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Here To Thrive
In this episode
- why resilience is so important for thriving
- Kate's tumultuous personal struggle that deepened her understanding of what it takes to thrive
- what the biggest roadblocks to thriving are
- how you can help yourself move forward
Kate Snowise 0:01
I think that it requires this level of resilience, thriving, because you’re allowing yourself to really experience life, but it is only through that kind of getting knocked down, that you grow stronger every time that you get back up.
Tahlee Rouillon 0:20
Thriving seems like a difficult topic to discuss right now, when many of us were just trying to survive 2020. It seems superficial and naive, an indulgence in shallow pleasure and frivolity; completely tone deaf in a time when so many are suffering. But the surprising thing I’ve learned about thriving is that it’s deeper than a surface level happiness. Learning to thrive is about discovering what brings meaning and fulfillment to your life. Also, thriving isn’t always easy. Sometimes thriving means doing difficult things in the short term, to bring about long term satisfaction. And of course, there are social factors that can hinder your ability to thrive. Injustice and inequality from a personal to a systemic level have a huge impact on your well being. Which is why ongoing social justice is so important to raise the access to wellbeing for all. It’s in this landscape that resilience becomes so vital. In order to thrive, you need to be able to bounce back quickly from setbacks, to process deep emotions, soothe the nervous system, recover an optimistic outlook and sustain the work required to thrive.
Tahlee Rouillon 1:47
You’re listening to the Seekers’ Sanctuary, a show about creating sanctuary in life, work, relationships, and home so you can embrace a life that matters to you. I’m your host Tahlee. On today’s episode, I speak with Kate Snowise, the founder of Thrive How, a coaching business helping people and organizations lead a life of fulfillment and thrive. We talk about why resilience is so important for thriving; Kate’s tumultuous, personal struggle that took her from a theoretical perspective to a deeper personal knowing of what it takes to thrive; what the biggest roadblocks to thriving are and how you can help yourself get unstuck and move forward. Please note, this episode contains discussion of cancer recovery, and a few swear bears. Enjoy.
Tahlee Rouillon 2:41
Hi, Kate, welcome to the Seekers’ Sanctuary podcast. So nice to have you on.
Kate Snowise 2:45
I’m really excited to be here, Tahlee
Tahlee Rouillon 2:48
Thank you. So I know that your business is all about helping people thrive. So first off, I’d love to know what your personal definition of thriving is.
Kate Snowise 3:00
Oh my gosh. So thriving to me is that deep inner sense of fulfillment. So I think there’s a lot of conversation or there has been (I come from a background in psychology) around happiness. And for me, thriving was a word that really represented something much deeper. And fulfillment is a word that comes to mind for me, but it’s also the sense of kind of soul alignment. So that knowingness within yourself when you’re letting your soul self drive or you feel that inner sense of knowing that all is well. I think that is what a thriving life looks and feels like in short summary.
Tahlee Rouillon 3:48
I love that. I love the idea that thriving and fulfillment are linked. And that it’s deeper than happiness. Happiness has a little bit of a shallow quality to it, I think.
Kate Snowise 4:01
To me, it does, yeah. Because there’s two different types of happiness in the psych literature, there’s eudaimonic happiness is the one that reflects that sense of fulfillment. And I’ve always been drawn to that rather than the other one is hedonic happiness, which is hedonism, and just chasing that quick thrill or that quick hit of happiness. And eudaimonic happiness is that much deeper contentment, but it also has this element of actually, it’s not always easy, and it won’t always be fun. And I think that’s what a thriving life entails. You know, that life of personal growth. It’s not always easy, and it’s not always fun, but it’s deeply fulfilling. Whereas that superficial happiness to me is really just looking for that high all the time. And yeah, I believe in something and chasing or chasing’s not even the right word but connecting with something so much deeper than that, if we really want to feel alive in life.
Tahlee Rouillon 5:04
Oh, that makes so much sense. And I feel like there is an element of resilience in thriving.
Kate Snowise 5:13
Oh massively! So like I was just touching on I think personal growth and fulfillment and becoming the biggest and boldest versions of ourselves, spiritual growth, none of that is necessarily a walk in the park. I think of when I really dove into my own personal growth, and I was very inquisitive as a teenager and interested in self help and things like that. But it was in my 30s, that I was like, dove into myself and had this desperate desire to get to know myself better and understand myself and all of those things. And it’s far from the easy path to take. I can remember thinking at the time, if someone had told me that personal development was this hard, maybe I would have just wanted to stay a little bit like asleep.
Tahlee Rouillon 6:12
Kate Snowise 6:13
And so I think that it requires this level of resilience thriving, because you’re allowing yourself to really experience life, but it is only through that kind of getting knocked down, that you grow stronger every time that you get back up. So I firmly believe that resilience is a crucial element to thriving.
Tahlee Rouillon 6:38
And so you mentioned that you were really drawn to this work in your 30s as like a personal adventure. But why did you want to then turn this into a business? Why is seeing other people thrive, so important to you and for the world?
Kate Snowise 6:56
Well, so it was a, it was an interesting journey for me. So I would say that I had all the theoretical knowledge before I was 30. So I trained as a psychologist in New Zealand, in my 20s. And I was a registered psychologist, by the time I was about 27, I believe. But I was in what’s called industrial organizational psychology. So I was always in the human potential movement. So right on the fringe of positive psychology. And so I was never looking at the clinical side of why people struggle, I was always looking at how can we become our best selves. So this had always actually been a part of my career, my work, but I had expressed it in a different way. So I was in management consulting. And then, like I said, I had all the theory there of what it takes to thrive from a psychological viewpoint. But it wasn’t until I hit my 30s that I became a stay at home mom, I moved to the States. And I really went through kind of my own personal struggle, it was a rock bottom of sorts for me. And when you talk about that resilience, and having to pick yourself back up.
Kate Snowise 8:13
So that’s when I really… I can just remember sitting there one day, just lost feeling that deep sense of I don’t know who I am, I feel so lost. I don’t know what I want out of life anymore. Because I’d been chasing this outside accolade. I’m going to become a registered psychologist, and I’m doing so well. And I’m doing great in the management consulting world. And then I moved to the States. And it just felt like my whole world had been tipped upside down. I felt like a fish out of water. I had really bad culture shock. I was a stay at home mom with two little kids, I didn’t have any family support, like everything felt really tumultuous for me. And when I look back, I’m like, of course, that’s how life plays out, right? Like, we need something that kind of shakes us to our core to wake us up and send us on our own kind of Hero’s Journey if you want. And it was that discomfort that I felt at that time. That made me go “I know this stuff about being happy. What would it mean if I started applying it to myself?”
Kate Snowise 9:25
So I think that was in my, I was about 31, I think, or 30. I was about 30. That’s when I really went. I’ve got all of this theoretical knowledge. But what if I turn it into experiential knowledge? Like what if I start applying it to me and my life and how could it shift me and change me? And so I feel like that’s when it merged together. And so I just started following my bliss like totally cliche. Joseph Campbell styles. Started following what made me feel alive on the inside, and I started reconnecting with hobbies and interests. And that’s when I started writing, actually. So I never planned on…at that point, I didn’t intend to make a business out of it. I just started a blog, and I started writing. And I had never read a blog before my entire life. Which was probably a good thing, because I think I would have got overwhelmed if I knew what I was entering into. But it was just… I was a woman possessed. And I think that was the first time I can remember thinking “this is the first time I’ve heard my intuition in a very long time”. And it just felt so good to feel that pull from my heart from my soul, and to listen and go after it. And so I had my blog for a year. And then that’s what merged into my business. I was like, hang on a second. I’m a psychologist. Maybe I can’t call myself one in the States, but I certainly was in New Zealand, and I know all of this stuff, and why don’t I just see what I can do with it, and how I can help other people. And it really has been for me, I like one step in front of the other, just being led by my own gut, really. And that’s led me to this thriving, thriving, cheesy, thriving coaching practice. So um, yeah, I love it. It’s, it’s been a fun adventure these last eight or so years.
Tahlee Rouillon 11:32
Ah, that’s fantastic. And I love that you talk about this idea of soul alignment. And that soul alignment you mentioned earlier was a really big piece of your personal definition of thriving. So you’ve moved to the States, you’re in this really tumultuous transition, you’re feeling very lost and isolated. And you start putting all of these things into practice that you knew, in theory. What were the kinds of soul messages that you were receiving around that time to start things like writing? I suppose those supportive messages that you get internally that you feel like you have the courage to follow?
Kate Snowise 12:26
I felt like I was so out of touch with my intuition.
Tahlee Rouillon 12:29
Kate Snowise 12:30
I was so out of touch with the inner callings, from my heart. Like, I really didn’t know how to listen to my deepest needs. I had no idea how to communicate with that part of myself. And I look back now and I’m just like, Wow, now I’m in daily communion with myself. And I feel like I am guided and directed. And I have that whenever I want to call on it. But I just thinking back to a 30 year old version of me, I certainly didn’t feel that way. And I just remember one instance, which was a big deal for me, I was sitting in my kid’s playroom. And I had two kids under two, it was really intense. And yeah, and I was watching a Super Soul Sunday episode. And it was the one with Mastin Kipp, Gabrielle Bernstein and Marie Forleo. And I had never heard of these three people, this is like, all of seven, eight years ago or whatever. Never heard of any of them. And I remember watching that, and the episode was called The Thought Leaders of the Next Generation or something like that. And I remember looking that at them and thinking, hang on a second. I don’t think Gabrielle Bernstein is much older than me. And hang on a second. I could do that. And it wasn’t in this arrogant way. It was in this kind of like, a “duh” way. Like my soul was like, wake the fuck up.
Tahlee Rouillon 14:08
Kate Snowise 14:10
See what those people are doing? Like just you know “Wakey wakey” and I would even go as far to say like, I can’t remember then if I felt envy but I feel like there was this little part of me that was like, “why am I not doing that yet?” And it was good. It was like a boot up the butt from I don’t know, maybe it was my spirit guides being like “For fuck’s sake Kate, can you Wakey wakey over there?!”. But so it felt like a jolt. My initial kind of insights into this were quite dramatic and jarring and little epiphanies. But I only had a couple of them and then I was kind of just away scurrying. So when I named my business thrive and decided I was going to turn my blog into a business, that was another “duh” moment, it just kind of came to me. Then I think that the messages became too low when I got better at listening to them. They didn’t come so much in these grand epiphany lightbulb moments. I kind of imagined myself as a cartoon with a little light bulb that just goes “ding”. And I finally got it.
Kate Snowise 15:22
But yeah, I feel like I’m much better at hearing. But what I would say is, I think I’d had those moments before, of probably feeling things, but I just shut them down as soon as I felt them. And so those other reasons, those two times I remember, is because I acted on them. You know? I didn’t just tell my inner voice “yeah, thank you shut up”. I was like, “I’m gonna do something about this”. And so I turned those moments into inspiration. Rather than, I think for the decade before, I’d be going, “shh, shh, not convenient, don’t want to hear you”. So I feel like those are examples of when I really listened.
Tahlee Rouillon 16:08
They’re really fantastic stories. And the takeaway here is permission to act on those important messages instead of constantly suppressing the soul’s desire for growth and fulfillment and thriving.
Kate Snowise 16:26
Right? Because, I’ve always believed that the soul… if you listen to your inner voice, I truly believe that it will show you the quickest route (pron. root) to your happiness, or we’d say route (pron. rowt) here in the States, I’m very confused about what I say these days. But like, it will show you the quickest path. Even though sometimes those messages feel like “oh my gosh, my soul is telling me to go off into the wilderness, it wants me to bush hack through there?!”. I’ve come to trust that if I’m being pointed in that direction, even if it looks completely batshit crazy, that it is the quickest route. And if I trust it, and I take it, I will be rewarded. But in saying that, I mean, I’m constantly having to remind myself of that, because it’s not like you just get that once and you’re like, “Oh, now I know this”. I constantly have to remind myself that I can trust the callings from my soul. It’s not like a one and done deal people.
Tahlee Rouillon 17:32
Yeah. As somebody who has personally re-learned the same lesson over and over again, I totally get that.
Kate Snowise 17:40
Totally! I mean we’re talking about eight years between when I’m talking about these stories of initially hearing the call and being willing to go. And man, there have been times I have swayed further away from my soul’s calling only to be like “oh, duh” and had to make the course correct. And yeah, like, “oops, I fell asleep again, and now I’m back”, and “oops” and “d’oh”. And that’s why I said for me now it has to be a daily practice, this communion with this deeper part of myself. If I don’t do it on the daily I inevitably feel like I fall into this kind of unconsciousness. The outside world is bloody noisy. Like, it’s noisy out there. We are constantly being bombarded with messages. I mean, social media will drive you crazy if it’s the only thing you look at, and everyone will tell you how to do it. And so if I don’t quieten down the voices of the noise of the outside world and listen to myself? I’m as prone as anyone to getting blown off course. We all are. So that’s why it really does have to be a practice I’ve found.
Tahlee Rouillon 18:53
Tahlee Rouillon 18:57
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Tahlee Rouillon 20:16
Well, I know that you have personally been through quite a lot in the last few years as well. While we’re on this topic of listening to souls callings, and having that daily practice of communion, would you mind maybe sharing a little bit about those challenges and how you kept thriving amongst at all?
Kate Snowise 20:40
I will preempt this with now I realize “oh, holy shit course correction. Yep. Thank you life.” So, I’m 37 now. I’m almost 38. And just a couple days before I turned 36, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer. And I say unexpectedly, because I mean, I was 35. So to start with, not many people are 35 are thinking that’s in the picture. But I also had no family history. So I don’t have any relations anywhere that have ever had breast cancer, it’s never been a part of my family’s story. And so it didn’t even occur to me that I would ever get breast cancer in my whole life, let alone in my 30s. And so it came as a real shock for me. There was no part of me that was emotionally prepared for that. And so yeah, I was diagnosed when I was 35. And then you just go into this (if anyone’s been diagnosed with something like that) you just go into this whirlwind. The medical system just sucks you up. And there are a lot of really difficult decisions to make around surgery options and treatment options and what you want to do, along with a lot of anxiety around, I didn’t know how sick I was, I didn’t know how advanced my cancer was. All of that kind of stuff.
Kate Snowise 22:12
So it’s just an insane, chaotic period. And mine did drag out longer than some other people’s because then they thought I had breast cancer in my second breast and then I didn’t, but they thought I did. And I didn’t know that. But I didn’t know that for six weeks, or five weeks until I had my surgery. But interesting fact, women who get breast cancer earlier in life, even I’ve got no genetic disposition to it that they are currently aware of like all of my gene tests were negative. But they do think that when women get breast cancer much earlier, that assumption is that there’s basically something genetically wrong with your tissue. So you’re more likely to get a secondary breast cancer in the other breast than other women. So I was like, “What would be the chance of me having breast cancer in the other breast?!” and the surgeons like, “quite good”. I was like, “you guys are crazy.”
Kate Snowise 23:08
So yeah, that threw me into another one of those periods of self discovery. And it’s been a real healing journey for me over the last year and a half. So yeah, through my surgeries, and I was very lucky, it was caught early, so I didn’t have to have chemotherapy. But yeah, I realized that it was another one of those moments for my soul to go deeper. And I’m grateful that I had enough insight at that point, that this could be a learning experience for me if I treated it as such. But people who know me, well would say, and I will admit it, I’m incredibly impatient.
Kate Snowise 23:55
So literally, I’m in the personal growth field. I’m incredibly impatient. I get breast cancer at 35. So I’m sitting there going, “Okay, God, where are the learnings? Where are the teachings? Where’s the wisdom? Just hurry up, give me the wisdom. What have I learned?” Like literally thinking I would just have wisdom dropped in my lap. I would go through this traumatic experience, and then I would come out two months later and be like, “I am a wise soul”. And shit me it was not like that.
Tahlee Rouillon 24:26
Kate Snowise 24:27
I will say that, I have been in therapy, and I’ve done so much work. And I literally turned up to my therapist, and she’s brilliant by the way, she’s a 67 year old Zen Buddhist priest. And it was about six months after my surgery, and I turned up at her doorstep and I’m like, “Look, I understand the concept of post traumatic growth. I just really need you to make me get there quicker because I don’t think I’m getting there by myself very well. So can you like hasten me along?”
Tahlee Rouillon 24:56
laughs So what did she say to that?
Kate Snowise 25:00
Oh she was just so brilliant. I mean, she’s like my guru. She just looks at me and just smiles as I come to my own epiphanies actually, it’s pretty funny. But I think that was a big step for me to really to do the deep healing work and to recognize that true healing… And I mean, that as a soul level, right? Like not just healing from… whatever it is… just healing from life in general but going deeper with the big existential questions. I needed a safe space to do that. And therapy has been great for me in that capacity. So yeah, that’s my story of resilience and recognizing that it actually takes work. That it doesn’t fall in your lap, that the wisdom and the deepening of our, I guess, our souls journey. It’s not a walk in the park. And I’m a huge believer that we’re here and this is kind of like a life school, and that we’re here to learn lessons. And I don’t know why I continue to think those lessons will be easy to learn.
Tahlee Rouillon 26:16
Kate Snowise 26:17
So I feel like every year I get older, I recognize how little… I mean, I grow and I develop more, yet I realize how much I still don’t know. Which is kind of cool, too. I think like in my 20s that I was kind of arrogant, thought I knew at all. And now as I approach my 40s I’m like, “ha, I know nothing at all.”
Tahlee Rouillon 26:39
Yep, I feel you sister.
Kate Snowise 26:43
Right? This is life, people. This is life.
Tahlee Rouillon 26:48
So when you’re working with people, what do you see the biggest roadblocks that they have around thriving themselves?
Kate Snowise 27:00
There are so many. I mean, we’re all so unique, right? In truth, I think as a species, like as humanity (and I’m talking more about Western culture) I think we’re broken. I think we’re disconnected from ourselves. I think we’re disconnected from each other. And we are walking around feeling half dead on the inside and having no idea how to feel more alive. But kind of having this inkling that we could. I do think… your question was “what is keeping people from themselves or from this thriving”, there’s a couple of things that immediately come to mind. And one is fear, stress and anxiety. I think that that keeps us away from our true nature. Because I just see that as like a roadblock. Like if we’re constantly living in this fearful mindset, then it’s a lens we put over our perception of the world, and we can’t even soak up the beauty that is in our lives. And so I do really work with people to try and change their perception around their experience. Because I just think we have so much power in our minds if we can tap into it. And the other thing is external validation, the need to be approved of by others. And so that’s when you fall into those, “I should do it this way”, or “this is the right path”. And I mean, I’ve struggled with this my whole life people, so I know this one well. But I think those two things: that need for external approval and this fear laden mindset can really stop us from connecting with our truth and our own paths.
Tahlee Rouillon 29:02
That makes so much sense, because it seems like that fear, stress and anxiety and the need for other people’s approval are kind of like, two sides of the same coin.
Kate Snowise 29:14
Oh, yeah, they can so go together and they they often do in the same people, right? Because it’s like, you’re constantly looking. When you constantly feel like you need to be fed by that external approval. It does create a lot of anxiety.
Tahlee Rouillon 29:28
Yeah. And I think that that weight of other people’s opinions and expectations, really does block you from your own inner guidance and inner trust and self worth and self love and all of those things that are really important for thriving,
Kate Snowise 29:45
For sure. Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more.
Tahlee Rouillon 29:47
What do you think helps people to get unstuck in those moments and move forward?
Kate Snowise 29:53
You know, I’m a writer, and just the written word I find is a really good way for me to personally communicate with my soul. So I encourage people to start a conversation with themselves, to get some journal prompts and to write and see what comes out when they give themselves the space to ask fairly big questions. What am I here for? Well, if you just leave space and free write, you’ll be interested in what comes out. And how do I feel about this situation, whatever it might be. When I say I’m in daily communion, with my soul, these days, I do the Julia Cameron version of morning pages. So yeah, I write three pages every morning and I free write. But sometimes I’ll just rewrite and complete rubbish. Honestly, people, it’s like, “it’s cold outside, I’m hungry.”
Tahlee Rouillon 30:55
laughs “I wish this was over already.”
Kate Snowise 30:57
Yeah! laughs “My hand’s getting sore now.” But as I’ve got better at it, I actually just sit back now and I’m like, “What guidance is coming through for me today?” And when I preface it with that kind of question… I let all the rubbish come out about how cold I am and what I want to eat, and, and I kind of give that one page. And then I’ll be like, what guidance is really for me today, and oh, my gosh, the wisdom that will spew forward. And you can believe that from my soul, or from my guides, or whatever it is, but I’m like, This is good stuff. And so that’s what I encourage people to do, is to start this conversation with yourself to ask yourself the big questions, and to give yourself the space to hear your inner voice, because your inner voice speaks in whispers. But if you’re constantly distracted by the stimulation of this material world, you will never hear it. So you have to be really intentional about creating that space to hear as well. So create the space and then start the conversation with yourself.
Tahlee Rouillon 32:13
I love it, I love it, create the space and start a conversation with yourself. So beautiful.
Kate Snowise 32:20
When I think about it I’ve got my cell phone sitting right here next to me by my computer. And when I think about my most miserable times… when I say miserable my life was good. But here, I was struggling with two little kids, I was just zoning out and numbing out on my cell phone, like I was in the constant scroll, because I was looking to numb. And when I say create the space, I’m like, "you can choose to numb (and you may be doing it unconsciously) or you can create that space and choose a higher option and take that time and be like “no, I’m going to get a journal. And I’m going to leave my technology in the other room. And I’m just going to write.” And it just takes a little bit more intention and purpose as well.
Tahlee Rouillon 33:12
Oh Kate, you have just shared so much wisdom, and just really fantastic stories as well. And really beautiful tips and advice. I am so so appreciative for you and this conversation that we’ve had today.
Kate Snowise 33:27
Oh my gosh you know this is my favorite thing to do Tahlee? Like I could just have deep and meaningful conversations like all day, every day. I mean, this is like soul alignment right here for me people.
Tahlee Rouillon 33:39
I love that. Yes, we do. So before we wrap up, I would love to know, what are you diving deeper into at the moment? Is there anything exciting happening on the horizon?
Kate Snowise 33:50
So I did touch on it earlier and I should have gone into it a bit more. When I said I got breast cancer, I was 35, two years ago. And I was “yeah, that was probably a soul correction as part of my own soul growth”, obviously. But I do think it also served as a bit of a wake up call for me. And I realized through that process that I’ve mentioned I’m a writer, but I’m a writer who hasn’t written for seven years. So it was a wake up call for me and a rerouting of my life I guess in some respects, a shake up that when you’re a writer who isn’t writing and you know, deep down in your heart, you’re a writer. So damn well get on with it basically. Because in those moments where I was unsure of how sick I was, it really gave me a clarity that most of us I don’t think get the luxury of, right? Where it’s like “what would I be sad if I didn’t get to do before my days were done?” And I know that sounds like a bit of a dramatic question. But I was really wrestling with that. And and it wasn’t necessarily a lot of the things I had been spending my days on. And I realized that I need to write. So I am. That’s what I’m dedicated to doing this year is I really want to get a book in the motions, it’s going to be about stress and wellbeing. So one of the barriers that I believe, block us from our true soul’s calling. So stay tuned, I’m going down the traditional publishing route. So you’ll probably see it in like five years, but I am going to start really pushing that forward. So yeah, working on a proposal as we speak.
Tahlee Rouillon 35:40
That is so exciting. I’m really thrilled to hear that. And I wish you all the very best with that process, because I’m sure that it is long and probably requires a lot of patience.
Kate Snowise 35:52
Right? And yeah, like thankfully, I’ve been learning that lesson over the past few years. I’m getting better at that one too, Tahlee.
Tahlee Rouillon 36:00
Well, thank you again Kate. It’s just been such a pleasure talking to you today. Thank you. Take care.
Kate Snowise 36:06
Tahlee Rouillon 36:09
Thank you for listening to the Seekers’ Sanctuary podcast. I’ve been your host Tahlee. If you’ve enjoyed the music on this show, then you’re going to love becoming a Seekers’ Sanctuary member. You can access hours of calming meditones music on any device with our premium streaming service. Head to seeksanctuary.com for your free trial today. Special thanks to our editor Justin Rouillon for helping bring these episodes to life. Until next time, big love.