Ep. 107 Navigating Loss and Running a Million Dollar Biz with Katie DePaola

Listen here:

In this episode, we will cover:

  • How to navigate grief, while still running a business!
  • Persevering through loss.
  • We share memories of their loved ones.
  • Reflect on our processes of dealing with grief.
  • Methods to process what we’re experiencing.

Additional Resources:

COURSE: The Healing Vault

The Healing Vault is a collection of training and resources to help you embody your most empowered self. Go from feeling disconnected to your body, to feeling like your own greatest healer. Includes resources such as yoga classes, meditations, guided tapping, and even an at-home retreat!

BOOK: You Can Heal Your Life

Louise Hay is one of my favorite authors on self-development and releasing limiting beliefs. In this book, she’ll show you how to completely rewrite your story.

FREE TRAINING: Behind the Scenes of My 6-Figure Biz

Check out the behind-the-scenes of my business + how I scaled to 5-figure months!

Episode transcript:

Sarah: Welcome to the Healing Uncensored podcast. My name is Sarah Small and I’m a life and success coach for empaths who want to create a thriving body, business, and life. Healing my own chronic illnesses as an empath led me to become fascinated with energy and more specifically all of the emotional, spiritual and holistic healing modalities my doctor never told me about. I began to share my insights and journey online, and over time built a powerful community and business supporting women who were also on the pathway to healing. Think of this podcast as your uncensored and no-BS guide to navigating life, health, and entrepreneurship as an empath. You’ll get no-nonsense and totally holistic tips from me in real-time as I navigate this healing journey right beside you. Now let’s get started.

Today’s guest is Katie DePaola. She is an entrepreneur, author, and founder of Inner Glow Circle – an accredited training and certification company for women coaches, leaders, and entrepreneurs!  Right after starting the Inner Glow Circle, Katie lost her brother to an accidental overdose. She’s also a Lyme disease survivor, building her business from her bathtub. She grew the company from a self-funded start-up to a million-dollar business. Katie says that her greatest challenges have turned into her greatest opportunities, and her business is what saved her life. I relate to Katie’s journey and story on a deep, deep soul-level and our conversation today is real. It is raw, it is down to earth, and we talk a lot about navigating loss while also running and building an empire.  Let’s dive in!

Introductions and life stories about losing family members

Hi Katie. I am delighted to have you on the show today. We were just talking about before we pressed record how much we almost eerily have in common. I’m just so glad to have you on today.

Katie: Yeah, I’m super excited. I’m also really scared. I’m nervous.

Sarah: There’s a lot of overlaps in our challenges, in the traumas that we’ve experienced as human beings in this lifetime. And so I’d love for you to just start by allowing the audience to get to know you and your story better.

Katie: Sure. Yeah. I’m happy to. Thank you so much for having me. And I know that there’s going to be some magic that comes out of today and that our brothers are probably all conspiring on the other side.

Sarah: I know. I actually had… I just want to put this in there real quick. I had a lot of feelings. I had a lot of energy kind of come up with in my heart before I jumped on with you today. I was like, okay, Jordan and Joe, come. One on the right side, one on the left side. I need you for this. This is going to be potentially a lot of emotion and yeah, I called them in beforehand and just was like, please help me.

Katie: Oh! Well, I’m already crying. Those of you listening can’t see, but I’m already crying, so yeah, we’ll see where this goes. So anyway, you guys know Sarah a lot better than me probably, but she could write a lot of my story. So my story really starts with what a lot of peoples’ stories start within that I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I graduated from Vanderbilt, so I went to a great school and I moved right to New York City, which was sort of the dream, at least for me. I worked in a couple of different jobs. I was in fashion PR and I was working at a marketing firm, and I was really learning how to sell and get some really great sales training in the start-up that I was working for, and they were growing really fast and it was an exciting time but I just wasn’t feeling fulfilled. And so the long and short of it is that one day, I left my cubicle. I went into the bathroom, locked the door, called my dad and was like, is this how life is supposed to be? I thought I was going out into the big world and going to be able to really make a difference and feel excited about my life and my work, and I just didn’t feel that way. And he said you know, Katie work is work sometimes, but it shouldn’t suck every day. It shouldn’t be hard every day. You should love what you’re doing. If you love what you’re doing, it’s not going to feel like “work” like every person says.

And so I took that to heart and I started to figure out how to leave my job. I moved home and I started a side business. I started a beauty business that I called Whole Glow, and ultimately that led me to start coaching because I had this really interesting experience where, if you’ve ever gotten an airbrush spray tan, you’re stripping down naked, and I was the one spray tanning. I’m getting into all the cracks and crevices, and what happened was, as I was running this beauty business and spray tanning all these women, they were starting to really open up and share stories about their lives, and I realized that if that was happening, I must have some sort of gift.

So I was enrolled in a Master’s program in nutrition at the time because I did that when I left New York because I thought that was what I was most passionate about was health. And I dropped out of that program and I decided to go through a coach training program and I became a coach, and so that was like my pre-IGC story. Then I coached for a few years as you know in private practice and in my private practice and I realized if I was going to make real money and if I was going to make an impact, I needed to scale the business in some way. I wanted to scale the business. And so I brought on a team of coaches. Some of them were previous clients of mine. Some of them were colleagues in the field, and I said, Hey, I’m starting this business. It’s called Inner Glow Circle. I’d love for you to come on and be a coach with us and we’re going to have a certification program and we’re going to have this and that, and it was all just a big pipe dream at that point. And so years later, I’m incredibly proud of myself. We have ICF accredited programs. We are accredited by the International Coach Federation. We have hundreds and hundreds of graduates from our program. We have a network of thousands of women, and we’re really changing lives every day and that was my goal.

But here’s the weird part about my story and I’m so glad. I’m so, so grateful that I found my purpose essentially before all of this tragedy hit my life, because I say this all the time and I’m sure you feel the same way, but in a lot of ways, my business saved my life. The fact that when I was sick with Lyme disease and I was bedridden for a period of time, the fact that when I was sick and when I was going through all the loss that I was going through, that I had something to wake up for, literally saved my life, literally kept me from dying. Whether that’s literally or figuratively, it felt like both in a lot of ways.

I got diagnosed with chronic neurological Lyme disease in January of 2014 which for those who know or don’t know is when Lyme has gotten to your brain, and so I was diagnosed as having brain damage. I had damage to my organs. And the way I finally figured it out was that I lost feeling in half of my body and …

Sarah: Sounds scary.

Katie: So scary, and I tell this story in my book, which I’m getting ready to publish a little bit later this year, but what happened was the paralysis started to creep up into my face, and I was like, Oh my God, if I get facial paralysis, that might not go away and so it became like a vanity thing. I was like, I need to handle this and that’s when I finally kind of admitted to myself cause at that point I had done Google research till my fingers fell off. But at that point, I sort of knew and I think that’s one of the hardest parts of chronic illness is there’s so much talk about these invisible illnesses and Lyme is definitely one of them, but we know when something’s wrong.

Sarah: Totally.

Katie: We know when something’s wrong with our bodies, and I just knew that something was wrong and I just didn’t want to fully admit it. I wasn’t fully ready to heal. Go ahead… sorry.

Sarah: I was just going to say that a second ago you mentioned a really powerful statement that made me want to tear up, which was that you feel your business saved your life, and I feel the same way that I launched. I was in a draining, underpaid position when Jordan died. We were just talking about almost five years ago now, and it was through his death that what woke me up to I’m not happy. This is not the way I want to live. I already had chronic illness issues as well. Leaving that job and having the courage to do what I was feeling my heart actually wanted to wake up every morning and fucking do. That was part of what kept me going. I’m doing something that makes me want to wake up in the morning, that makes me want to show my face the world and not crawl into fucking hole and like you said, figuratively or literally die, because there was fear of dying because of chronic illness issues, but there was also this more figurative fear of dying, of who am I? What is this life all about? Kind of death of the soul. And so having something to wake up to and be passionate about was so, so helpful and potentially lifesaving. I’m just so glad that you brought that up.

Katie: Yeah. And I think that we’ll get deeper into this, but it’s so important that you’re happy. Figure out how to be happy or how to be a little bit happy or how to be happy at least some point every day, and happiness to me was such a farfetched thing. I was like, fuck you, you know if anyone was like writing a gratitude list. That kind of stuff made me really angry when I was going through my healing process. So anyway, let me explain this to our listeners, but I got diagnosed with Lyme disease and I was going through treatment and I was doing okay. It was, it was pretty tough on my body and it was really tough on my mind, but I was still coaching and I could coach. That’s the beauty of the coaching world and having a chronic illness. You can still work, whereas you might be on disability in a typical corporate job. You can still work and you can still have something to live for and to get for every morning. So that was huge for me cause it was physically painful to get up and go to an office, and I was working from home more and more and it got to the point where it was like, what am I doing? Can I just do coaching full time and will that be enough for me to make a living for myself so that I can keep the spoons that I have. For like all our spoonies out there.

So I was living and working and trying to navigate Lyme disease and that treatment. I started ITGC at the beginning of 2015 and it was weird because when I was looking at your podcast last night, podcast 100, you were talking about the loss of your latest brother and it just hit me. The number hit me because exactly 100 days after we started the company, I got a call that my brother had passed away and Beau was 20 years old. And he, he passed away from an overdose – accidental – and it was a massive tragedy. I mean, there’s just no words to even describe the experience.

Sarah: There’s not. It’s so hard to wrap up the chaos that comes after death like that into a sentence, or even into words that really identify what you were truly experiencing at that time. It’s hard to describe.

Katie: Yeah. And I’m at the point now where … and my grandfather who I was very, very close to and had a big impact on my life passed away last October. That was something we knew it was coming, but you can probably relate to this. A completely unexpected death is one thing, and that in itself can cause a lot of trauma and post-traumatic stress. And then a planned death is a whole other thing. Not planned but expected because I spent months just like, when’s it going to happen? When’s it going to happen? When’s it going to happen? So I was living in that psychosomatic cycle again and again and again, and then the day he finally passed away, my system was sort of like, okay, it happened because when you’re caught up in trauma like that, it’s so hard to get out of it. It’s so hard to get your body to stop experiencing it. I mean, this is post-traumatic stress. It took me a long time to know that that was what I had and to get a diagnosis, but PTSD is a very, very real thing.

Sarah: Absolutely. And even though that death of a grandparent that is more the natural way of the earth is like our grandparents die before we do, not our younger siblings or siblings in general. So two years after Jordan died, my grandmother died and it was on my 30th birthday and she was 80 years old, and I’m just relating to a lot of what you’re saying because even though she had a long life, she was 80 years old and she was ready to go. I really believe she was truly ready to go. But there was the build-up and the discomfort of her being in pain and still not being able to say goodbye cause she was in a different state that triggered a lot of that pouring down of grief that came with Jordan.

So even though it was something that was more of a natural process, it still hurt and it still rocks you, and it triggers a lot of that fear that we start to live in if we’re not careful. We start to live in that place of fear. Now it’s interesting though because there’s a fear that comes up after this accidental overdose of your brother Beau at 20 years old, yet there are so many women I talk to who one of their main fears is starting a business and yet you kept going and you kept moving forward with this business. Even though this extremely fearful, traumatic thing happened in your life, what kept you going? What made you keep waking up after a hundred days into your business? That’s not long. What made you keep going and building this empire that you have?

What kept you going and continuing on with your business, through all of this grief?

It’s a great question. People ask me all the time, but I just really believed that this was my purpose. I didn’t really see myself as quitting being an option. I’m quite stubborn. I think that comes from my Italian side and I’m quite impatient, and so I just knew. I just knew and I just believed and I kept going and I also had surrounded myself with really great people. And so that’s why I say I’m so glad that… I’m so grateful that I had started to set the foundation for this stuff. I mean a hundred days in a start-up is really, really, really young. Preemie status, but I had started to set the foundation enough that I had some foundation and I had people around me and we had clients. That’s the other thing. I had people to serve, and the only thing, some days, I’m sure you can relate to this, but the only thing some days that would get me out of my own grief, even if it was for an hour or two hours or three hours, it was getting on the phone or getting on to zoom with somebody else and listening to their problems because then I realized grief puts you in this funnel. This gives you this tunnel vision because your body is just so uncomfortable and whether that’s grief because you’re dealing with an illness or grief because you lost somebody you love, or grief because you lost a job or grief because of a breakup or grief because of anything you thought was going to happen and you were counting on was just taken away from you and maybe, in the end, you’ll figure out like it was taken away from you for a positive reason. People talk all the time about the silver lining and I like to call it the glow in the dark and my belief is not so much that it presents itself. My belief is you fucking create it. You create the silver lining. You create the glow in the dark.

Sarah: Yeah. Because it’s easy to just stay in the dark and just be like, it sucks. Nothing. There’s nothing good I can even imagine that could ever come out of this versus creating the silver lining that is like, no, I’m choosing to see a lesson, bright spot, some glow within this horrible experience that was challenging, and it’s not discounting how heavy that was. It’s allowing you to gain, I think the lessons and the growth from it, choosing consciously to do that.

Katie: I have a practice now, Sarah, that I’ve developed and I’m sure you have some version of this, but this is really like the premise of, of my book, which will come out later this year and it’s called At least you look good. Maybe we can talk more about that title, but in my practice now, when anything happens that I’m like, are you kidding me? Like, really, you know, whether it’s a big thing or a small thing or a medium thing or a personal thing or a work thing or, or both. I have this practice and I’m religious about it and the practice is this. I asked myself a hundred times or until I get an answer, what’s the opportunity? The opportunity, what’s the opportunity, what’s the opportunity, what’s the opportunity? I will do it with huge things. I will do it with tiny, tiny, tiny things.

This requires you to function a bit delusionally, a bit differently than or “delusional”. Like I say, being happy is positive brainwashing. You just have to continually brainwash yourself into being happy, into focusing on the good things because there is so much stuff in our world, both in our personal lives and in our larger society in the US and far beyond that is really, really, really bad. And if you focus on that, that will be your experience of life. And if you completely ignore it, that’s not healthy either, I don’t think. I’ll talk to some people in the spiritual community and they’re like, oh, I haven’t watched the news and a decade. And I’m like, okay. Do you know what I mean? Like, what planet are you on?

We might be from somewhere else, but we’re ultimately on earth right now. You have to participate in life. You said something a few minutes ago where you said that it feels easier to give up sometimes, or it feels easy to stay in that place of everything’s bad, everything’s dark. It’s easy to stay in the dark I think it was what you said, and I agree with you. And also what happened for me was I got really, really tired and bored of being in that dark victim place and I was a victim and you have been a victim and a lot of the people that are listening to this have actually been victims, whether it’s to an illness or to some disease, or to an abusive relationship or an abusive boss. I mean, there’s so many things.

Like people who say, oh, you’re just in a victim mindset. Just switch your mindset or just get responsible, or how did you create this? We’re not creating all the fucked up shit that’s happening in our world. What are you talking about? But I also do believe in the law of attraction in that at some point we are continually choosing to relive and relive and relive and relive. And for me, getting out of that cycle meant a lot of therapy and a lot of different types of therapy. Not just talk therapy. It meant a lot of bodywork and it meant getting rid of my Lyme. I eventually found a doctor who could cure me after 30 doctors had told me that would never happen. And so it only happened because I kept asking what’s the opportunity? And then my other question that I always am asking myself is what’s actually possible? Not what’s probable, not what’s practical or likely, but what’s actually possible.

Sarah: I love that. It allows you to step out of our conscious mind and the control really of what we think is going to happen or could happen and allows us to open up to the magic of this world that we do live in, that sometimes we forget is there because of the darkness and of the challenge and of the trauma. But it’s so possible for us to find the opportunities and start to realize what is just possible, like the miracle style results and shifts and changes that we can have in our life. And I’m just also really curious to know about your brother, Katie. What was your brother like?

Katie shares what her brother was like

Katie: It’s so interesting. People rarely ask me that question. I think that’s a really good question for those of you guys who are listening who know somebody who’s going through something. I think it’s so hard to know how to be there for people when someone dies. I feel like I got maybe a little bit better at that, but I’m still sort of, Oh my God. You know, tragedy is such a weird experience because it just doesn’t affect you. It affects all your relationships because all of a sudden you’re this person that had something happen and some people know how to deal with that and some people don’t. And I’m sure you can relate to this too, but I would tell people like it’s not just that I lost my brother. My parents lost a child. The people who birthed me, who I love so much lost a child. So I have to also deal with that. You have to say I lost a brother.

Sarah: It changes your entire family dynamic.

Katie: Yeah. And I remember being mad at some of my cousins because I felt like they weren’t there for me. And then one day I was like, dude, they lost a cousin. You’re going through something too. Like why am I so, I don’t know if it was cocky or righteous? I think it’s righteousness. I was pretty righteous about my grief. I was pretty righteous about my loss and what I was going through and I felt really like I had been done to, you know, and when I woke up and realized that that was how I was operating, I was really disappointed in myself because that wasn’t how I wanted to be operating and functioning. And I think ultimately going through the loss of my brother made me be so much more responsible about every part of my life. I don’t think I would have found a doctor who could cure my Lyme if I hadn’t gone through losing my brother because I think it ended up motivating me in a really specific way. But I love the question. It’s a great question. For those of you who know someone who’s lost somebody and you don’t want to touch it with a 10-foot pole, I encourage you to go with them with cozy blankets and a box of tissues, whether literally or figuratively, and ask them questions like what was your brother like? People will tell you if they’re not ready to talk about it. But in general, people want…

Sarah: You wanna remember them. I know I love being asked about my brothers and just being able to share how amazing they were, and I’m excited to hear what your answer is but with Joe, we didn’t have a shiny perfect relationship. It just wasn’t that way. I still loved the shit out of him and I still love to talk about him because he was still a huge, immense part of my life, even though we didn’t always get along. And it is. I think people are afraid to ask questions like that of what was he like. Is there a story that you want to share about him? How does he inspire you today that people are just too afraid to ask? Again, I don’t know about you but for me, it’s like I want to talk about him. Let me have a stage. Let me have the platform to be able to

Katie: I saw this meme or whatever the other day and meme is not the right word because usually, those are funny. This was like a little darker and trash. It’s like if you know someone who’s lost someone, don’t be afraid to ask them about that person. Don’t be afraid that you’re going to remind them. They haven’t forgotten that they lost that person.

Sarah: Oh, I totally forgot I lost my brothers and you just reminded me. No, this is how my mind works. I think about it at least once every single day. You’re not going to retraumatize me. What was Beau like?

Katie: Beau was a total lover. He was just so goofy and silly and sort of like a hippy child in certain ways. My vision of Beau is he’d be wearing these pajama pants that had some loud print all over them, and a tie-dye tee shirt. He was obsessed with tie-dye.

Sarah: So was Joe. He wore tie-dye. We actually had tie-dye shirts of his at his Memorial service hanging up by his big photo of him.

Katie: Oh that’s so cool. My mom took a bunch of Beau’s shirts and she had a bunch of Beau’s sports jerseys cause he played a lot of sports and stuff growing up, and then a bunch of his tee-shirts and he had so many tee shirts and she had them made into blankets, one for me and one for my other brother.

Sarah: I love that.

Katie: Yeah, that was really cool. Beau was a lover. He was so goofy. He was funny as shit. At one point he had his own YouTube channel and he was getting hundreds of thousands of views and there was this company in China that was sending him things to promote. So he was an influencer before there were influencers. I think he was 10 or 12 years old. What happened was he got really overwhelmed because he started getting negative feedback and being bullied online, and he shut his account down and he deleted all the videos and he sort of freaked out. Beau had anxiety growing up. I remember him being anxious and hyper. He was never diagnosed as a kid. Eventually, later on, he was diagnosed as having bipolar illness and at the time, he I think was trying to self-medicate in various ways. Mental health is interesting. There are different influences throughout our lives that I think also change our brain chemistry.

Sarah: Definitely.

Katie: I don’t know when Beau really started to struggle, and being a human is hard, but it’s also tough for the people around you because I think sometimes we have people in our lives who we think might be struggling and we’re not sure what to do or what to say and we avoid it, or we just believe people when they say that they’re fine, and here’s the reality.

Katie: Most of us are not fine.

Sarah: Not at all, yeah.

Katie: Most of us are not fine. That’s why I like the title of my book is At least you look good because people would tell me all the time, right after I lost my brother, a year after I lost my brother, while I was getting treated for Lyme, years after I got treated for Lyme. Once I sat down at my psychiatrist’s office and she said this exact thing to me. She goes, how are you? I said I feel like shit. And she goes, well, you look great. Are you kidding me right now? She was experimenting with all these meds. I’m very, very sensitive. I don’t do well on medications and I felt terrible and the meds were really messing with me, but I came in and I was wearing these tight, fire engine red leggings that were sparkly and a crop top, and so she assumed I was feeling good because I was looking pretty good.

Sarah: Yeah, that’s like a facade of what you’re actually holding within you. At least I have control over what clothes I put on today and I can make the world see me in a certain way, but underneath I’m not. I can say I’m fine, but there’s so much happening underneath those fire hydrant red pants.

Katie: Yeah, so much. So anyways, Beau was a lover and he was goofy and he was silly. He was the life of the party and then he had this huge smile and he had this incredible laugh and had these big dimples and he was really good looking and he was a light. He was a light and he always had so many girlfriends. It’s funny, the guy I’m dating now is someone who I had been friends with for a long time, and when you start dating someone, you get to know someone in a different capacity. You always see different parts of them. There was something that was really familiar about him to me as I started to get to know him in this other way. I realized one day I was like, you really remind me of Beau, the way that Beau would love on his girlfriends. He would bring a girl home and he would be so proud of her and he’d be like, mom, this is my girlfriend. And so at his funeral there were just all these young girls. It was just so many. Girls with tattoos and girls super preppy and a girl who had known him at this part of his life. I mean, they just loved him. He had so many girlfriends.

Sarah: That’s both of my brothers too. My family was cracking up because when Jordan died, there were at least four or five, and a lot of them had driven from other states to be there. And then with Joe, four of them stood up to speak and it was like, he’s my soulmate. He’s my twin flame. He’s the love of my life. And we’re like, Oh my God, is there going to be like a girl fight after this? But they were all very loving and kind towards each other. But it was humorous to us because it was so obvious that all three of these men over here are just like these ladies men that just loved love and brought people into their hearts. I think that’s beautiful.

Katie: Yeah. It’s interesting. I think sometimes we see qualities of the people that we’ve loved and the people that we’ve lost in other people, and we might not recognize it at first, but that can be incredibly healing too. I don’t feel like Beau is gone, and it’s been really interesting. My other brother had a baby about six months ago and I write about this a little in my book too. The baby feels really familiar to me and I don’t know what that means, but, I was listening to one of your podcasts and you were talking about how an intuitive or healer had told you that your brother chose to leave, and I remember before Beau died, this psychic that I’ve worked with for many, many years and now I have a very close relationship with – I text my psychic, guys – she had told me, cause I said I’m worried about Beau and I’m scared something might happen. I’m scared something might happen. And she said, look, Katie, here’s the deal. She said if a soul leaves before their time if they leave before they’ve learned all their karmic lessons and she said, and we all have many exit dates. So I believe because I’ve had some weird experiences with my health that I’ve had exit dates.

Sarah: Like you could have gone. Like that could have been…

Katie chats about ‘exit dates

Katie: I passed out in the doctor’s office one time when I was getting some sort of treatment, and I had an experience while I was unconscious of these two figures coming to me and saying it’s not your time yet. So I was like, Oh, that was what that was? Weird but interesting. Kind of cool. And so Karen was saying you have different exit dates but we get to choose whether or not to take them. And she said, if your brother was to take an early exit date, she said what would happen was he would be reborn into the same or similar family. And I was like, Oh! And I remember telling my dad and my parents were not into this stuff. We grew up very Catholic and I was an altar girl. And so my parents like you’re doing what with your tarot cards? What is all of this stuff? Are you sure this isn’t sacrilegious? I’m like, who cares if it helps me? It doesn’t matter. And so I remember saying to my dad because I felt my dad was a little more open. I was like, Dad, listen because Beau was really struggling. And I said, look, this is what Karen said. And I remember my dad had flown down to Florida to be with my brother because he had gotten in trouble at school and he was walking the beach and calling me and crying. My dad’s a strong Italian man and he’s listening. Wait, what did she say? Okay. All right. And it sort of gave us this sense of peace that whatever happened with Beau, there will be some sort of healing that came back. He doesn’t just get off the hook. He’ll just get to leave this life. And I remember Karen telling me as soon after he died, Oh honey, he’s in rehab. It’s just on the other side. And I was like, he went to a lot of rehabs here too but nothing really worked.

So anyway, we were talking about this conversation about what’s the opportunity and what’s possible, and you know, we worry, worry, worry. We worry about the worst-case scenarios, and I think I started to have this really radical thought one day that was, well, what if Beau comes back? And when he died I wrote this poem that I read at his funeral that was called come back to me and I have a tattoo on my side that says come back to me and I really hoped and prayed that Beau would come back, and maybe he has in some way or maybe he will in the future. I don’t know. But the point is that there’s always healing to be found. But again, I have chosen certain belief systems and sought out certain healers and guides that have allowed me to create this sense of healing in my own life. I was the one who kept looking for doctors who could cure my Lyme. Nobody else knew what to do. None of my boyfriends or my parents – I was engaged back. Nobody knew what to do. I was the one, and that mix of stubbornness and impatience I think have served me.

Sarah: Absolutely. It’s interesting that you talked about the different exit spots too because I remember talking to a previous psychic of mine and I told her I had a premonition when I was little that both of my brothers were going to die. This is after Jordan already had, and I’m of course sitting over here freaking the fuck out that I’m going to lose another brother. And she was like, well, Joe’s already passed over several times and he had overdosed several times in the past, so he technically he has stopped breathing. My mom gave him CPR one time, so that’s it. Okay. So he’s sticking around, but it seems like each of those times, he did come back. The breath came back into his body and then after Joe did die, I talked to my more recent psychic healer and she was like, Jordan was waiting for him and was kind of pissed. Hey bro, go back. You’re not supposed to be here. And Joe was like, no, even if it was an accident like this is, this is what I truly want and this time, I don’t want to. And it was another one of those exit spots that I never really had a name for it before, so I had grateful for you for sharing that. But it felt like that was the exit that he was choosing to actually get off at and to actually take.

Katie: I think that the real thing here is … and you’re dealing with a much more recent loss in addition to previous losses, but we both lost people and we’re okay. We’re okay and we’re also not okay and we have good days and we have bad days and we’re in different points of our healing process and sometimes you think it’s gone and then it comes back. I think the point is you get to decide whatever you’re going through right now and maybe the people that are listening, maybe some of you guys have clients who are dealing with really big losses and you don’t know how to serve them or you think you’re incapable of serving them. One of the things I really struggled with when I was going through the Lyme, the loss of my brother and then a few months after I lost Beau, my engagement broke off. I broke off my engagement.

Sarah: Another loss, another thing to grieve.

Katie: Yeah. The whole thing blew up. My ex committed himself to the psych ward and things sort of unraveled from there. Again, a lot of trauma, He was having a difficult time and it became quite traumatic for me as well. And I was re-experiencing a lot of the stuff that I had gone through with Beau, cause Beau was going to the ER and a lot of emergencies and rehabs. Yeah, it was hard, but I had to decide what I was going to live. Beau is not here, but I still was and I had to keep choosing to be here. It’s so easy to float away when you’re reeling from some sort of loss and it’s easy to feel like this is the end of your life because you lost a job or you lost a loved one or your marriage is falling apart or you just found out he cheated or you cheated or any of it. It’s all grief. It’s all loss. It’s all these big, big, big, big life challenges because you have a business, these things don’t like not to exist. People that you guys are following on Instagram and think are these massive influencers and they may well be, have real problems too, and then they might be talking about it and they might not be talking about it. And we all have stories of people in our lives that we know personally, and then professionally, maybe more from afar, who we thought everything was great and then this big thing happens and you find out this other sub-story has been happening the whole time in their life. So you get to decide what you’re going to do with the things that you go through in your life. You don’t choose every life experience that you have. I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that we’re attracting this on that level. I think that maybe Beau and I had a soul contract and he had a contract with everyone in my family and that on some level like this was what was going to happen. My big thing is I get to choose what I’m going to do with it and how I’m going to talk about it and that I’m going to talk about it.

Sarah: Yeah. I was going to ask you, I mean you kind of already answered the question, but when you were experiencing chronic illness, loss, grief and all the different flavors that can come in, how do we navigate that? How did you navigate that, and build a million-dollar brand and build a business and continue to serve the world? And I think you have answered parts of that, and you’ve mentioned that it’s a choice how you choose to navigate that and we can also choose to make those things separate. We could choose to put all of our emotions and the real parts of our life over in a box over here, and we can put our business in a box over here and we could keep them totally separate if we wanted to. But I’m just curious because you have built such a successful brand and business, how you’ve maybe used some of that box over to the left, that was the loss and the grief to actually fuel or inspire the brand that you’ve created today?

Katie: You know, my dad said to me one day… I was at my parents’ house. This was 2017. I had taken two months off work, which I never had ever done, and at that point, I had built the company up enough that I could do that. It was scary, but I could do it. And I was staying at my parents’ house cause I was going through what ended up being my final round of Lyme treatment. And one day my dad was laying on the floor next to my bed and I was in my bed and I was complaining about whatever, you know, all the fucked up shit that had happened, and my dad’s reading on his phone or iPad or something sort of listening to me, cause I’m just the kid who’s always complaining and I’m in my late twenties. I was 29. So I’m the adult child who’s always complaining, right? And he’s like, Katie, I finally removed the spell. I go, what are you talking about, Dad, you finally removed the spell? And he goes, look, before all this stuff happened, you were this pretty white girl growing up in a good family who went to Vanderbilt. You had no problems. And I was like, I was born into the world thinking I had a lot of problems cause I was always having this existential crisis of what am I meant to do with my life? But I come from a lot of privilege and a lot of us do and a lot of us don’t, but I’m not going to not admit that. I think there’s power in admitting that. And I’ve also had a lot of challenges, and so my dad goes, I think it’s time for me to remove this spell. And I was like, what do you mean? And he said there was nothing interesting about you. There was nothing interesting about you. Dad, what? I’m laughing like, what are you talking about? He said now you’ve got all that stuff that you had before, but now you’ve got this fight with Lyme disease, which you’re going to beat, and you lost your brother, and we’ve started this foundation in his name and we’re helping people and saving people’s lives and you were engaged and now that fell apart and you’ve got a whole story there, and he said no you’re really interesting.

Sarah: Thanks, Dad. Thanks so much.

Katie: That was how I grew up. I’m like, okay screw you but thank you and you know you could have removed the spell a little sooner but I get it, and it was such a cute moment but it really embodies the truth here, which is that I have decided to use everything I was given, everything I was given and that is still a daily process figuring out how to use what I was given and who I’m becoming and how to “unbecome” certain things that were never mine, to begin with, but I’ve just tried my best to be honest and I tried my best to show up, and when you ask me very literally, how have I survived and continued to grow and build, it’s brick-by-brick, day-by-day, moment-by-moment. Sometimes it’s really a matter of hour by hour. What do I need now? Okay, what do I need now? I’m hungry. Let me go to eat. This needs to be tended to. Katie needs to be tended to and it’s really just making the best decisions that I can at every moment of the day. I have grown a lot of really strong muscles through everything I’ve been through. I’ve actually become really good at making decisions. I have this threshold that other people don’t have. I’ve always been a hard worker, but because I worked when I was sick because I worked when I was grieving because I showed up. I would show for meetings and have to leave because I’d be crying, but I took those risks. Those are risks. It’s a risk to show up as the CEO of a company when you don’t feel fully ready, and I’m not saying I always did things the right way, but I lived by that. I lived by this idea that I still want and need to show up. I also knew that my business was the thing that was giving me hope and giving me purpose and sometimes I resented it. Some days I hated it. Some days I thought I was going to give it up completely. There were years where I was in that place of frustration, but I also found the moments where it made me feel alive, and I found the moments where I was so, so grateful, and I think it’s sort of growing our capacity to hold the good and the “bad”, to hold the positive and the “negative”, to hold the darkness and the light, and the obstacle and the opportunity. I grew up thinking things were linear, that things were good or things were bad. Now I know things are both.

My business partner, Olivia Chapman always says it’s life is a mixed bag and life IS a mixed bag.

Sarah: Totally.

Katie: And anyone who thinks it’s not and people look at you, I’m sure. I was looking at your website and you’re the version of you with blonde hair and the version of you with brown hair. And I was like, Oh my gosh, she’s just so beautiful and powerful and you have this fabulous website and God, it’s just like I could ask you all the same questions. How did you keep going? How did you keep creating?

Sarah: Yeah, it has been the biggest lesson of my life. Navigating chronic illness and loss and chronic illness is a form of loss, but the loss of my brothers and a chronic illness combined had been the three biggest kinds of grieving instances in my life. I just finished reading this book by Francis Weller and it blew my fucking mind. It’s a book on grief. It’s called The Wild Edge of Sorrow, and it opened my eyes to the importance of loss and the space that we need to grieve in our life. The fact that society as a whole has really turned in this direction of that 10 foot pole. I’m not going anywhere near peoples’ emotions, keep me away, and that is so opposite of the way our ancestors grieved and the way that there used to be ceremony and ritual around grieving. And so it has reminded me of the importance of being able to create the container for people to do that, and to honor my own grief and my own loss and to let it be important. Not to just be like, Oh yeah, that happened to me and push it over to the side. No, this happened and in that instant, I was a victim of it, but I consciously, every single day ask a very similar question that you just mentioned at the beginning, which is what is the opportunity here? How can I shine a light on the darkest parts of my life so that they turn into and transform into my greatest teachers and I use them and utilize them and I show up?

We look at each other – website, social media, Instagram posts – and we see this shiny, bright, beautiful woman who’s killing it, doing her thing, showing up, whatever, wearing cute clothes, but that is not the whole story. There is so much underneath that shiny picture that made that woman, whether it’s you or me or somebody else who she is today. And I think we just need to remember that there is so much that shaped that smile on her face, and maybe it wasn’t hard. It wasn’t. Every day is not going to be easy to smile, but there’s so much to be gained in these hardest moments, hardest moments of our life that can fuel abundance, can fuel more love, can fuel a deep appreciation and gratitude for every breath we fucking take. I am alive. I choose to stay alive. I choose to be here. I choose to be here, even though there’s pain. There’s so much we can choose to look at and let it define us in a negative way, or we can choose those things and allow them to define us in a positive way. Like illness, like loss. So I’m just so grateful for you and for your vulnerability and for your honesty on this conversation today. And I just love for you to also share anything else about the book that’s coming out. It sounds very in line with a lot of what we talked about today. and just other ways that people can get to know you and learn more about your story and your offers.

Katies’ book: At Least You Look Good

Katie: Thank you so much, and I’m so grateful too, and I feel like this is probably the beginning of our connection. So the book is called At Least You Look Good and it’s a self-help memoir and I go deeper into a lot of these stories. It’s really like an owner’s manual to figuring out how to go through loss and learn how to love again. I mean, I really couldn’t find – and I read a lot of books and all together, they helped me get through my healing process – but I really couldn’t find one book or one person or one resource that could be my friend and my companion through my process, and so that was what I created. I’ve always lived by this ‘create the thing you wish existed’, and that was what I did. And so it’s a guide and there are certain exercises and things to help us get through grief and loss, but it’s also a really vulnerable, honest, gritty share of some of the fucked up shit that happened and how far it got, and what it was like for me. What my journey was like being really sick, losing my brother, the way it impacted my mental health. Some of the extreme measures that I ended up having to go through and choosing to go through, getting out of a relationship that ended in court orders and domestic violence classes. I mean, there’s a lot, and so it’s also funny and that was really important to me that there was a lot of humour in the tone because I’ll tell stories now and I’m like, and then my brother died… and people are like, why do you say it like that? And I’m like, because it’s so messed up that you have to laugh about it. You have to get to that point. I had to – I don’t know about everybody else – but I had to get to that point where, and this is why so many comedians actually have these really dark childhoods and pasts, but I had to get to a point where I could joke about it. In my family, there’ll be the occasional joke about Beau, and not out of disrespect. Out of respect, because we would have been making fun of him if he was here, cause we all make fun of each other, because you heard my story about me and my dad. So I’m not going to change who I am at the core just because all this messed up stuff happened, and I’m going to become more of who I am at the core, and the book is really my journey doing that. And so if you’re going through loss or if you’ve gone through loss, which literally I think is every person. It’s not just about being chronically ill or being sick at some point in your life or losing a sibling or a loved one.

It’s like any disappointment. Who hasn’t gone through a breakup or thought they were going to get a shot at XYZ opportunity and then it got pulled away? I mean, we grieve all kinds of things, and I used to think my grief was more important than other peoples’ and now I really don’t. Now my belief is that pain is relative and that certain things that would have hurt me a lot five years ago are like ‘ding’ and then it’s over because I’ve been through so much more. But it’s all relative. So five years ago when my biggest problem was that I didn’t know what my purpose was and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. That was a huge problem and I feel that I was born grieving. When Beau died, I was like, Oh my God. This is grief. It was something tangible that explained the grief I had always felt in being a human. And some people are going to be like, oh my God, I get what you’re saying, and some people are going to be like, that’s so out there, but I think that life comes with living is also about dying. Every day that we’re living, we’re also sort of dying, and that’s sort of a morbid way to look at it and also sort of just not. It’s just very, very real and practical and it makes it even more important that every day you be as happy as you can be.

Sarah: Yeah. A reminder to be present with the day that you do have in front of you.

Katie: You have a really fresh loss. You might have two hours of the day where you felt happy and then the rest of it might be shit, but you celebrate those two hours, and for me, that’s how it has to be. It’s the only way. So I really believe there are possible and opportunities on the other side. And what I do know is the moment I lose something… I’m in a different relationship now, but I was in a different relationship 90 days ago. Okay. A different one and that was a big loss because he had known my brother and we’d been together for a long time and it was very, very hard, and I used the principles I teach in the book and I said to myself – and this is how I got through the breakup -I said, there is nothing that’s taken away from you without something else being replaced. You just don’t know what’s on the other side yet. And I said, but you do know that what is on the other side will be better, and I’m not going to say Beau being gone is better, but I do feel that he’s at peace and I do feel that he’s still alive in a different way. And I do feel that he was suffering towards the end of his life. He was suffering. And so I do feel that now there is peace. It just took a long time for us all to get there.

Sarah: Yeah.

Katie: I knew that there would be another love and I knew that there would be another relationship. I knew it. I might not have been believing in that moment, but I knew it and I practice these principles really, really hard and I focused on what I deserved and what I desired. And another relationship showed up so quickly. It was like a miracle, but it wasn’t a miracle because …it was, but I created it because I did the mindset work to get there. So that’s what the book’s about.

You can find me online at innerglowcircle.com. If you guys are interested in diving deeper and figuring out more about what your purpose is, we have a really great assessment that takes you through 12 questions to figure out what your purpose is. You can find that at inner glow circle.com/purpose, and then you can find me online @It’sKatieDePaola, and I have a new account for myself personally, so come follow me, and then we have our company account is @innerglowcircle and we push out a lot of great content on there too.

Sarah: Thank you. I am just so thankful again for you to sharing and it’s so obvious and apparent to me how passionate you are about this work and how much you live it. Not all coaches, entrepreneurs are actually in the trenches doing the work, showing up, transforming their lives and it’s clear to me that you are. You’re doing it, you’re doing the work, you’re showing up and even when it’s hard, we’re still here. So thank you so much and I hope everyone goes over and checks out more about your story and your offers.

Katie: Thank you so much. You’re amazing, Sarah.

Sarah: Today’s episode was brought to you by the Illuminated Coach Training Program. This is an eight-month truly integrative experience that I have put together and curated everything that I wish I had known as a coach as I built my own six-figure empire, and we’re going deep. There is a three-day, all-inclusive retreat that is included as part of your enrolment, and we’re going to be covering things like subconscious reprogramming, how to calm and retrain the central nervous system, the emotional freedom technique, which is also known as tapping. We’re going to talk about crystal healing as well as vibrational medicine, essential oil alchemy, muscle testing, pendulum work, psychic mediumship, and how to truly be an effective coach so that you can change the trajectory of peoples’ lives and get raving reviews from clients. Enrolment is now open. I’m taking applications. There are limited spots available, but if this feels like something that is in alignment for you, that is calling your name, please reach out to me. You can go over to autoimmune tribe.com/illuminated, and I’ll link it in the show notes. Hope to see you guys there.

About Katie:

Katie DePaola is an entrepreneur, author, and founder of Inner Glow Circle, an accredited training and certification company for women coaches, leaders, and entrepreneurs. Right after starting IGC, Katie lost her brother to an accidental overdose. Also Lyme Disease survivor, she built her business from her bathtub, growing the company from self-funded startup to million-dollar business. Katie has turned her greatest challenges into her greatest opportunities and says her business is what saved her life.

Through certification programs, memberships and online courses, Katie has taught thousands of women how to find their purpose, live it and get paid. She has a B.S. in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University and is an ICF Credentialed PCC Coach. She has been featured in TIME Magazine, The Huffington Post, Elite Daily and more. In her first book, At Least You Look Good (2020), Katie shares her vulnerable (and often funny) reflections on how to deal with the hardest parts of life — and her best advice for how to “glow through what you go through.”

Learn more about Katie:

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Work with Sarah:

Online courses | 1:1 coaching | Send show requests to sarah@autoimmunetribe.com!

January 20, 2020


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