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Exploring Life & Business with Kristin Burke

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristin Burke.

Kristin, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I grew up with a desire to be successful and believed the way to achieve success was to go to college, get a good job and work your way up the ladder into a high-level leadership role at a major corporation. I was thrilled when my graduate school internship turned into a full-time role with a prestigious financial services firm. I began my coaching journey in 2009 when I stepped into a training and development role with the firm and started coaching financial advisors. I quickly fell in love with the process of helping people achieve their goals and grow their businesses. I earned my coaching certification through the firm, read personal growth & development books, and actively participated in as many leadership and development opportunities as I could to grow my coaching skills. I flirted with the idea of launching my own coaching practice several times but quickly dismissed the idea to stay true to my initial belief around success. I participated in a women’s leadership program where I drafted a vision statement to be a top leader within the firm and went to work on achieving that vision by raising my hand for different opportunities, taking on different roles to grow my skill set and even relocating my family to advance my career.

When I was not selected to lead a new local office, I was disappointed and felt like a failure. For the first time, I intentionally paused. I stopped pushing for that next level and took some time to reflect and lean into my intuition. Practices such as journaling and yoga lead me to seriously reconsider the idea of building my own coaching practice. I mustered up the courage to start growing my coaching clientele and when I onboarded my first ten clients in a couple of months, that was the first time I believed I could become a successful entrepreneur. After nearly 15 years with the same company, I took the biggest leap of my life and officially started my coaching business in December 2019. When we moved last year, I came across an old notebook from 2011 outlining my initial coaching business ideas. It took me a long time to honor my intuition and trust myself, but the experiences and perspectives I gained throughout my various corporate roles help me serve my clients in a meaningful way today. As a goal achievement coach, I specialize in helping my clients close the gap between the goals they set and the goals they achieve. I host the Elite Achievement podcast to demystify the goal achievement process and interview business owners and leaders to inspire my audience to grow their businesses and their careers. This year, I also launched the Honor Your Ambition mastermind in partnership with two other ambitious and accomplished women.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
My road to building a business has been bumpy and I imagine it will continue to be bumpy as I grow and evolve my practice! One of the earliest bumps in the road happened the first week I was in business full-time. I remember sitting at my kitchen counter feeling optimistic about the day, and then the canceled meetings and “no’s” started coming my way. One of my best friends even had to cancel our call because she got pulled into another meeting at work. I felt the wave of negativity start to build up inside and the self-defeating thoughts such as “Why did you leave your job?” “Who do you think you are?” and “You’re going to fail!” started to race through my mind. I put on my tennis shoes and went outside to work out, and when I got back I felt inspired to set a referral meeting to get out of my business building funk. Without realizing what I was doing, I created what I now call the “bounce back plan.” Step 1 – engage in an activity that makes you feel good and shifts your mindset. Step 2 – take one action in the opposite direction of the negative story you are telling yourself. The bounce back plan has helped my clients and myself move through many bumpy parts of the entrepreneurial road.

I experienced another bump in the road this year when I believed I needed to create a course to be successful as a coach. I compared what I was doing and building with what I saw other people doing and building. The problem with that comparison is that I don’t know the experiences or visions of the people I was comparing myself to. I decided to stop actively pursuing new coaching clients so I could focus on serving my current clients and create a course. I created the course, invested in having the materials professionally produced, poured hours into social media and other digital marketing efforts for the launch, and felt so much struggle along the way. I remember many restless nights where I would lay awake worrying about so many little details such as, do I invest in a course platform? And if so, which one? I survived the launch and felt like I was pushing again to achieve what I thought I should achieve throughout the process. I achieved 10% of my goal in that initial launch and wrestled with the idea of trying to launch the course again. I know not everything I create will be an instant success and will require trying again and again. Thankfully, I am also learning to recognize when I am pushing versus following my intuition and I decided not to do another launch of my course this year. Instead, I was able to take what I learned and apply it to the Honor Your Ambition mastermind which sold out a day before its initial launch. It’s important as an entrepreneur to fall in love with the process and not the outcome. Rituals such as my Friday Ritual (Step 1 – write down your weekly wins. Step 2 – note the lessons you’ve learned this week. Step 3 – identify your priorities for next week) help me maintain an achievement mindset despite these challenges.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
My mission is to help others maximize their potential and achieve their definitions of success. First and foremost, I am a coach. I collaborate with ambitious client-based business owners and coach them to achieve their business goals. Clients who engage in coaching can expect to gain goal clarity, grow their confidence, courageously act in the direction of their goals, and learn to consistently pursue progress. I advocate for celebrating wins along the way and learning from our mistakes and struggles. Clients often tell me I am a great listener, ask insightful questions, am full of energy and embrace accountability. I created a “reflect and plan” process to meet my clients where they are at when we first begin coaching and then each succeeding coaching session varies based on what individual clients need to achieve their goals. At this point in my career, I’ve had the opportunity to coach hundreds of small business owners, so I have a wealth of experience to pull from during coaching sessions.

In addition to coaching individuals, I partner with corporate clients each year. These engagements allow me to facilitate workshops, lead group coaching sessions, facilitate planning days and coach leaders. One of the projects I am most proud of leading is a small group coaching program for a financial services firm. When I partnered with this firm, the chief operating officer and I set out on a mission to create an environment where women advisors could thrive. The women in this group have achieved several breakout performances such as leading their office peer group in new client acquisitions and stepping into formal leadership roles. After working in financial services for nearly 15 years myself, it’s incredible to get to serve women in this industry so they can make significant impacts in their community.

Earlier this year, I partnered with Nicole Kalil and Lesle Griessel to create, launch and facilitate the Honor Your Ambition mastermind. The three of us partnered together after realizing we all shared similar experiences of being told we were too much. We discovered a need for a community that understands what it means to have ambition and teaches women how to honor theirs. We decided to create that community so more women learn to trust themselves, believe they can and achieve what matters. Facilitating the mastermind sessions has been some of the most rewarding and inspiring work I’ve done this year.

I would not be where I am today as a coach and business owner if it was not for podcasts. I knew when I started my business that I wanted to host a podcast to give back and inspire others. I launched the Elite Achievement podcast in August 2020 and podcasting has become one of the most exhilarating parts of my work. At first, I was incredibly nervous to share my thoughts and experiences in such a public way. As with most things we do as entrepreneurs, getting started was the hardest part. With nearly 40 episodes produced, Elite Achievement attracts an international audience of goal seekers. I’m grateful to have this platform to feature the stories of incredible entrepreneurs and impactful business leaders.

Are there any books, apps, podcasts or blogs that help you do your best?
I’ve heard Elite Achievement is a must-listen to podcast for anyone striving to achieve big goals or grow a business!

I’m an avid reader and consume many podcasts myself, so I will highlight some of the development material that has been the most impactful for me this year.

I read Julia Pimsleur’s book Go Big Now in August and it was the exact message I needed. Coming off of a disappointing course launch, spending too much time comparing myself to other coaches and getting out of the groove of connecting with potential new clients, I was in a bit of a funk. Reading this book inspired me to think differently and get back into action. I re-engaged with my morning routine and started to regain my confidence to grow a goal achievement empire. This book was such a powerful reminder that I am both the problem and the solution to my business growth.

I just finished reading The Million Dollar One Person Business by Elaine Pofeldt and it challenged my beliefs around building a 7-figure business. The book highlights various ways to grow a business and opened my mind to thinking differently.

While we are on the theme of thinking differently, a client recommended the book Super Attractor to me earlier this year. When I saw a copy of the book in our community take-a-book, leave-a-book library box, I felt called to bring it home with me. I appreciate Gabrielle Bernstein’s perspectives because they are different from what I learned in my corporate role around building a business. Throughout this interview, I’ve highlighted times where I’ve pushed despite resistance to follow what I thought I needed to do but ultimately learned to take a step back to honor my intuition. I hope to recognize Bernstein’s advice “you’ll know you’re taking spiritually aligned action because it will feel almost effortless” more quickly in the future.

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Image Credits:

Nicola Borland Photography

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