t hold her to that fantasy obligation, I was smart enough to hold on to Kim, even after leaving the company the next week, when I decided there was just no turning back. And over the subsequent decade (which is a reminder that time freaking flies), I’ve come to realize how much there is to admire about this most special person.
For her first major act of kindness to me – critical as it was – is but one example of the way she lives her life. Kim is one of those people who not only supports everyone around her, she serves as a role model for living one’s best life.
She is a doer. From yoga to spin cycling to traveling cross-country for work, it’s hard to imagine exactly when she sleeps. And as if having a family (including daughter Grace, who doesn’t even yet know how lucky she is) and hectic job isn’t enough…
The. Woman. Does. Triathlons.
I thought it was incredible when she ran the NYC marathon a few years back And then, there was Kim on Facebook just this month, holding Grace and smiling before setting off to run/bike/swim (in the Hudson!). I am no athlete, but I know that these things don’t happen in a vacuum. So while she was being Mommy, rushing around to interview TV stars, and surely holding a half-dozen more roles, she found the time to train for something most of us wouldn’t ever consider.
I’ve alluded to her career already. She’s gone from covering soap operas to hanging out with the casts of major series. Whether she’s one-on-one with an actor, hosting a show panel at a conference, or goofing around in a group shot, there’s one constant theme. Kim always looks happy.
And not the “I see the camera” kind of happy where everyone has that practiced smile ready. It’s genuine, and she emanates a “how did I get this lucky?” air that makes you cheer for her rather than be jealous.
Kim brings people together. At her wedding, I got to reconnect with people who I didn’t have much chance to say goodbye to after my abrupt job departure. I even made new friends, including one who I adventured home with in the pouring rain, laughing and once again grateful for my Kim connection.
It’s not just me. From her social media you quickly get the sense that she is spreading her unique brand of positivity – which embodies sweetness and sincerity that never feels false or exaggerated – across a whole lot of circles. Kim’s got her work crew, her family crew, her exercise crews (multiple) – you won’t be surprised that among her myriad activities she also regularly does charity events, pulling in her “Haul Buns” teams to make them all that much more fun.
The other part of her personality, nearly as inspiring as her commitment and stamina, is this mixture of confidence and humility that is utterly charming. I believe Kim’s proud of all she’s accomplished, but she retains a wonderment about it all that is infectious. She’s far more prone to self-deprecation than self-promotion, and quick to note those who’ve helped her achieve her various victories. She is as genuine as people come, the embodiment of what people mean when they say someone is “down to earth.”
I sound like a total fan girl, I know. And I apologize in advance to Kim, who will never see this coming and would never ask for the attention of even my small blog. But the admiration is real, and so is my gratitude.
With all of the people who move in and out of our lives, it is easy to stop seeing each one for their unique gifts and talents. We all need people in our lives who not only remind us of the goodness around us, but of the goodness within us. When I spend time with Kim, I come away feeling better about nearly everything. She makes possibilities seem probable and challenges downright exciting.
Everyone should have a Kimberly Roots in their life. I’m really glad I’ve got the original.