How to Unlock Superpowers in Yourself and Others

 

For the last couple of years, I felt I was living a double life. One half of me lived as a cellist and cello teacher–creator of the Virtual Summer Cello Festival and the Bridge Online Cello Studio, as well as Suzuki faculty at the Bermuda School of Music. The other half of me lived as a professional business coach, working with clients 1:1 or through my group coaching program, Profit Pivot. 

Half the time I was explaining phrase structure, key signatures, and bow distribution, and the other half I was strategizing around launches, social media, and messaging. 

 

What I have finally come to realize though, is that the work is the same. 

 

I am further ahead than my students on the cello, and so I can share knowledge with them that they don’t yet have. I am further along in business than my clients are and so I can share knowledge with them that they don’t yet have. 

But that’s just a shortcut for them. The truth is that there’s nothing  I am telling them about those facts that they couldn’t find on the internet. Whether it’s a simple google search or a youtube video away, it’s there for the taking, and all for free, too. 

 

The more important work happens, not when I am answering their questions, but rather when they are answering MY questions. 

 

Photo by Tachina Lee for Unsplash.com

 

What patterns can you see when you think about different key signatures? How does this key make you feel? What color matches it? Where is the most exciting part of the piece? How can we use the instrument to make it sound more exciting? 

Or…

What is important to you? What are you thinking about these days that no one else seems to be talking about? Who needs to know it? What would happen if they knew it too? Where do they hang out? Which skills do you already have that you can use? Which skills do you need to learn? 

 

Guiding Questions. 

 

Because each of us already knows. Deep down, my 15-year-old student KNOWS how the music should go, and deep down, they know what they need to do to achieve it. And deep down, my clients KNOW what they want and need to do to live their most fulfilling lives, and they know what needs to happen to achieve that too. 

So, it begs the question, if a person can get the factual information from the internet for free 24/7, and they have the answers to the bigger and more subjective questions within themselves, why the hell do they need to hire a teacher or a coach? 

 

3 reasons:

 

1. The teacher/coach creates the right environment.

 

By holding space, treating the student or client as an honored being, and making the space safe for them to think, explore and wonder. Free from fear of making a “mistake”. 

 

2. The teacher/coach holds the key.

 

By asking the right questions, at the right time, and in the right way, they are guiding you to find the answers that you might not have otherwise known how to access. 

3. The teacher/coach holds us accountable. 

 

By bearing witness to our next planned steps. By having the next session on the calendar. By wanting to share a win or progress, or get help when we feel stuck. 

 

It is magical to me to serve in this role, and magical things happen in my own life when others serve in this role for me. The more I have learned about coaching from my brilliant teachers, the more tools and confidence I have at my disposal,  but serving people in this way can be beneficial on even the most basic level, and anyone can do it. 

 

Try out the following this week: 

• When your spouse is experiencing an issue at work, what would happen if you replaced giving advice with simply encouraging them to say more about it. 

• When you’re chatting with a friend, instead of interjecting your similar experience, ask them deeper questions about it. 

• When your child is having a problem at school, imagine how powerful they would feel if you guided them with questions until they came up with a solution instead of taking over and solving it for them. 

 

Photo by Ashley Batz for Unsplash.com

 

Even in this basic, simplified way, this concept of listening and questioning rather than interrupting and advising, I’m willing to bet you’ll feel a more genuine connection. Feeling like we’re truly being heard, truly seen is a rare occurrence these days, and it’s an incredible gift both to give and receive. 

 

I would love to hear about your experiences with this! Leave a comment and tell us what it was like. 

Have a great week!

Cheers, 

Kate

 

P.S. You can still join us for Thrive Fest: Holiday Edition. Sign up to receive daily bite-sized tasks to keep you on track and thriving in all areas of your life, even during this crazy busy season! November 15-January 1st. Feel free to jump right in! You can join here 

Turn Your Journaling Into Your Reality in 5 Easy Steps

 

A lot of people have written articles about their morning routines lately. I find these posts amusing–not because I don’t believe in the power of starting your day off on the right foot–but because most of the people writing these posts are 25-year-old unemployed millennials or YouTubers. Between the meditating and the juice squeezing and the sketching of the pretty bird outside your window and the gratitude lists and the 10-mile jog followed by some calming yoga, their “morning routines” are taking them well into the afternoon. 

Real people don’t have time for that. 

 

But the one item that everyone–from the 25 year-olds to Bill Gates–swears by? Journaling. 

 

Photo by mk. s on Unsplash

 

Once reserved for angsty teenagers on a year abroad writing about love and how unfair the world is, journaling has now (finally) been recognized as the #1 tool of all successful humans. 

You all know I’ve been writing in a journal every morning since before I was an angsty teenager, and I’ve made no secret of the fact that I credit that practice with whatever success (big or small) I have had in my life. 

However, a client recently asked me how one gets from dreaming on the page to living the reality, and I realized that that isn’t something that is talked about as much. It’s become a key part of my journaling, but it’s not an obvious one. It’s very easy to draw a clear line in the sand. This is reality vs. Those are dreams, and it’s very common to get stuck in your current reality, unable to cross over into dream territory. 

There are 5 Steps to getting from one side to the other, and incorporating some of those dreams into your reality.

It requires a highlighter. 

 

Photo by Kasturi Roy for Unsplash
Step 1: Write

 

I should first point out that your journals should never be written with the idea in your mind that ANYONE would ever read them. No one should read them, you shouldn’t show them to people, and they aren’t meant for anyone to see. (kind of like in Bridget Jones’s Diary–DON’T LEAVE THEM OPEN, YOU NINNY!) 

 

Okay–so, no need for eloquence and no need for complete sentences. Consider it a daily brain dump and just write whatever comes out. I like Julia Cameron’s (author of The Artists’ Way) directive to write 3 pages no matter what. It’s true…the good stuff doesn’t start appearing until the end of page 2, and that 3rd page is absolute GOLD. 90% of my writing is absolute gibberish and totally stupid. 

 

Step 2: Notice

 

Take a second and look over what you wrote. Were there any moments when you found yourself “wishing” for things? “I wish we had room for chickens in the backyard” “I wish my wife would be more willing to hire a sitter so we could go out on a date night.” “I wish I would get called for XYZ gig”. Or future casting “In 10 years I’ll have my own house. When I have more money, I’ll spend my weekends at the cape”

 

Photo by Henrique Ruzzon for Unsplash

 

Step 3: Highlight

 

Grab your highlighter or a different color pen/pencil and mark those things you mentioned wanting in your life. (backyard chickens, date night, gig XYZ, house, cape, etc.) and highlight the things that come up in your future casting. The more random it seems, the better! Sometimes the greatest insights come out of nowhere and land on that page. Highlight them so you can refer back to them. 

 

Step 4: Ask

 

Think about each one of these “wishes” and dreams. Ask yourself if there is any part of them that you could do or have now. If not, is there any action step you could take that would get you closer to them? I.e. Can you find a local farmer’s market that sells fresh eggs? Could you research how much space you’d need for a coop? Can you think of a local student or neighbor that could watch your kids for an hour so you could meet your spouse out for a glass of wine? Can you take a day trip to the cape and wander around the shops as if you’re a regular? 

 

Photo by Vincenzo Landino for Unsplash
Step 5: Do

 

Take one of those items, and do it. Today. Consider it a mini-leap

Before you know it, you’ve met a farmer who tells you everything you need to know about raising chickens, has introduced you to a friend who was looking for a home for their old chicken coop, and Voila! Dream realized. Or the “browsing” you did on Zillow, led you to have a conversation with a realtor about different neighborhoods, which led you to speak with a mortgage broker, which led you to open up a special savings account, which led you to buy your own home in 1 year, instead of 10. 

 

There’s always a small step you can take. Something you can google, a phone call you can make, doing a no-strings-attached favor for the contractor of that gig you’d love to do someday. Those small steps lead to other small steps, which lead to slightly less-small steps, and before you know it, you’re halfway to achieving those dreams and watching those “wishes” come true. 

 

As far as my gear? I just use standard Five-star spiral-bound notebooks, and Pilot G-2 gel pens in black or blue. I also have a running Google Doc for each year, and I go between the two depending on my mood. But there are endless options out there. Use whatever will make the process enjoyable for you. 

 

Cheers!

 

Kate

 

P.S. Today is Kick-off day for Thrive-Fest: Holiday Edition. Want to join us as we do 1 small, easy daily task over the next 7 weeks to stay on top of holiday to-do lists and thrive through the busy holiday season? It’s not too late! JOIN HERE. https://mailchi.mp/c2b95cc9d96f/thrive-fest-holiday-edition-sign-up-page

 

Thinning the Carrots of Your Career

 

My husband has spearheaded a community garden at his school. He’s always lived amongst gardeners (except, I imagine, during his years out at sea…hard to find good soil in all that ocean….) and he’s been a huge help in our home gardens in building fences, beds, and getting the composting and water lines set up, but this is his first time choosing plants, sowing seeds, and feeling responsible for their success. 

 

He was asking me the other day about carrot seeds. They’re so tiny….how do you plant them? 

 

And as I explained the process to him, along with the tried and true hacks all seasoned gardeners know about planting carrots, it occurred to me how closely this mirrored the building of careers as a musician. 

 

First, you need to plant lots of seeds–they are small, and you don’t really know which ones are going to germinate. 

 

But once they are up, you need to thin them out. You just want one every inch and a half or so, and snip the rest off at the stems. If you have too many crammed together, there’s no space for the root part to grow, and so none of them will. 

One great hack for doing this naturally is to plant radish and carrot seeds together. The radishes grow really quickly and their bulbs push the carrot seeds out of the way, and by the time you’ve harvested the radishes, you’re left with the perfect number of carrots, perfectly spaced apart, with plenty of space in between them to grow. 

 

What does this have to do with your career? 

 

Think of the carrot seeds as all of those gigs you do straight out of school. Every little teaching job, every wedding, every orchestra. Every recording session, etc. 

When I arrived back in Boston as a fresh, green, 25-year-old freelancer, I was given some great advice from an older, highly successful friend: 

He told me to say yes to everything for the first 2-5 years. Every gig, every teaching job, every opportunity. Not only would that grow my list of contacts, help me get to know new people, make friends, etc. but I’d get to know which things I LIKED to do–which orchestras were a pain in the ass, and which ones I really looked forward to. I’d learn what repertoire I liked to play. New Music? Early Music? Middle of the Road music? Which teaching jobs had the best students, the best facilities, and the best faculty perks, the easiest commute, and which ones were just a drain on my time and energy?

Then, when I had sampled a bit of everything, I should start to pick and choose. Keep the good ones and let go of the bad ones. In other words: Thin the Carrots.

 

Except that we, as freelancers tend to be very good at that first part, but very, very bad at the 2nd part. 

 

We love getting the call, the email, we love having MORE–ABUNDANCE! And with an industry-wide feeling of scarcity (not enough people in the seats, not enough students, not enough funding, etc., etc.) we feel we’re in a constant race to horde as much work as we can, like it’s March of 2020 and we’re in the toilet paper aisle. 

 

I remember talking to my family one holiday and I told them that I had been hired by Boston University to Direct the Chamber Music Program at their summer program, BU Tanglewood Institute. I had been working at the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras for several years already, running their chamber music program, and that’s how BU knew about me. 

 

“Wow! Congratulations,” my brother said. “So, when is your last day at the youth orchestra?” 

 

Isn’t that cute? He thought I would have to leave one job to take another….like in the “real world”

 

But we never think that way, do we? We just keep adding more and more and more onto our plate. Whichever seed happens to germinate, we just tend to it–even if it means that carrot root might be a bit thinner than we’d like. 

 

In the case of the BYSO/BU jobs, well, it wasn’t technically necessary to pick one. They didn’t overlap at all. In fact, The normal BYSO season would end in June, I’d pack up my car and drive out to Tanglewood, be there for 8 weeks for BUTI, pack up the music, and drive it out to Maine, where BYSO had a 2-week summer camp. After that, I’d drive home, and get things ready for the next season. It all fit like a glove. 

 

Except that for the 3 years that I did that, I was EXHAUSTED by the 2nd camp ended. So exhausted that I dreaded the beginning of the new season. In hindsight, I wonder if I was truly giving my best to everyone, or if I was squeezed too thin to be at 100%. 

 

 

It would benefit us to plant a few radishes with our carrots. Those radishes? Well, they’re different for everyone of course, but consider them the space savers made of things we love. Plan 1 Sunday afternoon a month for a chamber music reading/lasagna eating party. Get a season’s subscription to the symphony, theater, dance company, and make sure you are filling the well, and not just depleting it week in and week out. If I had insisted on taking time off at some point during those summers? (Instead of filling any off moments with a pops gig, or a “quick & easy” wedding) I’d have been a much saner person, and my bills would still have been paid. 

 

It’s a lesson we as freelancers (and perhaps all artists) need to learn. When do we get past the point in our career where we should be saying yes to everything? At what point should we start taking away the old as we add new? 

And what is the deciding factor? Money? Family? Time? There is ALWAYS more money to be made. Another gig, another student, another round of sectionals to agree to. But we can learn to let go of the fear of being crossed off a contractor’s list for the benefit of our quality of life.

And when we can find that balance of carrots and radishes, we’ll know that everything is growing and working at its full capacity, that we are giving our absolute best. That we can give time to others because we have saved some time for ourselves. 

 

Cheers, 

 

Kate

 

P.S. Exciting News! Back by popular demand, we’re doing a Thrive-Fest: Holiday Edition over in the Tales From The Lane FB group. Haven’t joined yet? You can do that HERE. Every day, M-F + 1 over the weekend, between November 15th and January 1st, there will be a prompt posted in the group of 1 super-easy task that you can accomplish that day (I try to keep everything between 5 and 20 minutes!) Over those 6 weeks, we’ll get you organized, grounded, and ready to have the best, most enjoyable holiday season in years–without the usual stress of having to cram everything in at the last minute. There’s a great community, fun prizes, and some new perks this year as well. 

 

P.P.S. Know someone who might enjoy this blog post? Could you do me (and them!) a favor and share it with them? I’d be so grateful!

How to Fulfill Your Potential: Step 1

What would it look like if you were to reach your full potential? 

 

This, my friends, has been the question that has been eating at me for the past couple of years. Finally, I gave in and decided to dedicate some real time and energy to the subject and write a book about my findings. 

It all started with an innocent re-telling of a story/joke about “what happens when you get to heaven” that I heard on a random business podcast. The idea was that instead of arriving to meet St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, you’d be greeted by the version of yourself that had reached your full potential. 

 

OUCH.

 

Can you imagine? Standing there, face to face with everything you weren’t able to accomplish. 

 

Talk about kicking you when you’re down.  

 

 

Immediately I started to think of what that would mean for me. The version of me who had gotten around to losing those extra pounds. Who had learned about finance and investing and got to have a full and vibrant retirement AND was able to leave substantial financial gifts to organizations that mattered to her. 

This “Potential Kate” standing in front of me was fit, healthy, strong. She had been to every country in the world, had published the books she wanted to write (ahem…) and had a beautiful home, bountiful gardens, and close relationships with friends and family. Potential Kate remembered people’s birthdays, hosted the dinner parties, spoke 5 languages, sat on boards, made a difference.  And, this is the kicker….she was NOT in urgent need of a pedicure! 

Next, I started to wonder what it would take to DO all of those things. At first, it seemed like an awful lot of hard work–after all, if I haven’t achieved them yet, maybe it’s because it’s just too hard, takes too much time and effort, and leaves time for nothing else. 

 

  • Do we have to choose between fulfilling our potential, and living normal, happy, relaxed lives? 


  • Does striving for our best (in every possible area) make us happier or more exhausted, burned out, and depressed? 


  • Is it possible to achieve greatness in a state of joy and fulfillment? 

 

 

Don’t worry. I’m taking one for the team, and attempting to find out for all of us. I’ll keep you posted along the way, and then, obviously, I’m going to (somehow) strong-arm you into buying the book. You have plenty of time to save up for the hard copy––it’s nowhere near finished! 

 

For now, I’ll leave you with “Important STEP #1”

 

The most important thing of all is to make sure you are working towards YOUR most amazing version of yourself, AND that you have checked the expiration date on that version as well. 

 

Because it would really be a shame to spend all this time working towards someone ELSE’S opinion of what your potential is (I’m looking at YOU, teachers who convinced your students that life was only worth living if you were a soloist or a principal player of a major orchestra, or on the roster of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center) I’m also looking at all of the parents out there who had very vocal opinions of what it means to have “made it.” 

It would also be a shame to just run on autopilot and chase after the dreams you had decades ago. Dreams that you actually outgrew somewhere down the line and didn’t even notice. I think a lot of us set ourselves in the direction of our childhood dreams, and walking down that path becomes more a habit than anything else.  

 

 

But what I know for sure is this.

 

It’s different for everyone. Maybe you want to be President or an Astronaut, or maybe you don’t want to work at all! Maybe you want to be the top-dog teacher at Curtis, and maybe you want to run a thriving Suzuki Viola studio out of your home. Maybe you want to travel the globe, and maybe you want to run a housing co-op and live off the land. 

It’s worth thinking about though. Before you spend another day working for what might NOT be your actual goals. And before you waste another single day NOT working towards what you really want out of life. 

Because if we are working for things that matter, that are truly in alignment with who we are, then by definition, we’re doing something enjoyable, right? 

 

 

Like I said….I’ll keep you posted. 

 

Cheers, 

 

Kate

P.S. Looking for an awesome community of musicians and creatives who are thinking about these same issues and topics? Join my Private Tales From The Lane Facebook Group for weekly discussions, support, and good times, as well as to be one of the first to hear of new programs and projects I’ve dreamed up for you!

Walking the Tightrope Between “Pandemic” You and “Normal” You

 

 

Does anyone else notice a bit of tension in the air these days? 

 

I’m hearing it from my friends, seeing posts about it on social media, and experiencing it a bit myself. 

After a year and a half of staying close to home, working less, driving less, going out less, having fewer activities and responsibilities, they all started to come flooding back this fall. 

I noticed it with my students, who suddenly had to fit in commutes, in-person youth orchestra and chamber music, and school. Who are exhausted by what would have previously been considered a light day. 

 

I’ve been noticing it with friends who are parents–having to shuffle kids around to activities that are now ON, and dealing with the aftermath of exhausted kids who aren’t used to this suddenly “busy” pace of life.

 

And while we all bemoaned the loss of these things we loved doing when they were shut down, re-entry has been hard, or at least weird, hasn’t it? 

 

Back into the concert hall! But wearing masks and being sat far away from your “stand partner.”  Is it cool to carpool? Grab lunch with people who haven’t really been in your bubble and whose vaccination status you don’t really know? What about dinner parties? Are those okay now? What if I’d rather just stay home in my sweats and watch Squid Game?

 

 

Photo by Adrian Swancar for Unsplash.com

 

And with everything feeling like it’s just getting started, the year is winding down. And that brings about a strange feeling as well. Our collective energy is rising, just as the days are getting shorter, and our bodies are craving home, rest, and warm bowls of soup (at least over on this hemisphere). I wonder if it feels different in Australia? 

But it also offers us an important opportunity. I bet that if you can quiet your mind for a moment, you’ll notice that the tension feels slightly different when you don’t feel like doing something because you’re “out of practice” and feeling a bit tired, versus when you don’t feel like doing something because you realize that you just no longer want to do it. Ever.

 

For some, that’s the dinner party.

For others, that’s the gig. 

For others, that’s the 3 different sports and 2 instruments plus theory classes, plus chamber music, plus orchestra, plus math tutors, plus karate, plus girl scouts, plus debate team practice for their kid. 

 

 

So maybe this autumn season is a great time to question everything we’re doing and keep a tally. Which ones would we be happy to do if only we had more energy, and which ones are we dreading because we have a) outgrown them or b) aren’t worth the added time and stress. 

And it’s also important to know that EVERYONE is making these same decisions. We’re all in the same boat here. We shouldn’t take it personally if someone doesn’t want to hang out, or doesn’t call as often.  And we shouldn’t judge someone for suddenly dropping something they’ve done in the past. 

It’s a time to give each other and, more importantly, ourselves the space and the grace to try things on for size. To take the damn nap if we need to, and also to try to muster the energy needed to do something that is, truly, important to us. 

 

It’s also a time to give gratitude for all of the good things we have–the people, the work, the dogs (I’m lookin’ at you, Tango!) and to lean into what our experience through all of this has been. 

I’m not saying it’s completely over, but we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, aren’t we? And we get to decide how we re-emerge.  

No tension necessary. 

 

Photo by Priscilla duPreez for Unsplash.com

 

 

 

My Unconventional Quest For the Perfect Coach

 

I was catching up with a friend the other day, and she was asking me about the coaching work I’ve been doing over the past couple of years. 

 

“So, are you a career coach, or a life coach?” 

 

And…hmmmm… It got me wondering….I’ve always just written “Musician’s Coach” because neither of those other 2 felt like it fully encompassed how I work with clients. I started thinking about my own experience with various kinds of coaches, and how those experiences shaped the kind of coach I am. 

Over the past 15 years of my life, in my quest to “figure my life out” I have tried quite a few avenues:

 

  • The therapist to get me unstuck after a bad breakup and ensuing depression. 

 

  • A career coach based in the classical music world

 

  • The 6-month long business course. 

 

  • An accountability mastermind 

 

  • A group coaching program run by someone who was equally versed in the world of music and business. 

 

  • 1:1 sessions with the coach who ran the above program. 

 

They each gave me something valuable and taught me both what I needed, and what I didn’t need. 

 

 

The Therapist: It was great to have someone questioning my beliefs and assumptions and getting me to think in wider circles. It was maddening when I just wanted an answer, but eventually learned (and experienced) the benefit of coming to my own true answers that were hidden deep inside of me. I learned how to truly listen to someone, and how to hold space for that person. But I wasn’t about to ask her for career advice…

 

The Classical Music World Career Coach: This was my first foray into figuring out what I wanted to be doing, how I wanted to do it, and with whom I wanted to be doing it. My coach had a lot of answers, and although I knew she had been around for a while, knew the scene, and knew what worked and what didn’t, her “my way or the highway” MO didn’t feel aligned with me. The advice wasn’t about me or my personality, more “just follow the rules and you’ll be fine. I don’t care what you want to do, trust me, this is what they really want to see” She was lovely and well-meaning and her way of doing things probably works for many many musicians, but it wasn’t the right fit for me. It all seemed a bit too much about pleasing the gatekeepers. 

 

The Business Course: So I decided to learn about the business world for myself. I did a deep dive into all things marketing, pricing, branding, copywriting, social media, the works. And it opened up my mind in so many ways. Everything made so much sense, and it was actually a ton of fun. Who knew–there were ways to run a business that was service-based, that was set up to help people and not just rip them off? That wasn’t slimy? It also married my three loves of music, business, and writing. I was in heaven….It was a whole world that I had no idea existed. BUT…I felt totally alone coming from the classical music industry. 

They were at a loss when I explained my industry–how small and close-knit it is. How we all basically know each other and are never more than 2 degrees apart. In other words, every one of us went to some festival with Kevin Bacon or knew someone who had. (apologies to anyone too young to get this reference. Just google it, I guess)

 

 

So, armed with my newfound knowledge of how the other 99% of the world works, I set out to find a community of classical musicians who also knew of or were interested in such things. 

 

I found 2.

 

The Mastermind: One had a podcast, one had a blog, and it turns out (because….Kevin Bacon) I had actually met with and worked with both of them in the long distant past. 

We formed a 3-person mastermind group and shared ideas, gave feedback, offered connections, and held each other accountable. I loved it, but all three of us were basically at the same point, all searching together.  

 

The Musicians’ Business Coaching Group: It was here that I found the combination I was looking for. The business principles I had learned, applied to the classical music industry (which is simultaneously super savvy and sophisticated, and WAY behind the times) with a small group of like-minded people, guided by a coach who would ask us questions instead of giving us straight answers. There were certain strategies she taught, but it was clear that we would be putting our own spin on them-not just following her exact formula. 

The 1:1 Sessions: This was a game-changer for me. To have my coach’s eyes on my work (as opposed to addressing things in general terms for the benefit of the group–which was helpful in other ways) meant that we could spend significant time delving into next steps, strategies, ideas, etc. There was time to think, to question, and to gently (and sometimes not so gently!) coax me out of my comfort zone.

And finally, I had found the last piece of the puzzle. Business Skills + Knowledge of Classical Music Industry + Like-Minded Colleagues + The Guidance of a Coach who could help battle the inner work–challenging old beliefs, assumptions, and helping to get over resistance, imposter syndrome, etc. 

It was here that I learned about the field of coaching, and started reading books by Nancy Kline, Steven Chandler, Steven Pressfield, and Cal Newport. These methods were teaching me how to truly listen, and how to hold a more productive space for my clients. 

 

 

These days, more than ever, musicians are struggling. With concert seasons being somewhere between decreased and non-existent, people are wondering how they’re going to pay bills

And with a changing industry landscape, there are plenty of ideas floating around of things that “could” happen, but very few people know HOW to make them happen. 

And if they somehow DO know how to make them happen, they start self-sabotaging their way out of doing it.

So that’s where I land, I guess…

somewhere between musicians’ wellness/life coach and a career development guide. I’m certainly not a trained therapist, and would never attempt to take the place of one when needed.

The work that I do with my clients combines the business tools and contacts that they need to get a project off the ground with the mindset work that will allow them to actually do it. Asking them why it is that they think they’re not good enough. And if it’s true that people would laugh at them for trying. They come up with the answers, and they end up doing more than they ever thought possible. 

 

As a colleague recently said, “Therapy deals with your past, Coaching focuses on your future.”

 

 

I’ll always be glad I tried all of those different routes. Even though most of them weren’t what I was looking for–they all helped inform me what it was I needed.  So when I found it, I knew it right away. 

Investing in both my career and in my own personal development through coaches and programs has been the best thing I have ever done for myself, and so I take the work that I do with my clients very seriously–knowing that it is exactly that–an important investment they have made in themselves and their futures. 

 

What advice would I give to anyone thinking about working with a coach?

Try us out! Most, if not all of us offer short, free consultations–usually a 30-minute call to get to know each other. It is totally fine to have those calls with multiple people, and I think we would all agree that you should. We all have different strengths, personalities, and ways of working with clients, so you can have a look around. It’s a bit like having a trial lesson when you’re looking for a teacher. 

And for people who are just at the beginning of the process, and not sure they’re ready for a coach yet? You can start by joining a Facebook group (like our very own, Tales From The Lane FB Group) where you can find like-minded people, and start to gain some familiarity with the ideas, terms (what is imposter syndrome, anyway?), and tips and tricks, free workshops and classes, etc. 

Not a people-person? Start with Podcasts. I have a list of favorites here. 

Still have questions? Just ask. You can leave a comment here on the post, or reach out to me via FB or IG, or book a call with me HERE. 

Cheers!

 

Kate

 

P.S. Want some help figuring out what you should be doing with your life?  Grab this (free) worksheet that will help you gain clarity around what you were meant to offer the world and who you’d like to serve.

P.P.S. Are you enjoying these blog posts and want more? Join my mailing list and get my Friday morning newsletter sent to your inbox. With additional tips, tricks, things to think about, each week also offers up a curated list of articles, books, podcasts, and things that I think you’d enjoy. 

Click Here to Get the Newsletter! 

The #1 Sign That You’re Ready for Big-Time Growth

 

This weekend I found myself jumping up from the sofa and suddenly going around the house grabbing anything that wasn’t useful. I felt mildly resentful for the presence of the spare, extra, mismatched utensils in my drawer. I couldn’t live one second longer with the hideous rug my husband had put down in the corner of the living room to protect the floors from his WFH roller chair. (so I replaced it with a less hideous rug that was in the basement.)

 

Then I hit the dresser drawers, the shoe holder that was starting to rust in Bermuda’s humidity. Plants needed to be re-potted (how could I have not noticed before?) and it went on and on until I ran out of steam. 

 

I’ve always been a fairly clean and tidy person. I make the bed every morning, I go through the house and pick up clothes and glasses that have been left lying around. I’m THAT person. And I love interior design, and keeping a nice home is important to me. 

So why the sudden need to rid my house of anything and everything that doesn’t belong? 

And why do so many things suddenly “not belong” anymore? 

Growth, my friends. Big Growth. It’s coming. 

 

It happens this way every time. 

 

It starts earlier, with a period of time that feels murky. Confused. Like I’m not sure exactly what I’m supposed to do, or I’m more testy than usual, more sensitive. Often, I can’t quite put my finger on anything specific–it’s just that things don’t feel quite “right”. 

 

But I feel stuck. I’m not sure which way to go, and it feels like I’m spinning my wheels. 

 

Then, suddenly, without warning, it comes on. “The Urge to Purge.” 

 

And this is the first outward action I am able to take. Suddenly it’s as clear as trying on a pair of too-tight pants. What I had was too small for me now. What I was doing before no longer fits. 

 

The future Kate apparently does not have room in her life for ugly rugs and mismatched utensils! 

 

And as I go through this process of purging my surroundings, the clouds start to lift, and I can see that the growth has been happening this whole time. With the clarity come ideas flowing constantly with the sound of “Pew! Pew!” zinging in the background. 

 

 

The growth, of course, comes with a certain amount of letting go, of mourning things that will be left behind. Certainly not Hideous Rug, but maybe that favorite top that New Self is ready to admit just isn’t your color, or work Old Self used to do. Possibly even certain friendships (the hardest of all to leave behind…)

 

Part 2 of this is, of course, how to navigate this new growth. We’re in uncharted territory now, and we’ve outgrown where we were before, so there’s no going back. 

 

Stay tuned next week. I’ll be talking about how to embrace these glorious moments of growth (and how to navigate the awkward bits). 

 

In the meantime, I need to take this Hideous Rug to the dump, and start clearing out the garage!

 

Cheers! 

 

Kate

 

P.S. Want some help figuring out what you should be doing with your life?  Grab this (free) worksheet that will help you gain clarity around what you were meant to offer the world and who you’d like to serve.

P.P.S. Are you enjoying these blog posts and want more? Join my mailing list and get my Friday morning newsletter sent to your inbox. With additional tips, tricks, things to think about, each week also offers up a curated list of articles, books, podcasts, and things that I think you’d enjoy. 

Click Here to Get the Newsletter! 

We’re in the Midst of a The Global Mid-Life Crisis

 

One thing this Covid-19 Pandemic has taught us is that life is short, and life is fragile. 18 months later (and still in it!) Everything has gone topsy-turvy. Some have lost everything, and even the most stable have had to deal with having 2 adults and a gaggle of kids all zooming from different rooms for work and school. 

We couldn’t see the friends we always hung out with, go to our usual restaurants, and extra-curricular activities disappeared–at least the ones that couldn’t be done on zoom. 

And with all of that time to think, and enough energy to put into things that matter: a reckoning on racial injustice, the impending doom of climate change, and the stark realization that healthcare systems (and politics) all over the world (and especially in the US) are broken AF.  

As cities and states (and small island countries!) slowly emerge from the darkness, as schools reopen, and people start slowly heading back into their offices, and socializing becomes an option again, it begs the question: 

 

Why was I doing that again? 

 

 

Many of us are taking a good hard look at the work, activities, and people we filled our lives with, and asking “Am I living the life I was meant to be living?” 

 

Am I living up to my potential? 

 

How do we know? And how do we get there? And if we get there, will we be happier? 

I’ve been fascinated with this worldwide reckoning for a while now; so much so, that I’m writing a book about it. And apparently, I’m not the only one thinking about it–in an email this morning, media personality Marie Forleo called it “The Great Reassessment,” and I couldn’t agree more.

 

From rethinking our careers to wondering if, perhaps, home-schooling really is the way to go for your “learns best at their own pace” kid…

From wanting to spend more time working on local or national social justice initiatives to no longer wanting to spend quite so much time running from one after-school activity to the next, people are seeing their lives through clear “Pre-Pandemic” and “Post-Pandemic” lenses. 

 

 

Of course, it’s not all about what we want to change or give up. There is also the reinforced dedication to the things we had taken for granted and truly missed. Attending a play, performing in a certain hall, or with certain people. Perhaps your “every-once-in-a-while” hobby was the thing that kept you sane and happy in the darkest months, and you see the importance of carving out space for it no matter how busy things get. 

In talking with friends, colleagues, and clients, I’m hearing a lot about the stress of uncertainty. They’re not quite sure which direction to go in because they’re not sure which direction the world is going in. 

I would challenge you to ignore all of that, and just focus on YOU. When you close your eyes and imagine the best version of yourself, what do you see? WHO do you see? What work are you doing? What kinds of relationships do you have? Where are you helping? What are your hobbies? 

As we emerge into “Post-Pandemic” life, no one is the same as they were “Pre-Pandemic”. Now is your chance to be whoever you want to be. Almost like a 2nd chance. The answers to the questions above will be different for each and every one of us. Remarkable, isn’t it? Almost 8 Billion people in the world, and each and every one of us has a different version of reaching our potential.  

 

What’s your version? What can you do to celebrate that version today?

 

-Kate

 

P.S. Can’t quite imagine that “full potential version?” Grab this (free) worksheet that will help you gain clarity around what you were meant to offer the world and who you’d like to serve.

 

P.P.S. Are you enjoying these blog posts, and want more? Join my mailing list and get my Friday morning newsletter with additional tips, tricks, things to think about, and each week there is a new curated list of articles, books, podcasts, and things that I have been enjoying.  

Click Here to Get the Newsletter! 

 

 

Progress Stalled Out? Here’s How to Reach Your Goals Faster (Without Burning Out)

 

In all of my research into productivity, personal and professional growth, and coaching, I’ve found two general schools of thought when it comes to making progress on something: 

 

  1. Slow and steady wins the race. 
  2. Go Big or Go Home. 

 

But the more I work with my own coaching clients (and honestly, the more I experiment with and tweak my own methods of reaching goals) the more I have come to realize that there is a (forgive the “overused in 2021” term) Hybrid option that yields better results. 

 

It’s in this in-between space that the magic happens. 

 

 

You see, for a lot of people, if they take the slow and steady approach, they will waste their time on all of the tiny, inconsequential things first. Making them feel like they are moving forward, when, in fact, they are still treading water. 

 

  • When you spend an entire day designing and ordering business cards instead of getting on the phone and getting your first client. 

 

  • When you buy new workout gear, but don’t have time to stop at the gym.  

 

And then some clients go for option no. 2 before they have any kind of long-term vision or clarity. 

 

  • They buy ALL the tech equipment–most of which they won’t end up needing or using

 

  • They join a gym for the first time and sign up for 1-hour personal training sessions 5 days a week right off the bat. 

 

  • They quit their job thinking they’ll figure it out later because they have to–The “Burn the Ships” mentality. 

 

The first group is never going to get off of 1st base, and the 2nd group is going to burn out before the end of the 1st inning. 

This magical unicorn of a 3rd option? 

 

THE MINI-LEAP 

 

 

The first step is to lay out what you want to accomplish. That’s the easy part. [Editor’s note: if this is where you’re stuck, there’s a worksheet for you at the end of this post that will help you gain that clarity!] Once you have that, write down the top 3 things you need to have in place in order to succeed. These are Big, Giant Things. 

Let’s take me writing a book as an example. What do I need to have in place for my book to be a success? 

 

  1. I need to write it. 
  2. I need to have a way to publish it. 
  3. I need to have people who will buy it. 

 

None of those are tasks I can do quickly, but if I move too slowly in any of those areas, the project will never launch. 

The next step is for me, right now, from where I am, to ask myself: What is the immediate next level up in each of these areas? In other words, what would take me significantly closer to those 3 goals in say, 1-2 weeks? 

 

  1. Decide on the structure of, and write the outline of the book
  2. Reach out and have conversations with 5 people in my network who have published books, and ask them how they did it. Decide which way I want to go. 
  3. Create a new lead magnet to add the names of new-to-me folks who are interested in the general topic of my book to my email list. 

 

I can break each of those into smaller bite-sized tasks. But they all have a clear goal and deadline attached to them. 

2 weeks later, I ask myself what the next leaps will be: 

 

  1. Write the introduction and first 3 chapters
  2. Hire a literary agent/coach (depending on which I decided to go)
  3. Promote my new lead magnet via social media, interviews, podcasts, etc. 

 

And repeat.  

 

 

If I went with option 1 (slow and steady) it might be YEARS before I make any worthwhile progress at all. 

But if I went with no. 2, I’d probably write the book overnight, (only to be unhappy with it later) spend WAY too much money on the wrong kind of coach who promises me the world, and when it’s out there in the world, not have anyone around to buy it. 

Using The Mini-Leap Option, I have put myself out there. I have had to do things that felt scary and outside of my comfort zone, but I did them one thoughtful and purposeful step at a time. 

 

I didn’t get ahead of myself, but I didn’t stall out. I pushed myself, but I didn’t burn out. 

 

This works for every aspect of your life, and it works with loose deadlines and with fixed deadlines (like an audition!) 

Part of my work as a coach is to help my clients learn to figure out what their next mini-leap is–to help them find the balance of too much vs. too little, and of course, to be there, holding a space of encouragement and accountability for them. 

What about you? What’s your next leap going to be? Where are you going to be in two week’s time? 

-Kate

P.S. Is it that very first step that you’re getting stuck on? Not knowing exactly what you’d like to do? Grab this (free) worksheet that will help you gain clarity around what you were meant to offer the world and who you’d like to serve.

 

P.P.S. Are you enjoying these blog posts, and want more? Join my mailing list and get my Friday morning newsletter with additional tips, tricks, things to think about, and each week there is a new curated list of articles, books, podcasts, and things that I have been enjoying.  

Click Here to Get the Newsletter! 

 

 

It’s Time to Kon-Mari Our Careers

March of 2020: Performances were canceled mid-rehearsal cycle. Some managed to pay the musicians. Most did not. That seemed horribly unfair. 

 

May 2020: Still no gigs, and all summer concerts, camps, and festivals canceled. With no work for the foreseeable future, musicians were left feeling the burn. 

 

July 2020: Receiving unemployment benefits for freelance musicians was a tricky, almost un-navigatable mess. The system was NOT set up for people who have a mix of different income streams. Some 1099, others W-2. It felt like the whole system was rigged against gig workers. 

 

September 2020: While sports teams around the world were “making it work” concert halls remained shuttered. A few people did a few live streams, but overall, musicians started to realize that their current career MO was not sustainable. Not only that, but some aspects of it weren’t all that great to begin with. 

 

 

And with all of that newfound free time, musicians began to dream about different projects they could do. Projects that they’ve kinda sorta been wanting to do for years. Start a festival, create a new kind of concert series, program and highlight a different genre of music. 

 

New concepts. New paradigms. New visions of how a classical music industry could look…

 

If only…

 

And so many great projects were born. Student and professional musicians gathered online from around the globe. Friends and Family were able to watch, support, and enjoy live-streamed concerts that they otherwise would have had to miss, and there was growing energy around the idea that things were not working before. 

 

If concerts were so slow to return because the general public didn’t care about classical music? Then we needed to find ways to connect with our wider communities in a deeper way. 

 

Is the freelance model not creating enough stability? Perhaps there is a better way? 

 

 

September 2021: The concert halls start opening up, and the emails start coming in. Musicians are so relieved to be able to make music again. To feel “like themselves” again. Income is returning, bills are getting paid, and stress levels are lowering. 

 

As a cellist myself, of course, I am thrilled that concerts are coming back, and I don’t begrudge anyone who decides (for whatever reason) that they are happier, after all, just going back to the way things were. 

 

But I know many folks are left with the nagging feeling that things can improve. Business models can shift, evolve, and adapt–at both the institutional and the personal levels. New projects can (and should!) get launched, and a more stable financial existence doesn’t negate artistic integrity. That they can be a performing musician and create that new thing. And that with the additional income from their new project, maybe they could shape their performance work to only include concerts they were excited about.  

 

As I wrote last week, this is going to be a huge year of experimentation for all of us. I think that as we return to the work we did pre-pandemic, it’ll feel a bit like trying on a pair of jeans from March 2020. They might be a bit too snug (damn you, Ben and Jerry’s!) or even a little too loose (I wish!) or they might fit just right. It’ll be up to us to decide whether we keep them, toss them, or find a way to alter them to fit our lives and priorities better. 

 

 

The alternative is to keep showing up, slightly uncomfortable, until we simply get used to things again. Enacting change takes effort, time, and commitment. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it. 

September 2022?: It’s up to us to decide.