What did it take for Katie McDonald, CEO of bnourished® and sought-after keynote speaker, to go from burned-out to booming? Hard work and commitment—not just to herself, but to all the other Type A’s who didn’t know how to B. Read on to hear Katie’s unique perspective on the challenges for women in business, and how she brought herself back from the brink.
What unique strengths do you see in female entrepreneurs?
Resilience, agility, and innovation. We are tough. The birthing process alone earns us the title of “resilient!” Also just being a girl and a woman in this world makes us resilient. As for agility, I think that’s a survival tactic and a superpower. On the innovation side, we are meant to create. There are so many forms of creative expression, and I think that is especially a woman’s turf.
What are the most common challenges for women in business?
Lack of confidence is the biggest obstacle that I see for women in business. We think we need to have everything in its proper place, everything figured out, any possible challenge anticipated and addressed in our minds before we actually pursue what it is that we want.
We can be very unforgiving, and we have to tame the bully and the perfectionist in our minds. But I don’t think compassion for ourselves comes naturally, and it’s certainly not taught; it’s a skill that needs to be cultivated. We give it away freely but starve ourselves of that vital nutrient. When we do embrace it, we thrive.
Another challenge is perfectionism. We’re holding ourselves to a standard that is not humane or reasonable, given the unpredictability of launching a business or being in business. We have these expectations that aren’t attainable, yet we hold ourselves to it and then wonder why our confidence gets shaky. Add a sprinkle of comparison-itis, and now we’re really stuck.
Who most influenced you, when you first launched your business?
It was the compromised version of me. The one who was sick, who had to get well for everyone she loved and had no idea how to do it. The burned-out, helpless, but fiercely independent me. I kept thinking, “There’s an urgency to be healed at all levels, and I have to get to that woman. I have to reach her and give her permission to show up for herself like she shows up for everyone else.”
Launching my business was about getting to my tribe of doers, who don’t know how to be. I felt this urgency to change the self-narrative for women like me and restore their faith in becoming whole. Keeping that version of me as one of many who were circling the drain is what propelled me forward. Even through the insecurities, even through the doubt, I knew I had to get to that woman who has lost herself in the addictive pursuit of busyness/business.
Once I healed myself, I vowed that I would be of service to other women like me, provide them with proven tools and strategies to transform and restore them.
Was there ever a time in your entrepreneurial career when you felt like a complete failure, but it gave you a valuable lesson?
I’ve certainly made choices that I won’t make again, but I call them opportunities for growth, not failures. Staying teachable and anticipating vulnerability insulates us from failure. The part of me that wants me to stay safe and on familiar turf tempts me to play small, to avoid risks, contain growth. So I have to tame and parent that voice so I can bring my work to the world.
My work is about slaying our dragons. We all have them, but instead of getting burned to a crisp, we turn around and befriend them. They must morph from threat to teacher. When people are launching their business, they often think, “I’ve got to have everything all figured out.” Honey, you will not have it all figured out. We stand at the bottom of the stairs looking up and wondering why we freeze. Of course it’s overwhelming. Of course it’s intimidating. But all we have to do is take the one step that’s in front of us.
What are you the proudest of, that you’ve done?
The lasting transformative results that my clients earn over our six months of work. Bearing witness to their empowerment and awakening is a privilege and honor.
The entrepreneur, the executive, the high-achieving, high-functioning females, already know how to achieve. They have effective practices and strategies in place in their careers. What they’re not doing, and don’t know how to do, is to apply those techniques for their personal growth. Our results become so significant because these women leverage the strategies and techniques that make them so successful in their career, and they start applying it to their own well-being. Their productivity and impact rises dramatically, as exponentially as their peace of mind.
When you’re working with someone who has some control over their environment, they can then start changing the culture. It’s how my work gets magnified, and it’s why I work with leaders and achievers. It’s the butterfly effect: they’re going to impact so many more people than I can in my work. So that’s my way of multiplying my own work and my mission.