Um, do you know that I’ve coached hundreds of women since I started offering dream career guidance in 2008? And that these women are freakin’ rock stars, leaving soul-sucking jobs and traveling the world and launching creative, grown-up businesses and simply doing work that fits their lifestyle goals? Well ya do now – and you’ll hear their stories firsthand in my Client Case Studies series! Oh you guys, Cat Kessler is a gift. I knew it when we worked together in Discover Your Dream Business this summer, I knew it when she opened her business Opt Inward this fall (go click over and try *not* to instantly breathe easier), and I definitely know it now in these answers she provides. I love not only her unique business idea and her passion-based mission, but in alllllll the limiting beliefs she worked through to get here. I just can’t wait to share her – and them! – with you.
Why did you decide to work with me?
I joined your Facebook group and signed up for your article emails soon after I heard your interview with Nicole Antoinette on the Real Talk Radio podcast. Your words made all of my dreams sound so possible, without being too good to be true. The way you described (and also the way that you so cleverly named) Discover Your Dream Business, it felt like it was just for me. I had a conversation with a close friend last spring where I told her–the first time I had said it out loud!–that I was interested in starting a business. She asked me what I would want to do, and I responded with a long string of ‘um’s’ and ‘I don’t really know’s’ and ‘I’ll need to figure that out’s.’ It was incredibly clear that the work of discovering my ‘what’ was the next step.
What were you doing work-wise when we started working together – and what are you doing now?
When we started working together I was working a full-time marketing job that I had been in for almost eight years. I had changed positions within the organization a few times in those years and had worked on many wonderful projects, but there was part of me that wasn’t being engaged by that work–namely my passions for spirituality and making personal connections. I felt like this gap had widened after the birth of my son, and two years later I was ready to find the opportunity that would be the right fit. And now… I’m still working that same full-time job, but I’m also building my spiritual self-care business as a side hustle. It can sometimes be frustrating to have a great business idea when I’m at my 9-5 and have to wait until the end of the day to act on it, and it’s definitely hard to put in the extra hours after a full day of work and parenting, but I have to say that working on my business is quite energizing. It’s engaging parts of my mind and spirit that haven’t been exercised in a long time.
What was your biggest takeaway from our work together?
It was really important for me, in our work together, to remain open to the process. When I first signed on, I honestly couldn’t see past the end of my own resume. I was living in a head space where I thought I needed credentials or experience or at least a very good reason to be worthy of my work. I couldn’t have imagined at the beginning of the summer the ‘what’ of my business that I would walk away with eight weeks later. Looking back on all of my notes now, it’s easy to see the common themes threaded through all our work together. I definitely needed someone outside myself to help me see what was there and pull it together into something that has both interest for me and value for my future clients.
Think of someone who is currently in the shoes you wore when we first started working together. What advice do you have for her?
Baby steps are still steps. With a full-time job and a toddler at home, I wasn’t sure how I could possibly find the capacity to plan and start a business. But it doesn’t have to take over your entire life right out of the gate. My work with a few ‘guinea pig’ clients taught me so much right from the start. I didn’t–and still don’t–need to have the entire journey mapped out in order to take the next step that’s right in front of me. (This is HARD for me!) Some weeks I spend several hours working on my business, and some weeks I may only be able to check my email and keep up with a few social media posts. I don’t have to compare or measure myself against anyone else’s business or timeline. At the same time, I know where to turn if I need someone to light a fire under my butt. 😉
Is there anything that’s been a game-changer for you when it comes to your business that you can share? We’d love a good resource or a mindset/productivity tip!
Something I certainly learned in Discover Your Dream Business that also keeps popping up all around me (I got the message, universe!) is this: Action is the antidote to self-doubt. I can think and brainstorm and plan literally forever, but I’ll never know if I was right or my ideas were any good until I put them into action. Will people like this offer? Don’t know until I ask them! Am I ready to tell people about my new business? The only way to find out is to write the email and hit send! I’ve also become a big fan of mind maps for getting ideas out of my head and into some concrete, visual form–thanks, Michelle, for that one!
What’s on the horizon for your business? We’d love to hear about any upcoming offerings or goals!
Starting this spring, I’m going to be offering some new mentoring sessions that I’m really excited about. One will be designed for folks who want to introduce some more meaningful rhythms into their lives–whether it’s daily meditation, a journaling practice, or a weekly time of reflection. The other will be geared more toward folks experiencing a significant life moment–a birthday, new baby, marriage, move, graduation, etc. We will work together to craft a meaningful, personalized ritual to celebrate and mark the occasion. My wish is that I can help my clients get in touch with a deeply authentic part of themselves so that they can show up for their lives a little more present and a little more grounded.
Where can we find you and your work?