When Kathryn Nicolai launched her podcast Nothing Much Happens: Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups, she didn’t plan fuss or fanfare. After all, she was a yoga teacher, not a writer.
Even as a small child, Kathryn would wrap herself up in her bed at night, until she felt warm and safe. Then she would tell herself stories. They were small stories, about small things, until she fell asleep.
So that’s what she decided to do now: tell stories to other people. ‘A little creative project, that’s all’. She wasn’t a creative, she thought: that was what her friends did, the artists and writers and theatre people around her.
She wasn’t expecting to discover one morning that, after a just a couple of episodes, iTunes had picked it up as ‘new and noteworthy’, sending her listener numbers spiralling.
‘I nearly dropped the phone in the sink’, she recalls. Just 13 stories later, it had been listened to over a million times. That’s an extraordinary number for any new podcast, never mind a little indie one from someone with very little public profile.
Kathryn joined me on The Creative Life Show this week to talk about her journey from idea to huge success, and from ‘not a creative’ to making writing a core part of her identity.
The power of being grounded
I adored talking to Kathryn, and I reckon that if you spent time with her, one word that would come to you would be ‘grounded’.
“My brother sent me a text a couple of weeks after I launched and he said, why does, why does your voice make me cry? And I said, I don’t know, but I cry when I read them sometimes. And it’s just that feeling of being in that really open, vulnerable emotional space that just opens the floodgates for me.”
Where emotion meets your purpose
At heart, being grounded is about daring to connect with our own emotions and needs so deeply that they become our starting point.
It’s about knowing ourselves so profoundly that we don’t get swept along by other pressures, by the drama of other people, the expectations we’ve created for ourselves to be something different.
It’s about being so confident in who we are that we can stretch ourselves way beyond our comfort zone, because we know we have a place to come back to.
I often find myself talking with my wonderful coaching clients about ‘purpose’. It’s so important: the reason we get up and do our work each day.
But know this:
Our purpose only becomes ‘grounding’, and truly powerful, when it’s in line with our deepest emotions.
When it’s connected to the emotions we find when we’re safe and cosy. The emotions we have when we dare to be vulnerable and open.
Emotions + purpose = making things happen
I’m feeling called to put together something more about this – a way of working together that would go much deeper into who you really are and what that means for your life and work.
If you think it might be something for you, or let me know. What change would it mean if you could walk through the day with focus and purpose? Would it beat your self-doubt and procrastination, the drama of other people or the energy-drain of indecision?
Comment below, and tell me what change you’d love to see by becoming more grounded, more connected.