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Join business strategist Tina Tower as she explores how to build your empire by packaging your expertise into online courses, speaking, content, podcasting and credibility.
Tina has over 17 years of experience in starting, building and selling companies, she's a speaker, teacher, mama and world traveller.
She's unapologetic about living an intentionally big life and if you want too, this show is designed to show you many different options to help you gain clarity over YOUR version of awesome.
Overcoming limiting mindsets
Making a global impact
Cathy's involvement in The Hunger Project Australia
Finding purpose and consulting
Second phase of life and embracing wise woman years
In this episode we have the wonderful Cathy Burke talking about lessons in leadership. Cathy is a passionate advocate for women's empowerment and leadership. For 20 years, Cathy was the CEO for The Hunger Project Australia, and then Global Vice President. She helped develop leadership at scale in villages all over the world. Through her work, millions of the world’s poorest people stepped into their leadership and were able to feed themselves and their families. Empowering women was at the heart of this success.
Cathy now works with women who find questions of soul and meaning are becoming more important. She helps women overcome limiting mindsets and crafts, lives and businesses where soul and impact are aligned and flow. She's won a bunch of awards, including the Australian Financial Review Women of Influence Award. She's the author of a few books, unlikely leaders, lessons in leadership from the village classroom, and lead in mindsets to lead, live and work differently.
In this conversation, Cathy shares her journey of personal growth, how she evolved to becoming CEO of The Hunger Project Australia, leadership evolution and her business mentoring, speaking and running programs helping people all over the world.
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Hi, friend, and welcome to episode 236 of her Her Empire Builder show. Today I have a conversation on leadership lessons for you with Cathy Burke. Cathy is one of the most interesting, remarkable, warm, smart humans that I have ever come across in my life. I met her back in 2011. So she is the absolute.
Well, she's a mindset queen, but I wouldn't classify her as the mindset queen. She's just a deep soul. For 20 years, Cathy was the CEO of the Her Empire Builder and then the global vice president. She helped develop leadership at a scale in villages all over the world. And through her work, millions of the world's poorest people stepped into their leadership and were able to feed themselves and their families.
And empowering women was at the heart of this success. So that is how I first met Cathy was the work that she was doing with the Hunger Project. I was going on a trip in 2012 with the Hunger project to the villages of Uganda that was being led by Cathy. So, so incredibly lucky to be able to go on a trip led by the CEO of the Hunger Project. But she took us into remote villages in Uganda and talked to us about how they were doing, like, hand ups, not handouts, and how they were really ending hunger across the world by leadership and empowering people in the villages and doing things a little bit differently to anything that I have done before.
And it was extremely pivotal in my life view at the time and really got me very started. I had, up until that point, been invested in world vision and water aid and different things on a very small scale. But working with Cathy really showed me in all the good ways that I had a responsibility as a human being on this planet to use my influence and my leadership and everything that I had access to to make a bigger impact and to be part of the change that I wanted to see in the world. And as heartbreaking as it all was, to be there and see all of that, it was also very empowering because I was able to see the difference that we could make and to sit down in huts and have conversations with women that were such different circumstances to what I am living in. But we were so alike.
Like, we were still talking about our businesses that we were running and our children and all of the different similarities that we can find as humans. And so it was very life changing for me. And I credit Cathy with kicking off that spark inside me. Know now I fund scholarships in Kenya with the Kakua foundation, the charity that I established, so that we could try and make our small part in women's equality and leadership and empowerment. And so I thank Cathy for that quite a lot.
But now she works with women who find questions of soul and meaning are becoming more important. She helps women overcome limiting mindsets and crafts, lives and businesses where soul and impact are aligned and flow, and I can't think of a better human in the world to be able to do this. She's won a bunch of awards, including the Australian Financial Review Women of Influence Award. She's the author of a few books, unlikely leaders, lessons in leadership from the village classroom, and lead in mindsets to lead, live and work differently. She lives in the hills behind Byron Bay, is a bit of a hippie, loves swimming in the local creeks with her rescue dog Leo, and is an all round fabulous human.
So I know in this conversation she'll share with you a lot of the things that she's done and what she's been through, and hopefully it will spark the leader within you and inspire you to look at our life in more of a global perspective. Here she is. Cathy Burke hello and welcome to her Her Empire Builder show. I'm your business strategist and host, Tina Tower, and I am so happy you are here. My goal with this show is to bring you the inspirational and informative conversations with interesting humans as well as the tools, tips and resources to help you build your online business.
Since starting my first business at 20, I have built and sold four times. And in 2018, while traveling around the world with my family for a year, I tripped and fell into this wonderful world of online courses and I instantly fell in love. I'm a million dollar course creator, a world traveler, bestselling author, a mummer of two man children, and a lucky wife. There's no playing small here. It's your time to grow to run a highly profitable business that makes you wildly wealthy while you positively impact your clients and the world around you and have the life you've always dreamed of.
Let's get it. Oh my gosh. Okay, I have the wonderful Cathy Burke with us here today, and when she came on the screen, I will share. I nearly cried because Cathy has been instrumental in the turning point of my life. I am nearly 40 and I can pinpoint, I feel emotional just talking about it.
I can pinpoint the entrance of Cathy Burke into my life and that was the biggest shifting year that I have ever had. And I think you have made an impact on so many people, but I doubt you would ever know the enormity of that. So we're going to talk about that. But Cathy, welcome to the female course. Creator show, darling, I love you.
Just. Okay, I'm going to start there so that I don't open a story and then not close the story. So I first met Cathy in 2012 when I went on business Chick's first leadership and immersion tour to Uganda. Yeah. Was Uganda, wasn't it?
I'm like, is it Kenya? No, it was Uganda with the hunger project, of which you were the CEO then, which was pretty plenty impressive that we got to have you on our trip. And for me, I had been in business for eight years. We'd just started franchising. I was in a really tough place going, what have I done with my life?
I've put all of my money into it. We were losing our house. All of this was happening. I had no money. And feeling very sorry for myself that I had worked so hard, and it was all looking like it wasn't going to pay off.
And I didn't know who I was, who I wanted to be when I grew up. I had these little children. I was having this existential crisis. And then you got me on a bus and gave us probably one of the most harrowing weeks of my life, which was the greatest thing that has ever happened. And it changed everything for me after that point.
So, first, thank you for giving a bit of your soul in that trip. What was that like for you, doing those small groups? And how long did you do those?
How long did I do them for? I did them for years. And I loved leading them because that was my personal first awakening also. So I was invited to step up my leadership in behalf of an issue that didn't get much focus, which is world hunger. And particularly for women who had very little visibility, to make a difference in some way.
And similarly to you, I was like a young woman, a young family. Hadn't quite seen the similarities till now. Sort of ended up and I went to Ethiopia. And it wasn't that long after the whole live aid famine situation. And what I saw just seared my heart.
And I thought, I need to do something about this. But I'm just like an absolute dag. Still am, but from Perth. A young family never saw myself as, like, a leader, know, ex punk rocker, like, you know, what can I do? And it's been unraveling that thread of expanding the what can I do?
Piece and constantly overcoming my own self imposed limitations. But also, we do live in a cultural patriarchy that has women's voices be diminished. Anyway, my own family background I needed to overcome and step into expanding my own leadership on behalf of something greater than myself. And so that pivotal moment. And I was led by the incredible Lynn Twist, who was the author of soul of money.
So I really recommend, if you haven't read it, Tina, but your listeners, to get the soul of money with Lynn. She's like a constant avatar, this leadership transformation avatar for me. And she held that space for my own sort of midwifeing into a greater soul, a greater sort of analogy. And then I just wanted to create that space for us because we work hand in hand with solving global issues. Like, the more that we step back in the sort of the financially richer areas by thinking we can't do anything else, it's just not true.
So it's like speaking about our truth. I was doing them for a while and then partnered up with business chicks, and we ended up doing like, probably ten amazing. Imagine the ripple effect that you had from even that. I mean, not to mention we'll get into all of the other work that you have done too, but the ripple effect from that. I know I was feeling sorry for myself going on that trip.
And I remember one of the nights we'd had a particularly difficult day there, and the hard part was going, we can't even begin to make a difference in this world. There are so many problems and so many different things and so many inherently ingrained things that we can't even begin to make a difference. And you did, like this two hour, I want to say speech of going, here's how you can do it, and here's how you can reimagine what's possible. Like that line for me stuck with me forever in a day. And I committed after that to make it bigger than myself.
And we have given. So that was eleven years ago now that we went on that trip. So we've given 4% of top line revenue ever since. We've funded all of the microfinance loans. We're currently funding nearly 50 girls through school in Kenya, and have started our own foundation to do that.
And that is all because of you. Oh, Tina, that's just. Because of you. Stepped into the moment. I mean, Mary Oliver talks about that, the beautiful, profound poet, and she talks about keeping your appointment with life.
And most of us don't show up to the appointment. And you showed up to the appointment and you've kept it and you've kept living it in the way that is true for you. Yeah, well, I think a lot of it at the start was, what difference can I make? Like, it's never enough anyway. And I still battle with that sometimes.
So what do you say to people, like, in this day and age that we're living in, where, let's be honest, at this moment in time, I mean, nearly every moment in time, you can pinpoint the world going to hell in a handbasket. But there's a lot of things happening that the feeling of hopelessness and defeat that can come over us in what difference can we actually make? Because I know the current work that you're doing, too, still links with that in how do you help people to go? You can step into your leadership and you can still make that difference, no matter how small that can feel. Yeah, well, part of the truth about myself that I've stepped into, Tina, is owning the space that I am to give people hope for the future.
So when I kind of distill my sort of central thing, it is about creating that space, because I think, and I mean active hope, not the hope of, like, thoughts and prayers, or, gee, I hope it turns out, or hope my strategy works, or I hope the client rings, or I hope peace emerges in this area. But that sort of active hope and where it's a discipline. Maryam Kaiber, the amazing black activist in America, talks about hope being a. So firstly, it's recognizing that it isn't action, it's a stand that you take. It won't just sort of happen to you.
And I think the way that I've managed to navigate it over the years, because I've certainly had times when I've been in villages and I've really felt incredibly hopeless and have come back a few times besides doing trips, would spend a lot of time, particularly in India and Bangladesh and different parts of Africa, helping design programs, run programs, support the teams on the ground, doing stuff and really learning myself and coming back. And a couple of times in particular just felt so numb and, yeah, I'm all right, it's fine. But just didn't really care. And so what I've learned over the years is, firstly to start to notice that numbing in myself, in others, and then seeing what is the story, I'm attaching to that, which is why I do so much work around mindsets. The work of the hunger project is deeply steeped in mindsets, and mindsets really are the beliefs and the stories that we have about ourselves.
I can't do this. This is not possible. Like in a village, people would say, allah has deserted us. I'm just a woman. No one will listen to me.
So it's like this story, or it's a story we tell about something else. Like, the government's terrible or whatever. And so it's being able to unpick what's happening from the story I'm telling about it. And then looking at that story, and it's like, is this story enlargening my life? Is this story giving me sort of some space to grow, even if it's painful?
Or is this constricting me? Is this constraining me? Is this feeding into the small Cathy? Is this sort of numbness, this stepping back? Because then with that comes cynicism, resignation, despair.
And so it's actually sort of feeling into and recognizing what's happening and then choosing, even with this, what is the thing that's going to enlargen me, because I'm someone who's not going to step back. I'm not just talking about world issues. Even in my own life. I get stuck. I feel despair.
I think, oh, my God, what am I doing?
As Mary Oliver said, keeping that appointment with yourself, keeping yourself on the hook for. I do think, though, you might have an abnormally remarkable capacity to hold more than most of us. Like, I look at it and go, even before we hit record, I'm in Palm Springs at the moment, and you asked what I loved about Palm springs. And part of what I love is it's almost like a fictitious world that I come to where it's like the Truman show. Everything's happy, and it's like you can pretend that the world is, for a moment, blue, crisp skies and perfect, happy people and poodles everywhere and everything going on.
And you were the CEO of the hunger project for a long time, and you went back in like, you were so involved. You weren't CEO in the sense of sitting in an office, like you were in and out of the field, constantly in and out of programs. Every time I talked to you, I'd just go, wow. And you held people watching you with people, with their pain. It was just remarkable what you can hold for that.
How did you energetically deal with all of that? I mean, I watch Hallmark movies as well because I like to escape from the reality of the situation. I can go in it, but then it's heartbreaking when you actually sit in the inequalities in the world. How did you hold it for such a long time? Well, I think we need to discard, like, a binary thinking.
Like, there's the Palm Springs thing, or I need to know, like this. Both things are true at the same.
I live in, as, you know, up here in beautiful Byron Bay in Paradise or in the Bogan hillbilly hills behind beautiful Byron Bay.
So it's being able to hold both things so beauty. The jacaranda trees are out at the moment. It's just spectacular. And then opening my heart up to when we're recording this now, what's happening in Gaza and Israel for like, we've just had the referendum, it's actually being able to hold both and my form of escape is fantasy novels, science fiction, fantasy novels, I love that shit so I love just zoning out and reading that. I really enjoy it so I don't feel guilty about it.
I just think I love just lying around. My thing that I love to do is lying around eating mangoes, having sex with like that's true whilst also showing up. It was a long time ago, so I don't know if you remember, but there was one night that Christine core and I were sitting there and we were sobbing. That's fucked. Yeah, Christine got real mad.
She got real got because it was unlike anything that we've really seen, like you hear about it in a really conceptual way, but to be there sitting in the dirt in the huts with the other and it's just so unfair and so heartbreaking and we were finding it really hard to deal with that. You were in there going, this is not helpful to anybody, like schooled us, which I kind of think you're still doing now. And I'm like, I need more Cathy in my life. But I was looking at you there and going like, you see this every day and you weren't desensitized to it in the way of dealing with it but you were able to open yourself to it and be there and be really present but also go me crying about it and sitting there feeling hopeless isn't going to help the situation. What can I do to make my small little part which is remarkable?
I don't know, Tina, I mean I think too you're cherry picking the good mean I've had plenty of time and I think that sort of anger and tears I remember when Ethiopia probably similar I was crying in a heart going, this is terrible. We've got food, we've got thing we didn't give anyone and Lynn twist just came in like this sort of pin drop and she said that wouldn't help, you would only do that to make yourself feel better and that's not what this is about. You need to keep your promise to these people and go out and take action to end hunger. She just wasn't there for any of our nonsense. Yeah, well you learned from the best.
It was like the magnet that just aligned me. And then I led my life out of that. In fact, I mentioned Lyn because when I left the hunger project, so I was a full on volunteer for five years and activist leader. I asked people for money the first. Just so amazed that someone would do that.
Then I leveled up to 1000 and someone gave me 1000. I just thought, this is just amazing. And then it went up and up. I ended up being. Going on staff and then being asked to be the CEO, which I felt totally ill equipped for.
I even said no at first. Know, just little Cathy. I think I had some story about know, like, oh, we don't do two hierarchies in Australia, which is obviously complete bullshit, but it was like a little Cathy. And then the bigger Cathy had to come in and say yes. Even though I feel ill equipped, I don't quite know what I'm doing.
I can work out the next step and live into that grace. And so that's what I've just sort of kept doing, really. Yeah. And so what caused you to leave six years ago? Well, so then I was on staff at 20 and I was global vice president as well.
Something really changed for me, Tina, when I wrote my first book, unlikely leaders, I think you were even at the book launch, or was so, like, it was getting the stories out and just that. So something changed me with that. I loved leading the programs. I just love waking us up.
I think back to this because I now coach other leaders. I coach sort of entrepreneurial go getter women, and I wished I'd had me. I didn't have me or a version of me then. And I allowed things like my relationship with the board, and I felt, like, dominated by them. And I can see that what I had started to do was to shape my leadership around approval, not so much do you approve of me?
Because it wasn't about that, but just it became so mainstream, Tina, and my energy, and it didn't need to be as well. I co opted myself into that space that actually where I come alive is that frontier, that edge. And every time we went there as an organization, we expanded. And there'd been two times previous where I'd taken time out to three weeks or something, but to reconstitute my relationship to my own leadership, and I didn't do it. After the 20 years, I felt like I was done and then I wasn't prepared necessarily to do that work.
And I was also being called to do what I'm doing now. And it was so amazing. So many people rang me up, Tina, after I'd taken some time off, and what are you doing? What are you doing? And I told them, and they're like, one word in particular.
She just does, like, silence on the end of the phone. And she's like, right, so you're stopping making this big global impact to be a pause consultant.
I just made me smile on the inside. She was just so judgy.
But look at the impact you have with every individual. Like, it's so there. A. I've made my global impact. I get that.
But. We have to live our life with where our energy is calling us. Right? And for me, and I particularly had seen this, we do struggle here, and I don't believe in first world problems. We're anxious, we're struggling.
We want to make things happen. We want to live as fully as we can. And why shouldn't we? And that's where I'm drawn. I'm still.
I'm writing a book with my colleague in Bangladesh about how he created this movement of women who have taken over the. So we're doing know, doing things in different areas. But, yeah, I just thought, actually, I don't need to prove anything, but also I just love awakening and help standing, walking side by side, people who want to increase their impact and want to. And so I want to talk about soulful leaders, because that's what you're running now. Now, in my up to date research of you that I did, because I'm like, I only know you as Cathy from the hunger project.
So I'm like, what is soulful leaders all about? Now, I'm going to bring this up because I giggled at your sales page, which I don't even know if you remember what you wrote on your sales page, but one of the, it's not for you. If you're looking for a chillaxing escape, you're not really up to much. You're not prepared to let your facade down. You're only in it for you and not prepared to support other women in their greatness.
And I was like, that is so Cathy.
Is it, though? I think that's quite. Is it? Okay. Didn't realize.
I just. Yes, you work with a lot of women who are achievement driven, who are very impressive, who are very used to not having to, but very used to having a facade up and used to having that as part of your armor and part of your life. And, yeah, I did read that and go, it is what you would do immediately with a group of women is disarm them and go, all right, drop it. Now, we're all humans, and you are just as important as the woman over here. And the woman over here is just as important as that is.
So you can break down a barrier of women from all different types walks of life. Yeah, that's very. About soulful leaders. Well, soulful leaders is one of the programs that I'm running. So, yeah, I left the hunger project, and then I took nearly a year off.
I went to the Amazon jungle with Lyn Twist. So I kind of went back to my lineage of. I'm not a religious person, although how have I managed to do different things? I have been meditating, Tina, since it's now, like, nearly 35 years. So I have, like, a daily practice, so that's definitely helped.
35 years. How many days do you miss?
Not many, but sometimes it might just be 10 minutes. Yeah, I get about ten years. I get probably four or five days a week. I still have never done, like, the. Every single day, and I'm still always disappointed, going, come on, you're so close.
I never feel like I can say I'm a daily meditator. Holy shit. Yeah. But that's also you. You're such achiever.
Must be in your top five Gallup strengths. Is it any number one, three the achiever? Yeah, exactly. It's like, got that list off. Whereas I'm much more in the.
I don't have a thing about. Yeah, yeah. So I went there. I did an ayahuasca ceremony with Lynn under the. How was that?
Literally, in the Amazon.
People don't know what ayahuasca is. It's a psychedelic that we were in with the Ashwa people. There's a whole thing we got flown in. Did you actually do ayahuasca in the Amazon? Yeah, like, lying on banana leaves with this shaman whistling at me and flicking leaves at me.
I'm not even surprised, though. A lot of my business friends that I know have been talking about business planning with psychedelics and mushrooms, and it's. A whole new world that I'm. Yeah, I'll talk to you offline about this, because I'm actually also on the advisory board for mind Medicine Australia, and they've been really key in getting psychedelics. Well, psilocybin and MDMA, legalized for therapeutic use for.
There's heaps of evidence for anxiety, depression, PTSD and stuff like that. So you did ayahuasca in the Amazon jungle. We'll go back there and then the use of mushrooms and things has just been transformational for me. As well. But maybe we'll talk about that offline.
Yes. We could talk about so many things. I'm like, I could take you down that rabbit hole. Because I haven't had anyone talking about that. Yeah, I'm happy to talk.
Absolutely happy to talk about. Yeah. So what was the result of doing that for you? Well, the Amazon one was part of being there, looking at protecting the sacred headlands of the Amazon from logging incursions. So mobilizing people around that, that's why I was there for that.
That wasn't transformational for me.
But it's not legal in Australia. I'm just putting that in there. But you can go to other countries. But it has been. Even with my life, it's completely changed my experience of being alive.
Tina, which was already. I was already pretty alive. Yeah. Transformed my ability to be present.
It still freaks me out. I've never had a drug in my life.
It's not recreational. It's all about set and setting. You do it consciously. There's a guide. It's not something mean, in my experience, to do it therapeutically.
It's not something. You just take a handful and sit out in the back lawn. So you did that in the Amazon. What did you do for the rest of your year off? Well, then I also then went and studied with Werner Earhart.
So he created the S training and Landmark Forum, like in the. He also set up the hunger project. And I've actually never met him, but I did landmark Forum, which was absolutely, epically transformational for me when I did it as a young woman. And then, of course, the Hunger project. And just the rigor of that, thinking around what's possible and not settling for what's kind of expected or what's reasonable, but actually what elevates us, what represents us as who we can be.
So he created that for the world in terms of ending hunger. And that way of thinking is just still so with me. And that's the work that I bring now with women is elevating who are you really, and what are you capable of? And not necessarily more goals to hit up here. Absolutely.
But also in other ways. So I spent time with him. I did a course with him. Yeah, I did, like, a deep dive. I felt like I needed to nourish myself intellectually, spiritually, emotionally.
After 20 years on staff at the Hunger project. I love, though, most people, when they took a year off after being a CEO of a global company for decades, would, like, vacation. And you were like, we went into this logging thing. I went and explored hunger. You're just amazing.
You're like, no biggie, just trying to end world hunger. And a lot of times sitting out on the grass and listening to music and journal, like thinking and seeing bands and actually I thought it would be like three months, and then it was six months and it was just over nine months, basically. And then I created, kind of stepped into the world of consulting people. Consulting, yes. And now you've got your online programs going.
So what does life look like for you now? So really relaxed, actually. So I've got much to teach you about this, Tina, one of my favorite sayings, and it was even true. Ready to be. Yeah, yeah.
Is how beautiful. It's by anonymous, who was like so wise. So the saying is how beautiful it is to do nothing and then rest afterwards.
I've kind of lived that in my life. So even though busy with the family and stuff, I had a lot of time. My thing is around. So I do work with organizations around mindset and culture and sort of the thinking and beliefs we're bringing to our leadership, our work that we're doing. I've just done a whole series of work with Google across North America and Europe, mainly looking at sort of mindsets that they're feeling about despair and resignation.
They've had some cutbacks and layoffs and stuff like that. And then I work with organizations here in Australia, a lot of them disability, social services based, who are really committed people, but not a lot of time, budget cuts. And so what we tend to do is then how do I fix it out here, but actually without addressing the beliefs that we're having, which is like, it's too hard. And the scarcity mindset is a really big thing. Tina.
So I've sort of done heaps of work that's been like a big piece of my work is helping people name the scarcity mindset, see it and kind of separate it from. You can be in a situation that's difficult and hard, but you don't have to have the scarcity mindset overlay on it. So what is the mindset you then create? And where are your true resources, and how do we liberate them to overcome the scarcity that we face? So that's a big piece of work that I do.
So I do that. I'm just like a little fairy that just sort of wanders around when people need it. And then I do run programs for women. So soulful leaders is the. I've got this little group of women that I meet with regularly.
We kind of meet like every quarter for sort of three days or so. And they're like, you should do this. And I'm like, really? I wonder if anyone would do it. My own mindset, I'm always working on it.
They want to do that. They're like, yes, I'll put it out there. So basically that's working with. So women come up here to Byron once a quarter to work with me and each other for a day. So it's essentially like on businesses, but it's not like, bring your business plan and your.
It's not an accountability circle as such. It's looking like the sessions. That's strategy. Let's get your plans. But you need that.
You do need that. But also increasingly women have that. But especially as we get into the midlife, sort of, sort of mid 30s onwards, we move into what we call the second phase of life. In the first phase, we're answering questions of, what does the world want from me? How do I be successful?
Have I got a partner? I need to pay the mortgage? We're dealing with the world as it presents itself to us and we need to do that. We need to get that shit sorted. But then increasingly questions of meaning come in.
Questions of soul, what's my soul asking of me? I've got this, but it's less fulfilling. And then we often then try to do more of what we're currently doing. And so we just come together and we talk about, what's your second phase of life, wanting from you? And I just have a whole series of questions, just different ways to look at how you want to live your life.
And then the women are coming out of it. Then they can apply that in their business. Weirdly. Not weirdly. And they're just more available for their clients.
They're creating this different space for their team. They're a different thing with their relationships. It's easier, there's more flow. It is something I see all the time. Like, so many of my clients are in their.
It's like the second chapter in going. Like, they've had really successful traditional businesses, really successful corporate careers, but are coming in with that. Like, I want more purpose and meaning in my life. And it's the confusion around everything that's driven me till this point. I don't really care about anymore.
And that's confusing. And it's like, what happened to that? And so many. Have I lost my drive? Have I lost my ambition?
Like, am I ever going to get it back again? Or do I just simply not care? I hear that on repeat. Yeah, that's the second stage of life questions. And it just keeps butting up until it's addressed and then incorporate it, include it, and maybe your life will take a different direction as well.
But actually, what we find, what I find is that we need soul, Tina. There's a really great distinction around spirit and soul, so we're very spirit driven. So it's like clear vision, light, ascension, but we need the fragmentation, the bringing together the bits of us that we might have thought were not good enough. We disowned, they maybe weren't approved of. These bits need to come in.
It's not clear. It can be a bit murky. And so we tend to step away from that and we kind of keep focusing here. And we need them both together. So we need the spirit, but we also need to descend.
We need to sit together in the truth of our feelings, our vulnerabilities. That's why I say, if you want to keep your facade up, this is not for you. Like, just being really clear because you want to sit together. And I actually don't have it all figured out. Then it's like, beautiful.
Everyone's going through this existential crisis. It's like, you're in the right place. Welcome.
The questions of soul are getting more insistent. And we live in a culture that doesn't address that, talk about it. And look, I grew up catholic, and so even questions of the soul is like, oh, shit. That just feels almost like religious, but, yeah, so sad. And I'm running a retreat actually in two weeks time.
So this is like. It's called the soulful women's retreat. So we're all coming into Byron and we're going to have a fire. This will be recorded. Like, people hear about it after this, but we're going to burn shit.
There's going to be rituals, we're going to sit together, so we're going to descend, but just like, in terms of what do we not need any net? We're going to walk up a hill in silence and they're all like, amazing women, but we're going to be like temple priestesses coming together.
I'm more like, I have this thing, like working with Google, working with this organization, working with these ceos, doing this stuff. But then it's like, the older I'm getting, Tina, the more I'm just like, let's just getting. Not weirder, but realer. I mean, I'm pretty real anyway, about getting older. It's every year.
I think there's my favorite thing about getting older is caring less about certain things and stepping more into who you actually are. Yeah. And it's not an easy thing. I think for a lot of people, it's not an easy thing for me. No.
Two weeks ago I turned 60. No, I know. So I went to Uluru. So I've been feeling this portal of happy birthday, Cathy. Yeah, thank you.
It was so amazing, Tina. I've been, like, really working. I feel absolutely fine about being 60 and I don't have anything around it except for there's like a distilling of, like, I'm really owning what I'm calling my wise wise, wise, wise, wise woman years. So it's like this. I've definitely been doing the work myself.
So have been doing the work. And then it's like a constellation of just. Yeah. Anyway, I'm loving it, as you can see. You started off going, I went to Uluru, your portal, for 60.
Yeah. I wanted it to be so when I turned 50, I was just traveling all the time. I just wanted bottle of Don Perignon, a two hour massage at home, and oysters and stuff. I didn't go anywhere except Steve. That was like bliss for me.
I had big parties in my 40th and 60th.
I'm feeling very conscious about it. It's like an elder threshold, and I really own that, Tina. But I also wanted to do probably the last sort of four or five months I've been really doing the work in that. So I feel like Uluru wasn't the portal, although it probably is a portal to extra dimensions. I don't know.
But it was just being there for six days and just every day up at 430, walking around, sitting in the dirt, going out to different places for. You, because you've obviously thought about purpose and life for a really long time. Coming into your 60s, what is your plan on? Are you going to retire like a traditional retirement age? Do you know?
Are you going to just see where the world takes you? What is your plan for this? Oh, my God, Tina, do you even know me? No. Yeah, that's why I'm asking the question.
Because I know you'll have a fabulous answer.
I'm going to get to 65 and then I'm going to retire, and then I'm going to. No, I think this is what's so amazing about how the world is designed for us now. And so many of my role models, like, I look at Lyn Twist, she's nearly 20 years older than me and she's still doing these things. And Werner, when I did the course with him, he was like 85 or something.
Badil, who I'm writing this book with, is running this global movement, countrywide movement. He's 78. I studied with Joanna Macy. No, I just feel. No, but I feel much more freer around where do I want to put my impact?
If I don't want to work with you, I won't. This organization is like a no.
And just like, I want to keep helping build possibility and giving people hope for the future. So even if it's just through my energy, just how I am at a coffee, catch up with someone without doing anything. Like, I bring that to people with big challenges at work or in their life. And also I want to keep activating us. We live at a critical time in human history.
We want to be awake. We want to be activated, and I think we actually do want that. It doesn't have to be for a big global issue. It can be to bring more joy and peace into my family. It may be to heal this rift.
It may be to make this contribution to others. I don't think there's a hierarchy of what we get involved in. I think that's part of the old sort of capitalistic way of thinking. I just think where you're drawn to give your energy is where you should give it. And this is where I'm drawn to give my energy.
So where I'm giving it, and then I'll just keep giving it. I'll just keep giving it. I might move into the nursing home, but I'll still be on my Zimmer frame. Actually, I don't think I will be because I've been doing, like, exercises, Tina, so you've got to be really proud of me.
I know this podcast is just, yes. I could ask more questions about that, but I'm just going to let it go. So to finish. Yes, my last question is for women that are like, I've been head down doing my thing for a long time, and I feel that pull and that yearning to find more meaning and purpose and to activate that little bit more. Like, I know there's a level unlocked for me.
What is your advice on how to start exploring that when you've been doing the same thing for such a long time?
Often it comes as a feeling of sort of frustration, anxiousness, tightness, dissatisfaction. I would be approaching that as like a clue rather than something I need to fix or get rid of or it's a problem to solve, because essentially this is part of your sort of soul kind of coming through. And the amazing choreographer Martha Graham called this divine dissatisfaction. So to start to see it as, like, a divine dissatisfaction, we're meant to keep evolving and growing, Tina. Like, it's just part of our universe.
So my first thing is when that happens, just to welcome it in like a friend. It's like, this is what this is. This is actually kind of my soul telling me something, what is it? And just start to bring it in. Bring it in like a friend instead, trying to fix it or shut it down or get help for it or something and create some tenderness around it.
So we're tough, and women, we've become. We have these mechanisms, and we need them to survive in the culture that we live in. But there's a tenderness that we need to start attending to and just to start to feel it. It's a friend. And that will then be your first creating a relationship with it rather than something else with it.
You might want to journal about it. What is this telling me? In fact, even journal, I don't even use the word journal, although I did just use it then, because journals. Journaling then has to become a thing. Do you journal?
It's like another thing we have to do as women. I tend to think about it as, like, pick up a pen and paper. It's like reflecting, using writing to reflect, to be thinking about something. And then could just be this, like, I feel this dissatisfaction coming through. Okay, so that would be the first thing, is to start to see it.
It's actually part of being alive. It's part of growth. It's part of us women rising into our power. And this is part. It's just telling you to bring this in.
There's something that's not yet being attended to, and it's tender. So you want to bring. We can reimagine what's possible. We could give people hope for the future. We can have all of these sort of sayings around it.
But that's what I'd say. Thank you. Yeah, that's what I'd say. I loved getting to talk to you. I will link to all your programs, all your books, all your.
Everything in the notes below, because you're a woman worth watching and listening to. Thank you. Are entering your wife. Well, I wouldn't say you're entering your wise years because you were wise 20 years ago. So we'll see what happens.
I feel like these are my wise. Woman years, not just really wise years. Well, now you can kind of like, I was talking to someone the other day in going, I've always been the same, but in my gigglingness and happiness came off as aloof and airheady, whereas now people say, I really love your energy, but it's the exact same thing that I'm like each decade. It's like you get interpreted in a different way. So being in your older means now your wiseness is like Oracle instead of just being, wow, she's young and really knows what she's talking about now.
It's like the priestess. Thank you, Tina. I love you too. Thanks, Cathy. This episode was brought to you by my signature group coaching program, her Her Empire Builder.
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