The 4 Structures of Becoming a Prosperous Empath
About the episode:
Welcome to our very first episode of The Prosperous Empath Podcast. I am so excited to be here with you today, and a little unnerved too, if I’m being honest. As an empath, introvert and highly sensitive person, I am much more comfortable on the listening end of a conversation, getting to be the one who asks questions and offers insights and reflections. However, I’ve had countless clients tell me over the years that I needed to start a podcast, and not only does the timing feel right, but auspicious. More on that in the episode! Also, on the inaugural episode of the show, I thought I would share the four structures that I believe every prosperous empath must have to achieve the success they are craving. I’m so happy and honored that you’re here, and with that, let’s go!
- Catherine’s journey as a prosperous empath herself, why she believes now is the best time for her to launch her podcast, and her goals for the show
- Reframing the emotions of envy and jealousy and how to use this to drive your passion
- Why you must fall in love with yourself before you can find true success, healthy relationships, and more
- Why Catherine has fallen in love with the client group of empathic and highly sensitive entrepreneurs and how she hopes to support them
- The lack of regulation in the coaching industry and why Catherine has pursued all of her credentials throughout the past few years
- What it means to be prosperous beyond the money in your bank account
- The four structures that are required to become a prosperous empath
- Why your community is the core structure that will help you find success as an empathic entrepreneur
- Embodying rituals so you can fully show up for yourself and your clients with confidence
- Learning how to set and honor boundaries in order to grow a scalable and thriving business
- Why investing in the future you want to create for yourself is a must and finding the right mentor for you
- Accomplishment Coaching
- Master Certified Coach Credential
- Business Networking International
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
- 5 Day Boundary Bootcamp
- Connect with Catherine on Instagram: @unboundedpotential
Click here for a raw, unedited transcript of this episode
Catherine Wood (00:01):
Hello there, and welcome to our very first episode of the Prosperous Empath podcast. I am so excited to be here with you today, and a little unnerved too, if I’m being honest, as an empath and introvert and highly sensitive person, I am so much more comfortable on the listening end of a conversation, getting to be the one who asks questions and offers insights and reflections. That is just totally my jam. But honestly, you know, one client after the next has told me over the years, Kat, you need to launch a podcast. And being an avid podcast listener, myself and a lifelong learner, I eventually decided they were right. So if you’re listening, thank you. You know who you are. And today is such an auspicious day to be launching this podcast among all podcasts. So to provide a little context, we’re recording this episode at the end of October, and today is Dali, which is India’s biggest and most important holiday of the year.
Catherine Wood (01:09):
It’s the Festival of Lights that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and the human ability to overcome, which is pretty awesome. And a common Dali greeting is to wish someone happiness, prosperity, and joy. And that just feels so incredibly aligned for me, because that’s what becoming a prosperous empath is all about. That’s been my journey, my own personal transformational journey and my journey as an entrepreneur. And so it almost feels just incredibly fortuitous and auspicious that I’m recording this first episode today. And I’m recording this episode in Cambridge in Boston. We recently relocated to the Boston area with my husband of a week, <laugh> recently married to my best friend of the past eight years. And there’s just a lot to be celebrating. So I’m, I’m excited to be sharing this podcast today at this point in my journey because it’s been a, a long one to get to this place, and I’m really excited to get, to share some of my learnings and experiences over the years, as well as share the stories of some of my guests who also identify as prosperous Esse.
Catherine Wood (02:42):
So we are gonna keep this pa this podcast super casual. You may hear some ums and ahs, <laugh>. You may hear some of my two dogs in the background. They are, at this moment lounging comfortably behind me on my couch and they absolutely identify as empaths and it’s just gonna be, it’s just gonna be real candid conversations. So here’s a little bit about what you can expect from our first episode today. I am going to share a little bit about my journey and how I got to be here. What inspired this podcast and the name for the podcast, what you can expect moving forward. And I’m gonna kick us off today by sharing four of the structures that have really supported me over the years in becoming a prosperous empath. So let’s begin with a little bit of my journey.
Catherine Wood (03:49):
So my journey really started back in 2008. At the time I was living in the Dominican Republic, and I had just finished two years of service as a Peace Corps volunteer. It was the height of the oh 7 0 9 recession, and there were really no jobs to come home to. So I ended up staying in the Dominican, and I got a job working for a U S A I D project to promote sustainable tourism in the Dominican. And I had the most amazing job I got to. I, I served as a small grants manager, and I oversaw the request for proposals and the monitoring and implementation of ecotourism startup grants to launch community run businesses. All along the eco-tourism polls across the Dominican Republic. We, we launched businesses and they were community run organizations and mostly women’s groups. And I loved what I do. I mean, I lived in the Caribbean.
Catherine Wood (04:58):
I got to travel. I spent the weekends on the beach in the evenings dancing UE and batta, which is, is my absolute favorite. I like to call myself a wannabe Latina. And I was incredibly unhappy, and I didn’t understand how my life could look so magical and blissful on the outside, and my internal experience could be so different. And it really started me on this journey to figure out what was missing for me. What was the thing that was missing in my life? Why was I unhappy? So first I started with going back to school, which I think a lot of us do. You know, I went back to school and I pursued my mba, and that was from, let’s see, 2008 to 2010. I thought, Oh, maybe I just need another degree. And that was certainly not the thing that was missing.
Catherine Wood (06:01):
And then I thought, Oh, you know, it’s been four years. Maybe I’m homesick. Maybe after four years of living abroad, it’s time to move home and be closer to my family. So the year was 2010, and I got a job in Washington, DC as a senior economist with the federal government, with one of our statistical agencies. And that was a real life switch. I found myself kind of shifting from that Caribbean island life where everyone is incredibly familial. You know, you go to work and you end work every day with kisses and cafe leches to start the day, and you share your lunches. I went from that life in Santo Domingo to being stuck in a cubicle with no Windows, two computer monitors in a highly introverted office with a sea of data staring back at me. And I was like, Oh, no, no, no, no, Catherine, what have you done <laugh>?
Catherine Wood (07:14):
This is not the thing. And about that time, I was ending another unhealthy relationship, one of many. And I was chatting with a friend of mine who was becoming trained as a coach. And every time she would talk about coaching, I was envious. I was envious of the books that she was reading and the insights she was having about herself and the post-it notes that were posted all over her apartment. And, you know, I’ve since come to realize that I have a really empowering relationship with envy and jealousy for that matter, because in my experience, envy and jealousy are typically simply signs of things that I want for myself and I haven’t yet pursued. So that’s what started me down the coaching field. And I went to observe a coach training session with my friend, and I was sitting along the wall observing these coaches coaching one another, and being trained, and I really had this epiphany.
Catherine Wood (08:31):
I realized that I had been coaching people to some degree my whole life. People have always felt comfortable sharing intimate aspects of their lives with me. And I didn’t realize that there was a, a field for this. I didn’t know that I could do this for a living. So I jumped ship and I signed up for a yearlong coach training program. The, the program was called Accomplishment Coaching. I’ll link it in the show notes. And it was amazing. I started getting hired and coaching people from the get go. And a part of that, an aspect of the program was that we were assigned a coach who I worked with for that whole first year while I was becoming trained as a coach. And in working with that coach, I really had a profound, I mean, it changed my whole life, but my very first breakthrough was in falling in love with myself.
Catherine Wood (09:36):
I had a breakthrough in self-love. And I realized that that thing that had been missing all of those years was that I did not love myself. So no matter how amazing life looked on the outside, if I didn’t love myself, I was never going to be able to love the life that I had created. And it really helped me reevaluate and reassess how I pursue goals and how I pursue external achievements and accolades in order to feel better about myself from within. That was the beginning of my coaching journey. And when I first started out as a coach, I thought I wanted to be a financial coach. I was simultaneously pursuing a certificate in financial planning with the background in economics. And in mba. I, you know, I’ve always loved talking about money and finances, and I thought, Oh, this is a great niche for me, <laugh>.
Catherine Wood (10:38):
But at the time, you know, I was still highly empathic and I cared deeply about the people I was serving, and I didn’t know how to enroll people who felt like they had no money in why it was important to invest their money in order to transform their relationship with money. So I really wanted to help folks boost their self worth in order to amass their net worth. But at the time, you know, I was really, I was still an unhealed empath. I still wanted to help people at the expense of myself. I was still overly generous with other people and highly unbounded. And it was, I mean, it, it was <laugh>. It was a pretty big failure. So I quickly pivoted and I found my way as an executive life coach, and I found that I attracted a lot of high level leaders and executives in the Washington DC area who had really high level positions and were thriving in their careers, but they too were wildly unhappy.
Catherine Wood (11:50):
And they didn’t understand the disconnect between their external world, their external results, and their internal experience of themselves, their joy and their personal satisfaction in life. And honestly, it was a really great match for me, because that had been my journey as well. So I, I pursued that and I made a great name for myself in the DC area, and eventually I found that who I most love to work with are heart centered entrepreneurs, essentially entrepreneurs who are empathic and mission driven and, and values oriented, and really want to make an impact and contribute. And I find that I, I just really love working with that audience because they are just so driven by their passion and their impact, and they often struggle with their experience of having it all, their experience of running the business that they want, earning the income that they desire, while also experiencing the freedom in their time, their schedule, their finances, while also having thriving relationships and wellbeing.
Catherine Wood (13:11):
And just kind of that, that balance. You know, I think there’s this, this joke about entrepreneurs that we quit the nine to five to have the five to nine, and for many of us that’s true. So I, I’ve really kind of landed in working with that segment of the population and, and love it. And along the way I’ve also pursued credentialing as a coach. You know, the coaching industry, it’s an, it’s a highly unregulated industry. And I’m sure you see lots of people out there right now calling themselves coaches because it’s one of the fastest growing industries, and anyone can call themselves a coach. It’s not a regulated industry. You don’t have to have a license. And for me, the credentialing and the certification of the coaching industry is extremely important, and it’s something that I’ve pursued from the get go.
Catherine Wood (14:08):
So the International Coaching Federation is the supervisory board that oversees the credentialing of coaches worldwide. And I’ve pursued all my credentials over the years. I obtained my professional certified coach credential back in, hmm, I think it was in 2015. And last year I obtained my master certified coach credential, which is a highly regarded credential. And honestly, I think even as I pursued it, I didn’t think I was good enough for it, <laugh>. So that’s been a little bit about my journey. I, upon graduating from the, the coach training program, I stayed on for about six years after graduating and helped train new coaches. And and I’ve loved that journey. I’ve loved that work. So that’s a little bit about my journey and how I got to be here. So I wanna share next about what inspired this podcast, because if I’m being completely candid, claiming that I am a prosperous empath is, it’s still uncomfortable for me.
Catherine Wood (15:23):
<Laugh>, there’s, I think there’s something about claiming that we want to be prosperous, that is uncomfortable for a lot of heart centered entrepreneurs. And this podcast is really about bridging that divide, about helping you see how you can honor the heart centered entrepreneur that you are cherish and value your big heartedness and your generosity, while also teaching you how to thrive financially and in every other way. You know, I think there’s, there’s something about identifying as empaths that that still has negative connotations for many of us. I think there’s you know, there are some perceived preconceived notions that empaths are highly sensitive, that we’re driven by our feelings that we’re highly emotional. And all of those things are true <laugh> and also empaths are incredibly generous and are changing the world and are hugely driven by their mission, their impact, and their values.
Catherine Wood (16:39):
They’re certainly the types of people I surround myself with and the only types of people that I choose to engage with. And then on the other side prosperous. So listen, I think prosperity and being prosperous, I think that there’s a connotation that it’s all about financial wealth, and yes, that’s true. And also being prosperous is about so much more than that, right? Like, coming back to the, the blessings for Dali, it’s about wishing happiness, joy, and prosperity. It’s about that experience of having it all. And I think for many heart centered entrepreneurs, we oftentimes can lose sight of that experience of having it all. We might learn how to thrive in our businesses and have that be at the expense of our relationships or our wellbeing, or our personal joy. So for me, the journey, the experience of becoming a prosperous empath is about honoring the intrinsic qualities of who you are without being at odds with your values and your desires.
Catherine Wood (17:58):
It’s about the experience of having it all. So my goal is that you really take away tips and, and mindset hacks and stories that support you in stepping into the next level of who you are becoming as a prosperous empath. And that’s really what I’m gonna be sharing on this podcast. I’ll be sharing about some of my own mindset hacks and my journey as a prosperous empath. And I’ll also be interviewing guests who identify similarly, and hopefully you can learn and be inspired by their stories. I think the world needs more of our stories, and oftentimes when we can hear other people’s vulnerable stories and their journeys, we can hear ourselves, we can hear our own journeys and our own struggles in a way that makes them more applicable, more digestible, and easier to implement. So with that, I, I’m really excited to share with you for structures that have truly supported me in becoming a prosperous empath.
Catherine Wood (19:14):
And my hope is that in sharing these structures today, but also in moving forward, that you won’t need to struggle as much as I did, that your journey can be quicker and shorter than mine has been in becoming a prosperous empath. I think a lot of these lessons and these structures that I’ve acquired along the way have been at the expense of falling flat on my face, or in having my journey take a lot longer than I hope it does for you. So a lot of these structures were learned from just kind of throwing pain at the wall and seeing what stuck. They weren’t necessarily intentional structures that I put in place, or things that I did on purpose. They were lessons learned after the fact. And I mean, essentially, like really deep aha moments for me that I’m really excited to share with you today.
Catherine Wood (20:14):
So the first one, <laugh> and listen up, because if you identify as a prosperous empath, you re or are in the process of becoming one, you really need to take a look at these four structures for you and how you’re implementing them in your life. So the first one is community. If you are empathic and generous and really driven by service, you likely need a community to help you to help remind you who you are and reflect your gifts to you, and allow your own internal image and opinion of yourself to catch up with other people’s. Because what I know being an empath is that I am my default is to care about other people and prioritize other people at the expense of myself. And I, and I do it in some weird ways. Like I notice that for me, I often val overvalue other people’s opinions or experience or expertise at the expense of my own.
Catherine Wood (21:27):
Honestly, I think that’s probably one of the reasons why I was uncomfortable launching this podcast because I really enjoy listening to other people’s expertise and mastery and claiming my own. It’s, it’s still a growth edge for me. And listen, I’m nine years into business. So we in particular need community to reflect our gifts, to remind us of who we are and to hold us accountable. When I first started training as a coach, I serendipitously signed up for two communities that really supported me in the first years of business. So the first one was a networking organization. It’s called Business Networking International. And again, I’ll, I’ll link to that in the show notes as well. But essentially it’s a, it’s a franchise model, and it it’s a networking group. So you join a networking team, and there’s one member that holds each occupation.
Catherine Wood (22:35):
So for instance, one life coach, one financial planner, one real estate, one realtor one banker, one cfp, et cetera. And you serve as each other’s marketing team. And I just got married last weekend, and literally three of my guests at my wedding were some of the first entrepreneurs I met who were in my BNI chapter eight years ago, back in 2014. And those are, you know, those relationships will be with me for the duration of my life, and they have supported me intimately over the years, and they continue to refer business to me. So that was the first community that I joined. And I also maintained a, a deep community with my coach training organization and being surrounded by other coaches who were building their businesses offering reflections to one another about what we saw for one another, where we were getting stopped and challenged in our business, was deeply supportive for me.
Catherine Wood (23:42):
Some of my first clients in business were referrals from some of my colleagues from that coach training organization. And every time I raised my rates, they were there to hold me to it <laugh> to not let me decrease my rates. And having that community that again, believed in me before I believed in myself, made all the difference for me. So the first structure is community. You need to find a values aligned community where you feel safe to show up, to be vulnerable, and to ask for support. And I think you’ll know when you find the community for you, if you can generate that experience for yourself, if you can allow yourself to be vulnerable, show up as who you truly are and ask for support. So the second structure are rituals. And this is something that I talk about a lot.
Catherine Wood (24:46):
So I will likely will likely link to some of the articles that I’ve written over the years about rituals. And you can read more about my entire morning routine. But what I wanna say first and foremost about rituals is that when I started coaching, I had zero <laugh>, I had zero rituals, <laugh>, and they were really hard for me to incorporate. I knew that I wanted a morning routine. I knew that I wanted to meditate in the morning. I knew that I wanted to work out, I knew that I wanted to journal. And all of those things were incredibly challenging for me to implement on a daily basis. And what I’ve realized in hindsight, and this was actually an aha that I got when I read the book, Atomic Habits by James Clear, which I highly recommend if you are on a journey to integrate more rituals and habits into your life.
Catherine Wood (25:45):
But what I realized for me is that the reali, the reason that habits and rituals were so hard to incorporate into my day-to-day routine was because I was focused on the outcome. I was focused on that external gratification of doing this thing every day, of achieving this, of checking this off of my list every single morning. And I was focused on that. I was focused on that outcome. I was focused on what I wanted to achieve. And so much of my journey as a prosperous empath has been about shifting away from what I want to achieve into a more identity based conversation, into more of an experiential based conversation around who do I wish to become. And what I realized for myself is that as I realized that who I wish to become was a woman who took exquisite care of herself, a woman who was gentle with herself, a woman who nourished herself and started her day focusing on herself and filling her own cup so that she could serve everyone else from a full hearted, fully resourced place.
Catherine Wood (27:07):
And when I made that mindset shift away from focusing on the outcomes, and that a egoic based external gratification to a more intrinsic model, it allowed me to incorporate and embody habits and rituals as an expression of who I am. So truly, rituals have been a game changer for me. They have been incredibly helpful in becoming and thriving as a prosperous empath because what I notice is that when I prioritize rituals and taking care of myself, it allows me to show up fully and be of service to the clients that I serve. It allows me to stand for my full rate and not feel uncomfortable or awkward. It allows me to be more vulnerable, to be more authentic and fully transparent because I know who I am and I’m fully resourced and cared for, which then allows me to care for others at a deeper, more fully hearted place.
Catherine Wood (28:18):
So again, the first two, the first one you need is a community that’s values aligned and mission driven. The second one that you need to focus on are the rituals that are expressions of who you are, and that really support you in showing up fully resourced and fully open hearted. So the third structure are boundaries, <laugh>, and this is another structure that I talk about a whole lot. And they’ve been a huge part of my journey because I am the daughter of entrepreneurs. My parents owned a bed and breakfast in coastal New England, which is actually a just about an hour from where we are now in Cambridge. And I didn’t grow up with any boundaries. You know, you can imagine growing up in your parents’ place of work you were constantly on, you know, we had guests walking through our house every hour of every day.
Catherine Wood (29:24):
Our doors were always unlocked, our home was always open to guests. We answered phone calls throughout meals. We were constantly serving and supporting guests. So I really had no sense of personal boundaries, let alone personal space. And being highly heart centered and empathic learning to both set and honor boundaries has been really important for me in being able to grow a scalable, thriving business. And it makes sense, right? Because for most heart centered entrepreneurs, you likely really love what you do <laugh>. So you just wanna help and be of service and contribute. And for me, this often looked like coaching every hour of the day, seven days a week, working on my business at any moment. And it was you know, it was a setup for burnout. It was a setup for exhaustion and just complete burnout. So boundaries have been incredibly essential in allowing me to build a sustainable, scalable business model.
Catherine Wood (30:39):
And I love talking about boundaries, and I think you’ll really enjoy my five day boundary boot camp course that you can find in my website and will link to it in the show notes as well. But it really incorporates a lot of the lessons learned that I learned the hard way, <laugh>, about how to implement boundaries in service of me, and and really getting to be and find that sweet spot between being generous, but also being boundaried with my generosity. So the, again, the third structure is boundaries. And the first two are finding that heart centered values aligned community and finding the rituals that truly are in alignment with who you wanna become. And then the fourth area, which has been incredibly valuable and crucial for me over the years is in finding mentorship. So mentorship might look different for you, but for me it’s looked like always having a coach.
Catherine Wood (31:48):
And as a, as a credentialed coach and someone who really supports the credentialing of coaches, I am a huge advocate and stand for all coaches having their own personal coach, because to some degree, the degree to which I develop and evolve as a coach is the degree to which I will hear and be able to offer reflections for my own clients. So one of my first huge breakthroughs in mentorship was actually in investing in high level mentorship in, in, in investing in a high level coach. When I did my yearlong coach training program, which it was also a huge investment, it was, I think it was about 16,000 at the, the time. I received a coach as a part of the program. But after graduating from the program, I, I, you know, I was still, I was still kind of finding my way as a coach and I made the leap and I hired my first coach who was really, he was someone I deeply admired, and I saw a future vision for my own business in him.
Catherine Wood (33:12):
And something I always say to people who are considering making big investments in their business and in themselves is that you need to invest in the future that you are creating for yourself. You know, we oftentimes think about making investments from where we are in this moment, but in reality, you’re investing forward, you’re investing forward into the entrepreneur you’re becoming, and the vision that you are bringing to life. So I hired my first high level coach, and we worked together for three years. And his rate at the time was 1400. And honestly, I don’t even think I was making 1400 a month in earnings at the time or maybe on par, but honestly, I think it was like, nah, ma Sonos the same <laugh>, and it was incredibly uncomfortable and risky. And working with that coach is really what it took to get me to reaching my first six figures.
Catherine Wood (34:21):
And he, he was a game changer for me in my business. And after working with him for three years, I went on to hire his former coach. And I’ve been working with her ever since. It’s been five years since I’ve worked with her weekly. And she’s been an incredible thought partner for me. And I deeply value having that partner on my team who can continually reflect to me who I’m becoming and how far I’ve come, because I think sometimes we can forget how much we’ve overcome to get to be where we, where we are today and who we are today. And having that thought partner who is so deeply invested in me and who can hold a mirror for my vision and what I’m committed to creating when I lose sight of it, when I feel disconnected, when I, when I wanna run the other way, has been just the most, the single most important structure that I have had since first becoming a coach in 2014. So that wraps up the four structures.
Speaker 2 (35:36):
Again, they’re community rituals, boundaries, and mentorship. I am so grateful for you being here with me today. Thank you so much for listening, and we’ll see you next week.
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