In 2003 – 2004, I went through a really difficult time. I was in south France teaching at an English immersion camp called American Village. Best. Job. Ever. During one of our off-weekends, a friend and I visited Nice. That’s when I put my bag (mon sac) on the ground at the train station, and it all started rolling out…
(Life hasn’t always been full of fun corporate drumming like it was last Friday! Thanks Jessie Johnson for this pic!)
Money and Security Problems
Someone stole my bag in France. They did it so well, that I didn’t even notice right away. It was bizarre. They were true professionals. Many sentimental items were stolen, including a spontaneous poem that a romantic Italian wrote about us while we were visiting the Vatican. But other items included: our train tickets to the next stop, all of my cash, my drivers license, my passport, my credit cards, all of my toiletries, my journal, and there were some more but I can’t remember.
Imagine being in France with ZERO passport, credit cards, identification, cash. Fortunately my friend Sauce (camp name) was with me, lent me some cash, and sent me off to Marseilles to get an emergency passport.
That was only the beginning. That day became the first day of my 28-day long stress-induced period which caused me to black out and stay bed ridden, in France, at camp, for 3 days.
Then my boyfriend came to tour Switzerland with me. We broke up on the trip. This wasn’t just *any* boyfriend. This was love-of-my-life, write-me-love-poems, look-into-my-soul-with-your-eyes boyfriend. We traveled solo after hugging in the cobble-stone streets of some small Swiss town at 11PM for 2 hours straight, not letting go for the entire 2-hour duration.
I returned to Tallahassee that fall to finish up my second year of grad school, but my apartment (for which I signed a lease) was not finished with construction due to heavy summer rains. So I filled out forms for option B, stay with a friend. I stayed with my friend Jim who had two rottweilers. I am a Kat. I do not play well with dogs.
I took the dogs for a walk one day, and Gracie started eating poop. I tried to wash it off. She wouldn’t stand still and poop got all over me.
More Shelter Problems
I couldn’t stand living with dogs any longer, so I lived in my car for a few weeks. Living in your car works in warm climates that do not have mosquitoes. But in Florida, it’s not so pleasant. The first night, I was eaten alive because I couldn’t cover my skin with my blanket – It was too hot for that, and I was drenched in sweat all night. So the second night I tried to engineer a plug for the vents. It worked better. I was still drenched in sweat all night. But at least I found showers at Tom Brown park and showered there when I could.
More Health and Energy Problems
At that time of living in my car, I remember that I was still recovering from low iron. So, I vividly remember eating spinach out of the bag for many of my meals because I didn’t have the energy (or kitchen) to cook.
I have to say… I secretly found pleasure out of showing up at college, teaching and learning in classes, sleeping in my car every night.
On top of that, FSU was about to strip away my assistantship because in the hustle of making it out to France, I had totally forgotten to file my in-state paperwork. (Honestly, I signed up for grad school at FSU haphazardly and didn’t take much seriously.) Stripping my assistantship would mean that I would drop out of grad school. There was no other option…except… Jim convinced me to talk to the boss’s boss of the dean’s dean’s master dean. And I did. And by the grace of God, she allowed the paperwork to go through several months late.
Then I received a notice from my apartment’s lawyer telling me how much rent I owed. Rent? I was staying at Jim’s and in my car. I took Option B, so how could this be?
I called. They said “Well, you’ll be up against the lawyers on this.” huh?
I read my lease over and over. I could not find the part where if they didn’t delivery on the apartment, I still had to fork out cash. Unbelievable. Apparently, *everyone* else took Option A, the alternative housing. I refused. That was ridiculous. They won’t deliver, I won’t participate…
I made an appointment with FSU’s free legal services for students. Dude said I was ok.
I wrote a formal letter to the apartment’s lawyers. I made an appointment to see those creeps. I walked in and showed them the lease. They gave me a hard look, and told me that I owed cash. Then they compared my lease with everyone else’s. Apparently, they had given me the wrong lease to sign the year before! Unbelievable. They got off my back. ummmm, did I dodge a bullet? And what lease would ever say that if the owners don’t deliver on the apartment, you still have to pay rent?
Transportation and Shelter Problems
Then, I totaled my car. Which was my house.
Certainly during this Year Of Hell in my life, there were angels by my side helping me through. Sauce in France, my sister and mom sent me money in France, my friend Karen in Switzerland, my friend Jim in Tally, the dean’s bosses’ master of deandome at FSU, FSU’s legal dept, my parents… And I can see that now, but at the time I just wanted to end it. I couldn’t get out of bed, when I finally landed in the bed of the apartment that was late on construction. I couldn’t stop crying. The crying for 8 hours and sleeping for 16 hours per day all sounds normal and fine, considering the circumstances. But when it goes on for months… I think then you know you’re in a deep, dark depression.
I won’t get into too many details, but let’s just say that my group piano students had a reeeeeally easy semester that year.
I think it was that Christmas of 2003 that someone shared the movie The Secret with me. At the time, the entire movie was streaming for free online. I watched it, and liked it. And it gave me hope, but I was still pretty lost and down.
Asking The Question
To make a long story short, I realized that I needed to make a commitment. This was literally life or death, and I needed to make a decision NOW: either commit to dying and moving on to the next world OR commit to living here on earth. But in order to make that decision, I had to know “Why am I on earth?”
Just by asking the question, and noticing my curiosity about myself, I realized that I wasn’t ready to move on yet. It took a long time to reach that point, and it was excruciatingly painful and unpleasant, but…
I finally decided to commit to living under one condition: That I would live with PURPOSE. If I lived with anything less, then I must end it. Living with purpose is the only way I would ever be able to handle these extreme, awful external events, if they happened to me again. But living without purpose is just not worth living at all… somehow these events led me to believe this.
I will have to write more on this topic at a later date, but you can get the gist here. And I hope you can understand why I’m so intense about some things in life.
The Temporary Answer
And so to clarify, my message is to be well, feel good, and make MUSIC. My purpose is to help others be well, feel good, and make MUSIC. That purpose is an umbrella for helping people unveil their brilliance, helping people realize the greatness within, and helping people connect with one another. Music just happens to be a sweet tool to get all that done. And the internet is a pretty sweet tool, too.
That’s my story and why I will never stop learning, asking questions, and seeking out the reason I am here on earth, as long as I’m on earth. Because my purpose is ever-changing and impermanent . . .
I had to share this whole story to answer someone’s question. Kathy Schumacher asked me “Have you compiled a list of all the books/on-line resources you used for learning about marketing? You mentioned in the Foundation podcast about jumping in 110% to learning everything you could.”
But in my interview, I actually mentioned jumping in 150% or ZERO. =)
My Big Why, As It Relates To Marketing
What does this story have to do with marketing? Bear with me… EVERYTHING! Because everything is related to everything (thank you, Dr. Madsen). Bear with me still…
Why do I study marketing? Because spreading my message is why I’m on earth. Without spreading my message, I would be living without purpose. And if I didn’t live with PURPOSE, then I would end my life. Pretty straight and narrow there.
Living With Purpose
Instead, I’ve gotten a taste of life with purpose, and I’m hooked. I’ve gone in 150%, and now there’s no looking back. It’s like the point of no return, and I’m at a constant acceleration of wild love for living a purposeful life.
Marketing my message is part of my PURPOSE here, it comes from my HEART, and I can’t separate marketing from business from my message from the way I live from my lifestyle preferences from my family from my fiance from any other aspect of life.
Because everything relates to everything.
My Favorite Marketing Books
And with that, here are some of my favorite marketing books:
1. E Myth Revisited: a MUST-READ! I’m telling you, you MUST read this book right now. This has helped me in a million different ways. As soon as you read the first chapter or two, you will write me an email that says “omg Kat, he describes me EXACTLY in those chapters. How did you know? How did HE know?” Seriously, buy it now if you are a business owner.
2. E Myth Mastery
4. Start with Why
5. Tribes (or anything by Seth Godin)
6. Ready, Fire, Aim
7. The Breakthrough Company
8. Millionaire Messenger
More Ideas For Resources
I admire the work of my 5 amazing girl friends here in San Diego. Also, Marie Forleo and Brendan Burchard. Otherwise, I have a business coach with whom I meet once per week – month, depending on my needs. I also seek out secret video interviews that don’t get played much. Or I look for content by any of the authors of the books above. Or I read blog posts from Amy Porterfield. Or I jump in online courses with Melanie and Devin Duncan or Victoria Gibson. Or I go to live events with people I admire. I’m definitely an online course hopper. And I put time, energy, and resources into educating myself as much and as often as possible.
Whew. So, why are you here on earth? Loaded question, I know 😉