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Meet Kristin Burke

Recently, I asked my dear friend of more than fifteen years to turn the tables and interview me on my podcast, Elite Achievement. Meredith Kasheta is my business accountability and peer accountability partner and the owner of The MMC Agency in Orlando, FL.

The Early Days of Kristin Burke Consulting and What Inspired Me to Go into Business for Myself

Meredith begins our conversation by asking me to share a little about myself and whether I always knew I wanted to be a goal achievement coach. For those of you that don’t know, I was born and raised in St. Louis, MO, and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. I moved with my then fiancé, now husband, Joe, and I was able to keep working for my former company. I started with that company as an intern, and that’s where Meredith and I met!

My coaching career started when I moved to Los Angeles, and coaching financial reps became part of my role. I had no idea at the time that coaching could be a profession or that I would become a goal achievement coach. But I fell in love with the process of helping people maximize their potential and achieve their definitions of success. So, I became a consumer of growth and development over the next ten years.

Meredith recalls my move to Los Angeles from a friend’s perspective and asks if I was nervous at the time and if I believe embracing that move helped me take on future challenges. There was so much going on at that time, including my engagement, that I am not sure I realized I was moving to L.A. until my butt was on the plane. I definitely think going through a major life change, like a move, helps you do big things like start a business. You begin to build a skillset and the confidence that you can do scary and uncomfortable things.

As we continue the conversation, Meredith asks what inspired me to finally take that leap and start my business. And, I think back to a journal I found during a move. It was from 2011, and in it, I started brainstorming my coaching business. And it struck me that I’ve had this calling on my heart for a long time. I didn’t start my business until 2019, but I needed those years to grow my confidence and belief that I could do this and do it well. 

The one thing that really inspired me to take the leap involved my former company. I wanted to be a higher leader and in a next-level position. That was the only direction I could see myself going, and I told myself it was the one way I could make an impact and help women thrive in financial services. When I didn’t get the role I wanted, I was encouraged to pause and get really quiet. I did a lot of yoga and journaling, and I read Marie Forleo’s book, Everything is Figureoutable. And in the book, I walked through the questions to ask when faced with fear – what’s the worst that can happen, and what’s the best that can happen? And that was the biggest motivator for me to say yes, I can start this business. I realized the biggest fear I had was not being able to make money. And as I thought about it, the worst thing that might happen if I didn’t make money was we might have to move back to St. Louis, which wasn’t that bad. But on the other side, the best that could happen led me to think about impact and the clients I could work with. I realized it would be far worse not to go after all the good things and pursue my dream.

Meredith comments on how so many things lined up for me to take that big step and asks what level of fear or confidence came with that decision once I was ready to go that direction, or even in talking with leadership about leaving my organization. I was actually most afraid of having that conversation with my former boss. And yet, when I had it, he told me it was the clearest I had ever been. So, it reaffirmed that I was making the right decision.

More on the Roles Fear and Confidence Play in Starting a Business

One thing I’ve learned about fear is that we grow our confidence by taking action. If I had waited until I was perfectly confident to be a goal achievement coach, I still wouldn’t be one today. I took small action steps, like asking for permission to bring on a few clients while I was still employed, reaching out to my network for referrals, and having the regular accountability calls that Meredith and I have prioritized for years. One of the things that also inspired me at the time was that Meredith decided to leave her six-figure role just a few months before I did. And I remember being jealous, not negatively, but as a clue that I should go after something I wanted. Meredith was actually the first person I called when I left the office on my final day to say, “I did it!”

“I remember that night so clearly,” Meredith says with a laugh. “My husband and I were going out, and I was like, I’ve got to have a drink to celebrate Kristin! We were so far away – California and Florida – but I remember getting a little toasty that night in your honor because I was so excited about what you were doing. I’m so thankful for our relationship – that it’s deep and a friendship, but it’s also been such an encouragement to walk alongside someone doing what you’re doing. We don’t do the same thing, which is wonderful because we’re not competing or talking only about industry stuff. We’re talking about growing a business as a female and understanding what it’s like to walk away from careers we worked hard for. One of the biggest challenges for me was going from an active office with people needing me or wanting input to sitting alone in my house. It was a big shift to feel that ‘worth’ shift in my mind. So being just a few months apart, taking that leap together, has been invaluable.”

The Importance of Accountability and Relationships in Building a Business

Meredith continues to ask me how important accountability and relationships are when it comes to success. And I believe any business owner should absolutely have an accountability plan to achieve goals and strategic, intentional goals to help you thrive. I also learned the power of having a bounce-back plan when I went through those initial days where suddenly you are by yourself, and you’ve maybe had a few cancellations or nos. I knew I could sit at my kitchen counter when that happened and stew in negativity, or I could do something that made me feel good and take one step in the opposite direction. In my case, that meant working out and calling on different business relationships or previous connections to ask for referrals.
Relationships can show up in so many ways. In my world, I have structured many relationships to help me thrive and grow my business, like peer accountability calls, where we talk about everything. I also have a coach, and I believe we all need one to help us achieve our goals. I’m a part of The Million Dollar Women community, which is made up of other women who want to grow really big businesses. I also intentionally listen to podcasts and read books that keep me focused on achieving my goals and some of those speakers and authors, even though we don’t know each other personally, are relationships that help me. Relationships are critical because there are up days and down days. Sometimes you’ll be really connected to your vision and on fire, and other times you’ll wonder what you are doing. Relationships can help you get out of your head, connected to your vision, learn from others, and be accountable.

The Big Challenges and Even Bigger Rewards of Business Ownership

Next, Meredith asks me to share my biggest challenge and biggest reward since I started my business. And the biggest reward has been the freedom and flexibility of my time. Years ago, when I was working in my corporate role, I was thinking about how I defined success. And for me, that was having options on how to spend my time and who to spend it with. I like to be in control of my time so being able to take Scarlet to gymnastics, have calls with Meredith during the week, or go golfing on Friday with Joe are all ways I’ve built my business around my life.

One of the biggest challenges for me is falling victim to what other people are doing. I get excited about an idea and latch onto it, so there was a time in my business when I thought I needed to have a course. I created one and launched it, and only reached ten percent of my goal for participants. And what I learned is that I’m not an online or email marketing expert. I am a goal achievement coach who works with a lot of my clients in an individual way. And I think a part of me thought that wasn’t ok because you hear all these other experts and coaches that tell you not to do that, that you have to scale and add groups. I lost my own intuition when I listened to how other people were growing, and that continues to be a lesson for me. I have to keep going back to what feels right to me, where I am in flow, and pay attention to what keeps me up at night, or areas where I’m telling myself I have to do something to be successful.

When I started this year, I was on a kick that I had to have a million-dollar business to be successful. But I realized through the year, therapy, coaching, and my conversations with Meredith, that I don’t have to do that this year. It’s pressure that I was putting on myself to do it today. When I let off that pressure, I felt so much freer! It also helped me to reflect on how I defined success. I define it as having choice, of freedom and time, but I was measuring it only by revenue, so that was a conflict and a big aha moment.

The Beauty and Power of Letting Go

Meredith also confirms that she struggles with this and how easy it is to only measure success by revenue when that may not be how you truly define success. She also asks me to share more about being in flow and knowing how to trust your gut. And one of the things that brings to mind is letting go of the pressure. For me, one of those things was my intense morning routine. It was supposed to exist to set myself up for success, but it became burdensome, so I ditched the pressure to do all the things and focused on working out and meditation. Meditation and letting go of a lot of my rigidness have helped me get into flow. What’s interesting is that as I’ve let go of a lot of morning activities and other pressures, I’m on pace to surpass my reading goal and have my best revenue year yet.

As we continue to talk, Meredith shares a similar experience with how she recently took two weeks off to travel and didn’t take her laptop, which she had never done before. Leading up to that time, she worked with her team to prepare and talked with clients to let them know she’d be unavailable. And to her surprise, none of them were upset but rather were excited about her trip and encouraged her to enjoy the time off. It was a realization that much of the pressure and rigidity she was putting on herself and the business was unnecessary. And when she let that go, she could be present on vacation and come back refreshed and with renewed energy.

Meredith asks how much of our pressure is self-induced or induced by others we’re watching & following and how we can get away from that. And I’m learning that most of the pressure we have is self-induced by beliefs & perspectives, comparison, and what others are doing. One of the ways we can stay true to chasing our own definition of success is by putting boundaries around our time on social media. Another way is by practicing a lot of the things I talk about and promote in my business, such as a quarterly review, monthly review, and Friday rituals. Taking the time to pause, reflect, and plan can be eye-opening. You also start to realize you have a lot of answers within.

Let’s End with a Few Goal Achievement Best Practices

As we wrap up our conversation, Meredith asks me where someone should start if they want to boost their goal achievement mindset and habits. And the answer is, to begin with practicing gratitude. It will help you understand what’s important to you, which can then turn into goals that align with what’s important to you. It’s hard to feel anxious and gracious at the same time, so it also helps from a mindset perspective. Another way to get started is to start small. Start with one goal. Ask yourself, what is one thing that would be incredible to accomplish in the next three months?

Finally, Meredith asks me about the biggest goal on my goal list. And it’s to write a book. I’ve talked about it publicly and thought about it for a while. I’ve also written about it in vision statements for a long time, so it’s definitely the most significant goal that I think about.

Thank you for reading more about my story! I hope it has inspired you wherever you are on your goal achievement journey. 

And with that goal achievers, keep celebrating your weekly wins, noting your lessons learned, and identifying your priorities for next week so you can consistently pursue progress in the direction of your goals.