In the corporate world, Katie McDonald was trapped in an endless, unwinnable race. She was selling advertising to huge corporations and in 45 national publications, but she was selling her soul in the process. She wasn’t sleeping. She stayed up all night thinking about the next sale, what she could do differently, all the ways she was failing, and why nothing would ever be enough.
The more she pushed, the more her body acted up–and eventually, she couldn’t pretend anymore. When Katie left corporate life, she found herself in the depths of overwhelm, depression, and illness.
In her healing, she created the b.nourished program–an executive wellness program designed to foster mindfulness, peace of mind, and productivity influenced by her personal recovery and decades of research. She now helps entrepreneurs and executives get things done without coming undone. She has won the Top 50 Inno on Fire Award, and has spoken for many clients including Facebook, Swarovski, CVS Health, and United Way, among many others.
In this episode, Arwen and Katie talk about why so many people view self-care as time that should be spent getting things done, how that was once true for both of them and how self-care really is the key to personal and professional success.
Overcomer Playlist Recommendation
Pearls of Wisdom
- You don’t need to be rescued. Only you can save yourself.
- You don’t have to earn your place in the world. It doesn’t require a constant churning and burning to justify your place.
- Repairing your relationship with yourself is the most important thing you can do.
- We have to give each other permission to remove the shame that comes with self-care.
Tweetables“I have a lot of this money for this purpose and I don't have to justify it or go through any excuse or process or shame or anything. It's there, it's for me, and it says I matter and I'm willing to invest in myself.” - Katie McDonald Click To Tweet “I'm not a damsel in distress, I'm the only one that can do it, I'm the only one that can save myself. And it doesn't mean you don't need other people, but I had to show up for me. I had to be the one.” - Katie McDonald Click To Tweet “Making an investment often will give us a little bit more of a kick to do the work when you know you're paying money for it, versus something that you're doing for free.” - Arwen Becker Click To Tweet “Now that I'm out of it, I want to help bring others along so they don't have to feel as much pain as I personally went through.” - Arwen Becker Click To Tweet “It is not selfish, but it is actually an obligation to be curious about myself, and then bring a more elevated version into the world, a reflected, intentional version into the world.” - Katie McDonald Click To Tweet “You take care of you for me, and I'll take care of me for you.” - Jim Rohn Click To Tweet
- 15% Discount on Katie’s Limited Edition b.nourished 90 Day Planner
- Time Magazine
- Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One by Joe Dr. Dispenza
- She Handled It, So Can You!: An Inspiring and Empowering Financial Guide for Women
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Connect with Arwen Becker
Arwen Becker: And I was thinking about today's topic and I was taken back to a number of years ago, or I was sitting at a Gene Juarez, it's a salon here. There are multiple Gene Juarez here in the Seattle Area, but I was at the one in Bellevue and I was sitting there in this beautiful room of the spa. I was having this foot soak and I had a cup of tea and it's dark and it smells good. And I was just sitting there in the quiet and I was thinking about this feeling that I had and this sense that for so many years, I put a massage in the place of luxury. It was something you did maybe once or twice a year, Mother's Day, a birthday, but anything more than that, for me, mentally, was too luxurious to pay for $80 or $90 to go do something that for some reason, I just had a hard time feeling like it was acceptable to do it too often.
And so, as I was sitting there at that moment, by this point, I had probably about a year under my belt of having a monthly massage. I finally said, I'm going to do this monthly massage thing, I'm going to commit to it. And I couldn't believe how much it meant to me, but yet, at that moment, why it matters because I thought about the past Arwen who saw this as such a big deal, like I was wasting money if I was doing something as luxurious as a massage, but yet, I finally had this recollection that I didn't go to the doctor, I wasn't on medication. I worked very hard to be healthy. I met an ideal weight. I take my I exercise every day. I try to watch what I eat. And I thought, well, if I'm not spending $80 a month on different healthcare pieces or having to go to the doctor or pay a copay or have medication, why couldn't I filter that into my own self-care? And so, it was really the first time I recognized that that was just as vitally important as going to a doctor when something isn't going well. And many of us view self-care as this time that would be better spent getting things done. That was very, very much me. But self-care is actually key to personal and professional success. And my guest today knows this all too well.
Katie McDonald's process of mastering a high intensity career came at a huge cost, followed by the responsibilities of motherhood after leaving corporate life. Katie's chronic self-neglect led her to the depths of overwhelm, depression, and illness. By creating the program, Katie has curated proven practices from her personal recovery and decades of study into an executive wellness program that fosters mindfulness, peace of mind, and productivity. A dynamic healthcare strategist with clients across the world, Katie helps executives and entrepreneurs get things done without coming undone while envisioning and achieving the best version of themselves. She's the winner of the Top 50 Inno on Fire Award, has spoken for Facebook, Swarovski, CVS Health, the United Way, the Women's President Organization, and many others.
Arwen Becker: Katie McDonald, thank you so much for joining us on the show today.
Katie McDonald: Thank you for having me.
Arwen Becker: Well, it is such a joy to get to talk to you about self-care because I know that story that I was telling at the beginning is something you see over and over and over again, that we do not put ourselves as high priority, especially women, mothers, wives, we put everybody else first, but I know that this is something that you have a lot of knowledge on and a lot of experience. And I'm really looking forward to us talking about this today, but before we go into that, I know that you brought a song to add to our overcomer playlist. So, why don't you tell us what you brought? And why did you bring that song?
Katie McDonald: Okay, so it's a little saucy. It's a song by Lizzo and it's Soulmate. Well, I guess I'll read some of it.
I'm my own soulmate
I know how to love me
I know that I'm always hold me down
Yeah, I'm my own soulmate
No, I'm never lonely
I know I'm a queen but I don't need no crown
Look up in the mirror like, damn, she's the one
Arwen Becker: I so love that. When I saw that you're adding that, I'm like, oh, this is good on my playlist, but some of you out there may want to get the cleaner version, it's up to everyone. Everybody's different.
Katie McDonald: Yeah, you might want to get the cleaner one, but the idea that we're our own soulmate, I mean, how would our life be different if we actually navigated our days with that awareness, that commitment to ourselves that we give away so freely to everyone else. We're showing up for everybody else and we're underperforming for ourselves. So, the idea of being our own soulmate, well, we might actually bring ourselves some flowers and go to sleep when we're tired and say no when we want to.
Arwen Becker: Amen. Amen, sister. agree. Well, I know we have a great topic today, and I'm really looking forward to hearing you speak on it, because I know it's something that you've been through personally. And so, why don't you take us back to this time period, maybe you're still in this corporate career and things are kind of spinning out of control, so why don't you take us back there?
Katie McDonald: So, I'm working for Time Magazine. I'm selling advertising in 45 national publications and I am selling advertising to huge corporations, and I am selling my soul in the process. I'm not sleeping, I'm staying up all night thinking about that next sale or what I could have done differently, what I should have said differently, what I have left to do, all the ways in which I failed, all the ways in which I have yet to ever reach the state of . And it occurred to me, I will never reach the end of this race. There is no end to this race. It's a chronic, constant treadmill that I will never, ever, ever earn the right to get off unless I step off completely that I just opt out. I knew that I could never work hard enough, I could never be enough, I could never be thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough, clever enough, any of it. I would never be enough. And there was a relief and an exhaustion and a terror with that realization, that my addiction to busyness would never go away. I could never be satiated. I could never feed it enough.
Arwen Becker: Wow. So, did you just one day quit?
Katie McDonald: So, I actually was pretty desperate. I mean, I had a number of physical ailments, but they were all just kind of, I don't know, I think of them as like gnats buzzing around my head, like symptoms that just kept getting in the way, but when it came, and I just pushed it away, pushed it away, I was too busy, I had things to do, but increasingly, my body was acting up. But my soul is the one that finally got my attention that I literally could not do it anymore. I knew I couldn't perform I couldn't pretend anymore. And that's when my husband and I crafted a plan like, I'm done. I cannot do this. So, it was January. And we made the decision that I was going to quit in May, and I gave myself that time so that I could kind of process and prepare for the huge loss of identity. I mean, my entire identity was tied to my work life.
Arwen Becker: How long have you been doing that?
Katie McDonald: Oh, my gosh. I mean, not only just work life, but my doing life, the human doing part, the human being part. I had no idea what that was, but the human doing part, I had mastered. So, for my entire life, what I did and what I accomplished was my identity. And I knew that in order to heal, in order to recover, in order to save my soul, I actually had to opt out completely and have a new measurement for success other than doing. And that was terrifying.
Arwen Becker: Yeah. What was the mental math that was going on leading up to that? I mean, when you were getting up in the morning, was there just an overwhelming sense of dread? Was it just that I hate going? I mean, what was the internal dialog?
Katie McDonald: It was the compulsion almost. It was this revving drive to prove that I was enough to myself, to everybody else. And so, there was not a sale that could have satiated me, there was nothing. No matter what success came my way, all I did was fixate on another, the next one, not for anything other than is it enough? It was this voracious appetite for please tell me I'm enough, I'm good enough. And when I realized I could never do enough to be enough, I knew I had to change. There was no way I could pull it off anymore.
Arwen Becker: Is that when you found yourself depressed? Was it because of this internal dialog? I mean, how can somebody hear that over and over, you're not enough, you're not no, that’s not no. No, that’s not, and not break under it. And yet it's coming from the inside.
Katie McDonald: Yeah. So, it was relentless bullying. I mean, I really do believe the greatest terrorist is the bully in our mind, that tells us we're not enough, that we haven't done enough, that we fall prey to comparison-it is, all these things that cripple us when in fact, like, we need to stop listening to ourselves and talk to ourselves more. If I had learned what I know now, how to parent myself through those mindsets, how to reassure myself, how to nurture myself through those mindsets into a higher state, I couldn't do it. No one had role modeled that, I had never seen that, never observed that, I didn't even know you could. The only way that I thought I was able to be successful is if I beat myself up because that always created action.
And if I had a level of self-disgust, then I would be propelled to action to fix it. And I love nothing more than rising from the ashes. I would just implode, and then it was like, okay, let's just go. And the way I would respond is to get stricter and harder and harsher with myself and hold myself to a higher standard over and over again. The problem was I got so much feedback from the world that I was great. I got a great paycheck. I was always one of the top sales people, no matter what market I was in. Like it was just the world kept saying, this is right, this is good, keep doing it. And then I hit this wall and said, I literally cannot do it.
And actually, this sounds so silly now, but I think the turning point was when I actually missed an appointment. And I didn't miss appointments, I didn't show up. I was always early, always on time, did everything in advance, everything just so, I actually missed an appointment. And that terrified me because I thought it's all going to come crumbling down. It's all going to fall apart because I forgot an appointment. And I was able to hold it together and I looked like the person that had it all together. I mean, we know these people. We look at them like, how do they do it? Well, the fact is, there is no I-have-it-all-together club, right? But boy, did I make it look like I did? And then when I realized I'm not going to be able to pull this one off, it's going to start to fall apart. That's when I said, “Uncle, I can't do it anymore.”
Arwen Becker: Did you ever find yourself in the hospital? Did it ever get that bad?
Katie McDonald: No.
Arwen Becker: I mean, what was the…
Katie McDonald: I had suicidal thoughts. I wrote letters saying, I'm out, like I was a big sister to a girl. I wrote a letter to her, I wrote a letter to my parents, and I wrote a letter to my husband. I was like, I can't do this anymore. The only way out is out with the capital O. And my husband is an amazing man. And he saw the suffering and he held me through it. And it helps. He's a psychiatrist. So, he has incredible professional acumen, but he also had a big heart to see the level of suffering. And he promised me that there was a way out and it didn't have to be that way.
Arwen Becker: Wow, that's great that you have that support. So, if you were looking at yourself in another woman who is finding herself at that same point, what would you say to you? What would you say to her?
Katie McDonald: Yeah, you know, the thing is I see these women all the time, and they're the ones that we still think have it all, but I know better now. I know better because it was me. And I look under the hood, I've been doing my concierge's coaching practice for exactly this person for 12 years. So, I look under the hood all the time and I see these perfectly package outsides. And then we take a little peek under and we realize, oh, they have the messy insides just like the rest of us.
Arwen Becker: Hold together with duct tape and rubber bands.
Katie McDonald: Right. And a wing and a prayer, yeah. And what I would say to her is you are enough, you are enough, and I see you. I think that's probably most like I see you, and you don't have to earn the right to be seen. You don't have to earn the right to be.
Arwen Becker: Yep. It was 2016 when I found myself in the ER, and I was that girl. I mean, I just thought out of sheer force that I could do it all. And if somebody else, whether it be my husband or my kids or people at work weren't doing it, I would just kind of like this attitude, like, get out of my way. I got this handled.
Katie McDonald: That’s exactly right.
Arwen Becker: Until God was, like, you need to sit down. And that came from, I thought I was having a heart attack. I mean, I literally drove myself to the ER and when I was walking down the hallway, they were sitting there with the wheelchair and I was just like this feeling of overwhelmed going, oh, this is serious. They weren't like, oh, no, they were mad. I even drove myself to the ER.
Katie McDonald: Who’s going to say really, you drive yourself to the ER, I mean, not in and of itself.
Arwen Becker: I know.
Katie McDonald: Get out of my way. I’ll drive myself.
Arwen Becker: I'll get there eventually. And I just was under such great anxiety from all of those pieces that it was breaking me. I was that woman, the same woman that you were, that just everything on the outside, that even when I was trying to express this to my husband that I was at this point where I was starting to have these overwhelming feelings of dread and I was starting to have suicidal thoughts, he couldn't even process that in his mind because the woman that he always saw was somebody who had it together, who was able to manage these pieces well enough and still look good in the process, so like, kind of keep the stuff under the hood.
Katie McDonald: I think that's right. Like, we got to talk our crazy back in, but the fact is we get punished for being so capable. And I teach my clients over and over again. It's like your ability to do something does not mean it's yours to do because we are highly capable. I only work with high achievers. We know how to take care of everybody else, but we don't have our own backs in the same way. And so, what we need to do is say there's a other than whether I'm capable, because we are highly capable. And if that's our only filter for what we say yes to, we're in trouble.
Arwen Becker: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I was told years ago the statement, just because I can doesn't mean I ought to, from a therapist. And it's stuck with me forever, but oh, man, I had a hard time actually doing that. And I always laugh that it was like my big aha moment was the 50-pound packed luggage at the top of the stairs when I had fully capable teens. And it was like this moment going just because I can take that down the stairs, I don't have to prove to my 14-year-old I can, that I'm not this little flower, you can't do it. No, I can actually say, “Hey, can you please just carry that down?” And it doesn't make me any less of a human being because I had somebody else help me on something so silly just like that, but blow that up for many of us in a much bigger way, just like you said, taking care of everybody else and the self-neglect can be severe, debilitating, put you in the ER.
Katie McDonald: No, it's silly.
Arwen Becker: So, you left this job. Did you go into anything else? Or did you say…
Katie McDonald: Well, we should back up. From the moment I said I was leaving, two weeks later, we conceived my son. And this was like I had to and we were not prevented for a while. And yet, there was no room for him. There was no room for him to come into my life because it was cramped, filled with a to-do list. So, the minute I created space mentally and emotionally and spiritually, then he was able to come. So, two weeks later, I conceived our son and then I quit and then gave birth to him just a couple of months later, but I'd love to say I figured it all out then, I didn't. I took all the intensity that I took to my career and became Uber mom, the obnoxious, perfect, organic everything. And I love organic everything. That's how I roll, but like everything, that one that just you want to strangle in the schoolyard, everything is just perfect and meticulous and all the time. I just transferred it right to parenthood.
And then my body escalated with the symptoms. I got ulcerative colitis, pneumonia, shingles, asthma, allergies, anxiety. My body is like, oh yeah, we're just going to crank this up. What is it going to take to get my attention? And it took me to be physically, absolutely debilitated. I thought I had cancer. The lining of my colon was falling out. It was bad. And I actually, for the first time, had to ask for help. I couldn't take my son in his stroller around the block. I couldn't do anything. I needed help. And it took me that, and even now, he's almost 20 now, years later, it's a daily practice for me to catch myself and be like, oh, okay, let's remember the being part, that I don't have to choose self-care or productivity, that I can leverage self-care so that I can be productive.
Arwen Becker: Wow. And he was how old when you started having these major, major physical issues?
Katie McDonald: Oh, he was, gosh, a year and a half, two years, I think.
Arwen Becker: Your body at that point, why do you think that it responded then? Did you think that it had something to do with after having a child? And why do you think that those things didn't show prior to the pregnancy?
Katie McDonald: Yeah, it's a good question. I think, whatever reserves I had, I think it was future energy. I really think when we are as depleted as I was, and then I was building a life within me, which is beautiful and exhausting and depleting, I think that was a borrowing from the future. And the bill came to you basically, because there's no way I could have created this beautiful life in the depleted state that I was in. So, it had to have been future energy that I tapped into, and then there was nothing left.
Arwen Becker: Right. And so, what was that timeline? How long were you in that really depleted physical state with all those issues?
Katie McDonald: Yeah, it took me six months to recover.
Arwen Becker: Do you have to spend time in the hospital?
Katie McDonald: So, there was the threat of that, and I did have some time in it, but no, it was more I had to shut it down, I had to do bed rest, and they had to dramatically change my life. I was already eating a vegan diet. So, thinking about the absence of animal protein does not mean the presence of health. Like, I had to flood my body with nutrients in a way that I had never done before. And the ironic thing is everything I had studied had always been about nutrition and well-being for decades. That was my deep passion, but it was intellectual candy instead of actual implementation. And that's why I'm so voracious and committed to implementation, because you can learn all day long, but what you’re actually applying in your life, that's how we change our lives. The small minutia is how we change.
So, I had all the knowledge, but I didn't have the fierce commitment. And all of a sudden, I was saying, I may not be around for my son and I couldn't even then do it for me. I had to do it in service to him. He deserves a mother. He deserves this. So, I'm going to do this for him. I'm going to get well for him. And it's only all this time of me learning, like I'm going to do it for me. I'm going to do it because my birthright allows me and makes me responsible for being the highest version of myself, and that requires exceptional self-care. And that self-neglect is selfish because here I was depriving my family, depriving everyone, my community, everything of the best version of me. That's selfish.
So, we are obligated to show up for the world by vibrating at the best and highest quality that we can, whatever that version is for us. And that's the daily practice of just 1% better than the day before, just 1% doing a little better than the day before in nurturing ourselves with thoughts, with food, with activities that enable us, refine us to be the more elevated version.
Arwen Becker: It's such a mind-blowing statement when you talk about selfish not to, because especially high achieving women, moms, wives that tend to gravitate towards this doing, doing, doing, taking care of everybody else, making sure that everybody's well cared for, think just like I did that, it's like, oh, I can't go get a massage. I mean, I'm taking that that's a two-hour time period from the time that I would leave the house and going and doing something so frivolous, but yet, I can take two hours to go take care of everybody else and make sure my husband got some time to go do the things and rock out in his studio, or the kids getting to do their types of thing, but for me to, like, sit and be for a while and actually do something selfishly for myself is like, no, I just can't do that, but yet, so many of us do this.
Katie McDonald: That is repugnant, isn’t it? We tell ourselves, right, yeah. And I think we have to change that model. It's simply not true. And frankly, as mothers, we're obligated to show that next generation that being a mother doesn't mean neglecting yourself. We have to break the cycle that we need to deny ourselves that in order to be a mother means that we have to have our needs to be invisible, that our needs are inconvenient, that our needs take up a real estate where other people should occupy. And it's simply a falsehood. It's patriarchy. It's misogyny. It's wrong. And it's actually not a good strategy for contributing more skillfully to the world, to leaving a legacy of intentionality, like it's a complete threat to our ability to leave a legacy of which we're proud. It doesn’t make sense.
Arwen Becker: And the way in which you articulate it is just blowing my mind right now. This has absolutely been such a huge part of my life for so many years. And the bad side, the negative side of it is much larger of a position than me being able to be a human being that I feel like I am a little bit better at today than I used to be, but this is just so fascinating to me. So, you became a mom, you started learning some of these things and are getting really sick. At what point did you start coming out of that and seeing that there was a need for the skills that you were learning to be able to help other women?
Katie McDonald: I love that. I mean, I healed myself within six months, and that's because I already had all the knowledge, but I never applied it. So, it's like, oh, let me go back to what I know. I'm going to go back to Mother Earth. I'm going to go there. I'm going to go to the basics of my eating and my sleeping. I'm going to eat as close to nature as possible. So, I started doing raw foods because I thought if Mother Nature knows what to do, I just got to get out of the way. So, let me just eat as close to nature as possible. Let me do the least amount. The less I did to a food, the more it would do for me. So, I got down to basics. I was juicing every day, I was sleeping, I was not apologizing for my needs. I was saying no right and left. I mean, because I was like, oh, I'm not– women often say, oh, I'm not going to say no. I'm like, you are a master of saying no to yourself. So, if we know how to say no to ourselves, then I can say no to other people. And I was willing to risk not being liked.
And that was a big shift that when you are a people pleaser, you have to realize, like good girls are never good to themselves. You can't be both. We can do good work, but we got to be good to ourselves. And that's the piece that I had to do. So, I said no, right and left. I said yes to myself. When my son went down for a nap, I went down for a nap. I got off all the boards I was on, like I just stopped performing. And I got back to the very, very basics, that what I ate mattered and I devoted time to that, that whether I slept mattered and I devoted time to that.
Moving my body mattered, so I devoted time to it. I mean, these basic foundational things, which are, by the way, the first things we blow off because we tell ourselves, we can disappoint ourselves all day long, but letting somebody else down, not so much. So, I had to flip that model. I had to just risk being in the light, to risk being considered antisocial or anything else, all these other horrible stories that came out, none of it mattered. All of a sudden, all that mattered was me being well. And I started living in accordance with that. And six months at the meditation practice that I brought it like all these things, I just brought everything together. I figured out what my self-care strategy toolkit is. And I continue to even, decades later, grow that kid so that I know what habit to pull forward when I need it. What are my non-negotiables? All of these things.
So, it became very clear. It was part of the vow. I said, if I can recover from this and I vow to go back to my tribe, I'm going to go back to my tribe of doer's and I'm going to teach them how to be. So, it took a little while before I launched my-- I got all the training, I became a raw food chef and instructor, I also got certified as a holistic health coach. I did Bach flower remedies, I did all this training, everything, and then finally just said, “Enough, I've got to get in there,” because if someone is capable as I am, I had to figure this out when I was so ill and so compromised, like, I want to get to people before they get to that point. I want to be the intervention. I want to be the wake-up call. We have to wake up as women to understand that our needs are legitimate. We don't need to defend them. We don't need to explain them. We need to show up for them.
Arwen Becker: As my coach says, no is a complete sentence.
Katie McDonald: Yeah, that's right.
Arwen Becker: And that's hard as a people pleaser because you feel like you need it. I used to feel like I had to explain if I left the office early, that I was leaving at 2:30, that I needed to go, “Guys, I have to go pick up my kids and then go.” And it's like, first of all, most of them don't care, but it was this excuse that I was telling myself that I had to justify leaving early because I was going to go home, pick up my kids, and then lie down for a nap, but I don't want to tell anybody that because they might think less of me because I'm taking a nap at 2:30.
Katie McDonald: But this is the story. I guarantee you, everyone listening to this can relate to that. We do, and women tend to overexplain and it's just the more you explain, the more ammunition you give. It's like all of a sudden, we're in this position of defense and that happens when we don't stand on our own power and understand that I'm my own soulmate. I am complete. I am complete, I don't need anybody else to complete me. That means that we come as whole beings responsible for our own needs because when we're not, when we're not tending to our own needs, we tell ourselves we're noble and martyrs and all this stuff, but it's so last century. And the fact is we are not bringing an evolved version to the world at all. We're bringing needy, we're bringing resentment and rage and depletion. I mean, resentment always shows up when we're over giving, always.
So, it's like, what? That's selfish. That's like how could we bring that version to the world and tell ourselves we're such good girls. It's ridiculous. We've got to challenge this. It doesn't make sense. It is not intuitive, but we've bought it. We have bought the story that our needs are a threat to the well-being of everybody else. And we don't have to choose, in fact, and if we do, we need to choose our own well-being. The oxygen mask story, we don't have to wait until the plane is careening to the ground, until we put our oxygen mask on. We need to do it now. We don't need that level of urgency. I had to have that because I was so asleep. I was so addicted to busyness that there was no way I could get that message in any way. And the universe got that. I was just torn a bit, bit by bit until I collapsed. And that's what it took.
Arwen Becker: Yeah, me too. I hear you loud and clear, very much so. And I heard a gal was talking about, when we do this, putting everybody else first and just continuing to put ourselves last and it's like, I can handle everything else and I can keep everything going, that it's like self-aggrandizing. It's like I am that important of a human being. It's like making ourselves kind of our own personal savior. It's like I've got you and everybody else. And that's really a very selfish place.
Katie McDonald: It is arrogant.
Arwen Becker: It’s very arrogant. And for me, that's what I realized when my life kind of started falling apart and where I found myself in this place where I just detached from everything because I had gotten to that place of complete brokenness right now. I was just like it didn't really care about anything, but it was this recognition after a number of weeks that everything didn't fall apart, that just because I didn't check in on everything and didn't micromanage my kids and micromanage my husband and micromanage my company and micromanage everything and my day-to-day habits and down to the minute having it all structured, it all didn't fall apart.
And what I actually found was a lot more peace on the other side of it when I realized that I could just be for a while and enjoy a conversation, enjoy a long walk in the evening and not feel like I needed to do a little extra work or clear out some more emails or these things that we feel that we have to do. And so, it's just this, oh, this is just so, so speaks to me. And these are the women that I know that you work with because this is a common issue that a lot of us have. And so, you made this vow that if you got yourself through this and figured this out, that you were going to go back to your tribe. And so, when did you actually start the coaching piece of that?
Katie McDonald: Yeah, so I've been doing that for about 12 years now. And I want to just address before you go to that what you were discovering is that when we step back, others step up. So, when we step back, it allows other people to rise. So, we're not serving them when we're for them and underperforming for ourselves. And we tell ourselves that's in service, we're helping. We want to help, but you know what, the superhero cape starts choking us. It's like we got to untie that. We've got to send it to the cleaners and just understand, like we're taking up too much oxygen. We're not allowing other people to thrive. So, I needed to bring this practice.
I did one-on-one coaching, and then just in the past year launched my planner because I realized that the three areas that I impact most are food, thought, and time. Those are the areas where we get stuck most and it's the area over which we have complete control, but we forfeit and abdicate all the time. What am I eating? What am I doing? What am I thinking? What am I saying? These are areas of control and yet, we're trying to control everything and everyone else but that. And sometimes, because we're forfeiting the control in those meaningful areas, we overcompensate, we binge, we do all these things to numb, to not feel, to really not feel that disconnection with ourselves.
So, I developed that practice and then launched a planner, which is based on the methodology of time management, because we all know what to do, we're not doing it. We don't know the of prioritizing ourselves, and we need a tool to do it. So, I took my methodology and transferred it into a 90-day planner, because I still love getting things done. And I want to understand that we still think it's a tradeoff, that if I take care of myself, I'm not going to take care of things, that it's like, oh, no, no, no, no, no, you get to do both, but you got to do the self-care part, and then you know what's left. Like, what kind of energy do you have to do everything else?
Arwen Becker: Yeah. And I got to tell all of our listeners, your planner. So, for any of you who don't know me, I am a gift giver, I am a crafter, I love the details of things. And Katie sent me her planner, and it was so stunning that I literally closed it back up. I didn't even really start, I had just kind of opened up the cover of the box and I had to close it back up and do an unboxing video, and literally, snapshot every single frame of it, because I so rarely see the attention to, I mean, exquisite detail. It wasn't only in the visual detail and the graphics and the different pieces that were in it, it was the paper, it was the wrapping, it was the smell of it. It was the sensory experience and everything that you are talking about, Katie, is found in that entire package. It is health, it screams self-care in the most wonderful, beautiful way. So, I just want to try and give us a small visual as to how stunning this packaging was, that I literally had to put it all back together and then go through it meticulously and unbox it because I had I needed to send this to, they needed to see that.
Katie McDonald: Well, I love that you're saying that because it is about the senses. That's how we wake up, right? That's how we become human beings, that when we can enliven and tune into our senses, it's like, oh, actually, we take the elevator down from our heads and inhabit our bodies again. And I'm so glad that you said I needed it to be a tactile experience because I wanted you to want to relate to yourself. A tool of self-accountability, but most importantly, an opportunity to reconnect with ourselves. We have to recalibrate all day long, remember our commitment to ourselves because automatically, our glance turns outward. And I wanted a tool to be able to turn inward again, to be able to come home to ourselves and then get back into the world and then come home to ourselves and get back to the world, and each time recalibrate as we need.
Arwen Becker: There was even tea that was handcrafted and put together and colored pens, and I was like, I love the colored pens.
Katie McDonald: Erasable, so you can change your mind.
Arwen Becker: Right. I was thinking back, it was something we were talking about earlier. I have to imagine, because I certainly had this challenge as well, that when you start to make the shift from serving everyone around you to really looking at a way in which to serve yourself and to be able to get yourself healthy, initially, the feedback you get from the world around you is not positive because you're changing, you're changing the game, the rules have been changed. So, what would you say to a woman who is at this point where she needs to make some significant changes to how she's working with the people around her, but she's going to face some resistance in that space? What would you say to her?
Katie McDonald: Yeah, resistance is your friend. The minute you get resistance, you know you're on the right path. It's like, yes, I'm breaking the cycle. I'm challenging myself. That's how you know, like resistance lenient. You are disrupting. The minute you embrace the permission that you already had by virtue of birth to take care of yourself. So, you're going to threaten the status quo. The minute you just deviate, people are going to respond. They're going to want to pull you back because they don't know that they have permission, too. So, it means that we have to do it more than ever, that we have to be bolder and braver than anyone if we've had this epiphany that we're finally going to show up for ourselves the way we show up for everybody else. Finally, we're going to do this. We're going to move in this direction and expect resistance and then delight in it, knowing like, wow, I'm actually creating a movement, not a moment.
Arwen Becker: And there may be people in your sphere that the season might be coming to an end.
Katie McDonald: Yeah, that’s okay.
Arwen Becker: Because if they have really enjoyed your company because of what you can do for them and you're no longer doing that for them, you're doing something for yourself, there may be some friendships that need to go and it's always easier said than done. It doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt. It doesn't mean that it doesn't come with sadness or grief.
Katie McDonald: But like bye-bye.
Arwen Becker: Right. I know.
Katie McDonald: I mean, we've got to get back to the soulmate thing. We've got to befriend ourselves and if we could just take a fraction of the energy that we put outward and actually say, could I bring that to myself? Could I actually show what does that mean to befriend myself, to actually invest in the relationship I have with myself? It's a foreign concept. We don't navigate that way, but when we do, we thrive. And when we do, we liberate everybody else to do the same.
Arwen Becker: Yeah. And then we provide space for other healthier relationships to come in. And I think you and I were talking about that a little bit earlier, that when you do have a relationship that moves out, you've now created space for somebody new that is going to be able to meet you at this place that you're going, not the place that you used to be that some people want to hold you back at. So, when you look back at all that you've learned through this time period, in this experience, what would you say or maybe the top three things that you've really taken away from it?
Katie McDonald: Number one is that I don't need to be rescued, that I'm not a damsel in distress, I'm the only one that can do it, I'm the only one that can save myself. And it doesn't mean you don't need other people, but I had to show up for me. I had to be the one. No one else could have done that for me. And I spent a lot of time in a victim's state waiting to be rescued. So, that's number one. Number two, I would say that I don't have to earn my place in the world, that just being in this world is enough and that it doesn't require this constant churning and burning to justify my spot. And number three is that being curious in the relationship that I have with myself, that repairing the relationship that I have with myself is the most important task that I could do, that that relationship is when I will have for a lifetime and it is the foundation for any other relationship I will ever have. So, it is not selfish, but it is actually an obligation to be curious about myself, and then bring a more elevated version into the world, a reflected, intentional version into the world.
Arwen Becker: Beautifully stated. I was going to ask you one other question before our rapid fire. You support a lot of women, and I know that is very much a part of your heart and making you sure that we collectively are being the best versions that we can of ourselves. There's often so much comparison and just a lot of negative things that often go on between us as women and often up in our own heads. What does it look like to you when women really, truly come around and they support and encourage one another? What comes out of that when you see that?
Katie McDonald: Yeah, it's a beautiful thing. I mean, I think it's back to what we've been talking about all along is we have to give each other permission, remove the shame that comes with self-care. It's so taboo and perceived as indulgent, but if we could role model it and encourage it in others, I think are our biggest obligation is to role model what's possible, that we leave at two o'clock without explanation because it's our life, it's our company often, like we’re running our own companies and we're blathering on trying to justify or we're mothering all our employees. I see this over and over again. It's like we go, we do what we need to do, and we save the drama for the stage. We don't need to create drama. We can remove that from relationships. We can remove that around our self-care and simply do what we need to do, do it quietly, do it respectfully, and in doing so, again, liberate everybody else. Let them see what a quiet self-leader looks like. This is what we're talking about, self-leadership. That's how we support each other.
Arwen Becker: Excellent. So good. Alright, so the last three rapid fire questions. Are you ready?
Katie McDonald: Yeah.
Arwen Becker: Okay, here we go. Alright, so best piece of financial wisdom that you've been given.
Katie McDonald: Reserve 10% of your income for your personal and professional growth.
Arwen Becker: Oh, yes. Expand on that a little bit.
Katie McDonald: What we don't invest in ourselves, I mean, I see this over and over again. Clients will spend thousands of dollars on their kid's camps and all these enrichment programs, like when's the last time you spend a dime on you, on your own personal growth, your professional growth, why don't we deem not worthy? So, really, if you have 10% going automatically into that, then you never have to justify. The residual ideas that, oh, I couldn't do that. Oh, that's– oh, no. It's like, really, it's a good business decision. It makes sense. It is a good relationship decision. It tends to be that every role you'll ever have is when you refine, not because there's something wrong with you, but because you're curious about your own potential and you invest in it. Change the way we change. And we have to have money in order for us to be able to do that, to be able to say, I have a lot of this money for this purpose and I don't have to justify it or go through any excuse or process or shame or anything. It's there, it's for me, and it says I matter and I'm willing to invest in myself.
Arwen Becker: Yep, and making an investment often will give us a little bit more of a kick to do the work when you know you're paying money for it versus something that you're doing for free. I mean, it is human nature.
Katie McDonald: It’s legit. It makes sense.
Arwen Becker: Why people would pay for a personal trainer to come and kick their butt for 60 minutes?
Katie McDonald: Well, because we want to be accountable to them. We can break our promises, but to somebody else, oh, no, we're going to show up. So, when we do invest in ourselves, there is a level of accountability.
Arwen Becker: Yep, absolutely. What about a book, favorite book and why?
Katie McDonald: Oh, it's so funny, but I would have to say right now, I'm reading Joe Dispenza Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, and that is really great to be able to look at your personality right now and say, do I choose this again? Because of the habits, these are my mental habits, do I choose this again? And I love the vigilance of just saying, like, hey, I see this habit. I've studied I see it and I choose it, or I let it go. And it reminds us that we are ever evolving and it's up to us, we can reinvent ourselves at any moment.
Arwen Becker: Great. And then, finally, a quote. What's a quote you love?
Katie McDonald: So, Jim Rohn says, “You take care of you for me, and I'll take care of me for you.”
Arwen Becker: Can you repeat that? I like that.
Katie McDonald: You take care of you for me, and I'll take care of me for you.
Arwen Becker: Why is it so good?
Katie McDonald: Why is that so important? But it is in such a way, like, wow, you mean when I take care of myself, that's my act of loving you. You love me. By taking care of me is me showing love for you. Wow. I love that.
Arwen Becker: Maybe when we get into relationships, that should be the first vow we tell our partner. Well, that’d be great the start of a dating relationship that we just started there.
Katie McDonald: Right, but that we do have this obligation. It's not a luxury, it's an obligation and a birthright and a duty suit up, right? Self-care is a duty.
Arwen Becker: Oh, so good. So good. Alright, so how can listeners get a hold of you? So, give us all the juicy details. Where can we visit, all that kind of good stuff?
Katie McDonald: Well, I'd encourage you to go to BNourished.com. It's B-N-O-U-R-I-S-H-E-D BNourished.com. And then, if you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll get almost 30 pages of my favorite resources and tools. So, it's super fun. And I often thought time, home, and beauty. So, I'd encourage you to do that. And I will not bury you with email content. I want you in the world, not on your screen, but I do curate content for you. And then, of course, on social media, and then I will be launching a digital coaching program in 2022. And then, by all means, go on to my website and look for the planner, and I'll be extending a 15% discount and maybe, we call the discount Arwen. Is that okay?
Arwen Becker: Yes, let’s do that.
Katie McDonald: Yeah, 15% off for any of your listeners to get a planner and with it comes the digital course to walk you through thoughtful, intentional self-accountability strategies.
Arwen Becker: And I'm telling you, I cannot tell you enough how amazing this planner is.
Katie McDonald: Oh, so glad.
Arwen Becker: Please take Katie up on this offer, because it is something that will not only be just an overwhelmingly beautiful for all your senses as you get it, but having a tool, a 90-day planner, there is something so miraculous that happens in the long-term view of our life when we break it down into 90 days and are able to look at it in small bits. It's amazing where you'll be just a couple of years from now, but often we get to focus on the big picture that we forget it's the small, consistent details that really make all the difference, so.
Well, my wonderful friend, thank you so much for joining us today. And your wisdom so blessed me. And I'm so grateful when women take the hurt, the pain, the difficulty they've gone through and they come out of it and then they're willing to say, “Now that I'm out of it, I want to help bring others along so they don't have to feel as much pain maybe as I personally went through.” So, thank you for sharing that with the world. I really appreciate it.
Katie McDonald: Thank you for the opportunity. I'm so glad to be here.
Arwen Becker: We’ll hopefully have you back sometime very, very soon.
Katie McDonald: Any time.
Arwen Becker: Alright, thank you my dear.
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