We knew of Kïrsten’s inspirational work, so when we found out she was attending World Domination Summit this year, we were thrilled to meet her in person! We wanted to share her story of leaving what she knew to pursue a passion. Following her intuition, she has an amazing organization helping people share their journeys of how they created their own path of being in the world. Read on to find out just how she found her calling...
Kïrsten worked in public education her whole career, or at least education in some capacity for over ten years. Then, five years ago she came to realize how miserable she was in her work. “I was on this kind of hamster wheel, or as I say climbing a ladder I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be climbing.” She said, “I began to feel that I was more part of the problem within the public education realm, than the solution. I didn’t really feel that my heart was in it in the same way.”
So, she quit her job, did a little bit of traveling, did informational interviews, and realized the opportunity she had to explore a whole new career path. It wasn’t an easy decision though, how would she do something new when education is the only thing she had ever known? She started contacting people who had changed careers and asked them how they did it. Eventually, three years ago, she worked up the courage to start her new journey. She founded Chapter Be.
Chapter Be helps inspire people to embrace that next chapter in their lives, whatever it might be- the name being derived from what psychologists call a “chapter B.” Kïrsten encourages people to not define their success by what someone else or society as a whole believes, but instead choose to take action and change something that isn’t making them happy and explore other options.
“It really started out with asking: how do people change careers and find their own authentic path of being in the world? And it has grown more into how can we change our mindset from ‘what do you do?’ to ‘how do you want to be?’”
She shares people’s own experiences with this through the Chapter Be Podcast , as well as a project called, The Be Stories. She started The Be Stories about a year ago, and that is what she did at the World Domination Summit. “I take my BE board, and people put a word or phrase on it, and then I interview that person for around 5 minutes about what they chose to write on the board. It is a way of showing different ways that people are trying to ‘be.’ Focusing on that instead of ‘what is your career?’ or ‘where do you live?’ and other very popular questions we tend to hear whenever we are in social settings.”
Kïrsten has also begun to reflect on her education background and how it can be incorporated into Chapter Be. She has a desire to promote talking about change from a much younger age, about how change happens, that it is a necessary part of life, and that it is perfectly okay and normal! She believes that if people are entering into a time of change from a place of exploration and experimentation, it is going to be better than having a set “end destination” in mind; whether it is a job, a relationship, where to live or whatever else it might entail. “If we are focusing on how we want to BE, I think those other things will fall into place as they are supposed to. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have to work hard, but it just means that it is going to be coming from more of a genuine place of our own authentic being versus what you think you should do.”
Q: How has starting Chapter Be changed your own new chapter?
A: One of the things that has been interesting is realizing that just by putting this out there, it is forcing me to think about it on a deeper level. How do we not just talk the talk, but walk the walk? It has forced me to come from a place that is more introspective. You know, I have changed jobs a lot and part of it is just trying to find out where you want to be. I think your 20s is definitely a time when that happens. But I think I also came to realize that we can change the exterior aspects, but without working on the deep internal stuff, all of that is eventually going to come up again. The lens I have looked through via Chapter Be has been more career-focused, but I think that can also speak to the relationships you are in or the cities where you live.
For me it is fun! I feel like I am learning a lot by sharing these interviews with a wider audience. And I think that’s been the big takeaway. This is very cliche, but I am really seeing that it is not about the destination, it is about the journey. If you chose to create your own path, there are going to be peaks and valleys, it is going to ebb and flow. It is about being okay in that flux. Being okay with the fact that it is not always stable or clear.
So much of it is what we are inundated with on a daily basis. I was raised and surrounded by people who were very goal-oriented. There was always something that you are striving towards. In many ways, that’s great, because you are bringing out the best in you and challenging yourself, but then there is this feeling of not enough. That can leave people feeling very unsettled. Just look at the way our school system is set up! It is based on getting a certain grade, or passing a certain test, and it is the same way our workforce is set up. What do I have to do to get the bonus? What do I have to do to get the next title? It is not about how you want to be within that. It makes sense why we are like that, because it is what we are told we need to be in order to be successful.
Q: What is next for Chapter Be?
A: I really feel like I am in a transitional stage with Chapter Be, and I am trying to answer the question of “what comes next?” Part of my intent with attending conferences lately is forcing myself to get out there and talk about these ideas more. Get this idea out to people and see what they are throwing back at me.
That’s a realization I have had: existing on our current online platform is just a channel. It is not the heart of Chapter Be. One of the biggest questions I am asking myself is how I can get out and be with people more? Because that is what I love! It doesn’t happen enough except for the 1-on-1 interviews that I conduct. I think going to these different events makes me realize how much people are craving connection, being a part of a tribe, and feeling connected on a deeper level.
In some ways we are more connected than we’ve ever been- we have all of these various online platforms to connect, and yet we are feeling disconnected as a people. We are really craving that face to face interaction. The online platforms keep us connected, but I think what grounds us is the face to face time we share with other people.
So now I am looking at how I can take Chapter Be offline, whether that looks like in-person workshops or retreats, I want to create some type of curriculum that people can own and share in groups within their community.
Season 3 of the Chapter Be Podcast launched at the beginning of September 2016. There will be 12 episodes this season, which include some shorter reflection pieces by Kïrsten herself. You can also contribute to The Be Stories by printing off a BE _________ pdf here and sharing your BE story on social media using the hashtag #theBEstories! How do you want to be in the world?