Welcome to my 7th post in my series called “Coffee Chat.” This series is focused on inspirational women who love their jobs and want to inspire other women to find their passions and transform their lives. Today’s coffee chat features Kimberly Aboltin, who is a writer and actress in Los Angeles. Some of her latest work are: Teapot, Tripolar and Neil Patrick and Harris: The Chronicles of Conjoined Triplets (you’ll pee your pants – watch it!!). We have the low down about who she is, what she’s about and some key advice for future go getters.
1. Where do you live and what is one random fact about you to break the ice with our readers?
I live in Los Angeles, but my home town is Sandwich, MA. I went to school in Boston to become a doctor, my senior year I dropped out of pre-med and applied to a conservatory in NYC to study acting.
2. What is the first thing you like to do before you start your day?
To be totally honest, I hit the snooze button 2 or 3 times before getting up. I take the snooze button so seriously, that I will even set my alarm 20 minutes earlier than I need to just so I can accommodate my “snooze button” habit. When I hit “snooze” I lay in bed and think about all the things that I am grateful for and set my intention for the day. Hitting snooze gives me the time to get myself into a good feeling place. I’ve had to make this a habit though, because I used to reach for my phone right away and check social media or texts and whenever I did that, I would end up feeling more anxious and my day wouldn’t go as well. So the snooze button for me is a little reminder/timer to think about good thoughts and not mindlessly scroll through my phone. (WE LOVE THIS!)
3. What inspired you to choose your career path in acting and writing? Is there a childhood memory that made you decide?
Growing up, I was blessed to have grandparents that encouraged my story telling. I would spend hours during my summer vacations with them. They would let me exaggerate and fantasize about my life and would laugh and applaud. I loved the feeling I got from making them laugh. They made me feel safe in my day dreams and gave me the confidence to be that way at school.
4. What was your very first step to get you where you are today in your career?
I was on the waitlist for the writer’s program at The Groundlings and instead of waiting for a year to get into the program, I decided to write my own show about my childhood and played myself at 13 years old. I cast one of my Groundlings teachers and some other wickedly talented actors and ended up getting a residency at The HBO Workspace which got the attention of agents and studios.
5. What is one challenge you had to overcome in order to reach happiness with your career?
I battled with severe OCD for years. It was debilitating and often caused me to not leave the house. As a result, everything I did was never good enough. I placed unrealistic expectations upon myself and punished myself if I did not achieve them. I was in a constant battle with my mind. Ultimately this led to having to get some serious help and I took a break from the business for a few years to get recovery. Coming back to the business on the other side of my illness, I have learned acceptance of where I am and the power in focusing on the present. It wasn’t easy, but I am so grateful that I got the help that I needed. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I feel like I have a new lease on life and a second chance.
6. What are three habits you would recommend to someone pursing their dream career in acting and/or writing ?
Focus on today. What can you do in the 24 hours that we are all given? And only worry about that. You can worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. Stay focused on the present. Often times when we look at the big picture, we get overwhelmed, but if we break our life down into moments, it doesn’t seem so daunting. And it helps us enjoy the moment we are in.
Be grateful. For me, my comedy comes from a place of pain. I’ve been through some very dark moments in my life and comedy was an obvious choice to pursue, it allowed me to tell stories about my painful past in a funny way. By being grateful, I stay connected to the things that I love which makes me feel good. And when I feel good, I get more good feeling things in my life. Having an attitude of gratitude is like taking out an insurance policy on my life. (Man, I have some pretty cheesy sayings, huh?)
Write, write, write, write, write. It doesn’t matter what comes out on the page, just write.
7. How would you describe your support network? Who is in it?
My boyfriend Mark is my best friend. He is always willing to listen to me go off on tangents and will then calmly bring me back around. I appreciate him and his ability to stay present. Being with him has helped me learn so much.
I also have the GREATEST girlfriends on the planet. Many of them I’ve had since college (Like Deborah O’Neill) so they really know me and have been by my side through everything. Some of them live out of LA, so we are always face timing. Even if it’s just for a 2 minutes.
My sister in law, Nicole is a huge cheerleader. And my cousins all have the best sense of humor and are not afraid to make fun of me and keep me humble. My cousin Tommy literally just said to me “Your web series is alright. I mean it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever seen.” Hahaha. Nothing like family to help remind you that there is always work to do.
8. What is one skill you are currently working on, that will help you further your career?
Asking for help… This has always been my biggest challenge due to a fear of being rejected, and accepting I can’t do everything on my own. I was always afraid that people would say no to me. But now I’m learning that people do want to help. It’s the human condition. And besides if someone does say no (or rejects me) so what? My legs are still standing on the ground. My lungs are still breathing. The world will keep moving forward. And I trust that everything is exactly the way it should be. So if I get a “no“, I was meant to. My “yesses” are out there too. ?
9. To balance out your work life, what is your fitness and health regime?
I’m a dancer, so I’m in class everyday. Dancing helps me stay focused on the present. When I’m dancing there is only the music and now. I’m also in a love | hate relationship with meditation. It’s so hard to get me to stay still, but when I do, it transforms me. I am blessed with beautiful weather living in Southern California, some kick ass hikes, being outdoors and staying connected to nature grounding me. As does playing with Kevin, Gary and Harold (my fur babies).
10. What is one book that helped you on your career journey that you would recommend?
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson was super helpful in breaking down my day and the benefits of the compound effect (doing something small everyday and over time, the benefits will be astounding). I also love The Eight Characters of Comedy: A guide to sitcom writing and acting by Scott Sedita. I’m always referring back to it and recommend it to all the writers I mentor.