Hello, and welcome to the inaugural episode of The Inner Work of Changemaking, where we will share practical guidance to help you cultivate the capacity for impact and joy.

I’m your host Katherine Golub, joining you from the unceded, ancestral lands of the Pocumtuck people, colonially known as Greenfield, Massachusetts.

This podcast is a love letter to those of us who have heard the call of these times, those of us who believe that a better world is possible and who are committed to doing our part to bring forth that world.

Because our work is hard, and we deserve support.

If you ever feel exhausted, frustrated, saddened, bewildered, alone, despairing, self-doubting, overwhelmed, or stressed out in your work to make a difference in this world, here’s what I want you to know:

You are not alone.

And burnout is not inevitable. It is possible to feel well-nourished and fully alive as we show up for change in this world.

For over a decade, I’ve coached community leaders, organizers, activists, and healers, and during this time, I’ve discovered practices that consistently help my clients heal and prevent burnout, cultivate clarity and confidence, discover that imperfect yet supportive balance, and show up more effectively. In this podcast, I will share these practices with you.

My experience coaching changemakers, doing my own work on myself, and training extensively in the fields of human development, somatics, systems change, community organizing, interpersonal communication, group facilitation, and anti-oppression have convinced me that we do not have to choose between caring for others or caring for ourselves.

We can live in the both/and.

We can feel good about our contribution and having fun doing the work and living our lives, we can show up for justice and work in life-affirming ways.

And I’ve discovered that the very same practices that can help us increase our impact can also increase our joy.

Now, you may be wondering, who is Katherine—a white, cisgender, middle class, currently able-bodied, and multi-privileged woman—to be speaking to the intersections of personal and collective transformation?

It is a really important question. And to answer it, I want to give you just a snippet of what brought me to doing this work:

I first became politicized as a high school senior in 1999 while learning about US foreign policy in Central America. During college I interned on Taos Pueblo reservation in New Mexico, started the Progressive Students’ Alliance at my college, mobilized students against the war in Iraq, tuition hikes, and sweatshop procurement, directed the field canvass for the CT Citizen Action Group, and did human rights accompaniment and solidarity research in Mexico, Central America, and Colombia. During those years, I learned a lot at a young age about my tendencies toward martyrdom and how not to show up as a white person.

After college, I worked for several years in strategic affairs for UNITE HERE!, the hotel workers’ union, lobbying for fair organizing rights for hotel works in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Arizona.

And while I fell quickly in love with activism, in those early years, it took a toll. I based my self-worth on my success, neglected my relationships, and exhausted myself. As a result, I struggled with chronic anxiety, migraines, and other health problems.

Then, a series of wake-up calls compelled me to change paths. First, on a work trip to DC, I got the call that my partner, who was undocumented at the time, had been racially profiled and stopped by a cop while driving to work. He was detained and then deported back to Mexico six months later. I moved from CT to Arizona to be closer to him, and few months after that, I discovered—at a routine doctor’s visit—that I was pregnant. Finally, in January 2008, I left my union job and moved to Oaxaca, Mexico, seven months pregnant.

At that point, I knew that if I was going to be the mother I wanted to be for my son, I needed to learn a new way of approaching my life and work. It sounds really cliche, but in order to care for him, I needed to care for myself. And to pay the bills while caring for him, I needed to find a new line of work.

So I decided to follow a calling to become a birth doula and yoga teacher. Over the course of the next several years, I moved back and forth to Mexico and studied everything from craniosacral therapy to hypnotherapy to mediation to health coaching to facilitation.

In 2012, I finally moved to Greenfield, Massachusetts, and although I loved supporting my clients through major life transitions, as the now-single mom of a four-year-old, I couldn’t work on-call as a doula. And so, to continue supporting people through similar transformations (but during school hours), I opened my full-time coaching practice in January 2013.

Over the past ten years, I’ve studied what works to help my clients change their lives, completed thousands of hours of training, and continued to devote much of my life to social justice organizing, including serving on my local city council.

And, I’m still learning, and I promise to be real with you. I’ll share with you real practices that have made a real-life impact for my clients and myself, practices that I’ve come to rely on to nourish my energy and effectiveness in my life as an organizer, city councilor, mentor, mother, partner, and human being. And I will share what I’m learning about now and how it’s shifting the ways I think and show up.

Here’s what else to expect from this podcast:

  1. Short, weekly episodes. I know how full your life is, so I plan to limit most episodes to just five to fifteen minutes and to share episodes once per week. The frequency or format might change as I learn more, but I will let you know.
  2. Immediately implementable takeaways. I’m an activist at heart, which means that I aim to help you to take actions that support your life. And so, in each episode, I will give a specific, concise practice or insight that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.
  3. A focus on the inner work. Most training out there for changemakers focuses on technical, external-oriented  aspects of the work. In contrast, I’ve found that most of the reasons we’re less effective than we could be have an emotional component and that in order to be most effective, most of us have to do some deep inner work first. That’s why I am passionate about and will focus this podcast on helping changemakers cultivate the emotional capacity for change.
  4. A trauma-informed, anti-oppressive lens. Most of the problems we face—personally and collectively—are rooted in systems of oppression and collective trauma. To understand and effectively respond to our challenges, it’s important to acknowledge this context.

With this in mind, I will do my best to name how systems of oppression and personal and collective trauma give rise to the problems we face and to offer suggestions in case trauma makes it difficult for you to engage in the practices I teach.

As you listen, please keep in mind that if you hold any of the traumas I mention, my words could trigger memories or feelings that feel unsettling or scary. If that happens, please take good care of yourself. You might look around the room you’re in for details that give you a sense of safety, squeeze your hands and feet, get up and walk around, or do anything else that feels supportive. And, always, feel free to turn off the podcast. I’ll be here when you’re ready to return.

I hope very much that you’ll continue to tune in. We’ll focus the first five episodes on expanding delight and cultivating the neurological capacity for joy.

Thank you so much for joining me.

If you loved this conversation and are excited to hear more, I have three invitations for you:

First: It would mean so much to me if you would follow or subscribe to The Inner Work of Changemaking. That way, you’ll be the first to hear my new episodes and I’ll get to share them with you. To do this, go to The Inner Work of Changemaking show page wherever you listen to podcasts and tap the plus sign or click on follow. This is the most important way you can help me help more people.

Second: Tell a friend. If you know someone who you think might benefit from this podcast, can you please share this episode with them? I would be so grateful, and I imagine they would be, too.

Three: If you’re eager to receive the latest episodes by email and other morsels of guidance to support you and your work in the world, I invite you to subscribe to my Saturday Love Letter to Changemakers.

And if you ever have a question or feedback related to any of the episodes or the inner work of changemaking, I welcome you to email me at katherine@theinnerworkofchangemaking.com.

It is an honor to support you. Until next time, take good care.

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