EP: 170 - Cathy Heller - Don't Keep Your Day Job



This week's episode has a special guest: Cathy Heller. Cathy Heller hosts the podcast Don’t Keep Your Day Job, which has 8 million downloads and features conversations with creative entrepreneurs like actress Jenna Fischer, blogger Seth Godin, and more. She’s a phenomenal coach and she’s sparking a movement for every soul to add their gift to the world.


Nick and KISMA

Special Guest:
Cathy Heller

01:59 - Let’s Get to Know Cathy

You're very real.You're incredibly authentic and there's a rawness about you. I feel like it comes from your background as a musician and Nick and I both have backgrounds as musicians. So I would love to kick off this podcast with a little bit about that. And then of course you've got a book to talk about and other things, your podcasts, but would you share the story behind your being a musician and what it means to your life right now?


02:51 - Our Wounds Guide Us

You I am raw maybe that connects to being an artist. I think that at the end of the day, most likely if somebody is making art, whether they're writing songs or a visual painter, there's probably some pain or something really deeply they want so much for other people to hear. 

My parents had a pretty awful marriage and eventually got divorced and then it got even worse in a way. My mom was really suicidal for a while and my dad was not really in the picture.

So those are really rough, unpleasant times. The one thing that was always my escape was music and it would let me feel things and it would let me hope for somewhere else that would be very far away where I would get heard. And one day maybe I would sing and write my own songs. 

I barely graduated from high school, literally like my teacher lied and said that I got a grade that I didn't so that I could leave school and graduate with my class. That was really kind of him then I wound up going to college. Eventually, came out to LA with this “I have to do something that makes me.”


12:53 The Fight For Support As an Artist

I just want to kind of rewind a bit because I know I've heard it. I know Nick has heard it. This thing where other humans come up to artists and musicians and say, you will never make a living. Yep. And sometimes it comes from family who are trying to protect, right. But basically say “get a real job.”


14:23 - You Can’t Be Stopped

When those people look you in the eyes and they say, stop, don't do this to yourself. They want to protect the child in them, right? And the child in you who wanted so badly to shine their magic or to connect deeply with someone else. But it didn't because your dad walked out or you lost your mom or you loved this boy in seventh grade that didn't love you back. Or you showed your art teacher something you were so proud of it and he said, that'll never work. 

I remember that moment. And the pain is real. It's real. Your eight year old self would be pretty proud that you've even gotten through this, this way. Like it's pretty amazing how we, we survive.

We survived by turning off the wanting the dreaming. In fact, I had Todd Herman on my podcast and he was saying that, Martin Luther King had prepared his iconic speech so many times and rehearsed it. And the only line that he didn't write was the only line that we know, which is “I have a dream”, it makes me cry like in this moment telling it. But basically when he got up to deliver that speech, he looked at the crowd and he looked at his paper with his perfectly written speech and he took a deep breath and he said, I have a dream and it is the most vulnerable thing, which is why it's so powerful.


24:36 Confirming Your Belief

My feeling is that everyone who listening has a great idea. Like truly they have something amazing but they're lacking momentum, they're not taking enough action.  We can get into the why but it's really, their belief is just not there.

So if you're not going to believe it, you're not going to do enough about it. They're not taking enough action. We're also not understanding what it means to work smarter, not harder. And the momentum is going to come when you're really grounding yourself in making something for someone else and then making that same thing for three more people and then getting their feedback. It's easier to make dinner for someone and make it a success if you find out ahead of time, if the person is gluten free or vegan, then like setting yourself up.


27:33 It takes courage!

The bottom line is that is what it comes down to, right? People don't want to do something unless they know exactly how it's going to play out. When I go to the Hollywood bowl and I see someone who's performing, I don't think, God, this person is talented because I do think that, but the first thing I think is, gosh, this person had so much courage. It's like you're willing to take those steps. 

28:54 - Risk is Not Natural

Our brains were created to protect us and all they do all day long is scan for things to worry about. They're looking for danger. It's looking for danger, looking for danger. And so the way that we work is really ridiculous. We just assume, we're going to wake up and be ready to like rip it open. Every person who's listening has had a moment where they felt really bold and they took that step and you can remember and it was amazing and it felt so good and things happen, but we don't just naturally think and feel that way.


36:54 - The Book

Tell us about the book.  

(Readers can purchase here!)


36:57 - Don’t Keep Your Day Job

I wrote a book called Don't Keep Your Day Job. I wrote a book that helps people to identify what is possible and then gives you some steps to take action. One of the things that I do that I think is unique that's in the book is helping people understand that there are different archetypes.

I don't think a lot of people know the different degrees or the different things that are possible. As people, we will reach for the highest branch that we can see. And so in the book I started to talk about the four different things you can do. I've talked to over 200 successful entrepreneurs and I've seen that there really are only four paths, and it's helpful to see yourself as one of these.



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