There are as many different happiness journeys as there are people on this planet. With that in mind, I’ve started to reach out to other happy people and ask them to share their stories with you through interviews on this site. My hope is that you’ll find ideas about what to try in your life and permission to stop doing what you assume everyone else is doing.
Kate Stoltzfus knows everyone. At least, that’s how it seemed to me after living in Pittsburgh for a few months. On the rare occasion she wasn’t physically present at an event – either as host or attendee – her name would come up in conversation, accompanied by a sincere smile from the person mentioning her. One of the things that fascinated me about Kate was that I couldn’t figure out exactly what her job was. It almost seemed like she was making a living by just hanging out and making friends with people.
I knew I had to find out more about this woman.
As it turns out, she is an incredible business coach and people connector. She’s also one of the happiest people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with, and I’m honored to share part of her happiness journey with you.
What makes you happy?
So much! Here are just a few things that bring a smile to my face:
Meeting new people and hearing their stories, introducing friends to one another, organizing events via Propelle and CreativeMornings/Pittsburgh, writing (and receiving) handwritten thank you notes, traveling, loving and appreciating what I have, baking cookies with my grandma and aunts, hula hooping, getting 90 minute massages, writing blog posts and articles, running around playgrounds with my niece and nephew, and hosting dinner parties.
Also, my husband Nik and cat Sgt. Pepper keep me laughing on the regular.
How and when did you figure that out?
I’ve experienced depression several times in my life, most recently when I was 25 years old. I’d say one of the good things about feeling completely helpless and miserable is that when you do feel happy again, it feels nothing short of a miracle.
When the fog of depression finally began to clear for me, I promised myself that I would pay close attention during the times I was feeling truly happy, so that I could make an effort to add more of those activities to my life.
Once you discovered what makes you happy, did you find it easy to make that part of your life more frequently? Why or why not?
Having the specific goal of 100 interviews on my blog, Yinzpiration, kept me in the practice of meeting new people. Nothing like a little structure/discipline!
In terms of traveling, it helped when I decided to join my husband as an entrepreneur. We both value having flexible schedules above almost everything else, and it made it possible to go on a two month cross-countrylast summer.
I make “happy” activities a priority in my schedule, and I keep up with my self-care (exercise, meditation, massage) so that burnout remains at bay. I feel like scheduling time for having fun is just as important as paying the bills or going to the dentist.
Are there any “shoulds” you’ve had to let go of in order to pursue your happiness?
In my early 20s I felt like I was supposed to obtain a graduate level degree, but I was frustrated that I wasn’t attracted to a particular field or program. Finally, I talked myself into pursuing one at Carnegie Mellon University.
Luckily, the universe had other plans for me and I ended up bombing the GRE. As embarrassing as my big test fail is, I now know it happened for a reason. I’m definitely glad I did not get a degree just for the sake of getting a degree! And once I stopped being so hard on myself for not having a set of letters after my name, new and interesting opportunities began to appear.