Just when I was about to give up

A few weeks ago, one of our beloved community members stepped out in vulnerability and courage to ask a tender and sensitive question...

An intrepid entrepreneur with a strikingly beautiful and sensitive heart, she had - six months earlier - launched a blog and accompanying Instagram to match her brand-new, inspirational brand identity.

For months, she had been posting regular, branded content on Instagram. For months, she had been connecting with like-minded accounts. For months, she had been commenting and liking, following through and reaching out.

Doing all the "right" things - and with heart.

But little did she know that while she was reaching out and connecting organically and intentionally, there was, underneath the likes and comments from other accounts, a strategy of "like-for-like," follow-back bandwagons, and bot-like behavior. Accounts would ghost on her, following her only to gain her "follow-back," and she'd be left feeling disconnected and used.

After 6 months of consistent content and connection, she was feeling hopeless, burned-out, and uncertain. She didn't know what she was doing wrong - or whether she should even continue when the road felt so long and arduous, the relationships so surface-level and disingenuous. 

So, she reached out.

And, because I've been there, and because I know that, whether you're building a social media following or an email list, many of you have felt and might feel the very same way, I wanted to share my reply with you.

"The online space can be... well, shallow. It can be noisy and chaotic - everyone trying to shout a little louder to get a slice of the pie (we all have our own pie, but that's a story for another day). I want to encourage you to keep sharing, whispering the inspiration from your spirit. You quite literally never know who is listening. 

When I first started showing up regularly in my online visibility over two years ago, I would post daily in Facebook groups and on Instagram, and it felt like there was little to no traction.

About 6 months into sharing my content regularly, one little comment blew me away. 

One woman (who had never "liked" or "commented" on a post in the history of ever) said: 'Is it just me, or do you save every single one of Kate McCarthy's posts to return to later?'

I was dumbfounded, speechless, and shocked. I had absolutely no idea that she had even been seeing my work or my words -- and I had been this close to giving up.

You never know who is listening.

In terms of attracting new followers (who are super-aligned with your spirit), I would encourage you to keep reaching out, play around with hashtags and Instagram stories and light-hearted connection.

And know that this is just a season. You never know who is listening, lovely."

I share all this to say: keep going. Keep sharing. Keep reaching out and connecting with soul and intention and depth. 

Your worth isn't tied to the number of followers on Instagram or how many likes your latest Facebook post received. It's not connected to the number of people on your email list or how many times you post on Pinterest.

It's easy to get caught up in the hustle. To think that, because your Instagram followers ebb and flow, your message isn't making an impact.

But keep sharing, love.

Because the world desperately needs what you have to offer it, love. Because, beyond the scope of your brand and business, your wholehearted and soul-soaked success changes all of us for the better. Because you're doing good work - and with heart.

Because you never know who's listening.

And, if you need a little extra encouragement or a digital hug from a human who believes in you and your desperately needed work in the world, reach out, love. I'm here. 

the online world is seriously weird sometimes.

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The online world is seriously weird sometimes.

From Skype calls with virtual strangers who quickly morph into wholehearted soul sisters to brief conversations on Facebook that somehow unlock and unblock that thing that's kept you stuck for so long… it's a magical, very weird and wonderful place. 

Don't get me wrong. There's definitely a dark side to it all. But, for the most part, this very strange world has introduced me to a level of freedom and connection that I never thought possible.

After all, here I am on a Wednesday morning, writing you a little love note. Even if I've never met you, this email is meant just for you.

A few weeks ago, one of my newest soul sisters and I chatted over Skype. Jules* lives half a world away (her evening is my morning), but, despite the time difference, the topic of conversation could not have been more resonant.

Jules is a seriously talented graphic designer. Last year, after a lifetime in the biz (working for everyone else), she decided to finally go after her dream of founding her own agency. Basic website. Check. Basic packages. Check. Ready to go.

For a while, it was great. She picked up clients bit by bit, shocked and grateful that someone would pay her for something that came so naturally. 

True, her income just covered the bills at the end of the month. And there were a few too many clients who pushed her professional boundaries and didn't fit into her visions of a dream business. And, yes, most days, she woke up dreading yet another tense email from Client She-Shall-Not-Be-Named.

When we talked that morning, she cracked open, spilling her heart to me. All her hopes and dreams and fears and disappointments cascaded out at once. 

After a long day of emails and phone calls and accounting mishaps, Jules was exhausted. Her to-do list still ran a mile long. In that moment, she realized that if she were to continue in this direction, at that pace, her business might not see the end of the quarter, much less the end of the year. 

She told me… Maybe I just need to let it all go and start over. 

Oof. I've been there. Maybe you have, too.

Maybe you're grateful to work-from-home/set your own hours/be your own boss... but you know deep down that you - and your business - are meant for more.

Maybe you find that you're attracting clients that don't quite light you up, respect your boundaries, or pay their invoices on time.

Maybe you struggle to figure out how to position yourself as an authority and expert in your industry — not to mention muster up the courage to call yourself one.

Maybe you're weighed down by your to-do list or find yourself uninspired and exhausted.

This is not what entrepreneurship is supposed to feel like, love.

But the good news is that you don't have to give it all up and start again. 

You can feel lit up when you hop on a call with a client. You can support your people and make more than the bare minimum. You can share your knowledge without burning out or suffering in silence.

All it takes is stepping back, getting clear, and articulating your unique brand voice and vision in a way that positions you as an expert/guide/authority (whichever term you resonate with), attracts your dream clients, and provides for your pocketbook - and your spirit - in the process.

You can do this.

How do I know? Because I've done it. Because I've watched biz soul sisters do it. Because I've helped dozens of soulful entrepreneurs do it.

Because, whether or not we've met, I know you. You're magic. You can do this.

These days, Jules and I are working together to help her get clear on her brand and business vision, those dreamy potential clients, and what it looks like for her to infuse who she is into how she shows up in the world. Not only has it provided some desperately needed emotional and energetic space, but she can finally see the dream again. Now, she knows what she's really chasing.

I say all this to share one of my core beliefs – both in life and in business:

The world needs what you've got.

So, if you're a little like Jules (believe me, I've been there, too), remember this:

We need you. You've got this. 

And if you're looking for a little support, reach out, dear friend. I'm here.

More to come, love.

xx k

i'm on a mission

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Maybe you're like me.

Maybe you've chased shiny things when you should have stayed in your lane.

Maybe you've followed "experts" down the path of "should" and "supposed-to" only to find that it led you down the road to debt or doubt or shame.

Maybe you've tried to be clever only to find that clear beats clever, every time.

Maybe you've convinced yourself that you need to do all-the-things (losing yourself and your sanity in the process)… when a few things, done well and with heart, are more than enough to build a business that provides for your people, your pocketbook, and your soul.

Maybe, like me, you've lost hours, days, or months waffling and wondering what's best, gathering opinions and information, only to gain clarity and exclaim - yet again - "Ah! Why did I have to make it so complicated?"

Enough is enough.

We're just a few months in, but 2017 is a brand new ballgame, y'all.

It's the year of doing less to create more.

It's the year of courage and meaningful connection, of stripping away what doesn't work and leading with wholeness and heart.

It's the year of depth and discovery, of impact and expansion and truth.

It's the year of letting it be easy, of leading with what you do best, of investing in your people, and of letting go of whatever doesn't feel true and real and worth it.

Feels good, right? 

I often say that I am here to hear your heart, and to help you hear it better, too.

That's not some quirky little marketing schpiel. 

Hearing hearts (metaphorically, of course) just so happens to be my personal superpower. It shows up in everything I do – in business and in life.

For so many of us, our heartbeats – and the heartbeats of our businesses – get muffled, overwhelmed by shiny objects and the loud shouts of "should's" and "supposed-to's." 

The pulse of our heart's work gets drowned out by to-do's and checklists and coaches whose purposes and programs are misaligned and misused. 

We try to stick band-aids (i.e. another coach, course, free opt-in or "secret sauce") on the gaping wounds left behind, our heartbeats slowly fading until we give up or burn–out or become something we never intended.

It's true. You could stay where you are, struggling to hear your heartbeat amidst the online noise and shouting "should's." You could try to quiet your uncertainty with a long list of to-do's and the next, best shiny thing. Shiny things work… for a little while… maybe.

But I've seen what happens when you stay there. I've watched as souls slowly suffocate. I've witnessed beautiful humans literally get sick with the stress. I've seen lights dimmed and voices silenced. 

Their desperately needed work never makes it out into the world – and, when it does, it's half-hearted and laced with desperation and doubt.

No more.

This year, I'm on a mission to amplify heartbeats. 

To guide you as you rediscover the sound of your own heartbeat and to help you put it to words.

To turn up the volume on your spirit and unclog all of the gunk that's keeping your (desperately needed) voice from flowing loud and clear – straight to the hearts of your dreamiest clients.

To wash away what feels misaligned and inauthentic and get to the core of what's true and real and you.

That's what this year is all about. Amplifying heartbeats. Reconnecting to the pulse of who you are. 

Forget shiny. We're going with soulful. 

And whether you read my love letters each week or decide to finally step out of the shadows and "should's" to join me in going deeper, you're invited.

I'll keep it honest. Real. True. I'll share my successes, my secrets, the mess and the miracle. All of it straight from my heart to yours. 

Nothing complicated or confining, no "should's" or salesy schtick.

But, like any meaningful (and true) relationship, this is a two-way street, love. 

I want to know what's coming up for you. Do you have grand plans for this year? Or are you finding it hard to just stay afloat with all the to-do lists, "shoulds'" and "supposed-to's"? Are you dreaming big or rehabbing your heart? I truly want to know. 

All you have to do is reach out, comment below, or connect here. I'm just on the other side.

More to come, love.

xx k

P.S. Registration is open now (and ends soon!) for Amplify Your Heartbeatmy 6-week group copywriting course designed to walk you through the process of writing your own soul-soaked website copy, with the support of a wholehearted community and expert copywriter by your side. Learn more here: bit.ly/amplifyyourheartbeat

it's the most amazing, life-altering gift.

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I sat down to write, and all that emerged was gratitude.

Maybe it's the warm fire blazing next to me. Or the smell of candles wafting in from the other room.

Perhaps it's the cozy sweater wrapped around my shoulders or the sound of rain on the roof or the lilting sounds from my favorite Spotify playlist. 

Maybe it's the spring buds or the new moon.

But as I sipped my coffee this morning, I found myself caught in an overwhelming, undeniable, completely encapsulating thankfulness.

I am grateful for, and so utterly aware of,

the steps along the path that prepared me for this moment.

I am grateful for friendships that, despite time, distance, and change,

are founded in pure, transformative respect and love.

I am grateful for surprise visits.

I am grateful for goodnight kisses and good morning 'I love you's.'

I am grateful for the way my kittens hug my sides.

I am grateful for the challenge, for those that disagree.

I am grateful for family, for love, for knowing how to heal each other.

And for forgiveness, always for forgiveness.

I am grateful for best friends, for old friends.

I am grateful for vegetable gardens and tall trees, 

and moments connected to the earth.

I am grateful for long walks and spontaneous sprints.

I am grateful for sweet puppy dog snores.

I am grateful for those that inspire me,

even when they have no idea that they do.

I am grateful for lectures, and books, and learning.

I am grateful for passion and drive.

For the natural ebb and flow of creative expression.

I am grateful for sunlight and moonlight and stars.

For clear nights and blue skies.

I am grateful for my cozy, little home.

I am grateful for you.

Thank you for allowing me to come into your life and write and speak about the things that inspire me, challenge me and move me to change - it's the most incredible, life-altering gift.

I can't wait for all that's to come, love.

xx k

this is how we know

We're a couple who likes to buck convention. 

On the evening before our wedding last August, the night that most soon-to-be brides and grooms traditionally spend with their wedding party and close family at a rehearsal dinner, my sweetheart, Patrick, and I decided to do something a little different.

In lieu of that traditional rehearsal dinner, we – along with some of our beloved aunts, cousins, and parents – planned two separate family reunions. 

Because… out of around 100 invites sent out in the months before our wedding, nearly 75 of them were to members of our family, spread out among more than 7 states and spanning from San Diego to New York City. We wanted to welcome them, celebrate them, and spend an evening soaking in each others' presence.

On one end of town, Patrick's family filled up a room at a local Irish pub (they are, as the name Patrick McCarthy would suggest, quite Irish). On the other end of town, in a tiny room in the back of a local seafood restaurant, my family gathered together.

It might seem odd, spending the evening before our wedding at two different parties. 

But the truth is that these reunions – the gathering of loved ones from all over the country – turned out to be one of the most beautiful and moving parts of the weekend (and believe me when I say that our wedding was so beautiful that I still well up at the thought of it, nearly a year and a half later).

For us, family is everything. And, while I can't speak for the McCarthy Reunion (I heard it was a blast!), I can say this: in that little room in the corner, my family showed up.

For me, and for us.

You see, unbeknownst to me, at different points during the dinner, my family had planned a set of surprise presentations. 

First up, my mom and brother. They began with a photo montage (set to music, no less!) that walked us through the last four history-making generations of our family. There were laughter and tears and the kind of laughter that made you cry from the joy of it all.

A little while later, my oldest cousin, G - just a year older than me - stood and cleared her throat. 

She announced that she, along with several of my other first cousins (there are 13 of us, altogether), had prepared some words. Together, they spoke of support and deep respect and the kind of love that broke my heart right open. They shared words that, until that point, we had never uttered to one another. It was the first time that (almost) all of us were meeting as adults, connecting with grown-up and steadied appreciation for one another. It was new and so beautiful.

Finally, my aunt stood.

A writer, editor, and publisher herself, she shared that, while the adults hadn't planned anything, they were moved to speak, as it was clear that the cousins had put them to shame.

She spoke about my grandmother who, less than a year prior to that night, had passed away, and about my great-aunt who had recently joined her. You could hear her voice tremble as the room fell quiet.

You see, my family is, for all intents and purposes, a matriarchy. The women, strong and stable and wise, hold us together. The men, raised by such women, are kind and true and grounded.

She shared about how, on that night – the night before my wedding, it was the first time that we had all been together since the matriarchal torch had been passed. She spoke about the loss, the grandma-shaped hole that was missing from that night. We sat for a moment, caught in the grief of it all.

And then she spoke of our shared joy. She talked about watching each of us and our deep admiration and connection and spirit. She spoke about Patrick and I and our steadfast love for one another.

I'll never forget what she said next.

"You see, this is how we know. This is how we know that we can hold two seemingly opposite emotions at once and that they can both be true. We can grieve and mourn and feel the loss of our loved ones and, all at once, be moved by the celebration of the present moment. Grief and joy are not opposed. They can both be held in an instant."

She raised her glass and toasted us.

I've been thinking about this moment quite a bit over the past week. 

And I came to a conclusion.

We, as humans, are entirely miraculous beings. 

We can hold so much. Grief and anger and joy and hope, and all at once. Heartbreaking pain and worry and love and solid certainty, all in a single moment. Passionate action and deep knowing, held simultaneously in one human being.

We hold so many seemingly opposing emotions and experiences, and yet we don't crumble under the weight of it all. Miraculous, wouldn't you say?

I say all of this to remind you: you are a miracle. Strong and soft, anxious and certain, courageous and vulnerable, whole and wonderful, all at the same moment. Miraculous and magical and fragile and deeply, deeply powerful.

If, like so many of us in the U.S. and abroad, this week has left you wearied and worried… 

If you find that you can't sleep or that you can't seem to drink enough coffee to make a difference… 

If you've got a pit in your stomach and a weight on your shoulders...

... know that that's what comes from holding so, so much. 

We're being called to hold more than usual. To feel more deeply and with more urgency than we ever have before. To sit in the depths, in spite of the discomfort, and continue to love and feel and hold each other. To recognize that joy and grief can exist in the very same moment.

Because they do.