MGU 290 | Career Breaks

Everyone experiences burnout. Sometimes we reach a point where we desperately want to take a career break or a Sabbatical, or even quit our job, but we don’t because we’re too afraid. We’re afraid of the unknown or to face failure. But we just need to be reminded that we don’t have to please anyone, especially at the cost of ourselves. It’s okay to follow our career dreams and cure our burnout. Tune in to today’s episode to take that first step. Joining Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen is Katrina McGhee, a career break and sabbatical coach. Learn how to achieve your dreams, add some spice to your life, get off the hamster wheel, and break free from people pleasing. Discover what awaits you when you let go of attachments and choose your own adventure!

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Work On Your Own Terms With Katrina McGhee

How To Make Career Breaks And Pivots

I feel like speaking to our guest is timely for me. I have been feeling a bit drained and I feel like I could use a break. I know that Jason could too. I use those words mindfully because sometimes I feel burnt out but it’s important to differentiate and be clear about how you’re feeling. I wouldn’t say that I’m burnt out because I feel like I can proceed. I don’t feel like I need to take an extended break, per se. I’ve burnt myself out for the day. There’s a difference between being burnt out on an individual day versus burnt out total.

When I was going through your work, Katrina, our wonderful guest, I was resonating with this phrase, career break. What does it mean to take a break from your career? The definition is clear because getting a break could be your big break, like, “This is the thing that’s going to set my career for success,” versus, “I need to take a break from my career,” or, “I need to transition.” I would love to know the nuances of this phrase, career break and what exactly you support your clients with in your work.

It’s a great distinction. It’s becoming a more common phrase that many of us, given the current set of circumstances, are coming into awareness of. It’s breaking from the current work situation that you have. I have helped people take sabbaticals but it’s not oftentimes a sabbatical because in a sabbatical, technically, you know where you’re going back to. Your company is holding your spot. It might be a slightly different role but you’re going back to your old life after taking a break.

When I’m saying career break and when we’re using career break, it is meaning like you are quitting your job. Some of my clients do return to the same career. Some of them have returned to the same company in a different role but a lot of them are also taking a journey either into entrepreneurship or into a hybrid new career, mixed with maybe consulting. Using their past skills with new desires to find a new career or a new path forward.

Thinking about it, it takes a lot of courage to do either because culturally and with our society, stopping at all can be seen as a negative thing or you’re being lazy and you’re going to fall behind. We have to be productive and we have to push through. There’s an extra level of courage involved in taking a career break because you are willingly leaping into the unknown and saying, “I will create something when I make this leap for my next chapter but it won’t be just returning to everything as it was.”

Jason, I want to call you out because I know that you’ve been thinking of taking a break and I support you in that. In fact, for our readers and for our guest, right now is also the beginning of a break for me as I’m about to travel. We’re doing this in advance so that we can take a bit of a break from this show, which we had typically been doing at least three times a week. We’re making time for ourselves, which is incredibly important. I have all these plans to take a break. Jason, since he’s staying put in Los Angeles and I’m traveling, I feel like sometimes it’s hard to take a break if you don’t change your environment. Jason, I’m curious how you’re feeling and what about this that’s resonating with you thus far in terms of your own reflections of needing a break career-wise.

It’s interesting that we have you here, Katrina, for a lot of reasons. I reflect on the career breaks that I took previously in my life when I was younger. I’ve changed careers three times at least in my life so far. This subject interests me. This might be self-effacing but it seems like every time that I changed careers, it was messy. It was not necessarily the most graceful transition. I am at a level of mental burnout where I do need a break but it’s also with that, a different kind of fear than when I had in my 20s or 30s.

It’s a self-imposed limitation. I want your feedback on this specifically Katrina because in my 20s and 30s when I made these career changes and I pivoted out of filmmaking and advertising and went into the culinary arts and pivoted into music and all these things, there wasn’t a lot at stake, per se. I didn’t have 401(k) or a mortgage or animals to take care of, no children. In my twenties, making a career change was like, “There’s nothing at stake. I can just drop everything and go to Costa Rica,” which I did. “I can drop everything and travel Europe for a summer.”

When I was 26, I saved up a reasonable chunk of money and didn’t work for ten months. I took a break from life. At 44, big rent payment, five animals and a lot of debt I’m paying off, it does not feel as easy or as graceful for me to say, “Fuck it. I’m going to stop for ten months.” It feels terrifying even though there’s probably part of me that could use the rejuvenation of a ten-month break. The fear and the trepidation I have, Katrina, is way different. It wasn’t there in decades past and now the idea of taking a break like that terrifies me.

That’s normal. The average of my clients is between 35 to 45, although I’ve had some older and some younger. There is more at stake in the way that we become settled. There are people or things that need us. There potentially is debt, house payments, large rents, leases and things like that. What’s funny is that, at the end of the day, the one thing that’s at stake right is feeling like we are having a life well-lived. That is always at stake and that never changes.

What happens is when we get comfortable, our human brain calms down like a lull. It’s like we’re happy and we’re comfortable. It doesn’t mean that everything is great but it feels familiar and steady. There’s no outside force rustling things up and getting you all stirred up. There might be some blips but we get more comfortable.

What are you risking if you don't do it? Click To Tweet

Here’s the thing, our brains want to focus on what we risk when we decide to do something, what we think we’re going to lose. Your brain is looking at what is familiar and comfortable and saying, “I might be giving up this and this.” Let’s be honest, that is half of the picture but you have to turn your head around and do the full 360-degree turn to see what are you risking if you don’t do it. Maybe you need more of a plan. You need to be more intentional because there is more risk at this stage but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot at risk if you don’t do it.

Make a decision but make an informed decision that is looking holistically at, “What do I risk if I don’t go?” Versus just looking at, “What do I risk if I do go?” That’s the easy place for our brain to focus on. It’s like, “I don’t want to lose the familiar. This is what I know. It’s tangible. I see it. I have it right now. If I change, I might lose it.”

We’ve talked about this often on the show. When that fear comes up, it’s usually attached to like, “This is bothering me but I don’t want to change it because I’m afraid if I change, I’m going to lose out on something.” That ongoing thing that many of us experience. What I found so fascinating with my work is when I’m tuning into my intuition, which is usually one of if not the best guide that we have, we can try to block out the limiting beliefs and the noise from other people. Also, what we’ve heard about how we should live our lives especially when it comes to our professional lives.

That, first of all, is tough. It’s interesting to dig into this because it makes me think about, “What is rooted in these fears of taking risks?” It’s interesting, I feel like I’m reflecting on it in a new way through this conversation. If I try to take it apart and tap into the fears that I feel, one of the biggest is the fear of missing out. This is why a lot of people have struggled with setting boundaries or the fear of being rejected. “If I set a boundary and go after what I want, I won’t get it or someone’s going to turn me down.”

Sometimes the rejection is just somebody saying no and there’s not a huge consequence but depending on how you internalize things, being told no can be scarring. I have to raise my awareness. When somebody gives me negative feedback, my knee-jerk reaction is to feel defeated and ashamed. I beat myself up and I feel it physically and my chest tightens up. That’s so unpleasant that I try to avoid that feeling a lot. I’m like, “Let me play it safe so I don’t have to feel that uncomfortable physical feeling.” That will linger with me.

There was something that happened career-wise that wasn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes the memory of that experience will come up and I’ll feel the exact same way I did at the time when I felt hurt by it. I’ll be like, “I can’t believe I’m still carrying that around. How long am I going to carry the burden of that? How much has that shifted my brain into this fearful state of, ‘I want to avoid that? I don’t want to feel that way again.’” How does that have a ripple effect on us? I’m curious, does that come up often? Do people articulate these things? Do you observe these things, Katrina? I’m also curious, Jason, how this comes up for you.

This does come up. One of the things that I talk a lot about with the people I help is, I think of courage as a muscle. It’s something you have to practice. You talked about this emotionally debilitating experience. You compensate for that in the future. You start trying to create more safety for yourself and the decisions and the ways you put yourself out there or that you don’t. Not that that’s wrong. We have to honor the feelings that we have. We don’t pretend we don’t have them.

If we think about courage as a muscle, in certain ways, you stop flexing that muscle because you want to avoid that situation so it becomes harder and harder. The good news, though is that it’s always available to us to start flexing it, working it out again and get stronger in that. Many of us on a bigger scale, Whitney, if it’s not the fear of rejection or this career experience that we had. It’s other things where we’ve had some knee-jerk bad experience and we tried to create safety forever and ever. Not thinking about the fact that we’re different people. What we want evolves. Our skills, connections and awareness evolve. We are not that same person that was traumatized 5 or 10 years ago, how we would handle it, how we would manage it and how we’ve maybe grown from it.

We sometimes make our world a little bit smaller in those ways because it’s like, “That felt bad.” We don’t practice being courageous. You can start with little steps. Ultimately with the people I helped, we talked about that. We talked about, “How can you take steps to build your courage muscle back up so that taking leaps doesn’t feel so overwhelming or paralyzing?”

This ties into one of the big questions that I wanted to dig into with you, Katrina, which is the subject of dreams. Not physical dreams like sleep dreams, although we could get into that. I don’t know how much you geek out on sleep. We had a great Clubhouse about that. When I talk about dreams, I mean visions for one’s future or things that, in our hearts, we want to create at some point in our lives those dreams.

I realized that I don’t dream anymore and it’s almost painful to even say that out loud. The reason that it feels almost painful to say that is because I feel like I’m comfortable. I’m used to having dreams. I’m used to having something on my vision board or something that I’m doing a mantra in my daily meditations. It hit me in the springtime of 2021. I was like, “I’m not dreaming. I’m not holding a vision for anything.”

MGU 290 | Career Breaks

Career Breaks: There’s an extra level of courage involved in taking a career break.

 

It’s maybe a compensation mechanism for all of the challenging things over the past few years. It’s a fear of failure if I distill it down. I’m curious if you have felt this in your life, if you’ve observed this in your clients and if you have worked with someone who doesn’t give themselves permission to dream anymore. What do you tell them? How do you work through someone like me? If someone’s like, “I don’t have any dreams. I’m scared to dream. All my dreams are dead. They didn’t come true,” where do you go from there?

This is so good. I have two things I want to say about this. There’s a difference and a nuance between someone who is always having dreams and always striving to achieve those dreams and someone who has been in an extended lull where dreams have gone to die and don’t live anymore. I want to distinguish that our culture makes us feel like we always have to be striving for a better version of ourselves and achieve more. “Great, I’m here but now I’m looking forward and I got to keep going because I got to keep hustling and making that happen. I’m here to live my best life.”

We live in seasons. There are phases. There’s a time where all of your hard work, you’re allowed to be comfortable and enjoy it. If you’re doing it in from a place that feels good and you’ve achieved this, you’re allowed to sit at that place and soak up all of the amazingness that you created and then organically create a new dream when you feel ready and restored to go for it again. I want to say that. I don’t know your exact situation so I want to let that sink in.

For anyone reading, I don’t want to put you back on the hamster wheel too early. For those who have been in a lull or the dreams maybe being afraid to emerge because of a fear of failure, there is a simple tool I use that I love to have all of my clients do. It’s important for planning a break if you want to make this time valuable but it is so fundamental having a good life and it is simple. You ask yourself one question three times. It’s the practice of answering that question, not the answer itself that opens you up. The question is, “How could I make this even better?”

The reason this is important is because you start with an idea. Normally what we do in our society is we’ll have an idea of like, “I should go on this hike or I’ll invite someone and we’ll go do this on the weekend in Florida,” or whatever. We then start narrowing in logistics, feasibility. How much is this going to cost? What dates can we do? We’re so used to driving home to the answer and the efficiency. We narrow our view.

We don’t practice the art and skill of sitting back and saying, “I have a thought and a dream. How can I make this even bigger?” Opening our minds wider, bigger, expanding before we bring in the logistics and the feasibility. What can this look like on a small scale? I have a client that’s working on this. He’s pragmatic from point A to point B. Not a lot of time, not a big dream, not these big goals. It’s just like, “What I got to do, I get it done. I’m staying in that.”

For something on his wish list of things to do on a break, he has to ask himself this question three times, four things. If it’s a hike, instead of just doing the hike and being done with the hike, “Check the box. I did the hike,” it’s like, “The hike is great. How could you make it even better?” “I could do the hike that I want to do but I never had the time to do when I was working. That’s four hours away and that’s going to make it a whole day but that would be amazing.” “Great. How could you make that even better?” “I can invite my friend that I never ever see. It’s crazy and weird but I should make time for this person. I’ve been saying for six months that I miss them and I want to connect.”

“Great. How could you make that even better?” “On the way back, there’s this restaurant I used to go to twenty years ago and I haven’t been because I never go out that way but I could make the time to go have this meal that I used to have and have this nice moment with my friend.” “Great. Go do that.” If you don’t have a big dream, the simple act of in day-to-day life, even if you’re not planning a break, of asking yourself especially when you have something that feels frustrating. My long drive to LA when I went into Santa Monica to get my hair cut, it’s like, “How can I make this long, painful traffic drive even better? I have a gluten allergy. I will find a gluten-free bakery and I will go get myself a pastry.” I did and it was amazing.

You have to tell us where because we’re both gluten avoiders.

Breadblok is my jam. I want to marry whoever bakes that bread. It was so good.

As soon as you said it, I was like, “I bet it’s Breadblok.” Their chestnut bread is dangerously good.

Courage is a muscle; you have to practice it. Click To Tweet

Is this the place in Montana?

I have traveled around the world. I have eaten at gluten-free bakeries across the globe and I would put them in the top tier. It was impressive. That blew my trip. Getting my haircut is fantastic but the traffic stinks. Having that to look forward to made it so much better. Also, downloading a podcast that I wanted to listen to but I’d never have the time in my day-to-day life, listening to that while I’m driving down to the gluten-free bakery. You take an experience and you practice expanding yourself and allowing more good things in.

If you feel stuck in having dreams on a small scale, opening yourself up to possibility and thinking about making your life better is reconfiguring and moving that energy around to start to get the big dreams back. You can do journaling and things like that as well to bring the dreams in. That’s a simple practice anyone can do to kickstart that motor back where you start to expand instead of contract.

I also need to know which podcast you listen to.

It’s Make Money as a Life Coach. What I love about it is that she’s big on thought work. Her perspective does not always jive with me but it is unique and it makes me think. What I love about her podcast is when she talks about money, people-pleasing and boundaries. It’s a podcast about running your own business and getting over yourself to be the entrepreneur that you want to be. For me, every time I listen to it, I take away a nugget that shifts how I see things. I always feel inspired by how my brain gets going when I listen to it.

It’s so interesting because my brain went to two different places while you were sharing this. One is that my challenge is that I’m a bit of an overthinker and an over-planner. It’s easy for me to ask the question, “How can I make this better?” What’s hard is reining myself in because I’ll constantly build and then almost get caught up in this cycle of never feeling like it’s good enough. That’s an underlying thing for me in general. It’s an opposite end of the standard spectrum, which is like, “I don’t feel good enough so why should I try?” I’m like, “I don’t feel good enough so I should try harder.” That’s been an ongoing thing for me and sometimes I get caught up in that. The weight of doing too much takes me in.

If you’re playing a balancing act, you want to be more in the middle and some people don’t try at all because they feel safer on that end of the spectrum. I’m the overachiever and overthinker. I try so hard that I get burnt out. That’s how I was describing today. My day has been full of that question, “How can I make this better?” I’m curious, for someone like me, how do I make the question how can I make it better not overwhelming and leading me to burnout?

I have people like you, Whitney, that I talk to every day. Number one is nuancing better. Better isn’t necessarily bigger, bolder, better and more impressive. Better can just be, “It feels better.” If what I need is relaxation, it might be that this can be made better by taking a ten-minute power nap before I go do this thing.

It’s about honoring what better is to you and better is not this growth stretch thing. It is, “How can I give myself more of what I need?” For a lot of people, more joy, more connection, those are things. For some people, it’s rest and restoration. It’s more attention. It’s tough love to have the salad that I need because I haven’t had any vegetables all day. What better means to you can be nuanced but I do work with a crap ton of overachievers. That’s why they hire me is because taking a break feels counterintuitive and counterculture but then also, there’s a part of them that if they’re going to take a break, they want to do it perfectly. It’s like, “I’m going to hire someone to help me take the perfect break.”

That’s okay because secretly, I’m just going to make their whole life better and give them some coaching that they’re not ready for but that’s okay. The secret’s out. That’s what happens. One of the other tools, Whitney, that is definitely one I would give you is called whitespace. It is for my overachieving clients. They do it on a break but they do it before.

Creating an hour, if they can, in their calendar where they plan in advance and they are not allowed to make any plans at all for that hour. The one thing they have to do is they have to show up at the beginning of the hour and ask themselves, “What do I need?” The answer might be a hot tea, a nap, a run, to call their mom or to read a book. They might feel so inspired to write ten pages of a book that they’re trying to write.

MGU 290 | Career Breaks

Career Breaks: Our culture makes us feel like we always have to strive for a better version of ourselves.

 

The thing is, you have to give yourself time to be fully present in your life. What you’re talking about that this is not good enough, some of that is a fear. I would imagine that there’s probably some stuff in the past too that would come into that, I’m sure. Also, it’s a fear of the future like, “Whatever I’m doing is not going to be enough so I have to do more. I have to go harder.” Guess what? You are not in the present moment where everything is actually fine. In the present moment, things are fine.

Whitespace is about setting time to be present to your needs and to what you want at that moment. It’s a practice too. It’s an unnatural practice where people are used to stacking their calendar with all the things and trying to be super-efficient with their time and overachieving, overthinking and overdoing. The practice of being present, when you practice it, it can help alleviate that striving, panicky, fearful future of, “What I’m doing is not going to be enough or I’m going to have regret in the future.” None of those fears are about what is actually happening.

The other thing I would tell you, Whitney and I would highly recommend it if you are up for it. I make some of my clients celebrate their wins daily. Whether it’s on a note app on their phone, a virtual Post-it on their laptop or a literal Post-it paper, I make them jot down super short like, “Great podcast with Katrina.”

Little and big wins but things that feel like, “I did that. That got done. That felt good.” At the end of the day, you reread them, play a song that makes you feel celebratory to give you the full experience and reflect and celebrate all the ways that you won that day. That feeling of not being good enough is our brain. Your brain has a story that whatever you do, it’s not enough. You got to keep going.

It’s dismissing and forgetting the second that it happens. It’s like, “Yeah, you had that great podcast. Yeah, you got that thing done. Yeah, somebody said you did a fantastic job. Yeah, that person was like, ‘Whitney, you changed my life,’ but that’s fine. That was earlier today. We’ve got things to do. I’ve got things to do and I can’t focus on that.” Your brain does not want to hold on to that so you have to make it come back to that.

A lot of people are going to resonate. I even see Jason nodding his head and he’s different than me in some of these ways. That leads me to something that I don’t think we’ve ever talked about on the show, Jason and correct me if I’m wrong. Maybe we touched upon it lightly. Let’s put some focus on it. It goes back into what you were saying about my feelings of not-enoughness are based in the past.

One thing I reflected on when I heard about it is career PTSD. I don’t know if that’s an official term and we take terms like PTSD seriously to be mindful and respectful of other forms of PTSD. I did think it was an interesting concept because it does tie into this. When we have trauma from the past, it can cause so much stress in our bodies and fear. We start to react to new things or present things as if they’re the same thing as something bad that happened in the past or before we even have a chance to experience something, we don’t even feel like we can do it because of that trauma.

It’s not discussed enough how our past career experiences have impacted our lives. Jason, I imagine this ties in. You’re nodding your head so much in what I was saying before. Any fear or limiting beliefs, I would be willing to guess that most of them are some sort of trauma response. Would I be accurate in saying that, Katrina?

A lot of times, yes. For a lot of people, foundational beliefs can be formed in childhood. If there was a parent that you were always trying to please, there’s a threat of not being good enough or not enough that will manifest in different ways. When you have that experience as an adult like take that rejection, any rejection, when that rejection happens, it’s about that moment and how crappy it feels but it’s also about your brain going, “I knew it. I told you way back when we’re still not good enough. We’re right back where we started there.” They see something that we were trying to hide, which is that we’re not good enough and now people know.

A lot of the foundation can be set way before and it lingers around but then yes, absolutely. If we have negative experiences, maybe we are neutral going into them but how we absorb them and how we carry them with us, it’s a process to let them go. Many people have many different ways that they go about and go on their journey from Reiki, therapy, all kinds of things but just trying to release some of that stuff that you’ve carried forward.

I believe no matter what you do, awareness is that first step, knowing at the moment where is this coming from and this is not about now and creating some sense of safety within yourself. It might be putting your hand over your heart and being, “I am here. I am good enough at this moment. I’m doing everything alright. I’m fed. I have a home. I’m okay. I’m safe right here. Everything is okay.” It could be deep breathing, taking slow breaths. For some people, it could be taking a bath.

You have to give yourself time to be fully present in your life. Click To Tweet

It’s doing whatever it is you have to do to create safety to come back to the present and know that you’re okay and you’re safe at this moment. Many people go on different journeys, there are lots of things that you could undertake to feel some of that trauma but for sure, we accumulate negative experiences over our life. How we process them determines if we let them go or if they stick around and pile up on top of each other.

This is such a wonderful transition, Katrina, to get personal with you. We love to, with our guests, dig into people’s origin stories. What has shaped you on a mental, emotional and spiritual level? You grew up in a biracial family in West Virginia and you had some challenging experiences as a child with how your mom’s family reacted to that and some of the things you went through.

As you’re describing, I got this visual of holding ourselves and putting our hand on our hearts. From those incredibly challenging and difficult childhood experiences and elaborate them as much or as little as you want to, how did that form your life as a person in terms of these somatic self-care experiences becoming a life coach? If you could dig into your childhood a bit and let us know about this origin story, it’ll color who you are now as a person and let people know where you came from and how you garnered some of these tools.

I’ve reflected on my life over these 40-plus years. I do think that this was a foundational block of who I am, probably 1 of 3 blocks of how I became who I am. There was a painful side and also a beautiful side to my experience. That’s what I hope for people to take away from that is that we aren’t denying the pain of it but also, can we create something beautiful so that we create our own meaning and we feel like we did that? We get to feel in our power to move forward with that.

Growing up, I am half Black, half White. I grew up in a small West Virginia town. It wasn’t only my mom’s family but also the town we were up in. It was difficult growing up there in some regards. My mom’s family was adamant that she not marries a Black man but she did it anyway. Growing up especially when I was younger, there were these two pivotal moments where I was struck by how incredibly painful it can be when somebody has decided something about your whole entire person based on something as arbitrary and completely irrelevant. Not even the color of your skin because if you see me on video, I am incredibly pale.

It is just literally my genetic makeup. It’s the conceptual color of my skin. It’s not even the actual color of my skin. Growing up, the first moment was probably the most painful because it was the first moment but I remember being little like 6, 7 or maybe 8 and my aunt was getting married, my mom’s sister. I was so excited. I had never been to a wedding before. I had been to one but I’d never been in one. I wanted to put on a dress, I wanted to have flowers. I wanted to toss that stuff around.

I remember finding out details about it because my mom knew some of the details and she would tell my dad or something. My two girl cousins, one older and one younger, were asked to be flower girls. I remember thinking like, “My invitation is coming. This is going to be amazing.” It didn’t come. I remember thinking, “Maybe she only needed two. I know I’m not her favorite so maybe I’m not a flower girl but I’m so excited about this wedding. It sounds like it’s going to be so cool.”

I remember my mom was away. She had gone up to see her mom and maybe some of this drama was unfolding there. It was just me and my dad. I asked my dad, “Dad, are we going to this wedding? What’s happening?” He was like, “Can you sit down for a second? I need to talk to you.” I was like, “Okay.” He was like, “I need to tell you something. Your mom’s family, they love half of you but they don’t love the other half of you.”

I remember this cold, sinking feeling like being in a horror movie or something where you went outside and you weren’t supposed to go outside. It’s that terrible terror. I remember it sinking. I was like, “This sounds bad.” I had no idea. Racism and race to me at this point were not a thing. I knew my parents didn’t visually match. They weren’t the same skin tone but it meant nothing to me. I remember feeling, “What is he about to say?”

He was like, “They love the half of you that’s mommy but they don’t like the half of you that’s daddy.” I was like, “Why?” He was like, “Because dad’s Black.” I remember wanting to cry so bad but I was also a responsible kid. I remember looking at my dad and thinking, “If I cry in front of him, he’s going to feel bad because then he’s going to think that I feel bad that I’m Black. I can’t cry in front of him. I’ll play it cool. I’ll just hang out here for a few minutes, look normal then I’ll just excuse myself and say, ‘I got to go play upstairs,’ and then I’ll go cry.” That’s what I did.

My dad knew what I was doing but I thought it was so wise. I had my few minutes to throw him off the scent then I like was like, “I’m going to go upstairs and take a nap or play with my dolls.” I just cried. There’s a reality of racism that sucks but probably not all biracial kids have gone through what I have gone through. The ones that have, there’s another level of reality when you realize that people that are supposed to love you, the way you were born, inherently, genetically you’re tied, cannot love you and not want anything to do with you based on something that you have no control over, that you didn’t do. That is irrelevant.

MGU 290 | Career Breaks

Career Breaks: For those that have been in a lull, ask yourself, “How could I make this even better?”

 

That was the moment where I went from realizing I was different to feeling, “I don’t belong.” If you don’t belong in your family, if you have people that are like, “You don’t belong here,” and it’s not for anything that you’ve done, it’s an isolating feeling. I imagine that could be a similar story for trans kids, lesbians, gay people, all the things. I imagine there are different versions of that. It was an isolated moment where my brain wanted to explode at the realization that they didn’t like me.

“You’re my family. I’m seven. I haven’t done shit to you and you are so embarrassed by me that you won’t invite me to this wedding.” My grandfather then passed away 1 or 2 years after and my mom was told that she could come but that she could not bring the Black people, me, my brother and my father to the wedding because they didn’t want anyone to know or to see us.

That was a painful thing. I have amazing parents who loved me a whole lot and always told me how amazing and special in a positive way I was. It wasn’t like I had a lot of self-loathing. I didn’t have any of that but I did have this feeling of, “I don’t belong.” Being biracial in a West Virginia town, it was already a budding experience and waiting but that just came in and smacked it full tilt.

That was the story I had and honestly, I still work on that story. We talked about not being good enough. My version of that is that I don’t do well in groups. People don’t like me. I become a different version of myself in groups and I have to work on being open and being friendly and not just shutting down in large groups for that reason or belonging in that way.

The beautiful part I do want to say is that if people are going to not love you for something that is out of your control, I have felt empowered to do whatever I wanted. I still have good girl rules but to do whatever the hell I wanted to do because what am I risking? I realize people are going to like you or not like you. If I learn this at a young age, I don’t have to tap dance to perform.

When we talk about being afraid because of what you have already and what you risk losing when you look at it and you’re like, “If I do this thing, I risk losing all of these things I already have.” When somebody takes away that sense of belonging and that sense of whatever and that was never on the table, to begin with. It’s much lower stakes to be me.

Being able to be me, to do me and then having positive experiences come out of that or good things come out of that, I built proof. I practiced my courage muscle, I strengthened it. I built evidence that things are okay when I’m myself. In fact, they’re better when I’m myself. I definitely had that trying to be a good girl, people pleaser. I was the good kid that did all the things right so I had to shed some of that. On some level, it set me free in a way that a lot of people weren’t set free to stop trying to please everyone because people are going to not like me because of how I was born. How do you even rectify that? You don’t.

It’s a story that is challenging to hear. I was tearing up specifically for your seven-year-old self. It makes me sad that a young child has to go through something like that. It’s also so inspiring what came out of that for you. I then had this fascinating realization, to your point, that I and maybe others have experienced this idea that I can control it.

You realizing that you can’t control it is a gift because if you spend your whole life thinking you can control it then your whole life is revolving around trying to control how other people feel about you. Both sides are tough. I don’t know if one is a better situation to be in than another. I haven’t ever thought about it that way. Thank you for framing it that it’s a blessing and a curse and in the way that we relate to others and how they feel about us.

You’re welcome. Thank you for being interested in that and asking the question. In some ways, there are different groups that can relate to a story like mine. I don’t mean to sound hokey at all but I do believe the only thing we’re in control of is how we show up for the life that we have. To your point, what’s better, what’s worse? There isn’t one because life is going to give you challenges.

If I was born to parents with a lot of money, maybe I would have some painful crisis about, “I’m not worthy because I was given all this and I don’t deserve it.” I know people that have a lot and can’t enjoy having it because they didn’t feel like they earned it versus me. I’m going to enjoy it. “I earned this.”

The only thing we're in control of is how we show up for the life that we have. Click To Tweet

We are humans. We all have different struggles that we go through but what do you do with them? I lost my brother. I would never say, “There was a bright side to losing him so I’m okay with it.” That’s never ever going to be something I would say. Did I find something to take out of it? Did I make it mean something so that I could keep going and do something with that? Yes, I did.

It’s a choice and it’s not an easy choice. We don’t do it perfectly. We have our feelings and things are hard and we cry. I’ve been depressed and I’ve had struggles but ultimately, I want to live the best life that I can live and that just means showing up. Some days that looks like just being here and other days that means looking like doing some badass shit but showing up. Taking what you’ve got and healing the wounds you can heal so that they don’t hold you back forever and just continuing to show up.

There are so many moments in life that it feels almost to reference maybe our childhoods. I can’t assume what either of you has read but I used to read the Choose Your Own Adventure series of books. It was so cool because there were so many points where it’s like, “Are we going to go into the cave where we’ve never been and there could be monsters, demons and dragons? Are we going to walk back to nana’s cabin and have some tea and some chowder?”

“Do I want to go fight a dragon or do I want to go to nana’s cabin and have some potato chowder?” Potato chowder and then you end up dying on the way. The character is like, “I avoided the dragon cave. I ended up getting mauled by a pack of wolves on my way to chowder. Damn it.” Life is like this in a way. We have these crossroads, these pivotal moments, even the ones in childhood like you were describing. We get to assign meaning to it.

Some people, Katrina and myself included, have gotten stuck in moments of my life where maybe I didn’t want to assign some positive meaning maybe in some points in my life that I reflect on, being stuck in victim consciousness and they did this to me, fuck them. This is why I’m depressed. This is why I’m suicidal. Pointing fingers, it’s an easy thing for human beings to do. Have you had moments like that in these pivotal moments of life where you said, “I can just say, ‘Fuck life. Fuck the world. This all sucks.’”

You have clearly made choices to say, “I’m going to find joy. I’m going to find meaning. I’m going to try and live my best life.” That’s challenging at times I feel to do. What’s that been like for you? Have you experienced those moments of fuck everything? If so, how do you get on the other side to find joy again and look for the good things instead of being mired in the muck and getting torn to shreds by the wolves on your way to get chowder?

100%, I’m human. Yes, I can relate to that and have had that. I’ve had it multiple times. We can go all the way back to my undergrad and feeling like I chose the wrong school. My parents wanted me to go to the best school I could. As a people pleaser, I chose that school. I hated it. I had a terrible experience. All my friends had the best experience. They had fun, they partied and they had a good time. I was at this Ivy League school, busting my butt working hard. It was all women. I felt like I became socially awkward. All of those things.

I, for sure, came out of that experience feeling like, “F everyone. F the people that made me feel like I had to go here. F the school. F all the things,” because I’m mad. I feel like I lost four years of my life. To say that as a twenty-year-old is intense. You still have a lot of life left but at 21, it felt like I lost four good years. I was pissed about it.

There’s a dark side of losing my brother. I went down a grief spiral. He was my favorite person. Have a favorite person and then imagine at age 30, they’re gone forever, never coming back. It sucks. It’s not fair. It’s shitty. For a while, I felt the shittiness of it. I remember I would sometimes be on an airplane and I have a fear of flying but it’s not debilitating, I travel a lot. It would be this discomfort of, “I hope I don’t crash.” I have that every time I’m in the air. I remember for a year when I would fly after he died, I would have this calm like, “If the plane crashed, I wouldn’t be mad about it.” It wasn’t like I wanted to kill myself but I was also like, “If the plane crashed, I would be alright with that because I would be gone and living feels hard.”

I was still having good moments in life. It wasn’t like every moment sucked but it was just like, “This happened to me. I have no ability to change it. I have no ability to fix it. I can’t do anything.” I would say, first things first, you’re going to have your feelings about it. The only way to get the other side is through. There are no mental ninja shortcuts that you can take to get through grief or get through anger and magically feel better.

Here’s the thing. It’s my life. I’m the only one that has to live in this pain forever and ever. If I don’t get to a point where I get sick of my crap and I decide to do something about it, no one else is going to step in and do it for me. It becomes this point where every time, what is the better story? I get sick of my shit. I have the shit. I have thoughts. I have the anger. I feel like a victim. I then think, “This isn’t what I want. I don’t want to stay stuck here. This is not what I want and the only person that can get me out of here is me. I guess I better put on my boots and start climbing.”

MGU 290 | Career Breaks

Career Breaks: What better means to you can be very nuanced.

 

I might do it with an attitude, some sass, some resistance and annoyance. Ultimately, I don’t want to be here forever. That’s the moment when you’re in it, you’re really in it. When you take a step back and you feel tired of being tired, being angry or sad all the time, what are you going to do about it? If the answer is nothing then welcome to the rest of your life. If the answer is something, you try to get help. You get a therapist, you get a coach, you go on a hike, you do a retreat, you quit your job. You do whatever you have to do to switch up your environment or to get support. You just try and you just start climbing. Does that make sense?

Yeah. Something came to mind as you’re sharing this idea about being on the airplane. I too will think about, “What if this happens?” I’m generally not someone who’s like, “I’ll be okay. If it does.” I’m like, “I got to do whatever it takes to prevent that from happening.” Opposite spectrums, at least at this point. It reminded me of a clip I saw from a podcast interview with Ariana Grande. It was a show but she was talking to a friend of hers who hosts the show.

He asked her would she want to go to space? She’s like, “Yeah, absolutely.” If she could sign up and go into space, that’d be great. He’s like, “What if that meant that you would risk not coming back and not being able to come back to Earth, would you still do it?” She was like, “Yeah, I’m totally okay if that would happen.” I remember reflecting on that thinking, “That’s interesting. Would I be okay if I got to go up to space but something went wrong and I wasn’t able to return? Would I be okay with taking that risk of leaving everything I know behind?” I don’t know. I have to think about that deeply.

I’m curious if either one of you can relate to it but it was especially interesting to me under the context of Ariana Grande, who’s one of the most popular musical artists of the modern day. She has had so much success in her life from being in TV shows to this huge music career, making lots of money. She knows everybody. In a lot of people’s minds, she’s made it. She’s got her big break. She’s well beyond that.

It reminds me of when she said that, I felt energetically like she was also on some level expressing the fact that she’s okay. She’s probably experienced a lot of grief, stress and hardship in her life, whatever relative that means to her, to the point where at a young age she’d be fine with leaving Earth and never coming back. She’d be fine with leaving it all behind and not having that music career and leaving her family. I don’t know when this was recorded but she’s married. She would leave it all behind and be fine with it.

It reminds me of how so many people think like, “If I have this big break then I’m going to feel better.” We see time and time again that people that get the big breaks, have these great careers and make all this money, still feel a sense of unhappiness in their life. An unsatisfaction, maybe depression or maybe even burnout, whatever word you want to use. It’s not about getting those material things. Katrina, one thing that you like to discuss is minimalism and not being attached to things. I’m curious how that showed up in your life, your client’s life and what lessons you’ve learned along the way about not being attached to outcomes. Whether it’s a professional thing or acquiring something because it’s never going to make you happier than you would be without it.

This is foundational to what I believe. I hired a coach in 2011. We talked about being in victim mode and realizing that you’ve been in this stuck place for a while. When you look around, you’re like, “I don’t want to be here anymore. You’re the only one that can get you out.” That was my life in corporate, having two careers, an MBA to my name and still feeling this incredible sense of emptiness.

I was supposed to have this amazing life and I’m grinding away in this office for something I don’t even enjoy doing and I hate showing up. I hired a life coach at that moment. That was me getting unstuck because I didn’t know how to do it myself. That’s me saying, “I can’t stay here.” The first thing we did was we talked about exactly what you talked about, Whitney.

We think that the outcome or the result is going to give us feelings. I want to partner because I want to feel loved, connected, safe, protected and engaged but that is not what happens. Those are just circumstances. Everyone that has a partner knows when you get the partner and if they’re great, things can be great. Also, sometimes you want to smack them and scream at them or not talk to them or you think they’re an asshole. You have to compromise on something that matters to you because you have to figure this stuff out.

It’s not the thing that creates your entire blissful life. It’s no circumstance. It’s not the job, the house, having kids or having a partner. It is what you cultivate from the inside out. The first thing that I did with my coach was I got clear on my compass words, on the six words, at that time that defined how I wanted to feel. All the things that we’re chasing, we’re not chasing them because of the actual thing. We’re chasing them because of how we think we’re going to feel when we have them.

If we can shortcut that and just figure out how do we want to feel and then create opportunities in everyday life to feel more of those feelings, we create the happiness that we think we want or at least the contentment that we think we want. It’s not about the stuff. That was a foundational thing for me, Whitney, that I had worked on with her. When you talk about not being attached, I can still get attached. That can definitely happen. At that moment, through that work together, it shifted my perspective to know that I’m always in my power to create how I want to feel even if the outcome doesn’t manifest the way that I thought it should or that I wanted it to.

It really lightens our lives when we don't have stuff. Click To Tweet

I still feel disappointed but because I feel disappointed doesn’t mean that I don’t get to feel love, independent, free, excited and joyful. These are all at my disposal. I’ve learned how to turn my own light on in a way, which is invaluable and will be forever. For people that struggle with that, we get attached to a certain way we think things should look. This is a remarkable thing. We can also get attached to how we get that thing.

As an example, I have a workshop that I am launching. What I noticed is that I have a specific idea of how it’s going to look to fill it so I launched it. I’m like, “There should be a lot of people that come in the beginning because they’re excited. They’ve been waiting for me to do something like this at a low cost. There’ll be a bunch of people at the end that come because it’s the end then maybe no people in the middle.” It has been a slow trickle. It’s been like a little person and a little person. It’s steady.

I’m like, “This is failure. It doesn’t look like how it looked in my mind.” Separate from the fact that the outcome might be twenty people, which is what I wanted. Twenty people to show up at this live workshop. I might get the twenty people but how I feel about it is this story in my brain being attached to not only the outcome but how I think I should get there. What it should look like to be that person? We can get attached to literally anything so it’s important to dial it back and know how we want to feel and focus on that. Own that and laugh at ourselves when we’re like, “I am attached to this. Maybe I just want to take a step back.”

Selling all of your things twice and letting things go is definitely a great practice of letting go of attachment and feeling almost essential. You’ve boiled it down to the essentials in your life and feeling connected to yourself. It’s like purging or a spring cleaning of your life. I feel like that definitely amplified that feeling. I can still get attached but I definitely work on it. When I see it, I’m like, “You’re doing it again.”

Here’s what I want to know about all this. Before we start recording, Katrina, we dipped a little bit into your digital nomadism, which I want to talk about. One thing that Whitney and I have pontificated on for years, I’ve had obsessions with tiny house living and my own version of minimalism. I don’t know if that would be under the label of nomadism. I still have dreams of simplifying my life to a degree because I have noticed.

Generally speaking, you talked about evidence, you’re trying things, you’re collecting evidence and you’re seeing how things play out in your life. The more that I simplify my life on a material level, the lighter I feel. I, my being, feels lighter. I would love to know what your original vision for being a nomad was because we’re talking about, “It’s got to be this way. It’s going to happen like this.” What was your original vision, your motivation, your spark for doing this? How long have you been doing it? Has the reality matched the dream and the original vision you had when you started?

I have to be honest and say it started by accident. I was following a should. I was like, “I should start my business. I should pick a place to live. I should be responsible. I should try to build a community of local people. I should have a favorite coffee shop. I should, I should.” That was the attachment. What does it look like to be an entrepreneur? I was like, “I’ve got to settle down.”

I had taken a career break in 2013 that lasted almost two years and I traveled around the world. When I was leaving my corporate job in 2018, about four years later, I didn’t feel like I needed to travel anymore. I was like, “I did that. I’m good. Now, I need to be settled,” but I didn’t want to be settled. It was a painful realization where I kept trying. I was on this long road trip through the US and I kept going to different cities being like, “Are you my city? Boise, are you my city? New Orleans, are you my city? No. Austin?”

It was crazy so I struggled. Finally, I had to release the attachment to the idea that me being an entrepreneur was me looking like what I thought it should look like based on what other successful coaches had. They weren’t nomadic. I was like, “This must be how it is.” I didn’t even question it. It was not true for me. It was a painful process, honestly, to accept that I wanted to be nomadic because I felt untethered.

I was like, “Why can’t I create routes to feel tethered?” That was what was true for me and so I started traveling. I came alive again. As weird as it sounds, after twenty months of traveling nonstop during my break, you would think it would be out of my system but I was living my best life all over again and embracing that.

If you told me, at that time, “Katrina, you’re going to be a digital nomad for at least three years,” I would have lost my crap and started crying. I’m like, “That sounds lonely, awful and exhausting.” What is true is when I’m not attached to what I think I should do or how I think my life should look, this is the best way for me to be living right now. It is the most amazing sense of freedom in that, to your point, I have a tiny closet. It’s not even a walk-in. A tiny closet full of things at my mom’s house in the spare bedroom.

MGU 290 | Career Breaks

Career Breaks: We chase things because of how we think we’re going to feel when we have them.

 

Occasionally, I’ll go home and I’ll switch it out. I’ll see her and I’ll pack the warm clothes up. I’ll pull out the summer clothes, depending on where I’m going. My car and that closet, that’s all I’ve got. The amount of mental energy we don’t realize that we spend on having stuff, accumulating stuff, getting rid of stuff, cleaning stuff, taking care of stuff and buying more space to house more stuff. It does lighten our lives when we don’t have stuff, when we don’t have a massive amount of stuff. In the US, we’re great at collecting stuff. We’re real champs at it.

Letting go of the stuff was so cathartic for me. What I would say is that, for me, the attachment was more around what I thought entrepreneurship and being a responsible adult going into her 40s was going to look like. Who’s doing this at my age? I had to let go of that. If I had known what it was going to look like, that would have freaked me out. It would have freaked me all the way out because I move locations every few weeks or a month. Slowly now, during COVID. I did stay parked for eight months with my mom at the height of all of the pandemic. I tried to travel safely. I move slowly but that’s just how it works. I’m not even planning it. It’s just how it’s evolving and I have so much joy when I allow what feels good to be versus trying to think about what I think it should look like.

It’s resonant. My curiosity comes with your personal philosophy around capitalism. It feels like on a lot of conversations Whitney and I have had either here on the show, personal conversations or in the social media, Globo sphere matrix thing, whatever it even is, this juggernaut of digital technology. The more we look at the roots of capitalism or corporate structure, things that one may classify as extremely oppressive in some ways, there are times where I will sit back at the end of the day and sit on my couch, look around at stuff and what I’m doing.

It’s almost like that talking head song where he’s like, “This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife. How did I get here?” The point is, I wonder how you feel being in this minimalist, nomadic lifestyle, trusting life, one foot in front of the other, not worrying about the outcome but also being an entrepreneur and clearly, being a for-profit entrepreneur. Making money and finding your way in the world. What’s the intersection of being a minimalist and a nomad, having this sense of detachment with material things, titles, objects and success but still operating in a system of capitalism that is pretty hardcore in certain ways?

I’m a human. I carry two realities at the same time as many humans do. I could say what I think and then some of my actions might prove I’m carrying an opposing thought. For me, this is my fundamental truth about this. The less that I need, the more freedom that I have. It doesn’t mean that I don’t need anything but if I know that that’s a want or a nice to have and not a need, I am completely in my person. I have so much freedom.

I can make decisions about how much money I need to make, what job I take, where I live, what I do, what I don’t do. I have the freedom to choose. I might still choose to buy the thing, have the thing or whatever but it’s a choice. It’s a choice knowing that’s not what I need. The more I can get clear on what it is I need to be happy, I have the freedom to choose other things.

In our life, we are completely numbed out with stuff. The whole way capitalism is structured is you just keep creating new stuff to convince people they need to buy that stuff because they’ve already bought the old stuff. Even in food marketing, we have a taco kit but now, we need tacos that stand up by themselves because it’s a problem that you need to get the filling and you have to have your taco fall over while you put the filling in. They’ll tell you, “That’s a need. We’re solving a need. We’re problem-solving.” It’s like, “Are you? Is that a problem?”

People might think it is but we’re numbing out like, “Is this a real problem?” I had to escape from that because it was not aligned with my values but I love to go to Whole Foods. I love to try things that I don’t need. I love to eat them and have the joy of different tastes and different flavors. I do travel and I love to have experiences but I also like to be in apartments that feel fresh and clean. I might not want a lot of things in them but I love a nice bed with a fluffy pillow and a robe.

I can’t pretend I don’t like things. I just feel like we are hyper-consumers. We are trying to fill voids with more things. Companies are set up to be like, “We’ve given them all the stuff.” There’s a kitchen store that has a million gadgets. You can buy something just to squeeze lemons and then there’s something different for oranges because oranges are a little bit bigger. At some point, it’s like, “Is it really this hard? You have a knife. Use your hands.” It’s ongoing and never-ending in capitalism, at least.

I saw a video of a woman who beautifully made this video saying, “I could get this gadget for a specific thing but my knife can do it.” She showed how one knife did all of the things that all these other gadgets they were trying to convince you of. I remember watching that and thinking, “It’s so obvious but I have a lot of those gadgets.” I was looking at my kitchen drawer differently after watching that video thinking like, “It is true.”

That’s one thing I love about traveling. I’m getting ready for a big cross-country trip. I’ve spent so much time thinking about what I need because when you are in a small space for a long period of time, you have to be mindful about what you bring. One thing I don’t like is not only taking up too much space but also one of my other deep traumatic fears is of losing things. I cannot stand losing anything. It feels like a waste. It deeply bothers me, even something that I could easily replace, if I lose it, I’m so upset about it.

The less that I need, the more freedom that I have. Click To Tweet

One thing that helps me move through that and prevent that unpleasant experience is only bringing the things that I’m going to utilize. It’s interesting how every time I travel, no matter how hard I try, I end up bringing something with me that I never use. There are all these what-if things or temporary conveniences. I’m going to bring this either just in case or I’m going to buy this thing because it solves a problem.

It’s so spot-on, Katrina, that if we step back and reflect on balancing it out and ask yourself like, “Even if I know this isn’t the need and I acknowledge that this is a want,” if thinking through what it will be like to have something unnecessary and how long to have it for. Especially from an environmental perspective, that’s helped me. I often stop and think, “How is this affecting my finances? Could I spend my money better differently? Is this wasteful because if I don’t end up using it then it’s got to go somewhere? If it’s at the store, maybe if somebody doesn’t buy it then they won’t produce more because of the supply and demand. If it’s at my home, they’re going to keep producing more because I indicated that I wanted it.”

I do think it’s interesting how so many people including entrepreneurs and service providers are often thinking about what’s something new because of the novelty. Over time, I wanted to create fewer new things. I’ve done so many online courses over time. There’ll be this pressure in this coaching world of, “You got to create new courses all the time.” It’s like, “What if I instead focused on revamping what I’ve already made? Refreshing it, making it more modern?” The same is true with writing a book. Do you need to release another book or couldn’t you just add to the current book and do a new version of it?

Even as podcasters, Jason and I think, “At a certain point, how many subject matters are we going to address here?” Luckily, when it comes to mental health and wellbeing, there’s constantly something new to address. That’s the benefit of this path but it’s still something worth considering. Information overload is another big thing. It’s not just the physical clutter. It’s the mental clutter and the digital clutter that we accumulate.

Definitely worth reflecting on that to everything that you just said. Thank you for addressing that. Speaking of information overload, clearly, we could just talk and talk with you. For respect of everybody’s time, your time, our time and our readers’ time, we want to be mindful of giving them enough that they need and hopefully encouraging them to come and check you out. Jason, was there anything else that you wanted to touch on that you feel like we need to address before we wrap?

One last thing, on your wonderful website, Katrina, at the bottom of your homepage on your website, which is KMcGheeCoaching.com, you have a quote that I’ve never seen before. I’m a bit of a quote geek. I don’t know why but I traditionally, here on the show, reel off random quotes. It’s a beautiful quote from Anna Quindlen. It says, “If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”

That cuts right to the bone. It cuts right to the bone because I have felt a lot of that in my life. Our readers can probably relate to chasing the brass ring, ticking off the to-do list of what we think we ought to be in life and getting there and realizing that we don’t feel fulfilled, joyful or heartful. There are a lot of human beings in this world that can use your support, your services, your wisdom and your experience. Katrina, thank you for gracing us with your sagaciousness and your heart. It’s been an absolute pleasure. We appreciate you being here on the show with us.

You’re welcome. I want to thank you for creating such a warm and open space to come and have these conversations and for asking suck deep and meaningful questions. I felt like I got to share from my heart. I appreciate the space that you create for that. I’m excited about this conversation. Thank you.

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About Katrina McGhee

MGU 290 | Career BreaksKatrina McGhee is a Career Break and Sabbatical Coach – a certified life coach with an MBA who helps 9-to-5ers design mind-blowing breaks to create happier, more fulfilling lives.

After saving $40k in 18 months, Katrina sold all of her possessions and left her corporate job for a 20-month break to travel around the world. Upon returning to work, she landed five job offers in just five weeks, paid off $42k of debt in full, and then embarked on career break #2.

Katrina helps her clients create fail-proof plans to leave their jobs and take successful breaks of their own. They return from their breaks recharged, inspired, happily employed and forever changed. The accomplishments of her 35+ clients on their time off include writing novels, traveling the world, changing careers and more.

Katrina is an enthusiastic world traveler and digital nomad. Her advice on career breaks, money management and international travel has been shared across various websites, blogs and podcasts including Forbes, Smarter Travel and HuffPost.

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