Last week I had the chance to interview a guest who is a superhero in my eyes.
Kathryn Burmeister is an author, speaker, coach, and attorney. Most of all, she is a defender of the innocent.
On top of being a “great defender,” Kathryn is passionate about so many areas of life. She’s done so much for animals’ rights, she’s been a voice for the voiceless, and she is also an avid rock climber.
Through her personal experiences of losing her partner to suicide, dealing with depression and anxiety, and deciding to leave her harmful work environment, Kathryn learned how to step out on her own and find true fulfillment in life. In our interview, Kathryn and I discussed this experience further and talked about some of the topics from her book, Overcoming Addiction to the Status Quo.
The Addiction to the Status Quo
After Kathryn lost her partner to suicide, she fell into a dark place. She could no longer process everything that was happening. As a result, she left her work.
From that moment on, it was like a flip switched for her. She became crystal clear on what she was going to do and what she would tolerate from then on. This experience had shown her what really mattered in life.
Kathryn has always worked hard for her clients but at the expense of herself. That became no longer acceptable for her. She knew she had to take action, start drawing those hard lines, and hold herself accountable to them.
Many of us have been in that same place. We have this idea that we need to be a certain person or that we aren’t enough and should be like somebody else. Kathryn calls this the addiction to the status quo.
We toss that word “status quo” around but Kathryn uses it to describe our desire to be like other people. We think we need to have the 2.5 kids, picket fence in the suburbs, and dog. However, what we really need is to feel confident in who we are, what we want, and what we don’t want. We need to learn how to sit with that and be comfortable. That’s what leads to true happiness.
However, it takes a lot of work to be honest with yourself. Most of us don’t spend time looking inward because it’s uncomfortable and it takes a lot of time. We’re so busy and it’s hard to sit with our thoughts and process things. However, that’s what we have to do to start on the path toward living our life to the fullest and reaching our true happiness.
Finding Real Purpose
This is all especially critical because, at the end of the day, none of us know when we’re going to be gone. Therefore, we have to live life to its fullest. To Kathryn, that’s the purpose of life.
You can check off all the boxes and still feel unsatisfied. Kathryn did and she had no idea what to do next. From this, she realized that our purpose in being here is to live a life of happiness. This doesn’t mean it’s going to be rainbows and kittens all the time but that you can encounter adversity and then overcome it and learn from it.
You really can pivot in your life and make it something new and exciting. Don’t stay in a profession or a job that makes you want to gouge your eyes out. Find confidence and courage in who you are and what you want to be.
How to Start This Process
Many of you may feel inspired and want to take this same road that Kathryn took. Maybe you just don’t know how.
Kathryn identified that it’s crucial to sit down and look at your mission, vision, and values just like you would in your business. This can guide you on how you want to run, operate your life, and make decisions. So find out what your core values are, drill it down to three to five, and make decisions based on those.
From there, do not compromise. Challenge every thought that tells you that you need to compromise your values. These thoughts may be a combination of our own negative self-talk and our ingrained ideas that we refuse to let go of. Start to identify those thoughts, challenge them, and figure out what doesn’t line up with your values. This will form a foundation that you can go back to time and time again.
On top of this, breathe into your personal life. Nobody will do that for you.
This requires setting boundaries. Sit with your values and decide where you’re going to draw the line with work so you can finally have a fulfilling life.
If you want to learn more about how to find the confidence to let go of the status quo, check out Episode 070: How to Overcome Our Addiction to the Status Quo with Kathryn Burmeister.