in good company // issue no. 10 // catherine roscoe barr
To know Catherine Roscoe Barr, is to know a lady who truly exudes happiness, sunshine and is the poster child for healthy living. No, she isn't the type to be all rainbows and unicorns, but she is one of those women who always has a smile on her face, is appreciative for all she has received in life, is always willing to go out on a limb and introduce herself and, leads a life everyday that would even make Gwyneth Paltrow jealous.
Catherine is the creator of The Life Delicious, a company that provides wellness education, empowerment and strategy through writing, speaking and coaching services. In a nutshell, if you've ever felt the need to improve your mind, body, spirit and soul, you might want to register for one of her amazing retreats.
Like a lot of the fabulous women I've had the opportunity to meet in my life, I met Catherine randomly (honestly, I can't pin point the exact location of where we met) at some Vancouver function or event that was likely focused on food, wine or business. It's no wonder we got along.
Where did your obsession (or fascination) with health and wellness come from?
My fascination with wellness comes from a few places:
Curiosity in the natural world that my parents inspired in me as a child (both retired now, my mom was an elementary teacher and my dad was a science education professor)
Frustration (and despair) at not feeling well during my teens and twenties pushed me to become obsessed with learning how to feel well – and the clarity and depth of understanding that comes with teaching others
Delight at being a teacher and experiencing how different people react and respond to different strategies, approaches and tools – I’m always trying to find new ways to improve as a coach.
Everything I teach is what I practice.
I’m still – and always will be – very curious about how to live the healthiest, happiest, most productive and lengthy life, and it’s my passion to share what I learn with others so they have the best tools to be their best too.
There’s very little divide between my personal and professional lives. Everything I learn as a human trying to live an extraordinary life fuels my work as a wellness coach. My intention is to be completely transparent and show people that I’m on a similar journey of discovery to theirs: I make mistakes, I fail, I learn, I grow, I get stronger and wiser. I see it as a wonderful journey that will never end.
Your resume is, lets just say, impressive! From studying neuroscience and personal training to writing and speaking engagements. Did you always know this is what you'd do professionally?
The winding road to get to where I am today seemed very random and often futile until everything came together. I had no idea this would be my profession! In fact, when my vision for my professional life finally started to become clear – combining my neuroscience degree, personal training and fitness certifications, writing and interview experience, and interest in mindfulness and spirituality – I had no name for what I was so I made up the title “wellness coach.” I’d never heard it before! It’s awesome to see it become a more common designation, and have so many colleagues teaching similarly holistic ways to approach wellness.
Have you always known you would end up working for yourself in this industry or did it always seem like only a dream?
Reading All In by Arlene Dickinson was a game-changer for me. Until then, I’d always worked for other people and didn’t realize how counter that was to my personality. I often had different ideas about how to do things and am deathly allergic to being micromanaged.
I didn’t have any entrepreneurs in my family, let along know any, so I didn’t know it was an option for me – until I read these words and realized I had an entrepreneurial spirit:
“If you’re a born entrepreneur, you probably never felt comfortable going with the flow. Even as a child, you were likely trying to control the tide of conformity. The desire to be an entrepreneur [is], essentially, the desire to do things your own way paired with the stubborn conviction that you should never stop trying. For entrepreneurs, the personal is professional. The defining feature of the lifestyle is that there is no dividing line, no real boundary, between the two spheres. Work is life. Life is work.”
That was me! I always felt like I was different and didn’t fit it. At that moment, I decided to start my own business.
Tell us about The Life Delicious? What was the inspiration to create "the science of health, happiness and productivity"?
The Life Delicious was born from the darkest period in my life. I’d experienced a number of hardships and didn’t have the understanding to manage my mindset in my teens and 20s, and when I turned 30 I felt so hopeless I thought about taking my own life. But I knew, deep down, that wasn’t the answer. I needed a paradigm shift. So I chose to focus on the good – not the negatives I’d let consume me – and that intention brought me all of the tools I needed to take charge of my mind and my life.
A few years later I realized the massive transformation I’d experienced and reverse engineered the strategies I’d used to get there. That became the foundation of my holistic wellness curriculum.
The name – The Life Delicious – came from a conversation with my husband. I was doing yoga in our living room and said how delicious it felt to stretch. He said I couldn’t define anything but food as delicious. The next day – with a twinkle in my eye – I told him I was starting my own business as a wellness coach, teaching people how to feel delicious in mind, body and spirit, and it would be called The Life Delicious.
Synonyms for delicious include: delightful, exquisite and divine! I was so excited to share my curriculum with others, but as I put everything together and got ready to hang my shingle as a wellness coach, a series of traumatic events struck my family. Despite the extremely difficult circumstances, at my core I was truly well – because I’d been practicing the mindset, movement, nutrition, sleep and connection rituals that made up my curriculum.
Even though I didn’t feel anywhere near ready, a friend heard what I’d created and asked to get started with my program right away. Then more friends, then acquaintances, then strangers! My private coaching program has now expanded to retreats, corporate workshops and keynote speeches, and continues to evolve.
I call it "the science of health, happiness and productivity" because it’s based on scientific evidence from fields including neuroscience and positive psychology, and helps people feel empowered in all areas of their life from physical and mental health to focus, attention and super-charged brain function at home and at work.
Who is your customer base?
My clients currently range from about 25-65, mostly female executives, entrepreneurs and health professionals (although I work with a number of amazing men too). They are driven, motivated, curious, open, incredible people from North America to Europe, who transform the world for the better by becoming the healthiest, happiest, most productive versions of themselves!
What do you find the most common problem/complaint your customers are dealing with when they sign up for a seminar/retreat of yours?
Overwhelm, stress, and feeling stuck are big ones. I can absolutely relate to those things as I struggle with them myself – which is why my curriculum is the perfect antidote through it’s focus on empowerment, self-care and action.
Your retreats now span from Victoria, BC to international locations. How do you choose your retreat destinations and what would be your dream location?
I choose retreat locations for very specific reasons that include destination, venue, catering, accommodations and, most importantly, energy. Because my curriculum covers the 5 pillars of mindset, movement, nutrition, sleep and connection, each pillar must be heightened and strengthened by the location. I’m so proud to have incredible partners, like Fairmont Empress, who check those boxes beyond expectation.
I love the amazing energy and natural beauty in BC and for the most part, I like to host retreats in the Pacific Northwest. But since I call Vancouver home, I need to escape the rain at least a few times a year, so sunny, hot locations like Mexico and California, in the wet months are on the agenda too!
I feel like everyone these days is looking for balance in their life - with the food they eat, the time they spend exercising, working and time with family. What’s the one big tip you can offer anyone looking for more "wellness" and "balance" in their life?
Every little bit counts, just do your best in each moment and be quick to forgive your mistakes.
I went to the gym for 9 minutes one day last week. I often meditate for just 2 minutes. I focus on adding at least three vegetables to every meal (instead of focusing on what I “shouldn’t” have). Today, I ate a big handful of walnuts with a chocolate chip cookie – and drank lots of water before and after – to enjoy a weekend treat without seriously spiking my blood sugar or hampering my digestion.
Also, create rituals! Rituals are habits, prioritized. Rituals are consciously curated to serve you. If you create rituals around mindset, movement, nutrition, sleep and connection in a flexible framework that can expand or contract, depending on your day, but are always there to serve, you can add more wellness to your life with greater ease and feel a better sense of balance because you can be present in each moment of your life – at work and at home.
Where do you see The Life Delicious in 5 years?
I hope to be doing an expanded version of what I’m doing today: coaching, speaking, leading retreats, and writing! My intention is to work 8 months per year and take December-January and July-August off. I’m currently 6 months pregnant and expecting my first child in November, so I don’t know where that adventure will take me. I imagine that I’ll become much more interested in wellness for children and may adapt my curriculum for a younger audience. It’s exciting to think where that may take me!
I'm a big believer in 'ah-ha' moments, that timing is everything and things happen for a reason. What has been your biggest ah-ha moment in life and how has it lead you to where you are now?
Yes, I’m a big believer in those too! If I had to pick just one, I’d say my biggest AHA moment was realizing how much power I had to create the life I wanted. Before I really understood mindfulness and self-directed neuroplasticity (the ability to change your brain with your mind), I felt helpless, hopeless and stuck in my unhappy reality. When I learned that I could change my state, in an instant, and choose to feel better, my life was completely transformed. My business is focussed on helping people experience transformation too.
Talking about ah-ha moments, did you know you'd end up marrying your high school sweetheart, given that you and Aaron have been together since you were 16!?
I met my sweetheart in grade 7 when we were 12! Our young romance was cut short when his family moved away, but 5 years later – after not seeing or speaking to each other – my family serendipitously moved to the same town. I was looking at high schools with my parents and we even said to each other, “Hey, doesn’t Aaron Barr live here?” He was a handsome, brilliant, kind boy who everyone loved. When we walked through the front doors of the last high school on our list, the intercom came on and said: “Aaron Barr, please come to the office.” The rest is history.
Have you had the pleasure of seeing one of your clients completely turn their life around after attending a retreat? If so, how did it make you feel?
Yes, multiple times! It makes me cry for joy. It makes every challenge I’ve faced worthwhile. I makes me excited to get to work every day. To know how it feels to go from feeling overwhelmed, unhappy and tired to empowered, joyful and energized. It makes it so incredible to have helped someone else feel the same way.
What are three qualities you look for in the tribe of men/women you surround yourself with and what's the one thing men/women can do better to support each other?
Kindness, openness and fun are really important qualities to me. I have a zero tolerance policy for cattiness and dishonesty.
I think we can better support each other by recognizing that everyone struggles and no one is perfect, and by relentlessly flexing our forgiveness muscles when it comes to ourselves and others. I think we can be our kindest, most open and fun selves when we prioritize self-care. When we feel run down it’s a greater challenge to be those things. It’s also huge to share positive feelings with others – tell those you love (and even strangers) why they’re awesome as much as you can.
What's the one word of advice you would give your younger self?
One word?! That’s tough. I guess it would be powerful. I’d show my younger self how truly powerful one person is in shaping their own destiny.
What inspires you and motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
My calling! The joy of learning and teaching, growing and transforming.
Is the risk really worth the reward?
When have you been the most satisfied in your life?
In the present moment. When I make time to practice being mindful, grateful and energized, there’s immense joy in the present moment.
Do you ever plan on writing a book?? (psst....because I think you should).
Yes!! And thank you. My first book will likely be an expanded version of my holistic wellness curriculum. I’ve had the outline and the dream for years, but want to spend a little more time developing it so it will be of the highest service once published.
All photos courtesy of aaronjbarr.com