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Music Therapy Mini Case Study

I just published an article with the Huffington Post, featuring one of my great colleagues and her work with an awesome kid named Jonah.

Read my article in the Huffington Post!

I love my work – Can you tell? But this article is especially cool because I get to rave about Mary Altom. In fact, my team recently hired Mary as a consultant to get us up to speed on the SEMTAP (special education music therapy assessment profile).

Mary runs an awesome practice in Texas, and is well-loved by our community. Check out the video of Jonah by heading over to the Huffington Post!

Click here to read my HuffPo article!

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Ever experience career shaming? This helps!

I recently wrote an article over at SheKnows.com about The View, the #NursesUnite movement, and how career shaming isn’t anything new.

Kat Fulton, sheknows.com expert

In case you missed it, the incredible #NursesUnite movement has effectively served to advocate and educate the public about the nursing profession. I am so proud of my nurse friends! Because our team works in the healthcare industry, I see their hard work. I see their tough moments and rewarding moments. I hear their stories. I’ve even supported nurses as a facilitator of dozens of retreats. I admire nurses to my very core, and I so appreciate what they do for our patients and clients.

The movement and the way The View spoke about Miss Colorado (the Miss America contestant who was a nurse) reminded me of all the times that media got my profession all wrong. I also remembered the times that colleagues in related fields, old acquaintances, former professors, and even old boyfriends got my profession all wrong.

As a music therapist, I entered a minority field. It’s understandable that your average Joe doesn’t quite get it. It’s ok. It’s to be expected. But the constant advocacy, education, and correcting of others can be exhausting!

I first learned of the term “minority field” listening to the brilliant Ami Kunimura on our Mindstorm Monday series. You can grab the recording for $7. Look for “Treat Yourself with Kindness.

She mentioned that working in a minority field creates all sorts of opportunities for burnout. I had never thought of it that way, because I’m a born rebel. It’s my M.O. to go against the grain and “stick it to the man.” I seek out opportunities to be different or unique, and I’m proud of it.

But playing the rebel can be exhausting.

In my article at SheKnows.com, I show before and after images of my attitude. This subtle attitude adjustment has helped me recently become rejuvenated and feel more alive in my work than ever before. Some of this attitude adjustment came after a jaunt through the mountains for a personal retreat, then a visit to Malibu Lake.

Here’s the before image:
A successful woman is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at her. ~ adapted from David Brinkley

Here’s the after image:
A woman who walks in purpose doesn't have to chase people or opportunities. Her light causes people and opportunities to pursue her. ~ Anne Nwakama

Have you faced battles in your life or career? Have you experienced career shaming, mockery, or belittling? Let’s start talking about it.

Tell me about it in a comment below so that the community can shower you with support.

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What Marketing Can You Do From Home?

As a traveling music therapist who used to clock 600+ miles per week on the road, marketing from home sounds soooooo lovely, relaxing, and [BONUS] productive!

If the internet was this awesome in 2005 when I opened up shop, I would’ve thrown money at Facebook, Google, Parents.com, Yelp, PennySaverUSA.com, GroupOn, local newspapers, and anything I could find… just to feel more productive lying down in my bed, recovering from my day-to-day field work.

What marketing can you do from home?

But here’s the truth: If you do not understand Return On Investment (ROI), then do not spend money advertising your services at all.

There are so many ways to deeply connect with people online. I could recommend Facebook ads, Google adwords, purchasing or renting email lists from local organizations, writing guest blog posts or articles for influencers in your locale. But nothing on this list would matter unless you understand ROI for your efforts.

Entrepreneurs are not risk takers. They are calculated risk takers ~ Leonard C. Green

Here how to calculate ROI for any *online* or hybrid online/in-person advertising experiment:

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Grief, Keynotes + 6 Experiences To Cherish While Getting Over A Cold

I had a WONDERFUL time with the Great Lakes Music Therapists in Minneapolis! What an awesome region, full of good energy, full of bright shiny happy DEDICATED people. I loved every second. Here’s a sneak peek at the grand finale of my keynote:

Sad news~
The day before I arrived in Minneapolis, I found out my grandfather died. I admired my grandfather very much. I even filmed a 90-minute video on his war and Great Depression stories. Plus, when I visited him in Ohio, he played “mouth organ” and I played 6-string. We got along well, and became well-known and loved among his peers =)

When I found out he had died, I couldn’t imagine giving a keynote to dozens (or hundreds) of music therapists. But when I walked into the concert hall Thursday night before my talk, I saw a guitarist and harmonica-player performing. I took that as a sign from my grampa that I was in the right place. As Shawshank Redemption’s Andy Dufresne put it, “Get busy living, or get busy dying.” Death and loss are a great reminder to keep living. And so, I spoke the next morning, and privately dedicated my talk to my grandfather. God winks 😉


NOW, I’ll be the first to call myself out on this one… My keynote was on self-care. I bragged about not getting sick this year and skipping over flu season. I shared this statement: (notice the LAKE in honor of Minnesota!)

Healthy Music Therapists // Self-Care

THEN the next day, I got knocked out COLD with a gnarly flu-ish like thing with body aches.

No doubt, it was from the girl on the shuttle from the Minneapolis airport to the hotel. She was going to a writers conference, and she had piles and piles of kleenex stacked up on her lap… the “used” kind. Red nose, nasally voice, constant blowing… (It feels better to blame someone anonymous, who I’ll never see again.) That was Thursday.

I didn’t get to a zicam until Saturday, when my husband Matt and I were biking through San Francisco. It was one of those rides where he said “Oh it’s just up the hill.” We would arrive at the top of the hill, only to find that there was yet another GIANT San-Fran-style hill to mount. Oh, those husbands…. =)

I could FEEL myself getting worse with every pump of the bike pedal. We stopped at a CVS along the way and bought zicam. It only delayed the inevitable.

I had to cancel my participation in facilitating a caregiver’s retreat this weekend. This retreat is literally the HIGHLIGHT of my career as a service provider. This is where I do my best work. Cancelled with substitute filling in. (And I’m very thankful for the substitute and the other amazing facilitators for understanding!)

I’m taking my own advice:

Here I am at a space in between. I’m deciding not to run on empty.

If I think about the work at Music Therapy Ed, or writing emails, or marketing our private practice, then my sore throat literally gets worse.

If I start cleaning up our place, putting plants into pots, rearranging stuff and throwing things away, then my body aches LOUDLY.

Those are my indicator lights: throat flaring up, body aching, eyes drooping, falling asleep. My body is saying “Slow down, Turbo.” So, in between long, deep naps and trips to the kitchen to heat up water for tea, I’m writing. Writing helps me clear my head. And it doesn’t make any indicator lights go on.

Perusing the web for self-care articles also triggers no indicator lights. I found this article by Katey Kratz (great pix!). I found this one from Elephant Journal (specific to women and exhaustion). And of course, there’s always this amazing group on Facebook.

Here are 6 experiences I’m cherishing while letting my cold run its course:

  1. Taking long, hot baths with salts and candles
  2. Sleeping while cuddling with my furry friends
  3. Putting lotion on my skin. ever. so. slowly. after the bath
  4. Brushing my teeth at SNAIL’s pace
  5. Lying in my bed feeling exactly like the times when I was a kid and had NO obligations, nothing to worry about, nobody to meet, nowhere to be, and just curl up
  6. Making the most delicious homemade soups with better-than-bouillon, kale, spinach, cilantro, grated ginger and garlic, onion, chicken or sausage, orzo…. mmmmmmmm!!!

I hope you are staying well, strong, and healthy for this week.

Be well, feel good, and make MUSIC! Kat

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Challenges in Taking Time Off

I recently hired Dawn, our Project Coordinator. She’s the glue that sticks us all together. She has 18 years experience helping business owners chill out, basically =) This was my message after sending a flurry of email double-checks this morning:
Vacation timeI took July ’14 off, because I got married =) The plan has been to take February off as well. I want to take 2 full months off per year. There are a few reasons for this- I’ll get to those below.

My progress thus far: The plan for February-off was in place before we had a couple major staff-shifting events in mid-January. And, we just opened up a new position for a music therapist. I actually worked during the first week of February… and today… I cheated. When February 2 came around, I knew I had not yet set up the systems for my team to implement while I was gone. I knew I had to to get in a few last working hours before I physically LEFT for vacation.

At this point in the month – 9 days in to February, I’m set for 3, possibly 4 weeks off. But I can see that I’ll need to prepare for some spring-time conferences during the first week of March. (Is that *real* work? I suppose it’s in the eye of the beholder!)

Why should we, as business owners, take chunks of time off? I’m SO convinced that taking giant chunks of time off is the answer, and I’m determined to master this skill. It may take another year or so, but I know I can do it! It’s becoming clearer and clearer to me how beneficial taking time off is to a healthy, successful, growing company. Here are some reasons:

1. To relax. When you totally unplug from the company, you will come back refreshed, rejuvenated, with even better concepts and ideas than before.

2. To remember the FREEDOM that you’ve created. Taking time off lets you check your “survival mindset” at the door, and focus on thriving. If you can LEAVE your company for an entire month, and all is well, then you can’t even debate it…THRIVING is present. It’s happening – go celebrate! By taking off large chunks of time, you can leave the spinning wheels, the rat race, the “go-go-go or else” mentality behind, and realize the freedom that you’ve built in.

3. For your informal insurance policy. What if you get sick? What if you get hurt? What if some life-changing event happens? What if you have a baby? What if there’s a death or emergency? What if you die? What if your significant other loses his/her job?

All of these things have happened, or are likely to happen in the future. And the more we practice being absent, the more easily our business will serve us during the transitions in life. The more easily the company will leave a legacy that doesn’t depend on YOU, but instead depends on carrying out the MISSION. (Unless you made your business just about YOU, and that’s not the case. My readers are smarter than that.) =)

So, CHEERS TO TIME OFF!

Here’s the place Matt took me on Sunday. He called it “an easy hike.” 4 hours later, we were scaling the face of the mountain with minimal footholds, and slippery 15-foot inclines!

Hiking in San Diego

Thursday I’m off to Hawaii and a coastal roadtrip down the west side for the rest of February.

One more thing! We have 67 incredible ACTIVATORS signed up for the next 90-days, building more vacation time and financial security into their business. Make sure to join us next time so you don’t miss out!

Ciao ciao – Be well, feel good, and make MUSIC! Kat

P.S. When’s YOUR next time off?

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