Episode 59: Pursuing a creative career to live the life you want – with Katie Sullivan

Opera singer and coach Katie Sullivan explains how to incorporate your creative passion into your lifestyle.

Today’s guest

Katie Sullivan of Katie Sullivan Coaching

Website: Katie Sullivan

Instagram: Katie Sullivan

Do you have a creative passion that you would like to pursue as part of your lifestyle or as a full-time business?  The truth is that many people are scared of pursuing their creative passions and prefer to live a “safe” life. 

Katie Sullivan is an opera singer turned entrepreneur who helps creative women design lives of purpose and fulfillment by turning their passions into a lifestyle.  Katie takes a holistic coaching approach with her clients – the person and the business grow simultaneously.  She hosts the Rise Through Strife podcast, a personal development show for people looking for more out of life, and offers a signature program, Make Your Life Your Masterpiece, to help you use your creative gifts to build the life and business of your dreams.

Katie shares her journey from a frustrated musician to a coach who teaches others to pursue their passions either full-time or as part of their lifestyle.  Listen in to learn why talent isn’t the be-all and end-all to succeed as a creator and how you can fund your creative pursuits with the job you have now as you build a business out of your creativity.

What you’ll learn in this episode

  • [1:15] Katie describes the type of creative people she coaches to help them work through their “skeletons” and become who they need to become.
  • [3:00] Katie explains her journey as a musician and how she found her way to coaching.
  • [8:55] How to live a life that’s true to yourself and make a living from it.
  • [12:01] Why talent isn’t as important as consistent dedication to succeed in your creative passion.
  • [13:34] Why your creative thing doesn’t need to be full-time or even your livelihood.
  • [15:20] How to look at your job right now as a “patron” to fund the stability you need in your life as you build a creative business.
  • [20:51] The value of creating something that gives us joy for the sake of joy and how to find joy in creative outlets.
  • [25:21] How to tell yourself you have time to have time – learning to balance your time to fit your creative side without it needing to be a race.
  • [28:19] How to remove the pressure as you turn your creative passion into a business.
  • [32:55] How to get clear on what you want in your life to figure out what’s holding you back.
  • [36:33] The importance of trying to have the life that you’re proud of or starting over when you have the time to do so.

Resources mentioned in this episode

Please note that some of these are affiliate links and we may get a small commission in the event that you make a purchase.  This helps us to cover our expenses and is at no additional cost to you.

To see the resources recommended by all our guests, visit the Resources page.

Episode 59: Pursuing a creative career to live the life you want - with Katie Sullivan

Jeremy Cline 0:00
Is the safe choice always the right choice? Maybe you go for the job that's got the defined career path, that pays you well enough, that's known to be quite a secure career. But what if it's just not doing anything for you? What if you've got a creative urge and you really want to take that creativity and turn it into something? That's what we're going to talk about in this interview. I'm Jeremy Cline, and this is Change Work Life.

Jeremy Cline 0:37
Hello, and welcome to Change Work Life, the podcast that's all about beating the Sunday evening blues and enjoying Mondays again. A few months ago, we spoke to author Russell Nohelty about what it takes to turn your writing passion into a career as a writer. Well, that's the theme that we're continuing this week with Katie Sullivan. Katie is the host of the Rise Through Strife podcast, and she coaches people as to how to take their creative gifts and incorporate them into their lifestyle. Katie, welcome to the podcast.

Katie Sullivan 1:07
Thank you so much for having me, Jeremy, it's great to be here.

Jeremy Cline 1:09
Can you expand a little bit on who you coach and what you coach them to do?

Katie Sullivan 1:15
Absolutely. So I coach primarily people who I would consider creative or people who consider themselves creative - people who work in the creative industries. I feel very firmly and strongly that everyone in some way, shape or form is a creative person. But in this case, I'm speaking of people who would categorise themselves as designers, photographers, artists, writers, those types of people. So not as much like the engineering creative types, but more so along the lines of people who find themselves working in the creative industries. And oftentimes what happens is I have people come to me and say, I've been working as an accountant for 25 years, and I just this whole time have been denying myself the chance to live the life that I've always wanted. I never wanted to be an accountant, I really wanted to be a writer. And I'm finally taking the chance on myself to figure out how to make that something real in my life, but I have no idea where to start and what to do - help me! So that's kind of how the conversation usually starts. And as we go along, it becomes very clear that the creative passions that these people have, primarily women - primarily women that I work with, to be specific - are parts that are innately part of who they are, can't be removed from the spirit or the personality of the person. And that when they've been hiding that part of themselves for a very long time, it becomes clear that there are some skeletons sometimes that come out of the closet that we have to work through so that we can become the people we need to be, so we can do the things that we want to do.

Jeremy Cline 2:50
Before we delve into the process, I'd love to touch a little bit on your backstory, because I think I'm right in saying that you started out as a creative. You started out as a professional opera singer?

Katie Sullivan 3:01
That's correct. I always was a musician. I grew up in a very musical family. And we had a piano in the home, and I learned how to play the piano as a really young child. It was something that just kind of was like a magnet, it just pulled me in. My grandfather played the piano. In fact, the piano that I learned how to play on as a child was his piano. And my sister played the piano and another sister who played the oboe, we all sang together. And so this was something that was very much a part of my life. But also as I was growing up through various difficult childhood experiences, music became a solace for me, more than just like a creative hobby or outlet, but it was something that really set my heart at ease. Singing is like talking to me, there may be no more natural activity for me to partake in than singing! I sang all through high school and, you know, was in all the choirs, did all the solos, did a lot of community theatre as well, playing lead roles and that sort of thing. So after high school, it just felt like the natural thing to continue my studies in music on the collegiate level. So I did my undergraduate degree in classical music in vocal performance, and then continued on to do a master's degree in vocal performance as well. And it's so interesting, talking with musicians that there's sort of like a shift that happens after the master's degree where you're like, what do I do now? Because you've spent so much time in school that it's almost like you don't know anything else. And so I actually decided to continue my education and pursue a doctoral degree in music and singing particularly, and about halfway through that I realised I love singing and this is a really big part of my life. But the direction that I'm going on here is not right. The plan had been to pursue a career in academia and do research but primarily teaching, and getting wrapped up in all the bureaucracy of the higher education system was not something that I wanted my life or my art to convey. And so I decided to leave my doctoral degree about halfway through. And now for the first time in my life I really was faced with I can do whatever I want to do, and I can be whatever I want to be, how do I make that happen? And how do I live a life that is really true to to who I am? And music, as I have been saying for the last five minutes, has really been an inextricable part of who I am. And so at this time - I'm from California, but my husband and I, we moved to Boston - and while in Boston, I had the opportunity to do a lot of really cool things with my music. On one hand, on a non musical but more entrepreneurial side of things, I actually worked for a nonprofit organisation that was an after school music programme for children to learn how to sing. And for this programme, I did a lot of fundraising and had the opportunity to see more of the business side of things and how things run and how to sell something and how to market myself and all those things. But then in addition to that, I continued singing and actually one of the coolest things was I had the opportunity to be the soprano soloist for Arlington Street Church, which is a historic church in Boston. It sits right on the corner of Boston Public Garden and the Boston Common which is a historic site. Every week had the opportunity to sing and be featured in this famous church. But one of my other really cool opportunities and credits that happened while I was living in Boston was to be able to record background vocals for video games, including some that came from the very well known game developer, Bandai Namco. So you may hear me if you ever find yourself playing a Bandai Namco game, you may hear me singing on the background there!

Jeremy Cline 6:51
Can you give me some titles of the games that you did the background for?

Katie Sullivan 6:54
One of the games that I'm allowed to talk about is called God Eater 3! And I actually don't know anything about the game, truth be told, but it was really fun! And a couple of friends of mine from doctoral school were involved in that recording as well. So it was really, really cool work. So I had all these cool opportunities to be so fulfilled with my music. But one of the tricky things is that for musicians in the industry that we currently have, in the culture that we currently have that isn't necessarily always bolstering the arts as much as we would hope - it's really hard to make a consistent living, where you have the ability to be able to buy a house and comfortably have children and all of these things. Because as a musician, it's pretty common that you don't even get to set your hourly rate, you pretty much get paid whatever people decide you're worth that day. My husband is also a musician, and we decided as much as we love music, we need to find a different way to use our creative gifts and have the kind of life that we want to live. You're seeing like the topsy turviness of the story here, but through it was through teaching voice lessons that I really discovered my love for coaching people. And it turns out that there are so many lessons that I teach my voice students that also cross over into the coaching that I do now to help people use their creative gifts to create the life that they want to live.

Jeremy Cline 8:24
Let's start to talk about the journey that someone who comes to as a client. I guess, first of all, how does somebody know that pursuing a creative pursuit is right for them and taking it beyond a hobby? So say the accountant who happens to work in a creative industry but who has a creative sideline - how do they know that going full time as a creative is going to be the right thing for them?

Katie Sullivan 8:56
That's such a great question and one that I'm really glad that you're asking because it's so interesting. I recently watched the the movie Frida that's about Frida Kahlo, and there's a moment in the movie where Frida Kahlo is talking to Diego Rivera, which at the time they weren't married, but later on in the story, you find out that they get married, and she goes to him and says, 'I want you to tell me if I'm any good as a painter'. And he says, 'That's a nonsense question. If you're a painter, you paint because you have to paint and you can't do anything else'. And I think that little blip right there kind of tells us a lot. If you've got this nagging feeling under your skin, that you know that there was something that you were always meant to do that you really wanted to pursue, that because logic says that it's not the safe choice or that it's not the lucrative choice or it's not the choice that your parents approve of - if you deny that long enough, you find out that gnawing inside of you doesn't really go away. And there's a famous commencement speech that comedian Jim Carrey gave at a university graduation ceremony a few years ago, I think it was in 2014. And he talks about how his dad would have been a fantastic comedian. And it was something that he always really, really dreamed of doing. But it wasn't the safe choice. So he decided to do the sensible thing and get a job as an accountant so he could put a roof over his family's head and that sort of thing. And you come to find out he did get that safe job as an accountant, but not long after he lost his job. And they struggled with poverty for a really long time. And so the lesson, the takeaway for Jim Carrey, was that you can fail at what you don't want so you might as well try doing what you do want. And the thing is, the reality of it is, is that you can make a living doing the things that you want to do. And that really all of that is a conduit to live a life that's true to yourself. Forget the money, the money is just a tool for you to be able to fund a lifestyle that feels like you fit into it. Our society really tells us that's not possible, that there's only one way - that you have to choose a career, the right choice is always to be the employee, not the entrepreneur. And number two, that doing so is irresponsible or reckless or not viable, and that sort of thing. And so when a client comes to me a part of this too, is they've decided to finally believe that it's possible to do something outside of the norm, the paradigm that's been given to them and believe that something else, something better is possible for them.

Jeremy Cline 11:37
When it comes to being creative though, presumably talent matters, as well? You could be the most incredibly passionate singer say, but in reality be completely and utterly tone deaf. Is it possible still to work that into your lifestyle in a satisfactory way? Or in order to make it as a creative do you have to have some objective level of talent?

Katie Sullivan 12:02
That's a fantastic question. And I have a two-spoke response to that. The first one is that - because I know Jeremy, you play flute as well - and people, especially with music, musical talent, or maybe artistic talent in the visual arts as well, get stuck on this idea that you have to be born with something. And it's not to say that's not true to some extent. I will say because of the massive exposure I had to music, and really good music as a child that shaped me a lot and gave me a sense of taste in music and in good performance that I wouldn't have otherwise had, that set me ahead of the game as far as being a professional singer. But even with as much natural talent as I appeared to have as a child and growing up as an adolescent, when I got to college it became so clear, so fast, that it doesn't really matter how much talent you have - you could be the most naturally gifted person in the world, if you weren't willing to put in the work and the effort, the consistency every single day to move the your skill set forward, it really doesn't matter. So at the end of the day, you might have somebody who is so naturally gifted, that they feel like this career in in photography is a shoo in, you know. I know what I'm doing. But if you're resting too much on the talent, it's not going to take you where you need it to go, that there really has to be this consistent dedication to the work. That is what actually puts you over the line in the end. But then the second spoke of my response to this question is that you may find that the best combination of - I guess I'll say income streams for your life - is actually not that one certain creative gift becomes your only means of making money. You may find out that the best concoction for your livelihood is that you do your work as a teacher to cover your main expenses, but if you want to come up with a vacation fund, maybe you play gigs with your band on the side and you make an extra $2,000 a month, and that pays for you to be able to go on vacation wherever you want every year and you can take a month off from work so that you can travel around and that sort of thing. So there's no saying that it doesn't count if you're not doing it full time. Or if all of your livelihood is made from this creative thing. And it's another way I think people put themselves in a box is 'For this to count, I have to be doing it all the time, or I have to be making all of my money from it'. And it's not the case. It's different for everybody, and you'll find the balance in your life that feels right and true for you. It's really about going internally and about feeling what's right for you rather than looking outside of you for approval or for clues as to whether what you're doing is the right amount. You know what I mean?

Jeremy Cline 15:00
Let's go back to your accountant who's working in whatever industry and he or she has this creative passion. Where do they start to begin to think about how they might transition out of accountancy to something that better aligns with their creative nature and talents?

Katie Sullivan 15:21
Yeah, great question. So one of my biggest pieces of advice that I think is actually a lot of times maybe a shock, and not the news that people want to hear, but something that they need to hear is that I think you should stay put where you are until you get so good at it that you can free yourself from that thing you don't want to do anymore. And I say that mainly because I didn't do that. I jumped straight into being an entrepreneur, honestly before I was ready, before I was financially ready, and it was way harder than it needed to be. So if you're the accountant, or you're the engineer, or you're the teacher, or you're the bus driver, it doesn't matter what you are, if where you are right now is not where you want to be, start to view where you are right now, as a patron of your future lifestyle. One of the things that artists talk about a lot is finding a patron to fund your ventures. And we don't think about a job being able to be that for you, but it can be. Your job can fund the stability that you need in your life for you to be able to go and spend some extra time over here so that you can develop this gift so that you can grow your network so that you can become more visible in this area, doing the creative thing that you want to do, so that you can eventually take it full time if you want to and build a business that feels true to you. When we're starting this, past that - once you've made your peace with that - okay, stay where I am only so that I can get where I want to go. And it's not a permanent thing. People get that like scary feeling like No, I don't want to stay where I am. Because that's what's making me not happy right now. But when you realise that it can just be a temporary thing and change your perspective around it that this is helping me go where I want to go, all of a sudden, it becomes a little bit more freeing. And then after that, I think the main question to answer is, what is the way that I can help people and how can I use my gifts to be able to do that? Being an entrepreneur and starting a business is all about helping people. It's about solving a problem for somebody. And every podcast known to man sets out to solve a problem for somebody. Every online course, every coaching programme, every product that you see in the drugstore, or in the grocery store or anything like that - all of them are set out to solve a problem for somebody. And it's the most basic rule of business that if you can get clear on what problem it is that you want to solve for somebody else, that can become the very basis, the foundation of how you start your business. And you can work your creative gifts into that. And so for me, as an example, as I mentioned earlier, a lot of the lessons that I teach to my singers are the same kind of lessons that I teach my clients in starting their creative business. So one of the things that becomes very, very evident when I work particularly with my young female singers between, let's say, ages of 14 and 18. Obviously, this is an interesting time of life for them being a teenager and that sort of thing and body changes and all those things. I see them often physically put their arms in front of their body so as to cover up and to not take up so much space. And they're afraid to use the full volume of their voice because they don't want to be heard and they want to hide. And from a metaphorical sense, I see the very same things happen with my clients, people trying to hide and keep themselves small. And so these lessons crossover. There's so much that I've learned about being a singer and being a teacher of singing that has crossed over and I can use these same gifts of coaching that I used from singing in my work now with my creative ladies - for lack of a better term! - that it's okay to take up space, it's okay to be loud and share what you need to share. So I have found that this is my method - that in any type of coaching that I'm doing, whether it's in singing, or it's in entrepreneurship and wholehearted living, that these lessons crossover. So I find that my creative gift goes beyond just singing, it also goes into life coaching and being able to be a light for other people. And so when you're beginning this journey of figuring out what your creative business looks like and how to follow that path, I think it's really important to stay open to knowing that we all kind of have these tunnel vision blinders on that you are only seeing so much of the picture. And there's not a whole lot you can do about that except just be open to knowing that there's so much more outside of you than you can see and to let things sort of develop with you, that you don't have to control every single part of the process.

Jeremy Cline 20:04
I'd like to pick up a couple of points, actually. You mentioned how you every podcast and every business is about solving a problem. Are you using that in a wide sense? I'm thinking about the podcasts which are predominantly there to entertain. And when I think about the creative arts, they're not usually there to solve a problem, per se. They're usually there in order to enrich people's lives, to entertain them, to provide some kind of emotional stir, whether it's through music, whether it's through portraiture, whether it's through whatever. Can you talk to that a bit, about should creatives be looking at this in terms of problems they can solve? Or through that lens of providing joy to people?

Katie Sullivan 20:52
I think that's a fantastic question and I'm glad that you're poking at it. Because I think this is the trap that a lot of creative people do fall into, is thinking 'I'm just a painter, what kind of problem does that solve for someone?' And so when I'm teaching people you need to solve a problem, you need to solve a problem, people get stuck there. They don't see how it solves a problem. But the thing is, is that humans are wired for connection. And the entire purpose of art is to connect people through shared experiences of humanity. And so when we're looking for these, when we have a podcast that's primarily meant for joyful enrichment or entertainment, that is solving a problem. The only reason why we would be looking for that is because we don't have it in some way, shape, or form. And there's something in some way that this person does or says that makes me smile while I wasn't smiling before. And so that person's gift, their personality, their way of delivering something that makes you smile, or laugh or think of something ridiculous that happened in your own life, is solving a problem. And we are so devoid and deprived of opportunities for feeling like joy is something that we have a right to. In our society that's very obsessed with productivity and profit margins and all that stuff, we forget that there is an immense amount of value in creating something and being a part of something, of experiencing something that does give us joy just for the sake of being joyful. That in itself is solving a problem for people so that they can know that being joyful, being happy, being fulfilled, that's the point. That's what we're all trying to get to. And so if we remove that power, the art, the creative things that we do that you know, whether it's the painting, or the writing, or the photography, or the design, or whatever it is - if we remove the power from those things, that they don't have the power to create joy, that that doesn't have the power to solve a problem for people, that's exactly why we are where we are in our society right now, because we have people who are so lost. Without those creative outlets that connect each and every one of us through our shared human experience, we feel completely syphoned off from each other. And we're completely disconnected. And we're all so hyper individualised, that we forget that she over there is struggling with the same thing that I struggled with a year ago, or that he over there is struggling with something that I'm going to struggle with in a year from now, and that we're all really the same. We're all really connected. And that's the beauty that art has to be able to connect us. And so when we remember that sharing our art is solving a problem for people at the most basic human level, almost to a basic level that's hard to see sometimes then we kind of free ourselves from having to figure out well, okay, I need a little machine that tells me how much two plus two equals four. Oh, that's a calculator, this problem gets solved by this little machine. If we again, take off the blinders for a second and just be open to the fact that our art, our creative gifts, the things that we make, provide more value to people than our society wants us to believe, then we allow ourselves to believe then all of a sudden we realise the value in what we do.

Jeremy Cline 24:14
Thank you for that. I'm glad I poked on that. Another one I'm going to poke a little bit on is this idea of a career as a patron to get you to the place that you want to be that you can stop pursuing it more as you're living and it's your question of time. So you've got the professional who they've kind of heard what you said and they've got that sinking feeling the what I've got to stay in my job but how on earth am I going to find the time to do this? I get up at 6am, I leave the house at 6:45 I don't get home again until eight o'clock. By the time I've put the kids to bed, had some dinner, I've got time for about 15 minutes, maybe 30 minutes to watch a bit of TV and catch up with my husband, wife, other half whatever it may be. And then the weekends are entirely spent either catching up with personal admin or ferrying the kids to ballet classes, football clubs, you name it, whatever, where on earth am I supposed to find the time to do the creative stuff without making some kind of radical change to my job reducing hours or just quitting it.

Katie Sullivan 25:23
Absolutely. And this is a really important and like, real life question. So also, thank you for bringing this up. Yeah, there's no lying that like if you've got a full time job, and a spouse and kids and a garden and cars to maintain and all these things that time can be a more finite resource than money even. Because those are the two things that people seem to want more of his time and money. But I will also say that if you see the things that you're looking for, if you see no time in your life, you will find no time in your life, and simple things. Like how much time do we spend scrolling on Instagram? Every day? How much time do we spend, like even commuting in the car that could be used in a way that becomes more of an outlet for creative work. So let's say I'm working my nine to five job, I have a daily commute that's 30 minutes one way and so you know, I've got this extra hour in the car. And let's say again, I'm that accountant who really wants to be a writer, I don't remember what creative gifts I gave this accountant earlier, but I'm gonna go with writer for right now. And they're in the car. And I can't physically write because I'm driving the car. But what I can do is voice record myself some of my musings that allow me to later transcribe them or have them electronically transcribed, so that I can use that for my blog later on. The point is, if you're telling yourself the story that you don't have time, you will never have time, if you tell yourself the story that you can find time, you can find the time I will also say this with a word of caution. That is you have to find balance, that if the candle is already burning at both ends, you may have to shift some things to be able to fit this in and actually make it work. If you are in an industry or work a type of job that allows you to work remotely for one day a week. How does that extra time, how can you use that extra hour to move the needle forward? And you know, the trap we get that we fall into a lot of times is that things aren't going fast enough. But I am the biggest hypocrite for saying this because I'm totally one of these people. But there's it's not a race. There's no one's timing you on how fast you turn your your creative gifts into a lifestyle or into a new career or anything like that. No one's timing you except for you. And so if you can remove that pressure that this is a race against the clock and that you're not there fast enough. This is when we get into trouble because it's coming from a place of lack. If we are viewing our ability to do something new with our lives from a place of lack, what you find is more lack

Jeremy Cline 28:13
It's not just a place of lack, though is it, it's also a place of potentially misery you really want out of whatever it is that you're doing.

Katie Sullivan 28:21
Absolutely. And so again, like I found myself in this place. That's how that's part of the reason why I will say I made the mistake of jumping into entrepreneurial ventures before I was a full time I should say before I was financially ready because I hated where I was at so much that I just had to get out. But what I really wasn't looking far enough into the future to see that if I shake up my financial stability too much too soon. What that does is it puts this really difficult strain on you that actually squashes your ability to be creative in the freest sense of the word because you're worried about your survival. And if you're in survival mode, you can't possibly create and be inspired to the degree that you want or need to be to do the things that you need to do. It's really the the concept of you can't pour from an empty pitcher, you have to make sure your needs are taken care of. So that you can do really give the most of yourself that you want to be able to give and it becomes this beautiful, most challenging, most fulfilling balancing act of life. It's what it always is. And when we're if we're looking for the time when that balancing act ends, we're never going to find it because it doesn't end life is that balancing act that it's the journey of figuring out how do I prioritise myself and what matters for me, but also be able to pay my bills and buy groceries and make sure that Johnny can go to football practice and Kimmy can go to ballet class and so that I can still do my painting and you know not be a crazy person in the meantime, it's a beautiful balancing act and being okay with the balancing act, and then it's normal and that there's nothing wrong with you over not being able to figure that out. That is like a big, big step. It's not a race, it's not, you know, no one's timing you, you can remove that pressure. And that pressure that you feel is only coming from inside of you, not from the outside,

Jeremy Cline 30:18
Can people remove the pressure by building up a buffer, so sort of you've been getting very practical here, but building up, I know that I've now got, say, a year's worth of expenses. So I'm going to use that year, rather than try to do what I'm doing within the constraints of the job I've got at the same time until I develop an income from that.

Katie Sullivan 30:38
Sure, totally. And that's kind of again, the tough thing is people will come to a coach for answers. But the thing that I often come to my or tell my clients is, I can't give you the answers, what I can do is give you my experience, and what I know is true about life and humanity and help you find the answers for yourself, because the answers that I found for myself aren't necessarily going to be true for anybody else. But I can share my experience. And I can share what I know to help people tap into that. It's an intuition. It's an inner voice where you know that something is either very right or very wrong for you, or somewhere in the middle. And sometimes that's somewhere in the middle takes a little bit of experimenting to figure out which direction it goes in. But whatever, whatever the personal situation or circumstances that you find yourself in there absolutely is a way for you to work with whatever that is to move the needle forward. It's when we're talking about the tortoise and the hare we want to be the tortoise, right, slower and consistent is much better than trying to speed, speed, speed, and then crash and speed, speed, speed and then crash. And I say that as somebody who has been the hare in the past and is really, really trying to transform into the tortoise type, because it's much more sustainable. And I find that when I make the time, it's really it's a matter of the buzzword is self care, but finding ways where my vibration can be uplifted. And then I feel recharged and boosted by doing something that I care about, and making sure that I get prioritised in my life and closing myself off creating boundaries around people or things that drain my energy and take away from my ability to do those things. I mean, you're absolutely right, that you can, you know, you can sort of build yourself a little shelter, and it takes time to sort of figure out what those things are that you want to let in and what those things are, they want to keep out.

Jeremy Cline 32:26
One thing, one topic, perhaps to finish with is the difference between doing what you love and loving what you do, and the dangers that can follow from doing what you love. So the people who have a creative hobby, and they get to a place where they can pursue that as their livelihood, and it then becomes less joyful thing for them to do. How do you coach people to stop them falling into that trap?

Katie Sullivan 32:56
That's a great question. And my own life is a lesson in that as well. Because there was a time when I really came to - I started resenting music and singing, because it didn't provide me the type of livelihood and the type of lifestyle that I wanted or even really needed. There was a time when my husband and I would commiserate together and you know, feel like well, I guess we're never going to be able to buy a house, we're never going to be able to afford it. We're never going to be able to afford to have kids so I guess we just won't do that. Those are two things that we both very much want. I started to resent music and you know, and singing and my own no passion and career because of those things that it wouldn't be able to provide me. And so I found out, though, it wasn't music's fault. It wasn't singing's fault. It's the industry and I can become a pattern interrupt in the industry. And I can choose to do things differently and create something that does work for me. And I think that first step is actually like, first of all getting clear on what you really want. Because without that, you're just sort of throwing confetti into the air and hoping it lands back in the bag. And that's not going to happen. You have to get really, really clear on what you want for your life not just for your work, not just for you know, whatever fills your bank account, but what do you want to feel in your life? What do you want to have in your life? And then from there, you can start to work it backward and figure out okay, was music really the thing that was holding me back? Or was it you know, this paradigm that I thought that I was forced to operate within? And can I create something different? Can I forge out on my own and you know, make something that actually does work for me and as soon as you open yourself up to the ability to see that there are other ways you find that there are musicians and artists and designers and photographers that have struck out on there. I feel like the artist Macklemore is a really great example. He's like self-made. I kind of hate that term, but like he didn't have a record label behind him. He was self produced music, and because of that he actually was able to keep a lot more of the money that he earned, and like, that's how you create the lifestyle that the point is, there's more than one way. And if you find out that once you've pursued this creative thing, and it's not really what you want, you have to look at whether is it the creative thing that isn't true to me and I'm not following my intuition, or is it just the paradigm that I was believing was the only possibility for a way to operate? And depending on which one it is, if it's that the creative thing that you're doing isn't jiving with you now, well, then stop doing it right? Like don't no one's forcing you. If it turned out that I really did hate singing, and I would never sing again, then yeah, I shouldn't do that. But that wasn't the case. For me instead, what it was, oh, I really like singing, I need to figure out a way to work it into my life and my work without hating it in a way that it actually supports me all the ways that I needed to, one of those including being a part of a reasonable livelihood for me to be able to pay my bills comfortably and be able to save some money and pay my taxes and put gas in the car and all that stuff. So it really just depends on like, how you're looking at it.

Jeremy Cline 36:11
Brilliant. And I love the metaphor of the confetti, sort of throwing it up in the air and then hoping it might all land back in the bag. Katie, this has been absolutely fantastic. Do you have any particular resources which have helped you books, quotes, anything which you've just found particularly helpful in your journey and which you can recommend to the listeners and that you recommend to other people?

Katie Sullivan 36:34
I would love to. My whole entrepreneurial journey, really a musician has to be an entrepreneur. But when I started the the online business phase of my journey, there was a quote by author F. Scott Fitzgerald that really struck me that honestly, like, had to make me face myself in the mirror and say, and where am I going with my life. And I'll read the quote, because I think it's really, really good. So here it goes: for what it's worth, it's never too late, or in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be, there is no limit. Start whenever you want, you can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing, we can make the best or the worst of it, I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you, I hope you feel things that you've never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view, I hope you live a life you're proud of. And if you're not, I hope you have the courage to start over again. That was a quote, especially that last part, if you're not, if you're not proud of the life that you're living, I hope that you have the courage to start over again. Because what happens is if you get to the end of your life, and you're looking back and know that there was so much more waiting for you and know that you never tried that is the greatest betrayal of them all and you find out that's a betrayal that you know, was against yourself. And we have the power to avoid that. It doesn't have to be like that you can start over and you can do the things that you want to live in do so that you can live a life that you're proud of.

Jeremy Cline 38:03
Thank you so much that Katie, and where can people find you if they want to get in touch or find out a bit more about you?

Katie Sullivan 38:09
Absolutely. As far as social media goes, I actually keep it pretty quiet because, you know what I mean, it's protecting those boundaries. So I mainly run my business via email. And I have a programme called Make Your Life Your Masterpiece that really looks at the spiritual, the creative and entrepreneurial aspects of turning your passion into a lifestyle. So I offer a little free guide in conjunction with that programme that's called Make Your Life Your Masterpiece method. And if you go to thekatiesullivan.com/free guide, you can download that and then you'll be on my email list and get all my musings and every once in a while I'll record a song that I send out to people and just for funsies.

Jeremy Cline 38:50
I will link to that in the show notes. Katie, this has been an absolutely amazing conversation. Thank you so much.

Katie Sullivan 38:57
Thank you so much, Jeremy.

Jeremy Cline 38:59
Okay, hope you enjoyed that interview with Katie Sullivan, I was really encouraged actually, in a slightly strange way about what she was saying that hard work is more important than talent. And if you love something enough, then you're going to work hard at it and you will become better at it. So maybe you don't need that huge amount of natural talent to begin with. As long as you really enjoy something, your creative projects, then it's something that you'll be prepared to work hard enough to get good enough at it that you can turn it into something which might support you and provide you a living. Another great point that Katie made was the fact that really no one is timing you. We have our own sort of internal pressures where we want to get something done or we want to achieve something, we want to leave that job. But the timing pressure largely comes from internally from us. And if it's not right, if it's better for us to take a little bit longer over something well, so be it who's timing us. Show notes with the links to the resources, which Katie mentioned are at changeworklife.com/59, that's 59. And as well as subscribing to the show, I'd love it if you'd share this episode. If you go to the show notes page changeworklife.com/59 then you'll find buttons there where you can share it on Facebook, Twitter, and on Pinterest. And also, I've now started posting on both Twitter and Instagram. So you can find me @changeworklife, if you find me there, and you can share my posts there and that'd be great. As always, we've got another great interview coming up next week and I can't wait to see you then. Cheers. Bye.

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