Meet The Perennial – Kate Flynn
We are excited to feature entrepreneur, Kate Flynn, Founder of Sun & Swell Foods, because her generosity, moxie, and ever-blooming adventurous spirit brilliantly exemplifies what being Perennial is all about.
Q: What are you curious about?
Kate: My goodness, where do I start? I am fascinated with taking a holistic look (beyond just food and exercise) at our health and well-being. There is an overwhelming amount of information out there about the benefits of regular sleep patterns, mediation, limited screen time, spirituality, etc. I am always looking to level up, so researching how small tweaks in our daily lives and habits can optimize our overall well-being and productivity has been a part-time passion project for me.
Q: What’s the last great book you read?
Kate: ‘Year of Yes’ by Shonda Rhimes. I am already a YES gal when it comes to doing things for OTHER people, but I have hard time saying YES for myself. This book was a great reminder of the importance of saying yes to things that get me out of my comfort zone and all the good things that can come out of that.
Q: Single best piece of advice that you constantly pass along?
Kate: You are the only one who can limit your greatness.
When I was in my early 20s, my older sister passed away unexpectedly. My sister was beautiful, smart, funny – one of the most amazing woman I’ve ever known. But she was also full of self-doubt. I remember thinking – how could someone so amazing be so unsure of herself?
2018 was a big year of reflection and increased self-awareness for myself – and reflecting at myself over the past decade, I could see I was exactly like my sister. I looked back over the past decade and saw that I had accomplished so much in my career, but still felt not smart enough, not good enough… So, I started listening more to the people who told me to believe in myself and to believe in my greatness. And wow – has that small shift in mindset really made a HUGE impact!
I am still working on practicing what I preach – but I remind myself of this often and pass it along when I can. Imagine what kind of world we would be in if we had more gals doing awesome things because they believed in themselves…
Q: What made you start Sun & Swell Foods?
Kate: Like a lot of women, I have struggled with my relationship with body image, health and wellness, and food. I went from starving myself in high school, to binge eating in college, to trying every single diet and cleanse you could think of in my 20s. When I was 30, I decided it was time to stop letting food control me, so I stopped counting calories, carbs, and fat, and just started reading ingredient lists. I quickly realized that by focusing on eating whole, real foods, I felt free of all of the unhealthy habits I had built over the course of my life. I had more energy, slept better, stopped caring about the scale, and just focused on how I was feeling instead of all the external things we are told make us “healthy.” With this lifestyle change, I struggled with finding healthy, tasty, wholesome snack options…so, I decided to make my own.
Q: How do you motivate yourself or get out of a slump?
Kate: My go-to is taking a class at Barre3 – but if I can’t swing that, a 10-minute walk really helps. Movement is really the key for me most of the time. If I need a mental pick-me-up, I like talking to other female entrepreneurs or small business owners. I find connecting with other boss ladies always helps me get a fresh perspective and recalibrates my own motivation. Everyone struggles at times, so it helps to know I’m not alone!
Q: What do you look forward to in 2019?
Kate: Continually inspired by the book above, in 2018, I said YES to taking surf lessons. Now, you should know, that I have been terrified of the ocean for my entire life. Completely out of my comfort zone? Check! But, being in the water for these surf lessons has truly given me a new perspective on life: it gives me time away from my phone, from my work and from all other day- to-day distractions. Surfing has become my way to disconnect from the world and re-center myself. I am SO excited to continue this momentum in 2019. More surfing, more intentional disconnection with the world and more connection with myself; more ME time.
Q: What do you need help with?
Kate: Self-confidence is an ongoing work in progress for me. I think a lot of women can relate, but especially female entrepreneurs. I question myself, and my decisions, struggle with self-doubt that, at times, has held me back from opportunities or putting myself (or my business!) out there. But recently I’ve started saying YES to the things that scare me, and reminding my inner self of my greatness – so things are changing!
Q: Name something you wish you learned when you were younger?
Kate: My parents always told me I would regret giving up piano lessons when I was in middle school… and guess what – they were right! I wish I would’ve stuck with it – I would love to be able to hop on a keyboard and bust out some Chopin at a dinner party like it was nothing!
Q: Would you take our Perennial challenge to learn it now?
Kate: I recently dusted off my old keyboard with the intention of starting fresh – and my goal is to play one hour a week (I’m starting small!). So far I’m on track!