Sustainable Self coaching and consulting services broadly within the sustainability space
Please introduce yourself and Sustainable Self, Inc. to our readers!
Hey! I’m Dr. Katelyn Dowling, a multi-passionate millennial thought leader and business woman based in Los Angeles, CA. I am the founder and CEO of Sustainable Self, Inc. where we offer coaching and consulting services broadly within the sustainability space. I also speak at corporate events on a variety of topics from imagination and creativity to the secret superpower of your heart’s electromagnetic field.
How did you get the idea for Sustainable Self, Inc.?
The idea of Sustainable Self came to me when I was in my mid-20s. At the time, I was researching the emotional side of global environmental problems and realized that nobody was systematically attending to the innately human side of these complex issues. Since then, a few solid organizations have popped up. One example would be the Deep Adaptation Guidance Network, but there are many grassroots groups helping people and organizations to cope with the threat of environmental and social collapse.
It’s still fairly taboo to come out and directly say, “Wake up folks! We are the virus on the Planet.”
But that too is changing, and unless you begin to deeply accept the existential predicament our species is facing, our global systems won’t change. We have been conditioned to fear and resist change at our own peril. I think my experience working with severe mental illness, which includes people with suicidal thoughts, helped me to normalize talking about the plausible extinction of human civilization. However far-out it sounds, many global leaders are having these conversations behind closed doors. Some are even starting to talk about it publicly.
If you want an example, look no further than the Prince of Wales! He recently came out with a 10-point recovery plan that challenges global business executives to “put nature, people and the planet at the heart of global value creation” over the next decade. Or else… Which is code for “we’re probably going to die if we don’t change; fast.” That is where Sustainable Self comes in. We help leaders facilitate complex transformations from a state of coherence. Which is when your heart and your brain sync up to generate basically the same resonant frequency as the Earth itself. This matters, because the kind of changes we desperately need are bound to ruffle some feathers.
Why did you decide to start with Sustainable Self, Inc.?
When COVID-19 emerged on the planet, I realized there was nobody coming to save us from ourselves. I kept hoping the pleiadians would reveal themselves and we homo sapiens would come to our senses, but that hasn’t happened. I realized I didn’t want to die with the doubt that I could have made a bigger impact. I’m just one woman from Palo Alto, California. Statistically speaking, I have what is commonly known as a “snowball’s chance in hell” of making any significant difference in our global economic system. But you know what we kids say, right? #YOLO
All irreverent jokes aside, the transformation of our global economy from traditional 20th century models to ones that look more like a doughnut will not happen overnight. Driving change within large-scale organizations with massive footprints across the globe is not easy. Even imagining the complexity of the interrelated variables and levels of sustained cooperation that will be required across industries is mind-bending. In many cases, the data structures and information needed to make analytic decisions don’t even exist. It’s like steering a spaceship through the universe without a starmap. Then there are the human factors.
Like miscommunication, ego, bias, fear of change, cultural differences, values and beliefs, etc.
Business leaders are not trained to attend to the emotional and psychological variables associated with systems change. They perceive themselves as objective, logical, and results-oriented problem solvers. That might be true, but logic alone is insufficient to persuade the scale of change needed to avoid our own extinction. Emotional variables are often those that thwart well-intentioned attempts to do things differently. The good news is that there is a simple trick to flip the script. When you are able to shift from solving the problem exclusively with your brain to using the innate intelligence of your heart, solutions become surprisingly simple.
What is the vision behind Sustainable Self, Inc.?
To create greater harmony between human, natural, and technological systems.
How difficult was the start and which challenges did you have to overcome?
Initially, I had a lot of assumptions about what it meant to be a CEO and run my own business. I thought to myself, “I didn’t get an MBA or study finance. What do I know about running a business and helping business leaders to transform their businesses?”
Once I got over my fear of being labeled a quack and started trusting in my training and education to facilitate transformation, it was a pretty easy leap. I constantly hear clients struggle with the human side of leadership. I remind them that relationships drive results and you can’t solve a problem from the same level of consciousness that created it. When I re-framed my own success with that in mind, the rest fell into place.
Who is your target audience?
My ideal clients are people like Alan Jope, Brain Moynihan, Pascal Soriot, Cecilia Martinez, Larry Fink, Anne Richards, Wang Gaofei, Nicolaas Marais, Bernard Looney, Meg Whitman, Pawel Kisielewski, Tao Desheng, Noel Quinn, Benedikt Sobotka, Stephanie Pfeifer, Eric Rondolat, Caspar von Koskull, Werner Baumann… You know, just ordinary people with extraordinary responsibility to humanity.
What is the USP of your startup?
We teach humans how to be ecological JEDI’s; to be someone who embodies the value system of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion for all life on Earth at the core of their being-to be someone who attunes to the innate intelligence of their heart to guide them in making difficult decisions regarding the future of life on Earth. I am confident that there are many businesses doing this implicitly in their work. Few have the cojones to say it is explicitly the purpose of their company’s existence. But beyond teaching JEDI skills like heart-brain coherence, Sustainable Self, Inc. brings a sophisticated and nuanced approach to problem-solving across a variety of business problems.
Can you describe your typical workday?
My work day is only typical in the sense that I have clear boundaries around when I work and when I don’t work. Generally, my days involve a fair amount of breathing and play. I think it was Alan Watts who said, “The real secret of life is to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”
Where do you see yourself and Sustainable Self, Inc. in five years?
I imagine in five years time the ethos driving the Sustainable Self paradigm shift will be widely accepted and embraced globally-that humans deeply believe greater harmony among natural and technological systems is possible. We have begun embodying the values of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in our daily lives. We honor the fundamental importance of environmental health as a predicate for human health. Biodiversity in all of its infinite wisdom from the soil to the soul is valued.
While the tide of the American political pendulum will certainly aid in this transformation, the tidal wave of evolutionary development we are riding is much broader than any one national platform. As for me personally, I am hopeful that in five years’ time my family and community will be healthy, my heart will continue to guide my actions, and I will have made some small contribution to the developmental leap required at this phase in our species’ evolution. Maybe I’ll be facilitating dialogue between the United Nations and the interstellar species out there rooting for us to wake up and get our house in order. Who knows.
What three tips would you give to other founders?
Ask yourself this question: seven generations from now, what will descendants of humanity look back and say about the choices I made in my life? Am I living in alignment with my greatest purpose? Or am I playing small because I’m afraid it won’t make a difference in the bigger picture? Does my business align with the values I hold for the kind of world that I want my family to live in?
Thank you Dr. Katelyn Dowling for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.