Get Gutsy With Mary Catherine Starr: “I’ve Crafted a Career and Life Doing The Things I Love”

Welcome to the Get Gutsy interview series! Each month, I interview people who are getting gutsy– stepping outside their comfort zones to reach their goals and live a life that makes them truly happy.

Click here to read past Get Gutsy interviews.

get gutsy with Mary Catherine Starr- Jessica Lawlor

Today, I’m so excited to introduce you to Mary Catherine Starr,  yoga teacherartist + designerconsultantbloggerpodcaster, + aspiring minimalist living and working on Cape Cod.

Here’s a quick story about me and Mary Catherine:

Mary Catherine is someone I only know through the Internet, but someone I know I’d be great friends with if we met in real life. I learned about Mary Catherine’s blog through another blog friend, Caroline Winn. As soon as I stumbled upon a blog post of Mary Catherine’s that Caroline recommended, I was instantly hooked. I fell in love with the Starr Struck brand- Mary Catherine describes her blog/brand as “your guide to living a creative, inspired + purposeful life.” Mary Catherine is also a yoga teacher, so I instantly related to her on that level too.

Her incredible podcast (co-hosted by her husband Ben) returns tomorrow (September 1)! Get to know Mary Catherine here and then hurry over to iTunes of Stitcher to get caught up on Season 1 before Season 2 begins tomorrow!

1. Could you please give us your best Twitter-style introduction? (140 characters or less!)

I’m a reformed 9-to-5-er living the solopreneur life; I’m a yoga teacher, consultant, artist, designer, podcaster + blogger. {And I love every minute of it!}

2. Tell us about how you are getting gutsy.

When it comes to my business, I’m getting gutsy by learning how to charge what I’m worth, let go of my need to have everything done RIGHT NOW, take more time off and not say no to myself (but say no to others more…I know, confusing!).

3. You have cobbled together quite a career for yourself! Teaching yoga, art, consulting + more! How did this all come to be? What’s your favorite (and least favorite) part about the career you’ve created?

My favorite part of my career is the ever-changing-ness (not a word!) of it. The way that I spend my days is always shifting, and it’s really fun to watch my business grow and change as I grow and change as a person. I love feeling like I have complete control over everything that I do, and thus, can ensure that the way I’m spending my time is creative and fulfilling.

My least favorite part of my career is the fact that the work is never done: it’s very hard to mentally “clock out” when you work for yourself, and so it kind of feels like I am always working. This has been really hard for me to adjust to, because I get pretty obsessed with what I’m doing and therefore, always feel like I “should” be working–even when I’m trying to intentionally relax.

Also, I miss paid vacations 😉

4. You’ve developed an amazing and strong personal brand online with a loyal blog/podcast community. What has been your approach to personal branding and community building?

Since the day that I decided to start a blog, I’ve shown up regularly. I knew that if I wanted to connect with people, I needed to put myself out there and share continually + consistently, and I’ve been very dedicated to that vision ever since. I started out blogging 7 days a week, went down to 6 days per week after about a year, and went down to 5 days per week almost 4 years in. My content and features have changed over the years, but the consistency hasn’t.

The other thing I’ve tried really hard to do is be honest with my readers about the ups-and-downs of life, and not just share my highlight reel, but all of it (without oversharing, of course). It’s a hard balance to strike, but I think it’s really important.

5. Can you briefly share your yoga story? How has your practice (and teaching journey) impacted the other areas of your life?

Oh my goodness, yoga has changed every single area of my life! It’s so hard to explain in a quick way, but I’ll try:

I found yoga after suffering a pretty traumatic running injury, and tried it because I was told it was one of the only forms of exercise I could do without aggravating my injury. Obviously, I am so thankful for that injury now because it completely changed the course of my life; as soon as I started practicing regularly, I was in love, and eventually that love turned into becoming a yoga teacher, which led me to quit my full-time job to pursue teaching and working for myself.

Through my yoga practice, I found quiet and inner stillness for the first time ever. It gave me the space I needed to realize that I wasn’t fulfilled in my corporate career and that I wanted more out of my life. It taught me how to appreciate my body after a lifetime of hating it. It taught me how to take care of myself after a lifetime of running myself to the ground and disordered eating. Yoga has been completely life-altering for me.

MC-Starr-Astavrkasana

6. I’m sure there have been many challenges along the way in your journey. What’s your approach to tackling setbacks?

If something doesn’t work or pan out the way I wanted it to, I usually just shift gears and either repackage that content or try something new. As an artist, I’m used to re-working, starting over, and painting over something if it looks wrong, so I try to apply that same approach to all aspects of my life.

If that doesn’t work, I’ll collapse, have a good cry, get a good night’s rest, and then get back to work the next day 😉

7. What one piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to follow your path?

If there’s something you really want to do, look at your life and figure out how you can start doing it on the side–even if it’s in a very small way–right now. Dip your toe in the water and pay attention to how it feels; if it feels good, go a little further. Big life changes don’t happen overnight, they take lots of work and lots of time, so start now, on the side. And then just keep putting one foot in front of the other and if you’re going the right direction, your path will appear in front of you as you go.

8. What are you super excited about right now? Are you working on any projects you’d like to share?

Well, the podcast that I host with my husband {Starr Struck Radio} comes back for Season #2 on September 1st, so I’m really excited to get back to that after taking a break for the summer. I’ve missed it!

I’ve also just released an eBook for yoga teachers, How to Earn a Living Teaching Yoga: A Business Guide for Yoga Teachers, and I’m excited to continue spreading the word about the book this fall, as people enroll in Teacher Training programs and start having some of the same business questions that I had way back when I did my training.

I also just love the fall and am thrilled that it’s right around the corner!

Starr-Struck-Radio-Logo725px-for-web

9. What does your life look like five years from now? More importantly, how do you hope to feel?

In 5 years, I hope to have a bit more balance in my life–a little less time spent working and a little more time spent with my family, which I hope is a *bit* bigger by then 😉 I want to feel more present in my interactions with my loved ones and more grounded in my work. And I want to spend more time outside!

10. What does getting gutsy mean to you?

I think getting gutsy means looking inward, accepting yourself and your issues, and if needed, doing the work to move through your issues and connect with your most loving, authentic self. I also think it means sharing your vulnerabilities + your story with others.

Although I don’t always get it right, I’m doing my best to do all of these things as much as possible!

Want to connect with Mary Catherine?

Blog // Podcast// Etsy Shop // Facebook // Instagram // YouTube // Twitter // Pinterest

Know someone you think I should chat with for the Get Gutsy interview series? I’d love to hear about them! Let me know in the comments below!

Want more gutsy content delivered straight to your inbox twice a month? Be sure to sign up for my FREE #GetGutsy e-newsletter filled with inspiration, ideas and action items to get out of your comfort zone. When you sign up, you’ll also be sent a FREE copy of the Get Gutsy ebook, filled with 19 inspirational stories to help you get gutsy.


Start Your Week Right Sunday: Links and Goals

start your week right- Jessica Lawlor

Photo of the week: Soaking up the last days of summer with a day trip to the beach with my good friend Kelsie. What a gorgeous day! And of course, when two yogis travel together, beach yoga ensues.

Start your week right! Every Sunday I post my favorite links from around the web and share my goals for the upcoming week.

Links

On Self Improvement:

Top 101 Self-Improvement Blogs That Help You Thrive: Whoa! I’m honored to be included on the 99 Smart Ideas list of 101 self-improvement blogs. I fall under the Motivation category, but be sure to check out the full list- so many awesome new blogs to check out!

On Event Planning:

7 things I learned about event planning from PHLBloggers: My friend/Superwoman Chrystina Noel details the lessons she’s learned about event planning from her work launching and planning events for PHLBLoggers. (Stay tuned for a PHLBLoggers yoga event with yours truly!)

On Blogging:

How To Find Thrilling, Interesting, Awesome New Blogs To Read: If you’re like me, maybe you’re feeling a little uninspired when you browse through your Feedly reader. Sarah from the Yes and Yes Blog offers up tips for finding new blogs to kickstart your love of Internet wandering again.

On Travel:

Planning the Ultimate Nashville Vacation: As I mention in my goals below, I’m currently planning a getaway to Nashville with my mom for October. Kristin’s blog, Camels & Chocolate, has been the BIGGEST wealth of resource, including this monster post about planning the ultimate Nashville vacay.

On Life:

What Your Birth Order Says About Your Relationships: I’m fascinated by this article about birth order by Allie White for MindBodyGreen- it’s so spot on! I’m the first child and can almost completely relate to all of the traits listed. Can you relate to yours?

This Week on JessicaLawlor.com:

The Four Words Everyone Wants To Hear: There are four words that have the power to change someone’s day, week, month and maybe even the course of their life. Those words? I believe in you.

Demystifying Dating Part 2: Answers to Your Dating Questions From 5 Real Women: Dating can be complicated. Meet five real women who are demystifying dating and answering your most pressing questions about dating and relationships in part 2 of this series. (Click here for part 1 featuring the dudes!)

Goals

  • Write my new yoga class flow for September and make a new playlist for the month.
  • Begin research for my October getaway to NASHVILLE! So excited- anyone have any recommendations for must-sees (and must-eats) while I’m there?

Have any links or goals you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments!

Want more gutsy content delivered straight to your inbox twice a month? Be sure to sign up for my FREE #GetGutsy e-newsletter filled with inspiration, ideas and action items to get out of your comfort zone. When you sign up, you’ll also be sent a FREE copy of the Get Gutsy ebook, filled with 19 inspirational stories to help you get gutsy.