What you'll learn in this podcast:
- Science Says—Explore the impact of technology on social well-being.
- Life Hack—Learn the simple strategy for brain matching.
- Practitioner’s Corner—Katrina Goff shares how transitioning from a dental clinic to a resilience coach and trainer changed her life.
Read the interview from the Practitioner's Corner:
Transcription provided by The Flourishing Center
Emiliya: Hello everyone and welcome Katrina Goff to our positive psychology Practitioner Corner. Katrina is a Certified Resilience Trainer through The Flourishing Center. She helps people talk back to their thoughts, work with their emotions, and show up in the world the way they want to. She's joining us today from Ozark, Missouri. Something you might not know about Katrina is that she is a grandmother to 20 children. That's two-zero, 20 children. Her and her husband are blessed that between them they have eight children and 20 grandchildren. She is not only thriving in family but thriving in opportunities to share positive psychology with the world. We're so excited to have her here. Thank you Katrina.
Katrina: Thank you Emiliya. It's a pleasure to be here today.
Emiliya: Katrina, tell us what brought you to this work?
Katrina: Oh my goodness. I was on a journey. I went back to school and I was working in a dental clinic. That's where most of my experience work wise has been. I was working with the military but also very passionate to me is helping people to have healthy, happy relationships. I thought that I was on a path to become a marriage and family therapist, but somewhere along the way all the work with the military and hearing my patients come in and share with me that they had PTSD. They would share their stories but I just always noticed their countenance dropped every time that they told me, "Ma'am, I might hit the floor if I hear a loud noise." When they just mentioned that they had PTSD, these very macho and brave men would look defeated.
My first class with anything to do with positive psychology was a social psychology class. That was where I first learned about post traumatic growth. I was hooked. I had something that I could share with people that could give them hope rather than a diagnosis that didn't give them hope. I'll never forget the next patient that came in and shared with me that he had PTSD. I listened to his story as I always did and I sat there and then when the opportunity arose, I just asked the patient, "Have you ever heard of post traumatic growth?" He had not and he wanted to know more. I shared with him that it was growth that occurs after you've had a traumatic event and that you either experience a greater purpose and meaning in life, a connection to others, a greater appreciation for your own life, better relationships and connection to a cause. I'll never forget the look on that patient's face when he said, "Ma'am, I got that. I think I have that," and was able to share and pick out a story of how he had been in an improvised explosive device detonation, an IED.
Through that, when he came back, he was a drill sergeant so he was able to share with his new recruits how to avoid IEDs because he had experienced it firsthand himself. His whole face lit up. You just saw the positive change that happened. That was my first piece of positive psychology that I learned and I couldn't get enough from there.
Emiliya: Wow. What an incredibly touching story, Katrina. Thank you. What are some of the ways in which you're implementing positive psychology today?
Katrina: I have been blessed to be able to implement it in many different ways. For the last four years, I've taught at a career college so I knew that these skills and positive psychology were the missing piece of the curriculum, that we could teach people skills and we could teach them knowledge in their field. Positive psychology helps people be able to handle life. We can teach skills that help you show up in the world the way that you want to. I use character strengths with my students so they were able to be prepared for an interview knowing where they were strong. They didn't go into an interview and say, "I'm bubbly." They actually knew where their strengths lied and how they had used them to help them through challenges. That was very empowering.
I participated in several years of “character day” at the school and that was really always very rewarding for me as well. I taught a lot of resilience skills as well to my students. I found that growth mindset and fixed mindset showed up so much in my students and how I could help them to see that and to ask questions that were going to leave them somewhere rather than questions that just cause them to judge themselves.
Emiliya: For our listeners that are tuning in that might not be familiar with growth mindset and fixed mindset, can you tell us how to share this concept with others?
Katrina: I definitely can. Growth mindset and fixed mindset comes from Carol Dweck. I have to admit that I had the book for a while without ever reading it. I knew it was a book I wanted to get to but once I dove into that book and I could see how much that all of us have these tendencies to not just be one way or the other, but both of them show up in our lives in certain ways. Growth mindset will lead people to embrace challenges and to see that we can learn from failure. Fixed mindset tends to show up where you see people who are afraid to make any mistake whatsoever. They don't want to do a procedure. They don't want to learn a new task because they're afraid that they won't be good enough, and why make a mistake?
I saw that so often with my students so I was able to teach them that we learn through making mistakes. That was the perfect place to be learning and making mistakes was when we had plastic patients rather than real patients because those times you don't want to make a mistake. I was able to help them to see that and to hopefully recognize it in other areas of their lives so that they could persevere outside the classroom with those skills as well.
Emiliya: Thank you for sharing that Katrina. I'm curious, what are some of the more poignant ways in which positive psychology has personally impacted you?
Katrina: I think one of the key things again is the character strengths and how, when I was able to recognize my own character strengths and how they showed up my life, then I could really feel free to incorporate those. Even though I was already incorporating them, they're how we show up in the world, but it really gave me a better understanding of myself. Plus, it helps me to look at others and be able to see their strengths and how teams are formed and how we can—where I'm weak and I can use where someone else is strong to accomplish a goal better.
Growth mindset and fixed mindset shows up in my world as well. There are still challenges for me. I'm probably in that big group of people that feel that sales is one of those things that I'm just not good at, yet I know through all of this education and this field that we can learn and develop if we put enough time, practice, and get the right resources, that we can be good at anything that we choose to do in life and that there's nothing that's outside of our reach. It may take me a little bit longer, that may not be an area that I'm super strong in, but I can develop those skills.
Emiliya: Thank you Katrina. What are some of the most exciting things you're up to right now?
Katrina: I have just accepted a position at a community dental clinic as a coordinator of six dental clinics. With this work, I will be able to use positive psychology in my training and hiring and evaluations and putting teams together. I'm really, really excited to find a position that allows me to use my skills and my work as well as my love and passion and knowledge in positive psychology. It's just a great fit. I have a lot of freedom to incorporate this as I see will benefit the teams and the clinics. I'm really excited about that.
Emiliya: Thank you Katrina. In positive psychology, we frequently talk a lot about the importance of self-care. We say that self-care is healthcare. What are some of the self-care principles that guide you in your day to day life?
Katrina: I'm so glad you brought that up because that is something that I really do incorporate into my life. Sometimes we get so busy that we actually forget even though we know this is so important to who we are. It's so important to take that time to replenish ourselves. One of the things that I do that my husband thinks is pretty funny is I refuse to choose where we eat. It’s something that depletes me to make that decision, so I don't really like that; I save my decisions for more important things in life, so I tell him I don't have to choose where we eat. I'll just pick what I want when we get there. I love being out in nature. I do love the beauty of the sunrise and the sunset and the stars and the ocean.
Recently, my husband and I just got back from Florida. We were able to take some down time to just really invest in ourselves personally and in our relationship because both of us are in this helping field of coaching and speaking and training. We do tend to put so many other people before ourselves so we do have to recognize that self-care, whether that's a bubble bath, whether that's just quiet time, your favorite music, exercise, whatever that works for you. For me, I enjoy quiet time and I do enjoy just the beauty of nature around me.
Emiliya: Thank you for sharing that. One of the questions we've been asking our interviewees is: What is your definition of what it means to flourish?
Katrina: That's a great question, Emiliya. I definitely love “to show up the world the way that you want to.” I think that we all have that ability when we are equipped with the skillset and mindset of resilience. It really does help us to push through life and to thrive. I feel like when we're using our gifts, our skills, and our passions and we're incorporating that as our purpose in life, how we show up in this world, that's when I feel like I'm thriving. That's where I feel like I am right now in my life because that I have been equipped with the knowledge from The Flourishing Center and through other sources as well and that I know what my gifts are, I know what my strengths are, and I know what I'm passionate about, and I know that I get to show up in the world and I get to use my purpose. I take my purpose with me everywhere that I am. I think so many people are so scared of the word purpose and they are thinking it's elusive in that they can't reach it when our purpose is what we're living daily. We can take that with us.
Recently, I was struggling with a few things. We hear when your why is big enough, you don't have to worry about your how. I thought about that and it's so true but when your why is big enough, you don't have to worry about your how or your where. All you have to worry about is that you do because you take that calling and that purpose with you. When you do that, you are thriving.
Emiliya: Wow. Such an inspiration with those words, Katrina. Yes, the words “showing up the world the way that you want to,” which refers it to me by Dr. Srikumar Rao, are ones that I both repeat often. It's a question I ask myself often, "Am I showing up in the world the way that I want to? How do I want to show up in the world around this situation?" It's a powerful question to ask.
Katrina, what have you found have been some of the biggest obstacles you faced in trying to introduce positive psychology? Some would say, "Wow, in a dental office, how does that work?" I would imagine that not every single person is not as bright eyed and bushy tailed, or some people might think you've drank some Kool-Aid.
I think one of the biggest challenges is just helping people to understand that positive psychology isn't “happyology.” It isn't about happy all the time. There is definitely times in our lives and situations where it's not appropriate to be happy but working with our emotions, not getting stuck in our emotions, is one of the things that I really want people to know. That is how I want to help them in this world, is learning when and how. It's learning character strengths, when you can overuse one or underuse one. There's just so much that we can use in positive psychology to touch every person. I believe it belongs in every company, every organization. I think just that it's still so new to a lot of people—they just aren't understanding what we have to offer in the world. I think reframing it in ways that really help people to realize the benefit is one of the ways that we can push past some of these challenges.
Emiliya: Katrina, how can people learn more about you and follow up with you if they have any questions about your work?
Katrina: Probably the best way is on my Facebook, PS3 Coaching. That's usually where you'll see my workshops that I have going on. You'll also see a link to the character strengths survey so that everyone can have access to that information. If they want more information on what to do from that, then they can reach me. I give a free consultation and help people to see if incorporating coaching can help them to reach those goals in their life that they would like to. I give a lot of workshops at the Bounce Back Better® system. Thank you, Emiliya, for creating that and sharing that with us so that we can share it in the world, one of the most incredible experiences that I ever had to go through the program as well as the CAPP Program. Both of those are so intense in my life and they have really equipped me with everything I need to help people to know more about this work.
I teach pieces of positive psychology that I incorporate in with MLMs. I recently did a Growing Your Mindset, Growing Your Business. I just incorporated some pieces of the growth mindset from Carol Dweck and some other elements that I feel like are very important for people to grow their business and just understand those key elements of how our self-doubt shows up and what we can do with that.
Emiliya: I know earlier we mentioned that you have such a robust family. I'm curious, how do you bring positive psychology to eight children and 20 grandchildren?
Katrina: They get it whether they want it or not probably. It's who I am. It's how I show up in the world. I love that I have this knowledge base to share with my children and our grandchildren, teaching them how to look for what's strong in others, even growth mindset. I sat down with one of my granddaughters who has very high expectations for herself. She was reading and every time she came to a word that she didn't understand, if I had to help her with the word or if I chose to help her when she wasn't getting the word, then she would stop and she would go back to the page and start all over again. I thought, "Well, how can I incorporate growth mindset into this situation with my granddaughter to help her to understand?" I said, "Can I read the next poem in your book?" She said, "Yes, Nana, you can."
I started to read and I got to a word and I pretended that I didn't understand the word or didn't know how to pronounce the word and I tried to pronounce it. Then, I said, "Can you help me with this? This is kind of a tough one." I said, "You know? It's okay that we don't know every word. It's all right that we're just learning. The next time we'll probably get it right after we learn it." We got through that and I did that exercise with her a few times. The next time when she went to read again, every time she came to a word that she would try and did not know how to pronounce, she would look at me, I would help her and then she would say it and she would continue on. She didn't have the need to go back to the beginning of the story again because she didn't want to be wrong.
I thought, "Wow, I teach this but this is real time." We can see how beneficial this is in real time to teach our children and our grandchildren that it's our right to make a mistake. We don't have to be perfect and we learn from our mistakes.
Emiliya: I love that. Thank you for sharing such a specific and impactful way to bring growth mindset into the life of a child. Again, just want to highlight how it's the micro moments, those tiny little moments that add up to the bigger changes that we can make over time. Katrina, thank you so much for being here with us. It's been an honor to learn more about you and how you're implementing this work in the world. Thank you so much for sharing everything that you have with us.
Katrina: Thank you Emiliya. I really appreciated the opportunity. As I said before, I can't thank you enough for creating the CAPP Program, the Certification in Applied Positive Psychology, and I followed that program for a while before I was able to step out and take it. It was one of the most impactful things in my entire life. Then with the Bounce Back Better® Program as well. Everyone needs this information. Every company, every organization, every school needs it. I'm just so proud to be able to pin it into my piece of the world and help people to have the skills to face adversity and just keep going.
Emiliya: Thank you so much Katrina. It's an honor to be able to just create the container and share these tools. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Have a question about the science of happiness and wellbeing? Or, have an issue that you'd love a life hack around? Send us a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'd love to offer you some positive psychology based skills to address your questions. Thanks for listening and we look forward to connecting with you soon.