Working out is not just about our physical health. We also need to work out in order to strengthen our spiritual core and create a fun and fulfilling life. In this episode, Kate Eckman joins Alicia Dunams to share with us her book, The Full Spirit Workout: A Ten-Step System to Shed Your Self-Doubt, Strengthen Your Spiritual Core, and Create a Fun and Fulfilling Life. Kate discusses how we can start taking the steps towards the life we want. She also spills some of the tools she has created that will help bring your gifts to the forefront because that is where they are meant to be. Join today’s conversation and find out how you can do the full spirit workout.
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Full Spirit Workout With Kate Eckman
We’re at episode 41 and my special guest is Kate Eckman, who’s the author of The Full Spirit Workout: A Ten-Step System to Shed Your Self-Doubt, Strengthen Your Spiritual Core, and Create a Fun and Fulfilling Life. Who doesn’t want that? Kate, you have a broadcast journalist background and you’re a TV personality. She uses her expertise in communication, performance and mindfulness to practice as a success coach for business leaders and professional athletes alike.
You have a Master’s degree from Northwestern University School of Journalism, and you are also an Executive Coach from Columbia University with an ICF license. We were talking about spirituality before, and so I want to jump in first with the question that I ask everyone on the show because we are designing, writing, creating and directing our life. Kate, why did you write a book?
It was a calling that we’re all called. Not everybody answers because you think, “That sounds like a lot of work. I don’t want to do that,” but for me it was calling. Having a journalism background. I was writing so many articles for different publications and getting incredible feedback from people, whether it was, “Because of your article, I was able to leave this unhealthy relationship, start my own business or get off of antidepressants that were feeling like a dark cloud that was always around me.” I was sharing my experiences so openly and vulnerably, and I was seeing that my writing became so much bigger than me, allowing other people to be vulnerable and be real with themselves.
The book was a natural next step and progression. A life assignment that I took on for two dear friends who I lost a suicide in one year, a few years ago. I wanted to honor them and to give people the tools and keys for a better way of living. As I’ve realized not only writing the book, but in such unprecedented challenging times is that all of us struggle with mental health on some level, and I think it’s time that we get honest about this. There’s no shame in it and allow ourselves to feel it, and then do something about it rather than dwelling in the, “This is rough or challenging.”
Thank you for sharing that. You said it was your life assignment and calling. How do you know what is the next step in your life? I’m in a transition and it’s like, “What is my next purpose?” I’ve been reading and consuming a lot of books. I’d love for you to share from your perspective, how do you know your next calling and purpose?
Sadly, we all have limiting beliefs, and many of them live in our subconscious.
We all think it’s the answer is somewhere outside of us, maybe what somebody else is doing or in the books. The books are certainly inspirational if they’re written well. We hope so, but for me, I do practice what I call my sit and stare time, and it’s a minimum of five minutes a day. I do more like an hour in between meetings, break it up or maybe an hour.
One day, I did three hours of sit and stare. I was at the beach and I needed to. There was so much to process and reflect on because I’m in a transitional time too. I think we’re always in transition all of us. Ideally, we’re all growing at such a pace where we’re always in transition where we’re ready for something new to challenge us or to take us to the next level.
I’ve become more practiced at listening, and this is what I invite everybody to do is take that moment to sit, check in with yourself like you’re a small child and ask, “How are you doing? What can I do for you? What’s working and what isn’t?” That’s when you listen to that divine wisdom. Not the ego that says, “You’re not pretty, smart, cool, good and rich enough.” That gets reinforced when we log on to social media. Someone’s always got the cuter husband, dog, vacation and outfit.
At the sit and stare time, you get practiced at listening to the truth and that divine inner voice that says, “Why don’t you call Alicia and talk about collaborating or doing a Mastermind together? Why don’t you look into going back to school and getting this skillset so that you can start your own business? Maybe it’s time to move to Miami Beach, start fresh and let yourself be nurtured by that environment and the warmth.” We hear these things a lot, but again, it scares us because that means we have to step outside of our comfort zone or we may have to disappoint someone. I think that’s how you know it is becoming more practiced at listening.
I want to jump into the content of your book, The Full Spirit Workout. It’s available on Amazon, so everyone go purchase that. Everywhere books are sold and your website KateEckman.tv and TheFullSpiritWorkout.com. Let’s jump into the content of your book. What are some of the three life lessons? What is one life lesson that you want to impart with our audience at home?
A lot of times, we all get stuck. Especially these past years, we get in a space of, “These sucks or this is so hard.” A lot of people are familiar with a tool known as reframing. There are two words that will get you out of that funk and into a place of possibility, excitement and even joy, dare I say. It’s what if. You might say, “Kate, I want to start this business, but it’s so hard.”
I would say, “What if it wasn’t hard? What if it was easy? What if you could team up with your high school best friend and do it together? She’s great at marketing. What if you could move to Miami and work from the beach?” You just get in that space of what if and you get shifted out of the funk and into a space of limitless possibility.
I love that tool. The sit and stare, I definitely love. Another key thing to do, which is uncomfortable for a lot of people, and this came up during the writing of my book is for us to go back to our origin story. Sadly, we all have limiting beliefs and many of them live in our subconscious. We don’t even know that it’s an insecurity or limiting belief, but it’s ruling our life because we’re collecting evidence for why that limiting belief is true.
We hold onto the insult and make that our truth. I talk about being four years old at the swim club and overhearing my swim instructor communicate to my mother that he didn’t think I was a very good swimmer and even as a sweet little four-year-old, I developed a mentality that said, “I have to perform at a high level so that I’m safe in the world, and my mom and dad loved me and are proud of me. I didn’t know I had to impress strangers at the swim club so that they didn’t talk badly about me behind my back to my mother and embarrass me. I better step up my game.” Again, I’m four years old.
The good news about that is that I ended up breaking all, but two records at that swim club. I was a state and a national champion, but at what cost? That’s the good news, but the bad news is that I was constantly filled with anxiety, insecurity and this obsession with performance. We go about our lives and we don’t even consider why we are the way we are, and it’s all from childhood. Something was said to us in childhood. A caretaker said or did something. We held onto that.
We need to delete that thought like we would the corrupt file on the computer, and then co-create with God, spirit, universe, nature and whatever higher force or power you believe in and come up with a whole new story or mantra for yourself. You ask for a thought. I could go on and on and there is so much in the book. People talk about joy a lot, but it’s hard for a lot of people to get there, and again, we think that it comes from the next shiny object.
“When I get the money, house, car and relationship. I look better, I lose the weight and I gained the weight, then I’ll be happy.” What neuroscience says and my own life has certainly dictated is that none of those things move the needle on our wellbeing. What moves the needle are things like acts of kindness and service. Sleep, exercise and one of my favorites is a gratitude visit that I talk about in the book. It’s one of my favorite things I write about in the book and I invite everyone right now, don’t wait, because usually, we wait until someone’s funeral to do this. Think of someone who has dramatically transformed your life for the better who you’ve never properly thanked.
Write them a 300-word letter, call them up, say, “I want to come over.” Don’t tell them why. You might have to do it on Zoom like I had to do and read this letter. What happens is you cry, they cry and you have this incredible bond for life. Such a sense of appreciation and your wellbeing skyrockets. This letter, I read to my friend Vanessa, and she and I had become 110% even closer.
It boosts her wellbeing more than any Gucci bag or checks because what happens when you get the Gucci bag, then you want another Gucci bag. There’s nothing wrong with nice things. I love them as much as the next person, but our time can be better spent cultivating these inner characteristics, like kindness and compassion, and then doing some of these exercises that are proven to increase our wellbeing.
You shared a powerful exercise in terms of the writing of the letter, and I love the sit and stare. What a great way to reframe meditation but make it accessible to people.
It’s a little less scary and a different tactic.
What moves the needle are things like acts of kindness and service.
Tell me about a story in your book that you feel will resonate with the audience. Share what the clips and stories from either your life, maybe a client or a colleague that we will find profound are.
Something that it’s a story I go back to a lot because we all face rejection and we all want things that have not happened yet. The word patient stems from the Latin word for suffering. I get it. We’re all suffering while we’re waiting for the thing that we want, that we think we deserve and we do deserve. I do share a story in the book about going through rejection.
I call myself a rejection specialist. I’ve been through so much rejection from having a forward-facing career on camera. Even I share openly about, and it has to do with this book and getting this book deal, and at the 11th hour received a rejection from a huge publisher and my agent called to deliver the news. She sounded as deflated as I felt.
I remember sitting in my New York City apartment and throwing my hands in the air and looking up at God and my angels. I’m like, “Why would you have me do all this work if you’re not going to get me to the finish line and help me get this project out to the world?” I was in that moment, which we’ve all been there of pure frustration.
I’m like, “I don’t even have time to write a book right now anyway. If you want this to happen, you figure it out. I’m done.” I was that upset. I went to my favorite Italian place, my comfort place, where everyone knows your name. You get your same order. I’m having my wine, and then I was open to hearing some feedback. I had some choice words for God and the angels.
I heard this quote that said, “Being okay if it happens and okay if it doesn’t is a very powerful place to be.” It stopped me where I was, and I had this enormous sense of peace wash over me. I understood it not intellectually, but in my bones body and heart. I thought, “I don’t care when it happens anymore because I know that it will happen. This is a divine assignment.”
It was at that moment, I released it. As the universe would have it, weeks later after going through months of rejection, up and down, this and that and change this. I’m like, “No. I want to keep this project how it is.” I was on the phone with my agent and my new editor, Georgia and New World Library, and so it is that proof, the power of surrender.
It’s not easy. I get it. It’s simple, but not easy, and that it does happen in that divine timing. I’m so glad I didn’t get this book deal when I wanted to get this book deal because I didn’t complete my Master’s degree yet. I got seven other certifications and all this research that was packed into this book made it even greater.
I think if you’re there and you haven’t gotten the thing you want yet, the person or the opportunity, just know it’s on its way. Trust that it’s on its way and trust in the process. As I like to say, “Don’t let it go. Give it up.” For me, I give it up to a higher power, and when I’m in a place I’m not enlightened enough to not be stressed out about it, I say, “Please take this stress from me.” I promise you these practices work if you do, but you have to be willing to surrender and give it up.
It’s so important, the power of surrender. I’m definitely at a point in my life. You use Miami Beach as an example. I literally ended up in Miami Beach. No plan. That’s how very much how I live life. I go with the flow, where I’m meant to be. I listened to signs in the universe. It was so funny as we were talking before we got started, I joined a course. I’m going to get my real estate license because I am investing in real estate. I figured, “I’ll save myself some money and be able to make myself more educated around that.”
I’m making steps. When you have that inspired thought, followed up with committed action and it’s step-by-step. How do you eat an elephant? Step-by-step, one spoonful at a time. Surrender and flow. Those are the things that I live my life by, and joy. Joy is something if I get to feel good. I always come to this place.
There are authors, influencers and gurus who said, “F your feelings.” I’m a mother and there are some hard decisions and conversations I get to be at. I needed to sit down with my daughter the other day. I wrote a list of things that I want to get out there because I noticed I wasn’t having these courageous conversations with her because I would bring up something and she’d be like, “No, mom,” and then roll her eyes. I’m like, “I don’t want to traumatize her.”
There’s an inner play when you are connected with another human being, especially this generation. It’s like, you hear trauma and bad parenting. This is what you hear from your children. Am I being a bad parent right now? I said, “I have some things I get to tell you, and I haven’t been saying them because I’ve been afraid and I want you to listen. Don’t say anything until I’m completely finished with my list, and then let’s open it up for discussion.”
I went through my list and I said things that I was afraid to say to her. It was very powerful, and I said, “Do you have anything to share?” We had this beautiful hug at the end. I know she pondered on some things. There’s this pseudo spiritual and toxic positivity like, “Think this. You can do whatever you want,” and life happens. There are hurt, trauma, harm, injustice and all of these things.
I think the tools will support us in our regulation to deal with the things that life presents to us. The honoring that you heard that when you were four years old and say, “What came from that? How can I honor that?” It hurt. I created a whole bunch of walls and protections to support me in my life. They didn’t support me. They held me back from being in a relationship, from intimacy and all of those. How can I honor all of this and use it to move forward? I’m having some big lessons from you and your book. Anything that opened up for you as I shared that.
I love that you said that because I love toxic positivity. I don’t love it, but I love that term that I learned from Susan David, who’s an awesome psychologist. I highly recommend her book, Emotional Agility. I have found even doing press for this book, people have you on because you’ve written a book and you have these credentials and it’s like, “Isn’t she this and isn’t she that?”
You are so powerful, and you can do whatever you decide is important enough. Don’t let anybody tell you differently, and the time is now.
People are reading your thing and I’m sitting here like, “Okay.” What I’m finding is that ultimately what everyone is resonating with, where everyone I’m talking to like yourself as having these a-ha moments or their mouth is open or something, isn’t because of that. It’s, I’m sitting there and being willing to say, “I’m struggling.” Talking openly about my darkest moments, being in that Duane Reade Pharmacy across from Penn Station, contemplating taking a bottle of pills. Not because I wanted to hurt myself, but because I was in so much pain.
When I share that story, what does everyone say? “I didn’t think someone like you would ever be in the pharmacy contemplating that. Why?” I’ve had women say, “You’re young and beautiful. You get whatever you want.” My first thought is, “The man, the love of my life jumped off a bridge.” It’s like, “Huh?” I’ll tell mom and dad, you approve of their genetics, but that’s what we do to each other.
It’s like judgment. If you look a certain way, have a certain amount of money or whatever, that you don’t struggle. I say and I’m not mentioning any names, but I work with some of the most successful people in the world in business and sports. All of them struggle with confidence. All of them struggle with meaning and fulfillment.
I’ve got all shiny objects. I have the most enviable life. It doesn’t mean anything to me. I don’t feel fulfilled. What’s going on? I wish we had more of these conversations instead of everyone pretending to have it all together. That’s what the full spirit is. It’s the courage to be who you are. It’s owning that polished put-together person that we present to the world and that messy person behind the scenes, trying to keep it all together, and you can be both.
I’m so lit up talking to you. It doesn’t mean that later, I’m not going to be struggling with something. It’s part of the human condition and I wish we had more of these open conversations and we let ourselves and others off the hook. I saw the Olympics. You see it and especially to women, whether it’s Naomi Osaka or Simone Biles, and their struggles.
I find it odd that people who have no athletic talent, who have not done anything newsworthy or noteworthy with their lives can criticize arguably the greatest athletes of all time. Let’s take things with a grain of salt, but that’s another reason to shut that down and to sit quietly by ourselves and tune in and spend more time there.
Sit and stare. We’re going to jump into the speed lightning rounds. I’m going to ask you a few questions and you will tell me the first thing that comes to your mind. Number one, what is your favorite book?
The thing that came, A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson.
I’ll go with the two, Byron Katie and Susan David, who I mentioned.
Tell us about their books.
Susan David is Emotional Agility and she talks a lot about toxic positivity and making friends with our emotions, and Byron Katie is the book that I’m thinking of, it’s called I Need Your Love – Is That True?.
What will be your legacy?
I hope that anybody, whoever reads my book, my work or comes into contact with me, feels seen, heard and acknowledged. I want people to feel less alone because they know me or my work.
We know that you wrote The Full Spirit Workout, and what are you writing next?
I’m going to write a book about leadership and confidence. Leading with confidence and creating your own championship team, whether you’re in sports, business, you’re a stay-at-home mom and you got your team at home.
Finally, what are you reading next?
I feel my brain has taken a break from ingesting anything new. The next thing I will read is our textbooks because I’m looking to go back to school again, which I said I wasn’t going to do, but I have a thirst for knowledge and I want to get the juicy research to write the next book. I’m looking at getting my Master’s in Psychology and so I’m rereading psychology textbooks.
I’d love for you to share with our audience a final word of advice.
Something that comes to me every time I get asked something similar like this is to remind people that you are so powerful and you can do whatever you decide is important enough. Don’t let anybody tell you differently, and the time is now. As I like to say, “It’s not midnight yet, but it’s 11:45 and the world is in crisis.” This era of I’m not good enough is over. We need you to identify and leverage your unique gifts and strengths and share them with the world. If you can’t do it for yourself, please do it for our world. It certainly needs it, as you know.
Bring your gifts to the forefront. That’s what they’re meant for. Kate Eckman. It’s so wonderful. You can buy The Full Spirit Workout: A Ten-Step System to Shed Your Self-Doubt, Strengthen Your Spiritual Core, and Create a Fun and Fulfilling Life. You can buy it at Amazon or where books are sold, and you can find out more at TheFullSpiritWorkout.com. How can they find out more about you, in terms of online or get ahold of you?
You go to KateEckman.tv. All my information is there and I would love to connect with you online.
Fantastic, Kate. Thank you so much. It’s so wonderful to have you here.
Thank you. I could talk to you all day. You’re amazing.
Thank you. It’s such a blessing to meet you and to connect with you. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with our audience. Until next time. Be well, everyone.
- The Full Spirit Workout: A Ten-Step System to Shed Your Self-Doubt, Strengthen Your Spiritual Core, and Create a Fun and Fulfilling Life
- Emotional Agility
- A Return to Love
- I Need Your Love – Is That True?
About Kate Eckman
Kate Eckman is the author of The Full Spirit Workout: A Ten-Step System to Shed Your Self-Doubt, Strengthen Your Spiritual Core, and Create a Fun and Fulfilling Life. She is a broadcast journalist and TV personality who brings her expertise in communications, performance, and mindfulness to her practice as a success coach for business leaders and professional athletes. She earned a B.A. in communications from Penn State University, where she was an Academic All-American swimmer, and received her master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She graduated at the highest level from Columbia University’s executive and organizational coaching program and is a certified ICF coach (ACC) and a licensed NBI consultant. Passionate about mindfulness practices for both brain and body health, she is also a meditation teacher and course creator for Insight Timer, the world’s number one–ranked free meditation app. Visit her online at kateeckman.tv. and www.thefullspiritworkout.com.
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