As a fellow introvert (and INFJ!), I have completely and totally fallen in love with this gorgeous woman who I'm about to introduce you to.
Katherine Mackenzie-Smith was an introvert who always thought there was something wrong with her instinctive nature. Always doubting, comparing, getting in her own way, scared of shining brightly but also afraid of never being seen.
Since then she's launched a successful, full-time coaching practice, been named ‘self help guru’ in Elle Magazine and a ‘champion of introverted leaders’, launched a podcast called The League of Extraordinary Introverts, and spends her days paving the way and helping introverts to shine in their own way. (Among many other incredible achievements too long to list here!)
The point is: sometimes we get caught up in the labels we place on ourselves and use them as reasons why we can't do whatever it is that truly lights us up. We play the story in our minds of "that's reserved for somebody else, not me. I'm too shy and quiet or I'm not bold, outgoing, or daring enough for that."
Without further ado, meet Katherine, who is smashing that myth outta the park, with grace:
Tell us more about you: who are you and what are you all about?
Oh gosh, this is a hard one to answer, because there are so many facets that make up who I am! I'm a self-confessed introvert (an INFJ, to be specific), a coach, a writer, a trainer for life coaches, a coffee lover, a advocate for the quiet and meek, and I was named a 'self help guru' by Elle magazine, and a 'champion of introverted leaders' by the wonderful Tanya Geisler - a title I cherish and will happily spend my life living up to! I help introverted women to understand their personalities, create businesses that play to their strengths, and craft messages that quietly impact the world, so they can shine in their own way. I believe that everyone can find success and their zone of genius, but only when they get real with who they are and how they work.
What does living life on your own terms mean to you?
It means finding your 'thing' (I'm still yet to come up with a descriptive word to better define this). The thing that keeps you up late at night, that gets you up in the morning, that makes you do things you've always been scared to do, but you can't not do it. That passion and purpose that might have been lying dormant your whole life, but once you find it, your whole life changes. When you find that and listen to it, you can shut out the noise of the world and find your own way to shine.
Share with us a personal challenge that you’ve had to overcome and what limiting beliefs you had to break down along the way.
Just one?! One of the biggest challenges I've had in my life is believing that I was insignificant. That I could work hard but that I wasn't as outgoing or as easily visible and - as a result - felt constantly overlooked in my life. When I learned that my introverted nature had strengths beyond my wildest dreams - and I found a way to play to those - I was able to step into my own light. One that maybe isn't as bright as my extraverted friends, but one that impacts people in a way that I love.
When life gets hectic and overwhelming, what do you do to feel more grounded and balanced?
Usually life gets hectic and overwhelming when I'm stuck in my head and my thoughts are going around in circles. In this moment, I have to find a way to stop that loop. This means disrupting it anyway I can, by grabbing a notebook and pen and getting all those thoughts out onto paper, by putting on some upbeat music and dancing it out, going for a walk and getting some sun (and some coffee). My recent favourite is that I've been learning to draw mandalas and I find this kind of 'active meditation' a great way to short circuit the overthinking in a way that normal meditation sometimes can't.
When it comes to creating change in your life, what does putting it into action look like for you? (And how do you handle when/ if resistance pops up?)
Change is something that I used to always think I was good at but, my introverted tendencies actually don't like change that much. I don't really like uncertainty because I like to be prepared and have time to think things through before I take action. So in order to do that, I like to create plenty of space for this and create a plan for myself that involves lots of baby steps, as opposed to trying to do too much at once. It's a 'slow and steady wins the race' mentality and it really works for me.
What are the top two nuggets of wisdom or advice you would give to someone?
It would depend on the situation but, generally, it's to always listen to your intuition. We get so caught up in what's going on externally, but when you slow down, shut out the noise, and tune in to you, that's where you'll find the answers. One of my favourite questions I tell my clients to ask themselves is, 'What do I need, right now, in this moment?'
Second is to work out the things that are most important to you - your core values (i.e the things that guide the decisions you make and actions you take in your life), people, goals, and your natural strengths and focus your energy on creating a life that is aligned with those things. You might noticed when you're particularly stressed or overwhelmed that it's because part of your life is out of alignment with who you are and what you believe in.
What is one quote that really resonates with you, or that you choose to live life by?
I love quotes so there are always plenty but my favourite at the moment is from Brene Brown
"Let go of who you think you're supposed to be and embrace who you are."
RAPID FIRE Q's:
I can’t go a day without… Coffee and quiet time
Following the trail of my curiosities means… I always have a thousand tabs open and pages and pages of scribbles in notebooks
When I feel fear… I trust that something wonderful is about to happen
I feel joyful when… I see someone step up into their own light and do something they never believed they could do.
I’m most grateful for… The incredible people who constantly come into my life
Want to know more?
I have lots of wonderful things coming very soon but - for now - if you're an introvert and would like to know more about how to understand your unique energy, how to live in the noisy world, and find success on your terms, check out my eBook, Shhh... An Introverts Guide to Creating Inner Calm, Outer Quiet, and an Exceptionally Beautiful Life.
Katherine Mackenzie-Smith is a business coach for introverts, a life coach assistant trainer, writer, and speaker. As a self-confessed quiet achiever and passion-fuelled dream chaser, she’s on a mission to empower extraordinary women to step into their quiet power, discover their energetic secret sauce, cut through the noise and find their own way to shine. Connect with Katherine at katherinemackenziesmith.com and get free instant access to the League of Extraordinary Introverts group.
I'd love for you to share your favourite takeaway in the comments and give Katherine some major love!