Be kind to yourself. Throughout my adventure of building The rising tide, I have found myself being the toughest boss I have ever had. I found myself in the most abusive relationship of my life, and it was with myself. When I experienced worry, stress, struggle and fear, I was living under the influence of some negative thought and self talk. Noticing it, helped me to take a fresh look at it. When we feel loved and cared for, we do better. When we want to shift our relationship with ourselves we can start by cutting ourselves some slack. Being kind to ourselves. Remembering that we are all human beings, doing the best we can each day. We can learn to embrace the rising and falling of ourselves and our organization, knowing that both are part of the flow of life. What helped me the most was learning to embrace my humanity, and taking myself lightly.
Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50’s.
How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?
In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kathy Murphy.
Kathy Murphy is a self-leadership coach who helps people find fearless freedom in change, so that they can create the life they want in their next chapter with ease and grace. She has reinvented herself through job loss, divorce, lyme disease, R.A, Cancer, and care and death of both parents.. In her last chapter she lost everything, started over from scratch, and is thriving. www.wearerisingtides.com
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to be here. I grew up in a suburb outside Los Angeles, California. My family was very loving, and supportive throughout my childhood. I had a family who believed in learning by doing, and gave me plenty of opportunities to learn on my feet by throwing me into new things. At a young age I made it a game, which I now see helped me tap into my creativity and imagination. I was always told I did not take life seriously. My light attitude towards life and it’s challenges helped me not take myself or life too seriously. I know a big part of my confidence was that somehow I knew I would always be ok. It was like I had a safety net, because as long as I did what I knew to do, things worked out. As far as I see it my life is still this way. Because while my life is not all rainbows and unicorns, I should not be here today, and still am. Even on the days I struggle, that in itself shows me the power of life we all have inside us.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Use your light to help others find theirs,” Gloria Steinem.
At the age of 19, hearing this quote helped me to try out and get one of the first firefighter, then peace officer jobs for a woman. At the age of 60, hearing it from her reminded me of why I was in this world. Back in school I was pursuing my next chapter. I always saw the light in others. Helping others see their light, helped me to see my own light, too. The brighter my own light has become, the more I realize just by being us, we can all change the world. Whenever I am feeling my light dim, I still hear this quote clearly in my mind.
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
Fearlessness, resilience, and passion. The fearlessness has helped me to take bold and courageous actions from a state of a calm, clear mind. I was overcome with fear when I was surrounded by armed men one night at my job. I felt the fear, and for an instant wanted to fight them in a panic. But out of nowhere I just knew to surrender and probably saved my own life in doing so. I was able to hear the voice inside guiding me, even in the midst of the scary thinking. The second quality I possess is resilience. No matter what I faced in life, I was able to bounce back quickly. Last time I had a bad injury, my left arm would barely move. Doctors said there was nothing they could do without surgery. A week after the last test results came back showing that I would never use that arm, without extensive surgery. I was back in the water surfing. We are far more resilient than we know. My third quality is my passion for life. Being engaged and playing full out keeps me in an abundance of energy. I spend many hours putting time and attention into my business, but my passion for the vision makes the work feel effortless. When we are driven by passion, we become unstoppable.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
Throughout my career I have been: a firefighter, peace officer (I was one of the first women in both departments and respective fields for my area), a park ranger, a teacher, instructor, coach and mentor of many topics, and sports. I had two other businesses along with my full-time career. I held leadership roles for over 40 years. As a leader I always saw the infinite potential in everyone who worked for me, and helped them to see and step into it as leaders themselves. With my teams I managed to create what everyone said was impossible. The last 9 years of my career as a manager of a large portion of land in the southern California desert, I led a movement to create a place in the southern California desert, in which diverse groups could come together and all be able to do what they loved, side by side. The area had a long history of battles to keep some of the people out. Millions of people still use the area annually. I rose to the challenge and thrived in the political arena, and did so while being authentically me. My passion was to create a space for all to come together and do what they loved.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
I knew from experience every reinvention required a willingness to embrace and become ok where I was, let go of the past, and then reimagine a new future. I had done it through illness, injuries, job changes, relationships changes, but never underwent it all at once. This was the most difficult of my life.
To become ok where I was, I needed to stop the paralyzing fear from holding me back. I had so much scary thinking about what could happen to me at each moment, that it was difficult to take a step. Each time I felt the fear I recognized the scary thinking and tried to fight it off, beat it. And then, I gave up. I stopped fighting the thoughts, and I noticed the feeling when it came up would quickly leave as the thoughts changed.I knew and doctors confirmed my Lyme disease, RA, and health were the worst ever. I started taking better care of myself. I created a simple plan of toxins out, fuel in for body, mind and spirit. I knew I did not want to work 24/7 in my next chapter, I needed a balanced life this time. I started spending time doing the things I loved, most significantly of which was getting back in the ocean. I spent time surfing and went hand in hand with getting back in life. In Jan 2016, I got knocked out under water and could not move. My life passed before my eyes. I realized that day, it was time for me to figure out why I was still here, I knew God had plans for me. Three months later I just knew to sign up for coaching school, then grad level, and the journey has not stopped since. As soon as I started serving others my life started to improve.
I set out to help people, and in doing so it helped me.
The biggest needle mover in this reinvention was when I was able to let go of control in my life. Control I never had. This freed me up to control what I do control: the thoughts I chose to focus on and the actions I take. In doing this I became more present and engaged in each moment, and reinvention was done in flow, not fight or fear.
What I found was that reinvention was easier than we think. I found, even when we have lost everything, we can start over anytime. We have everything we need already. It is within us. We are created to change, adapt, and pivot in each moment. I found it in me, and everyone I worked with on my journey as a coach so far.
Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?
On October 7, 2012 I found myself surrounded by armed men yelling at me to not move and put my hands in the air. I did not work in a bank, and some of these men were people I had worked with my whole career. They told me to keep my hands in the air and not move. They asked where my gear was and moved quickly to gather it all up. I was advised to not speak to anyone, and not leave my condo, or something more would happen to me. My life as I knew it was over at that moment. I was thrown into finding a new life, with nothing left of me. I felt the weight of the world at that moment. I knew life would never be the same, if it went on at all. In hindsight, I saw that I had been told over and over to leave and refused. I insisted on taking the fall, and going down with the ship. I was my own ship, and while I feared for my life, I was more worried about what would happen to my team and the millions of people who relied on me. I learned from this that life has a way of self correcting. When we are needed to go another way, and do not pull the trigger ourselves, it will be pulled for us. We get redirected. But the redirection, whether we choose to follow it or not, takes time to adjust to.
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
The skill set I knew I needed when I decided to start coaching school was how to more powerfully coach and serve people. I had loved coaching, mentoring, and helping people see their potential my whole life. But I did not know what that could look like in a career as a coach. I also loved to help people bring impossible visions to life, and needed to know how to take a business from idea to on the ground. I also knew as a person, I would need to grow because I could never take others deeper than I had gone. To date I have invested around 150k (that I did not have at the time) on courses, coaching and mentoring to build my business. This helped me to see life in a whole new way, and to be able to help others do the same. I found new skill sets in many things that I do for the business that I did not think I was good at or could ever do before. But when I dropped the judgement about who I thought I was, I found even those technical tasks could be done without hard work. I realized we can all do something new when we decide to show up and just do it. Skills and confidence are a result of doing it, and knowing where we need extra help, training and information.
How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.
I love my life and wake up each day before dawn to write, take my dog for a walk, surf at sunrise, and then work on my business, coaching, and creating more cool stuff in the world each day. Some days I can barely walk, but then again I have an old dog so it works out. I always do the best I can with the body I have each day. I am energized and engaged in life. I love spending time playing with my adult kids and new granddaughter. I have another book and a song coming out this year, and a new part of business “Your Backyard Pharm’’. I am hoping to continue to inspire and reach more people in a way that helps them live life in fearless freedom. I put a lot of time and attention into my business. Most days I spend time with clients, continue to build my business, and do things to move my list of “wouldn’t it be cool if’’ dream projects forward. I still find myself standing in my own way sometimes, but stay there a lot less time than when I first started my business. I am challenged by life and growing the organization at times. But through this reinvention I am doing life a much easier way, in rhythm and flow of life, rather than in the fight. The journey has more joy, and way less stress. More seems to get done in less time, and feels effortless. I have made more money than ever already this year, and this time I did not put the better life off till later. The better life is experienced 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?
I am grateful for everyone I have met, as they all had a part of who I am today. My mom and dad were unconditionally loving, supportive, and were instrumental in me believing that I could be and do anything I wanted to. They taught me the gift in having love and compassion for everyone and gave me the ability to see inside people for who they really were. They modeled to never give up, and despite my teen year challenges, they never gave up on me. When I was 19 years old I decided to be a smokejumper and got a job as one of the first women. My dad was so thrilled and proud, he did the 4 day road trip to drive to the job with me. It was a crazy and risky job, but he looked at it as fun for me. Looking back as a parent, I often wondered what he was thinking, I am lucky I did not get killed.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
Wow, it has been an adventure. I have been around a long time, and have so many stories. One of the most interesting and fun stories to me was when a lady called me and asked me to teach her to surf. I had never formally taught people to surf, but did take friends with me. I explained to her that I did not teach surfing, I was a coach. She wanted to get over her fear of surfing, and thought I could help her. I explained that if she signed up for me to coach her that I will include surfing. She was adamant she did not need a coach, but said OK, as long as there is surfing. Did I tell you she was afraid of water? We worked together for 8 weeks. Today I can still feel the ear to ear, filled with joy, like a kid at Christmas, mile wide smile she had beaming from her face as she caught her first wave. By the end of 8 weeks, this lady who was afraid of the water had surfed twice. She has now also published her first article, started a best-selling book, put in for and got a promotion. Additionally she and her husband were packing for the cross-country move to the city of her dreams, where the job just happened to have opened up. It blew my mind. I had been trying to find my way as a health coach, following a way of doing things, and it never quite fit for me. It worked but it did not bring me the joy I wanted to feel in my new life as a coach. And here it was, what I saw was that I could incorporate surfing into my coaching program. Being able to do what I love, and help people to overcome fear. I had seen that without a doubt how we do one thing, we do everything. It helped me to live and everyone I worked with got to have more fun on the way to their dreams. We need to bring all of us into everything we do. It does not always look like surfing but when we are able to spend time doing what we love, it makes all the difference in the world to all of us.
Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?
Every time I have been stuck or slowed in my business It was me not believing in myself. Doubt would set in and I tired working hard on myself to beat the doubt. But I had forgotten two key things about life. We are not who we think we are, we are so much more. We all have everything inside us we already need and are never given a dream without what we need to make it come true. As I saw this for the Rising Tide dream, I was able to separate myself from the vision, and continue to move ahead without having to do anything about the thoughts that I could not believe in myself. I merely noticed them and looked toward who we already are. needed to look toward who we all already are. Looking that direction removed the doubt about me being able to do my part to bring it to life. What I see is that what is needed in the world goes through us. We do our part. Seeing that has helped me to show up each day and do what the business needs, regardless of how I might be feeling about myself that day. The business needed me to follow what I was called to do. It does not care if I have personal growth on the way. Ultimately I will grow as a result.
In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?
I had no support system when I started this process as I had been told I could not connect with anyone I knew. The first people who supported me were doctors, a lawyer, and a therapist. A huge part of my support came from watching Oprah’s super soul Sunday. I had never asked for help before. As I studied to become a coach, I saw the value of and hired a coach for my personal growth. My kids, now adults, supported me in reinventing my life, but it challenged our relationships for a time. They are now my biggest supporters, as well as friends I have made along the way. I probably still struggle to reach out for help, but have gotten much better at it. It is an ongoing practice.
Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?
What helped me the most at being outside my comfort zone was getting back into the water and surfing again. Surfing was the only place I knew I experienced fear and felt uncomfortable. It was perfect timing that during the reinvention I was back in the water after hardly going at all in 9 years. I also knew how we did one thing, we did everything. Surfing was helping me face fears, being uncomfortable and bringing that into the rest of my reinvention life. On my new career journey I took people out surfing as part of coaching, because I loved it, and it helped them overcome fear in all areas. Now who created your comfort zone?
Then it came time to get my coaching business out in the world. The first place I had to get outside my comfort zone was in telling people that I was a coach and charging them for coaching. I was not comfortable with it at first. I knew I had to do it to get comfortable, and so I would let thought flow and go, taking one step at a time. With each step I became more comfortable in coaching and charging. As I charged I still got uncomfortable at times, but now I have seen enough of it in all areas, to do better at being ok in the uncomfortable feeling. I do not try to change or push through the fear, I just allow it to flow with thought as I know it does.it, of fighting to beat it, but knowing that thought creating the feeling will naturally flow, in letting it go and taking the steps quicker.
It also helped me that I had gotten back into surfing during the reinvention, because the ocean, before my business, was really the only place I experienced what I knew was fear and uncomfortableness. I also knew how we do one thing, we do everything and on my new career journey I took people out surfing as part of coaching, because I loved it, and it helped them overcome fear in all areas. Like me they had been fighting the fear, the uncomfortable feelings and the thinking. When they got out surfing they let it all go, and saw something totally free as they started taking steps in other areas.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- Keep it simple. When I lost everything and was going to start life over it was intimidating. I could see and knew the big vision, but I struggled to see the right path ahead, and come up with a solid plan to get there. I was scared and afraid that I would not find my way. I started slowly and realized that each time I just showed up, in whatever way I could each day, momentum picked up. It had no stress or pressure in it. In each day I would see something I had not yet seen, and be drawn to or away from it. The true joy was felt either way. I realized we do not need to plan it all, figure it all out ahead of time. We simply need to see our big vision and show up to work towards it each day. Get present in what is in front of us at the time. Then we respond to what we see, by taking a step into it. It simplifies the process when we stop complicating it by thinking it all through ahead of time.
- Listen to your gut. We know what to do, then we talk ourselves out of it. Our gut contains our inner wisdom, a personal gps that can guide us, when we listen to it. When we follow it, it will tell us when to use the logical mind. When we do not it is because our thinking about ourselves gets in our way. Think of a time you knew what to do. When we know, we know. In growing The Rising Tide, many times logic looked like a strategy that said, this is the way to do business. But my gut knew it was not the way for me to lead the organization. I found our wisdom comes to us in each moment. I started taking steps towards logic sometimes, and trusting my gut other times. We can play a game called warmer/colder in this space. Take a step, see if it feels warmer or colder. If it feels colder take a step a different way. Warmer another step that way. It is the easiest way to keep moving especially in times of constant change. It helps us pivot, and adapt to what we see quicker. We learn to see “failure” as just part of the best way formula.
- Focus on what you control. We have control and choice over the feelings/thoughts we focus on, and the actions we take. We cannot control anything outside of us, directly. I spent many hours in my life trying to control people, places and things. I would have liked to control the pandemic as it flipped by business upside down with the lock down due to the pandemic. But I knew the change had to come from me and from my business. I could change and in turn the circumstances would appear different to me and the business would keep going. When I let go of the things I did not control, my time and attention went into taking action toward my big vision. I was able to move the business online, and it is making more money now than ever before. Our mind is a wizard at creating whatever we are thinking about as being real in that moment. We can maximize what we do control, the thoughts we focus on, by focusing on those that serve us. This thinking can lead us to a new and re-imagined future, in which our time and attention goes into consistent actions to move us toward the vision.
- Keep your energy high. We need energy when we are throwing ourselves into a new venture. There are times we are going to put many hours of time and attention into work. We will be needed to show up, and do well, on some days when we are not sure how we can do it. Keeping our energy high in all areas: body, mind and spirit will lead to an ability to step up to meet the time challenge in a new way. When we have higher levels of energy, we do better. It is simpler than we think. We can shift our energy by doing more of what serves us, less of what does not. I often have challenged energy from my auto-immune disorders. I am able to manage and maximize energy with this simple formula. Fuel in, toxins out. To do this with your energy, in body, mind and spirit draw a line down the center of a piece of paper. Put what feeds you on one side and what sucks energy from you on the other. Each day remove one from the sucks list by not doing it, and do one from your feeds list and celebrate it. It can be as simple a feed as “cut myself some slack”
- Be kind to yourself. Throughout my adventure of building The rising tide, I have found myself being the toughest boss I have ever had. I found myself in the most abusive relationship of my life, and it was with myself. When I experienced worry, stress, struggle and fear, I was living under the influence of some negative thought and self talk. Noticing it, helped me to take a fresh look at it. When we feel loved and cared for, we do better. When we want to shift our relationship with ourselves we can start by cutting ourselves some slack. Being kind to ourselves. Remembering that we are all human beings, doing the best we can each day. We can learn to embrace the rising and falling of ourselves and our organization, knowing that both are part of the flow of life. What helped me the most was learning to embrace my humanity, and taking myself lightly.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I formed The Rising Tide business, as a movement to help people Rise into their true nature and boundless potential. It creates a fearless freedom in people as they realize they are born with everything they need already inside. A rising tide raises all the ships. I am passionate about creating heart-centered powerful women leaders of themselves, which ripples out to everyone they lead as well. I have a foundation called G.R.O.W to empower young women to live and lead in the same peaceful power. I believe it is possible to shift our world from fight to flow, in the space of love, where we all rise together as one world. That is the movement I believe would have the biggest impact.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂
There are actually two people on my life list as a result of my reinvention. While I admired and was influenced by them both, the impact they had on me was amplified during this time. The first person is Oprah Winfrey. When I was removed from my job, and could not leave my condo, I was not sure I could ever take a step forward. I stumbled across super soul Sundays with Oprah. It literally was the first thing that helped me to see that I could do it. I do not think I ever missed one in the first 3 years after that. It was my church, and she gave me hope. I listened to a read “What I know for sure” more times than I can count. I have always wanted to sit down with her, thank her for what she did for me, and would love to have a conversation and tell her in person. The second person is Gloria Steinem. She is a big part of why I tried out for the firefighter job, even when they said no women were allowed. She then inspired me to become a coach as I felt drawn to use my light in a new way to help others find their own. I would love to thank her in person, and let her know how she was instrumental in helping me to pursue the career I did. Both of these women have continued to inspire me, and I so admire and love who they are, and everything they keep bringing to our world. Amazing beautiful souls.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
I would love to connect with readers on https://www.instagram.com/wearerisingtides/or on my website www.wearerisingtides.com, where they can download my Using Wisdom quiz, and see more information about Events, G.R.O.W. foundation, Speaking, coaching programs, and the ripple effect leadership.
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!