(VIDEO) Success vs. Happiness (and 3 things I learned from a rose bush)

“The useless days will add up to something. These things are your becoming.”
Cheryl Strayed


This past week I hit a wall. My body revolted to the hamster wheel of work and productivity I’d been on for most of 2017 and thought it would be funny, entertaining, or cruel at best to throw me a curveball. So last Saturday, down to the minute of finishing the third and last (hopefully) board exam I’m required to take, I felt my body begin to shut down.

“We’ve had enough Katie, you’ve done what you had to do and that’s fine. However, we refuse to live like this, so today consider us officially on strike. Rest up and we’ll see you in a couple of weeks.

Ouch. Literally.


Today, by the time you read this, I’ll have finally gotten off all meds, have energy levels back to normal, and hopefully, two unclogged ears. I’m going to be very honest, it’s been rough. I don’t like being on the sidelines of life, waiting for re-entry into the game. I like to have about eight different projects and pots stirring at once, falling into bed at the close of each long day with faint levels of exhaustion, in a good way, you know? The kind that feels accomplished and meaningful.


It also doesn’t help that I’ve not been sick to the point of derailment from all work and activity, yet steadily teetering on the edge of okay and flagging with massive dips vamping around 7 pm. I’m learning that extremes are much easier than balance and success and progress doesn’t equal happiness. Workouts, social engagements, and extracurricular work projects all took the backseat as I patiently partnered with my body to gain strength and energy. Booorrring.


I sat—a lot. I don’t much like sitting. I journaled—a lot, taking the good advice I give to clients weekly. I also thought —a lot, thereby cancelling out any of that good advice I’d taken.

Here is one finding I observed: I medicate on purpose, doing, moving forward, and achieving BIG TIME. This is insidious and oh so subtle as none of the above are inherently bad things. Most things people get addicted to aren’t: food, booze, working out, money, gambling, sex, work, shopping, etc…However, when our daily success is propped up by these things, we can rest assure a rude awakening is coming for us someday soon. As the old saying goes, “Deal with your shit or your shit will deal with you.” Noted.


We can’t lead anyone to a place we’re not personally willing to go. Our words and actions will fall flat on deaf ears. I’m in the process of going deeper into this thing called presence, free from the buzz of a constant agenda and task list, or whatever the medicator may be.

As a community, we are going deeper into this thing called identity and I must confess, I’ve only partially grasped it. I’ve smugly believed that we can “act as if” until the shoe fits, much like all those desperate if not well-meaning ladies stuffing their oversized feet into Cinderella’s tiny slipper. We can’t just “do” our way into identity. Sure action is important, yet slowing down to listen is a surer path to our authentic, essential selves.

Join me

I’ve got a short video for you today about this seemingly paradoxical notion and I’d love for you to check it out. I feel much more alive after stepping off that hamster wheel I spoke of earlier. It was a scary strike at first, however, worth it in every way. If you struggle like I do and clumsily identify success as happiness, this video is for you. If you need support getting off of your own vicious treadmill, let’s connect. Beautiful things spring out of unlikely places that often lie way outside our death grip of control. Ease up, gently. Its time to trust the process.

Love & Gratitude,

Katie xoxo