Episode 4. - Finding Balance with Katie Miles of Katie Talks Therapy and Habitbetter





Hello, kindred spirit!

I'm Tricia, your friendly, sensitive and creative small business coach, I hope that you are having a beautiful, beautiful day.


I am so excited because this is the very first interview episode of this podcast, It's Not Business, It's Personal.


I will tell you all that when I sat down to create the outline of this season of the show, I was just really trying to think through what would be I mean, just the best guidance and support that I could bring you who were the best people to talk to who, you know, what could I make sure to say for you that would really, you know, help you and change your life.


And I started to create a list of the people that I would love to interview and the absolute very first person that I put on the list was Katie Miles. I am just so so thrilled to be joined by Katie today.


Katie is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, you may know her as Katie Talks Therapy on both TikTok and Instagram where she has just built this beautiful following. And just creates this content that people really, really resonate with all about relationship therapy and therapy in general mental health. She's also the co founder of the app habit better, which is a brand new way for therapists and coaches to take care of their clients and to ensure client success. They are going to revolutionize the coaching and therapy world. And so we're so excited to be following along with that. So Katie's just taking care of clients, she's taking care of her fellow therapists, she trained at one of the top 10 academic medical centers in the US. Very impressive. And she has her own private practice now in San Diego. And also she's getting married this year.


So lots of just beautiful things happening with you, Katie, welcome. Thank you so much for joining me.



Katie Miles

Thank you so much. I'm telling you, when I heard that said back to me, I felt way cooler than I usually do on a daily basis. So thank you for reminding me of who I am. And what I've come to that is it's very cool.



Tricia Chinnici

Yeah, you are you are a multiple successful business owner. I mean, you are one of the most impressive people I know. Thank you. I'm so glad.



Katie Miles

Oh my gosh, that reminds me. Well, you know, I think it's Abbi, you probably experienced this too. We, you know, most humans do where we do a lot of things right? When we reach a lot of goals. But on a day to day basis, we just feel like ourselves. Like I don't feel like a you know, a business owner or like a, you know, double business owner. I just feel like, Katie just tried to make it through the day.



Tricia Chinnici

That is fair. And that's actually just a really wonderful observation of normal everyone.



Katie Miles

Yes, yes, it is.



Tricia Chinnici

Oh, well. And I also just wanted to say too, that we are so lucky, I've been so lucky to know you for a really long time. You and I grew up together. Actually, we're both from El Paso, Texas. Both ended up in California and very, I guess I would say complementary fields. And so it's just been it's been so nice to like, just reconnect with you in this way. Like as adults, you know,



Katie Miles

I know. It's amazing. And I mean, like, we totally grew up together. But we were like, at that, like our families, we you know, we're best friends. We ski trips together all that fun stuff. But you and I and we've talked about this before, we got to connect in a new way that we never had before in our adulthood. Because when you're younger, right, I think there's like that couple year age difference. So you were really hanging out mostly with you know, my brother and Hillary, my sister. I say Hillary as if everyone knows who Hillary, Hillary, Hillary and getting to connect with you it's a real tool and like you said in these complementary fields has been so special and so unique and I think I've learned so much from you. You have really been like my unofficial official business coach. Right? You've given me so much wisdom so it's it's a beautiful relationship. I'm so honored to know you



Tricia Chinnici

right here by my unofficial official therapist so



Katie Miles

we just kind of swap



Tricia Chinnici

it's perfect it's perfect. Oh man, it will so I guess we got that was a nice little like lead up into I would just love to know like a little bit of your story like obviously we I just have been aware of what you've been like has been going on in your life just knowing you but I would love to hear you tell it about becoming a therapist and and Especially like owning businesses and starting your own businesses as a sensitive person. So what was that journey for you like what led you to being here?



Katie Miles

So honestly, if you would have told me 10 years ago, that I would be a licensed therapist, and I would have, you know, businesses and I'd be doing this thing I would have been really, really confused. That was not my life plan at all. So I a little background, I grew up in El Paso and a really amazing family. They're really great and supportive. And I think we also grew up in the age of dream big, you know, you can do whatever you want to do, which is a beautiful message, and a little reductive,



Tricia Chinnici

but a little bit of pressure,



Katie Miles

a little bit of pressure, a little reductive, right, you're not seeing a lot of the things that come along with you can do whatever you want to do, but I was always a performer. I still am. I'm a major ham. I love performing. And so I latched on to this dream of being an actress and at some points being a pop star. I'm also in their actor slash pop star, you know, Age of Britney Spears.



Tricia Chinnici

I I saw your dance moves from your living room, as I mean, you you you got



Katie Miles

a girl. You saw my early audition tapes.



Tricia Chinnici

You have the it factor?



Katie Miles

i Oh, absolutely. Right that and so that's why most of my actions growing up and also a lot of my inactions were towards that growing up. And what I mean by inactions, like, I maybe didn't take school as seriously as I maybe should have, because I was like, Oh, I don't need it, I'm going to be an actress, which is not true at all. There is education is, you know, the the skill and the practice of theater and acting in film, but not in my mind as a high schooler. So eventually, I kind of pulled together academically, I got into UT Austin, and I was a theater major, and I just loved it. I loved the being in a safe, lovely group and playing and being vulnerable, and getting creative and putting on performances, it was all really, really lovely. And then, you know, I graduated, and I entered into what I call the real world of the theatre and film business. And it was not what I always imagined it to be. And it wasn't going super well for me, um, when I got to just play and be creative, I loved it. But when it came to the career, I think there were a few different factors. One, it's a really brutal career path, like, what you have to do is it's rough. And I also I just don't think I was motivated in that way that I would have needed to be maybe sacrificing certain things that I just didn't want to sacrifice. I mean, age was a factor. I was like 22 years old, right? So at



Tricia Chinnici

2018 in Hollywood.



Katie Miles

Right there, I was already past my prime. It just wasn't going the way I wanted it to. And I had my first panic attack at about 22 years old, 23 years old while I was working a shift at a restaurant because of course I was a server. And I that I call that my it was my quarter life crisis. Luckily, I had a connection with a therapist already who I'd been seeing for four years. And so I had to really reconnect with myself and was able to do it through through, you know, therapy. And we went through a really rigorous time where I had to get really specific and honest with myself about what I really enjoyed. And really looking at like the seeds of enjoyment, right? What did I like about performing? What did I like about acting and theatre and film and all that stuff. And over the course of time, I identified that really, I love the intimate study of human behavior. I love getting curious about someone right in theater and film, it was getting curious about the character I was playing, right? Like, why are they doing this? Like, what are their needs? What are they experiencing in this moment with this person, right? And like, conceptualizing why they're behaving the way that they are. And I also love connecting with people. I'm a very social person. I love collaborating and storytelling and helping other people tell their stories. And so I came up with a few different other career paths that really hit on those marks. But my therapist also he like, he was the one who like put the last straw there. He was like, you know, I think I really love being a therapist, and I was like, Great, I'll take it. Okay, that's it. Just tell me what to do. Tell me what to do. So I ended up I applied to grad school and I fell in love with academia in a way I've never fallen in love with it before. I Just really thrived there and really enjoyed it. And I was, you know, thrilled because I, while I did do a lot of the work that my therapist did come up, he was like, You should be there. But I was like, great. So thank God, I love it. And I, you know, I really do want it hits a lot of those same points. So I like to reflect on it as saying, I'm somebody who had to let go of her dream in order to find her passion.



Tricia Chinnici

Oh, that's beautiful. Beautifully said, I love that. Well, you know that I have a very similar journey. You know, I also thought I was going to go into acting, and I totally resonate with the idea that when you actually get into the acting world, it's, you know, in college, you it's like 99% acting, and 1% Hustle, and you get out, it's 99% Hustle and one person acting like you're only getting to actually do the art and the parts that you like, you know, maybe if you're lucky 1% of the time. And so your friend, especially has a for other creatives that are listening to that your industry might end up being in the real world different than what you thought it would be. And I think that's what led so many of us to become small business owners is because we love that like autonomy and wanting to really follow what we believe in. But yeah, sometimes there are limitations within our industry that make it so yeah, like, yeah, it's just yeah, what's the word discouraging?



Katie Miles

Totally discouraging. Absolutely. And I think he just wrapped it up in a really beautiful way that I hadn't thought of myself, it's like, you only get to do what you really love one person at a time. And that's so true that a lot of us have an image or an idea of what this field or career is going to look like for us. And sometimes we get discouraged and disappointed. But the reality is, you don't know that it's gonna be that way until you do it. It's not that you somehow made the wrong decision. It's you didn't have all the data, you didn't know what it was gonna be like. Yeah,



Tricia Chinnici

yeah. Well, that's so beautiful that you were able to actually dissect that and see what it was about acting that really just spoke to you and resonated with you. And to be able to do that at such a young age. I feel like you know, sometimes we're seeing people, even our parents age that still have never been able to do that work to figure out what it is that they truly are passionate about, and like what's behind it, and staying reactive instead of active and so it's really amazing that you were able to jump into being so active. Did you when you were like studying therapy, did you? Like did it dawn on you that you were gonna be a small business owner? Was that part of it for you? Or do did that kind of seem like a separate part that you would just kind of get to? Because I'm sure in academia, did they met talk about business? Or? Uh, yeah, I would love to know that experience for you.



Katie Miles

So I think I knew that I wanted to go into private practice, because I am somebody who really likes her freedom and her flexibility. I don't love it when somebody is making my schedule for me or telling me what I do.



Tricia Chinnici

For days off. Yeah, asking



Katie Miles

for days off. Right, exactly. When I'm going to end the day when I'm going to start the day. So while I was very aware that I was going to have to work my way into that right. I had to I spent two or three years working at for a hospital system at UCSD I always had in my head. Yeah, I want to go into private practice. Now, did I know exactly what that was going to entail? As far as like the business side of it? Absolutely not. was I surprised every step of the way. Totally. And to go back to what you're kind of second part? Yeah, no, in my grad school program, and really in talking to other therapists, social workers in their grad school programs, they do not spend a lot of time if anytime talking about here's how you build your business. It's here's how you be a therapist. Right? And then everything else, we had to figure out on our own. I mean, I ended up going to a amazing workshop by ironically one of my professors from grad school, she saw this gap, I was like, I need to die. I need to create something. And it was how to build a private practice. And her name is Dr. Cassidy fritas. And she has a wonderful account called holding space for therapists on Instagram that is all about like helping therapists build private practices and what to do, but if without her and that workshop, man, I would have I just wouldn't have known.



Tricia Chinnici

Yeah, I feel like I see that so much people going into the arts or service industries, you know, like I have clients that are dentists and it's like they know everything there is to know about dental, dental practice when it comes to the actual practice and the running of the business and it's kind of crazy that that's not part of the curriculum.



Katie Miles

It is it should be it really should be, I'm gonna, I'm gonna call them up after that and let them know.



Tricia Chinnici

Well, so running your business and so you I will actually let's back up for just a second. So you identify as being a sensitive person. Yeah. So what has that experience been like for you then as a sensitive person diving into running a business?



Katie Miles

Yeah. So when I, when I think of a sensitive person, I think as somebody who is just acutely aware of their own emotions, and also the emotional, the emotions of other people, does that mean we always get it right? When we're, you know, attuning to other people in their emotions? No, absolutely not. There's pros and cons to it, right. And because of somebody who is acutely aware of her emotions, it can, it can lead me to do a few different things when it comes to business, right. Um, things can be also strong, that sometimes the instinct is to dole it. And by dole it, I mean, like, like, avoidance, you know, try to put the fire out, so to speak. And when you're starting a business, there are a lot of emotions, there's fear, there's excitement, there's, you know, anxiety, there's stress, there's confusion, you're dealing with a lot of mixed feelings as well, because within all that, you know, there's also joy, right? Oh, my gosh, I'm getting to build this thing. And this is so exciting, there's maybe a sense of accomplishment or pride. But sitting with those mixed emotions, when you're a sensitive person for that long of a period of time, because it takes time, right, there's many, many mountains to climb, can be pretty exhausting. And so it can impact our mental health, right on an individual level. And I, you know, I also see in this is my brain as a relationship therapist, it impacts the relationships and also how we connect to their emotional states. So like I said, sensitive people are acutely aware of their own emotions and the emotions of other people. But if I'm in a mixed emotion state, and I'm kind of, you know, emotionally offline, or dysregulated, because of these mixed emotions, and this roller coaster experience that I'm having, while I'm building a small business, you know, I'm more likely to interpret other people's emotional states as like, maybe not so great, right? If I maybe, you know, my partner gets home from, you know, his job, and he's a little maybe exasperated about his day, I, as a sensitive person might take that on, I might personalize it, it might kind of, you know, I'll have a harder time regulating myself. So it's complicated, but it's also really beautiful. Because when you are in touch with your emotional state, right, your emotions give you really wonderful data. And if you know how to listen to that data, right, and filter, the things that are not helpful and tune into the things that are helpful, it can be a godsend, it can be really phenomenal for pointing you in the right direction as to how you want to build your business, what kind of framework you need to set up for yourself.



Tricia Chinnici

Yeah, that self awareness is just everything. I feel like when it comes to owning a business. This is something I'm always saying it's like, the better you know yourself, the better you can set up your business to support you. And it's so easy, you know, we're even talking about this in our lives before but also going into business to be so reactive, and to immediately be jumping off of the needs of everyone else to be jumping into what we think everyone else would want to see from us. Instead of actually really tuning in with who we really are, how we really work. What we really need out of this business, you know, where like, where our strengths are and where our weaknesses are and actually being truthful about that, which can be really brutal.



Katie Miles

Oh, it's so brutal. I got I learned really quickly, my strengths and weaknesses were and I you know, looking back, it's almost just seems like a dream When I was first building my private practice of just how, how many times I felt so proud of myself for doing something and then how many times I just broke down crying because it all felt so hard. And I think it's you are forced to look at yourself in a very, very clear way, you know, and look at those weaknesses like, oh, man, I'm not very organized. Like this is this might get in my way a little bit, right? You have to get used, especially when you don't have those other structures like when you're working for another business, right? They have all these things in place that are kind of invisible to you until you try to build it yourself.



Tricia Chinnici

Yeah. So how do you how do you gain that self awareness? What are some ways that you can start To do that,



Katie Miles

cry just getting. Remember a lot of crimes, it's great suggestion, I'm very pro the nicer way of looking at that is making space for yourself to feel what you're feeling and taking time to evaluate why you are feeling the way you are feeling. That for me, was really important. And at the beginning, I wasn't giving myself that much space, I was just trying to plow through, I was trying to do what I thought business people did. And that was actually getting in my way, cuz I was and I was kind of building something that wasn't for me, I was building, like, a different template for business people. And so giving myself space to, you know, feel that I was feeling burnt out, right. And then I asked myself, Why am I feeling burnt out right now? Like, aren't I doing what I learned building what I wanted to build? And then ask myself like, okay, like burnt out usually means that you're like, you're running past your resources here. And so what how can I conserve my resources? Do I need to, like build this my structure my schedule in a different way? Is it the number of clients that I'm taking on or not taking on, and it really did usually boil down to that there's something some kind of expectation I have in my head that doesn't match up with my values and how I actually want to be, but I didn't, I wouldn't get there unless I give myself space to feel that and that can, you know, be uncomfortable, but I highly recommend journaling for that process. It's really important. And then you can go back and look at your journal prompts, and be like, oh, like, reminder, I already did this. And it didn't go well. Why? Why don't I try the new plan?



Tricia Chinnici

Oh, I love that. I'd like that something I've really learned from you over time to is approaching these things as they come up with curiosity, instead of with shame, because I like and yeah, would you speak to that a little bit more about what can happen when we start to just take on the guilt and the shame of feeling like our business isn't working for us, rather than approaching it with curiosity?



Katie Miles

Oh, my gosh, yes, I have this vivid memory of sitting on the floor of my bedroom, like leaned up against the bed just bawling, crying, because I had made a mistake in my business. And it really it went down to like, kind of like it was it was a mistake that anybody could have made, really anyway. And then as I asked around, or as I started sharing my story, I found out many other people had made that exact same mistake in my field. So I was like, Ooh, but in the moment, I did not feel that way. In the moment, I, you know, one, my emotional reservoir was really low. So I had that pre existing vulnerability there. But I interpret that mistake as I suck, I'm bad. I don't know what I'm doing. You shouldn't be doing this. And I really had a deep moment of shame. And it felt awful. As shame does. And it also wasn't true. It wasn't true that I was bad at what I was doing. It wasn't true that I you know, I shouldn't start a private practice. It wasn't true, that was never gonna work out. For me. That mistake didn't define me. But it is, you know, there are a lot of vulnerability factors when you're starting a new business that you can, it's a slippery slope, to shame, right? You're tired, you're burnt out. You're you're constantly having to be vulnerable and brave. And, and it feels like the whole world is watching you even though they're not. Everyone's too wrapped up in their own stuff. But it feels you're so exposed. Right? And so that was like a really potent moment for me, where I just felt shame. And thank God, I have such a supportive fiance, who just you know, was there to comfort me. But the alternative to that is, like you said, it's getting curious, and using a lot of self compassion. And I had to use self compassion. I mean, I still do. But especially during this time, the self compassion was my number one tool. And the components I love about self compassion and why it works. So well, when you're building a business for yourself is there's the first part is mindfulness. Right. So like I said earlier, making space for what you're feeling. So I'm feeling like an idiot, or I'm feeling really stressed, I'm feeling. I'm feeling like I'm the only one in the world who has ever made this mistake, right? And that's making me feel shame, and then moving on to common humanity, which is the idea that you're 1,000% not the only one who has made this mistake. You're not alone in probably what you did. And you're definitely not alone in what you're feeling and experiencing everybody in the world has felt shamed before everyone in the world have felt stressed or anxious before or like they're an idiot. And then the third part is actually being kind to you. herself of saying, You know what, it's okay, that you made this mistake or saying, Hey, you're learning. You're not supposed to know everything right now, nobody knows anything, everything right now. And it's okay that you made this mistake and what can I do? You know, asking yourself, What can I do to make you feel better in this moment? Right? And when we speak to ourselves with self compassion, it's actually not letting us off the hook, you're not gonna be like, well, whatever, screw that mistake, I'm not gonna fix it, you're actually more likely to be able to go back and think through it clearly and be like, Okay, what can I do next time, because you've made it safe to do so. Shame is going to make you think like, it's not safe to go back out there again, where self compassion says, you're okay, go back out there again.



Tricia Chinnici

You can do it. Yes. Oh, yeah. It's even just those little shifts of like, phrasing within how we, like talk to ourselves makes such a huge difference.



Katie Miles

Yeah, it does. Oh, okay.



Tricia Chinnici

I really love the way that you talk about self compassion, because I feel like that is, yeah, one of the biggest skills you have to develop as a business owner, I feel like like, I'm always saying this to about courage, like, my very first episode of the podcast, was all about courage, and bravery. Because I truly believe that it's a muscle that we have to build up. It's not something that we're just born with, I think we just have these expectations on ourselves that we're just gonna, like, run into the fire. And when you are a business owner, it's sometimes it feels like you're running into fire, like every day. Like, yeah, even in like in small ways. It might be a little tiny fire at the beginning, but it's like you are you're constantly having to put yourself out there in ways that make you uncomfortable. You're having to talk to people that you haven't talked to before, you're out of your comfort zone a lot. And so I think I'm like, that's a lot of what I'm telling my clients, especially that are new in business is like, Am I missing the nicest way possible? Lower your expectations?



Katie Miles

Yes, absolutely. I always say to my client, what what are you going to be okay with letting fall through the cracks? Because something's gonna fall through the cracks. And it goes hand in hand with lower your expectations, right? Even on a weekly basis. Sometimes I plan out like my, what am I gonna do this week? Or even hell, even on a daily basis? What am I gonna get done today? I get like, half the stuff on that list. And I'm like, what, what happened? But it's just because we I think as humans, we naturally set ourselves up with way too high of expectations. And then we feel like we failed. If we didn't meet them, but you're not failing. You just you need to let things fall through the cracks. Yeah. So



Tricia Chinnici

how do you do that personally, or, you know, like, as a therapist, like, how do you, yourself for help people learn how to discern what to say yes to and what to say no to? Like, I mean, obviously, your business but also in life, how do you? I mean, because that's intuition, right? I mean, that's where we eventually have to get to and especially as sensitive people, we tend to struggle with people pleasing, we want to jump into what everyone else wants us to do, or what we feel like we should be doing rather than what we actually want to be doing. You know, sometimes we even go as far as we feel equipped to pretend to be somebody else. In order to succeed. I feel like you're kind of saying that a little bit earlier that you end up doing these things within your business that burn you out, just because you thought that's what you had to do. And so how do you start to discern what's actually right for you and yourself? And like taking away all the noise and everyone else's expectations and tuning in? How do you do that?



Katie Miles

Yeah, it's really hard. And I think it's some there's not like a really great, here's the trick, or here's the tool, because it's one on it's on an individual basis, right, other people are gonna be able to tell maybe differently than I or you would be able to tell and also I think it's because it is a constant practice. This is not I apply some kind of tip or trick and now I'm always gonna know what to say yes or what to say no to it's consistent checking in. But you know, I think things that are helpful kind of found a foundational level for being able to you know, say yes to the things that matter and say no to the things that don't matter is one values clarification



Tricia Chinnici

has been so helpful doing that with you I didn't interrupt you but that I just another extra push for values clarification. Yeah, please explain that.



Katie Miles

There's your your extra motivation guys trip to come in with



Tricia Chinnici

the with very helpful, highly, highly recommend. Highly recommended



Katie Miles

by Tricia, but it is it's so pivotal, and not just in your business. I mean, values are for your relationships, your hobbies and your venture, your your community, your spirituality. It's essentially it's how you want to be in the world and what matters to you. So I learned pretty quickly on what my values were in business because Use the SD was wonderful for training me and I met the most amazing people and my supervisor was phenomenal. And it is, it's a business that, you know, is structured in a way that it tells me what to do and when to do it. And so I learned really quickly getting burned out there all the time is that I really value flexibility in my business or in my career, meaning I like to be able to create my own schedule, I like to be I don't like to have my days completely packed, I'd rather have breaks in between, I need to be able to go get outside and go for a walk or do something or go to a Pilates class or something like that, because it rejuvenates me and I work better that way. So identifying your values, how you want to be how you want this to go, can be a really great way to decide on kind of a day to day basis what to say yes? And what to say no to because you can just ask yourself, Does this align with my values? Right? And that's not to say that every single thing is gonna feel great to you or that you're to be super jazzed to do it. Sometimes you have to say yes to things that like aren't super fun, right? If I was only saying yes to things that I thought were fun, as much as I'm motivated by fun, then, you know, I might be missing out on building towards my goals, right? Or you may never, you know, pay taxes. Sure, right. Because taxes aren't fun. So I I'm just gonna say no to taxes. It doesn't align with my values. So I hope the IRS is not listening right now. And if you are, I'm kidding, I'm going to do my taxes. But yeah, I mean, it's at least a compass, a little bit of a guidance where you can ask yourself, like, does this align with my values? And my speaking from how I want to be in the world? Or am I speaking from what I think I'm supposed to do?












I hope this gives you something to think about for the next few days until the next episode! Again this is a 3 part story of how I found myself, so this first episode was all about how lost myself in the first place, #2 is when I hit rock bottom, and #3 is how I got out of it and the work I did to find the true me.

So I hope this gives you a lot to think about for the next few days until our next episode!

And if you missed episode 2, make sure and go back and check it out. I talk about The Secret to Business, which is something that I say in almost every call with every client, and something I have to remind myself constantly too.



I’d love to connect with you even more, so please find me on Instagram.

And if you loved this episode, it would mean so much to me if you wrote a review and shared about it! New podcasts get ranked higher with more listens and reviews, so if you are able to spare 3 minutes it would absolutely mean the world to me.

Have a beautiful week, my kindred spirit.



Stay sensitive.

Stay creative.

Stay you.
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