Episode 278 Redefining success in career and relationships

reimagining-success-with-katarina-polonska

Dive into redefining success in your relationships with guest Katarina Polonska on the Reimagining Success podcast. Unpack the challenges of high achievement, the impact on personal life, and pursuit of fulfilment in all areas.

In this episode, we’re joined by Katarina Polonska, a relationship coach with a relatable journey to share. Katarina confronts the societal pressures of her Eastern European roots, reflects on a pivotal engagement she ended, and the isolation and resilience she found during the pandemic.

We explore her transition from corporate life to coaching, driven by the desire for genuine impact over financial comfort and leading to her newfound definition of success comprising freedom, love, and peace of mind. Katarina also delves into blending feminine and masculine energies for personal harmony, while stressing the significance of self-awareness.

Tune in as we discuss redefining success, the truth about ‘having it all’, and the interplay between career, relationships, and well-being.

00:00 Interview focuses on career pivot and holistic success.

04:41 Grew up with self-help books, studied psychology.

07:50 Desire to create in vulnerability, healing, love.

12:42 Overcoming personal struggles led to new path.

13:47 Transitioning from high-pressure corporate life to coaching.

19:16 Corporate life all about success, relationships lacking fulfillment.

22:56 Prioritising sustainable fulfilment over quick dopamine hits.

25:54 Balancing career, relationships, well-being: can it all?

27:16 Being intentional and focused in every moment.

30:29 Success and freedom come from love and choice.

Redefining success in career and relationships

Anna Lundberg:

Hello, everybody, and welcome to another interview. It’s a little bit different today because we will be digging into a career pivot, but we’ll also be looking at a concept and idea that is quite dear to me for two reasons. One is, if you know me at all, if you have been listening for a while, one of my frameworks is the five L’s framework, which is all around thinking about success holistically. So I talk about, yes, career is important, but we want to be thinking about our health and well being, our relationships, growing as a person, learning, developing, and so on, making a difference in the world and having fun as well. And my guest today is very much in the relationships piece, and so we’ll be digging into that in a moment, and I’ll be very interested to do so. So without further ado, this is Katerina Polanska. Katerina, take it away. Could you tell us who you are and what you do?

 

Katarina Polonska:

Sure. And thank you so much for having me. So, I’m a high performance relationship coach. And what I mean by that is I work with predominantly executives or kind of vp level plus. So people who are seasoned professionals have high powered careers, busy, busy schedules, and they kind of have everything in their life pretty much figured out. They probably have a nice home, they probably have a nice friendship circle. Their career is going well. They might have good family relations.

 

Katarina Polonska:

They’ve probably done a bit of therapy in the past to heal any family dynamics that might need healing. But it’s their relationship, their kind of personal relationship, that isn’t quite what they want it to be. And I always say I help successful professionals become as accomplished in their relationships as they are in their careers. It’s like the main kind of discrepancy that I’ve been seeing and that I myself also had and was really kind of confused about, like, where am I going wrong in this one area of my life? Everything else is working out. I couldn’t quite figure it out.

 

Anna Lundberg:

Yeah. And let’s dig into that. I think it’s very interesting, the idea of being accomplished. When I talk about this, I find it’s quite od to talk about being accomplished in your relationships and be accomplished in your hobies. I mean, yes, we tend to do people, especially midlife crisis, we end up doing iron man and ultramarathons and all these things, and we tend to bring the same energy to our personal goals as we do to our professional career goals. But it’s not as talked about, certainly in the relationship, to talk about being a high performance relationship coach. And you had to there explain what you meant by it, which I think is fantastic. It’s quite a jarring way of looking at it, maybe, but I think it’s a really important one.

 

Anna Lundberg:

But you mentioned you were in that zone, I guess, in the past. So can you tell us, what was your career journey like? Initially?

 

Katarina Polonska:

Yeah. So I spent, I mean, like, most kind of professional, ambitious people, I spent the bulk of my 20s jumping from job to job. And I think I had, like, three different careers in my 20s alone. I went from being in the champagne and fine wine industry, which I loved, and it’s actually what brought me out to a pizza first time around. So I built a business out here when I was, like, 23, and then I realised I don’t think I can be an entrepreneur in a pizza for the rest of my life. I think I’m a bit too young for this. I need a bit more corporate experience. So I sold my half and went to Dubai and I worked for a big corporation out there, the biggest alcohol supplier in the Middle east.

 

Katarina Polonska:

So I lived out there for a couple of years and then I went back to the UK. Dubai made me realised I don’t want to do champagne anymore. I want to do something more meaningful. So I went back to university and went to Oxford and did a women’s studies degree, which is really looking at masculinity, femininity, and what I looked at, like, the limitations of the constructs and how limited it is when we try to adhere to these kind of very traditional stereotypes. And that’s kind of important for the work that I do, actually, in the relationship space, but. So I was looking at that. Then I went to work in philanthropy for a while, looking at working with nonprofits, and moved out to Canada to build an impact investment vehicle, helping syrian refugees with a whole initiative around women and children. So I did that for a while and then I burnt out because I realised that philanthropy is hard, hard work.

 

Katarina Polonska:

And, I mean, we had a 10 million euro target as a team of three women in one year, and we worked so hard to try and hit that target and just burnt out. All three of us burnt out. So that’s really what made me go into kind of out of philanthropy and into behavioural science, because I was thinking, what do I care about? And I realised, well, I care about change. I care about behavioural change. My dad is a coach. He was an executive coach for pretty much. I mean, he was like an executive consultant, but a managing consultant. But he became a coach probably about ten years ago.

 

Katarina Polonska:

So I did grow up with that in the background and all the self help books. And so I knew a lot about positive psychology. And that’s what made me go into behavioural science, where my kind of initial hypothesis was, if I can learn behavioural science, I can probably help people do more good, because I can help people kind of get rid of all of the stuff that’s holding them back from actually connecting with who they are at their core. So I worked for a big behavioural science consultancy out of Vancouver. They were actually a New York company and loved that, really loved that. And slowly over time, kind of got more and more exposed to coaching. So I was doing a lot of group training and selling kind of group training programmes and building out strategies for companies like really big corporations, kind of Fortune 500, Fortune 100 companies, building out their human capital strategies. And in that, coaching was very much like part and parcel of how do you develop people? And so eventually this is kind of where it gets into personal life.

 

Katarina Polonska:

But I ended up moving back to London for various personal reasons, moved back to London, started working for the biggest coaching company in the world. And really that’s what made me realise, okay, I don’t want to be on the strategy side of things. I actually want to be the one doing the coaching. I knew I’d take a massive pay cut. I knew that it would be very jarring to go from like corporate vp role and having all of that comfort to going into coaching, which is such a saturated industry. But it was very much kind of a personal choice fueled by all the different personal factors which I can share about later. I didn’t think it would actually work though. I didn’t think there would be something that I’d do long term, like truly, I thought it was like, I’ll do this for a few months, treat it as a hobby, do my ics and then find something else.

 

Katarina Polonska:

And yeah, it’s been like a year and a half and I’m still here and looking to grow it this year and I can’t imagine anything else, really.

 

Anna Lundberg:

I think a lot of us come to coaching that way. I did it because I was curious. I have no idea how I found it. We’d done a bit of coaching in corporate and for personal development and then because I loved it so much, I think we do. And then we sort of become quite evangelistic about it and just add it into the business model, I guess, before going further. Obviously an incredibly impressive career journey and some really smart, intentional moves based on self awareness and knowing that you wanted to make a bigger difference and so on. How did your perception of what success look like change through those different phases of your career?

 

Katarina Polonska:

Oh, I love that question. Yeah. And it’s something I was literally pondering about this morning and last night, actually. And I think when I was in Vancouver and I was working for that behavioural science consultancy, which I loved that job. Like, I handed my heart love that job so much. And I was paid exceptionally well and it was so comfortable and I loved my colleagues and I loved my work life balance and I’d never worked evenings, I never worked weekends. It was just a really brilliant place to be. My life was so comfortable and at the same time, I had this kind of constant nagging feeling in the back of my head, which I think I had throughout most of my 20s, which is, I know I have an entrepreneurial spirit.

 

Katarina Polonska:

I know I want to create something, and I know I want it to be something that’s going to be kind of in the field of vulnerability, healing, love, heart, something around that, probably because it’s such a big part of my life and I just was too scared to go into it. And I remember in Vancouver being like, oh, I think I’m in a dangerous place here because I think I’m getting golden handcuffs. I think I’m getting into this place where I’m so comfortable here and I’m so chilled. But I don’t need to look at my career. I don’t need to look at my success. I was previously engaged to my ex out there and we bought a lovely home in the mountains and whistle and the panels to move out there. I was kind of like, winding down my ambition a little bit. And I honestly felt like I was retiring a little bit.

 

Katarina Polonska:

Retiring while still working. But it just didn’t feel stressful. And the two things that kind of made shifted everything for me were, number one, I called off the engagement. The calling off that engagement, it kind of threw everything into disarray for me because my life kind of imploded when that happened. I never thought I would call off an engagement. I never thought I’d call off a big wedding. I never thought I’d be holding a wedding dress and I’d be like, what the heck do I do with this thing now? And the humiliation that came with that because I was alone in Canada, it was Covid. I had very know friends.

 

Katarina Polonska:

I had no family around. I hadn’t seen my family for, like, years at this point. And I lost my network, which was his network, in that space. The humbling of it all kind of initially, I went deep into my corporate career. I kind of was savouring the money that I was making and kind of healing by spending and taking care of myself and making my apartment extra nice and kind of all the home comforts. But after a while, that question around career started to pop up in my head of, like, well, what now? Right? There’s nothing to really distract me. I don’t really have any other plan. I’m not building a life with someone.

 

Katarina Polonska:

I’m not going to have a baby anytime soon. Like, what am I actually doing? And then as I was kind of ruminating over that stuff and still not really acting on it, Ukraine war started and my dad lives in Ukraine, so when that kicked off, I’ll never forget, it was like two weeks of just pure hell in my flat in Vancouver. Like, pacing the flat, like, honestly thinking there’s going to be a nuclear holocaust because I just was expecting it to happen. And my dad phoning me and crying down the phone as a refugee with his family because he’s got a new family out there. And the fear that I felt was some of the worst fear that I’ve ever felt. And I was still grieving the broken engagement. It had only been a few months prior, so I was a hot mess. I was really not well and I felt some support at work, but I also felt, like, very isolated and very much like, well, I’m here in Vancouver, I’m on the west coast, I’m very far from all of this stuff.

 

Katarina Polonska:

And I remember I went down to LA for a business trip and I was meeting with a mental health well being company and I remember thinking like, this is great. I’m with a mental health company. I’ll get it. And even then, people were a bit like, what’s the stress? I don’t get it. It’s all so far away from here. And I was living with this real sense. I was like, I don’t know if my dad’s going to die. I don’t know.

 

Katarina Polonska:

And my rest of my family are in Slovakia, on the border of Ukraine. So it was this kind of big dichotomy of a threat of death and just overwhelming fear and horror with everything’s really normal here on the west coast and we’re all living really comfortable lives and everyone’s earning six figure plus and having a great time. And I just felt like, I know it’s funny because I had a friend in the UK who felt the same thing and we’re actually both half russian, right? So it’s also double messed up because I can never go back to the homeland. But we both had this feeling of I can’t deal with this, that right now I actually want to go onto the front lines, I actually want to go into Ukraine, I actually want to help, I want to be there, I want to support. And that clicked. Something clicked in my head there where I knew I had to come back to Europe. And so I did move back and I joined that big coaching company which again, I thought, perfect, I’m going to be in this kind of coaching environment. It’s the most safe space and I can kind of help other people and channel my own grief and channel my own hurt and pain around what’s going on in the world into serving others.

 

Katarina Polonska:

But I didn’t really feel that. And I also there felt I’m not really safe to show up with what I’m really experiencing here. And this is kind of very clear divide of work cat, which has to shut everything down and just sharpen perform and then what’s really going on, which I can understand, but it just didn’t really mean anything to me anymore. The money didn’t really mean anything to me anymore. I was living in London. I had a beautiful Kensington apartment. And again I was thinking like, I finally made it. Last time I lived in London, I was living with four other people and a rat, there was literally a rat in my living room.

 

Katarina Polonska:

It was horrible. And when I left to Vancouver, everything kind of took off for me. So being back in London with everything I’d ever dreamed of, the lovely apartment, the salary, the great job, but then being like, well, I just called off this engagement and I’m in my early thirty s so what the hell am I going to do now? And with a freaking war going on down the road, it shifted everything. It really did. At that point, I just kind of got this mindset of like, okay, well, enough crying, enough grief if I’m going to assume that I’m probably going to die alone and potentially quite soon if this nuclear malarkey takes off, what do I want my life to look like? What do I actually want my life to look like? And I remember I came out here to a beach on the day that I was meant to be getting married to my fiance. I came out on my own and I just kind of spent, I actually went out on my own and just drinking wine and in the plazas and just trying to have a nice time. And that’s when the epiphany started to come to me of I need to quit my corporate life. I need to train to be a coach because I really do believe in this work and I really enjoy helping others and serving others.

 

Katarina Polonska:

My original hypothesis, I actually want to do relationship coaching and help people kind of connect themselves, relationship to self, because that’s where a lot of my own healing had come. And screw the money, screw whatever, I’m just going to be a nomad. And I had this vision of myself kind of living in this cold, damp spanish apartment, just like writing and coaching. And I was like, it’s fine. It’s better than grinding away twelve hour days in my London apartment being screamed at by someone. So that’s really when I decided to make that move and redefine what success looked like. And a week later I met my now husband at a music festival when I was actually, again, like redefining my own success and just having fun on my own. Went to a festival on my own, met him and he’d also gone through a very similar journey.

 

Katarina Polonska:

Like, very, very similar journey. He was from Canada, he was there on holiday in London, had also burnt out at work, had also experienced a lot of kind of stress and grief in the workspace, and had also decided to quit his normal job. His plan was to move to Colombia and buy a thinker and start doing retreats and kind of get some land. But we ended up here in Spain together and we both kind of took this journey and built something very different for ourselves than I would ever imagine that we’ve got. That was a really long answer. Sorry.

 

Anna Lundberg:

No, but it’s so fascinating, of course, so many threads and then the geopolitical context laid over it. And I hope your dad and his family are okay now. A couple of interesting things. There’s so many aspects of it. The comfort that you talked about is interesting, isn’t it? Because then contrasted with the sort of life or death drama, which is very real, I think we don’t realise how comfortable we are. And comfort can be very close to complacency. And I always think we’re worrying about these things that aren’t really a big deal if you zoom out. But of course they’re the things that you’re concerned about, so they are important to you.

 

Anna Lundberg:

But that contrast and it’s much harder to give up that comfort and to go off the path of the corporate career. You’re very successful, you’ve got the money, you’ve got the fiance. It’s all going swimmingly. So why on earth would you sort of pull the rug from under yourself? Covid, hit on top of that as well. And then interestingly, really interesting to hear that. Then when you sort of go out and rediscover, redefine these things, you then realign with another partner as well, I guess. Coming to the relationship piece, I’m curious because I know that the little I know about russian culture, it’s quite important that you get married young. Was that a feature at all? Is that sort of a cultural expectation that you carried with you?

 

Katarina Polonska:

Yeah, absolutely. That’s actually one of the things that fueled my studies of gender. Right. Of masculinity, femininity. Because I grew up in a very kind of gendered household, though, interestingly enough, my mom’s always been kind of hardworking out there, very successful, professional, and so has my dad. And ultimately, I think that’s what really led to their breakup, that they were both very ambitious people who kind of just grew apart. But yeah, I absolutely went to a girl school. I’ve always kind of had instilled into me that I have to be ultra, like, feminine and blah, blah, blah, and Slovakia is the same.

 

Katarina Polonska:

Right. It’s kind of very traditional stereotype of what it is to be a woman. And I think calling off. I mean, I always kind of knew that I’d probably get married later in life. And I got engaged when I was like 31 1st time around, or 30 years old first time around, which already felt a bit late, but I was like, at least I’m kind of on the timeline. And, yeah, like I said, I spent a lot of time at Oxford, like dismantling toxic femininity because that’s really what it is. It’s toxic femininity, dismantling all. But it’s still ingrained.

 

Katarina Polonska:

Right. It’s still very much a childhood core wound. And, yeah, it’s just something. When the whole engagement ended, it was so terrifying to be exposed out there of, oh, God, holy cow, I really messed this up. I’m not fitting into any stereotype at all anymore. I’m just kind of out on my own into the wilderness again. I didn’t want to be out in the wilderness. Very heavily cultured in that space, hugely.

 

Katarina Polonska:

And I think a lot of women have rebelled against those narratives for sure, especially the ones that have left. Yeah.

 

Anna Lundberg:

And I guess that’s one narrative. And then the other narrative, which I think I grew up more with, is you’re an independent woman, you don’t need a man. And that’s sort of the other extreme in a way that you sort of don’t because you’re earning your money and you’re living your best life. And why on earth would you? My story was always, well, why would I want a man around the house who just leaves his smelly socks and the seat up like I’m so happy? And that’s a narrative that perhaps is equally damaging depending on what you want. I think it’s an interesting, there’s lots of different stories that can be playing in your head and I certainly had to unravel a lot of that myself as well. So this kind of area that you help. So you said high performing women, that’s high achieving. What is the challenge in that? Why are we focusing so much on our careers? I guess to the detriment of other areas in particular relationships.

 

Katarina Polonska:

Yeah. And again, really good question. And I think it’s not to say that I wouldn’t be out there helping someone who isn’t some kind of high power professional. It’s really just because it’s a world that I understand. I understand how when we are successful in our careers we are often quite rational, logical people because the world of professionalism, especially corporate, is pretty rational and logical. Right. And so when we’re really up there thinking from the neck up and we’re up in our heads the whole time, we tend to miss and neglect the more soft. Hate that term, but like the soft skills and the emotional aspects of ourselves and there really isn’t any room for it in the professional world.

 

Katarina Polonska:

And so that’s something that again, I can really relate to because so much of my corporate life was spent performing, achieving, hitting my KPIs, hitting my goals, like strategy, all of this stuff. And then when it came to my relationships I was like, actually don’t know what the heck I’m doing here. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m going to assume that because everything else in my life is generally working out that this part of my life will generally work out and it’ll be fine like I think most people think. And then when it got to the point where I thought it was time to find a partner, I went ahead and I found a partner and ticked all my boxes and got that checklist and everything was fine. And he was also professional and together. It was like lovely professional life together. But what I realised very kind of, I wouldn’t even say quickly, but after about a year or so was I realised I’m actually not feeling that fulfilled here.

 

Katarina Polonska:

I don’t think he’s feeling that fulfilled. Something seems to be missing. And that’s when I started to realise there’s something deeper going on inside that I need to connect to, to actually have a fulfilling relationship. And I didn’t really know what it was. I was very disconnected from what it was. I couldn’t fathom what was possibly wrong, because on the surface, everything looked perfect, like Instagram perfect. And so that’s what I see a lot of in these kind of successful lives is that things might look great on the surface. I work with a lot of founders.

 

Katarina Polonska:

Your startup might have exited, you might be doing really well, you might be scaling, you might be growing beneath the surface. There’s a lot of loneliness, a lot of self disconnect, and then from that, a lot of stress, anxiety and burnout that are kind of the symptoms. And I noticed that within myself. And it was only when I began to solve for the relationship part of my life that everything else began to get solved. And so is this kind of like neglected space that very successful professionals find that they often have and often don’t even know they actually have it right. The assumption is like, no one’s really that happy, or it’s fine, it’s good enough.

 

Anna Lundberg:

And they’re so interconnected, aren’t they? As you said, it’s quite neglected because we look at things in isolation. And I’ve had people come to me in the past, they want to change their career and their business needs to grow. And all these things, sometimes they’ve ended up not prioritising that and actually prioritising. Actually, I’m in my 30s. I’d like to meet someone. I’d like to perhaps have a baby. And that’s just completely changed how they look at things. And they still come back to wanting to build a fulfilling business, but it’s on different terms to some extent.

 

Anna Lundberg:

So it’s just the interconnectedness, like we talked about, the health as well. If you’re burning out of your stress, you’re not going to be able to build a successful business or career. Likewise, if you’re feeling really lonely and anxious or longing to have a different relationship status, whatever it is, that will have an impact, too. You mentioned before the masculine feminine piece. I find that really interesting because I’ve read very little bit about it and I do think there’s some truth in it. And the idea that we can be very sort of masculine energy, focused on goals and driving forwards and so on. And then it’s hard to settle into that, as you said, soft, more feminine energy. But you also said you were kind of debunking that.

 

Anna Lundberg:

So I’m curious, can you tell me more about that distinction and whether it’s helpful or not.

 

Katarina Polonska:

No, well, I think the way you phrased it is helpful. Right. And just kind of to go back to your earlier point in the world of corporate, I keep calling it a corporate, but again, it could be startup life. Whatever it is, it is a very masculine space because, I mean, it’s a capitalist space. It’s all about producing and doing, and it’s very masculine energy. And if we’re talking about energies here, and with that often comes this idea that I actually don’t need anyone. I’m fine. I mean, I fell into that trap too, of like, I actually don’t need anyone, I’ll be fine.

 

Katarina Polonska:

I have a couple of friends and my family at a distance, and that’s enough. I don’t need anyone. I’m fine with my work, I’m fine with my fulfilment, I’m fine with my hobbies, with whatever it might be, and then whole separate trajectory. But we can get onto that dopamine addiction, right? Where we make money, we spend money on things that make us feel good immediately. And when then we spend more money and we kind of keep chasing these little quick dopamine hits, as opposed to going to the deeper, longer term dopamine hit, which is finding love and finding a healthy relationship. It’s slower, but it’s much more sustainable. And so with that kind of masculine feminine stuff, I think what I was debunking, what I do debunk is this idea that women are inherently have to be feminine and men inherently have to be masculine, right? Like there’s this very archaic thinking when we talk about masculine feminine energies, which even my own husband, he hates his terms, he’s like, oh, makes him feel egg. It’s not about the gendered lens, it’s just about the different qualities that are associated with the different energies.

 

Katarina Polonska:

And they’ve just got labelled that way. Right? You can call it ying and yang, whatever you want to call it, but the idea is everyone’s a blend of both. We’re all a blend of both. You might have a core essence, which you have a leaning towards one or the other, and typically that will be connected to your gender identity and how you show up in the world. But generally speaking, we’re all a blend of both. And a healthy individual will have a blend of both. They’ll be able to express both. So someone who might be a man who’s more masculine, identified, still needs to have a really healthy feminine side to him.

 

Katarina Polonska:

He has to be able to express emotion and to feel love and to soften and to lean in and connect with his needs. He has to, otherwise he’s going to burn out. He’s going to be running on empty. He’s going to be running as like an empty shell, which I see a lot of, again, especially in that kind of more corporate world. And the same way with women who identify as more feminine and kind of more feminine beings. They still have to have a healthy masculine, like an unhealthy feminine being is going to be like. If we think about masculine qualities as being kind of more structured, more productive, like more doing all of this stuff. An unhealthy feminine without any integrated masculine is going to be a little bit all over the place, right? She’s not going to have any control over her finances.

 

Katarina Polonska:

She might be a little bit needy and expect someone to kind of be the breadwinner and provide for her, unable to provide for herself. She might not know about saving money and actually showing up at her work and being bit disciplined with times and all of these things. Again, it’s not about the gender, it’s just about the different energies. And we’re always a blend of the two. I still haven’t figured out what’s a more productive way of talking about this using the more mainstream language. But the main thing I was debunking is that we’re kind of one or the other, and you’re born with their sex, and then that sex dictates your gender, and then that gender is like these things now, which is not. That’s where toxic mass within a toxic feminine to come from, because it’s so kind of polarised and you’re so extreme with either that you’re not really a fully fledged human.

 

Anna Lundberg:

And as with everything, I guess these concepts are useful until they’re not. So as long as you have the caveat and understand, they’re not going to define you and put you in a book, but they can give you a slightly different perspective, maybe, and think of things that you’re neglecting. And when I talk about going back to sort of my five L’s model, these five areas, I’m always careful to say, look, you’re not aiming for ten out of ten on each area all the time. There will be a natural ebb and flow putting you on the spot. Is it possible to have an uber successful, fulfilling career and a super successful, fulfilling, wonderful, accomplished relationship, as you put it, and the well being and all these things? Is that possible over the long term? Will there be ups and I mean, I’m almost answering a question myself, so I’ll stop there. But is it possible to have it all, I guess, is the question.

 

Katarina Polonska:

Yeah, I think it is. I think it is. I think you have to be really clear on defining what is having it all to you. Right. Like, if having it all is I want to be working 90 hours weeks and generating billions again, I’m just making this up. And I also want to never, ever fight with my partner and have the most radiant holiday style romance every single day. That might be a little bit unrealistic, but if it’s I want a successful career where I feel personally quite fulfilled and I have enough money to have kind of some disposable income and we have savings and we have a future planned, and then I have quality time with my partner and we connect on a daily basis and her needs are met and my needs are met. Absolutely.

 

Katarina Polonska:

It’s all about being more intentional. That’s kind of what I always try to get across and probably why I feel more comfortable working with the more kind of corporate professionals rather than someone who maybe they’re a bit artsy and maybe they have an abundance of cash and they don’t need to work, because I can’t really relate to that. I don’t know what you do if you’ve got 20 hours of free time in the day. Like, I genuinely don’t. I know what to do if I’m busy eight to 10 hours of the day at my desk or maybe a little bit less. And then I have to find ways to connect with my partner and maintain the relationship, which I think is kind of the mainstream challenge that at least folks on LinkedIn have. And so that’s what I know how to solve for, which is really about intentionality and getting really granular about what are we solving for with every moment that we have together. And it might seem a little bit kind of overthinking it, but it’s like with anything, if you can overthink things in the beginning and set the foundations up, well, then absolutely you can have it all.

 

Katarina Polonska:

And that doesn’t mean that there’s not going to be bumps along the road, as you said.

 

Anna Lundberg:

Now you’re talking about language. Intentionality is so important. I think knowing what you want is really the start of anything, whatever the area of your life, including, oh, I want to lose weight and get fit. Okay, but what does that actually mean? And really getting granular on that. A couple of questions to finish up. I guess if somebody is resonating with this and feeling, oh, I really have been, like, hustling away. Yes, I’m successful. All looks great on the outside, but either they’re single and they haven’t been prioritising trying to meet someone, or perhaps they’re in a relationship.

 

Anna Lundberg:

Could be the wrong relationship, or at least they’re not dedicating enough time and energy to the relationship. What can you tell them as one step, I guess they can take, or how they can think about it to start making a change?

 

Katarina Polonska:

Yeah, I’d say the kind of the biggest first step is to get really honest with yourself, which is actually a really hard step. I think most of us are lying to ourselves on a daily basis. Again, I think it’s part of being in a corporate capitalist world. I think we have to lie to ourselves, otherwise we’d all lose our minds a little bit if we realised that all the golden handcuffs that we’re in, but get really honest with yourself about what isn’t, isn’t working for you, and then the things that aren’t working for you, again, get really honest on those. Don’t try to sugarcoat it, don’t try to hide from yourself, but really be honest and clear. And then what are you going to do about it? Because when we can be honest with ourselves, it’s already a big part of self awareness. But when we are honest with ourselves and we don’t actually do anything about it, we’re actually potentially hurting ourselves because we’re creating a kind of cognitive dissonance, a discrepancy between I know something and I refuse to act on it. Right.

 

Katarina Polonska:

Like that erodes self trust. Self trust is all based, I know something and I’m going to change it, because I respect and validate what I know and I’m giving myself that acknowledgment. That’s something I really struggled with most of my life, which is knowing something intuitively or being aware of something and then not doing anything about it, and that can chip away at you over time.

 

Anna Lundberg:

That is huge. The disconnect between sort of knowing where you want to be and not doing anything about it can be soul destroying. That’s huge.

 

Katarina Polonska:

Absolutely.

 

Anna Lundberg:

Coming back full circle, then. What does success look like for you today?

 

Katarina Polonska:

Yeah, great question. Success. It all comes down to freedom for me, and freedom comes down to love as well. Right? So when I know that I’m successfully in love, like when I’m happily in love with my life, with my partner, with my work, then I’m free, because my mind is at peace and I’m not kind of chasing anything and that looks like having freedom of mobility. So right now I’m living in a pizza. I don’t know where I’m going to live in the next few years. We don’t know where we’re going to end up being. Having kind of freedom of mind and not being stressed too much by where’s my next paycheck coming from? Or like, am I going to get screamed at by my boss? Am I going to hit my targets? All the kind of classical worries there and, yeah, just having freedom, like, freedom to choose my own destiny, freedom to choose my own life path, freedom to choose where I am and the freedom all around that’s huge and tapped in.

 

Anna Lundberg:

So many different ways.

 

Katarina Polonska:

So beautiful.

 

Anna Lundberg:

Where can we find out more about you? What’s the best place for people to go if they want to learn more about what you do and how you could help?

 

Katarina Polonska:

Yeah, it’ll be my website. Tonnes and tonnes of stuff on there. The blog is also quite rich with some kind of tutorials and things to do, and there’s a diagnostic as well, so if anyone wants to see what might be blocking them, I built it out with a psychologist. I’m pretty proud of it, but it’s Katerinapolonska.com. Perfect.

 

Anna Lundberg:

We’ll put that in the show notes as well. Katerina, thank you so much. It was lovely to hear and thank you for your generosity and transparency in sharing your personal and professional journey, as well as giving your advice. So thank you for your time and here’s to your success this year. And.

 

Katarina Polonska:

Oh, thank you. You perfect.

 

Anna Lundberg:

Thanks so much.

 

Katarina Polonska:

You’re very welcome.

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This privacy policy sets out how One Step Outside uses and protects any information that you give One Step Outside when you use this website (https://onestepoutside.com/).

One Step Outside is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.

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What information we collect and why

We only ever collect the information that we need in order to serve you.

Generally, this just means collecting your first name and email address that you enter, for example, when you request a resource, register for a webinar, or submit a message via a contact form.

If you are a paying customer, we also collect your billing information including your last name and your postal address.

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Google

We use Google Analytics to track and optimise performance on this site as well as embedding video content from YouTube, and this means that your web browser automatically sends certain information to Google. This includes the URL of the page that you’re visiting and your IP address. Google may also set cookies on your browser or read cookies that are already there. Apps that use Google advertising services also share information with Google, such as the name of the app and a unique identifier for advertising.

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Your information will be shared with these service providers only where necessary to enable us to run our business.

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If you leave a comment, the comment and its metadata are retained indefinitely. This is so we can recognise and approve any follow-up comments automatically instead of holding them in a moderation queue.

For users that register on our website, we also store the personal information they provide in their user profile. All users can see, edit, or delete their personal information at any time (except they cannot change their username). Website administrators can also see and edit that information.

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Changes to our privacy policy

We keep our privacy policy under regular review. Initially created on 18th November 2016, it was last updated on 23rd May 2018 to be compliant with GDPR.

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