Our guest today: Caitie Whelan
Caitie Whelan (pronounced WHALE-in) is the Noter-in-Chief for The Lightning Notes, a website that delivers short daily posts to help us move the world forward. It features striking stories and great ideas to remind us that we matter and improving our world matters. Caitie is not a writer by trade. Not long ago, she worked as a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor in Congress. After four years, she decided it was time to take a dream deferred and make it a reality.
In Part 1 of my interview with Caitie, we explored a life well-lived in DC, including what it was like to work on Capital Hill and be in the trenches with a intellectual community day in and day out. We had the opportunity to dive into Caitie’s routine and daily life as a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor too, a profession many of us know little about. Part 1 is also when you experience a sliver of Caitie’s desire in figuring what she wanted to do next.
In Part 2, we unveil the journey of Caitie’s departure from Washington, D.C. to Brooklyn, New York. Transitioning from a comfortable life, envious career, stable income to what she calls “a total White Belt”. Caitie discovered the magic of having abundance in other parts of her life such as creativity, inspiration, entrepreneurship.
Speaking of inspiration, Caitie gives a lot of credit to the one and only, Mary Oliver. “Mary has written everything people already talked about but Mary said that she pays ‘very, very close attention to the world'” In The Lightening Note, Caitie captivates people, places and things that move her and help her become her better self.
What we discussed and explored:
- What’s Caitie’s creative process for The Lightening Notes?
- What are women empowered to do these days? And how should we go about doing that?
- Why did Caitie transition from a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to a full time writer?
- What is The Lightning Notes’ origin story?
- What is it like to work on Capital Hill?
- What’s Caitie’s daily routine in Congress? (Cheatsheet: Unlike many other professions, there’s no typical day at the Congress. Lunch can happen at any time.)
- What did Caitie do and test out before fully committing to The Lightening Notes?
- What was the pilot process of Lightening Note Version 1?
- What are some of key changes and decisions made transitioning to Brooklyn, New York?
- What does Caitie mean by “seeking abundance in other parts of my life”?
- Caitie’s belief: how we spend our money is how we spend our values
- The Lightening Notes monetization model
- Caitie’s question for Fei: How to decide on one’s next project? (What to put our limited time and energy into?)
- The magic of NOT knowing
- Caitie’s advice for those who are ready for transitions
- SCORE – Free business advice, classes and more.
- Maria Popova / Brain Pickings
- Kevin Kelly 1,000 true fans
- Seth Godin Freelancer Course (on Udemy)
- Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) -“With each decision, we tell the world and ourselves who we are.”
- Penn and Teller “Treating every show like the most important thing in our selves”
- Albert Einstein – “If the idea isn’t absurd, there’s no hope for it”.
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