Interview: Alex Kingsmill of Upstairs

By Andrea McArthur Alex Kingsmill

Have you ever met someone who lives each day to its fullest potential, who has clear direction in their life and career?

With guidance you can also sculpt your life into a more authentic one and become the person you really want to be. Alex Kingsmill is a Creative Women's Circle member with a difference. She does not create with her hands but she moulds with her words. Alex is the founder of "Upstairs" an evidence-based Coaching and Counselling Consultancy. In short Alex helps thinking women work out who they are, where they want to go and how they want to get there. She is a designer of sorts, helping women design great lives.

What led you down your current path?

I had always lived a ‘should’ life, doing what I thought was expected of me. I did well at school, I went straight to uni and studied law because I had the marks and I got a ‘proper’ job even though it was boring and the people were uninspiring. I was doing everything I thought I should do but I was dreading getting up in the mornings.

So I started to look more closely at how I really wanted my life to be, at who I really wanted to be. And I transformed almost everything: I met new people, I moved to a new area, I re-trained, I quit my job and I set up my own business. Now everything is the way I always wanted it to be and I feel really happy. My coaching work focuses on helping other women transform their lives in similar ways.

Upstairs Business Cards

Who do you admire?

There’s not one single person who I turn to for inspiration. I just generally admire people who live truthfully, folk who have the courage to live a life that is really truly them, one which will make them happy and allow them to be the best person they can be.

It sounds super cheesy but my partner is someone who does that really well. He’s completely honest in who he is; he lives authentically. He also has the biggest heart of anyone I know. He’s a constant reminder for me, of how to Live Life Well.

What has been the biggest / most positive / successful change you have seen in a client?

My clients often amaze me with the exciting and bold steps they take: leaving soul-destroying jobs, starting businesses, pursuing positive relationships, travelling to amazing places, igniting creative projects.

These achievements are inspiring but the most powerful changes I see are the internal shifts: when a client starts to know herself better; like herself more; grow in confidence. I think it takes a lot of courage to really look inside and ask yourself what is needed, to become the person you want to be. So those are the changes that I find most exciting.

Upstairs is:

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

There were lots of things I hated when I was working a nine-to-fiver but the biggest ones were having no flexibility and working in a grey office. Now I love my days: I work from home in an office that has art and books and flowers and that looks out onto the street – I like watching people walk by.

On a typical day I’ll spend my mornings seeing clients, responding to emails, reading books and writing my blog or an article. Mid-morning I always break for coffee and cinnamon toast and usually get distracted by Twitter, Facebook, Instagram... In the afternoon I might swim or go for a walk or meet a friend – something to clear my head and make my heart happy. Then I see more clients, after they finish work.

What future plans do you have for your business?

I am crazily excited about the future for Upstairs! I am looking forward to meeting more clients, developing group projects, writing a book and hopefully, forming a collaboration. I’m not sure yet who it will be with or what form it will take but I have a feeling it’s taking shape!


5 Questions in 5 minutes

Getting Personal

Studio Sounds, what's playing? It’s super nerdy but I actually work best when it’s quiet… so nothing’s playing!

What are you currently reading? My bedside table is always piled with self-help books… but it’s ok and Not Creepy because it’s for my work! At the moment I’m reading Hugh Mackay’s "The Good Life" which was recommended by a friend, as well as "How to Change the World" and "The School of Life" both by Paul Flintoff.

What are you looking forward to? I just had a little baby girl and I am ridiculously excited about all the changes she’s going through. I’m looking forward to getting to know her better.

Can you share your go to resource for motivation? Whenever I’m feeling flat or unmotivated at work, I drink good coffee and watch a TED talk It always gets my brain firing again. Otherwise, I hang out in the psychology section at Readings Bookshop in Carlton.

What is your local areas best kept secret? My local best kept secret are the junior entrepreneurs who set up on the bike path near Edinburgh Gardens during the last school holidays. They make their chaperone (Dad) sit (sort of) out of sight, behind the bushes while they sell Chocolate Crackles and Honey Joys to folk who pass by. They drive a (hilarious) hard bargain but their produce is top notch.

Take some time and ask yourself are you living truthfully?

You can contact Alex through the following channels: Email: Visit: Like: Follow:

 Andrea McArthur has a passion for all things visual. Type is her true love and goes weak at the knees over beautiful design. Andrea works as a freelance graphic designer in Brisbane by day and lectures in graphic design by night. You will find her sharing design related goodness via @andyjane_mc