Cathy Heller on the Courage of Mediocrity, Not Succeeding and Allowing Happiness

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Where do we even begin? Our chat with Cathy Heller was nothing less than POWERFUL. We talked all things entrepreneurship, self-alignment, and reconnecting your head and your heart. Cathy understands the importance of utilizing your day job as an investment in seeking out your own truth, as well as the ups and downs of that journey, from finding your audience to letting yourself be messy. She is so knowledgeable and genuine, with such a capability for inspiration–not to mention a joy to talk to!

Listen to the full episode here:

Who is Cathy Heller?

Cathy has her own podcast and book, both titled Don’t Keep Your Day Job. Her work fosters happiness and growth, helping you turn your passion into your career. She understands that following your heart means so much more than a business, and starts by being in alignment with yourself and finding your click.


In this post you will learn:

  • Why being a self-starter is different from your day job
  • How to look at mistakes as steps toward success
  • Where your true passion has been hiding all along in plain sight
  • How to get started (hint: find your people!)
  • Why you need to reconnect the wire between your head + your heart

Don’t Keep Your Day Job

When you are so much more invested in what you are doing, it’s so much more than a business. And the truth is that that makes it both exciting and scary. As self-starters, so closely connected to what we’re doing, we are so much more vulnerable.

The truth is, you have to choose the hard.

Cathy Heller on Almost 30

Cathy understands the hurdle of self-entrepreneurship. Going from working a corporate desk, building someone else’s dream, to building your own? It’s a major transition, for a number of reasons. The main difference, however, is that when you pursue your passion, and turn it into a career, YOU are the brand. That’s the hard part. Feedback hits home harder than it did at your corporate job, cuz now it’s about you.

The reality of entrepreneurship, day to day, can be isolating and lonely. It’s full of trial and error, heartbreak, and flat-out rejection. Cathy explains that to cope, we convince ourselves that we don’t really want to do it anyways. If you hear yourself insisting that you’re fine, when you know you’re really not? This one’s for you.

Courage of Mediocrity

A quote she repeats to herself almost every day is “In order to make brilliant things, you have to have the courage to make mediocre things.”

You have to start somewhere. The fact is, you’re going to make mistakes. Not even just mistakes, but also some misses. That pitch didn’t land right, that product came out wrong. No matter how many times you get told “no,” you have to have the courage to try again. And that is the key.

A lot of people have talent. So what? Do you have the courage to sit through the mediocrity and keep showing up?

Cathy Heller on Almost 30

Cathy knows that entrepreneurs are not just super talented, and that’s it. In fact, they are incredibly courageous. And they need to be given credit for that.

Choose Your Path

There is no path that doesn’t come along with pain. The pain is inevitable. The question is, are you going to choose the path with pain that is helping strengthen you, actually making you feel meaning and purpose? This is the path of growth. Or, are you going to choose the safe path, full of the suffocating pain of your comfort zone? This is the path of passivity. Later on down the line, don’t regret that you stayed in your comfort zone. Explore a new path.

Not Succeeding

Sometimes, you’re going to be successful. And we love that for you! Where you go from there, however, is crucial. Sometimes you get stuck after a success, too scared of falling flat to try again.

You have to let yourself not make something perfect. It’s about letting yourself not succeed, rather than fail. You’re not failing, you’re simply not succeeding this time. “Not succeeding” is not the same as failing. It just means you’re trying.

When you pick something up again, and let yourself not make something perfect, and just do it anyways? It’s exhilarating. You’re home. Welcome back!

This idea of don’t keep your day job, this whole thing I’m doing, is about finding your work where you wake up and you go ‘This is the click. This is me, in my gut, knowing I am in alignment where my soul can dance.’

Cathy Heller on Almost 30

Passion = Purpose

We all need to be asking ourselves “When was the last time you felt like your soul was singing? And dancing? And alive?” That inherent passion is the secret to finding your purpose.

Ask yourself what you would like to do if you had no one telling you what to do with your time. What did you love to do when you were eight? Forget if it’s unrealistic or impractical, or if you haven’t done it in years. Figure out what you liked about it. Was it the collaborative, community aspect? Was it the independence, agency, and ability to take initiative?

Our greatest resource is our own resourcefulness, and the things we have inside of us; your empathy, and your passion. Did you know that the thing that lights up strongest in the brain isn’t actually even love? It’s enthusiasm. Forget the excuses. Follow your passion.

I’m not preaching or pleading with people to have a new career. I’m really, earnestly, begging people to fall in love, and fall back in alignment with themselves.

Cathy Heller on Almost 30

Where To Begin

As for how to start, that’s easier than you think. You have this idea, this dream, that you are passionate and enthusiastic about. And guess what? You’re not alone! The success of this dream lies in sharing it, and cultivating a community that feels the same. You have an audience, you just have to find them. But find your audience, and the rest is history.

Business is the ultimate relationship. You’re creating and fostering something for other people, for them to care about and invest value in. Other people value what you do.

First start with the person your business is for. Everyone wants to feel seen. What do they want? What can you give them? Instead of flying solo, reach out to like-minded individuals to discuss what wants and needs you can fulfill for them, through your business.


Making Space

Cathy rejects the idea that everyone has already been there, done that. Don’t discount your idea by pointing out similar ones. Yours is yours, and that is what makes it unique. Promoting positive, beneficial ideas welcomes repetition! Anything worth saying is worth saying twice, and anyone listening could use hearing it again. There is space for you, and your ideas. There is so much room.

Everyone deserves to hear that it is 100% possible, and there is 100% room for you.

Cathy Heller on Almost 30

Meanwhile, let your day job be your investor. While you dream, plan, and goal-set, lean on your day job to get you over the hump.

Corporate vs. Creative

Speaking of your day job; there’s nothing wrong with going corporate! And there’s nothing wrong with being creative. The key is, these two aspects are not mutually exclusive. Don’t disregard creativity if you’ve never given it a chance. Before you can even know where you belong, you’ve got to spend some time with yourself.

We listen so much to what other people want us to be, but we really need to connect to our truths and let ourselves be messy. We need to reconnect the wire between our hearts and our head.

Allow Happiness

Cathy understands that people being in alignment with themselves is the first step. Now, don’t get her wrong, Cathy has had her own struggles with finding and allowing happiness. She’s gone through the ups and downs, found the courage, and had success. Her journey was not linear, and no one’s truly is. But it isn’t all or nothing; it’s not Beyonce or bust.

What am I really proud of? I’m proud that what I wound up doing, in every part of my life, is creating a space where people feel welcome, and seen.

Cathy Heller on Almost 30

If you’re ready to fall back in alignment with yourself, listen to the rest of our chat with Cathy and learn more from the inspiration herself at her website.

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We're Krista + Lindsey. Co-hosts of the Almost 30 Podcast, entrepreneurs, creatives, community leaders, best friends, wellness-obsessed spiritual seekers, alien lovers...and always ch-ch-ch-changing. We're excited to have you here. If you're enjoying these posts, check out our podcast, our story, and find more education in our shop!

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