Kelli Risse: Rise Up and Live Wellness

In December, I was fortunate enough to meet Kelli Risse twice on the same day. We met at the West County Chamber of Commerce luncheon and earlier at the ACA Business meeting. Listen to our StoryCorps interview by clicking READ MORE and then click here: Rise Up and Live with Kelli Risse – StoryCorps Archive

Kelli, through Rise Up and Live Wellness works with organizations, individuals, business owners and high-level professionals live with more ease. It is the definition of wellness to her: bringing ease into work and life to have more time to do what we want to do and spend time with family and those we want to be with. It is a way to live in better health.

She asked me, “Don’t you feel better by just saying the word: EASE?!”

Actually, I did!

Kelli is a speaker, coach, and breakthrough specialist.

I asked what a breakthrough specialist is exactly?

“As a coach I offer a Breakthrough Experience. This is an eight-hour deep dive from a coaching perspective. I feel like we have breakthroughs all the time. When you ask the right questions or even when we think of something…break throughs can happen at any time. This is something I am proud and excited to offer.” Wouldn’t a book of Breakthroughs be amazing? I asked.

Our first conversation after meeting was on zoom. I was looking forward to getting to know Kelli a little better and finding out more about what she does. We talked for over an hour!

At some point, she asked me, what I like to do/what I do. As always, I spoke about storytelling and helping people discover and use their voice. and at the end of our conversation:

At end of our conversation she said, “I just want you to know when you talk about writing-you light up.” It made me smile, realizing that this was a mini-breakthrough session!

Kelli then invited me to be a guest on her podcast. To be honest, I was a little nervous, however, Kelli is an excellent interviewer. She made me shine! And I love the interview.

Kelli has an amazing energy and the greatest voice. And her smile lights up any zoom or real-life room! She also showed me, as an interviewer, how to follow the line of questioning. It’s easy to see that Kelli cares about people.

Wanting to know Kelli better I asked her what she likes to do.

“I love to dance, music, and moving my body in multiple different ways. I love music, music is the soundtrack of my life. Music invokes so many different emotions, feelings, and memories.” We are in complete agreement!

“As a former musical theatre major, I love going to the theatre at the Fabulous Fox and we have Blues tickets. We are a huge hockey family! We love the St. Louis Blues!”

Asked about her business and what she most likes to do, she brightens and says, “Speaking lights me up. I’m used to being on stage and connecting with people that way. When I do that, I’m connecting with audiences. I speak in a theatrical way-I story tell, and I’m funny. I even tap dance when I speak! All of that comes out and I just love that.”

“I’m a former educator and I love being able to help people. Being able to take them where they want to go. I love helping anyone discover themselves-helping them have the passion, fuel, and fire.”

“How does storytelling help in your work?”

“When someone shares a story, we remember the story and we remember the feeling that we got from the story. There is always a lesson in every story. Someone can teach you through a story. And that is where the learning is.” Presently, Kelli continues working on her craft. As an educator, she had books and lesson plans. “Now as a speaker and a coach, I come up with my own stories-my experiences and other experiences. That’s the power of storytelling.”

Kelli’s journey is a fascinating tale.

“I was a music theatre major and earned a master’s in dance in Southern California. I didn’t have the confidence and courage to go to New York and follow my dream. I love my parents; they gave me every opportunity in the world. Back when I was a teenager, body positivity wasn’t a thing. Back then there wasn’t a place for a body like mine and that’s the reality.

I went on to get a master’s in dance because I love dance and I love school. And then I thought, let’s see what opens after that. I could have opened a dance studio, but it didn’t light me up. After that, I realized I had fun dancing and what I really loved was teaching. Part of working on my master’s was the opportunity to be a tap instructor. I love teaching and I love tap dancing and I love dancing. I realized I wanted to teach in any way that I could. I did this for a really long time, and I enjoyed it.”

And then the stress took over.

Stress is a mind thing.

And we all create our own stress.

“The perfectionist/high achiever in me and the worrying about how to get the kids from where they were and where they needed to be, as well as the interests of my own kids and my husband. Keeping it all together, I put all the pressure on myself. And I landed in the hospital. At that point, I knew something needed to change.”

“I needed to change.”

Kelli says, “From there, I dived into stress. I’m an over-doer. We can be under or over or we can just be done. I was over, over, over. And that’s what I needed to work on. Through that, I did coach training and I have multiple certifications that taught me so many skills to help others.”

“That is why I now l help people find ease in their life.”

I found the next point intriguing. “All of the different things I’ve done in my life, I have and am always very passionate about what I’m doing. And yet also, sometimes, I know “Okay, I’ve done that. Now what’s next?” I know things need to fall away and I must let go of something in order to add in anything new that might be of interest to me. That’s part of my growth and my evolving as a human.”

“Right now, I am a speaker and a coach.”

I love that Kelli is okay letting go of something when she’s ready to take on something else. Most of us don’t do this well. I know I don’t. I hope to take this lesson to heart because it seems to work for Kelli.

What a great life lesson: when you’ve done it and you’re done-it’s okay to move on. It’s okay to let go of something that no longer serves you. EVEN in a work situation.

Kelli reminds me, “There are people in the world, some of us can do a lot of things-it comes naturally to us. And we do a lot of things. We like to experience a lot of things sometimes at the same time. That’s okay to do this. We don’t have to be locked into one thing forever.”

“Pivot,” she says, “Be able to pivot in a healthy appropriate way.”

“It’s okay to do this. When you let go of something, something else comes your way.” How very true!

Nine months ago, Kelli was resistant. Part of this was not wanting to let go. “It’s a PROCESS. Things open up-bringing more EASE into our lives.”

Kelli’s word of the year: EASE

“Taking a big breath and finding more space, allows us to do things more effectively and efficiently and makes things easier. Sometimes we make things so much harder than they have to be. It’s who we are being and it’s a mindset. It’s the emotions we carry. We carry so much of our childhood with us that we don’t realize. When you release it and let it go…you can find so much more ease. And you can quiet your mind down.”

Kelli reminds me, “I have to practice what I teach my clients. When things are running amok, there isn’t ease. It’s getting into the FLOW of things. Living in the present. Giving ourselves grace while we are finding ease.”

“When you understand how to complete the stress cycle, you can get back into ease. Stressors come at us all day. There’s not a lot we can control. There are things that are going to cause and create little triggers and cause stress. If we are not careful, we go from trigger to trigger. And then we stay in a stress cycle. When we have the strategies to get out of that and back into ease, we go back into flow.”

A few strategies we discussed: taking a break and getting into nature, sunshine. Allow yourself a break when you feel pressure. Talk to someone. Talk a walk or move your body in whatever way you like. Create, color, laugh, cry. Breathe.

We also need to look at WHO we are being.

“When another person is creating stress: what is YOUR perception? WHO are you being? It always goes back to me: HOW did I receive that? It’s all about me. People don’t always want to hear this. Oh, I have to change? While I’m doing something, if I’m resentful…. or irritated…. it’s not about the other person. It’s about me. I’m the one that decided to do something. Instead of realizing, take a break, go to sleep. There are no first-place trophies for a clean kitchen”!

Kelli suggests, “In that blame, is the issue. We have to turn the finger back to ourselves.”  I love this. In so many ways, we have to power to decide for ourselves what we take on AND what not to bother with.

Kelli teaches about stress personalities. She encourages us to identify them so we can be aware and then learn how to eliminate them. We can be excellent not perfect. Awareness helps us catch ourselves by using stress management strategies. We can break the behavior patterns we find ourselves in. Personally, I’ve started using time-out.

This is learning and not transformation. Often it takes a coach to transform. You can have the AHA moment AND you might need someone to help you with the integration. If not, we slip back into old habits.

Kelli’s work with clients and the breakthrough experience is rooted in neuroscience. During that deep dive, you are re-wiring your brain. You have new brain pathways, and you can do things differently. Some things we think are going to be difficult changing: and they really are not. You can make your conscious brain and subconscious brain work together. We have to update our brains like software. People walk away saying, wow! It’s amazing what it can do!

Kelli walks the walk and talks the talk. She has gone through her own program, in fact, a few times. Each time she has a different focus. She has her own blocks and her own breakthroughs.

I asked, “Can everybody do this?”

And the answer is, “Yes, 100%!”

This is a tool which helps us BE the best versions of ourselves.

As for her legacy, Kelli tells me:

“I want my legacy to be that I made an impact in my family, in my community and that I touched people’s lives. In whatever way that is. A loving, caring, supportive and fun wife. I’m a mom and want to be a grandma someday. Being a great A friend…I want people to tell great stories about me.

My legacy…what I want to leave: I want my kids and my grandkids to know that there is always growth inside of us and we can keep growing and keep changing and evolving and become whoever we want to be as we continue to live.”

Thank you, Kelli, for your time, energy, and inspiration!

Expect Good. Defy Gravity. Sparkle On! Live with EASE.

For more StoryCorps interviews, personal narratives, travel blogs and how I empower people to find and use their voice through storytelling as well as information about Whole Brain Thinking, visit my website:



Kelli Risse, Speaker & Elite Mindset Coach:



Listen to Kelli’s podcast here: Good Writing Practices with Pam Wilson – YouTube





About Pam Wilson

I've been writing since I can remember. At heart, I am a story-teller; making sense of my world, finding humor and light through writing. Now I help clients to write their own stories. As I continue my own writing journey, my passion is to help clients write their own stories.