Kathi Burns, founder of addSpace To Your Life!, is a Board Certified Professional Organizer (CPO) and Image Consultant. Her mission is to empower people to master their environment and personal image by assisting them in taking control, making change and organizing their lives. She believes that when people become organized and look their best they will have more freedom to create and work with their true passion.
Kathi coaches business owners on time management, paper flow, bookkeeping and wardrobe. In addition to working with business owners, Kathi works with individuals in their home environment to clear clutter, maximize their space, and manage their time with organizational systems. She helps clients create an image that matches their full potential through wardrobe design, instruction and personal shopping. Kathi hosts seminars on organizing, time management and image.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and has more than 20 years of experience in organization and communication. Kathi is passionate about writing and public speaking, and has been featured on ABC’s Good Morning America and CBN and is a regular guest expert to magazines like Better Homes and Gardens. NBC Morning News welcomes her as a regular special correspondent, and her syndicated advice column, offers candid and practical solutions to questions on image, wardrobe, organization and time management with candid and practical solutions. This column, AddSpace To Your Life, reaches 2.3 million readers every month.
Kathi Burns’ work with clients has reflected her firm principle: “If you add space and shine a light towards someone’s possibilities, they will transform right before your eyes.”
An Intimate Interview with Kathi during the Radio Interview ~ Questions for Inspirational Luminaries
1- Since some of our listening audience may not yet know who you are, would you please tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Kathi Burns, CPO®. I am an agent for change and work as a Certified Professional Organizer and Image Consultant. I founded addSpace To Your Life! in 2003 and published my book How to Master Your Muck ~ Get Organized. Add Space To Your Life. Live Your Purpose! in September 2009. I was honored and blessed to be acknowledged by Good Morning America as a successful woman entrepreneur in the second year of my new career.
2) You are a great success. Because of what you’ve accomplished and where you are in life, what would you tell others to inspire them today, regardless of where they are in their life?
It doesn’t matter where you are in life right now, it matters where you think you are in your life right now. I know that the principal of thought, word, deed is very powerful and works significantly in our daily lives. If you think about something long enough, speak about it as if it were so, and act upon it with confidence, it cannot help but manifest in some form. Even if you have some sort of disadvantage, you also have a unique advantage as a direct result of that challenge.
You are a co-creator of your life. You can create a small life or choose to design a very big life full of wonder and excitement. Life is an unlimited resource just waiting to be expressed. It is up to you to choose to see it that way and live your life to it’s fullest potential.
3) We all know that inspiration can change lives. Can you share a personal story of someone who inspired you and made a difference in your life or a defining moment or experience that inspired you or changed your life?
I found out that I was passionate about organizing and image by offering to help a friend in need.
I met my friend Lyn Snow shortly after I relocated to San Diego. At that time, Lyn was spending her time healing from cancer and recreating a career that would require less emotional energy. I was on a quest to redefine my life and find a new career that I could embrace with passion.
Lyn was a bonified packrat and thrift store junkie. She loved shopping for bargains and her home was bursting at the seams. She was undergoing medical treatment and we both decided that she needed to clear her house and closet to create new beginnings and add more energy to her life. We began clearing in earnest. At the end of the first day she said, “hey you are really good at this and you were really gentle when you made me get rid of the things that no longer served me.” I replied. “That was really fun!”
As I continued helping Lyn, I had an epiphany. I realized that my quirky passion for change is exactly what people need when they want to transform their life. Many folks are afraid and resistant to change even when they know that they need it. With that discovery, I realized my greatest strength could now be used to help people transform and improve their lives. Instead of being the detriment that it was in the past, my openness to change means that I can effortlessly help clients change and see them transformed long before they can. As I gently hold the space and see them already at their goal, they can move into it and embrace it fully for themselves with less effort.
Lyn and I began our new career quests together and, ironically, both began working full-time in our new careers at the same time. She became a Soul Collage Artist and I created addSpace To Your Life!, a Professional Organizing and Image Consultancy. She wrote the first client testimonial stating, “Kathi was fabulous and the best! It was painless and actually joy producing. I heartily recommend her!” Without Lynn’s insight and support I would have never discovered my true calling and purpose in life as a change agent.
4) You make it look easy, but I’m guessing you’ve experienced challenges in your life. Can you share with our listeners how that has strengthened you to reach success? In other words, how do you overcome adversity?
If I am stuck with anything, I make some sort of change in my life. I have found that a small, seemingly insignificant change in a physical environment can produce a result in my life experience way out of proportion to the size of the act. Just one simple change opens my life to new possibilities in ways you could never imagine.
5) Everyone has ideas on how to improve their lives, whether it be a new job, moving to a new city, or finding love, but change can be a bit scary sometimes. Can you please share an experience with us where you “stepped off the ledge” with only faith, and took a big risk, based only on your belief that you would succeed?
My husband and I lost our tourism related business and basically everything else shortly after 911. Instead of getting a ‘real’ job I decided to forgo that security and instead create a company that used my skills and passions. We started addSpace To Your Life! with very little money, in fact only $49. We printed business cards and made fliers to hang on doors. Since we didn’t have money for marketing, I walked and hung fliers door to door to announce my services. We lived hand to mouth for almost a year. I held onto the faith that my company would succeed because I knew innately that helping people embrace and move through change masterfully was my true calling in life.
6) How can others do what you did?
Take the time to clear away the muck from your environment. Get rid of anything that does not serve who you are right now. Muck is a powerful saboteur of creative expression and can become a roadblock to your success. When you are stuck, it is difficult to bring your unique gifts to the world— you often become frustrated or face financial failure. Muck blocks your ability to be free and follow your heart to live your passion. Clear the muck or the broken systems in your life. This will help you learn how to change gracefully and with less effort than you can imagine. This is why I titled my book How to Master Your Muck~ Get Organized. Add Space To Your Life. Live Your Purpose!
7) What process, steps or exercises do you recommend that our listeners could do right now and each morning, to improve the quality of their lives?
Spend time each morning clearing away the muck in your head with meditation or prayer and then plan what you wish to accomplish that day before you begin working or checking emails. Set your path, before it sets you off your path of greatest fulfillment.
What’s the greatest joy in your life?
Sharing my life and growing a deep friendship and spiritual connection with my husband Rob. Also, helping people move through change with joy, ease and success.
9) If you had to wrap up the wisdom of your life to leave as your legacy- call it YOUR BRILLIANCE- what important things that you’ve learned would you want to pass on to others?
If you wish to make significant change in your life, the easiest way is to add space wherever you can in your surroundings and in your mind. It could be as simple as cleaning out your desk drawer or spending a few moments each day in a state of non- thinking in prayer or meditation. When you do this regularly, you will have more space to think more clearly which will help you discover your purpose in life. Once you find your purpose, you will be filled with unbridled enthusiasm, joy and success!
10) If you had just one more thing that you could accomplish in your lifetime, what would it be?
Wow – what a tough question! I want to stay on the path of my true purpose and follow the lead of my soul in all ways . . . If I can remain true to that path, I know that I will accomplish great and unexpected things!
Panelist “Fun” Bio from Connected Women of Influence
Kathi Burns, CPO
Board Certified Professional Organizer and Stylist
addSpace To Your Life!
Your Current Overall Duties & Responsibilities:
Consulting clients (business and individuals) to help them organize space, time, data and objects so that their productivity increases and they have more time to focus on their biggest priorities. Helping clients create a better image though wardrobe and style consultation. Public speaking, managing 2 online courses, marketing, overseeing intern and VA.
What was your first job and what did you do?
Long John Silvers cashier
As a child, what did you really want to be when you grew up?
What do you love most about what you do in business today?
Helping people bravely shift through changes and create a more fulfilling life or lifestyle.
What behavior or habit annoys you the most in business?
Businesses not following up as promised
Your favorite business quote?
“Out of clutter find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.” -Einstein
The best piece of business advice you ever received and from who?
True professionals know how to say no and stop trying to be all things to all clients. Learned 20 years ago from my client, John Laskey, a very astute and successful financial planner.
Name one thing you think women SHOULD do that they don’t do to better succeed in business?
Taking the assumptive. Not feeling confident that what they offer has value and that people will want it.
Name one behavior that you feel holds women back from succeeding in business.
Lack of bold confidence
Share something not well known about you
I was a US Coast Guard Licensed Captain with a 50 ton ocean operating license.
Name one trait or behavior that you feel has helped you succeed the most in business
Being able to communicate my message clearly
What is one skill that you wish you would have learned earlier in your business or career that’s been essential to your success in business?
Knowing how and what to delegate
One thing you wish you could “do over” in business from your business background?
I wish that I had not expanded my publishing and design consultancy into a publishing, printing and design company
What do you think are the two greatest challenges that face women in business today and why?
1 – Technology – there are so many new developments in social media, new apps and . . . that it can be overwhelming to keep up
2 – Communication – do we correspond with others via email, phone, IM, Facebook, Google +, Skype or all? How can we possibly communicate on all of these platforms at the same time and still be effective?
What are the top three tips, strategies, or pieces of advice you would give to other professional women as they try to ‘make their mark’ and succeed in business?
1 – Follow Your Passion, focus your career on what brings you joy
2 – If you don’t know what your passion is, or what you should be ‘when you grow up’ – STOP now and figure it out.
3 – Make sure to create systems to keep your life organized and under control and also keep enough open space around you so that you can think clearly.