In this episode, we have a guest speaker, Kate Erickson. Kate is the heartbeat at Entrepreneurs On Fire, an award-winning podcast where John Lee Dumas interviews inspiring Entrepreneurs who are indeed ON FIRE.
See show notes: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/e127-how-to-create-a-life-that-is-on-fire-with-kate-erickson-cptsd-and-trauma-healing-coach/#show-notes
In this episode, we have a guest speaker, Kate Erickson.
Kate is the heartbeat at Entrepreneurs On Fire, an award-winning podcast where John Lee Dumas interviews inspiring Entrepreneurs who are indeed ON FIRE. She is also the co-author of The Podcast Journal: Idea to Launch in 50 Days.
We talk about how to create a life to be ON FIRE and create freedom in business and life through developing systems and processes that can help your business scale and grow. Are you willing to set your life ON FIRE? Come and listen as I dive into this episode and Be Unbroken!
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Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well, wherever you are in the world today. Super excited to be back to you with another guest, my great friend Kate Erickson, who is the heartbeat of entrepreneurs on fire, an award-winning podcast where she and John Lee Dumas interview inspiring entrepreneurs, who are on fire. She's also the co-creator or co-author, I should say of the podcast and journal and her goal is to help entrepreneurs, achieve, financial and lifestyle freedom. Kate my friend, how are you today? What is going on in your world?
Kate: So great, Michael. Thanks so much for inviting me to the show. It's a beautiful day to be here with you and yeah, just soaking up my presence with you and this moment.
Michael: I love that. Well, I'm super excited to be here. I have a little bit of context in the backstory on you because luckily, I've been able to be a part of your community and what you guys have built, but for people who don't know you, can you tell us a little bit about your story, your journey, and how you got to where you are today?
Kate: Yeah, absolutely. So, I grew up, very corporate-minded. I did High School College, nine to five and then I just thought that I was going to climb the corporate ladder for the rest of my life because I thought that's what everybody did. And I found myself in a job that I had been in for about three and a half years and love the people that I worked with, they were awesome, very supportive department. However, I never change positions and three and a half years. I was at the front desk, answering phones and doing administrative work, and I kind of thought a little bit more for myself in my life and was very frustrated at the lack of movement, the lack of opportunity and so I thought one day, well this can't really be all there is, but I didn't know about entrepreneurship. I didn't know that there were people out there who like creating their own futures and choosing what they did day in and day out, like, to me, that just seems like too big of fantasy and then luckily, I met a gentleman named John Lee Dumas and he kind of introduced me so this idea. We are actually neighbors at the time and every morning, when I was leaving at like 6:15 to go, catch the bus to get on the trolley, to get into downtown, to go to the 13th floor, to spend 8 hours doing something that I did not enjoy, all the process to come back home that night, John was hanging out in our courtyard like doing work on a laptop. And so one night, I was just like, what do you do or how come you're not going through all the things that I go through every day to like, go to a job and everything, he's like, oh no, you know, I do my own thing.
So he kind of introduced me to this idea of entrepreneurship and I had a miss promotion at my job, which really was kind of the final straw for me to be like, okay, that's it. I need to take control of this. I can't keep expecting somebody else to hand this, to me, which is what I was doing. I thought that I deserved somebody else to give this to me and I finally had like this mindset switch, where I'm like, know, if I want that, I have to go get it. So, I quit my job and I try to start my own business, which was in 2011.
Michael: Wow, that's great! And I come from a corporate background to and so, I was buried in that at a young age. I work for Fortune 10 company when I was 20 years old. And I thought like this is the thing that you do, this is supposed to be living and then I didn't understand until I really looked at it, how miserable I was. But I think that so often in this was my experience for a long time. I felt this immense amount of fear like this imposter syndrome, almost about transitioning, and moving into and creating and building the life that I wanted to have. Was that your experience also and how did you navigate that?
Kate: Yeah, absolutely. And like one of the biggest things for me is, you know, I have a paycheck, I have health insurance, everything was, so certain and so leaving all of that, certainty to go into a space that was very uncomfortable, and it had a plethora of unknowns was very, I was scared about that. I did have fears and I thought a lot of the time too especially as I was in the process of figuring out what it meant to be an entrepreneur, trying to start my own business, trying to go out and get clients like, at the time, I had had all the negative things to say about myself. I'm not a good salesperson who would want to hire me, I can't do this because I'm not good at networking, like I had so many self-doubts and things that I would say to myself to put myself down and you know, you act and believe and put out those things that you say to yourself. So if that's all you're ever saying to yourself, that's all you're ever going to get.
And so, I started surrounding myself with other people who are in the same or similar position as me. Other people who are trying to start their business, who were coming up against roadblocks, who didn't know, whether or not this was going to work, and I started asking for support. I hired a mentor, I joined a mastermind, and that support and realizing that I wasn't alone on the journey was such a huge step for me in realizing that like, okay, this might feel a little scary, this might be uncomfortable, but I'm no longer just doing it alone. I have other people who understand what I'm going through and they can help me and I can ask them questions and we can brainstorm together and I can help support them and that was a huge step for me. And in getting past that initial fear of like am I doing the right thing? Like, am I doing this all wrong? Maybe I should go back to my job, right? Like all these questions and things that we ask ourselves that having that support made a huge difference.
Michael: Yeah, and I think that's powerful that you're willing to ask for help. I tell people all the time, the number one thing you can do is ask for help because no one has ever done anything great on their own like you can't name them, it requires, where communal species to do things together with support with the community because ultimately, I'm sure you've seen it in your life, that's how you grow, and that's outside of Entrepreneurship or business, that's life, that's family, that's the whole nine. But I think people get trapped so frequently in this thing of, like, I need the road map, I need the answer as if I don't have everything in place right now, I can't even take the first step but I'm going to guess you disagree with that.
Kate: I definitely disagree with that. I didn't back in 2011 because again, coming from the corporate world like I was really great at doing what someone else told me to do because that was my experience up to that point. I always had a manager or a boss saying this is your next step. So I never had to think about what my next step was. I just went to work and I had a list of things that I was supposed to do, and I did them really well and then I go home and all of the sudden, I'm starting my own business and I'm like, okay, not only do, we have all these fears and unknowns and discomfort that we talked about already but now I'm having to figure out what to do as well like, whoa! Okay. So I found myself at coffee shops and my virtual office everywhere, which was awesome, but I'm sitting there like, I have no idea what to do next. And what I learned from that is that I can research and Google and sit there and go down a million rabbit holes, but until I actually do something. I'm really not going to know whether or not it's going to work.
So like as an example, the first business that I tried to start was called Kate's copy, and I wanted to create an online presence for brick-and-mortar businesses in a very small community who help bring them online so that they had an online presence, they could sell their goods and services to, you know, anyone around the world and I kept a researching like, what can I say to these people? Like, how what's a pitch look like? What do I need to include in a pitch deck? How do I approach people and ask them what they need or if they'd be interested in an online presence and I was looking out there for all of these answers and then I realized that the only way I'm going to actually find those answers is if I go out and do those things because when you take action when you stumble a little bit then you create the answer for yourself, you create the next step for yourself.
So even though I had no idea what that process looked like from going where I was to actually lock in a client when I went out there and started doing it, I started realizing okay, maybe walking into a store isn't and just like saying hey! I have this service that I can give you. Like, maybe that's not the right way to approach it because I went into stores and did that and people were like, oh actually our manager, owner, decision-maker isn’t here right now, but I could take your name and your number of blah blah blah, but it wasn't the right way to go about it, but I'm never going to know that unless I go out and do it. So, I'm a big believer. You're not going to know the answer, the true answer for you and your specific situation until you go, do the thing.
Michael: Yeah, and I think a big part of that is people struggle to find their voice to be able to give themselves. Dare I say permission to even attempt. I'm very curious about this, can you talk about the way that you talk to yourself prior to putting yourself in this position of just going for it and then after? Just kind of what was the language you were using with yourself before versus after these pivotal moments of change in your life?
Kate: Yeah, I mean it was all about like somebody else can do that better than me. I'm not even going to try or I know that this isn't going to work. So I don't know why I'm wasting my time. I don't have any experience doing this, therefore, me trying is going to be embarrassing, not going to do it, right. All of these because I haven't or there's somebody else out there who can do it better than me and the pivot for me was actually doing these things and realizing like, I didn't like combust, the world is still here. I still have a roof over my head. I still have all the knowledge and love and family and friends around me. Like you create these scenarios in your head were like the world is going to end if it doesn't work out if it doesn't go right and that's simply not the case. The world will not end and you'll be better for it because you'll have such a powerful learning experience from actually having gone through that thing.
So, my biggest pivot was starting to say, my transition was from the fully negative to the okay, I haven't done this before. However, if I try, then I'll have a learning opportunity or I'm not be the best at this, but I'm never going to get better unless I start somewhere and try and practice and put in the reps. So I kind of like transitioned it by, you know, nobody's going to go from, I'm not an expert on this, so I won't even try to. I'm the best in the world at this, I'm going to be awesome! So that bridge for me was talking myself through the fact that I don't have to be the best at this right now. I've never done it before, there's no way for me to be the best at it. What's the way for me to start trending in that direction? Well, to try it and to practice and to learn those lessons.
Michael: Do you think that it would be fair to say that you built your confidence as you stumble your way through this?
Kate: Absolutely, a hundred percent! And that has been like my confidence was down, down in the dumps like going from corporate into a space I didn't even know existed, like, 30 days prior was really intimidating but my confidence level every single time I went to a networking event and met a new person or created a relationship, or every time I was able to pitch somebody on my services, even if it was a no like I started looking at those things as wins because I had one more thing under my belt, that was helping me get closer to where I wanted to be.
So that business was a closed shop, six months I never once got a client, the business did not get off the ground, I actually ended up going back to corporate, but I'm so grateful for that experience because I learned so much from it, and it gave me so much of the groundwork of confidence that I needed to go into my position that I'm in now with entrepreneurs on fire. Because of the missteps and the lessons, and the quote-unquote failures that I had with my own business. I felt like I was ten steps ahead when I started at entrepreneurs on fire because I had been through those things and so I had the confidence that like, I know what, it's like for somebody to say no to me. I know what it's like to not know what your niche is, or who your avatar is because I was there.
Now, I have this level of confidence that not only do I know better now in making my own decisions, but I'm better equipped to teach other people because I've experienced this myself, I can share with other people, the missteps that I took in hopes that I can help them either get through a faster or maybe even avoid some of that stuff. So, yeah, a hundred percent that confidence, I think is built on going through those situations and proving to yourself, like, okay. I'm still here. The roof is still over my head, like, I've got this.
Michael: How do you navigate failure in this? You know, I think about this all the time, not just entrepreneurship but in life whereas many people measure failure and they're like, I'm not good enough. I'm not strong enough. I'm not capable enough. Why even bother, whereas I'm always looking at it from this point of data, where I go? Okay, cool. I made a mistake. I know what not to do here. But in this journey, there are so many people like, obviously, there's something in you where you're like, I gotta keep seeing what happens on the other side of this but for so many people who just get stopped, they hit this brick wall the first time they make the mistake. What kind of advice do you have for people where they're like, I have this dream? I have this ambition. I put in six months. I have no clients. I'm making no money. I still want it. I have to go back to corporate, but I still want to chase this thing. How do you not give up on yourself in that process? Like what does it really take to be able to believe or even trust in yourself enough to keep going?
Kate: Because what's on the other side of that is bigger than you failing, or not doing it, right or having to close your business and go back to a corporate job. I didn't want to do that. Like that was not what my business plan was. However, what was on the other side of that for me to keep going, was that I didn't want to be back in an administrative job, listening to somebody else, tell me what to do, dictating when I got to take vacations, and that I had to be added desk answering phones at 8 A.M. and that I had to sit there until 5 P.M. I didn't want that anymore. And if I didn't get up and keep going, that's what I was going back to.
So, you have to have a, WHY you have to have a DESIRE for what all of what's it all for. And for me, it was FREEDOM. It was freedom from having to be at that desk listening to somebody else tell me what to do and telling me that I take a vacation and nope, you only have two weeks, you are not allowed to take any vacations, over two weeks. Like I didn't want any of that, and I think that changes and evolves. So I think it's really important to check in with yourself. What your WHY and your bigger PURPOSES, on the other side of what you're attempting right now, what that achievement is for or the goal that you have, that will constantly change and evolve, because you're going to be going for bigger goals, and you're going to have bigger wise. You know, perhaps for some people, the why is their family? If you have children at home, I would think that you'd want to spend as much time as possible, experiencing life with them and experiencing them growing up and learning and getting older and all of these things, creating experiences for your family, for your loved ones, for your significant other where you get to travel and you know, see new places together. For everyone is going to be different, but that's what keeps me going is – I know what I get as a result of this. I know what's waiting for me if I don't make it work. And for me, I'll do anything to keep the freedoms that I have now, to be able to travel when I want to. Not have to sit at a desk from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and to be able to create the lifestyle that I really want for me and for my family.
Michael: Yeah, I love that you're able to do that. And I'm a firm believer that anyone is capable of doing this and I also say this. I am not somehow an anomaly. I didn't graduate high school on time. I have no college diploma. I can barely read and it's like the truth is so much of it really starts in our minds and I love what, you said earlier, like the things that we're believing become our actions, they become our reality, becomes who we are. As you look at and you progress your life and you look at and you measure markers for success. How do you know if like, you're actually where you're supposed to be right now? Because I think people, and this was my experience, I was making six figures incorporate cool car. Awesome condo the whole nine and then I looked at my life and as I actually, this isn't what I want. How do you understand for yourself? And maybe this will be practical for people listening. How do you really kind of define and understand what it is that you want in your purpose and you're why? What's that process like for you?
Kate: Well, I think what you just said, there is so key and critical, you took a step back and you checked in with yourself, which so many people don't do myself in included when I was working in corporate, I was in such a hamster wheel. I never said, okay, the moments that I did stop and say, I really wish I didn't have to go to my job today. I really don't want to go take the bus and the trolley and all of these things. I don't want to answer the phone and have someone complain to me, because I was working in Human Resources. So, that's all I did was listen to people, complain to me all day. Like, I didn't want to do any of that, but I would chalk it up as like, this is what people do.
This is how I'm going to make money, this is how I'm going to pay my bills and those are excuses, those are excuses that we give ourselves so we can stay in our comfort zone but you have to check in with yourself and be straight up and hold yourself accountable to, this is not the life that I want to be living. I don't want to wake up and do all of that stuff that I would like to do and I think that this is a very practical exercise that anyone tuning in right now can do is actually write out what your perfect day looks like just start with one single day.
If you woke up this morning or if you could wake up tomorrow morning and script your day, who you're with, where you are, what time it is? What time of your like, what everything! What do you eat for breakfast? What happens after breakfast? What's the weather like? All at what surrounds you what are you hearing? What are you seeing? What are you feeling? And if you can start scripting out what a perfect day looks like then, guess what? You can start to get what that would look like over a week, a month, a year, and not every single day is going to be perfect, the exercise is not to live in a world where every single thing happens exactly how you want it to because that's not realistic and that will never be the truth. However, if you can start to show yourself what your perfect day would look like, then you'll start to imagine and see for yourself what is important to you? Maybe what's most important to you is that you get to have breakfast and dinner with your family and what happens in between there are; you doing self-care, taking care of your health and wellness, going and doing work in your community, whatever it is might be. If you don't give yourself the time and the space to actually think about these kinds of things, then it will continue to be that hamster wheel of, I don't like this but it's what everyone does. I don't want to do this, but I have to pay my bills. Like you don't need to live your life that way and the way to not live your life that way is to actually take a step back and start thinking about what your life should look like, what you want it to look like and then that creates your WHY and you're BIGGER PURPOSE.
Michael: Yeah, that's beautiful. And that's really practical and so much of it is reflective, I always say to my clients. When you look at yourself in the mirror, you're going to know all the truths, you're going to know, all the answers, you are going to know all the reality of what it is that your life is and could be because that thing that's driving like you didn't have to face your fear, you don't have to quit that job, but I'll promise you this, you would not be here talking to me right now. I didn't do it. And that's the thing that people have to understand that I wish if I could drill into their brain this idea that you have the ability to create your life. No matter what, if you're in a corporate job, if you're in a relationship you don't like, if you're in a city you don't want to live in, you can go and make your life happen. Kate my friend, this has been an amazing conversation. Before I ask you my last question, can you tell everyone where they can find you?
Kate: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much. I've loved our chat today. Everything that we do is over at eofire.com and if anyone wants to reach out with a takeaway from today or just to connect, Iamkateeofire.com.
Michael: Amazing! Thank you so much, my friend. And you know fire happens to be one of my personal favorite podcasts, so please go and listen. My last question for you my friend, is what does it mean to you to be unbroken?
Kate: Mmm… To be Unbroken means that no matter what challenges come your way, no matter what barriers you have to knock over, no matter how many times you have to give yourself those pep talks, get past that fear, that imposter syndrome that you're going to do it because what's on the other side is a hundred and ten percent worth it.
Michael: It's beautiful! Well said, and could not have said it better myself. Kate, my friend, thank you so much for being here.
Unbroken Nation, thank you so much for listening.
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My friends, Be Unbroken.
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Kate Erickson is the heartbeat at Entrepreneurs On Fire, an award winning podcast where John Lee Dumas interviews inspiring Entrepreneurs who are truly ON FIRE. She is also the co-author of The Podcast Journal: Idea to Launch in 50 Days. Her goal: to help entrepreneurs achieve financial and lifestyle freedom.