MEET katy Cannata                       

   Katy Cannata is a writer, teacher and family life coach in sunny San Diego where she enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time outdoors with her husband and beautiful baby girl. Originally from Michigan, Katy studied theater education at Arizona State University and NYU and has been a teacher and theater director for the past decade in private schools in Princeton, New Jersey, La Jolla, and Carlsbad, CA.        

 Tell us about a GRITTY MOMENT in your life that has forced you to learn what you are truly made of…
My gritty moment was getting let go from a job on the tails of a terrible breakup.      
GUTS: How did you “grow guts” and be brave enough to get through your “gritty moment”? Were you afraid? Where did you find your courage? How did facing that moment affect your confidence? Did you feel more confident afterward?
    I was devastated and extremely scared. My sense of self-worth was deeply shaken. I experienced a lot of shame and feeling like I wasn’t good enough. It was a double whammy because not only did I feel unworthy of love because of the relationship that ended, but I also felt like a failure in my career. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to support myself and that one person’s opinion of me from a difficult time in my life would define my career.
     I had to look inward to find the courage to go on. I wanted to do the best to I could to finish out the job on a high note and I needed to do something that scared me a little so that I could feel successful. So I decided to run a marathon. I had always had this little voice in the back of my head daring me to do it (I wasn’t a runner, or at least I had only started running recently, so imagining myself running 26 miles was a BIG deal.) It was also a big commitment, six months of training. The physical challenge and endurance gave me something to pour my fear into. 
 RESILIENCE: What did you learn from pushing through your “gritty moment”? What helped you “not give up” and persevere?
     Training was hard but the discipline it required created the mindless routine I needed to get out of the mental funk I was in. Once the training was laid out it was like ‘ok I just have to do this run. I am not even going to think about anything else but this run I have to do.’ And then I would just do it. Sometimes I would cry on my runs or scream, but I always felt better afterwards. As I continued to run I began to gain confidence in other areas of my life. I began to see opportunities instead of seeing myself as a failure. 
IMPERFECTION: How do you deal with failure and making mistakes? Did your “gritty moment” force you to learn and grow?
     I’m not going to lie, it was a difficult to hear the negative feedback when I was laid off. But it was important for me to realize that I didn’t have to be defined by one person’s opinion. And even though it didn’t change the circumstances. I learned to stand up for myself when I believed I had been treated unjustly. I have always strongly disliked conflict, so this was a significant growth for me. I also began to recognize some of the emotional issues that were holding me back and I began a long process of working on those issues. I don’t know if that work will ever be complete, but the first step was acceptance. Part of that journey is learning to love myself despite my imperfections. 
TEAM: What role did your support system play in helping you through this challenging time? What role has this “team” had in your life?
     I had a lot of support from friends and family, and I met someone special through my running. These individuals helped me to see other perspectives and to see myself and the situation through their eyes. This was important to me in rewriting the single story I was telling myself that I was a failure. There were also people I thought were my friends who faded away at that time, and that painful. My running partner helped me through the difficult runs and a lot of dark times and ultimately became my life partner. Although I know there was a little bit of luck involved, I also know that because of what I went through I was more authentically myself in this relationship that I had been before, which made the relationship stronger. 
And just for fun… What advice would you give to your younger “GRITTY GIRL” self?
     I would give myself the advice to take better care of myself, especially in difficult times. Since that time I have developed a meditation practice and started writing again. Although I don’t run as often these days, being active and getting out into nature are important aspects of my mental health. I am learning to be more gentle with myself but I also know now just how tough I am! 

Thank you Katy for sharing your GRIT!