An #importedAsians POV: Kate Powers
The Universal Asian had a chance to learn a bit more about Kate Powers and what drives her to work as a life coach and a mindset coach.
Tell us about your background.
I was born in South Korea and raised in the USA since I was an infant. I grew up in St. Louis, MO and after college I was excited to experience life in other cities and moved to Washington, DC. It was a great and fascinating change of scenery from my small midwestern town. I experienced culture shock at first but ultimately enjoyed a few wonderful years in DC. I then wanted to experience living in another big city so I moved to Chicago, IL. After these two amazing cities in the U.S., I figured, “Well, why limit myself when the world is so big and grand?" I moved abroad to Seoul, South Korea, eager to explore Asia and this part of the Earth. I was open and ready to take on whatever life threw my way…even a global pandemic! I’ve been fortunate to have a variety of experiences in life, personally and in my work and leisure. I’ve had many interesting experiences, jobs and robust experiences living in different cities. My life feels alive, rich and unique. And a bit wild!
How did you get into coaching and specifically life and mindset coaching?
It has always seemed to follow me. It really feels like it got into me versus me getting into it! I have been drawn to encouraging others since I was very young. As a teen, I was a dance teacher encouraging young kids to express themselves creatively. I worked in mental health, counseling and psychiatry both in college and after, and that all naturally led me to the world of healing arts. All my work focused on uplifting others and helping people use their potential. Even when I tried to ignore this calling and do other work, it still followed me wherever I went and no matter what I did.
The terms “life coach” and “mindset coach” can be confusing and obscure, but it also can be helpful to call my work “something” with a title but overall, ultimately, what I really do is help guide people to change their thoughts and awareness. Some call it coaching, some call it guidance, some call it counseling, some call it therapy, some call it healing. It is essentially all of these. And all of these have been central in my life both personally as a recipient of these modalities and as a practitioner studying these same modalities. I don’t get hung up on the titles though even if others do. I focus more on results I have witnessed in others (and in myself). I help people discover, remember, and reveal their own confidence and live from that place versus living from fear and doubt. We all have potential and I help people stop doubting themselves so they can acknowledge and utilize this potential. We have all had moments of doubt and pain that impacts us both in ways we know and do not know. With awareness and effort, we can live from our place within us that is empowered and strong versus the place within us that has been hurt. Life is so much of how we respond and react to it.
Why did you want to be a life and mindset coach?
It really feels that it is my true calling in life and one I could not escape regardless of how hard I tried, and I certainly did try. But most profoundly, I have experienced my own enormous changes through the power of a changed mindset and healing arts modalities. I used to have a different mindset than I have today and my outlook was much more fearful and closed. I used to look at life very differently and my life echoed that back to me.
The healing arts world turned on all the lights for me, instantly. Very simple but profound tools such as meditation changed my life for the better. I felt a deep reaction in my gut and heart that I was meant to share this with the world. It has been the most valuable and positive change in my life. It feels like a true honor to give this to others after seeing what difference it has made in my life.
Who inspires you the most?
I’m very inspired by people willing to do what is just in the world even when it means being the outlier. People willing to be disruptive in favor of more conscious and mindful thoughts and habits. This is change, and it doesn’t happen without it. There are many outstanding thought leaders in history and presently. They created an impact and led the change. What can be often easy to overlook is that most of these leaders were quite disruptive and that doesn’t always mean smooth waves, whether we’re talking about the history of Siddhārtha Gautama (Buddha), Jesus, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Audre Lorde, Ruth Bader Ginsburg…I could go on and on. These people did not foster awareness by being silent because it’s the polite thing to do. They were willing to be outliers and rebels—to not follow the crowd and stand for new norms—for the betterment of humanity. Change requires change and change requires discomfort. Whether it is the minority female receptionist demanding a harassment-free workplace to a white male-dominated head-in-the-sand employer or the female celebrity calling out decades of secrets and injustice with prominent media figures, I am inspired by the ones being bold in service of a better world. It takes a lot of courage.
What does success mean to you?
I’ve learned success and the notion of it changes and varies depending on the country and culture and decade. Success to me is knowing the goal of life is not to strive for perfection. It is also not to strive for a life without challenges or struggle, but to find joy and peace in life despite these things. Success to me is knowing I am using my talents to help the betterment of humanity. There are lots of ways to make lots of money and get a string of words/titles/letters next to your name. Or flashy things like cars or gadgets. Sometimes I wonder what that all really means and if it brings some sort of real inner happiness even though people keep climbing and buying and chasing more and more. It all feels very external, and I think real, authentic success is more of a feeling of achievement, contribution, and contentment from within.
What advice would you give to others, especially young people who are navigating everything that has been happening in our world today? Especially those who are struggling to find a job or have just lost their job etc.
The world is constantly changing and so we must be willing to change too. People like to say, “the world needs to change,” then do everything the same. Or just complain. I think it is more beneficial to take responsibility and do our part first. We cannot change anyone. We can change ourselves. This part can get really tricky and sticky. Accountability is often super uncomfortable. It makes us realize stuff. About ourselves. We realize we aren’t perfect. We realize we have faults and make mistakes. We realize we are sometimes not the kindest. Whaaaat??? And that can feel really crappy. It’s easier to blame others! It’s easier to point fingers at everyone else! And sometimes we would rather remain in this bubble. I get it. But I think the only way out is through so we all must do our part.
A flexible mind is a more resilient one than a rigid mind. This year has shown us the unexpected twists and turns in life can be extreme. Problems didn’t start this year, and they won’t stop next year. Solutions didn’t start this year, and they won’t stop next year. Life doesn’t go as planned. Our attachment to our plans is what usually causes us suffering. There are more ways to contribute, to share your talents, to help humanity than ever. If you’re experiencing hardship…loss of a job, looking for work, illness, etc. acknowledge and honor that and how it can be distressing, but also look for the opportunities it may hold. These are often hidden. Amazing things are often birthed from our biggest hardships when we have the open mindset for it. Struggles are certainly not always easy but they can grow great strength. To me, that is invaluable success.