Challenging Those “Pesky” Voices – moving beyond limiting beliefs

Today’s blog is going to be a little different than normal, so I can follow my intuition and play a little – in vulnerability.

It’s an exciting time for me as I lead the Tucson Symphony Orchestra – a $5.5M organization, with a visionary Music Director, an engaged board, and a newly energized and collaborative professional staff. I’m getting ready to join arts leaders in Monterey for the Association of California Symphony Orchestra’s Annual Conference, and my book with Oprah, Melinda Gates and 47 other inspirational leaders is getting attention!

I was recently interviewed about the book by a fellow author. As I sat down to “simply” share it with you, some pesky voices in my head started showing up that inspired me to write about limiting beliefs that create barriers for having the impact we’re meant to have.  To see the video interview that inspired me, click the link at the end of the Blog.

“You are more than the list of skills and accomplishments on your resume.

Your true value is the impact you have on others.”

When leaders connect with their true value – feel joy, and help those they’re meant to help, it becomes your responsibility to Be that again and again.

But things get in the way!

Have there ever been times in your career where you’ve felt like you’ve had a different personae or been living a separate and parallel life at work, than outside of work?

For many of us – perhaps women especially – we believe being professional and successful looks a certain way. We self-impose “uniforms” – in our clothing, language, schedule, resumes, and career trajectory.  We accept industry standards and norms as being relevant to us, and make assumptions about what is and is not possible.

I know this, because for much of my career I had these kinds of limiting beliefs.

  • I remember managing an international chamber music festival when our children were in elementary school.  It was a prestigious role, my first time leading an organization at this level, and as those of you know who work in the performing arts – we were excitedly working long hours to prepare.  I held a pre-Festival thank you party at our home for my staff, and my box office manager said, “Kathryn! I didn’t know you had children!”  Now, I never hid the fact that I was a mom, but in hindsight, I see that I believed that – unlike a male leader – I would be viewed as “less than” if I talked a lot about my kids, left before work was done, etc.
  • I remember self-imposing rules that colleagues or clients I worked with could not, even should not be “real” friends.
  • I remember thinking that having a closet full of black was practical, dying my hair would make me look stylish, and that I needed to look certain ways in order to “get ahead.”
  • And, again as a mom, I remember feeling like I was never where I needed to be.  When I was at work, I felt guilty about not being with my family. When I was with my family I felt guilty about not getting work done (as a non-profit, people were counting on us).
  • I remember four years ago when I launched my business and was beginning to find my voice, I was self-conscious about using “unprofessional” words like joy and transformation when leading organizations through times of transition and turmoil.

And then things changed.

I went through a process where I began to look inward, test assumptions, find my voice, and reveal the ways I make a difference in the world. I set an intention to help others, and as a result, learned that the best way to do that, is to BE me – wholly.  Not a professional version, or a crossroads coach version, or an entrepreneur version, or a wife version, or any other self-imposed limiting label.

  • Now, some of my closest friends are former clients.
  • When our son was diagnosed with brain cancer, for six months I was effortlessly always by his hospital bedside, and then when he was resting I would do coaching calls that would fill me up and replenish me. For the first time in my life, I felt the ease that comes from being exactly where I am meant to be.
  • My closet is filled with color, my hair is natural, and I don’t spend time worrying about impressing or accomplishing. I focus on connecting.
  • I’ve created a thriving business where I have impact, am doing the things that make my heart sing, with people who inspire me, and where my husband and I can live the life we dreamed of!
  • Just recently, I no longer struggle in trying to “toggle” between my organizational consulting and individual coaching; or think that they are two completely separate “sides” to my business, needing different “sides” of me.  I feel the exhilaration that comes from understanding it is all about helping organizations and individuals connect to and speak their impact, have clarity on what they (really) want, and then helping them get there.  All so that they can help others.

And today, valuing Be-ing is still a process that I enjoy challenging myself with.

In fact, in full transparency, the voices in my head showed up in writing this email, saying:  “Don’t share this video to your full list.  It’s not professional enough. You talk about Joy and Purpose, and not enough about how to apply these concepts to creating success in business. And, at the end of the interview Cordelia’s daughter walks in!”  But I recognize those voices, now. I thank them for showing up, determine if they will support me in my intention, and if not, then I ignore them.  After working with over 200 clients, and refining and teaching them the same process that helped me,After working with over 200 clients, and teaching this same process, I now have evidence that when we show up as our imperfect, authentic, selves… we create the moments to connect with the exact people who need to hear our voice.

So please, let me know what you think of the video, and if this Friday’s email resonated with you and your career vs personal life (and your voices!).

CLICK HERE to see my interview that inspired me to write this blog.

To your success,


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1 Comment

  1. Kathryn,
    I do not know how many more different ways I can praise your Impact! Before the book, I already believed in your very special contributions to our world! Your enthusiasm and wisdom is beyond comparison to most humans I know. Thank you for having a significant impact in my life and too so many others. Anna

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