Join me for an unfiltered #realtalk conversation about what it means to be successful in life and business.
I'm Jessi. Your kick-ass photographer, designer and mega hype girl.
I'm here to help you grow your brand and bring your big dreams TO LIFE!
Spoiler alert: Success is determined by NO ONE but you.
Today's episode is SO EPIC as Elaine Katz and I open up about MONEY and the feelings associated with it. Together call total bullshit on society's definition of success. We break down the generational effects of how we learned to define success and shed light on the fact that NO ONE determines your success, but you.
Elaine is theowner of Carolina Pineapple. She is a Project Management Professional who is also an amazing Career + Money Coach for Women Entrepreneurs.
You guys, we shared laughs. we shed (happy) tears, but most importantly we had a totally freakin' honest conversation about our past struggles and how we completely shifted our mindset and outlook of our successful futures.
“YOU are the captain of this ship…so steer accordingly” -Elaine
>> Ya'll are going to want to go follow Elaine on insta @carolina_pineapple <<
Jessi Cabanin 00:04
Hey girl Hey, are you ready for some real talk? If you are a female entrepreneur who has ever felt like a total failure or maybe even a frequent flyer of imposter syndrome, this podcast is for you. I'm your host Jessi, a millennial business owner, boy mom and creative genius helping women bring their business dreams to life. After 10 years of building numerous creative brands from the ground up, I'm ready to get real about what actually goes on behind the scenes of building your very own empire failure opened a brand new mindset for me and I really want that for you too, because honestly, I am just so over society's definition of what it means to live a successful life. So together, we are going to create and navigate a version of success that works for you. Together, we can redefine fabulous
Jessi Cabanin 00:51
Okay guys, welcome to today's episode of empowering coffee convos. I'm Jessi the founder and chief empowerment Officer of this way to fabulous and today I have the amazing Elaine Katz with me. She is the owner of Carolina Pineapple. She is a project management professional who is a an amazing career and money coach for women entrepreneurs. Okay, you guys, Elaine is super, super special to me. Okay, I met her in a Business Mastermind class that we were both a part of. And I'm telling you guys like the minute I heard her speak and one of the calls I just like instantly was like, I want to be this girl's best friend. She is hilarious. She just has the most like, contagious energetic personality. Like she's just so my people. And I know you guys are gonna love her too. So before we start, Elaine, why don't you tell everyone just a little bit about yourself? Like just a quick synopsis of who you are, and maybe where you're at in your life right now?
Jessi Cabanin 01:44
Absolutely. Well, first off, um completely mutual about wanting to be besties. Like, instantly, I was like, I have to get to know this girl. Um, so a little bit about me who I am where I am in life. You know, like you said, I'm a career and finance coach. And that's my, if you want to call it my side hustle, my passion project, whatever you want. But during the day, I'm an analyst and project management professional. And so it gets a little crazy in life. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Because both sides kind of fulfill me equally.
Jessi Cabanin 02:26
I mean, that's, that's part of success, right? feeling fulfilled.
Jessi Cabanin 02:29
Exactly. And I love nothing more than to be able to empower women to go after their dreams and make them a reality. And if I can throw in a little sass and sarcasm in there, you know, and just kind of, like I'm from the south, I don't know if you could tell from my accent.
Jessi Cabanin 02:47
Like, you dont have a very heavy accent at all. I get people who are like, Oh my God, yes, Chicago accent I'm like, my accent what accent
Jessi Cabanin 02:56
Haha love it. But you know, like, being from the south, you know, you're taught like to, you know, growing up, like beat him, you're like, let the man take care of everything, like, you know, all of that stuff. And that is just that was never in my, my DNA.
Jessi Cabanin 03:16
You know, when you know, you know?
Jessi Cabanin 03:22
I've slowly but surely found my own path. You know? It's, it's been fun and rewarding.
Jessi Cabanin 03:28
So awesome. Awesome. Well, I mean, I'm so excited to have you here today. I love sharing the mic with like minded women who just understand this excitement and like this passion for you know, using our own stories to help other women too. Okay, so, as a little bit of backstory, something we talked a lot about in this mastermind that we were part of, was not just growing a business, but also achieving a joy filled life. Okay, now, as most of you already know, the main premise behind this segment, and my podcast in general is really breaking down the word success. Okay, what does it mean? How do we find it? How do we keep it? Like societies made this word seems so much like a simple answer with like, specific criteria? You know, like, check the boxes, but guess what, guys? I call bullshit on that. Because it is not that simple. Okay, it is just not that simple. So, Elaine, I see you nodding your head. Okay. Like, let's hear from you. What do you think success means? Like, what is like, like, do you think it's as simple as black and white? Or are you in like, team gray area here?
Elaine Katz 04:31
I'm always Team gray. Um, there. There is no black and white. Everyone has a different definition of what success is, what it looks like, how it's achieved, and no one's opinion is wrong. Like that's, that's the beauty of it. And, and I also think like, growing up, we kind of were formed by our parents and their definition of success. Absolutely. And that was great for them. But we live in a completely Front world in a completely different society that our parents did. And, you know, what was success to them was, at least for my dad, it was saying with the same company for 30 years and retire, or 40, whatever years and retiring with them, that doesn't happen now, you know,
Jessi Cabanin 05:22
No! Like we don't get pension, like, this is bullshit.
Elaine Katz 05:28
And and with with things, that company, you know, like you mentioned pension, it's money and success equals money and making lots and lots of money. That used to be the definition. And it's just for me, it's not the same. Okay. Um, you know, I remember when I graduated from college, and I started looking for a job. And I said, If I ever make X amount of money, that's going to be awesome, right? And if I ever make Y amount of money, I am set for life. Well, guess what? I made both of those amounts of money. And it didn't bring me anything, except wanting more and more money, like digging, it's like, straight up addicting. And it's funny because you think you're going to hit a certain amount of money. Now, whether that means making a certain amount of money, having a certain amount of money in your bank account, your retirement account, whatever it might be, you're going to think like, I hit that, and I'm set. But I'm here to tell you that you hit that and you're like, I want more. I want more. Like it's never enough.
Jessi Cabanin 06:41
Never enough, it becomes this like obsession, because you feel like you're chasing a destination, you know, like you're not really present anymore for, like, the journey.
Elaine Katz 06:54
Jessi Cabanin 07:17
For sure, and I love that you have this perspective, because I feel like I was definitely also the victim of feeling like success had a very specific dollar amount on it, you know, like, and right now, as business owners, you're obviously pushing to make money, right? Like in order to keep going, we have to make money, but to what end, right? And so like, I can personally tell you, I hit the seven figure business mark at a time in my life. And you know what, I won't sit here and say it totally sucks. I mean, who doesn't love having money to splurge with you know, but like, ultimately, I was not happy. I wasn't really happy in my business. And it surely poured into my home life, you know, and you know, hindsight is 2020. Right? So like, I did not really know this at the time. But looking back, I was just like, wow, like, I was so stuck in this like never ending thought of like what I was supposed to be doing. And like, how I was being measured for my success, like what those criteria like what that measurement criteria was right? And guess what? The glory of that money didn't stay and actually disappeared way quicker than it was earned. And you know, so like, how can we base our success and happiness on something with so many variables? Right? Like, how can we do that?
Elaine Katz 08:31
Absolutely. And I think that's when a shift has to happen. So it has to be a shift from money, right? And not just I have to make more and more and more, but a focus on the intangibles. So what makes you happy? So for a lot of people, they're able to spend time with their kids, if their parents if they're single, maybe they're able to travel, you're able to go out with your friends. Maybe there's a hobby that you love that brings you joy. I don't know, like kayaking, or I don't I don't know.
Jessi Cabanin 09:08
Whatever floats your boat.
Elaine Katz 09:17
Now you get it. Take a second sometimes. But like, are you working a job that it looks great from the outside? You know, everyone's like, Oh my gosh, you're so lucky to you know, work for that company. But you leave every day just exhausted. You don't want to do anything else for the rest of the day. You don't want to see anyone. Like that's not success. That's living in misery.
Jessi Cabanin 09:50
Absolutely. And like you said about you know, like leaving the office and being like just so exhausted like that does not just apply to people who are in a corporate job, you know, As a business owner, it might actually be exponentially worse for some of us, because it's literally like, you go through the day, you weren't, you know, you're working 12 to 14 hour days, because like, that's what it takes at certain seasons of your business. And you are just completely spent completely burnt out, you know, like, it's, it's all of us, like, it's not just a corporate job thing. But we, as a small business owners have the opportunity to change that mindset for ourselves, it's hard as hell, but we actually kind of, like have that, that opening to do something like that. So like, I like I love all of this, I think this is so so relevant. And I actually worked through this relevation getting out of the wedding industry, you know, the money was decent. But at the end of the day, it meant sacrificing most of my weekends, and it was just not bringing me joy anymore. You know, like, I started to dread the job while I was like prepping my gear the day before or like for a shoot. And you know, I think that's what I really started to, like, finally pay attention to those feelings instead of just kind of like shoving them off, you know, and I just like knew that something had to change. And, you know, shortly after my seven figure business collapsed, I also found myself in the midst of divorce. And you know, I mean, I like talk about admitted life freaking crisis, right? And just like a total total deep dark hole of depression, okay, like, there was a lot of things going on in my life at that time.
You know, so like Elaine, in your journey of finding success… Like, did you ever have a moment where you found yourself like at, like, what you would call like a rock bottom.
Elaine Katz 12:00
You know, I have gone through a lot of ups and downs in my life, I am a survivor of sexual assaults, I went through a deep depression. And I actually had a plan to end things for myself. It was, when I say dark, it was it was dark, I've been at the bottom literally can't get any farther down, you know, you know, and at that time, I was making a decent wage, when I went through all of that. It didn't change that I was going through that. I was still very, very unhappy. And you know, money cannot dig you out of that depression, though, don't get me wrong. Money gave me the availability, availability, to go to counseling. Sure, you know, I but I could have been making six figures, seven figures, whatever amount it was, and it wouldn't have changed where I was, or the fact that I was going through that. And, you know, especially as small business owners, you know, we're doing things because our passion is out there like that. Typically, it's something that we are going after, because that is what fires us up.
And because, again, I'm not trying to sit here and be like, money is bad. Money is awful. It's not it's not at all, but when that is your main purpose in life. For me, it left me empty, but also I feel like it it comes across when you're talking to people, you know, and and that for me, because I'd love to connect with people. That would also kind of just put me back down in that in that depression state.
Jessi Cabanin 13:58
Yeah. Wow, what a powerful story, Elaine, like, I can't even tell you how appreciative I am, that you are sharing this with us. Because like we said before, you know, like, this platform is meant for us to have a place to actually share our stories and our experiences and how they got us to where they are to where we are today. Because, you know, every thing that we go through is like a stepping stone to whatever comes next. And some of those steps break. And they fall and they are really painful. But they take us to like a whole nother place. So thank you so much for sharing that with us. So there, there you are, you know, like right in the thick of it was there like Do you remember a specific aha moment for you that like kind of started to change the trajectory of your journey?
Elaine Katz 14:42
Yeah, absolutely. I went to an old boss about getting a new position at the company I was at, but I didn't know what I wanted to do or could do. And she asked what made me happy. And I said, helping people, among other things. and I was working it. I mean, I do I work in the IT industry, right? And so as my day job and so she suggested, well, why don't you work on the Help Desk? Like, I don't want to help people in that way. You know, I take back what I said, I actually don't want to, like I, the second someone calls in, and I'm like, have you tried turning it off and on? Like, I just like, I know, that's not gonna work.
Jessi Cabanin 15:33
I'm the person on the other line. It's like, yes, I've tried that 10 times, can you actually help me?
Elaine Katz 15:41
So, you know, I know my strengths. And I know my weaknesses, right? Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, you have to know them both. Absolutely. Um, so I kind of is set me on a path of how did I want to help people. And I sat with that for a while, like, two years, right? Like, when when I say like, this was journey, it was a journey. It was nothing was overnight. Right? Right. I kept trying different things. But it didn't click for me until I got my PMP certification, which is a Project Management Professional. And when I, I, when I got that everything clicked, and I kind of saw how something that I loved, which was breaking things down into manageable pieces to achieve your goals. It could help so many people, and it was something I've been doing in one form or another for my entire life. And I was like, Wait, there's a job that does this thing that I love. What people need help with? I'm your girl.
Jessi Cabanin 16:50
Oh my god, ya know, like trying new things. I mean, like, it's, it's so simple, but like, holy shit, can it be so ridiculously powerful? Right?
Right? So then with this new thought process, like what changed for you like, what did you learn along that journey out of darkness?
Elaine Katz 17:31
Well, one thing that became apparent is, well, two things became apparent.
Jessi Cabanin 17:38
Probably three, probably four, maybe five
Elaine Katz 17:42
Jessi Cabanin 18:03
I love that. I think that that is so important. Because it like once you can get on that mindset of chasing a destination and realizing that that journey, that road can wind as many times as it needs to like that's crazy.
Elaine Katz 18:19
Like we're small business owners, right? Like we start our businesses in one direction. And I guarantee you all of us has have pivoted in one way or another, even if it's a small pivot, it's it's a complete 180
Jessi Cabanin 18:34
Girl, you don't want to see my map. It's like a freaking maze and one of those like activity workbooks that like you're, it's for your four year old, but like, you can't even do it. Like that's what my map was.
Elaine Katz 18:44
Right? Well, it's the time time old, you know, thing where it's like, we all expect it to all be in a straight line. Right? And it's not. It's ups and downs, curves, circles, oval circle, going round and round, round, same place a bunch of times, right? Like It, it's, there's nothing linear about it, you know, just don't lock yourself into one thing or one idea or one way of doing something, because that's what you've been told you have to do. Or it's the way you've always done it, or it's expected of you. You're well, but that was always the plan.
Jessi Cabanin 19:20
And like what you're saying right now to about like, that was the plan and like that's what like, just because yesterday you thought that like that's, you know, like, that doesn't mean that today's not going to change that,
Elaine Katz 19:33
Absolutely. Like we're always changing as people.
Jessi Cabanin 19:37
So and if you're not, that's probably a bigger problem than we can address another day.
Elaine Katz 19:42
preach, preach, preach. And so it's okay for your goals and your definition of things, including success to change. I have always been a goal getter. Even from a very young age. I knew what college I wanted to go to. I was gonna go to the gym Mary, I knew what I was gonna do, which was go into business. And, you know, I knew how my life would go, I would go to college, I would breeze through it, I would get my degree, I would land a $60,000 job right out of school, I would climb the corporate ladder. And I mean, my future husband at 28. And we'd be married at 30. And we'd have kids, and life would be amazing, huh? Yeah, follow her, that did not happen. I am 38. I will be 39 next month, I am single, I don't have any kids. I got rejected for William and Mary. I struggled with certain classes in college, I graduated into one of the worst job markets, I finally got my first job out of college, making $12.16 an hour. Now, that's a far cry from the 60,000 I was expecting to be making right out of college. Also, I don't know why I thought it was gonna be made easy to college.
Jessi Cabanin 21:01
Because something instilled in you that that was the path that you were meant to take that you weren't going to take because someone set that path for you, somebody in your life at some point in time influenced that law for you. You didn't just come up with that out of thin air.
Elaine Katz 21:19
Absolutely. You know, and I can laugh about it. Now, my life does not look like what I imagined at 18. But it's so much richer and more joyful than I ever could have imagined.
Jessi Cabanin 21:33
I love that you can say that you can laugh about it now because I think that's also a really important milestone that a lot of people have trouble getting to. And I I am also to a place now where I look back and maybe not like haha, laugh but like kind of be like, okay, you know, shit happens. But I feel like that again, it's something that just takes time. It takes time. It takes commitment. It takes willingness to literally like, open your mind to change. Like, I have goosebumps over here like permission to change you guys. Like stop right now and rewind and listen to what Elaine just said like all over again. Because we are all human right? Like if my kid can hate spaghetti and meatballs today, and be frickin obsessed with them tomorrow, okay, like, my goals and wants and loves can change just as quick as him right? Like, that's not fair. He doesn't get to live like that. And I don't, right. So I hope you join me in this but like, I'm just so done. I'm just so so done making choices in my business in my life, based around anyone else but me. Okay, like, I'm reeling over here, guys. Like, I feel like I could go run a goddamn marathon right now. Like, this is just so this is I'm so passionate about this.
You're gonna wake up one day, you're gonna feel like a Mack truck hit you and you're not even going to know like what happened, right? Like, am I right? Can I get a hell yeah. Like, heck yeah. Right. Yes. All right. So Elaine, we have such similar takes on like our thoughts of success, right? So like money is power, right? Wrong. Okay. So if you're if that was your take on success before, what would you say is like your take or your general definition of success for you right now in your life? Because I know we talked about it could change a week from now. It could change tomorrow. But what is it as we sit here right now, like what is your take on success?
Elaine Katz 24:09
So currently, mine is making a difference in people's lives. It's helping people it's seeing their lives change, seeing them go from stress and overwhelm to feeling like they can take on the world. And everything is not hopeless that they're not alone and what they're going through. And please please no matter what, do not let other people tell you what you what should make you happy. This is your life. You get to decide you are the captain of this ship. Steer it accordingly. I'm gonna like start crying over I feel like my eyes are watering. This is really embarrassing.
Jessi Cabanin 24:57
Oh, this is so freakin powerful like Oh, I can't Oh, okay. Um, luckily for the podcast, you won't you won't be seeing me. But oh my gosh, it's so powerful. So, okay, as we wrap this up, I just know there are so many people out there who can relate to this, who are I'm loving hearing you talk to me about this. Like, they're, they may not even be willing to admit that they can relate to this, but I know they're out there. And they can relate to this. So what advice would you have for, you know, some of these women who are maybe in that, that journey of feeling lost? Or maybe they're in the crossroads of, you know, having to make some, like really life changing decisions? Like, what advice would you have for someone that's in that position right now?
Elaine Katz 25:45
Take time. Like I said, when I when I was going through this, like, I found it for two years. And don't get me wrong. It's frustrating sometimes. And you're like, I just want to know what I want to do. Right? Like, that's normal. That is okay.
Each year, I do cultivate what matters, power sheets, and one of the things they always ask you in there is to write a list of things that fire you up and what brings you joy. And I've been doing that for over 10 years. And some things don't elicit change. But a lot of them have remained the same, you know, and for me, journaling prompts and just 15 minutes to yourself, can yield remarkable insights, I had never been more shocked and surprised at what flows out of my pen onto that paper, where I didn't even realize like, that was something I wanted something I felt something that was concerning me. And because there's no filter, it's just coming straight out. And then I read it after I was like, oh, did not know that. I guess I need to work on that. You know, so just just taking 15 minutes to yourself. And you know, I know that we're women, and a lot of us have families and you know, we have so many responsibilities, but take 15 minutes away from scrolling through social media, sit down.
Jessi Cabanin 27:27
I've seen I feel seen I feel attacked, I feel all the feelings right now.
Jessi Cabanin 27:32
Sit down in a quiet room and go through a journal prompt, set a timer for 15 minutes. And when it's over, it's over. And you will be surprised at what you learn over the time.
Jessi Cabanin 27:43
I'm not gonna lie, it sounds like a timeout to me. Um, but you know, I feel like that's actually really powerful and really important. And that, you know, like, when we don't take time for ourselves, we shouldn't be putting a timeout, right? Like, we shouldn't be sort of like not punishing, and then not taking this into the road of like being punished. But like, we shouldn't be sort of like going in these adult timeouts. Because we don't do it enough. We don't spend enough time focusing on what we need. And as a mom, it's a very, very blurry line because you are responsible for keeping this other human alive. And you know, like that takes a priority. But when it's a priority too much, and you start to wither away, that's where it becomes a problem, like a big problem.
Jessi Cabanin 28:32
just like you said, you're like, I think of that as a timeout. Well, when you start to reframe your thinking. And as you were talking you were like, but this is something that I It helps me it helps to center me and whatnot.
Jessi Cabanin 28:55
For sure. And my business mind is racing right now because I'm currently like, How can I develop an adult timeout book? That's like, glorifying, like, glorifying, making yourself take time for yourself. Like how can I like how can I reframe that phrase into like something really good. So if you guys see something come out in the next couple of months. It was me it was born in this freaking episode. Okay. So I guess I guess you'll get maybe like some credit in there.
Elaine Katz 29:25
I appreciate that. Hey, make an app. You know, like, have someone it'll it'll come up on your phone. You're like, Alright, got it. Gotta take 15 minutes. Jessi says, oh, Jessi, again. They said I needed a timeout. And you know what, who is to tell them no call in Jeff. He says so.
Jessi Cabanin 29:42
Yes. That's how old I am sold with this. Oh my gosh. All right. Oh, Elaine, thank you so much for joining me today and helping me open up the conversation. This has been absolutely amazing. So Elaine, I know that people are vibing with you because if they've I have with me that there is no chance in hell they don't live with you. Right? So they are out there so they're out there they're sitting there and they're like I need more of this girl in my life where can they find you and how is the best way to like get in touch with you if they want to chat with you or even work with you?
Elaine Katz 30:16
Absolutely. So on all the socials I'm Carolina Pineapple. On Instagram, it's @carolina_pineapple, because apparently there are two Carolina pineapples, one without an underscore. So remember that I'm most active on Instagram. But I also you can also get me on my website, which is www.acarolinapineapplelife.com. But like I said, I am most active on Instagram. So come say hi. I love chatting with people. And you know, Jessi, I love talking to you. This has been so much fun. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Jessi Cabanin 30:54
Oh my god. Absolutely. And thank you so much for joining us today. Wherever you are listening. Make sure that you guys keep your minds open. redefine success on a daily freaking basis. Okay, there is no destination. be out there for the journey be out there for the winding road. And when you develop your own version of success, successful fine. You all right. Thank you guys so much. We will chat with you soon.
Jessi Cabanin 31:21 All right, babe. I hope you really enjoyed today's conversation. I am super curious to know what your biggest takeaway was from today. So go ahead and share this episode on social media. Be sure to tag me at @thiswaytofabulous and let me know what you connected with. What did you learn from this episode and what action item are you going to take today?
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