The most important question you’ll ever ask

Being

Can you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up?

I remember wanting to be a wildlife photographer (’til I realised it meant lying in grass filled with snakes, spiders and other horrible things)

Wanting to be a marine biologist (’til I realised it didn’t mean getting to play with dolphins all day)

And when I was about 14, I went to America for the first time and saw my first broadway show and I became obsessed. I decided that I was going to be a professional performer and my ultimate goal was Broadway.

The show was 42nd Street, in case you were wondering 😉

And hey – I succeeded! I had a pretty epic start to my career.

Funnily enough, though, there were always signs I was destined to do more than “just” perform.

Multiple blogs – I loved writing.

A gift for teaching.

A pattern for learning a new skill then seeing if I could make a business out of it.

I even said that if performing didn’t work out, I would go to uni and study business.

But here’s the thing.

When I was a teenager, I remember hanging out with some fellow performer friends as usual and having a chat – not even a deep and meaningful… and what one of them said in passing stuck with me: “If you have a backup plan for your performing career, you’re basically planning to fail. It means you’re not all in.”

And even though I didn’t realise it at the time, I subconscious shut down the idea of doing anything else. I threw myself into my acting career and it paid off… sort of.

I achieved success and it felt amazing to accomplish it.

But once I was there, I realised that it wasn’t as fulfilling as I’d hoped. I still loved performing, but it felt like I still had more to give – more passions and skills and interests that I wasn’t tapping into.

Now I’d love to say that everything changed one day when I attended this conference and heard someone speak and suddenly everything fell into place and I started building my business… but I tend to learn lessons the hardest way possible and needed to go through what I call my “quarter life crisis” first.

Which basically involved turning down my 3rd contract because I was depressed, resentful and crippled with anxiety — my old mentor was kind enough to tell me I was insane and burning my career to the ground.

Then get through a divorce, life-threatening illness and bankruptcy and realise I actually burned my entire life to the ground…

To finally stop for long enough to ask myself what I actually wanted from my life – regardless of what other people said I should want.

⇢ That question led me to writing and producing my own cabaret show that made me realise the gift I had for branding.

⇢ It led me to not giving up on love, signing up for Tinder and going on a date with some Italian guy who’d moved to Brisbane who turned out to be the love of my life

⇢ That same guy happened to work in marketing as a designer & developer and pointed out that my marketing & writing skills perfectly complemented his so maybe we should go into business together

⇢ Which led me to talking my way into a job at an advertising agency that was supposed to be for marketing grads — and quitting 6 months later to become a freelance copywriter

⇢ It led me to launching a YouTube Channel for actors that eventually became about personal branding and helped some of my favourite clients discover me — not to mention get the attention of producers in Canada who were considering me as co-host for a new TV show.

⇢ That YouTube Channel reignited my love of teaching and inspired me to create my first online course that I realised wasn’t the right business, but had so many people reaching out to be for advice on branding because they were so impressed with it

⇢ Which led me to realise that I should just combine all the things I love and create a business about helping people build their personal brands

That one question changed the trajectory of my life.

And 9 years after first asked it here I am today, sitting in bed, writing this article from Italy (where we’re staying with my fiancee’s family) able to honestly tell you that my life is better than I EVER dreamed it could be.

Not as a flex, but to pay forward the lesson that took me WAY too long to learn:

As long as you try to achieve success on someone else’s terms, you’re selling yourself short. But when you stop worrying about how you’re “supposed” to do things you give yourself the chance to find out what makes YOU happy.

And when you define success and starting doing things your way, you not only get to experience more happiness and fulfilment — you’ll also increase your capacity to create & attract tangible benefits too.

More opportunities, visibility, referrals, clients, recognition, revenue…

Because believe it or not, you’re of more value to the world when you find a vocation that lights you the hell up. And when you believe in what you’re doing right down to your cells, it’s a hell of a lot easier to sell it.

The best news?

Unlike me who apparently needed to take a *very* painful & dramatic path to get here, burning your life to the ground isn’t required.

To be continued.

– Kat x

with love,
Kat Elizabeth

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