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IAM1861 – Executive Life and Leadership Coach Helps Clients Make an Impact on the World

Podcast Interview with Catherine Wood

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

In this episode of IAMCEO Podcast, Catherine Wood, the Founder and Head Coach of Unbounded Potential, discusses her journey and her work helping rising star performers and entrepreneurs make a positive impact on the world.

  • CEO Story: Catherine is passionate about freedom and not conforming to a typical 9-5 job setup. Her background as a therapist equipped her with the necessary skills to make a deep impact on people's lives from the inside out. Eventually, she discovered the online coaching world and made it her mission to help others break out of conventional norms and live freely.
  • Business Service: Catherine's firm, Unbounded Potential, is dedicated to coaching rising star performers and entrepreneurs. Being an executive life and leadership coach herself, she guides her clients on how to reach their highest potential and make the greatest impacts.
  • Secret Sauce: The unique experience Catherine provides for her clients has led them to referrer to her as a ‘guardian angel for their dreams'.
  • CEO Hack: Catherine emphasizes the significance of having a personal trainer and recommends the book “Chop Wood Carry Water” for steady progress and work ethic.
  • CEO Nugget: One of the key pieces of advice from Catherine is to make decisions based on where you want to be, not where you currently are.
  • CEO Defined: Catherine defines being a CEO as living without regret and not settling for a safe or comfortable life.
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Catherine Wood Teaser 00:00

I like to say there are two types of go-getters in the world. There are bridge builders and there are bridge burners. And the bridge builders are the ones who see something they want on the other side of the bridge and they, slowly and safely walk from one side to the other as they lay the planks.

And the bridge burners are the ones who see something they want on the other side of the bridge. They jump over the bridge and then they burn it up after them. So they literally have to make it.

Intro 00:26

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you are in search of. This is the IAMCEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:52

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the IAMCEO podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. And if you've been listening this year, you know that we hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year.

We're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners, or what I like to call the CB nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month, we are focused on leadership, management, and coaching. When we think of leadership, management, and coach, we often think of doing all of the things, but often it's a person that's able to build up their team. That's able to cultivate a creative and innovative culture so that people can excel and actually be their own leaders.

So that's why this month we're focusing on those three big topics because they make a huge impact on the organizations that we're part of. Now you'll hear some of those topics this month. And of course, some really great perspectives on how people are even defining leadership, which I think is extremely exciting.

So sit back and enjoy this special episode of the IAMCEO podcast.

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the IAMCEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Catherine Wood of Unbounded Potential. Catherine, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Catherine Wood 02:12

So nice to be here.

Gresham Harkless 02:13

Perfect. And what I wanted to do was just read a little bit about all the awesome things that Catherine is doing. So you can hear a little bit about her and her background and all the awesome things that she's been able to accomplish.

Catherine is the founder and head coach of Unbounded Potential, a personal coaching firm dedicated to helping rising star performers and entrepreneurs who are committed to making an impact in the world.

As an executive life and leadership coach, entrepreneur and world traveler. Clients have referred to her as a guardian angel for their dreams. Catherine earned her coaching certificate from Accomplishment Coaching, where she currently supports coaches in training and with their development and personal leadership.

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She holds the designation of Professional Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation.

Catherine, are you ready to speak to the IAMCEO community?

Catherine Wood 03:00

I am. I'm happy to be here.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 03:01

Perfect. The first thing that I wanted to do was just try to give you the mic, so to speak, and ask if he could tell us a little bit more about your CEO story and what kind of led you to start your business.

Catherine Wood 03:09

Yeah, I'm my the short version is that I'm a senior economist for the federal government turned Life Coach. It's a little bit of an interesting, opposite-direction transformation, but essentially, like so many people, I always desired to make an impact.

And for the government, I worked on some of our federal economic statistics, and I just found myself stuck behind two computer monitors all day and a sea of data, and I just never imagined that was the type of impact that I would be making.

And, I really just I'd say just came upon coaching. A friend of mine was getting trained as a coach, and every time she'd talk about this coaching thing, I would just get this twinge of jealousy, which for me is just a sign from the universe that there's something I want.

So I explored coaching further and realized that, wow, I'd actually been, doing this thing my whole life. And I just realized that you could make an income off of it. So that's how I got started. And then I built my business pretty methodically and slowly.

I like to say there are two types of go-getters in the world. There are bridge builders and there are bridge burners and the bridge builders are the ones who see something they want on the other side of the bridge and they slowly and safely walk from one side to the other as they lay the planks.

And the bridge burners are the ones who see something they want on the other side of the bridge. They jump over the bridge and then they burn it up after them. So they literally have to make it.

I'm very much the former, being the daughter of an accountant, an economist by training, I set a pretty clear foundation for what I wanted to have in place in order to transition to coaching full-time. And when I got there, like I thought, Oh, it'll be easy to give my notice and jump.

And to this day, giving my notices, but probably the most scariest experience I've ever had. And it's been pretty smooth sailing ever since. Yeah. I love what I do, and love the life I've built for myself.

Gresham Harkless 05:15

Awesome. No, that's funny because I always feel like, like you mentioned, the universe pushes you in the direction and sometimes It puts you in a place where it's not your purpose or where you're supposed to be, so to speak, and then often you get small signs and small signals that, hey, this is where you're supposed to go.

So it sounds like that's what happened with you. So I wanted to ask you a little bit more about like your coaching business. So can you tell us a little bit more about what you do for your clients and customers?

Catherine Wood 05:38

Sure. So I'm a transformational coach and I'm specifically trained in ontology and ontology is the study of being. So what that means is that I work with clients to really help them create that impact and leave that legacy they want to make.

And it starts with these foundational concepts around who we're being in our lives. What are we believing to be true? About ourselves and what's possible for us and through really working on that inner dialogue and those inner conversations that we all have with ourselves and transforming that inner dialogue and who are being in life and how we're showing up in ourselves and with the world.

We get to absolutely transform outer reality. So I work with a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs and high-performing women, mostly not exclusively, but my practice is mostly women really helping them to get out of their own head and start truly unlocking their potential, starting with their relationship with themselves and setting themselves up to be the most powerful version of themselves.

Sometimes we think that our job is like all that we are, and if things aren't going well in our job, then everything else will be crap or vice versa. Sometimes we use our jobs as a crutch. Oh, I just got this next promotion and I just got this raise and I work to 60 hour a week.

So I'm enough like I'm working hard enough. I'm doing enough. And we use that as a crutch to feel good about ourselves and to validate ourselves. And it's typically at the expense of feeling fulfilled and satisfied in other areas of our life. So in my work, I have a very holistic approach to transforming your life from the inside out, starting with yourself.

Gresham Harkless 07:27

That's awesome. So, I wanted to ask you a little bit more about what do you feel like makes you unique? From other coaches or people that do coaching services.

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Catherine Wood 07:35

So I think one thing that makes me unique is that I practice what I preach, like most professional coaches have coaches and, I have my own coach. I've had my own coach since I started this work, but I like, I truly practice what I preach.

I live my life like an adventure. I. I'm completely remote. I work with clients virtually, so I travel a lot. I'm also up to a big game in my own business and in my own life. And I think that commitment to my own personal growth and discovery, 'cause it's not like we ever stop growing, it's not like we ever have to settle for what we have.

We can always be in an unraveling. unlocking of our potential and possibility and that inner commitment to my own growth and expansion has me able to stand for clients at a higher gradient and really not buy into their bias because if I'm not buying into my own, then I can stand for my clients to do the same.

So I think that shows up in a lot more tangible results that my clients see a lot more accountability and honoring what they said they would do. And gets to be fun. Like my clients and I have a lot of fun laughing at their own survival mechanisms and their own fears. Cause when you start to identify that those stories that run on repeat in your subconscious, that they're not the truth and that they're just a story, that keeps us safe and keeps us where we are then you can start to play with them and have them not be so significant.

So one thing that I just really cherish about my client practice is that some of my clients become close friends. After we stop working together and we get to laugh at who they're being in their lives, that's getting in their own way. And it starts with me laughing at me and I've had lots of opportunities to laugh at myself.

So I think that really modeling that integrity and that own commitment in my own work has me stand out as a professional.

Gresham Harkless 09:31

Awesome. I wanted to switch gears just a little bit and I wanted to ask you like basically for a CEO hack, you obviously being an entrepreneur and business owner working with a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners, I wanted to ask you if you had a CEO hack or it might be an app or a book or just something that you do on a regular everyday basis and use that makes you more effective and efficient as a business owner.

Catherine Wood 09:50

So there's so many, I'm going to give you two. A mindset one is. this approach to business that I think is really invaluable. And it's as simple as chopping wood and carrying water. Being a business owner and being a CEO, you have to play a long game in business.

So for instance, in my coaching business, I've been playing a long game for the last you know, several years of growing my visibility, establishing my credibility, building my presence online.

And it took a while in order for the results to catch up with me. And as a business owner, you have to have long vision and be consistent in your daily actions of chopping wood and carrying water and trust that the results will keep up with you. And that has absolutely made all the difference for me in business.

My private practice is full right now. I'm not accepting new clients. And it really started with having vision and then taking consistent action and not making those nose meaningful along the way, not expecting irrationally immediate results. But truly being more committed to the vision that I was creating than what I had for myself in the moment.

That's one of my mindset visions or my mindset hacks. But for my like daily routine hack, it's really about having the best relationship with myself that I can. So that I show up as the best version of myself for my business.

When I first started my business, I had no balance between work and play. Like I was just working all the time and I see that over and over again working with entrepreneurs is that we just absolutely self-sabotage because we don't have boundaries in place, in life around when we stop working, when we spend time with our family.

We like got into business in the first place because we were passionate about our profession and then we fell in love with it because we didn't know how to create both ends.

So one thing that made a huge difference for me was in the beginning, I was getting sick all the time because I was literally working in every free moment and it got to a place where my health was suffering.

And so I hired a personal trainer and, just like you need coaches for your mind, you need personal trainers for your body or an accountability system that is. sufficient to your level of resistance, not to follow through on what you said.

So I have a trainer who I work with twice a week. She sends me workouts that I have to do between our sessions. I've been working with her for the last year and a half, and it has made all the difference because as I'm constantly challenging my body and really busting the edge of what I think I'm capable of.

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It has a direct parallel in how I show up for business and what I ask for my rates and what I pitch proposals for. And it's really just about expansion, like expanding the edge of your comfort zone and discovering what's on the other side.

Gresham Harkless 12:44

I love that. So I want to ask you next for a CEO nugget, which might be like a piece of advice or something that you would tell to other entrepreneurs and business owners on how to be successful.

Catherine Wood 12:54

So, I think one thing that I consistently and grateful for along my own journey is making decisions based on where you want to be in your business versus where you presently are in the current moment.

When you're starting something new and launching into an industry or business or profession that you don't have experience in, you want to know how to do everything before you get started. And if you wait until you get it, until you get it perfect, like you waited far too long, but even more importantly is making decisions and investing based on the future that you're creating versus where you presently are.

What that looked like for me was, when I was still working at the federal government and I was building my business. I hired an assistant. And at the time I was like, Oh my God, I don't know how I'm going to pay for her every week, 10 hours. That's not insignificant for me right now, but I was just more committed to what I was creating in my business and how I envisioned her supporting me in the long haul for my business.

And it had dividends for my business. I think that's one thing that a lot of entrepreneurs Could really benefit from is not letting fear guide or define their business decisions and really getting clear on their long-term vision so that they can just consistently take action and moving towards that vision rather than constantly being stuck in the present moment and the red tape and in the net balance and their cash flow statement, like really just again playing that long game.

Gresham Harkless 14:26

I love that. And one of the great things that I get to do is have different types of quote-unquote CEOs on this show. And what I wanted to do and I get the opportunity to ask is, what kind of do you feel being a CEO means to you? What would be your definition of being a CEO?

Catherine Wood 14:41

I think what being a CEO means to me is living without regrets in not settling for the safe life or the comfortable life, but truly willing to be fearless and relentless in making the impact that I want to make and relating to myself as the one and entrusting myself that I've got this and that I only live one life. So living with no regret.

Gresham Harkless 15:05

I love it. What I wanted to do was give you the mic again, so to speak, to see if there's anything additional it could be about your business or just any advice or closing remarks you wanted to let us know.

Catherine Wood 15:14

Yeah. I think there's a really famous quote by Mark Twain that I love. And if I were to leave your listeners with one quote, like I would truly want them to hear it. And the quote is that 20 years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Mark Twain.

I love that. It just totally sums up my values and like who I am and regarding your listeners getting in touch with me. I'm doing some really awesome stuff in my business separate from my private and group coaching practices. I also have transformational retreats to the Dominican Republic and to India in 2019.

So if you're interested in checking out my retreats, you can visit us at and my website is

Gresham Harkless 16:10

Awesome. We'll have those links in the show notes just in case anybody wants to click through and follow you on that and also find out more about the retreats that you're doing.

So Catherine, thank you so much again. I truly appreciate your time and all the awesome insight that you provided.

Outro 16:23

Thank you for listening to the IAMCEO podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at IAMCEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five-star rating.

Grab CEO gear at This has been the IAMCEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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