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“To develop Grit, don’t be a perfectionist” With Kati Morton and Phil Laboon

Don’t be a perfectionist. This one took me awhile to learn, but sometimes you just need to turn in something that’s only 80% there. The time it can take to move something from 80% to perfect isn’t always worth it. If a video goes out that doesn’t have the best audio mix or if the […]


Don’t be a perfectionist. This one took me awhile to learn, but sometimes you just need to turn in something that’s only 80% there. The time it can take to move something from 80% to perfect isn’t always worth it. If a video goes out that doesn’t have the best audio mix or if the color just isn’t quite right, it’s not the end of the world. In all honesty it doesn’t really matter at all. Most people won’t notice and it’s still moving me towards my goal of empowering and educating people. So focus on your goals and know that sometimes 80% is more than enough.


As I had the pleasure of interviewing Therapist Kati Morton.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share your story of Grit and Success? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

In order to become a licensed therapist, I had to dedicate my adult life to the mental health field. First, I received my four year degree in psychology, and interned at a foster teen home while applying to various graduate schools. Once accepted, I completed two years of graduate school and finished with my masters degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy. From there I had to accrue 3000 hours of clinical work for little to no money. Therefore, during that time I also worked as a waitress, sales representative, and nanny in order to make ends meet.

After five years of slowly gathering my hours and attempting to pay back my student loans, I then had to sit for my licensing exam. The exam is broken into 2 parts, and you cannot move onto the next portion until you pass the first. If you fail you must wait 6 months before taking the next exam, however, I was lucky to pass both portions on the first try. From there I continued working at a local hospital as well as opening up a small private practice of my own. At the end of all that hard work, I was still sitting with over 100k in student loans and no real way to pay them back. At one point I was working three different jobs, and still struggling to pay the over $1500 monthly student loan payment.

At that time my now husband (boyfriend at the time) had the idea to take my skills and share what I knew online, so that instead of only being able to help people in my local area, I would reach people around the world. At first I was skeptical and nervous about putting myself online, but after some consideration I started my YouTube channel. Over the past 7 years I have been able to slowly grow an audience, and educate those who are looking for mental health information. I haven’t had a viral hit, just slow and steady growth.

I committed to putting up a new video each week, and due to the overwhelming amount of questions and concerns I received from my audience, I started producing 5 videos a week. I kept up with that pace for over a year, while also working two jobs, but realized that wasn’t going to be sustainable, and now I release two videos each week. To date I have over 1200 videos online and have answered countless questions on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. It has only been within this past year that any of this has become financially rewarding. I released my first book Are U OK? this year, and our channel has grown to over 690K subscribers!

In looking back, all the long hours of studying, interning, seeing patients, writing videos, editing, filming and interacting online has really paid off. Every letter or comment I receive telling me that because of the content we have created someone was able to get the help they needed makes it all worth it.

 Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

The feedback from our audience. We all know what it’s like to feel alone, and if I can remind people that they are not, and empower them to get the help they need and deserve, I have to keep doing it!

So how did Grit lead to your eventual success? How did Grit turn things around?

Just sticking with it and knowing that what I was doing was important. I didn’t choose my career to become rich and famous, but I did do it to help people. As long as I stay focused on the real (and more important) goal I believe that it will work out. Success doesn’t happen over night, it happens in the small daily choices we make to do what’s right.

So, how are things going today? 🙂

Great! I was able to release my first book (Are u ok?), and our channel now has over 690K subscribers! It is finally able to support my portion of the bills and help me pay down my student loans.

 Based on your experience, can you share 5 pieces of advice about how one can develop Grit? (Please share a story or example for each)

  1. Pick something you love. Work will always be work, but if you enjoy it and it’s fulfilling, you will be able to push through when it gets tough. There are weeks and even months where we work each and every day, but because it’s a labor of love and the feedback is so encouraging, we are able to stick with it. 
  2. Be courageous. Don’t be afraid to do something new or go against the grain. When I started my YouTube channel no one was talking about mental illness online. I knew it was something that affects us all, so I stuck with it, and it’s finally paying off. 
  3. Follow through! Saying you want to do something and seeing it to completion are two different things. Sure we can dream, like I had dreamed about writing a book, but I had to force myself to sit down day after day and finish it. So dream all you want, but them set some goals and start working towards them!
  4.  Don’t be a perfectionist. This one took me awhile to learn, but sometimes you just need to turn in something that’s only 80% there. The time it can take to move something from 80% to perfect isn’t always worth it. If a video goes out that doesn’t have the best audio mix or if the color just isn’t quite right, it’s not the end of the world. In all honesty it doesn’t really matter at all. Most people won’t notice and it’s still moving me towards my goal of empowering and educating people. So focus on your goals and know that sometimes 80% is more than enough. 
  5. Be creative! I am working on this right now. We can’t just keep doing the same thing and expect it to keep paying off. I have to keep challenging myself to think outside of the box, notice what’s more shareable or a different way of looking at an issue. By continuously looking for new ways to do what I do, my content won’t get stale for me or my viewers.

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 you when things were tough? Can you share a story about that?

My husband Sean. Even when I doubted what I was doing, thinking that I was never going to be able to do what I loved and afford a normal life, he didn’t lose faith. He supported me along the way, encouraging me to stick with it and reminding me of why I decided to become a therapist in the first place. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Through all of my content I try to educate and empower those who are struggling with mental health issues. By reducing the stigma associated with getting help I hope I am bringing goodness to anyone who is in need of mental health help.

 Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

My book is my newest project. I hope that by offering this new form of content people are able to digest the information at their own pace and better understand their own mental health. It was created to be a beginners guide to mental health, and I hope it meets people where they’re at.

 What advice would you give to other executives or founders to help their employees to thrive?

Create an environment where clear communication and seeking to understand is always supported. I believe that people become upset or stressed when they don’t fully understand what’s being asked of them or feel free to question. By cultivating an open and communicative space, your employees will have more tools to thrive.

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? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

My entire YouTube channel is about education and empowering people, so my hope would be that I could create a movement where we are not only talking more openly about our mental health but also pushing for better care worldwide. Too often people are turned away from getting the level of care they need or told to wait until they are much more mentally ill. This needs to change, and I hope I can be a catalyst for that change.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” — Theodore Roosevelt. This quote reminds me to focus on what I have and how I am doing without getting sucked into other people’s life experience. If we spend our time looking over at someone else’s life we won’t be able to enjoy all that we have created.

 How can our readers follow you on social media?

youtube.com/katimorton, @katimorton (twitter), facebook.com/katimorton1, @katimorton1 (Instagram)

 Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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