Search & Replace S04E07: Kevin Palmieri

Kevin Palmieri, a man who seemingly had it all—wealth, awards, and success—felt profoundly unfulfilled. Kevin shares his raw and transformative path from the highs of financial success and personal achievement to the lows of existential despair, from superficial success to meaningful fulfillment. Discover how Kevin turned his crisis into a quest for genuine happiness, leading to his venture into podcasting with Hyper Conscious. Join us on Search and Replace for a powerful discussion on the real value of self-awareness and the courage to pursue a life aligned with one’s true purpose. 

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[00:00:00] Announcer: Support for the following podcast is provided by the user experience specialists at Johns & Taylor. More information follows this episode.  

[00:00:10] Joe Taylor Jr.: What if you crossed off everything on your personal achievement checklist, but you still felt empty inside? I’m Joe Taylor, Jr. This is Search and Replace. 

[00:00:25] Kevin Palmieri found himself in a quarter life crisis, not because he hadn’t lived up to his own expectations, but because he exceeded them.  

[00:00:34] Kevin Palmieri: When I was 25, I had a girlfriend who was a model, I had a high paying job. I was making anywhere from 60 to 120 an hour without a college degree, which for me, I feel like I’ve made it. Here we are. I had a sports car. I had a new apartment with my girlfriend and I had just competed in and won a bodybuilding show. So quite literally, I had the money, I had the partner, and I had the body. I expected to feel on top of the world.  

[00:01:03] But I think it’s unfortunately one of those times where from the outside looking in, everything was shiny and amazing. But if you had the opportunity to look behind the scenes or look internally of the way I was feeling, you would probably connect the fact that I was trying to accomplish so many external things to fix the voids I was dealing with internally.  

[00:01:24] Joe Taylor Jr.: Kevin’s internal struggles started to manifest externally, as he hit what he calls his rock-bottom moment. 

[00:01:31] Kevin Palmieri: It started to break away, brick by brick. One day my girlfriend came to me and said, Hey, I’m leaving. I am not super fulfilled in this relationship. You’re very much a shell of yourself; you’re depressed, you’re anxious, you’re going through your own stuff, and honestly, I have big goals, I have big dreams, and I want to chase them. And that’s exactly what she should have done, so she left me. 

[00:01:53] That was the first time I really looked in the internal mirror and said, I don’t know if I’m actually happy. But the problem is, I went back to trying to make as much money as possible, because I hadn’t learned the lesson yet.  

[00:02:04] So, what really shifted for me was the next year I spent grinding away, and I made the most money I’d ever made. I had my final pay stub in hand, I cracked it open, and I realized that what really matters is the thoughts you have before you go to bed, the thoughts you have when you wake up, how fulfilled you are, how aligned you are, how purpose driven you are.  

[00:02:27] Joe Taylor Jr.: Kevin found purpose in a new project, a podcast he called Hyperconscious. In front of the microphone, he started sharing what he felt as he made more conscious decisions about his career and his life.  

[00:02:40] Kevin Palmieri: What shifted for me was the fact that I started to understand, I was trying to make myself look better than I was because I thought I would feel better than I felt if I did that. And then I fell in love with this podcast as I fell out of love with my job. I don’t want to do it anymore. I don’t want to make the money. I know I don’t want to get to the top again. It’s just not worth it.  

[00:03:03] So it ended up getting worse and worse and worse. And I ended up sitting on the edge of a bed contemplating suicide. Because I realized that I was stuck between these two worlds and I didn’t believe in myself and I didn’t think I could be a podcast or I didn’t think I could be a successful business owner and I was so afraid to start over. 

[00:03:20] So it actually, it got progressively worse and worse and worse and worse until I ended up leaving my job in 2018. And then it was just a self-awareness buffet. Trying to become as self-aware as humanly possible because the more self-aware I become, the more opportunity I have to impact my life at least and then shift my future.  

[00:03:42] Joe Taylor Jr.: Kevin didn’t embark on this journey all alone though. He found some qualified help. 

[00:03:47] Kevin Palmieri: I started to get more self-awareness. I went to therapy. And this is the first time I had ever experienced therapy I didn’t know what it was gonna be like. I was afraid I was gonna cry, I was afraid they were gonna judge me. And I cried, for sure, but they didn’t judge me. And upon leaving, I realized that the thing that I was so afraid of learning more about myself was the thing that also could eventually, quote unquote, set me free. 

[00:04:13] So that was really, the first thing for me was going to therapy and understanding how my past was affecting my future. And when you have deep conversations, you learn so much about yourself.  

[00:04:23] And then there was just a lot of trying to do things that scared me, that would prove to myself that I was capable of doing them. We call it fear chasing. Doing a lot of that to build self-belief and then working on setting boundaries in saying no when it doesn’t serve me to build self-worth. So it’s been a very, very challenging journey of trying to get all the internal things to line up with the external things and then vice versa. 

[00:04:50] Fulfillment feels like a fuel that just doesn’t go away because when you get it, you get more. But fulfillment is your soul’s recognition of you being on pace or in alignment or doing the purpose that you should be doing. It’s amazing. It’s the goal and I try never to lose sight of that because I realize how blessed and privileged I am. 

[00:05:11] Joe Taylor Jr.: Kevin’s got some advice for you if you’re thinking about a major change in your life.  

[00:05:16] Kevin Palmieri: Start with a deeper understanding of yourself from a clarity standpoint. And all I mean by that is, we have to take a look into the past to figure out why we are who we are today. And I think a lot of us are running from that. 

[00:05:30] Now, circumstantially, I understand a lot of us have a lot of traumas and triggers and things that we’ve gone through in the past. But I do believe making sure you search through that with someone is probably one of the best things you can do.  

[00:05:41] I always say you should either book a coaching session with someone or a therapy session with someone. The therapy session is going to help you understand yourself at a deeper level. What are your core values as a human? Do you value honesty, integrity, character? What are your core beliefs? Whatever your beliefs are. And then what are your current core aspirations? What are you looking to create in the world? 

[00:06:01] If you can sit down and figure out what those look like, that’s going to give you a new piece of awareness, a new piece of clarity, and then you can, kind of go from there. That’s something we did in the very beginning. And that’s one of the reasons we say character over everything.  

[00:06:14] I refuse to sell myself to be more successful. That’s just not how I want to do it. I’d rather be a good man and get there eventually than be a bad person and get there now. But that shaped everything that we do, the way I show up, the words I say, the words I don’t. So I would say that that’s something very beneficial no matter where you are in the journey, but especially at the beginning.  

[00:06:33] Joe Taylor Jr.: That’s podcaster and professional coach Kevin Palmieri. We’ve got links to Kevin’s work in our show notes and on our website at 

[00:06:45] Search and Replace was produced by Nicole Hubbard with support from Connie Evans, Amelia. Lohmann, April Smith and Podcast Taxi executive producer Lori Taylor. Our theme music was composed by Alex ReFire. I’m Joe Taylor, Jr. 

[00:07:05] Announcer: This has been a Podcast Taxi radio production. Support for Search and Replace is provided by Johns & Taylor, user experience specialists serving media and technology companies that want their websites to work. Learn more about how top performing businesses eliminate barriers between customers and their goals at

Joe Taylor Jr. has produced stories about media, technology, entertainment, and personal finance for over 25 years. His work has been featured on NPR, CNBC, Financial Times Television, and ABC News. After launching one of public radio's first successful digital platforms, Joe helped dozens of client companies launch or migrate their online content libraries. Today, Joe serves as a user experience consultant for a variety of Fortune 500 and Inc. 5000 businesses. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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