…Given that my work is centered around community and helping people feel better, mental health is the cause dearest to me. As I navigate conversations around loneliness and the effects of isolation, I am constantly reminded of the nuanced layers that go into “having a good life”. The conversation around mental health is slowly becoming less stigmatized and I’m happy about that, but we still have a long way to go in making sure that we create a society that is safe and equitable enough for everyone to seek the specific help they need.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cat Lantigua .
As a first-generation Dominican-Amercian, Cat learned to navigate the nuance of community, identity, advocacy, self-care and storytelling in everyday life. In 2016, while living in her hometown Miami, Cat launched a blog dedicated to vulnerable sharing her personal journey of trying to ‘Figure it Out.’ In addition to sharing her personal experiences, her blog amplified the voices of millennial women shifting the culture. After moving to New York City, Cat found herself depressed and lonely seeking true friendship in a new city. Doing what she knows best, Cat took her personal experiences online and realized there was a community of womxn with similar experiences. In these tender spaces, many shared candidly about them wrestling with belonging, self-understanding and navigating the windy sometimes unexpected curves of life. In 2018, Cat officially became a community architect and created Goddess Council, a vulnerable, authentic community that usher in honest, meaningful conversations and nourishing exchanges.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Yes, of course! I graduated from Florida International University in 2015 and at 22 years old was determined to commit my life to non-profit/NGO development for organizations dedicated to empowering women and children and alleviating poverty. I had my sights on moving somewhere across the world to embark on this path, but after dipping my toes into the nonprofit sector I realized that the bureaucracy of it all prevented me from being as hands on as I would’ve liked to be. Upon realizing this I was devastated but I eventually found myself reevaluating everything and distilled my sincerest interests to storytelling and fostering heart-centered spaces. Throughout that journey I launched my podcast Chats with Cat to document my journey of overcoming fear and paving the way for my soul’s purpose to shine through. I also launched Goddess Council, an online/ in-person wellness community and sisterhood for all women seeking deep connection, new friendships, healing, and joy!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
The most interesting element of my career thus far is that I basically stumbled into it! I started Goddess Council (GC) as a means of creating a solution for my loneliness while living in NYC but eventually learned that the very thing I needed was also something many other women were craving, so I made the decision to formally build GC into a space that would serve the needs of the community. Through this I’ve learned that there are life-changing magical surprises waiting for us along our journey but we have to be present and patient enough to create space for their unfolding.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I compared myself to other people…a lot. I wish that in my earlier days I had a better way of navigating the distraction and anxiety prompted by being hyper connected online. I wish I knew that I was always on my way and on the right path, because it was my own. There will always be other people we can seek out to be inspired and motivated by, but I learned that there’s a thin line between admiring and comparing. I am mindful of not crossing that line these days.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My partner Frank has played an instrumental role in helping me connect with my power, voice, and overall commitment to being the best version of myself. There have been a lot of moments where I’ve felt like I wanted to quit and live a life that didn’t require so much grit but Frank doesn’t let me give up. He always helps me reconnect with my truest desires, no matter how big or small!
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
I hope that by bringing awareness to the conversation around social health and social wellness I’ll do my part to help us feel connected and supported in spite of living in a hyperconnected digital age.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- Waking up early! There’s something game changing about waking up with the sun and committing to experiencing all that the new day has to offer.
- Integrating nature wherever possible. The trees and wildlife have an innate way of comforting the soul and healing the body.
- Writing letters to people you cherish. This practice has become more consistent during this era of social-distancing and has helped me stay connected with people I can’t be with right now, while providing them with a tangible reminder of my presence and commitment to staying in touch.
- Taking walks during phone calls. Like most people, I find myself on the phone more than ever! I find that when I go out walking while I’m on the phone I become so consumed by the conversation that I commit to exercising longer than usual. It’s a mindful distraction!
- Consider talk therapy! I’ve been in talk therapy for about 2.5 years consistently and it has been an absolute key element to my wellbeing. I recommend it for everyone!
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
It would be to start a movement that ensured every single person on the planet had the resources and tools necessary to uphold a global high quality of life standard.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- The first few years with starting a business will just be committed to laying the foundation and gaining the trust of others. Despite everything in life seemingly coming to us with less and less effort, when building a company the hard work has to go in first and then play time comes much later.
- Time management is key when it comes to running a business where you are the one who sets the rules.
- Not every opportunity that comes along is a worthwhile one. Sometimes saying no and turning down opportunities is the best option.
- Unlearning my inherited scarcity mindset was critical. You can’t grow your business and make your dreams come true if you’re secretly expecting it to not actually happen.
- Not everything that comes along is urgent, so although it feels like you have to do something right then and there because someone is asking for it, you can usually pace yourself and get around to it without feeling pressure or anxiety.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Oh this is a tough one because I find them all to be incredibly important, but ok I’ll just choose one! Given that my work is centered around community and helping people feel better, mental health is the cause dearest to me. As I navigate conversations around loneliness and the effects of isolation, I am constantly reminded of the nuanced layers that go into “having a good life”. The conversation around mental health is slowly becoming less stigmatized and I’m happy about that, but we still have a long way to go in making sure that we create a society that is safe and equitable enough for everyone to seek the specific help they need.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Your readers can follow me on Instagram at @cat.lantigua ,by visiting www.catlantigua.com or by checking out my podcast Chats with Cat on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you stream your favorite shows!
Thank you for these fantastic insights!