Catherine Wood is the Founder and Head Coach of Unbounded Potential, a boutique coaching firm that helps bold, brilliant, and big-hearted leaders in business and corporate come home to their purpose and create holistic success beyond socially defined success markers. Her firm works one-on-one with clients and Catherine facilitates her signature UNBOUNDED Mastermind, a yearlong program for empathic women entrepreneurs who want to amplify their impact, become CEO of their business (and lives), and be massively held in lockstep support with a sisterhood of powerhouses doing the exact same.
She has amassed more than 2,500 hours of coaching experience working with over 125 clients in 5 continents since 2014 and has been awarded the highly coveted designation as a Master Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation. Only 4 percent of coaches worldwide hold this credential.
💝 Key Takeaways
Raising consciousness to give you greater access to compassion and grace for other people’s projections and the discomfort of being compared and judged by others.
The deeply ingrained hustle mentality that we see celebrated online is a deeply-rooted patriarchal mindset that is in the way of raising our collective consciousness.
The deep connection between feeling intrinsically deserving, worthy and loved and achieving more by doing less and how we can all help normalize this by sharing our stories more authentically and vulnerably.
The link between business boundaries and being an HSP and an ambitious empath.
📚 Resources Mentioned
Belonging: Overcome Your Inner Critic and Reclaim Your Joy
🔗 Where You Can Find Catherine
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/catherine.a.wood.7
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/catherineameliawood
Podcast: The Prosperous Empath
🌹 Rose’s Resources
[FREE] UpLevel Your Business Mindset Hypnosis
[FREE] Facebook Community for HSP Entrepreneurs
📖 (Imperfect) Transcript
We use Descript to provide this transcript which isn’t always perfect but wonderful all the same. (affiliate link 😃)
[00:00:00] Rose: Hey, it’s Rose and welcome to another episode of The Sensitive CEO Show. And in today’s episode, it’s my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Catherine Wood. Catherine is the founder and head coach of Unbounded Potential, a boutique coaching firm that helps bold, brilliant, and bighearted leaders in business and corporate come home to their purpose and create holistic success by socially defining success markers.
Welcome, Catherine. So lovely to talk with you again
[00:00:35] Catherine: today. It’s so lovely to be here again, Rose.
[00:00:40] Rose: I would love for you to share with the audience today a bit about your background and whom you work with and what do you do?
[00:00:46] Catherine: Absolutely. My background is actually in economics. I’m a former senior economist for the federal government in the US, turned master-certified coach.
And I specifically work with high achieving, ambitious, driven Washingtonians, of whom there are countless, to help them find—fulfilment and satisfaction beyond the ambitious achievement epidemic that we find so many of ourselves in these days. And I specifically love working with entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs to help them follow their path.
[00:01:28] Rose: Yeah, love that. And you talk about raising your consciousness. Consciousness awareness. Can you share a little bit about that with the audience?
[00:01:39] Catherine: So much of our work as coaches revolve around becoming more conscious of whom we are daily and then acting in alignment with that consciousness.
It’s something that we’ve learned from the pandemic, Just the ways of being and living our lives that align with what we want or out of alignment with what we want. And I’m curious what it’s like for you in Australia, but here in the US, as employers push employees back into the workspace, there’s this pushback.
This general unwillingness to want to go back to the office in the same way or with the same frequency or demand, and professionals have a higher level of awareness around what works for them and their lifestyles. That’s supported some of the recent drives of entrepreneurship we’ve seen.
[00:02:40] Rose: Yeah. totally, and in Australia, I am a little bit out of that area, to be honest.
Many of my friends are entrepreneurs in the workforce area, and many are also retired. But I know from what I hear that there are many of them. Companies that are encouraging people to go back, and there is pushback. Still, some people want to go back because they might be at home with their families, and they need to, especially the males; they actually would rather have that space in the office away from their families.
So, from that perspective, plus there are extroverted people who would rather be in an office space and have people around them that aren’t, aren’t just their family or their pets or their children. I’m happy to have my pets and my husband around and no one else.
But I know there’s a lot of people who do like that camaraderie.
[00:03:53] Catherine: I mean, I feel the same. I would much rather be in my house with my dogs and my husband-to-be. But, I think that there’s just been this, this kind of like the lovely trend towards greater consciousness around who we wanna be and how we wanna operate in our lives and careers. It was encouraging to see, especially from an entrepreneurial coach mindset.
[00:04:20] Rose: Yeah. And something you talk about a lot, Catherine is achieving more by working less, which resonates so much with me. Can you share more with everyone listening today about that?
[00:04:34] Catherine: You know, it is ingrained in me, and I think it was for most of my life. Just an automatic habit. I don’t, I don’t know if I’ve shared this on our last chat, but I grew up in a bed and breakfast. My parents were inn keepers for my whole childhood. So, you know, they just retired during the pandemic, but for 29 years, they were inn keepers, which was my whole upbringing.
So you can imagine, as the daughter of inn keepers, where you were living in your parents’ workspace. There’s no separation between when you’re working and when you’re not working. We always had guests walking through our living room. We had guests in our home on Christmas morning. Um, there was just the boundaries were so grey.
So I always grew up in this environment of always working and. It’s, it, it, it was such an automatic habit of just operating by default, like always looking for how to be useful, to be productive, to be helpful, to be tactical. And I got a lot of validation and approval for that.
Like it was how I gained a sense of my self-esteem and my self-worth was how I could contribute and be helpful. And when you start to decompose that mindset, and you begin to see the ways in which you’re just busying yourself with work or looking for ways to be busy, to check items off a to-do list, which, listen, I love a good to-do list.
You can start to see, you know, what are the ways which are feeding your ego, feeding my ego versus what are—actions aligned with my highest commitments and my most important goals that will move the needle forward. And when we can start having that more profound sense of self-awareness and consciousness, we have the most significant active advantage and where our work results most.
We start to regain our time. We begin to regain our freedom from the endless compulsive habits of being busy. I notice that many clients I work with have an obsessive need to be active. We are decomposing that they need to be engaged to enjoy being with themselves.
Enjoy that spaciousness accessible from stillness and find joy and delight in that. It gives us access to achieving more with much less time and effort.
[00:07:34] Rose: I didn’t know that about you growing up in an inn. That would’ve been quite challenging. I mean, quite nice, but also quite challenging not to have any family space, even on Christmas day.
[00:07:48] Catherine: I mean, I think it’s one of the reasons I talk about boundaries so much because, yeah, I had to learn.
[00:07:55] Rose: It makes sense why you went down the boundary route.
[00:07:59] Catherine: Yeah.
[00:08:01] Rose: So do you have some tips you could share with people on how they can work less but achieve more?
[00:08:10] Catherine: So, I think there’s, I think there’s many. When I work with clients and we do project planning, I always start by helping clients identify the experience of life that they’re looking to create for themselves in all their project areas. Because when goals drive us, we falsely identify and attach ourselves to the outcome.
You know, we falsely think, Oh, in my business, I have to generate $250 K this year, or, in my physical wellbeing, I need to lose 30 pounds. And we connect with those, those numbers and, in reality, those results are just the consequence of us creating a distinct experience of life in that area that allows us to create that result. So, for instance, like. We don’t just want to generate more money in our business for money’s sake, particularly not the clients with whom you and I tend to work.
Like we’re driven by something much more significant, whether it’s the freedom to be. More connected with nature. You know, I love, I always love your daily Instagram stories about your hike, and I do something very similar. I cherish my free time being outdoors with my pups. It’s something I gain some of the most joy from.
It’s my time. And so, for me, that’s what business is about. It’s about giving me access to impact and contribution, but it’s also. It gives me access to time freedom. Yeah. And I have more capacity and space for the things I love. So when we can connect with that different experience of life, that new way of being that’s possible to achieve our goal.
It gives us more space to play inside of reaching the goal and detach from the outcome. Because we all know that when we are super attached to the work, when we’re, you know, set and fixed on reaching it, it always slips through our fingers. But when we can focus on that what and detach from the how, you know, that’s where the magic lies, where the opportunity for breakthrough and support and new ways of being and expansion is available. So, one tip that is safe in achieving more by doing less is getting clear on the what and the why of what you want to create.
Another more tactical but equally helpful thing is starting with the essential items on your list. You know, I think. With my time management, I always plan for tomorrow and today. So at the end of each workday, I plan the following workday and identify the top three to five priorities that will move my project areas forward if I focus there.
[00:11:30] Catherine: So, you know, typically, we resist the most important things because they are the most meaningful for us. So simply by starting with that area of resistance, that thing. Often the most important and what we resist most, it can create a floodgate of more power and energy to take on other things with much less resistance, efforting, hustling time.
[00:12:01] Rose: Yeah. That’s so important, isn’t it, to get that, get that main task of the day done, because that’s the one, as you say, we resist it, but the feeling, I think it releases endorphins or something when, when you have ticked it off and you, you feel empowered to tick more off because you’ve done that big major thing.
But sometimes, I don’t know about you, but if I’ve ticked off that one thing, I’ll finish for the day. And give myself the day off. I don’t do it often, but sometimes I do because it ‘s what we’re allowed to do in our own business right?
[00:12:36] Catherine: I love that. That’s so delicious.
Yeah. In that vein, another area is as enter ecopreneurs; we often make business harder than it needs to be. Yeah. By following someone else’s footprints or someone else’s blueprint of how we should grow our business, what we should do, or how we should market ourselves.
And when we connect within, when we connect with, The experience of the business that we want to generate for ourselves, we often can intuit the natural, the natural way of operating, the honest service offering. And if we can trust and hone that intuitive path, it’s much more expansive with much less effort.
[00:13:28] Rose: Yeah, that’s so true. And we are very intuitive as sensitive CEOs, so that’s one of our superpowers. So why not use it and use it to our advantage? I love that. So, Catherine, I know you talk a lot about the connection between feeling intrinsically deserving, worthy, and worshipped and sharing stories with authenticity and vulnerability.
Can you talk a little bit more about that? Because that’s important, the authenticity and vulnerability side of things for us.
[00:14:00] Catherine: I always share the story that I came to coaching from Heartbreak. I was in a relationship with a partner, I lost myself in that relationship; and when the relationship suddenly ended, I, of course, lost the relationship, but, so much more importantly, I lost my sense of self because I had placed so much of my identity inside of that relationship.
And on the other side of that relationship, like I, I had to find myself, and in doing so, I generated my first breakthrough in coaching was just a breakthrough in learning how to love, honour, and nurture my relationship with myself. And it’s been the breakthrough that has kept giving for all the years I’ve been coaching.
And I’ve been working with my coach consistently. And I’ve constantly been evolving in learning to love myself more and break up with the notion that my sense of worth or intrinsic value is based on what I achieve, who I’m in a relationship with, or what I accomplish. It’s the underpinnings of my work with all my clients, the breakthrough that no one comes to coaching for and everyone walks away with.
It’s core to working with ambitious type A high-performing women is, you know, the more driven we are, the larger our imposter syndrome and the more achievement-oriented we are. Then the larger that inner judger. And learning how to find and achieve a sense of worth and intrinsic value separate from what we produce is, I think that’s where happiness lies.
That’s where we access that, just that deep sense of joy that I, we all crave.
[00:16:16] Rose: Absolutely. Yeah. So, Cat, you previously mentioned that some of how you run your business and manage your time make you uncomfortable sharing publicly. Can you share with us why publicly.
[00:16:35] Catherine: You know, living amongst so many people who represent former versions of myself, it drives me up a lot.
Just like how I should be or operate in business. And, you know, I do things very differently. I have a four-day workweek. I only see clients three days a week. You know, I’m very, I’m very intentional around when I work and when I don’t work. And, for many people who don’t have.
[00:17:08] Catherine: Or don’t live by their ideal schedule. It, it, it drives up, you know, it drives up stuff for other people, And as an empath, I can kind of feel, and, and a sense that envy or comparison and it, it doesn’t, it doesn’t always feel good. But at the end of the day, so much of. Working as coaches and healers is to model new ways of being.
It’s to model new ways of showing up in business. So I always sense that trepidation or nervousness to share, and then I purposely share it anyway because, you know, if I’m not practising what, what, I talk about and just modelling what I’m committed to then, and I’m not doing my work.
[00:18:07] Rose: Yeah, and that’s all about authenticity. It’s stepping up and permitting our clients to show up that way.
[00:18:17] Catherine: Yeah. You know, I was, I was, I was talking to a, a friend recently who’s a therapist, and I, I have much compassion for therapists because I feel like they’re just, they’ve been so overworked and undervalued over the last couple years in the pandemic, and, I think there’s, to some degree there’s more freedom in the coaching space to design your business on your own.
To write the rule book for how you do business. And so I was, I was encouraged in sharing with her that, you know, I only see clients the first three weeks of every month. The last week of every month is an implementation week. And, for them and me, you know, and, I felt so encouraged that she was so inspired hearing my working schedule because, I, I can’t, I really can’t imagine another industry that would be positively impacted by taking more control over their work schedules.
[00:19:20] Rose: Yeah, that’s so interesting. And I’m very similar. I only see clients three days a week, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Same. I also had the last week off of the month for, I, it’s so crucial for not just implementation, but for—decompression, or for want of a better word, but just that, that space.
We all need a bit of space, which leads to my question about boundaries, which I had to bring up because you are known for your limits. Is there a link between edges and being highly sensitive and empathic?
[00:19:58] Catherine: I think that’s a lovely question, and from a coaching perspective, I believe there is.
As an empath and an HSP, boundaries, naturally, can be inherently more graded for us. Because we, you know, we feel other people’s emotions, and we sometimes intuit what they’re thinking or sense what they’re feeling, And sometimes, we might sense other people’s feelings before they know that they’re feeling that way.
[00:20:37] Catherine: So it’s something to be responsible for as an empath, as an HSP. And it. Increases the necessity for honouring our boundaries so that we have more capacity to sense what’s ours and to notice other people’s. And, you know, reflect it or name it versus becoming defensive or taking other people personally.
Physical time and energetic boundaries give us more capacity to honour and protect our gifts.
[00:21:27] Rose: Beautiful. I loved our conversation today, Catherine, and I’ve got one final question before I let you go. When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
[00:21:40] Catherine: I trust it.Because what I notice is that as. As an HSP, I’m deeply intuitive, and answers come to me. So at this point in my journey and with my level of awareness, I’m used to being focused and oriented towards the path, the future, and what I want. And so if I’m disconnected or unfocused, then I trust that there’s a purpose for that disconnect and that I’m meant to sit in the question longer.
[00:22:18] Rose: I love that. That’s one of my favourite answers to this question so far. It’s beautiful.
[00:22:25] Catherine: I loved the question. I sat with it to think about what my truth was.
[00:22:30] Rose: And then you trusted it. Oh, that’s beautiful. Well, where can people find you Catherine? I’m going to pop everything in the show notes, and I’m also going to pop your book Belonging in the show notes. But where would you like people to find you?
[00:22:47] Catherine: I’d say head over to my website. It’s unboundedpotential.com. I’m in the process of relaunching and rebranding, and it’s going to be just magnificent.
So, I’m excited for people to check it out.
[00:22:59] Rose: Brilliant. And I know by the time this podcast is airing, it will be ready, and your new podcast will probably be ready as well, which is very exciting.
[00:23:10] Catherine: Can’t wait.
[00:23:11] Rose: Yeah. Well, thank you so much, Catherine.
[00:23:14] Catherine: It’s been my pleasure.