Her Story with Goli Kalkhoran: Lessons from a Quitter
These days, there is no shortage of people who are talking about how unfilled and miserable they are in their career. What is less prevalent are people who allow themselves to see all the possibilities this world has to offer, who decide that life is too short to be unhappy for too long, who push through the fear of the unknown and who take inspired action to live a life they don’t dread waking up for.
And that is what this week’s Her Story Spotlight, Goli Kalkhoran, did to get to where she is now - a present mother and wife, a successful entrepreneur and a gifted podcaster. This is a very different picture from her life, even just a few years ago when she was lawyer that was stressed, overworked and unfilled. The thought of doing this legal work for the next 30 years when she could retire, made her sick to her stomach and seemed unimaginable.
But, so was quitting.
For Goli, being a lawyer was such a big part of her identity. She had known from a very earlier age that’s what she wanted to do and she had invested so much time and money into her education, that the thought of not being a lawyer didn’t seem like a real possibility. What would she be if she wasn’t a lawyer? Who would she be as a person? What would her classmates and co-workers think?
There was a lot of fear and unknown to deal with at the thought of quitting, like many of you can probably relate to. But, as she started to let herself explore other options, some that were way outside of comfort zone and some shattering stories she had been telling herself her whole life (like she wasn’t creative or she wasn’t tech savvy), she began to realize that the possibilities really were endless.
She now interviews other successful quitters on her weekly podcast, Lessons from a Quitter, so check out her full interview below to find out what she’s learned from weekly interviews as well as her own wisdom and lessons learned from quitting . <3
Meet Goli - 5 Fun Facts:
1) I'm a mom of 2 little ones.
2) I have serious sugar addiction.
3) I'm a good dancer, but a terrible (and I mean, terrible) singer.
4) I'm an expert napper.
5) I'll laugh the loudest at anyone's joke
Tell us about the Lessons of a Quitter Podcast!
It's a podcast for anyone that feels stuck and miserable in their current job and wants something more--more fulfilling, more rewarding, more suited to their personality. I interview people who have quit traditional careers, typically after spending years obtaining advanced degrees and racking up debt, in order to forge their own path and create a life they love.
I love it because it is based on my story. I swear I do this podcast to mostly inspire myself..haha. But hopefully I can inspire others as well.
What's the backstory? How did it get it’s start?
I was an attorney for a number of years and was miserable. But, I had spent my whole life working towards becoming a lawyer that I felt stuck working in that field whether I wanted to or not. I had come to identify so deeply with being a lawyer that I didn't think it was possible to just quit.
But, after having my first son, I really started re-examining what I wanted in my life. It took me almost a year, but I finally admitted (mostly to myself) that I wanted to quit and try something else. That led me on a year-long journey to discover what I really wanted to do and peel back all of the stories I had created about myself.
Fast-forward a couple of years and I started my own business manufacturing photobooths (it was completely random and a whole other story). But I'm happier than I've ever been and I really wanted to create a podcast where I can show others that it is OK to start over. It's never too late. If you're not happy, then it's time to make a change.
What gave you the courage to make the leap from employee to entrepreneur?
It took a long time to make that leap for me because I had convinced myself that I wasn't good at business and could never do it. The photobooth business came about slowly and organically from me wanting to build the product for myself. Once I built the product, I gained confidence in my ability to figure it out. I started going to a lot of meetup events for entrepreneurs and listening to a lot of podcasts. Those two things really helped shift my mindset and, over time, gave me the confidence that I could give it a shot.
So many of us have "failed" at something or are "failing" with a current business, idea or project and might need some encouragement to keep going. Can you tell us about a challenge you have you had to overcome to get where you are now with the podcast? How were you able to overcome that or what are you doing now to overcome that’s working?
My biggest challenge has been getting over what other people think, and it is a daily struggle (though I'm a lot better at it now). From wanting to leave law to putting myself out there with the podcast, I was paralyzed by how I would be judged. But, I keep reminding myself that it is insane for me to live a life I don't love in order to not make other people uncomfortable. I realized that I was letting other people's opinion matter more than my own opinions. Plus, once I started putting myself out there and got this amazing positive feedback from people that could relate and were so happy that I was talking about this issue that was holding them back, it helped give me the confidence to keep moving forward.
What would you say has been the main key so far to helping you get to where you are now?
Taking small steps every day. I think the biggest realization that I have had is that it is never one big thing that is going to change things for you. There are constant obstacles -- both mental and real -- and the only way to get anywhere is to just put one step in front of the other. Sometimes you have no idea where you are going but, as you take the steps, the path becomes clear.
What advice would you give to other women looking to leave the 9-5 life and start their own business?
Spend a lot of time working on your mindset. I'm convinced more than 80% of this is just getting over our own mental limitations. Once you can control the ridiculous self-doubt and negative talk in your mind, it frees you up to take risks and make decisions much faster. Also, know that you can do it. This world is built by normal people just making the decision to take action. There is no reason you can't build your own business.
What routines do you have that helped you be successful? How do you start your mornings/end your days?
I pick three things to get done every morning and those are the first things I do. Your to-do list is endless and if you just keep adding to it, every day you feel like you didn't get enough done. But, once I prioritize only 3 things and I get those done, I feel productive no matter what else I do the rest of the day. It helps to fight off the feelings of being overwhelmed.
I wish I could say that I have set morning and evening routines, but I'd be lying. I know they're really important and I try to incorporate different things like stretching, writing down goals, reading, etc. but haven't done them consistently.
The 2 things I do consistently are the 3 to-dos I mentioned above and a gratitude practice every night. I just say 3 things I'm grateful for before I go to bed and it has literally changed my life. It has fundamentally changed the way I look at the world. I can just find the silver lining in most situations and it helps me bounce back after setbacks much faster.
What are some common themes you've seen from the guests that have been on your show that this group of ladies could learn from?
1) Clarity comes from action - Every person on the show has said, in one way or another, that their path wasn't straight and that they didn't know where they were going but as they took each step, they figured out what to do next. You just have to take action
2) EVERYONE HAS SELF-DOUBT! It's not that the people that quit to start something new weren't afraid or didn't doubt themselves. They did. They just pushed past it and jumped anyways.
According to a Podcasting Insights, there are over 550,000 podcast shows and over 18.5 million episodes out there. How did you not let the "Who needs another podcast" fear stop you from launching yours?
Great question! This comes up a lot for everyone. I would ask myself "so do you think no one is ever going to open up another restaurant?" or "I guess no one else should try to be an actor because there are already so many actors". Obviously, that sounds crazy. There will always be new businesses that come into the market.
Plus, podcasting is still relatively new. Even though there are over 500,000, 75% of those don't put out more than 7 episodes! It's called podfade. Most people don't stick with their podcasts because it is a lot of work. So, while the number can sound scary, I realized that I can make it work if I just stick to it. I'd just say to anyone that is letting this hold them back that you have to realize it is just your fear disguised as an excuse.
If someone else wanted to start a podcast, what advice would you give them as a first step?
Take one of the numerous free tutorials or courses on how to set up a podcast (just google it) It is actually not that hard and you can be set up within a couple of days. Just get started!
What equipment or apps do you love and find helpful for creating a podcast?
You really only need a decent microphone and headset, as far as equipment is concerned. I use an ATR-2100 mic and it's great. As for apps, you can do all of your editing on Audacity (for free) and make it sound great through Auphonic (again, for free). That's it!
What is a book or podcast (in addition to Lessons from a Quitter of course!) you would recommend for others looking to start or grow their business or just for general positive mindset motivation?
I absolutely love The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. It completely changed the way I look at goals and how to approach everything in my life. I also love Jen Sincero's You are a Badass. As for podcasts, I love Cathy Heller's Don't Keep Your Day Job (which deals with a very similar topic).
For fun: Do you have a favorite episode or one that you would recommend this group start with?
You can hear more about my story on Episode 00. One fan favorite is Episode 6 with Pye Jirsa. He quit accounting and learned how to be a photographer (even though he didn't have a passion for photography) and how has a 7-figure photography studio.
How can people find out more about you and Lessons from a Quitter?
If you’d like to show Goli some love, comment below to let her know about a key takeaway you got from her interview! If you have a recommendation for one of our future Spotlights, please reach out and let me know!