I got to chat with Katina, founder of On Adulting about the things that are adulting as well as how to live a more conscious life. On Adulting is a space for millennials to navigate adulthood in a conscious, happy way. Her work has been featured in outlets such as Teen Vogue, HuffPost, Mindbodygreen, Elite Daily + others – and reaches thousands of millennials across her social media platforms. Katina started her career in finance at Goldman Sachs, and since then has worked with dozens of humans and organizations in the philanthropy, social impact, branding, communications and organizational strategy spaces. She has advised everyone from nonprofit leaders, corporate executives and silicon valley startups. Katina founded an ethical brand strategy agency for female-founded companies in mid-2018, and is passionate about helping others reach their goals mindfully + effectively. Katina offers one-on-one coaching and is launching her first digital course in Spring 2019.
Here are takeaways from our conversation:
FROM FINANCE TO FREEDOM
Katina got swept up with what success looks like early on when she went to college at NYU. Despite having strong interests in writing and social impact, she studied finance and ended up working Goldman Sachs. She tried to convince herself that this was something to be excited about. When she graduated a semester early, she dedicated to use that time to backpack for four months across Australia and New Zealand by herself. She shares that trip was a major milestone in her life. Although the adult life was waiting for her back home with the promising, esteemed job, apartment, and all the ‘adult’ things, it hit her pretty quickly that that wasn’t the space she truly wanted to be in. She examined the stark differences between those living out of a backpack during her traveling hiatus as being genuinely happy and the world of business suits, competitiveness, and a sense of settling in a life that lacked passion and excitement. At that point, she started her On Adulting brand and is lit up about helping millennials navigate this confusing world of adulting.
ARE YOU SETTLING AND DON’T EVEN REALIZE IT?
Katina’s shares the warning signs of settling. Settling can look like moving unconsciously through life, living a life that you think you need to be living either for yourself or for others. The mentality of working really hard to get paid more at the expense of sacrificing seeing your family or having quality time to rest and replenish was the norm in Katina’s new world as an adult. Viewing everything as a negotiation instead as a choice doesn’t allow us to believe we can live an amazing version of our lives. Going after what it is you truly want doesn’t mean that everyday is filled with happiness; rather, going after what you want means your life is integrated and aligned, regardless of what others may think.
FIND THE COURAGE TO GO FOR DIFFERENT
It takes courage and a self-awareness to look at your life and think about if you are living to your fullest potential. For the first year of working, Katina practiced self-reflection and understanding why her expectations and realizations of what she wanted her life to be didn’t align with where she was. She knew something was wrong, but didn’t know how to fix it. Writing played a huge role in figuring out how to live a happy, fulfilled life without sacrificing certain things. She wrote chapters of what she called her book to friends and family every week depicting her current struggles. She ended up switching jobs and knew she wanted to help people. She then began working for philanthropic venture fund in New York. With baby steps, she was moving towards satisfying her curiosity to change the world. Soon, the On Adulting blog grew which aligned with her burning passion to change her message with people. Upon moving to San Francisco, she took her brand full-time and describes this as a journey.
WHAT IS CONSCIOUS LIVING?
Many of us are just moving through life asleep. Wake up, gym, come home, go to work, rinse, and repeat. Years pass by. Where is the progress towards those bigger life goals you dreamed about? Unconscious living is a symptom of being busy. This constant need to be looking like you’re doing all the things, running around, having a full calendar of things are all red flags. To live consciously, it requires you having time to be alone. Being alone and doing less doesn’t necessarily fit into the script of our Western culture of having lots of things and always doing more.
We can be afraid of being alone with ourselves, yet Katina describes being alone as a crucial component to get to know yourself. One key aspect of conscious living is being awake in your choices, which includes asking yourself hard questions that are easy to just let them slip, such as “do I enjoy what I’m doing everything?” “Do I have any bigger goals I’m working towards?” Looking at whatever makes your life FULL and if you’re making conscious steps towards those things.
Real cues are going to our brains that make us crave the instant satisfaction and gratification we receive through social media. When we compulsively check our phones and our likes on social, is that a part of conscious living? Thinking about your daily habits and routines and how you spend your time can be a part of living consciously and making choices that will replenish your mental energy versus drain it (aka, constantly checking your phone).
LIVE A MINIMAL AND SUSTAINABLE LIFE
It all starts with making small changes and shifting your actions to reflect more conscious choices around how and what you consume on a daily basis. In regards to consumption, plastic has a major impact on the environment and can be eliminated from your daily life. Katina uses reusable water bottles and tumblers. Just by your small actions of bringing your travel coffee mug to your favorite coffee shop can start a positive chain reaction of others starting the same practices. Unplug appliances when not in use is another easy way to consume less energy.
Clothes is a HUGE one. Although numbers from different sources varey, the fashion industry is considered to be a major polluter in the world. Katina (and myself) wonder where did the habit of having to wear a new dress at a wedding or wearing different outfits for Instagram come from? I know, I know I have fallen completely guilty of that myself. Katina recommends watching The True Cost to understand the real cost of fast fashion and what the impact of that $5 shirt is having on the entire world- environmentally, socially, and economically. Be proud of wearing the same things and don’t feel bad about it. Whoa- that’s a HUGE mental shift for many of us. But you can do it. I believe in you. Some practical solutions and examples of companies is to invest in clothes that are high-quality and are going to last you a long time like clothes from Everlane, shop for second-hand clothes via ThredUP, rent clothes via Rent the Runaway. As conscious consumers, we want to reduce our waste and do our best to align our choices with companies that have a social component.
A key component of minimalism is not being obsessed with buying new things all the time and reusing and repairing things that exist in your life. How can you use things differently? For example, you can reuse the glass jars and plastic containers you buy at the grocery store that have your pasta sauce or butter once that has run out and use the jars and containers to store smoothies or other household things. Katina understands the small yet powerful impact that has in your consumption- you don’t have to go out to buy new mason jars because they’re in right now, but use that pasta sauce jar you were about to throw out instead! That’s cooler. In fact, in many cultures this has been a longstanding practice. My Cuban grandparents reused containers and jars before it was cool, and the same with Katina’s boyfriend’s family from India. Need a funny reference? Check out Jenny Lorenzo’s funny ‘abuela saving the planet’ video.
STOP GLORIFYING BUSYNESS
Do you let your texts go unanswered for days? Are you working towards saving the world, yet don’t quite know how to unload a dishwasher? If yes, do not feel shame- you are not alone. I, Erika raise my hand 100% to this odd millennial phenomenon. Since we’re constantly make all our time as productive as possible, we can’t actually spend time with ourselves or get the small things done. When did our generation of millennials become the people who constantly have to turn everything into a ‘side hustle’ and has to make every single moment productive? There is a fine line between doing something for fun and taking a risk of being bad at it just for yourself versus doing things to fulfill a need to constantly be productive.
We have the ability now to have access to just about everything. We can learn a new language while we’re getting ready for work in the morning or learn how to start a business driving to work everyday. Do we always need to always be productive? Are we allowing ourselves time to relax or do something just for you? Block out an hour or if you can, a whole day where you don’t have plans. Our goals and to-do lists are endless and they won’t go away. Unplug and try something new with no expectations around the outcomes. Allow yourself to have sacred time that you don’t have to post about.
SPONTANEITY IS FUN, BUT WHAT GROUNDS YOU?
Regardless of how much or little you seek out adventure and spontaneity, we all are creatures of habit. Routines and rituals give us a sense of psychological safety and are essential for us as humans to have some stability in our lives to seek our higher level things like self-awareness. Katina shares how her morning and evening routines contribute to her groundedness. She reveals how her space plays a pivotal role in her success. Apart from tidying up, watering her plants is a grounding ritual for Katina to set up her day. Carving out some time in the morning for yourself, whether that’s an hour long meditation ritual or five minutes to water your plants (or both) have an impact on your day. Katina loves emotional freedom techniques from Kate Winch. Another tip: even if you know what’s on your calendar tomorrow, set up your day the night before to ensure you make the most out of your day. Of course, that may change, but if you have a clear perspective on what goals you want to achieve that day, it’s much easier to stay on track and not get caught up in the stress and craziness of the day.
Take adventures in your life. Think about what excites you and lights you up. Practice sustainable and conscious living. You got this.
On Adulting: https://www.onadulting.com/
Katina’s Facebook group, The Space: https://www.facebook.com/groups/onadultingspace/
Katina’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/onadulting/
Show Notes/blog post: www.joyenergytime.com/blog/