Strength lies in breaking free from distractions to align with our true purpose. Katie Sol shares her personal journey from a crumbling marriage and demanding corporate executive career to an enlightened entrepreneurial path dedicated to raising the consciousness of both her kids and other leaders. Katie is the CEO and founder of Mystical Living, a lifestyle brand and podcast. She has set out on a journey to inspire, teach and celebrate lives worth living.
This episode of Pearls onBoards was produced by Mix Theory Studios, a music and multimedia studio located in downtown Jacksonville, Florida. This show features original music written, mixed and mastered by Punchboi and DJ PM, the music production team of Mix Theory Studios.
Katie Sol, CEO & Founder of Mystical Living
Raising the consciousness of leaders through her lifestyle brand and podcast, Mystical Living, Katie embraces a sacred mission to unveil the profound beauty of living a self-designed life.
After two decades in retail tech at a Fortune 100 exec, Katie shatters the illusion that success guarantees fulfillment. Today she is a dynamic catalyst for creating the life of your dreams through her teachings as founder of Sol School and visionary behind Love Lillett, a transformative clothing line designed to awaken your inner mystic by uniting the ethereal with the everyday.
With her motto “Follow Your Light,” she believes that what truly lights you up has the power to truly illuminate the world.
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Hi, thank you for joining us for today’s episode of Pearls on Boards. I am so excited to sit down with our guest, Katie Sol. Katie spent two decades in retail tech at Fortune 100 companies as an executive level and left to start podcast, Mystical Living. I am so excited to share her story and chat with her about her journey as a mom, and an executive, and now as an entrepreneur.
Hey, Katie, why I’m excited to talk to you. It’s, as you know, so different to navigate and excel in corporate or starting something of your own what has that been like for you? What was that like when you were at TJ Maxx ’cause you had children when you were there?
So I actually grew up at T J X companies. They’re the parent to TJMax Marshalls, HomeGoods, Sierra, Yeah US, Europe, Canada. And it was a really beautiful experience. I spent 18 years there and I really was a corporate entrepreneur, so every time there was a startup, I just ran towards it and it was my way of maybe looking back, surviving in that atmosphere while being really an entrepreneur at heart.
And then while I was there, I became pregnant with my son when I was living in Dusseldorf, Germany. So got to experience the first half of my pregnancy over there. We were opening up stores in Germany and Poland at the time. It was very exciting for the company and then for me personally, and decided to complete my expat assignment after a couple years, return home to the us, be around family and have my kids back home.
So Bennett came shortly after I moved back home, and then almost two years later I had my daughter Lillett. And I was fortunate they had a daycare at T J X and I was able to bring my kids into work. And looking back on it, it felt really good at the time.
What I remember from that time is feeling kind of chaotic all the time, running high powered groups, dropping my kids at daycare, running downstairs sometimes to breastfeed them in the middle of the day and really feeling pretty alone in that journey. Even though there were a lot of other mothers around me, it felt like I was juggling a lot at the time, and I’m not sure I would do it the same way if I had another child.
I think I would do it in a more conscientious and present way and really focus on what success means to me in a different way. But at the time, I was doing the best I could.
Knowing what you know now, like what would’ve been different or what would that have looked like?
I think if I were to do it now, I would really define success quite differently than I did. and so 11 years ago, I was still at a level of consciousness where I was, you know, doing the things like very much in that matrix of you get a good job, you get an M B A, you climb the ladder and so success for me today looks like having a life that I can flow and be present with my kids, be present in my friendships, be present with my family. This week, for example, I spent Tuesday at a waterpark with my daughter. We had this beautiful day, ended up running into some of her summer friends there, and just had this glorious day. That wasn’t something I could have done in my former life.
Today I am podcasting with you. Yesterday I taught a couple classes for my spiritual school. I recorded a couple episodes from my own podcast, and tomorrow I’m going to have lunch with my girlfriends in the city. And, that for me is living in a way that embodies success and it’s very different than how I was living just a year ago when I was still in that corporate setting, which was beautiful and gave me a lot of lessons during that time.
But I realized that some moment success for me just had to look different probably during those COVID years. Really when I was home and more present and seeing what I was really missing and when we were due to return to the office was when I made the choice that it was time to start my own entrepreneurial adventure.
I think some people just are corporate career people and that’s totally perfect because being an entrepreneur is crazy in a lot of ways. But , how has that been different as a mom? Because What do you love about it? Is there anything that you do miss about the corporate setting now that you’re in an entrepreneurial setting? As a mom?
Oh, so many great questions in there. Okay. What I miss is that steady income. I really enjoyed knowing exactly what I was gonna be bringing in each week. In my entrepreneurial world, sometimes it can be far more in a week than I was making, and sometimes it can be far less. And so I do miss that stability and life is really beautiful, and knowing yourself and knowing what drives you is really key to understanding like
What do I wanna do? Because both paths are beautiful for me, my main focus is really around raising the consciousness of leaders.
In my time at corporate, I saw so much opportunity with things. I would trial and tests within my own teams. I would do quantum spoon bending classes or lead them in meditations.
And I really believe that people wanted to work on my teams. My teams were very successful. We made. Our numbers, and we did really well, and we had fun. And I believe there’s an opportunity for more of this conscious leadership in corporate settings. And I got to a point where I knew I could do more from the outside than from the inside.
Inside I could only impact one corporation, but from the outside, now I can reach leaders across many organizations. So that has been really beautiful. And then, blending with kids is very interesting because I do have so much more flexibility and I do need to stay focused because in corporate I was scheduled every single hour of every single day.
So it was just zoom to zoom to zoom to zoom, and now I have to be really conscious about what I choose to do and how I spend my time, whether it’s professionally or personally.
And I do this practice each week where I look at all the things that are coming up and I bucket them into two categories. The first being, Distraction, and the second being aligned with my purpose. So it’s purpose or distraction. And I really try to let the distractions fall away. And sometimes it does mean saying no to things that bring you joy because it wasn’t really aligned with my purpose. And so sometimes it’s just about making choices. And sometimes that means with my kids too, especially in the summer because they see me all the time and I’m here and I’m present and I am, I’m running a couple businesses and I have to make choices as well.
And while I have much more flexibility than I did before, I still have to make hard choices. So whether you’re in corporate or being an entrepreneur, there’s always choices that we have the opportunity to make. With your kids like. when you were working in corporate did you invite them in the same way into what you were doing at corporate or do you find it easier as an entrepreneur to kind of talk to them about what, you’re doing?
Yes, totally. And I think age comes into play a little bit too. So when they were at T J X in the daycare there, they so they were, Three months to five when they were there. And at the time I had kids, the maternity policies and parental leave were a bit different than they are today. Thank goodness it has evolved in a really positive direction. But I was right back in the hustle and grind with these little babies.
I don’t think they really absorbed what I did. They knew that on the weekends I would be in the stores a lot and bringing them along. So they spent a lot of time and. Running through the racks of T max or Marshalls. And that was definitely an aspect of their childhood, but now they’re nine and 11 and so they’re more conscious of what is happening in the world anyway.
And then my clothing line is named after my daughter, Lillett. And so she loves fashion and design and she takes sewing classes. So she is really interested and a lot of what I do in my business is connect it to how I live my life. So we do a lot here as a family in a really ritualistic way. coming up on this back to school season. And so we’ve been taking each room in the house and setting an intention for how we wanna feel in that space. So my son did organize for his room, my daughter did high vibe for her room.
We did Zen for the mud room, and we’ve been just cleaning and re curating our spaces. And that’s something that I would teach clients to do in my business, and it’s part of our family life too. And so I feel like my worlds are much more integrated, whereas . When I was living in corporate, it felt like I was really only bringing a piece of me through those doorways every day.
And now I feel like I can just be who I am in all aspects of my life.
I love that. you said earlier about redefining success, I think maybe it comes with age, I don’t know, but you kind of get older and you’re like, oh, success isn’t necessarily meeting. like these material things or a certain number in my bank account and I think maybe with age and children too, right?
It changes. You’re like, no, I want this quality time. I want these moments. I wanna integrate like my passions with theirs and share who I am as a person. I feel like when the kids are really young, you kind of, at least for me um, my identity felt lost ’cause they are so dependent on me.
But I think it’s cool when they get older. ’cause now you get to kind of claim some of yourself back and then share that with your children. And I think that’s cool that you’re able to do that with them. And they’re really responsive. I mean, I just think that’s, as a mom, like, ugh. How beautiful to be able to see that and see their excitement with you in that.
Totally. And I wanna set an example for them that they can walk a path less traveled to, and that they can really create their own reality.
They don’t have to do it in the most traditional way. And I still have to check myself every now and then on that too, and think about where am I, you know, confined by societal or patriarchal structures and really make sure I’m keeping an open mind to creating an environment where they know that they really aren’t pushed into any boxes.
Yeah. I talk to entrepreneur women I think that’s kind of how we’re all like, Anything you want. You know, it’s like there’s just this intrinsic passion to have them be who they were designed to be. And I was talking to a good friend who is a businesswoman the other day, and we were talking about how it’s interesting, we both, grew up in very patriarchal families.
You know, the dad did this thing and the mom was stay at home mom, and the house was so tidy and you know, it was just like very quintessential, like 1950s. And I remember this little kid being like, Nope. . I think a lot of women, Who are successful in their careers that I’ve talked to as entrepreneurs or who rose in corporate. We all kind of grew up in that environment where we didn’t know what it was that we were saying no to, but there was something about environment that just felt trapped and I think there’s also like a shift back. I’m feeling now too because I think so many of us, at least I feel this way, and I know some of my friends have cultivated this too, is where we try to show up like our dads and to do the thing that they did. And I’m not sure that that’s the right way either, because it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on women to have this big powered corporate job, to be the mom at the bake sale, to, you know, making the Halloween costumes and that doesn’t feel quite right to me either. And sometimes I wonder if we did a disservice to generations of women by trying to fit into this more masculine mold.
And I feel this resurrection of the divine feminine starting to really come back in corporate spaces and feel a lot of passion that we need to make room for it.
Because what I found in corporate is I could bring my intuition into a room and bring that divine feminine knowing I knew who had a bad day, who had a fight with their wife, who didn’t eat breakfast. Like those were things I would naturally walk into a room and just know that. And I think many of us have this intuitive superpower and in corporate America, it’s not necessarily valued today, and I believe there’s an opportunity to really equally value that with results because they really are quite connected when you get down to it.
I worked for a D O D company. I loved them. You know, I was like at the Pentagon working for generals and all these things, but , you have to be at the office these hours, even if you have nothing going on, even if there’s no actual reason for you to be at the office.
You have to be here, create a PowerPoint. I don’t care what you do, just be here. And I think like Covid really showed everyone that there are different strengths. In men and women, there are different ways that people can work. Like there is something to be said about connection and human interaction and, I feel like we are finally ripe for like the soil has been tilled, if you will. And now we have this really cool opportunity to like actually make formidable change in the workforce. And think what you said earlier about maybe we did lead a little too hard into the dad thing, right? ’cause we totally didn’t want to this other thing. And those were the two things. You could be one or the other. I think even in a corporate role, you can be, both. And I think that Figuring that out is hard. I think you have to have support systems. Like, Oh, yes. I’m a big fan of support systems, so a big part of my personal story is when my kids were young um, it became really clear that my ex-husband was struggling deeply with addiction.
And so there was a lot of chaos in our family at that time. At the time, I was running the entire digital experience practice for five US brands, websites, in-store, digital apps, and so my job was highly cross-functional, highly complex, and came with, you know, bringing a lot of people together to agree on how things would merge and come together and at home.
My life was really quite crumbly and I remember at that time coming into my corporate setting and starting to share what was going on behind the scenes in my life. And it was a really interesting experience. A lot of people couldn’t hold that space for what was going on. a boss at the time had the response of, okay, Katie, we’ll give you more work so that you can be really distracted here.
And that wasn’t actually what I needed. I actually needed some grace and some space. I did have many people in my work setting that were able to give me some grace and space and had a call in family. I had an amazing nanny who was a lifesaver. Because you do need extra support and In those years, my ex-husband went to rehab.
He ultimately ended up leaving our family with a note on the bed like a movie. And it was a really traumatic and chaotic time in my life and it was the compost of my growth at the same time.
So during that phase, we had just moved into a new home, this fixer upper on a beautiful property. ’cause I think you throw things, you know, you’re like, maybe if we move, that’ll help. No, don’t move. So the house was crumbling, our marriage was crumbling. My ex-husband was crumbling, our dog was dying. I mean, it was a lot of like crumbling happening in that phase of my life. And what really got me through as I just felt this essence of my future self and I just knew that I had this inner knowing, like it’s not always gonna be that way, Katie.
And one of the beautiful things corporate taught me is sometimes you just need to execute and move through. And so sequentially after he left the family, I sold the house. I bought a new house and I just went through a series of like big, bold moves. And then when I got here to the house I reside in, now I labeled it my healing home and for myself and my kids.
And the story does have a happy ending. Their dad got clean and that was really beautiful and he is a great co-parent now. And my, kids are primarily with me all the time, so being a single parent, do really need to find ways to call in support because you can’t do it all by yourself. And I do lean on my parents.
I lean on my nanny and she’s really a huge part of our ecosystem and that’s okay. I never thought I would be somebody who had a nanny, but when you are a single parent or two working parents, you know, you do need to fill that space that maybe your mom might have filled in the past and could do the cooking and the cleaning and with dinner prep.
When you are doing it all alone and running a big business, you just can’t do it all alone and it just leads to burnout. So finding support, taking the time to heal after going through those life traumas is really key.
And had I not gone through that traumatic life experience, I wouldn’t have probably had the guts to leave my corporate job, but I really went through this experience that to me, felt like, well, the worst thing that could ever happen, one of the worst. And it was okay.
I was okay. My kids were okay. We healed. We all grew from the experience, we learned a lot along the way and we called in a lot of support. And then that empowered me to know, okay, I can leave another setting that doesn’t feel a hundred percent in alignment. And it was good, but it wasn’t great.
Yeah, and I think that’s hard to take those steps when things aren’t healthy, especially when you’re so used to, I don’t the consistent paycheck or whatever it is. But I think too, there’s a lot of guilt.
I’m sure all of the things that you did experience that were hard with your marriage and heartbreaking, you know, kind of through having to lean on people. I think guilt gets removed, right? Because you just kind of figure out at some point like, oh wait, I’m not meant to do it all alone and I don’t have to feel guilty about needing family or needing a nanny and I think a lot of people are afraid to let the reins go and need help.
And so I’m sad that those things happened ’cause I cannot fathom what that could have been like to have young children and. Probably being like the financial support for your family while then all of this is unraveling. I think it’s cool to see the other side of it for you and see how you are more free now to accept help from family and invite somebody in to help you with the things that you don’t have capacity for.
Think that’s probably the hardest thing as a working parent is to give yourself the grace to like invite others in.
Totally, because you can’t actually do it all. And, and so I really try to focus on, okay, what’s my zone of genius?
What is lighting me up? What is really making me excited in human design? I’m a generator. And so it’s really important that you’re excited about what you’re doing, what you’re focused on. And so I really think about my life in that way, and I teach some of that in my school too, because when we can align with these designs and these maps that we have, it can really help us get clear on, okay, this is my zone of genius.
Here’s what I’m supposed to do, and let me find people or systems that can fill the voids that I can’t fill.
For me, I had this really pivotal moment, which was really the catalyst to me leaving corporate America. So it happened a year before I left. And for anyone who’s in that space, who’s like feeling the nudges of maybe not alignment.
I will share this story. So I was meeting with executive at our organization and he was describing our corporate culture to me. He said, Katie, it’s like a box. He’s doing this with his hands. He is showing me a box. He’s like, in every level you go up, the box gets smaller and the box gets smaller and the box gets smaller.
And it was like the light bulb went off. And he just explained to me perfectly how I was feeling. Each rung of the ladder, I climbed like a smaller, more contained version of myself. I could say less. I could do less. And I had to play more and more by the rules and I believe that there’s an opportunity, I unbox myself by leaving corporate, but I believe that there’s an opportunity to unbox the walls that are up in corporations so that leaders can really have these beautiful long-term journeys with their corporation.
Yeah, I agree. And I think that starts with women like you you know, who are willing to like and you you know, shining your light in this podcast is so beautiful and needed.
Thanks. And cool time to be a woman and a mom and have the backgrounds that we have that give us the voice to like, make change. , And for my sons, I want my sons to work, um, in an environment that’s like healthy for humans.
healthy for humans, yeah.
So What one piece of advice would you give to women who are kind of in the stages of having my kids, or I’m about to have my kids , but I want to be successful. I want to a successful career, either as an entrepreneur or in corporate.
Like what one piece of advice would you give them as they embark on that journey from a mom and being successful in a career.
Beautiful. So my life motto is about following your light, because I believe when we each follow our light, we have the power to illuminate the path for others. And in order to follow your light, it’s really as simple as thinking about what am I passionate about?
I believe that passion equals purpose and that our passions lead us to our purpose. And I’m really passionate about raising the consciousness of leaders. And that trumps climbing a corporate ladder for me.
And if you are in that stage where you are a new mom, you’re about to have kids, you have toddlers, What lights you up in that moment might be different than what lights you up two years from now. And that’s okay.
Often that lack of listening to ourselves and in order to listen, we have to get quiet and we really have to trust that in our voice, and that’s a practice over time. You know, I call it like, The mind is the human self, where like the fears and the worries and the to-do lists reside. And our heart is our divine self.
And I’m really passionate, you know, if I can snap people out of their minds and bring them into their hearts, that’s where they find their intuition. That’s where they can experience bliss and miracles in higher states. And then living from here does take practice. It doesn’t just happen one day. It’s like a constant practice of like, oh, okay, my monkey mind is going, alright, let’s do a practice.
What, what was that Katie taught us? And then, so every time on my podcast I start with a practice. So dropping from the head to the heart every single episode. So if anyone needs a little . Example of how to move from the head to the heart. You can check out the podcast. It’s called Mystical Living, and we’re new too.
We only launched on July 24th, 2023. So it’s a baby and it’s so much fun and you know, just sharing different stories and perspectives and as you get honest with yourself, then you really do tap into your light. And if you’re not sure where to find it, look to your passions.
I love that. thank you so much for being on and sharing your journey and I think it’s cool to see women Chase what makes them happy.
Totally. And we get this one life to live and this go around. So it’s like, why not do it? Like take the leap, go after your dreams, make ’em big, and just have fun. And the worst thing that happens is you fail and that’s okay. You’re gonna learn something and you’re gonna do it better the next time.
Yeah, I agree.
Awesome. Thank you so much.
Yeah. I loved it. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye