Kate Morris-Bates, 45 from Cheshire is a Clinical Therapist, Wellness Expert and Founder of Inside Out Wellness Ltd, however, Kate wasn’t always a therapist, for over 20 years she was a corporate hard hitter, a high flying woman in a grey suited man’s world…
How did you get started?
I wasn’t always a therapist, for over 20 years I was a corporate employee, holding a senior role in a male dominated industry…until my world imploded in my mid-thirties. When you lose one baby, your perspective changes. When you lose six, your life changes. When it happens inside 2 years, your world changes. For two years, I was either pregnant or recovering from a miscarried pregnancy and understandably this took its toll on my body and mind – I knew something had to give. I’d reached the point where enough was enough. So I gave up my job, went travelling and invested in serious self-care and fortunately my husband and I were blessed with our daughter.
When I returned to the working world, I found myself a square peg in a round hole, totally uninspired by the job and I continued to have a crash of identity and confidence. Everything got harder getting back on the career ladder and instead of fighting, I settled – I’d taken a job at a university and was earning less that half I was previously, the job was rubbish, the environment was awful, and I was not being respected by the executive team, they wanted my expertise and leadership experience, but were not willing to listen to it – I was so frustrated – I dreaded going to work.
I realised that I needed to take control back and after a “light bulb” moment, I enrolled on a Chinese medicine course and handed in my notice. I’m now one very few Post-Graduate Degree holders of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in the UK, awarded by one of the most prestigious alternative medicine colleges in the world. A Member of the British Acupuncture Council and Qualified with a CBT based coaching post-grad qualification, which I trained and studied for during the first year of my Chinese Medicine post-graduate degree.
As well as my TCM expertise, I have hundreds of hours of Western medical training to my name and further qualifications in specialist physical and aesthetic therapies. There are very few people in the UK who can say they have the same combination of professional exec experience with a string of professionally accredited therapy qualifications.
What challenges have you faced along the way?
When I left my PAYE career behind to become a full time mature student, I was 42 years old with a toddler, a very bouncy puppy, all the responsibilities of running a home and being in a marriage, elderly relatives who were terminally ill and no nearby family to lean for support outside of my husband. It was tough on my husband too and we went through some challenging times as a couple. I was forging an entirely new identity for myself with no salary, no pension, no bonus, no company car, no paid holidays, no sick pay. And definitely no guarantees.
Going from being a high earner with total financial independence, no money concerns whatsoever to living off my savings and being dependent on my husband for support was a tough gig. It was a very sobering experience and certainly one of the biggest challenges I have faced in my adult career. It is very difficult to get back into high earning roles or positions after a career break and a career change and should not be underestimated in terms of what it can do for your own self-esteem, confidence, ego and trust in your own decisions.
But this said, I wasn’t making a random bet on a horse, I was taking a chance on myself. I did not suddenly forget my business acumen when I changed career and my skill, wisdom and expertise gained from my previous “life” has really carried me through these past few years, particularly as we navigated the impact of the pandemic.
What has worked well about your business?
Being clear about my vision, my brand, my values, the clients I want to work with and being curious about what others do to move their businesses forward. Equally, being clear about the sort of business I don’t want to be has been invaluable. I have not been afraid to make mistakes, take some thought-through risks and have learnt lessons from every experience.
How do you fit in work with the family?
Having a routine – knowing who needs to be where and when every week. My husband insists on “doing diary” as he calls it and it helps us plan our diaries for the basics of food, shopping, chores, school run, exercise, self-care and family time.
Working as a team with my husband to make sure our daughter’s needs always come first, whether it is one of us or both of us serving them at a given moment.
When either of us have deadlines we tend to get up early or work late and always agree in advance if one of us needs to work a weekend.
In short, being organised and respectful of everyone’s needs.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Forget about the naysayers and the critics, even those who are close to you, the only person who has the power to set your goals and your potential is you.
What impact do you want to have?
I am now on a mission to empower other women to be body proud and body aware, and not let our hormones, health issues, aches and pains, the lines and wrinkles that come with the ageing process define us.
I want women to honour and respect their bodies; they serve us well. I knows first-hand how it can feel when your body lets you down. As a former track and field International Athlete, I know the frustration of realising your body can’t do what it used to do – or doesn’t look like it used to do and I also know the gruelling heartache and the emotional and physical toll that comes with miscarriages and fertility issues. I also what it is like to lose your identity somewhere along the way.
I also know that if you want to make a change, you need to change the approach and lean in to take personal responsibility for your own health and wellbeing. There are no shortcuts to being as well as you can be, it takes time, patience, courage, and the right support around you. And this is what I teach the clients who come to me for support either through my in-person clinic, or online retreat.