i found my people. and they found me.

Want to catch the audio version of this blog post? Check it out below.

Every Saturday morning, an email goes out to my community.

More than a newsletter or a weekly update (because, let’s face it… no one needs another newsletter in their email inbox), what it is is a love letter. Storytelling mixed with soul and courage and creative expression - with a heaping scoop of honesty about the things in life that are messy and vulnerable and hard and so, so good.

I’ve had some readers describe it as the thing that they read over their morning cup of coffee, something to savor and enjoy. I’ve had others reply with little notes of gratitude, sharing that I said exactly the right thing at exactly the right time, that what I wrote touched the tenderest parts of their hearts. Still others see it as a love note between friends, a moment when my heart opens to theirs and we connect, if only for the few minutes that they spend reading my words.

The ones that aren’t so into it? Well, they unsubscribe. And that’s ok.

Sometimes, I’ll share a bit about what’s coming up next in my business or about links and launches that have inspired me. Other times, there will be an invitation to join my online workshops or sign up for an upcoming course or offering.

But every single email, without fail, is soaked in love, crafted with tenderness and intentionality, and written straight from my heart.

The truth is that it hasn’t always been that way.

When I first started in the wild and wonderful world of entrepreneurship (more than three years ago - what?!), I didn’t know what to write to my email community. Having been the recipient of hundreds of thousands of marketing emails, I thought that mine had to look the same as everyone else’s, and that to show up differently meant that I would be showing up “wrong.”

So, caught up in fear and confusion, I would show up sporadically, or not at all. I would share surface level musings or only when I had something to launch. I wrote about things that didn’t really matter to me, but seemed like they mattered to everyone else.

It felt slimy, sticky, and not at all like me. I'm sure that my readers could feel it, too.

And then, there was a moment. A moment where I realized that I was building a business that didn’t have a bit of “me” in it, that the foundation that I was creating would - in five or ten years - feel like it was sinking, cracking, caving in.

I realized that, if I really wanted to build someone else’s empire (because that’s what I was doing, even if I hadn’t come to terms with it yet), it would be faster - and a hell of a lot easier - to forget this entrepreneurship thing altogether.

So, I went back to basics.

And, by back to basics, I mean back to my core desired feelings. Back to my foundational values. Back to the intangible elements and unspoken ways that I wanted to connect and communicate with my growing tribe.

Back to myself.

At the center of everything I do, there is a deep, deep desire to be... familiar.

For my readers and clients and community to feel like they’re talking to a good friend, each and every time one of my emails lands in their inbox or my name pops up in their newsfeed. A friend who cares enough to encourage wholehearted expression and courageous risk-taking and authentic curiosity. One who wants to know and love them, exactly as they are.

Because they are. Because they are.

So, instead of floating on the surface... I dove deep.

Instead of selling, I sent out invites.

I shared my mess and my message.

I used stories instead of statistics.

I used love letters instead of links.

I found my people. And they found me.

Whether you receive my emails each week without saying a word or you have signed up for one of my workshops, whether I’ve worked on your website copy or we’re working one-on-one in a mentorship, it means more than open rates and clicked links ever could. It means connection.

And that’s everything.

What I’m saying is this…

If you find yourself confused or afraid about how to show up in the world, start here.

Start with love. Begin by extending an invitation. Go back to basics, back to the heart of things, back to yourself. Write love letters and notes of gratitude. Share stories... the truer and real-er, the better. Keep reaching out, inviting in, engaging with openness and curiosity and courage.

Start with intention. Begin with connection.

You’ll find your people. And they’ll find you.


Wondering where to start? Here’s a writing prompt to inspire you:

What’s a story that you’ve inherited or claimed as your own, a “should” or “supposed-to” that’s hemmed you in, constricted your spirit, or kept you stuck? What did it look like to reveal and rewrite that story for yourself?

Don’t skip the messy middle. Share from your soul.

Get more writing prompts in Unedited: Your Guide to Effortless & Authentic Content. Click here for exclusive (and free!) access!

liberation is life-changing, and we're all a little scared of change.

Want to catch the audio version of this blog post? Check it out below.

 
 

A dear, dear friend of mine, brilliant woman that she is, carries around permission slips in her pocketbook.

While she is, in fact, the (truly phenomenal) parent of a school-aged kiddo, this isn't that kind of permission slip. Rather, these permission slips are gracefully pulled out of her purse when she sees an opportunity for freedom.

With the slips, she reminds friends and fellow firestarters to grant themselves the freedom and the permission to be great, or to be messy, or to be human. To grant themselves the permission to respect their needs as valid and allow themselves to be held and revealed and transformed, whether that means saying “no” when they really mean it or finally saying “yes” to themselves and their long-awaited dreams.

As a recovering perfectionist, these permission slips sneak through my heavy armor and hit straight to my heart. Through them, there is unleashed a soft acceptance and tender freedom, along with tears or shouts of joy or whatever it is that you, in your moment of liberation, release out into the world.

For many of us, our ideas of who we "should be" create a boundary around who we could be, if we only gave ourselves the permission to be wholly, incredibly, and vulnerably authentic.

Within this boundary, we temper our emotions, we limit our dreams. We leave words unspoken, needs unexpressed. We buy into the box we've created for our lives, we slog through obligations, and we say no to scary, new desires, never allowing ourselves the freedom of exploring what it might look like if it were... different.

Liberation is, for many of us, an unexpectedly scary experience. There is fear in the face of freedom. The boundaries we've set for ourselves - emotionally, creatively, physically - they're familiar and known. Working within this framework is comfortable. Maybe a little squished, as the truth of who we are expands, straining to be revealed, but it's a well-known confinement. Freedom is new, uncharted territory. Liberation is life-changing, and we're all a little scared of change.

It's scary, yes, but it's so damn good.

As a sometimes stubbornly independent woman, I get to learn this lesson repeatedly - usually with a healthy dose of tear-soaked tissues nearby. Just today, in the midst of perfectionistic nitpicking and the overwhelm of trying to do all of the things for all of the people (whether they asked for it or not), I re-learned it.

Reaching out to my honey, the sweetest of sweethearts, I grew silent and asked, softly... "Am I just a mess?"

He spoke. Not to fix or solve my bleary-eyed meltdown. Only to say what I truly needed to hear: "You're human. You're allowed to be a mess." Mmmm, permission granted.

I tell myself that I need to go it alone. But there’s no freedom found in my stubborn solitude. Today, I give myself permission to delegate or depend, to lean in and be loved.

I tell myself that it needs more work, more polish. But there’s no beauty found in a flawless facade. Today, I give myself the freedom to push send or publish or release my work to the world.

I tell myself that I will never succeed, that I never have before. But there’s no truth found in the whispers of not-enoughness. Today, I give myself the permission to be great, or good, or good enough for now, to see victory in a breath or a step or a choice.

I tell myself that the client or gig or opportunity is not what I imagined for myself. But there’s no expansion found in the expected. Today, I give myself the freedom to do what feels free, to let ease and joy be a part of the picture, whatever it looks like.

I place myself in a well-known box. Today, I give myself permission to bust the hell out of it.

So, love... what's the permission slip that you need to write yourself? Where do you need to bust out of the box, lean into freedom, or allow yourself to say yes to yourself and your spirit?

I've made something just for you.

Download and print your own permission slip below, and keep it somewhere close by.

To remind yourself that you can grant yourself the permission to be less-than-perfect and entirely human. To remind yourself that you can grant yourself the permission to say "no" to what breaks you down and "yes" to everything that makes you feel brave and bold and wholly authentic. Because you can. 

P.S. If you know of a kindred spirit who just might need some inspiration (or at least be reminded that they, too, can write their own permission slip), I'd love for you to forward this to them! It might be just what they need!

 
 

Why you don't have to wreck your world to live a creative life.

For the longest time, I thought that I was, well, kind of… vanilla.

A khaki-colored personality in a sea of iridescent and textured lives. There was no variation, no changes in tone or never-before-seen hue.

From where I was sitting, my life hadn’t been anything particularly special. I had no stories of great adventure to tell, no deep, dark secrets, no heart-wrenching break-ups or addictions or betrayals.

I had a great family who, despite their quirks and occasional missteps, was unflinchingly loyal and fiercely loving. I met and married an incredible man who works just as hard as I do to hold tight to each other through the tough stuff. 

Sure, I had my fair share of pubescent angst followed by the what-the-hell-do-I-want-to-do confusion of college and the post-grad emotional upheaval of my parents’ divorce, but overall… my life? Pretty picturesque.

And I was (and still am) deeply grateful for every single bit of it. Even the hard shit. Cue the deep bow of gratitude to the Universe.

Today, I want to share with you something incredibly near and dear to my heart.

There’s a story out there that tells us that if we don’t suffer for our art, don’t wreck our lives or entrench ourselves in the deep, dark, inescapable and entirely hopeless pain of it all, that our work is somehow… less worthy, less valuable, less art

Our impact less impactful. Our purpose less passionate.

Anything less than a life of tortured isolation was left to the realm of hobbies or crafting.

There once was a time that I believed that story. And, for a woman who looked back on the 20-something years of her life with a wholehearted mixture of gratitude and joy-soaked awe, that meant one thing: I would never be creative. 

If I wouldn’t bleed for my art, wouldn’t sweat through every sentence, wouldn’t waste away in a slew of dysfunctional relationships and deep, dark self-loathing, well, then… I couldn’t quite call myself a creative. 

In comparison to the shadow-life of artistic legitimacy, my creative expression might as well have been that of a little girl with a purple crayon, drawing stick figures alongside the Disney characters in her coloring book. Which, though charming and light-hearted, would never be shared because of its felt impact or respected as art.

So, I stuck to what I knew best. I studied my butt off and graduated with honors. I threw myself into a career in non-profits and used emails and public speaking gigs as opportunities for covert creative expression. And it was… ok, I guess.

Only it wasn’t.

For the longest time, I allowed myself to be held captive by the belief that true creativity looked like chaos and darkness and a painful and inescapable mixture of blood, sweat, and tears.

I call bullshit.

We were built for creative living, my friend.

Creativity is nothing more or less than a life led by our curiosity. And creative expression is nothing more or less than the wholehearted and untethered expression of that curiosity.

True, it doesn’t always feel good or flow in the midst of your creative process.

A regular creative practice allows us to fully feel and process and give voice to the depths of who we are — which sometimes isn’t all rainbows and unicorns and joy and warmth. Sometimes, rather, it’s the deep, dark patterns of pain and regret and sadness that hold us hostage.

Creative expression is about connection, transformation, moving stories and patterns and energy in and through and out. 

I wholeheartedly believe that creative expression is an essential element of a life well-lived.

When done right, creativity can lead to more energy, confidence, clarity and self-knowledge — not to mention better businesses, stronger relationships and heightened levels of happiness.

The first step to cultivating a creative practice that heals, shifts, and delights is simple: practice.

To help, I’ve created a super special (and super free!) workbook just for you.

Rather than a list of how-to’s or tips, I’ll show you how to sink into your soul and write from your heart.

Click here to get your copy of Unedited: Your Guide to Effortless & Authentic Content.

This free workbook is designed to help you show up and stand out - as yourself. Download your copy today.

More to come, love.

xx kate

P.S. If you know of a kindred spirit who just might need some inspiration (or at least be reminded that they, too, can create without all the doom and gloom and chaos), we'd love for you to forward this to them! It might be just what they need!

true. real. current.

If you’ve been around here… pretty much at all, you know that my love for podcasts flows far and wide (Wondering what I’m talking about? Check it out here and here).

More than just audio content, they’re my go-to commute companions. While I’ve whittled them down and then (oops!) subscribed to a few more over the past few months, there are a few that I’m can’t-miss-gotta-listen religious about. They never fail to leave me curious and impatiently waiting for more.

A few months ago, driving through the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, I found myself listening to Danielle LaPorte and Linda Sivertsen’s podcast, The Beautiful Writer’s Podcast (chronicled here if you’re curious!).

Each month on The Beautiful Writer’s Podcast, we get to meet - interview-style - creatives, writers, and major players in the publishing industry. These ladies know some heavy hitters. Previous guests include Steven Pressfield, Elizabeth Gilbert, Marianne Williamson, Seth Godin, and many, many more.

That month, Danielle and Linda were interviewing one of my favorite authors and academics, the storyteller who slays the shame, Brene Brown. At one point in the interview, Danielle asks Brene about how she prepares for a public speaking gig. Does she have a script? A 5-point, bullet-point outline? A set of notecards or slides at the ready?

Slowing down just a bit, Brene reveals her process.

Improv, no notes, with an arc in mind, and always, always, always beginning with an opening story. She shares that she never knows where the talk would go - that is based on the energy and vulnerability of the audience - but each talk starts with a story that must be three things:

True. Real. Current.

True. Real. Current. When I heard her say those words, I felt like I had just heard my personal writing philosophy spoken aloud. Yes, yes, yes, my soul whispered in response. True. Real. Current. Start with a story.

Story is where it all starts.

It’s how we make meaning of the world, how we pass down wisdom, and how we learn to make sense of our experiences. Stories pass through our egos straight to our hearts, allowing us to shift and engage on a deeper level.

Some stories are subconscious, like the ones we tell ourselves when we come face to face with shame or fear or heartbreak. Some stories are cultural or familial, born of oral tradition and generational transmission. And some stories are given a life and a voice in a more explicit sense, through books and blogs, movies and speeches, personal writing and intimate moments of vulnerability and openness.

Needless to say, stories are powerful beyond measure. And - when given a voice and a wholehearted purpose - they become intentional and transformative.

Long ago (well, maybe not so long ago, but 6 years feels like a long time in the life of a 30 year old), I worked as a youth minister at a church. Despite the fact that I am no longer religious, I hold that position near and dear to my heart. To this day, it remains one of my all-time favorite jobs.

As a part of the position, each week, I or one of my volunteers would give a talk about the topic of the week to a room of a few dozen high school students.

I’ll tell you... a room full of high school students?

It’s both the best and worst place to practice your public speaking skills. It’s - without a doubt - one of the toughest audiences that you’ll ever come across. You’ve got to be an expert at holding attention and engaging with curiosity. To do that, you have to start with a story.

That room taught me so much.

It’s in that room that I learned how to use my creative voice to carve an arc that captivates and teaches. It’s in that room that I learned how to give a dry subject life, how to honor what’s in the room, and how to speak with confidence and clarity.

It’s in that room that I learned how to tell a story that speaks to the heart.

 
 

Want more of this? Join the community (and get a free gift just for joining)! All you have to do is click here to learn more - and get access to my Resource Library, which is chock-full of workbooks, writing prompts, digital downloads, and more. Made just for you.

If you know of a kindred spirit who is also craving some support in their creative practice, we'd love for you to forward this post to them. It might be just what they need!

More to come, love.

xx kate

writing prompt #6: in kate's words

writing prompt #6: in kate's words

Cultivating a writing practice has the potential to be life-changing. It provides a potent blend of creativity and self-exploration, conscious expression and intention. Through it, you gain clarity and connection, both with yourself and your audience.

It doesn't take much. Fifteen minutes once a week. More if you want. Less if you need. 

Each Saturday morning, I send out an email to our community. In it, I share the week's blog post along with a writing prompt or content cultivating idea. These prompts are designed to inspire and engage your curiosity, to get you out of your comfort zone, and to help you engage with your unique writing voice. 

Each week, I'll be writing alongside you and sharing my own thoughts, reflections and responses to the writing prompts and linking them here. If you want to read it to gather inspiration and ideas, it's here for you. If you want to wait and write on a clean slate with only your own perspective to fuel you, that's beautiful, too.

Writing Prompt #6: What makes you weird, quirky, unconventional, or super unique? From that thing that you do only in the privacy of your own home to your wacky one-of-a-kind hobby, your crazy unique style to the way you organize your books. As Joss Whedon says, "Whatever makes you weird is probably your greatest asset."