The Leap Stories #32: Catherine Morey-Nase

Just the idea of taking a drive to the country and spending time wandering in wide open spaces makes my shoulders drop with relief, and prompts me to take a big, expansive, calming breath.

And it’s that sensation that law practitioner, psychologist and now meditation teacher and mindful hiking guide Catherine Morey-Nase has leapt to bring to other city dwellers like me in creating The Wellbeing Corner.

In reading Catherine’s story you’ll notice that success is not a straight line and often involves circling back. That honouring our curiosity is what keeps us moving forward. And that following your calling doesn’t have to be a boots’n’all leap into risk – you can blend a corporate career with your entrepreneurial streak.

One of Catherine’s most interesting insights also came through working with coach Kate James (who I adore), who prompted Catherine to not just move away from what wasn’t working for her, but to turn towards, and move closer to what was. I’ve often thought how easy it is to know what you don’t want, and how much more demanding to define what it is you do.

Wishing you love, grace, gratitude and peace this Thanksgiving weekend – an American tradition I’m more than happy to adopt.

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Catherine Morey-Nase, founder of The Wellbeing Corner

What did you want to be when you grew up and why?

An astronomer. I’ve always been, and still am, fascinated by the mysteries of the universe but not having an aptitude for physics quickly put an end to this particular dream!

What did/do you study?

I completed a Bachelor of Arts at The University of Melbourne majoring in Psychology and Japanese. I few years later I completed a Graduate Diploma in Intellectual Property Law and later still a Graduate Diploma in Psychology. I’ve always loved learning and am never without a book and/or short course of some sort on the go. I’m most drawn to learning and reading about psychology, philosophy, spirituality, healing, creativity, adventurous endeavours and the natural world. I also love, and learn so much, reading fiction. Before starting The Wellbeing Corner I completed a number of courses including a Meditation Teacher Training Course and a Wilderness Survival Course.

What has been your most scary/courageous leap you’ve ever made (preferably in your business/career/life direction)?

Starting The Wellbeing Corner 18 months ago has definitely been the most courageous, and also the most rewarding, leap I have ever made in terms of career and life direction. I’d previously made a number of smaller leaps away from things that weren’t right for me but this was the first leap I’ve made towards something that’s really called me.

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What were you doing before you made your leap?

I had recently moved back to Melbourne having lived and worked overseas for six years. I knew I didn’t want to go back into the corporate world so I took a couple of flexible part-time jobs. Resisting the safety and security of the corporate world was, I suppose, a mini leap in itself as it gave me the freedom to keep working towards the point of being able to make my big leap.

Who have been the biggest 3 – 5 influences in your life, in terms of your career and doing work?

My family and friends have been endlessly patient with me as I’ve gone round and round in circles trying desperately to figure out what it is I really want to do with my life while remaining stuck in professional environments that weren’t right for me. It really wasn’t until I met my wonderful friend Kate James, a business, career and life coach, that I began to believe that change was possible. She helped me see how much I was allowing fear to keep me stuck. With her encouragement and support I finally began to acknowledge to myself what my heart was yearning for. I began to tune into and act on what my intuition and inner wisdom had been trying to tell me for so long. She also helped me move beyond some limiting beliefs I was holding onto that often made me feel guilty and self-indulgent about wanting to follow my heart. It’s amazing looking back now to see how stuck I was and that what was holding me back more than anything was myself.

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What did you have in place before you made the leap?

Not a great deal! I still have a part-time job, which took away a lot of pressure for my business to be financially viable straight away. I’m so pleased I approached it in this way as it’s meant that I’ve been able to find my feet and grow it at my own pace in a way that’s felt right for me.

What was your defining ‘I can’t do this anymore’ moment that lead you to the leap?

The moment that finally prompted me to start The Wellbeing Corner happened almost two years ago now at the end of Kate James’s beautiful Byron Bay retreat. On the last day of the retreat it hit me that while I’d taken a few leaps over the years, I’d always moved away from things that weren’t right for me, never towards something I really felt excited by. I realised that my previous leaps wouldn’t amount to much and that I’d remain stuck unless I found the courage to move towards what was right for me.

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How did/do you overcome/work with the fear that comes with leaping? How do you decide to choose courage?

When I was first contemplating my leap, Kate and I talked a lot about courage. She likens courage to a muscle that needs to be used in order to strengthen it. We build our courage muscle by repeatedly doing things that take us out of our comfort zone. Just like a muscle, it’s a case of use it or lose it. I really like this analogy and it continues to help me a lot as it wasn’t simply a matter of starting The Wellbeing Corner and that was it, fear went away. I wish! Fear keeps showing up and I have to remind myself that each and every time I do something in the face of fear I’m building my courage muscle that little bit more.

While fear plays an important role in many situations, I think it’s important to remember that fear is not always to be trusted. I try to relate to my fear in the same way I relate to my thoughts during meditation. When you meditate regularly you begin to see thoughts more objectively. You become less identified with them and realise that thoughts are not facts – you can choose not to believe them. I think it is the same with fear; when you see fear more objectively it becomes a little easier not to buy into it to such an extent and to act anyway.

It might be a cliché but I think there’s a lot to be said for the saying ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. I try to remind myself that pretty much every time I’ve done something worth doing, fear has shown up for the ride. Even though I’d dearly love fear to go away once and for all, I’m learning to trust in the fact that the joy I experience at the end of a hike or a class when I see that people enjoyed it and have gotten something valuable from it, far outweighs any accompanying fear. Every. Single. Time.

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How did you fund your leap?

I was very fortunate in that I had savings I could use to get the The Wellbeing Corner up and running. I did what I could to keep my start up costs as low as possible and I was lucky to have the support and encouragement of my husband as well as a flexible and stress-free part-time job.

What other leaps have you made in the past?

I made a number of earlier career related leaps. In my mid-twenties I left my first ‘proper’ job at a large law firm after only 10 weeks. This was totally out of character but I was so miserable I felt there was no other option. I then leapt around a bit over the next few years doing a stint in publishing before ending up back in the legal world.

A number of years later in 2006 my husband and I took the leap and moved to London. We were initially only planning to be there for one year and ended up staying for six – two years in London followed by four years in Geneva. It was an amazing experience that involved a series of leaps along the way. I had long wanted to live overseas and had almost given up on that dream when one day I found myself living it. Living overseas helped me see that anything really is possible; it’s never too late to pursue a dream.

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What leaps didn’t work out? What did you do about it?

While leaving my first ‘proper’ job after only ten weeks was something I needed to do, the whole experience, unfortunately, knocked my confidence quite badly. For a long time afterwards I continued to play it safe in roles that didn’t excite or particularly challenge me. Even though at times it felt impossible, I held onto the belief that one day I would find a way to engage in work that was personally meaningful.

What are you most fearful of? How do you deal with it?

Being judged negatively; not being good enough… While I’m so much more comfortable in my own skin now than I used to be, I can be a bit of perfectionist and I’m also quite sensitive so these are things I need to watch out for and be gentle with myself about. I know that it’s simply not possible to be universally liked and that what I’m doing, and how I do it, won’t resonate with everyone and that’s ok! I love the saying ‘what other people think about you is none of your business’. So true.

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How would you rate your level of happiness about making your leap?
1 being sad, 10 being rad.

10/10!

What’s the biggest upside to making the leap?

I’m not sure I can pick just one as there have been so many! It has been incredibly liberating and empowering to finally show the real me to the world; to be doing something that I believe in wholeheartedly and that, even if only in a small way, makes a difference to other people. And, as a result of starting The Wellbeing Corner, I have made the most wonderful connections with genuine, kind, sensitive, open-minded, compassionate, curious, strong and courageous women.

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What’s the biggest downside to making the leap? And how do you get through it?

While I love the freedom that comes from working on my own I can, at times, feel quite isolated. Even though my business is very small it can sometimes be overwhelming trying to figure out all the different aspects of running a business. I have recently joined a mentoring program started by Kate James designed to address exactly these sorts of issues by bringing small business owners together and creating a support network. It’s been fantastic so far!

What might be your next leap?

I’m considering going back to university next year to study a Masters in Clinical Psychology. It’s been a while since I’ve studied (in a formal capacity anyway) so it will be a bit of an adjustment but it’s something I’m feeling called to do and, if it happens, I think it will complement the work I’m doing with The Wellbeing Corner really well.

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What are your favourite words to live by?

I always come back to the following words of Thich Nhat Hanh:
‘Smile, breathe and go slowly.’

Who do you admire who also made the leap?

I know I’ve mentioned her quite a few times already but I have so much respect and admiration for Kate James who made the leap when she started her own business, Total Balance, over ten years ago. I also really love the work of Brené Brown and Tara Mohr both of who definitely encourage leap taking!

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A piece of advice for someone with an itch to leap?

Even if your itch to leap feels like an impossible fantasy, don’t dismiss it – it’s trying to tell you something. Even if you can list a million reasons why something won’t work, try giving your itch to leap some space to breathe. You owe yourself that much. You don’t need to have all the answers about how right now. Take the time to explore it, indulge it, dream about it and play with it. When you open yourself up to possibility wonderful things really can happen.

Right now I’m:

Hearing: ‘Lost in the Light’ by Bahamas
Eating: Bahen & Co. chilli and salt chocolate
Drinking: Genmaicha tea
Reading: ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr
Loving: Spring!

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With the end of the year rapidly approaching, the blank canvas that is the new year will offer a moment of pause for us to consider. Here’s to wandering through our own inner landscape and discovering possibilities.

Much love, Kylie x

P.S. Enjoy this little soundtrack for your Sunday evening reflection…


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  1. I think this is my favourite leap story so far – it really resonated with me.
    I love coming here to read about kindred spirits not afraid to give it all up in the search for a more fulfilling life.

    Reply

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