Breaking money spells, childhood programming, trust your gut & self-awareness (Ep. 04 Katie Curtin)
I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation with longtime friend, writer, and fellow coach Katie Curtin. Katie writes about the money spells that keep people (especially creatives) from the kind of wealth that they're capable of generating.
Our conversation took interesting turns into how our childhood programming limits our earning capacity and happiness, the role of intuition and trusting your gut in coaching, the importance of self-awareness, religion & social activism. Enjoy! —MP
***Video transcript follows... may contain errors since a robot did it***
00:00:01 Mike Pietrzak: Hello, everyone, I'm Mike Pietrzak, and I'm on a mission to help you become your potential. Today, I'm very fortunate to be speaking with a longtime friend, artist, fellow writer and coach Katie Curtin. Welcome, Katie. Katie is a coach who specializes in helping clients with their creative projects and writing their books. She's also great at helping people break their money spells and is working on a book of her own on that subject to follow up her previous money book The Happy, Well-fed Artist. She also hosts the Creativity Cafe, which features events and interviews with creative pioneers, social innovators, artists and activists. And the last thing I want to say about you, Katie, is that I know you have a lifelong commitment to social justice issues and that this is rooted in a very deep kindness and compassion for people. The first thing I noticed when I met you was your kindness. And I think that's an exceptional quality and a coach. So welcome and thanks for taking the time to do this with me.
00:01:05 Katie Curtin: Thank you very much. That's a very generous introduction, and I just took to you after the first meeting, we were at a coffee place in the Social Innovation Center, and I have been so impressed by your work and your amazing organizer of events as well, and it's just a privilege to be here with you. And that and the pleasure, shall we say to you.
00:01:31 Mike Pietrzak: Yeah, it's it's mutual. I think we're a bit of kindred spirits here, and I appreciate you noticing my creative or my my organizational skills are one one of the best compliments and possibly a backhanded one I received was that I'm a ruthless taskmaster. And so I took it as a compliment because, you know, someone needs to get the trains running on time. But yeah, so I worked on developing other skills as well since then. But why don't we? Why don't we dive in? And I want to ask you a few things that I think are important to both of us and to our audiences as well. Why do so many people, especially creatives, struggle with money? And what's the solution?
00:02:12 Katie Curtin: Oh, big question. Well, creators and particularly artists of the importance of things like if you do your art, you're going to starve and you won't you won't get enough money. Activists are told that money money is bad, news isn't dry and have too much. And there's all kinds of concepts about how having money is something that might make you evil or not yourself. So people don't always want they want money, but they don't. And also, I think there's just a lot of and we can get into this later. Just a lot of self-esteem questions, a lot of things that are there that I've actually become aware of over the years because originally I didn't think actually, I tried to avoid money because I didn't like the way money was used in this society. And I think a lot of people feel the same way. There's a few billionaires controlling the economies and it's, you know, and we're on a if you look at it with the planet, we're actually we're in danger both for other species and ourselves. And so there's a lot of ways that we organize and where money is put ahead of actually the good of this planet and the good of people. So people tend to kind of say, Well, I don't want to deal with money. Money is evil and and it may be conscious or unconscious. And so when you have those attitudes, then it's hard to keep money or to even use that necessarily well. And so a lot of social innovators and creators, even when they get money, they just might flow through their hands very quickly without some really being able to use it properly. So that's a short answer to a lot more
00:04:14 Mike Pietrzak: seems to be a very common theme in a lot of people's lives, not just creatives that there's this idea that money is evil. I mean, we're taught this. You know, there's there's the passage from the Bible that says it's easier for a rich person to get into for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for rich person to get into heaven. I mean, that's a pretty damning statement for for rich people. You know, most of us don't want to to to have that kind of karmic or spiritual problems. But I think the reality is that spirituality and money have nothing really to do with each other. I mean, what do you think about that?
00:04:51 Katie Curtin: Yeah. Well, I don't think being spiritual means not having money or not having money means you're spiritual because it's right. And I agree with you about how a lot of religions are basically, in some ways, trash material values or think it's think it's wrong to have material things. And I think that's not true, either. I think we kind of I idolize the material. Things of the society was gone way too far. And people see things that money will, you know, like money's connected with self-esteem, it's connected with being a success and all that and. And on the other hand, as you said, it's connected with being not being right, I know I was brought up when my mother was Roman Catholic. My father came from a Jewish background, but she was kind of like the poor shall inherit the Earth, and she had a very ambiguous attitude towards money. She both wanted me as her child to have money. But on the other hand, she kind of was, you know, when my my brother would make like one of my brothers was made a lot of money and she would kind of be a bit ambiguous towards it. So yeah, I think a lot of people face that contradiction. I certainly felt a need to be that way. Sorry.
00:06:19 Mike Pietrzak: Yeah. I grew up with a lot of negative talk about money. You know, there's the classics that money doesn't grow on trees. We can't afford it. Why would you spend your money, waste your money on something like that? You know, you grew up hearing that stuff from the things you learn when you're a child or very hard to get rid of. I think sometimes what are the mindsets that are needed and how do you overcome that that program?
00:06:46 Katie Curtin: Well, I think the mindset. Well, there's a lot of what one is that I am enough and I have enough and late to have this attitude of abundance. Even if you're not like like it doesn't, you don't have to have billions of dollars to have enough of. I mean, or millions or I mean, it's obviously there's a certain level of prosperity that that helps one be happier. And there have been studies, I think in North America, it's something like seventy thousand sixty thousand. After that level, and it may change with the housing prices going up, people are not a lot happier if they get more. So, yeah, so the I think the thing is to I mean, it's it's letting go of a lot of concepts like letting go. That money is equated with success. It's feeling enough and it's it's also just looking for the abundance that you have. You know, like usually most of us here have food on the table and we have pretty good food on the table.
00:08:01 Mike Pietrzak: We have I've never through every type of entertainment basically covered. A lot of us have a lifestyle that was unimaginable to kings one hundred years ago.
00:08:11 Katie Curtin: Exactly. And the amount of consumer goods we have is just unparalleled and actually is a source of, um, it is the source of problems too, because you have you as you get older, you accumulate a lot of things and clutter and people and there's like later part of their lives are, you know, they've spent all their life getting getting all these things and then they spend the rest of their life trying to get rid of it and downsize. It's kind of ridiculous. And the thing is, is that we have a society that's based on people consuming things, and it's the economy is based on encouraging excess consumption and often consumption of things that you don't need. So it's not entirely our fault. In fact, it's not our fault that we're in a culture and a system which is not very well. You know, I don't think is very well organized for human beings or the rest of the day.
00:09:14 Mike Pietrzak: I agree with you. It's like we're suffering from this mass psychosis. You know, it's like a group inception movie where we're all doing the same nightmare. We got to get where it has to be more. And I can tell you, I personally struggle with this. Still, the idea that my my earnings are tied to my self-worth and I'm working very hard to overcome this. But I'll tell you, you know, as an entrepreneur, sometimes the money flows and sometimes it doesn't. And when it doesn't, it's very hard to tell yourself that, hey, I'm still a valuable, productive member of society. You know, there's all kinds of of things that are linked. It shouldn't be, you know, the self-esteem and the money and the productivity piece. And so what do you teach your clients, whether it's in sessions with them or you? You've wrote a book, written a book and you're working on another money book? What do you teach on the subject?
00:10:13 Katie Curtin: Oh. Well, first of all, I like one of the things that I teach primarily is that we have to get rid of the all the well or the all the blocks that we have about money are usually blocks that we have about everything like self-esteem is is a problem and everything. If you don't have self-esteem, then that is translated in relationships that's on the job. It's everywhere. So usually what you find, I mean, it's an avenue where you can actually explore all your issues. And so when I'm working with somebody on money, it will very quickly get into how their family, what their family thought about money, trauma in the family if they've been abused, which many people have, whether it's sexual abuse or it's violence, you know, like bodily violence or just telling them they're no good. That will all come up in there. You know what I might call their money story or how they interact with money. And so I will like how I work as to and when I'm doing it, specifically at around money. I have this. I have a whole series of sessions that I do with people and the questionnaire where I delve what I delve into their family history, what their culture says because of different, you know, like we're depending on Canada has many, many different people from different backgrounds and so does the U.S. and each of them will have very different, may have very different money beliefs and even within the same racial group, it may be very different from one to another. So somebody might be have a really high esteem of themselves, you know, even if they're in an oppressed racial group for, you know, their person of color or indigenous, somebody whose wife can have really bad money problems because they they were beaten and we're told they were wrong all the time. And this is what I have sort of discovered in working with people. I've been kind of surprised sometimes by that. So I always try to treat people as individuals and but also look out for those kind of cultural and cultural things plus, you know, like race like trauma to, you know, like slavery was obviously a huge trauma which and racism, it continues today and it's continued through generations. So in my case, I
00:13:12 Mike Pietrzak: think that everyone has these challenges that are global and, you know, part of our social societal challenges, but also the very personal. How do you when you were taught, when you were a child?
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00:13:23 Katie Curtin: Right, right. Yeah. And how your parents was at work. Know because your parents can be just amazing and you might be it and really love you and give you an amazing upbringing and you might be in the poorest circumstances. Yes. And I just actually was reading and I mean, this was written, I think, quite a long time ago. Biography of autobiography, but with some other contributors of karate and he was he starts the whole book and it's quite charming about how happy he was, even though he was really poor and how he was surrounded by all these loving people. And you know his name, you know, it was just a real community experience. And so it wasn't that he didn't have problems as an artist later because he had very many lean years, but he definitely didn't have this huge equation of money with happiness and all that it was with community. And maybe just to say there, I think our happiness does come, and this is something that's not taught in our society because we're taught that we have to fight for ourselves where the individual, we have to prove how great we are. And instead of having a sense of what's important is community and contributing to community and being part of a community.
00:14:55 Mike Pietrzak: I've actually noticed recently that the happiest times in my life have been the ones where I was deeply engaged in the community, whether that's at work or with with friends or traveling with people. And that seems I just noticed that recently that that seems to be the common thread about when when I feel like I'm living my life. That's when I'm with other people.
00:15:18 Katie Curtin: Yeah, and me too, and I'm an extreme extrovert, so it's even more so, and there's some people who I think introverts who like less social context, but everybody does need other people and we all. Prof. From other people like their presence and the differences, like we're all trying to live up to some ideal, but what is absolutely fantastic are the differences, you know, like you're really strong in organization and well and many other things like critical thinking, writing and all that. But you have a strong, you know, you're really strong an organization. I'm not right.
00:16:01 Mike Pietrzak: I love people like that. You fooled me.
00:16:07 Katie Curtin: I'm glad to hear it. It's a lifelong push to keep working.
00:16:14 Mike Pietrzak: You're right. I think everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. But I think there are a few things that we all share in common and identify it as an introvert. I prefer to be have a lot of soul. I don't do well in long term situations where I'm in a group. However, I, especially Cohen, has taught me that I need some kind of social outlet and I think Simon Sinek as a wonderful book. I figure which one of those leaders eat last week, and she talks about these four primary neurotransmitters transmitters. There are those endorphins, you know, when you work out for the rushes, the runner spikes, there's there's dopamine. When you solve a problem, you get a hit. That's why our phones are so addictive. And then there's serotonin, which is the social chemical right. And you only get that release when you have social contact with people. And it's so, so important that we're, you know, experiencing that.
00:17:08 Katie Curtin: Yeah, and we really are. I mean, that's in our biology, the need for others and that's how, you know, I mean, the history of human societies is being communal animals. And I mean, I don't know if that's the best way of saying it, but we're we are communal in our whole biology and how we how we've developed all our great achievements are on the basis of community. Yeah. And and I think what is part of the tragedy of of what's happening right now with COVID and the pandemic and all that and the being enclosed is that people have been much more isolated than ever, you know, and physically and you know, in terms of single people or, you know, older people who are in homes and they can't see their family, it's very, very difficult times that way. But it does teach you how important it is.
00:18:11 Mike Pietrzak: Yeah, I mean, I can only imagine what it's like for a single person that have gone through a few months of lockdown and we and Ontario, we've been pretty locked down. But you know, it's funny. I noticed at the beginning of the pandemic that there was this. Everybody had this urge to reach out and contact their neighbor. Hey, how you doing? Are you OK? You know, talk to friends, set up these little little Zoom meetings by by six months, and I was like, I don't want to talk to anybody. And I my theory on that is that the longer we're away from from people, the longer isolated, the less we want to talk to people. And I don't know if there's any science that seems to be true. And in my case, anyway, that's interesting.
00:18:52 Katie Curtin: Yeah, one kind of loses one's initiative around it. And maybe it could be. Yeah, that's interesting that that happened to you. I'm not sure how much it happened to other people or, you know, whether it was a general trend. But yeah, and I think definitely I got tired as well. I have to do Zoom for my business, but and for my clients, and I enjoy doing those calls like we're doing a zoom right now. But I have to say that many times I just zoom out. I just don't want another meeting through Zoom, and it's not the same as being in-person.
00:19:33 Mike Pietrzak: And I'm betting we're going to have studies come out very soon from foreign researchers that will will look at this problem and say, Yeah, this is a real thing, and maybe it's even a clinical condition. And, you know, Zoom fatigue resume burnout because I think there are some days that I don't feel like getting on on to talk to anybody with Zoom or on the phone. But yeah, it's an interesting experiment and progress, I suppose.
00:19:58 Katie Curtin: Exactly. Yeah.
00:20:00 Mike Pietrzak: Back to money for a second. I know you've written the previous book about money, but I'm really curious about your new book in progress on money and and you tell us the title and kind of sneak peak what you could give us as much as you can about what you're working on and show us behind the curtain.
00:20:17 Katie Curtin: OK, well, it's called Breaking Money Spells, and it's the rough subtitle. I don't know if it'll stay the same, but how money changes everything, but it doesn't have to change you. And what I've done is I've tried. It's been a long time in the making, and it combines both my own experiences around money, which have been very challenging at times and my clients and how we've traversed those things. Plus, it integrates fairy tales, which is a bit different. Plus, it tries to in. It integrates also some of the overall political and economic situation because I think all of those are linked. So it's been quite a challenge to integrate all those elements. But why I include a bit of the political and economics of what we're facing is because we don't live in a vacuum. Somebody who's in another, a completely different society years ago and tribal doesn't have the same problems with money and or concepts of money. And we are ruled by certain things like, you know, if if the whole if our economy shuts down, you know, or like, for example, with the pandemic, it made a big in sums. It didn't matter that much your money, your attitude around money. You may have been very successful before, but it sure as hell could change it now for some people. It was a disaster. Yes. And. For other people, it actually meant increased opportunity, so it was it wasn't even so, but that kind of society wide thing has an impact. And so you have to recognize that, not just say that people are all equal and face all the same situations. So somebody who has a huge disability, physical disability, they can't get the same jobs as other people or, you know, like so. So it's not an equal playing field. However, at the same time, I think you need to say that we all have a responsibility to deal, not just to blame it on society, because we can do that, but also just say, Well, how can I do the best with what I have?
00:22:56 Mike Pietrzak: Yes.
00:22:57 Katie Curtin: And where can I let go of those beliefs that are holding me back? And you know, I might not be as successful with money. I might not need to be as successful as money as some people. But I can live with money with the least amount of worry and I can. And with the least amount of attaching it to my self-worth. Yes. So so I think there's both these social and individual responsibility. And there's also why I brought fairy tales into it was I found I love fairy tales from the time I was very small. I read the whole children's library selections of fairy tales. And but what I'm using it is it's often useful to bring in archetypes to be able to kind of see our patterns now now. And I just uncle. Yeah. Well, I've been using the this popular story of Cinderella. It's a fairy tale and I've developed in my own way the characters in that fairy tale. And I do that. I do it with my clients as well and some of my classes where they will take the characters and give their own interpretations. But how I've done it and how I do it in my book is that I see Cinderella as kind of like. Her situation at the beginning is she's lost. She wasn't a good situation, but she's lost her mother and she's lost her social standing. And she says, Yeah, she's like a slave. She's exploited by her, by her stepsisters, and she feels very trapped. And so I make some and she is overworking. And I think there's a lot of people who are like that. They feel like there's no escape. And so I use her to discuss certain certain aspects of money. And um, and then I have the the the father, her father and I have him as the as somebody who at the palace is in charge of happy, you know, like the a CEO in this. But the chief happiness chief happiness officer, he is organizing all the events and symbols and balls, and he organizes the ball for the prince and
00:25:31 Mike Pietrzak: he's honoring that social ladder, I'm sure, and working Sacklers and neglecting the daughter and.
00:25:38 Katie Curtin: Exactly. And also feeling like so used to this providing his family, you know, first his wife and Cinderella. But later they see the stepmother and the step step daughters he's so used to providing them with a really good standard of living that he feels trapped and he can't. He loves his job at the beginning, but he no longer loves it and he feels like out of it. Exactly.
00:26:11 Mike Pietrzak: Such a seeing it on a lot of people, especially, you know, that are maybe, you know, I had had a friend who explained to me his job and the compensation packages that were offered at his workplace, and he told me, this is how they keep you in for life. You don't get out because it just becomes too painful to leave that job. And I don't know if he's happy or not these days in that work, but to me, it doesn't seem like very interesting work. But you know, maybe to him, it's it's wonderful and he's enjoying the climbing the ladder. But yeah, it's easy to get stuck in a job or in a career, even without putting your head up to think about, Hey, what am I actually doing with my life? Is this with the legacy that I want to leave is how I want to spend my days and my moments?
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00:26:58 Katie Curtin: Exactly. And it's not always easy because you can't always just quit a job if you have a family and you have other people. Relying on you. You can't just do that, but there always is, there's usually a way and there's I think, you know, when you let go of some of your beliefs, but I can't stop this, I can't do anything else. And then the opportunities to come up and I know for like I was, it wasn't like a high CEO job, but I never was interested in that, but or particularly suited to it. But I was working in the railways and I had a good, steady job and I thought, Oh, this is exciting. At first I'm doing a men's, you know, a man's job. I was working as a diesel apprentice, diesel mechanic, machinist and but the thing is, it was kind of like an exciting idea. I actually, with some other women, created a new situation for women in the trades, so we were doing some good things. But the problem was is that I wasn't suitable for that work. I thought, Oh, I just want to do something like men do. I can prove myself. So I proved myself, but I wasn't happy and I kept dreaming of being an artist. And and but I would keep saying, Oh, that's not practical, because my parents would kind of say, Oh, you are to starve, et cetera. Or, you
00:28:29 Mike Pietrzak: know, I got those greatest hits from your parents.
00:28:33 Katie Curtin: Yeah, even though they were both artists.
00:28:35 Mike Pietrzak: Oh, isn't that interesting? I didn't know that. And I know you were an artist for a long time and you probably still are. But I never really got to ask you in a rare chance to ask you about that time in your life. So tell me, how did you become an artist? You said you had just this compulsion to go into art, but what did you what did you do and how did it inform sort of the rest of your life?
00:28:58 Katie Curtin: Well, what I did is I kind of thought about it took a few courses that first I was working at the railways, as I said, and then I just decided I wasn't going to be. I just couldn't I. I kind of thought, Well, I'll do it when I'm 70 or 80, when I retire. And then I thought, You know, I can't live life like that. And so I just just and I didn't know I really at that time didn't even think I was creative. Or, you know, I knew I was a little bit artistic, but I didn't know if it was enough to succeed as an artist at all. And my parents had like, you had to be like Picasso or something like you had to be extraordinarily good. So when when I actually announced it to my mother, she kind of said, Oh, I'm surprised, Kate. Oh, dear. Yeah. So it was like
00:29:52 Mike Pietrzak: right there that your parents don't believe in you.
00:29:56 Katie Curtin: Exactly. So I then I actually just quit my job. I got a I had a bit of a pension at that time, even though I was totally in my early thirties. I think when I actually quit and I went to on a year's excursion around the world because I just that was also in my dreams and, well, not around the world. I went to Asia. And while I was in Asia, I studied with a mask maker and bout in Bali, in Indonesia, and that was really, really good and fun. And then I came back and I went to I. I went to. You know, university and studied art, and then I kind of was feeling like visual arts weren't quite I just wasn't quite it wasn't quite me like just the visual arts. And then I later kind of took some courses in theatre and went into theater, and I did mass making and puppetry for many years. And. And also, General other theater, like I wrote of Player two and I had a theater company with my husband and I did like about 14 years where I did residencies in the schools teaching, which was just part time, but it was going and teaching kids about arts or about culture through the arts. So, yeah, so I and I've cycled through a lot of different art arts like I'm not somebody who's just a painter just to sculpture, just a mask maker, whatever, as people may have gathered a lot of interest. Yeah. Like, my mother was just a painter. That was her focus. She, once she had was had risen, once she had raised her kids, and also she went back and got a job as a teacher for a while. But once she had the economic security to do her art, she would work in her studio like seven days a week, five or six hours just. And she did that to her. She did hours until her mid 80s, and then her hand was trembling, so she had to stop. So I have that model of being an artist and my father was a photographer and always doing that. But I I kind of just couldn't do that. I just like variety, and that's kind of been the story of my life.
00:32:36 Mike Pietrzak: Variety is such a unique and interesting upbringing. I mean, to to watch, to parents and to be such creative people. I mean, my parents were really not both, and their mom was a teacher and my which, you know, involves quite a lot of creativity. But but my dad was an engineer and there wasn't a lot of creativity there, and in some sense, not at least not with our visual art or in their art. But you got, I guess, sort of a very unique upbringing. And I heard recently someone say that everything you do in life informs the next thing you do. I'm wondering how that upbringing and this work as an artist sort of led you into the next phase of your life, which was, I guess, coaching and writing books.
00:33:21 Katie Curtin: Yeah, well, the thing is, I I felt like I've always had this social community-based thing or interest in personal Trump's personal and political transformation. So for a while, I actually I thought, well, as an artist, it would be good to have another income source. So there was a practical thing around it. Although at first I made more money as an artist, I did as a coach, which was shock. But you know, because you, you know, you become fairly successful in one area and you, yeah, yeah, you do OK. And then you have to go to a new area and start from the beginning. So I did actually study a whole load of therapy like I did a year, you know, and just therapy. I did art therapy for a year and a number of other things, but it never, ever quite gelled. It just seems like I didn't have the tools to work with people that. Worked for me, and then I did. I heard about coaching, and this was like years ago, this is about 17 years ago and coaching was just in its infancy then. Or, you know, it's early days. Not unlike now where you know, everybody is a coach or everybody knows coaches. So but I did one weekend with the Coaches Training Institute and it was like, I've found my, I've found my way. It was like, I have like it just just seemed natural to me. Which was, yeah, it didn't mean I didn't have to train on it because I did. But it just felt like I had a lever or a way to work with people that worked for me.
00:35:15 Mike Pietrzak: What was it about? This one is choice and coaching institute or a training program. What was it about that specific program that that worked for you? What clicked?
00:35:28 Katie Curtin: That's a good question. Well, they were very interactive and they're training, and they just got you doing things right away, which is very good for me because I just stay in theory that doesn't really help me. So it was like the first day that we did, or maybe it was second day of the weekend that we did. We had to actually coach a person and I was scared to death. But it worked amazingly well, given that I'd never been in the deep end. Yeah. And so that that started it and it just this particular I mean, it's a really good coaching school. I haven't done coaching with one of the other many schools, but it just was very good. And one thing that it did, which I really found very helpful, was it also had a part where you really. It had a lot of techniques, but it also there was a part about using your intuition and voicing your intuition. And while at the time I didn't think my intuition was anything special, that was actually that's my strong suit now. And but the thing that they taught and I think it's very useful, or at least for me, it's being one of the main things that I love is that to actually say or blurt what your intuition, your feeling of what's going on and ask the other person, Is this true or is this completely ridiculous? So it's not like assuming your intuition is always right on, but it always leads to an interesting conversation.
00:37:21 Mike Pietrzak: I mean, what that technique? And I think that's because I've noticed sort of semi consciously that it works. Sometimes I do have a intuitive thought or feeling and you want to get it out and sometimes you let it pass and then that's a mistake you to ask. But when I do sort of blurt out that today with the coaching client, and I think I shocked her a little bit, but it sparked off a really good turn in the conversation and it was helpful. So it's interesting that you are noticing the same thing.
00:37:54 Katie Curtin: Yeah. And now, like I use often I did other trainings since the Coaches Training Institute, like I got a certificate there, but I also did trained in the energy therapies and things like the emotional freedom technique because I felt like I didn't have quite enough from the CTI to go into some of the deep issues that that prevent people from doing what they really want. And one of the techniques I use is this emotional freedom technique, and I use it a bit differently than most practitioners
00:38:30 Mike Pietrzak: are not too familiar with, though, is that same as tapping?
00:38:34 Katie Curtin: Yeah, it's tapping. And what I do is tap. But I also and this is different. I just say whatever comes to my mind as I'm tapping, I'm tapping for the other person, my client. And then we do around and then I say, Well, was this complete nonsense or does it, you know, just it's just a question in every way. And what I as I did this over the years, it seems most of the time people would say, You nailed it. You said exactly what I'm thinking or what about. And it went well, which is OK, so I say what somebody felt. But it also helped doing that and the tapping and that it helped them clear it. It wasn't just that expressed what was going on, but it helped going to the deeper levels. And so more and more I thought, OK, I've had confidence with that, but I always do check and and there's sometimes when I'm thinking, Oh my God, this sounds so stupid. I really don't want to say it. I really don't want to say it. And then it's kind of like, OK, I'm saying it, because that's the way I've learned is the fact that
00:39:45 Mike Pietrzak: you learn to trust your gut and obviously doesn't let you down most of the time.
00:39:51 Katie Curtin: Yeah. And even if you know, even if they say, Oh no, that's not exactly how I feel, then you then or it didn't resonate with me. Well, then you find out why it didn't. And so you're actually further along anyway.
00:40:06 Mike Pietrzak: It's an iterative process. You are bouncing closer toward the root of there. So, J.
00:40:13 Katie Curtin: Yeah, yeah,
00:40:15 Mike Pietrzak: I I heard somewhere that these Apollo rockets that went to the Moon, they were they were off course like ninety nine percent of the time. Of course, something like a millimeter or something like that to a degree. But so you have to keep constantly adjusting. I think that's a good metaphor for coaches sometimes is that you don't know exactly what to say or which direction to take, but you sort of you, you you bounce something off the client and you let them respond and then you get a, you know, it's almost like sonar. You know, you're bouncing these sound waves off the wall and you can be sure of where you're at and where you need to go. I think a lot of coaches sort of maybe struggle with that is just trusting their intuition and sort of just feeling it out a little bit.
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00:40:57 Katie Curtin: And it is I mean, this is the thing that the Coaches Training Institute taught me very a lot and I think is the principle of coaching. And I tend to do a combination, a bit of a combination of coaching and consulting. But in pure coaching, it's like it's the it's you're not advising anybody, you're drawing out from them what they need. And they are that they are the. They who have the solutions in their right and not you. And so it's very, very it's very, very interesting. If you can just let go of your thoughts about what maybe they should do and draw out from them, what they really need to what, what is needed and are
00:41:47 Mike Pietrzak: the third or fourth person to tell me this in the last two months is that we coaches were not here to give you advice. We're not here to tell you it's this we're here to to help you realize that you already have the solution inside of you. We're just here to be a type of mirror almost that that reflects and shows you what what you can't maybe see by yourself.
00:42:07 Katie Curtin: Exactly. And when we are, I mean, in certain cases, like if you're doing working with a business, you you'll say, Well, my experience is this works or that or, you know, I use my experience with creative businesses of that to sort of say, Well, this possibility might suit you more or something, but it's not to impose it on them. It's more just to say the among all the things that I know, maybe this might work for you, but then still seeing what their reaction, what their reaction is. And I think when you I don't know if you've ever had this, but when people give advice, it's almost like they know it's they're putting themselves in the superior position. And it's really easy to do this. But it's, you know, it's human, but it's not helpful because people want to be empowered. And when you're drawing it out from them, it's it enables them to be more empowered and it also is more authentically what they want or what will work with them.
00:43:18 Mike Pietrzak: Yeah, I've noticed that in my own coaching and frankly made those mistakes in the beginning when I'm starting out and trying to trying to solve everyone's problems. No, that's not really what a coach does. You're not here to give give advice. You know, that's your friends can do that for me, but for the coach, it's more of, yeah, it's helping you understand. I come to the conclusion on your own because if someone you know gives you a solution, you might you might intellectually understand that it's the right thing to do, but you'll never implement that solution. If you just understand intellectually, you really do need to feel it in your bones, almost to to to say, OK, I'm never going to. I'm never smoking it because I understand intellectually, but an emotional level why it's not serving, right?
00:44:01 Katie Curtin: Yeah, really true. And just one additional thing to say about this is that we as I guess people who gravitate to being therapists or coaches or whatever are people who really want to help each other, help others. But there's sometimes a bit of a dysfunctional part of us that wants to save other people. You know, the savior complex or and maybe it's because in our families, we wanted to do that for our parents or, you know, like there's just certain parts of us that want to solve things for others. And so we have to be really careful about that.
00:44:44 Mike Pietrzak: And I'm a fixer.
00:44:46 Katie Curtin: A fixer, yes. How does it
00:44:49 Mike Pietrzak: avoid doing that?
00:44:52 Katie Curtin: Um, yeah. It's self-discipline in some ways, and it's noticing it's like, I don't think you. Well, maybe some people avoid doing it all the time, but it's a hard habit to break altogether. And I know in my when I was doing my coaches training, they would keep catching you. And so that was very helpful because you yourself and unless other people see it for you at first, you don't even see it yourself.
00:45:25 Mike Pietrzak: Yeah, it's practice coupled with maybe someone to a mentor to monitor you or something like that.
00:45:32 Katie Curtin: Yeah. And then also, if you're self observant and sort of see, well, look at a coaching, you know, a coaching interaction, usually when it goes well is when you're not doing the advice thing, maybe providing some ideas. But when I always know if I've gone too much into advice rather than really coaxing it out,
00:45:57 Mike Pietrzak: sort of a related, but not quite related question. How important is it for a coach to be self aware?
00:46:06 Katie Curtin: Well, it's probably number one because it's yeah, yeah. I mean, you're teaching other people to lead a life, you know, a life where they're going to see their potential, you know, develop their potential. You must be self aware yourself.
00:46:26 Mike Pietrzak: You would hope. Yeah. Yeah.
00:46:28 Katie Curtin: Not every. But and that's not like this. The thing is with any and this actually addresses one of the problems that people have with money or being an artist. Everybody thinks they're a fraud in some ways that they're not good enough, that they, you know, they're afraid that they're not, you know, they're somehow going to be exposed. And you know, if you're writing a book, you're afraid that people are going to discover you're not as smart about this topic or whatever. So everybody has that fear. And yeah, it's it's something that you do have to work with. So coming back to what we were just saying is that no culture is going to be perfect. And sometimes we kind of I know for me it's like, Oh, how the hell can I be a coach? I'm so fucked up, and
00:47:21 Mike Pietrzak: I'm sure we will have to
00:47:22 Katie Curtin: censor this in so many ways. And we all are. In many ways this society does not produce profoundly healthy people. You know, we've got centuries of trauma, of war, of all those things happening. So we're doing the best we can. And the thing is just being aware. And I think. For me, part of it is being compassionate is, I mean, I think you're a better coach when maybe you've had these experiences of your imperfection because all your clients come to you feeling imperfect. And if they can be just listened to in a way where where they not that they feel that you're so fucked up that you know, you're so screwed up that you can't help them, but they you know what it is to be humorous in there.
00:48:14 Mike Pietrzak: Yeah. You know, I heard a wonderful quote. It was from a guy named Rory Vaden in Success magazine, and he said that you were most powerfully positioned to help the person that you once were. Yeah. So for me, I try to be very honest with my clients. I'm not the perfect life. I still make mistakes. I'm working with my own coach ongoing and I'm working on it. But I find it's very it's it's a red flag for me when I see a coach who seems to have everything figured out and presents a persona. Mm hmm. Yeah. So there's something there.
00:48:51 Katie Curtin: But yeah, so I cut in one of my bios that I that I've had on my website. I'm not sure if it's in my present one. I always say I'm not a Barbie doll coach. I think that's
00:49:05 Mike Pietrzak: important to point to point that out. Yeah. Yeah, well, and you mentioned, you know, that our society doesn't really breed healthy people, for the most part, you're right. I mean, when you when you get to a certain age, you realize that how the world is more messed up than than I really thought it was. You know, although it seems like we're all we all agreed to participate in a certain society. It's it's a pretty messed up society and it's led me in my my younger years to become a social activist. And I know you've been a lifelong social activist, not just with the work on the diesel trains, but but elsewhere and writing a book about women in China. I believe you have. You're still a social activist, and I wonder because I kind of lost my my drive for that, and I think it coincided with going to Africa, starting this social enterprise to bring the silver lining to villages. And it ended poorly. I was almost kidnapped and I went to all the products were stolen and had to flee back to Canada. But and I think that took a little bit of my compassion from me and working to working on that. But how do you how have you maintain your interest and your passion for this social justice work? Because I think that's very important for coach to have, right?
00:50:19 Katie Curtin: Well, I've been through psychosis in the sense that from the time I was about 17 to the time I was in my early thirties, I was like active morning, noon and night. And then I kind of burned out because I saw that society wasn't. I thought, You know, the revolution is going to happen. You know, it's the 60s and the 70s. And it just felt or at least the early seventies felt like things were really changing. And then when things didn't, all that work seemed like for not, you know, and we weren't it wasn't like the the most of our most people were agreeing with us. So. And so I kind of got discouraged and it's not and wasn't as activist path as before. I got involved in the arts and other things. And then I had a kid which takes up a lot of energy. And so I haven't been as active as I would like, but I always thought to have a combination of not just coaching and art, but to integrate that with activism or or, you know, and support for social justice causes. So right now, as a coach, I'm involved in a couple of climate coaching circles where people, coaches who are interested around climate change and, you know, advocacy and activism around that or are getting together. But I don't have the perfect solution. And I find also I don't have the same type of energy that I had when I was 19 years old for meetings and things like that. So I'm looking at all these situations that we're in a very obviously serious situation for the planet. And I think each of us has to do what we can. Now, I can't do the same as when I was an 18 year old activist. I don't have that kind of energy. I don't have that kind of. How would you say it? I don't even have exactly the same beliefs, but I'm I'm I, and I think each of us has to look at how we can be most effective. Yes, we may not be the same as a certain kind of activist. Everybody has a different role to play. Some people may give more money to the cause. Some people may be full time, you know, organizing mass demonstrations or boycotts or whatever. So. As I'm looking at it more now, I I'm moving into also coaching people who are in to help people who may be activists or doing things like doing books around the climate crisis. So I'm I'm using my coaching skills there and some of my artistic skills I use. I do these rants, so I sometimes do political rants. I did. I did one before the Trump victory in a local open mike. But you know, so it's I don't think I'm I mean, I really saw myself. In a different way when I was a teenager, but now I recognize that I can only. That I have a different role to play, but it's hard for me not to say, Oh.
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00:55:21 Mike Pietrzak: Here there. Thank you. Your muted. Myself, there were back
00:55:33 Katie Curtin: oh, and the tech gremlins were almost over, and it sometimes happens,
00:55:42 Mike Pietrzak: we'll edit that out, but you were saying that you just you work from where you are. You you can. You're not the the 19 year old with the energy and the innocent lines anymore. But yeah, this is going to add to that.
00:55:59 Katie Curtin: Well, just that, I'm continuously looking for opportunities to help that way. And I don't feel like I've arrived at the well, we never arrive at the final answer, but you know, I mean, when I was like, I'm in Mexico a lot. And so that's a bit of a different situation, but I'm back in Canada for quite a while now. I was hoping to participate in some demonstrations and things around the climate, but nothing. I haven't seen that much organized. So yeah,
00:56:36 Mike Pietrzak: you ready to get back together?
00:56:38 Katie Curtin: Yeah, exactly.
00:56:40 Mike Pietrzak: But it sounds like you're playing to your strengths, and I like that you are. You're honest about what your passions are, where you can add value and you're you're combining that with your coaching work, which is which is great.
00:56:55 Katie Curtin: Yeah. And I mean, sometimes like I do what I can like. One example is, I think part of activism or part of changing things is just having open discussions with people. So when I'm in Mexico, taxis are really cheap. They're like a couple of dollars and I usually take the bus. But taxis, whenever I'm in a taxi driver in a taxi, I will often have a discussion with the taxi driver about things like climate change, about social change. So it's it's like. Or with them, with other people, you know, around racism or all these issues. Or if things come up where I think there's injustice, I'll always say something. So there's ways that you can do things that are smaller, that also have an impact.
00:57:46 Mike Pietrzak: It's almost like simply raising the question or raising a conversation is a way of furthering the conversation and making change.
00:57:56 Katie Curtin: Exactly. And you know, I'm not. I know some coaches don't want to say anything on social media, but I just tend to share a lot of stuff which you know about different issues. And if people don't want to be my client because it's too much for them, well, that's OK.
00:58:16 Mike Pietrzak: So you you got to be yourself and you can't censor that part of you if you want to be a coach, I believe. And so you're going to have the right people that way anyway.
00:58:29 Katie Curtin: Exactly. And, you know, people don't I coach lots of people, have different points of view, but I'm I feel like if I'm on social media, I can. I'm going to express who I am and what my point of view is. But just very finally around that is, I think that I think when I was younger, I was very convinced of the truth that I knew the truth and that and I think as I grow older, I do see that it's very, very important to listen to other people, listen to other points of view and see what the kernel of truth from them as opposed to always what's wrong? And it really concerns me today is just the level of venom on both sides, on many sides, around a whole number of issues, and I don't think that helps.
00:59:26 Mike Pietrzak: I share your concern and I'm, you know, I'm starting to wonder if maybe I don't have all the answers weirdly enough. Maybe it is a beneficial thing to just listen and not try to, you know, have all the answers. And so I like that sentiment and I think people leave it on that positive note. And I'm going to say, thanks so much, Katie, for having this conversation with me. I really always appreciate our discussions. Any final thoughts and where can people find you online? katiecurtin.com?
00:59:59 Katie Curtin: Yeah. So first, yeah, thank you so much. Michael to this was very, very enjoyable, and I always love our chats and conversations. And yeah, people can find me at www.katiecurtin.com. OK, yeah.
01:00:24 Mike Pietrzak: Well, thanks so much and we'll talk soon. So it's always a pleasure.
01:00:29 Katie Curtin: Exactly. Bye bye, then. Thanks.
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