EP. 70 “If everyone did the same thing as everyone else, then no one would be creating an impact.”
It was 2011 when Cathryn Lavery moved from Ireland to New York City to take up a graduate job as an architect. Despite dabbling with an Ebay store while at school, there was no question of her not following a traditional career path. And anyway, she didn’t know any entrepreneurs to guide her.
But life had other plans.
When Cathryn landed in NYC, her employer announced a 25% cut in her pay. Cathryn wasn’t ready to quit or admit to her parents that things weren’t working out as expected, so she launched a side hustle to help make ends meet.
Before long that side hustle generated more money than her full-time job. After reading 23 carefully selected books and completing her ‘personal MBA’, Cathryn quit to become a full-time entrepreneur – and never looked back.
Today, Cathryn is the CEO and creative genius behind BestSelf.Co – a multi-million-dollar ecommerce brand that develops tools (such as the SELF Journal) to help people live their best lives.
With BestSelf.Co, Cathryn won Shopify’s Build a Business and Build a Bigger Business Awards and got mentored by the likes of Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss. She’s an all-round badass.
So if you’re curious about navigating the journey from employee to entrepreneur, and you want to load up on the practices and mindsets that helped Cathryn succeed, this episode is for you.
Tune into this episode and you’ll hear about:
-Why being an employee first can make you a much better entrepreneur
-How to leverage empathy to attract a kick-ass team
-The reason your relationship with fear evolves as your business grows
-How Cathryn makes great decisions
-The four things Cathryn practices to build her self-awareness
-Why Cathryn’s biggest fear is mediocrity
-Why you must enjoy the process more than the outcome
We also chat about the importance of striking the balance between entrepreneurship and art.
This was a discussion especially close to my heart. As someone who’s shifting the role I play in my companies to create more space for artistic expression, I was keen to learn how Cathryn makes space to create. Her answers blew me away.
So come get inspired and soak up the creative genius that is Cathryn Lavery.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
[5:04] Catherine and I made very similar career transitions from traditional roles to the entrepreneurial space; I ask her what speaker in interesting in moving from being an architect to an entrepreneur, and about some of the challenges that came up. She says that it wasn’t planned, or even something she was aware was happening – she just thought she was pursuing a side hustle. Catherine had been offered a job at an architectural firm in NYC and was planning to relocate from the UK. Before she left she was informed that they were going to cut their initial salary offer by 25% and, once she arrived, she was told that she had to wait 6 weeks before she could start. In an effort to make ends meet, she started to design projects – eventually it grew into something larger.
Catherine says she’s always been interested in learning how to make her own money, from selling cupcakes on the playground to selling DVDs through an Ebay store at age 13. Becoming an architect was just part of her plan, it never occurred to her to explore a different space.
[13:10] I ask Catherine her how her experience with being an employee made her a better entrepreneur. She talks to us about what it was like working for a stressed and frustrated boss who would take his feelings out on the team. When she started her role she was thrown into the deep end early, and while it allowed her to learn a great deal, she didn’t have a roadmap and was punished for not knowing what she didn’t know. It’s also created an empathy for her team, she’s committed to making sure they understand what’s expected, what success looks like and that they feel seen and appreciated. Catherine says it’s also essential to extend that same care to their personal lives.
[20:36] We talk about how you don’t have to set out on your own to be an entrepreneur, you can do it within your company. Catherine says that she has entrepreneurs on her team and it’s a matter of creating a space where they feel challenged and motivated within the team, where they feel they’re getting enough in their role. I personally believe that entrepreneurship is the best vehicle for personal growth. It forces you to push yourself beyond your limits and learn a great deal about yourself in the process.
[32:37] I ask Catherine how she builds safe awareness and if there are things she does to get to know herself better and become more confident in her gut. She said that talk therapy has been very helpful for her; she went last year and found value in having that resource. She also has a coach that she works with on her current and future ways of being. She sets an intention, and is assigned homework and challenges that work to align with her future way of being. She also journals each day and mediatates. Journaling creates an opportunity for her to release and better process some of the things going on with her.
[42:09] Catherine talks about the things that keep her rooted in the journey instead of focused on the destination. She says it comes down to experience and notices that when she’s caught up in the outcome, she doesn’t enjoy anything as much. She’s in flow when she allows herself to get into the process and create. She’s carved out her Wednesdays as dedicated time for creating.
[47:11 ] Catherine stays grounded with her daily routine, particularly her morning routine. She notices that when she’s out of flow, it’s usually the result of her breaking away from the things that got her to where she is.