As simple as the title of her book – Believe In Yourself And Do What You Love – sounds, personal coach and author Kate James has a thriving business showing people how to do just that. Whether it’s lacking self-belief or time, there are myriad reasons we may find ourselves on life paths entirely different to what we set out to do. Here Kate shares her own journey and some top tips to becoming more self-aware.
What sparked the change in your own life?
When I was in my 20s, I had no idea what I wanted from a career. I returned to uni after having our daughters and I was studying marketing but I wasn’t really sure that I wanted to keep working in a business role, having spent the previous eight years working as business manager for filmmakers and architects. I’d been meditating for five years and loved reading psychology books and I had this sense that I wanted to work with people, so I dropped out and took a coaching training course and in 2002, I started my business.
Coaching was fairly new back then and it was mostly for corporate clients. I took a bit of a risk and added meditation classes to my website which gave me a point of difference. It also meant it was slow going in those early days because no one was talking about mindfulness and spirituality in the business world. But I stuck it out, staying true to the things that mattered to me and within a few years, my business started to thrive.
"If you want to become more self-aware and more creative, take regular breaks from your smart phone and whatever other screen you’ve become used to constantly checking."
What are the biggest things holding people back from doing what they love?
It's a mix of things. For some people it's lack of confidence or self-belief; for others, it's not being able to find the time to explore their passions and for others, it's not having clarity about what it is that they love. Often people are just so busy surviving that they don't take the time to stop and think about what really fulfils them.
Most fulfilling thing about your business,Total Balance, and what you do each day?
I love pretty much everything about my business. My work is varied and creative and no two months are the same. I love seeing clients, writing new programs and resources, teaching meditation and having time flexibility in my day.
Top three tips from Believe In Yourself And Do What You Love?
Find your tribe
For each of us, finding our people is life-affirming and liberating. When you find a kindred spirit – a person who speaks the same language, who thinks like you think – you feel like you’re not alone.
How will you know when you find your tribe?
- When you’re with them you feel at home.
- They help you grow.
- You can be yourself and feel accepted.
- You feel energised, not depleted.
- Their company inspires and excites you.
- They cheer you rather than compete with you.
- They celebrate your successes with you.
- They make you feel understood.
Slow it down
If you want to become more self-aware and more creative, take regular breaks from your smart phone and whatever other screen you’ve become used to constantly checking.
We all need time to reflect, to daydream, to make sense of life without constant distraction. While our electronic gadgets make life interesting in many ways, they limit our capacity for concentration and inhibit our ability to problem-solve and recall information. Social media makes many of us anxious, and flicking between text messages, email and Google takes us away from real relationships.
Let technology complement your life, not take it over.
Leave your ego at the door
Don’t confuse your ego with self-belief. When you’re caught up in your ego you want to be right you need to win against others and your focus is external. Our egos often cover up our insecurities. If you find yourself being defensive, you’re operating from your ego. If you feel superior or compare yourself to others, that’s your ego too. If you feel the need to put other people down or gossip about them unkindly, you’re operating from ego.
Genuine self-belief is the opposite of ego. It starts with having an inherent understanding of your unique values and your strengths. It means knowing why you make the choices you make. It involves understanding yourself and cutting yourself some slack (and not being defensive) when you make a mistake.
People who don’t believe in themselves deeply don’t need to be right and they don’t need to make others wrong. They don’t judge people harshly and they go easy on themselves. They can listen to criticism objectively and discern those parts that are used to take on board.
Kate's book, Believe in Yourself and Do What You Love, is available now from Affirm Press.