We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelli Center and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kelli, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking

I have always been a risk taker. Not for the thrill of the risk, but the fear of regret and living with the “what if” thoughts. There’s always a level of anxiety that creeps in when you are thinking about doing something you’ve never done before. That’s normal. But in general, once you take the leap and move forward the unease leaves. Anxiety feeds on fear and the fear is usually just an unknown or unidentified expectation of an unfavorable outcome. Something we don’t want to happen. I believe the best way to overcome that is to identify the fact (truth) of the matter and focus on that, rather than letting this unidentified, hypothetical monster grow. So I’ve taken risk like moving out of state for college, starting my own private practice and moving across country to start over, after building a successful practice in the state where I was living.

What helps me to take these steps is to calculate the risk, or count up the cost, before I take that leap. I also think about contingency plans. “If things don’t work out how I hope/expect, what will I do? What will my plan be then?” I come up with as many “worst case scenarios” as I can possibly think of and think through how I’d respond and adjust to said happenings. That way, when anxiety tries to creep back in and tell me to be “afraid”, I can quiet the noise by focusing on my plan of action if that were to ever happen. May sound crazy. May sound tedious, but it works!

Personally, I’d much rather go for something that I’m really interested in doing rather than being too afraid to try and fail. Even if things don’t work out how I want, I can live with the fact that I tried versus wondering what life could have been like had things worked out for me. And that’s how I approach life, in general. Take the leap, rather than wishing you did.

What should our readers know about your business?

I own and operate a successful private practice, Centered Living Counseling & Coaching Services, LLC. We provide virtual and in-person counseling services to individuals, couples and families. We also provided Christian Counseling, training and consulting services for churches and organizations, as well as itinerant speaking engagements. Our aim is to further the conversation between Mental Health and Faith, normalizing Mental Health as a health issue within the faith community and abroad.

I have been a therapist since 2010 and in private practice since 2015. Prior to that, I worked in the behavioral health field since 2004. I currently hold active counseling licenses in Arizona and Georgia, and was previously licensed in Alabama, as well. One thing that I am most proud about is that my business has survived and thrived through 2 major moves; me leaving Arizona and heading to Alabama, and later leaving Alabama and moving to Georgia. I have been able to operate in multiple states and have had other Counselors working under my supervision at various times, as well. Because of that, I am proud to say that I had experience and great success with virtual counseling prior to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The pandemic presented a need for virtual services and exposed an area of weakness within the health field, in general. So when many were trying to figure out how to make the transition, I was able to simply grow what I already had in practice for years prior.

Over the years, I have faced many challenges and have made many adjustments to my business practices, which is something every successful business must do to continue to thrive. The most valuable lesson I’ve learned through these experiences is to trust yourself and always bet on yourself. Always take the (calculated) risk. When you do that and are true to your most authentic self, you will attract the clientele and opportunities that you truly want. We have to move from a space of simply surviving to actually thriving, even in the face of uncertainty (like a global pandemic) because that’s life. Things happen and we must find a way to keep going and live life well.

I tell my clients all the time that there is no topic that I haven’t heard of or discussed in session. No problem is too big or “too much”. Regardless of the issue or concern that brings you in for counseling, what’s most important is that you show up. You get out of counseling and coaching what you put into it. We aren’t here to judge you. Centered Living Counseling and Coaching Services, LLC is about meeting our clients where they are and partnering with them on their journey to wholeness.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m a little embarrassed to say that I haven’t done much in Atlanta since relocating, in part due to the pandemic, however I’ll share some of my favorite things to do. We would definitely start every day by working out at Lovely Bodies Health and Fitness. For some extra cardio we would head over to the Silver Comet Trail in Symra or hike Stone Mountain. We would, of course, have to hit some of the major downtown attractions like Centennial Olympic Park and ride the Ferris wheel, the Georgia Aquarium and the Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. National Historic Park. Since Atlanta is a major hub for entrainment, I’d check to see what concerts and festivals were coming to town so we could go to those as well. For Brunch we’d likely go to The Toast on Lenox, we’d get some Jamaican food from Jamaica Mi Krazy in Symra and for a local appeal go to the best neighborhood bar around: Sandtown Pub. While they were in town we would be sure to check out Karaoke at Boogalou Restaurant & Lounge and close out with Sunday Brunch at Ray’s on the River. If we had time during the week, we’d drive up to Savannah for some site seeing and historic tours.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I believe that as we journey throughout life there are people, places, things and experiences that equip us and carry us to the next stages and phases of our journey. So there have been numerous contributors at different junctures of my journey, however a person who stands out a pivotal moment is my friend, classmate and colleague Erika Thrower. We met during our Undergraduate Studies at Arizona State University and our friendship has continued since, both personally and professionally. She was instrumental in my decision to pursue a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. We supported each other throughout graduate school and continue to do so professionally, as we both operate successful private practice counseling businesses.

Website: www.CenteredLivingCounseling.com

Instagram: KelliCenter_LPC

Facebook: KelliCenter

Other: https://linktr.ee/kellicenter_lpc

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