When it comes to being motivated, some days we’re ready to take big risks and move forward, and other times, well…the couch is way too comfortable to leave. Stress and life changes can contribute to us feeling stuck in those couch cushions, and this is when it’s helpful to reassess what motivates us. Reestablishing your personal goals and seeking inspiration and guidance from those around you are ways to create new momentum. If you want to move yourself to a more motivated space, local on-air host and features reporter Kirby Adams is ready to give you her report on a subject in which she’s well-versed.
Kirby Adams’ earnest curiosity and willingness to step out into the unknown has motivated her career and fueled her day-to-day life. “I’m a big believer in the flow of life,” Kirby says. Stepping into life’s flow and being aware of the positive opportunities that surround you is a perspective Kirby can see guiding her career path. “When I look back, all these little things stacked up to my advantage,” she says. From working behind the camera to reporting in front of it, many of her career transitions came about because of one little word: Yes.
When Kirby started out in journalism, she was prepared for a life behind the scenes. While working as the director of a noon newscast in San Antonio, she was asked to step out of the studio and into the field. “They had a PM Magazine there, which was a huge show back in the 80s,” Kirby says. This new job would ask her to do the interviews, shoot the video, write the stories, and edit the version set to air. “I had no background in that,” she begins, “but I said I’d try it.” And with that big yes, Kirby had switched career callings.
At first, Kirby says she was really bad at her new job, but that didn’t stop her. Kirby’s openness in accepting the guidance the crew at PM Magazine offered allowed her to perfect her craft. She says she had amazing real-life training and the best teachers. “I remember the photographer who taught me how to shoot.e cried when I left because he said, ‘You taught me more than I ever taught you because you weren’t afraid to learn.’” This is where Kirby adds that letting go of fears of failing and instead focusing on being open to learning is an important component of staying motivated. “Don’t be afraid to fail, because that’s where your best learning comes from, and it opens you up to life.”
It was this same belief in her untapped abilities that brought Kirby to Louisville. While working in Seattle on a television program called Evening Magazine, she was asked to come to WHAS and “breathe some life” into their own evening show. However, there was a slight difference in format between these two shows—the program in Louisville was live. “And I thought, ‘You know what? That’s really scary. I want to go do that,’” Kirby says. Again with zero training, she said yes to the live on-air opportunity, auditioned, was hired, and moved to Louisville for what was originally going to be a yearlong job. The show lasted over seven years. “In that amount of time I met my future husband, got married, and had two kids,” says Kirby.
A love of storytelling continues to propel Kirby forward in her career and she says, “What motivates me is a curiosity about the world and wanting to share that with people.” The need to share stories about the world and the people around her led her to her present-day job. “The Courier-Journal had an entertainment opening and I applied for that even though I had never written print,” she says. Despite her lack of print journalism experience,, she was curious and up to the challenge. She has been working at the CJ going on nine years now.
Kirby’s curiosity stems from her childhood where she spent a great deal of time playing and exploring outside. The sense of wonder she cultivated during her childhood has led to other passions like running and bicycling. “I was sent out to cover a bicycle race when I was working for PM Magazine and I fell in love with cycling,” Kirby says. Again, she didn’t know how to do it, but she loved everything about the sport. Not one to stay in the slow lane, Kirby ended up being one of the fastest women in the United States. “I went to the Olympic Trials and finished eighth,” she says.
Kirby discovered running in college and still loves her runs today. She started one of the first organized running groups in Louisville where she witnessed novice and skilled runners come together to achieve their goals. “Seeing people succeed motivates me,” Kirby says. It’s this “team player” mentality that has supported Kirby throughout her career and is the foundation for advice she passes on to her kids: “Let people coach you. I tell my children that all the time.” Allowing people to contribute to your learning provides you with opportunities for growth.
If you’re looking for ways to feel more motivated, Kirby says to look for what excites you. “Keep trying different things,” she advises, “because you have to find the thing you find an element of joy in and then commit to that.” Another motivational tip Kirby gives is to “stay moving.” She says if you’ve found that you aren’t moving, walk five minutes outside. “Tell yourself I’m going to walk five minutes out my front door because you have to turn around and come back, and now you’ve automatically done 10 minutes.” Walking has been proven to ease joint pain and improve immune function, and Kirby adds, “You’ll hear birds and it might be raining or sunny, but you’ll feel alive.”
Remaining open to that all-important “flow of life” has allowed Kirby to take risks when new and exciting opportunities came her way. Fear of failure hasn’t been a barrier when it comes to achieving her goals, and studies show risk-takers are more content with their lives. So, if you’re looking for ways to add a little risk and motivation to your life, Kirby reminds you, “Find things that bring yourself joy and never stop moving.”
By Tonilyn Hornung | Photo by Melissa Donald