Story Spotlight: Kim Zacaruk


Write a mini bio about yourself. 

Former corporate executive, turned coffee house owner. I'm athletic, inquisitive, adventurous, loving, caring, daring, funny, brave, and everything in between. I love my life, my family and friends, my community, and believe life is what you make it. You get out what you put in.

Share a story that's shaped who you are as a person.

Quite a few years ago, like maybe 20, we had a group of people over one night. A few weeks later, a friend of mine shared what her husband said when he got home. He said, “When Kim asked me how I was doing and not what I was doing, I got the sense she really wanted to know. Not that she was just asking to be polite."

A few years later, I had a “group friend” confide in me that she had been going through a very hard time in the last year or so, but whenever we got together (with the larger group), she always felt safe, never judged, telling me how she was doing, and that I really cared about her when I asked what was going on in her life. She said that I had no idea how much of a difference that made for her.

There have been a number of situations over the years, where people (some close, some acquaintances, and at least a few strangers) have shared similar stories with me, which still always come as a surprise, but a beautiful surprise.

What did you learn about yourself or others based on that story?

What I learned about myself and others, is what I take for granted as “the norm”, is not the norm.

That perhaps, people don’t give of themselves as freely as I think everyone does, or really take the time to listen and dig deep and care as much. I’m not sure if people maybe think they are being too vulnerable themselves if they do, or if they simply don’t know how, or they do but it takes too much time or energy, but it doesn’t appear to be the norm.

For me, it’s just the way I  have always been. Heart on my sleeve, honest, what you see is what you get, etc. I’ve been burned at times, but I can’t imagine trying to live and interact with people any differently than ‘really’ and ‘deeply’. I’ve never cared much for small talk. 

How did it change the way you viewed the world?

I don’t know if it’s changed the way I view the world. More so, it’s taught me that as hard as it is sometimes to really get into the other person’s shoes and listen and care, it really can make a huge difference. And often, we don’t know at the time!

We find out after what a difference we made in their life at that moment! Or we don’t know at all. We just have to trust. So, why not try to do that all the time?

I’m not all rose-colored glasses and pie in the sky, lol. But if you can make a difference in someone’s life by really caring about them and listening for a moment, why wouldn’t you do that?

What advice would you give to others?

Take the time. Take the time to really listen and really connect. It is hard sometimes, but it's absolutely worth it.

Quotes Kim loves: 

"Go hard or go home!"

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." (Emerson)

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." (Mead)

"If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space." (Reebok)

"Just Do It" (Nike)

Where to follow Kim:

Ashley Kilback