How to emerge from a negative downwards spiral.

Learn from my pain…

Today I had the necessary evil of going to the dentist. I should mention that I am not a dentist evader, in fact, I go to the dentist religiously. It just so happened that I’d skipped a few months because I was in the midst of moving and it was one of those things that fell through the cracks. Not even 2 full months after moving, I promptly scheduled a dentist appointment in my new location.

Having been me all my life and dealing with the wretched excuse for teeth that I own, I knew something was bound to come up. What I wasn’t prepared for was the myriad of problems that the dentist laid on me. Things that I never expected, such as, having to go to a root canal specialists to make sure my root canals were done properly, or having to get braces (yet again!).

I sat paralyzed as the (very nice) dentist patiently broke down everything that was wrong with me. It reminded me of that time my hygienist said I had the soft teeth of an elderly man. It was brutal. In that moment, so many traumatic memories of similar conversations resurfaced.

I felt hopeless and defeated like I was in some twisted horror movie where the same scene repeats on a loop. Would I ever improve my dental health? Could I even improve my dental health? Most importantly, why me?!

The doctor went so far as to prescribe me a special toothpaste with extra strength fluoride it in. Discouraged and deflated, I drove to the nearest pharmacy to get my overpriced toothpaste before returning home to wallow in my self pity. I had 15 minutes to kill before the pharmacist gave me what I came for — just enough time to cool off.

I sat in my car and starred at the toothpaste, it looked like my regular toothpaste just with my name on it. Suddenly I thought, it could be worse. And it was true, it could be absolutely worse. I could have a life threatening disease, or a permanent and painful illness, like IBS. Just knowing that it could be worse made it somehow better than it was.

On my way home I thought of a few things;

1. Life is truly about perspective— it’s easy to get caught up in our strongest emotions and yet every coin has 2 sides.

2. Time really does heal all — taking the time and space to understand what is in front of you and how you will move forward can help you respond to difficult situations with a deeper self awareness.

3. It’s OKAY to not be OKAY! It’s not okay to use that as an excuse to give up. I wallowed and I felt bad for myself in the moment, but at some point I knew it was time to accept what is done and move forward.

In the end the whole ordeal lasted about 3 hours, but the lesson learned feel eternal.

🧡 ✏️ Like or comment if this story resonated with you.

Day 3: Five Day Writing Retox

Prompt: What am I more afraid of, failure or success?

This is a free writing exercise so the following might make little to no sense. Also, if you are doing this 5 day retox with me, please submit your pieces to catmartecoaching@gmail.com. I’d love to read them! 10 Minutes


More people admit they are afraid of failure vs. success. It makes sense to be afraid of failure because we should all want to succeed. Being afraid of success, on the other hand, is talked about less and yet so much more relatable. It’s not the succeeding part that scares us, it is everything that comes with it. Success can bring along power, authority, responsibility; success can feel like a weight on our shoulders that isn’t necessarily present if we fail. Of course, failure can bring on shame, guilt and disappointment. So what do most of us do? We don’t even bother and avoid failing or succeeding. For most folks the safest place is right where they are, neither failing nor succeeding (it’s called a comfort zone for a reason!).

What we don’t realize is that there is something to gain from both failures and successes and that something is insight. Insights into our own strengths and weaknesses, our own inner superpowers and vices. We learn about ourselves in a way that can only be achieved through the discomfort of failing and succeeding.


10 minutes completed! Only 4 months late 😅. I started this challenge to get myself back into writing and it worked, only I didn’t complete the challenge — yet! Who said it was 5 consecutive days anyways?! Like I said, it did work as I started working on an exciting new writing project that I’ve been thinking about sharing here. It’s a bit off brand but hey, rules are meant to be broken right? Until next time, xo- Cat

Day 2: Five Day Writing Retox

Prompt: If my success was inevitable, what would I do?

This is a free writing exercise so the following might make little to no sense. Also, if you are doing this 5 day retox with me, please submit your pieces to catmartecoaching@gmail.com. I’d love to read them! 10 Minutes


Honestly, I stared at this prompt for a few minutes before I understood what it was asking me. I think it’s asking what I’d do if I knew I wouldn’t fail, yeah? Well I would be more bold and more confident in my decisions I suppose. Right now I make a decision and try really hard to stick to it because indecision is so much worse, and yet, I am constantly second guessing myself and wondering if that is the right decision. But if I knew I wouldn’t fail, I’d know any decision would be the right decision because I wouldn’t fail either way. I think this is the wrong way to look at life though. I think we should do the things we love regardless of whether we will succeed or fail. I think the question should be, if I knew I would fail, what would I do anyways? Would I still want love if I knew it would fade away? Would I still want to be successful if I knew one day it would mean nothing?

The thing is, in the grand scheme of things, everything amounts to nothing because we will all rise and fall one day. One day we will all be 6 ft under (as a matter of speaking) and maybe there will be a brief moment of sower but soon enough the world will continue as it always has. This is not to be melodramatic, it’s just to say that life is full of impermanence and therefore we shouldn’t limit ourselves to those things that are definite. And really, what’s worth reading if we know how it will end? I think there is something beautiful about giving it your all without the certainty that it will work out in the end. Back to the decision making train real quick- I like to tell myself that all decisions are the right decision regardless of the outcome, because I can never go back and change the decision so it must be the right one, no? The same must be true of our outcomes- if we cannot change them, then they must be what’s meant to be and it is up to us to find the meaning in it. And if that is true, we can choose to find the success even in our misfortunes and then there would be no need for this question whatsoever.


Okay I went over just 1/2 a minute because I had a thought and I didn’t want to lose it when the timer went off. Without re-reading this one, I already know I went down a rabbit hole but I think there was definitely something there. Anyways, until tomorrow, xo- Cat

Day 1: Five Day Writing Retox

Prompt: Are you happy with your life as a whole?

This is a free writing exercise so the following might make little to no sense. Also, if you are doing this 5 day retox with me, please submit your pieces to catmartecoaching@gmail.com. I’d love to read them! Okay time starts now: 10 Minutes.


This is a tricky question because on the one hand, I am happy with my life as a whole and on the other hand, if I were to die in this instance, I’d feel like I left too soon and didn’t get to do so many important things in my life. I really want to own property, for example, and I know alot of folks might see that as a materialistic goal, but for me, it’s about being able to call a small piece of this earth home. It’s also a pride thing- I like to pride myself in the fact that I always accomplish what I set out to do and I haven’t quite done this one yet so I don’t feel accomplished quite yet. I had a basic list of things I wanted to accomplish in life, all of which I’ve accomplished except this one. Anyways, going back to happiness, I suppose I am grateful for all the things I have and that should make me happy, but they aren’t one in the same.

Happiness is a feeling I haven’t quite figured out yet. I understand joy as small bursts of happiness but how do we sustain happiness over time? Can we be consistently happy or is it better to be happy once in a while? It’s interesting because I don’t feel unhappy, I’m just not sure I am “happy.” When I start to think of the reasons why I should or would be happy, it is really a sense of gratitude, not happiness, so is happiness just a by-product of gratitude or can you be happy and ungrateful? I suppose some people are…


Well my alarm went off and it’s safe to say I didn’t get very far. But I guess that isn’t the point really. The point is to get writing. Again, if you did this prompt, I’d love to hear from you! Till tomorrow. xo- Cat

Avoiding burnout as a new entrepreneur

Have you ever been SO excited to start a new project or opportunity that you just poured yourself into it and got lost in that world for days, weeks, maybe months? Then all of a sudden you feel really unmotivated, irritable, stressed, and anxious? Yup, that’s burnout. How can we avoid this terrible crash while still maintaining high productivity— especially as aspiring or new entrepreneurs?

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all had profitable online businesses and free time to do the things that we want to do without the burnout? Fortunately, this is totally possible if we equip ourselves with the right processes and systems to make it happen. I learned this the hard way after a full year of working nonstop to get my blog up and running and promoting my services on instagram and facebook and all the other places I thought I needed to be at once.

In my video below, I talk about 3 things you can do right now to avoid burnout as an online entrepreneur and/or hobbyist. This is a little snippet of my new hybrid training course where I do a a little bit of training and a little bit of coaching to help you take the guess work out of running your online business. 

In the video I cover limiting behaviors that stop us from reaching our full potential; one of the best ways to increase productivity while decreasing burnout; and an important step you should take to help grow your online business. For more tips like this, stay tuned for my new hybrid training course.

Vulnerability can be your superpower!

I sat down with Gary, a tutor and aspiring life coach, to talk about what it means to be vulnerable and how vulnerability can help us, rather than hinder us. I have to admit, not too long ago, I thought being vulnerable (and showing it) was a weakness that would make me seem incapable, less-than and I don’t know, just weak!

I didn’t realize vulnerability was not a weakness at ALL. First of all, there is a BIG difference between being vulnerable and being weak. Vulnerability is being about to open up and let people into your world.

Vulnerability can be the bridge that connects us all together through shared experiences and feelings, such as sadness, worry, happiness, joy, etc. When we can open up about these things, we are allowing others to see themselves in us and and inviting them to share as well.

Listen to the full scoop of this conversation on vulnerability below!

Last year I thought THIS is my year. I’m going to get super fit with killer abs and toned legs and an overall healthy glow. I started off going to the gym everyday, lifting weights, doing intense workouts, making juices, eating salads— the works. Of course, we all know how this story ends, by February I’d missed a few days at the gym, sometimes I’d feel lazy and just want to watch Netflix. I ordered a pizza once for dinner and it all went down hill. By March I was the same old Cat I was back in December 2019. It’s a never ending cycle, every year we make these new year’s resolutions to lose weight, read more, get organized, learn a new skill, save money, and the list goes on and on. In the beginning there is so much momentum and promise and then around February, March, everyone is back to their old ways. The problem is we are going about it all wrong. We rely heavily on our own will-power, knowing all too well that our will-power has failed us time and time again. Why do we think this year will be different if we keep doing the same thing each year? Instead of repeating history, we need to review what works and try that.

You need a system.

Keep in mind, the goal is not the starting point, it is the end point— where we would like to be. The starting point is where we are now. In-between now and the goal is what we need to focus on. Why is that? Because we know what we want (the goal) and where we are now (the starting point) but all the action is taken in-between the starting point and the goal. The actions need to be intentional, repetitive and continual over time— this is a habit system. The habit system is the in-between.

Habit systems work because they are repetitive and automatic, helping us cement the behaviors into our lives. According to Forbes, habits are “a hyper-efficient and economical mode of acting that doesn’t require the high price tag of conscious thought. It’s because of habits that we are able to reserve our brain power for the more pressing tasks that come up.” We don’t give enough credit to our habit systems as the force for accomplishing our goals; yet it is this set of repeated actions taken on a day to day basis that get us one step closer each day.

Start small.

It is nearly impossible to flip your life around from night to day. Instead, focus on incorporating one new thing into your habit system at a time. For example, this year I have the same goal of becoming fit, but instead of trying to do all the things at once, my first baby step is to incorporate some level of movement into my life. To accomplish this, I’ve added it into my morning routine. My morning routine was to wake up between 7-7:30, make my bed, walk my dog, get ready for work. My new routine is to wake up at 7, make my bed, walk my dog, exercise, and get ready for work. Notice I already had a set routine and I am only adding one extra step. In the past I’d try to incorporate all the new habits I wanted to form into my routines simultaneously and would inevitably fail at all of them. Now I just need to put effort into this one task until it becomes effortless and automatic.

Increase gradually.

A good rule of thumb is to be ambitious about your goals and conservative about your process. You want to set yourself up for success and lofty action plans might just do the opposite (remember me at the start of 2020 trying to do too much at once?). Instead of trying to cram all your success into one pretty package, consider making micro-goals that will ultimately lead to your ambitious goal. Using the example above, the ultimate level of fitness I’d like to reach is a daily workout for 30-45 minutes a day, eating healthy, drinking enough water and engaging in active past times like hiking and sports. As someone who currently lacks most of those things, that’s quite a leap! This time around, I’m starting by developing a workout routine. By exercising 15 minutes a day for 5 days, I am building my stamina and the routine of working out. Once I’ve mastered 15 minutes, I can increase to 20 minutes and so on. The point is to set realistic and achievable actions so that you don’t exert yourself trying to do it all at once.

Eliminate disruptors.

Take inventory of your surroundings— what (or who) around you might steer you away from forming your new habits? You want to avoid or temporarily limit your interaction with these things as much as possible. Still using the example above, sometimes I would wake up around 7:30 because I’d hit the snooze button on my phone’s alarm and sleep in a few more minutes. In these cases, I wouldn’t have time to exercise because I spent the time sleeping in. To remedy this, I put my phone on the dresser away from my bed. Now when it sounds, I have to get out of bed to turn it off. This simple adjustment eliminates the snooze button behavior and encourages me to move ahead with my day (because once you’re up, you’re up, right?).

The Bottom Line

Having goals is important and necessary for personal and professional development. That said, they are only half of the story! Building a sustainable habit system is the other half of the story. It is the piece we often overlook or ignore because it is the hardest. Don’t fall into the trap of setting goals only to give up before you even start. Work on your habit systems and your goals will virtually fall into your lap. I’d love to know if you have any tips to forming habit systems. If you’d like to share any, email them to me at here.


Cat Marte is a Success Coach who helps success driven people launch and grow their online businesses. Book your free introductory coaching call today.

Train Your Brain to Optimistic

Amidst the Covid pandemic, my sister and I advised my mom against traveling— advice which she completely ignored and brushed off. Yesterday she returned from her trip sick and today she tested negative for COVID. Thank goodness for the latter, however, the situation is still pretty miserable. Maybe she has a cold, or maybe her test was a false negative. Me from 4 years ago would have been convinced of the latter. The me of today is slightly more optimistic. The psychological research on optimism suggests we are born with a genetic pre-disposition to be either optimistic or pessimistic. In my case, my mother has always been more on the pessimistic side while my father was an eternal optimist. Unfortunately, it appears I take after my mother. The good news is, we can train our brains to think more optimistically, and honestly, it’s great because the research also shows that optimists often do better in life than their pessimistic counterparts. As an optimist in training, I’ve found a few techniques that helped me see the bright side in most, if not all situations. Check these out below.

Meditation

Mediation is so hard to get into for most people, but once you are in, you are IN! It has a serene, calming effect that can help any frown turn upside down. It also helps to detach you from the “imminent troubles” you cannot shake by detaching yourself from the thoughts that trouble you.

Reframing

The main idea e find reframing is that every situation has an upside. When I say “every situation” I mean EVERY SITUATION. Even death has an upside— Well, at least they aren’t suffering anymore; Well, he gets to meet his maker now; Well, he’s finally out of debt (okay, that’s not funny, but you see where I’m going with this). Reframing has 2 steps, in step 1 you notice your negative thoughts. This is arguably the hardest part because thoughts are constantly flowing through our minds and it’s hard trying to keep up. If we can’t catch them though, we can’t move on to step 2. Step 2 is where the reframing happens. Try prompts like “on the bright sight…” or “The good news is…” Hold on to the thought until you can come up with a reframe to flick up.

Vent & Release

Sometimes all we need is a good cry (or if you are like me, a good vent). I use this method all the time, especially when a situation feels like it could have been preventable, as in the above case with my mother. The real gem here is the vent AND release combo. If you are just venting on and on and can never let it go, it will not have the desired effect. In order for this technique to work, you have to let out all the frustration, worry, anger, anxiety, fear, into the venting and then put it behind you. For the situation with my mother, I vented to my sister and I called my mom and let her know she put this upon herself (as nicely as my temper allowed) and then I wasn’t really feeling satisfied so I told my friend about it. That’s when I was done venting and now I am moving past it. This two part technique allows you to sulk in your pessimism for a little while and then let it go, in hopes for better times ahead.

You should know….

None of these are quick fixes and you definitely won’t change overnight. It takes a good amount of time to get the hang of it but don’t give up! Like I said in the beginning, it pays to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Optimistic people tend to give up less and try for longer because they truly believe it will all work out. And if for nothing else, it will save us from living life with our glass half empty.

When you fall off the wagon, just start over. That is the answer, but where is the motivation to do that? Motivation is a fleeting emotion. It starts off very high and then gradually reduces in potency until we start to wonder why we even bothered in the first place. I’ve seen this many times in my life, especially when trying to pick up a new habit. Sometimes we think to ourselves, “I’ve missed a day or two or ten, it’s no use, I should just give up; What’s the point if I keep messing up?; I’ll never get the new habit to stick.” It’s a whirlwind of negative thoughts that can stop us before we even start. Forming the habit is simple enough, each time we fall off the wagon we start over. If you fell off the wagon on day 15 and missed day 16, 17, and 18, you can start over on day 19- now it is day 1 again. If you have to start over 100 times, you are reinforcing the behavior 100 times. The problem is not “how” to form the new habit, the problem is “why continue to try?” The real question is, “How do I stay motivated enough to start over?”

Anchor yourself to your motivation.

Initially we are motivated by the positive thoughts associated with creating the new habit. You might think to yourself, “If I exercise daily, I will be healthier, happier, more attractive; If I meditate daily I will be calmer; If I budget, I will have more money for me.” To stay motivated, you should make sure your reasons for wanting to develop the habit are strongly grounded in the ideal version of yourself and your values. In this way, your reasons will serve as an anchor to keep moving forward when things feel as if they are falling apart. We need to consistently remind ourselves of the reasons why we started. Before you give up, give yourself a review of the pros and the cons of quitting. Why did you start in the first place? What was your anchor? What will quitting accomplish? How can you turn this around so you can start over again? Do you really want to quit or is that just the easy way out? Asking these types of questions will steer you away from making an emotionally charged decision towards making an intentional decision.

You are in control.

Even with a strong foundation, we may lose sight of the reasons why we started and become overpowered by the negative thoughts. We tell ourselves, “Ahhh I broke the chain, I messed up, I’m just going to give up.” And it serves us to give up because of the beliefs we hold. For example, you might believe giving up will be easier than developing the new habit. You might believe it will take much less time, effort and resources to simply give up. Or you might believe you cannot develop the habit because of a fault in you— you aren’t smart enough, capable, disciplined, etc. Without realizing it, the negative beliefs drain all the motivation right out of you. So how do we get rid of them? First you should adhere to this stoic truth: We cannot control anything beyond ourselves. Otherwise stated as, the only thing we can control is ourselves— our thoughts, our perceptions, or actions. This means we assign meaning to our actions, they do not have meaning in and of themselves. We are the ones telling ourselves that we failed to create the habit because of BLANK. We create the narrative. And if we create the narrative, then we can re-write it.

Try these re-writes when you start to feel discouraged.

Negative Beliefs

  • I’ll never get the hang of it.
  • I just can’t keep up with it.
  • Why even bother?
  • I lack the discipline to master this.

Re-Writes

  • Never say never. I can keep trying.
  • I can start over as many times as necessary.
  • I started because of BLANK, and that’s why I’ll keep going.
  • Discipline is a learned skill, I can learn it.

Rebuild your motivation with positive reinforcement.

The psychologist Ivan Pavlov, introduced us to classical conditioning where something stimulating is paired with something neutral to produce an automatic response. For example, I associate the smell of sunscreen to going to the beach because they have been paired so many times together. Now whenever I smell sunscreen I get a small urge to be laying on the beach. The psychologist B.F Skinner, took it one step further and introduced the term positive reinforcement into the study of behavior. Positive reinforcement is a reward system where you take a desired action and then reward yourself for taking the action. You can use the same concepts of classical conditioning and positive reinforcement to develop your habit. For example, if you want to develop a reading habit, you might pair reading with your morning coffee (assuming you enjoy your morning coffee!). To make it a positive reinforcement, you can only drink your coffee once you read. Overtime, you reinforce the reading habit by rewarding yourself with coffee each time. This is something I use with my coaching clients— we pre-plan how they will celebrate after completing an action step towards their goal.

In review

Forming a new habit only requires repetition. When you brake the chain of repetition, you can always start anew. Keep yourself motivated with a constant reminder of why you started in the first place. Help yourself break out of negative thoughts by re-writing the narrative in your head telling you that you should quit. Turn it into an automatic response by pairing the habit with a reward. And finally, if you need support, look to friends, family and loved ones to help you move forward.


Cat Marte is a Career and Success Coach who helps success driven people advance their careers and launch and grow their online businesses. Book your free introductory coaching call today.

Until just recently, negative thoughts were considered a good thing. You had to be on high alert— one eye open type of living to ensure your survival. Whether the enemy was a pack of wolves, a snow storm, an opposing klan, the black plaque, it just made more sense to hope for survival at best! Nowadays most of us aren’t facing such dire threats. In fact, most people live long and relatively comfortable lives these days (avg. life expectancy is 78 according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention). Thanks to modern shelter, urbanization, modern medicine, among other factors, our negative thoughts just don’t hold the same utility they used to. Not only are they (mostly) obsolete, often times, negative thoughts are counterproductive to our wellbeing and act as a roadblock in our lives. Unfortunately for us, evolution is a slow and tedious process— meaning these thoughts aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

On the bright side, we can counterattack our negative thoughts and train ourselves to be more optimistic. One of my absolute favorites— the person who reinvigorated my love for Buddhism, mindfulness, and meditation— Dan Harris, talks about this strategic reprograming in his book, 10% Happier. In his podcast, of the same name, he dives deeper into this by interviewing master meditators, healers, scientists, professors, and others alike. This is where I stumbled upon the legendary Joseph Goldstein. Goldstein is the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society and a master meditation teacher since 1974. A nasal-y voiced, original “JewBu,” Goldstein has taught countless meditation students countless lessons— here is the one that stood out.

Is this Useful?

“Is this useful?” is the question that Goldstein asks himself whenever he is having a negative thought. It is a very simple question, nothing revolutionary, and yet it’s a complete game changer. Think about it. Two paragraphs ago I explained the uselessness of most of our negative thoughts AND, most importantly, how we will continue to have them because they have been deeply infused into our DNA. So why wouldn’t the remedy be as simple as reminding ourself that they are no longer useful? Wouldn’t you stop using the microwave if you realized it didn’t work anymore? Wouldn’t you get a new bike if you couldn’t ride your old one anymore? Of course you would. The difference is that it is blatantly obvious when the microwave is broken or our bike chain is rusted. It’s not so obvious when our thoughts are working again us and that it way we need the reminder.

We cannot reply on intuition to tell us these things because in this case our intuition is working against us. Remember, there was a long stretch of time when negative thoughts were very useful and our evolution as a species has not caught up to the fact that we do not need to rely so heavily on these negative thoughts to survive. Using a gentle reminder, such as asking ourselves “Is this useful?” can help us regain perspective. Here is an example; It is five o’clock on Tuesday and you get told by your boss that you were selected to make a presentation to a client next Thursday. You start thinking about the presentation on your way home and all the anxious, negative thoughts start to swirl, “What if I tank?” “What if the client isn’t happy?” “I’ve never done a presentation, I don’t know what to do.” “I can’t do this.” and on and on. At some point you realize you are exhausted just from thinking and ask yourself, “How useful is freaking out about this presentation to me right now?” The answer is, not at all! The presentation is next Thursday, today is Tuesday so there is nothing benefiting you right now by worrying about a presentation for next Thursday. It is arguably more reasonable to worry about the presentation on the presentation day, especially if it will make you more alert and ready to present. It may even be useful to worry next Tuesday, again if it will make you prepare and practice for the presentation. However, today, at this moment, it is completely useless to worry about next Thursday.

Again, the trick is to make a judgement call on how useful your negative thoughts are. How are they serving you? In the example above I made the point that the negative thoughts may be useful on the day of, if they help you perform better during the presentation. Another example; you signed up for a swimming club but you start to think to yourself that you aren’t that great of a swimmer. This propels you to practice before the first meeting. In this case, the thought was useful because it activated your motivation to become better. Now you are at the swim club meeting and you still think you aren’t as good a swimmer. This is causing you to make silly mistakes and further dampen your mood. Now the thought is counterproductive— it is no longer useful. If you can notice this, you might see the thought as counterproductive and let it go.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that negative thoughts are an integral part of our fight or flight response system. Their basic function is to warn us of danger and help us make survival decisions accordingly. The dilemma lies in that our response is more or less automatic making it difficult for us to tell the difference between an actually life threatening situation and a situation that brings up negative emotions for other reasons. Fear is always a great example because we can fear public speaking (not inherently life threatening) as much as we can fear grizzly bears (arguably life threatening). It is up to us to recognize what is objectively a danger and what we have labeled dangerous in our minds.

Related Article:

Calming Your Brain During Conflict by Diane Musho Hamilton

Understanding the Stress Response by Harvard Health Publishing


Cat Marte is a Career and Success Coach who helps success driven people grow their careers or launch and grow their online businesses. Book your free introductory call today to learn more.

Yesterday I stumbled on a rare sighting: an interview with rapper Joyner Lucas, the artist behind the iconic I am Not Racist song. The first question of the interview was, “Why do you not do interviews?” Lucas said he stop doing interviews when he realized people didn’t really care what he had to say and were just interviewing him for clout. I was crushed. Based on his storytelling style— touching on controversial topics like racism, devilish thoughts, snitching — I knew this interview was worth listening to. I took so much from this interview that I thought I’d share my three takeaways here for those who aren’t familiar with his work or who generally would not run into his music. He has a very familiar rags to riches story that many rappers have, nonetheless, he’s wise beyond his fame and fortune.

3 Takeaways from Joyner Lucas

Be Accountable.

Radio personality and best selling author, Charlamagne Tha God asks Lucas if he feels as if he is not getting the recognition that he deserves as a talented rapper? What Lucas said next surprised me. For Lucas, if he is “underrated” then it’s his own doing. He should be working harder, smarter, trying different things, etc. He takes full responsibility for his outcomes, whereby allowing himself the opportunity to improve and keep working towards the outcomes he desires.This is a classic example of the crossroads between taking a victim mentality vs. a victor mentally. The victim blames their circumstances, their relationships, and everything except them for their situation. While a victor (a victorious person) skips the excuses and uses their energy to find solutions to improve their situation. From his response, you can tell Lucas has a victor mindset. He understands that the only way to grow is to take responsibility for your outcomes.

BE HUMBLE.

In a subsequent series of questions, Lucas is asked how he ended his infamous “beef” with fellow rapper Logic. Lucas tells the story of how he came to realized the beef stemmed from his own jealousy and sense of entitlement towards Logic. He felt he should have been where Logic was in his career and resented the fact that he wasn’t. Once he realized his misdoings, he called up Logic and offered a sincere apology. Logic was so taken aback by Lucas’ sincerity and genuine change of heart that they have since become good friends. What Lucas displayed is a deep sense of humility and ability to evolve as a person. Humility is so essential to growth because it allows us to learn from our mistakes and move past them. Alternatively, if you are the type of person who can never admit you were wrong and always claims to be right, then in your mind, there is no need to grow and evolve because you know it all. This type of person stunts their own growth with their refusal to amend their wrongs.

BE observant.

Throughout the interview, Lucas said several things that resonated with me, however this is one I’ve been preaching for a while now. He told a story of how he visited Mark Wahlberg and Will Smith while he was in LA and was dumbfounded by the sheer size and magnificence of their homes. According to Lucas, Wahlberg told him that his work ethic and drive would get him a similar house one day. For Lucas, Wahlberg, a fellow Boston native, and Will Smith (the inspiration to his song Will), are his mentors and role models. He observes the footprints of those who come from similar beginning and sees the path in front of him. Whether you’re fortunate enough to befriend the likes of Will Smith, or you simply admire them from afar, it is critically important to have role models and mentors. These are the people who will show you the way and reinforce the belief that if they can do it, you can too.

Often times we are quick to judge a book by it’s cover, but if you listen carefully, you might find inspiration and lessons learned in the places you least expect. I’ll end with a great line from Lucas’ song Zim Zimma where he says “I know a couple of rappers that don’t know the business and all they do is rap.” It’s not enough to be great at the thing you do, you have to work on yourself as well, and study those who came before you. You have to know the business practices of success — accountability, humility, and observance are great places to start.


Cat Marte is a Career and Success Coach who helps success driven people break through their self-limiting mindsets and get to the next level in their careers and businesses. Book your free introductory call today to learn more.

It is the day after Thanksgiving here in the United States, and while it has some controversial beginnings, the holiday is centered around the practice of gratitude. For those who celebrate, it is a time to be thankful for all the collective good in their lives. For me Thanksgiving serves as a prominent reminder of what we should be doing daily. Even in the worse of times, there is something to be grateful for, and a daily gratitude practice is the perfect reminder of this. Not only does it serve as a reminder, it is also beneficial to our mind, body and soul. It can help contribute to things such as lower blood pressure, less feelings of loneliness and isolation, and more happiness— all of which will help you be more successful in life.

How so?

  1. Being thankful increases happiness and positive emotions, contributing to the glass half full mindset. It creates a greater sense of optimism, in turn opening up the mind to the possibilities. Someone who believes things will work out in the end is more likely to take risks and put themselves out there to accomplish their goals. On the flip side, someone who sees the glass half empty believes things usually don’t work out in the end and takes less risks to avoid negative outcomes, hindering their chances of accomplishing their goals.
  2. Being thankful improves physical wellbeing. It is no secret that when you feel good you perform better. Someone who is constantly stressed out or dealing with physical health issues, such as high blood pressure, migraines, etc, will underperform. If fact, according to Dr. Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude and professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, people who are grateful are better equip to deal with serious trauma and adversity.
  3. Being thankful increases generosity and compassion. Whether it is due to the tit for tat nature of human beings or the the laws of Karma, the fact is, when you are kind to others, there is a much higher chance that they will return the kindness to you. You will get much further in life by being kind and compassionate than you would being egocentric and closed off. It is a matter of logic that the more people you have in your corner, the easier it will be to achieve your goals.

Ways to practice Daily Gratitude

Keep a gratitude journal. 

Pray. 

Meditate. 

Perform a daily act of kindness.

Commit to a few “No Complain” days a week.

Resources:

Giving thanks can make you happier by Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School.

Why Gratitude Is Good by Greater Good Magazine