Why I Write About Personal Development


Have you ever heard the phrase, “you teach best what you most need to learn”? I’ve been thinking about this concept recently and I came to a realization about why it’s true.

In 2010, while living in Hawaii, I taught photography to a local woman. Her original goal, she told me, was to learn to shoot in-the-moment photographs like I do but, over time, she preferred to spend our lessons exploring Lightroom rather than honing her shooting skills. That worked well for both of us because it turned out that I struggled to teach her how to capture moments.

You see, photographing moments comes naturally to me. It’s practically inherent, the skillset I use listening, watching, and anticipating a peak moment. I do it in my everyday life, whether or not I have a camera in hand, because I prefer to sit on the sidelines and watch action rather than dropping into the middle of it.

Because my shooting habits are so ingrained, I discovered that I was bad at teaching them. I haven’t gone through the in-depth thought processes and trial and error required to break them down into easy components and explain them effectively. Teaching Lightroom, however, came easily because it was something I had to learn first.

It is for that same reason I feel equipped to write about and teach personal development, from how to change your viewpoints to how to love yourself more. Those were hard-won lessons for me.

I didn’t pop out of the womb confident, open-minded, and zenful. Or maybe I did and I lost those facets of myself along the way. Regardless, these personal-growth learnings were ones I’ve had to work at and cultivate over time. I still work at them.

There’s something so powerful in going through the process of learning something, isn’t there? When you’ve always known it, how can you teach it? It’s just there. You know it unequivocally. Teaching it then becomes an exercise in spouting platitudes, at least from my experience.

“How do you photograph a moment?,” you might ask.

“Well,” I’d reply,”you watch people. You listen to them. You track their actions. You click the shutter at the peak of the action.”

It seems so easy when put that way, doesn’t it? And yet so many people struggle to do it. Just like we struggle with believing in ourselves and putting in the work to bring about what we most desire in life.

And so I write about personal development—because I’ve put in the work and learned these lessons for myself. Now I can share them with you. I’m not an expert or a “professional”; I’m a fellow journeyer.

Kate Watson

P.S. If you enjoyed this post or others on my site, I would love to hear from you. Please take a moment to fill out my Reader Survey. You might even win a prize! The drawing will be this Friday, October 9th.

Help Me Serve You! Reader Survey + Giveaway

Hello, friend. Now that my course, A Call to Beauty, is live, I’m looking ahead to what’s next for KateWatson.net and I’d love your input.


I’ve been blogging about interesting people and personal development for more than a year now and it’s time to check in with you, my readers, to see how I’m doing. I have a lot of ideas and plans for the future, but first I want to make sure I’m giving you what you want most.

To that end, I created a reader survey to learn what topics interest you and what you’d like me to create next. It’s a short and sweet 10 questions so it shouldn’t take you more than five minutes or so to complete.

As an added perk for completing the survey, I am also hosting a giveaway. There are two prize options for you to choose between:

  • A free seat in my course, A Call to Beauty – or –
  • A $25 Amazon.com gift card

At the end of the survey, simply provide your email address to enter the giveaway. This is completely optional and your email address will only be used to contact you should you win the prize.

I’ll draw the winner from entries received by Friday, October 9th and alert him or her no later than Monday, October 12th.

Please visit the reader survey here.

Thank you so much for your assistance in making this blog the best experience possible, for both of us. I deeply appreciate you being here and I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Kate Watson

Update October 12, 2015: And the winner is Mary P! Thank you, Mary; your prize is on its way.

Thanks to everyone who responded to the reader survey. If you haven’t and would still like to, I would love your feedback right here.

15 Places to Seek Beauty

15 Places to Seek Beauty

A Call to Beauty launched yesterday and we’re already having fun posting our findings on Instagram. It’s not too late to join the course, if you’d like to. In the meantime, today I’m sharing 15 places you can seek beauty in this world, straight from my own Instagram feed:

  1. Nature’s flora

  2. Nature’s fauna

    Puppy sitting, Alton Golden Brown. #happypuppy #chewtoy

    A photo posted by Kate Watson (@kate.r.watson) on

  3. Art

    Is this baby finally finished?! #paintingthatneverends #koi #watercolor #artclass #overit #nofilter

    A photo posted by Kate Watson (@kate.r.watson) on

  4. Architecture

    Wow, this place is beautiful! #tbt #gettyvilla #museums #california

    A photo posted by Kate Watson (@kate.r.watson) on

  5. Manmade objects

    Sunshine and shadows. #followthelight #latergram

    A photo posted by Kate Watson (@kate.r.watson) on

  6. Light

    Sunlight and shadows at our favorite breakfast spot. #breakfastdate #lookforthelight #grateful #beautifulday

    A photo posted by Kate Watson (@kate.r.watson) on

  7. Places you might overlook

    Love when it rains and the critters come out. #NorCal #siliconvalley #nature #snail #latergram

    A photo posted by Kate Watson (@kate.r.watson) on

  8. Fuel

    Hella good! Duck confit pasta #portland #foodporn

    A photo posted by Kate Watson (@kate.r.watson) on

  9. Creative potential & accomplishment

    Pulled out my koi pocket #watercolor set for the first time last night. #creativityontheroad

    A photo posted by Kate Watson (@kate.r.watson) on

  10. Yourself

  11. Your fellow humans

    Beautiful day + time with a friend. #simplepleasures #norcal #bayarea #beautifulday

    A photo posted by Kate Watson (@kate.r.watson) on

  12. Connection

    Hanging in the #hammock for #4thofjuly. #californialove #dayoff

    A photo posted by Kate Watson (@kate.r.watson) on

  13. Peaceful moments

  14. New experiences

    So this happened. #whatididonmysummervacation #standuppaddle – 16 on my #40before40 list. #SUP #livetothefullest

    A photo posted by Kate Watson (@kate.r.watson) on

  15. Everywhere

    Admiring the #beauty that surrounds us, from my #patio. #pavers #pollenandleaves #acalltobeauty

    A photo posted by Kate Watson (@kate.r.watson) on

If you’d like more tips for discovering beauty in this world, check out my free guide, Beauty Surrounds Us: 6 Ways to Discover It.

If you’d like to welcome more beauty into your life, we’d love to have you join us for A Call to Beauty, a 12-week course exploring many ways to discover beauty and incorporate more peace, presence, and gratitude into your life.

Kate Watson

10 Ways to Discover Beauty

10 ways to discover more beauty in the world

In recognition of A Call to Beauty launching next week (yay!), today I’d like to share 10 ways to discover beauty in your world.

#1. Look for it.

The #1 way to discover more beauty in your world is simply to be open to it and conscious of it. There is beauty literally everywhere, if you look for it. This is an attitude shift for many of us. We’re wired to see what we expect. If we expect ugliness and hate, that is what we’ll see.

If I tell you not to think of the color green, green is the first thing you’ll notice. So today I invite you to look for beauty. When you do, beauty is what you’ll see.

#2. Leave yourself a reminder.

It can be difficult to remember to be on the constant look out for beauty. After all, we have dozens of things competing for our time and attention. If you feel too busy to look for beauty, if you think you’ll forget, leave yourself a reminder. Set an alarm on your phone, leave a Post-It note on your computer, or tack up a sign on your wall to remind yourself of the beauty that surrounds us.

#3. Focus on the moment.

If you’re hustling from one meeting to the next, you’ll miss the awe-inspiring sunsets, the wonder of a child’s giggles, or the sucker punch of an unexpected moment of perfect understanding.

As I said above, we all have competing priorities but when you have time, sit peacefully and focus on the present moment. Slowly sip and savor your tea. Stop and smell the roses. Smile at a stranger. When you focus on the moment, the wonder of our human experience becomes more clear.

#4. Breathe.

When you find beauty, breathe deeply into your experience. Let the beauty you’ve uncovered fill you. Take it all in. If you sit with the beauty and allow the wonder, reverence, awe to fill you completely, your positive experience may last all day.

#5. Get outside.

So many of us spend our lives indoors. We move from our house to the car, from the car to the office, from the office to a cafe for lunch, from the cafe to a meeting, then back into our cars and back into our homes at night.

To discover more beauty in the world, spend more time outside. Eat your lunch outdoors. Take an evening stroll through your neighborhood. Hike or bike a local trail on the weekend. One of the easiest places to discover beauty is in our natural world. Enjoy the flora and fauna around you.

#6. Seek meaning.

We humans like to apply meaning to everything we see. We see connections and causations in all kinds of disparate phenomena, in forgetting our umbrella leading to a rainstorm, in taking the wrong exit leading to an unexpectedly pleasant encounter with a friend. Use that natural tendency to uncover more beauty.

Consider looking for hearts wherever you go, as Kelly Rae Roberts and Drew Barrymore do or perhaps look for your favorite number, a circle, or an infinity symbol. Each discovery will be a perfect little moment of beauty and the process of looking will keep you present and engaged in your reality.

#7. Create beauty.

One of the best ways to discover beauty is to create it. No, that’s not cheating.

Think about what gifts you have to share with the world and do so. Attend a painting class. Write out your life story and the beautiful lessons within it. Volunteer with the elderly. Rescue animals. Clean up a neighbor’s porch or yard. Be the beauty you want to see more of in the world.

#8. Honor your beauty.

Once you’ve seen the beauty you can create, you must honor that. You too are a work of art, an integral part of the beauty that exists here on Earth.

Honor the wonder of your gifts, talents, and abilities, the uniqueness of the self that resides within you and looks out into the beauty in this world, and the physical body that allows you to do so many amazing and mundane things each day. All of it is beauty-full.

#9. Look upon others with compassion.

Each of us is creating the world we live in through our beliefs and actions.

If you want a more beautiful world, choose to look with compassion at your fellow humans. You will be creating a softer, gentler world and helping to add to the beauty among us.

Each of us is doing the best we can, with our knowledge and understanding of the world, in this moment. Even those who choose actions you would not and do not condone.

#10. Take note of the beauty you discover.

Make a list of the moments of beauty you discover. As Tyler Kent White writes, “I promise if you keep searching for everything beautiful in this world, you will eventually become it.”

Kate Watson

P.S. I’m in a generous mood so I’m going to share with you one of the wallpapers that’s included in my new e-course:

To download and install this wallpaper, click on the image and save it to your hard drive. Once downloaded, locate it on your computer and right-click it with your mouse. Choose the "set as wallpaper" or "set as background" option (whichever your browser displays) from the pop-up menu. The image will then be set as your computer wallpaper.

To download and install this wallpaper, click on the image and save it to your hard drive. Once downloaded, locate it on your computer and right-click it with your mouse. Choose the “set as wallpaper” or “set as background” option (whichever your browser displays) from the pop-up menu. The image will then be set as your computer wallpaper.

For 11 more wallpapers like this one and a whole lot more, join me in A Call to Beauty next week!

When You’re Feeling Stressed or Disconnected

When You

Mr. Watson and I have been contemplating some major life changes. We haven’t made any decisions yet—in fact, we’re still missing some information that will help us make a decision—but our families often ask for updates or advocate for their preferred outcome. We don’t have any answers.

Amidst all of that, we’re carrying on with our regular lives. We just returned from family visits and he’s busy catching up at work while I’m launching a new product and balancing home and volunteer responsibilities.

There’s no doubt that life can be stressful. We all have tough decisions to make sometimes and we all often run from activity to activity, juggling the needs of work, friends, parents, children. We can become bogged down in our stress, and end up feeling disconnected from each other and from ourselves. So what do you do when you’re feeling stressed or disconnected?

Remember that life is filled with wonder and beauty, too, even in times of stress and struggle. Recognizing the beauty in our situation is a choice, one we each make, moment to moment. Sometimes it is hard to do, I know. That is why I created my new e-course, A Call to Beauty.

If you would like to feel more gratitude, to increase your mindfulness, or to deepen your connection to the Earth and your fellow inhabitants, today is your call to beauty.

A Call to Beauty

A Call to Beauty is a three-month exploration of the beauty around you. It is designed as a series of adventures, each delving into a different arena for you to uncover beauty in your life and our greater world.

During the course, I will send a new lesson to your inbox each week. Each lesson will include an essay about our weekly topic, a personal story that shares how I’ve come to understand and grow from the lesson, a downloadable computer wallpaper to remind you of the week’s theme between lessons, and one or more meditations or exercises to help you explore the lesson further. These meditations and exercises also provide the tools from which you’ll develop your own beauty practice going forward.

If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, I’d love to have you join me. A Call to Beauty premiers September 21st.


For more details about the course and how it works, click over to the info page. Alternatively, you can download my preview guide, Beauty Surrounds Us: 6 Ways to Discover It; it’s free with newsletter signup.

Kate Watson