Women in business: Stay the course of what you know is right for you

Lydia Kickliter

Editor’s note: For our special Women in Business issue, we asked women in our local business community to share insights they’ve gained through their work in Western North Carolina. Here is one of those stories.

My career found me. I am an introvert, an observer and a genuinely curious person. Since a very young age, I have been watching people and trying to figure them out. One of my nicknames in high school was “Freud,” as I was always trying to help my friends understand themselves and make changes.

After I graduated with my BA, I started working in Florida supporting survivors of domestic violence, and ultimately to helping survivors of sexual assault and abuse heal from their trauma. I quickly figured out that I needed a clinical degree to be able to provide the kind of help I realized these women needed to make lasting change.

After graduate school, I began my life’s work of helping survivors of trauma heal themselves. I have been doing this good work for 12 years now. I have recently opened a group therapy practice here in Asheville to be able to train other clinicians to do work like this and extend the healing out further in the community.

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced along the way is people telling me I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. In graduate school, it was my dean telling me I couldn’t make a living at private practice. Today, it is family members who simply don’t understand my continued desire to help.

What I would want to reach back and tell my young self and anyone else considering working for themselves is: “Haters gonna hate.” I don’t know why some people feel it is their mission in life to be a Debbie Downer, but what I want young women to know is that it is your job to follow your instinct and stay the course of what you know is right for you! You are the expert on your life!

— Lydia Kickliter
Licensed clinical mental health counselor
Mending Roots Healing Center


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