Getting un-stuck from a beige existence with Nate Otto

beige

If you’ve been feeling trapped, stuck, and directionless in your life and career, it can feel like you’re living life in beige, when all you really want is to be living in vibrant color.

Nate Otto has been fighting the beige for years.

In this month’s interview with a normal person, Kristen chats with Nate about how he finally broke through a colorless existence and started to find his place in the world. Nate is a brilliant, creative, innovative thinker who suppressed his inner inquisitive nature and vibrant spirit for much of his life before deciding enough was enough.

He decided to stop complaining, get curious, seek support, and make changes. He shares his whole journey with us, in this interview.

On this episode we talk about:

  • Why so many of us get stuck in complacency, and the dangers of not questioning the status quo.
  • How it feels to be too colorful for your workplace (& life in general), and the heartbreak of not belonging.
  • Why complaining is the first step toward change, and how to turn your complaining into action.
  • The value of seeking support, instead of always trying to go it alone.
  • The stages Nate went through to go from feeling trapped and lost to empowered and directed, and the positive changes he’s made as a result.

MORE ABOUT NATE

Nate

is a fellow human

who loves.

He lives in Seattle, is very tall, and often spends time teaching machines to be polite. He is also often found doing his rendition of the slowly waking up dance.

Like most people, he’s felt short and tall, happy and depressed, gay and straight, fat and thin, sick and healthy, old and young, tired and awake, popular and bullied, rich and poor, light and dark, and a good number of vague things in between.

He leaves you with one of his favorite quotes: “What is to give light must endure burning.” – Viktor Frankl

LINKS

Michael Hyatt’s Focus Planner

The book Captivate, by Vanessa Van Edwards

Submit a question for the next episode of Dear Krachel, our monthly podcast advice column

Take the Passion Profile Quiz

9 Comments // ADD COMMENT

9 comments

  • Cassie

    Wow, Nate. Add me on social media! I grew up in small town ND, not as small as 63 people, but everything is basically the same. It seems like the general consensus is that you’re supposed to grow up to do what your parents did for work, have a family and settle down in the same place. I auditioned for the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, and when I didn’t get in, my family almost seemed relieved. They were like, “okay, you can forget about that now and major in theater at an ND school.” So that’s what I did….ten years and as many jobs later, I’m still here. Trying to figure out how to get out of the box of conformity.

    I’m in a better job now and financially stable. But life is robotic and I feel stifled. Do I still want to be an actor? I’m not sure. I love music and nature too.I’m a bit more settled than I was ten years ago. Kristin and Rachel give me hope, though. And I know now that we’re not crazy just because we want more out of life.

    • Kristen Walker

      Thanks so much for listening, Cassie! I’ll make sure to pass your comment along to Nate.

      It’s really hard when your community (and society at large) makes you feel like you *should* live a certain kind of life, especially when it feels small and stifled to you. I hope this interview helped re-spark your desire to add color to your life in any way you can, and it makes me so happy to hear that Rachel and I have given you hope along the way! 🙂

      Thanks for listening and sharing how this resonated with you!

  • Marti

    Hi CoF and Nate!

    Re-watch the Titanic. Im not as eloquent as you, but I see in the shape of analogies, and ideas constantly. You can also add me to your social network. We speak a similar language with what we “see.” To add another analogy. The blockbuster hit. Right, they get this boat to go faster than it’s really meant/designed to go (already expectations are forcing us to move in a direction or speed we aren’t ready for or may not be the best fit for us). They also don’t have enough lifeboats (for all the people that ultimately need saving – kind of like the design of our society). And when they come upon that iceberg, the engines have to stop going in one direction, pull back and start going the other, and they turn the direction of the ship, to save it from the looming iceberg. It turns out they do miss hitting the iceberg head on, but it still gets swiped to the side enough, that the boat can’t hold itself and it starts to sink. It’s like sometimes, we have to shed the old version of us, to clear space for the new. Also, our old self, doesn’t go down without a fight 🙂 And meanwhile the parallel of the romantic story, of this girl who wants to free her spirit from the confines of her societal system she’s brought up in, and finding that freedom through the force and power of love. Im not as organized with my story, but Im thinking it connects.

    I also had someone tell me, that doing what you don’t actually want to do is a form of trauma. He was in the medical world, so he used a term like that, but yea, forgiveness was necessary, because I had been in way putting trauma on my own life by continuing to do things, I never actually wanted to do in the first place, but didn’t yet have the consciousness or the strength to do it differently or understand how to, in agreement with my own soul while still working with what we have in front of our lives to work with, responsibilities included. And being a bold strong type of person on the outside, and such a sensitive type of soul on the inside, most of who I was, was never getting an opportunity to express, or even show up in the various worlds/systems I have lived in.

    And the power of narrative. I totally think our lives are truly sacred, that no other person has the same life experiences, desires, hardships, triumphs, and we have to celebrate that by recording our existence in some way, if even at the very least to ourselves with journals. I’ve even used spotify as a form of a journal, each month a list of 5-20 songs that reached out to me and I title each playlist according to the month. So spotify has become a personal diary in a way. Sorry this might be irrelevant. I am just into the idea of getting everyone to record their existence in some way, so we can start to get to understand and develop a relationship to our own sacred life narrative. I am too touched by the small moments and the beauty of our living, breathing, natural world. Yes, you can definitely connect with me, if you are seeking other people like you!

    • Kristen Walker

      Love the Titanic analogy, Marti! So powerful and relevant. I like the way your brain works. 😉

      And I couldn’t agree with your friend more that “doing what you don’t actually want to do is a form of trauma.” Really well said. Thanks for sharing that!

      Thanks so much for listening and sharing how this resonated with you and the thoughts that it sparked. I’ll pass your comment along to Nate!

  • Victoria

    I definitely am in the stage of fear. It is like I crave action but I am at the stage of trial and error also. I am taking the ideas I have for possible careers and life changes and slowly introducing myself to them. The leap of actually quitting jobs that don’t feel authentic for me is a huge challenge. I live pay check to pay check and pretty much minimum wage. I have moved past so much complaining and I have started exposing myself to books, classes, and music that is empowering and inspiring. I struggle as well with knowing how to find the right people to be around that would help me to move in the right direction. I am an introvert on the extreme end and it is hard for me to come outside of my circle of close family and friends. But like Nate, I also just had the experience of talking to a friend of mine who has moved forward in her career and feeling ashamed. My friend asked me if I was still at the same job that I need to move forward from. I felt absolutely embarrassed, ashamed and like a failure, although I am making strides. I was so ashamed that I almost decided not to talk to this particular friend until I had some good news in the way of a career change to share with her. Some days I do wonder if I will ever see the light on the other end but I keep trying to convince myself that as long as I am learning to do what I love again and seeing life through curious eyes something has to work out eventually. Much prayer and love to anyone else going through this crazy thing called life.

    • Kristen Walker

      Victoria — It’s SO normal to be in the fear stage, and it’s very smart that you’re slowly introducing yourself to ideas right now. Taking baby steps is the best thing you can do to get your momentum going!

      Also, if you haven’t yet checked out Brene Brown’s TED Talks or books yet, I absolutely recommend them. She’s an expert on shame and how to overcome it, so I think it could be exactly what you need to hear right now! Let me know what you think of Brene if you get a chance to check her out.

      Thanks for listening, and I’m glad that Nate’s story made you feel a little less alone.

  • Clarity on Fire

    […] Getting unstuck from a beige existence with Nate Otto […]

  • Sarah

    I’m a bit late in listening to this, but WOW! Did it resonate with me! In the middle of the episode I found myself going “Um… Nate? Can I be your best friend?” Haha, I second the comment up there about social media – sounds like we could almost get a group together about this – aside from this current one at Clarity on Fire, of course. 😉

    Anyway, thank you for this episode!!

    • Kristen Walker

      Glad you loved this episode, Sarah! Isn’t Nate the best?? I’ll make sure to pass your message along to him. 🙂 Thanks for listening!