After living away from Sunraysia for many years, personal development coach, musician and “conscious content creator” Jo Kathleen Marie has found her way back home. Jo opens up to Caitlyn Morgan on the bumpy journey she took to get to where she is. Pictures: Ben Gross
IT took for Jo Kathleen Marie to hit rock bottom before discovering her “purpose” in life.
The personal development coach, musician and “conscious content creator” hasn’t always been the positive, bubbly and full of life person she is now.
Only a few years ago, Jo had overworked herself to the point that she no longer wanted to leave the house.
“I went through a period of time with anxiety and depression and I just wasn’t taking care of myself,” she says.
“I was prioritising everyone else and it ended up getting so bad that I just wouldn’t leave the house, I was working as an artist manager and teaching music at different schools but had to cut it all back.
“I was ready to check out.”
It was after seeing the quote “pain can be your greatest teacher if you allow it to be,” that Jo began to turn her life around.
“Something just clicked and I thought if I can get through this then I can help others,” she says.
“My first step to recovery was making myself a tea and sitting outside on the step, it doesn’t seem like a big deal but it was.
“After I could leave the house I needed to find something else that would get me out of my comfort zone, so in May 2017 I began house sitting full time.
“What helped me was hope in recovery, finding my strengths and validating that it was OK to feel whatever I felt and that changed my relationship with anxiety.”
During her recovery, Jo uncovered something that had been playing on her mind for as long as she can remember.
“I had grown up in Yelta raised by my grandparents after I lost my mum at two years old,” she says.
“I never knew what happened to her, so I began researching and it was then that I discovered she had gone through mental health issues.
“For me going through my own mental health battle set something off in my mind and I was ready to learn about my mum and get myself out of it.
“Honouring her memory and wanting to leave a legacy was why I moved into well-being and coaching.”
While her road to recovery hasn’t been an easy one, Jo says it’s one that has now put her on the right path to help others.
After living in Melbourne for almost a decade, Jo recently moved back to Sunraysia to launch her business; Create Your Life Academy.
“Two years ago I didn’t want to be here and after all these tiny steps, I am now coaching other people,” she says.
“Create Your Life Academy helps facilitate people to unlock potential, self-discover and achieve beyond their current competencies and capacities.
“I am under the belief that everyone has the answers within them, they sometimes just need help to find them.
“Helping others is my purpose. My whole life has changed, I am so grateful for every single day.”
When asked why return to Mildura after so many years, Jo says it was the community that drew her back.
“It’s been amazing to touch base at home and to be able to contribute to the community,” she says.
“I just love the community and being connected to all the different community organisations.”
While Jo has faced many changes in her life, one thing that has been a constant is her love of music.
At eight years old, Jo first taught herself to play the guitar and keyboard but it wasn’t until she started high school that she took that passion seriously.
“As soon as I could play a chord progression I had my first show, which was at the Mildura Zoo,” she says.
“From the get-go I was writing songs, filling notebook after notebook and at about 13 I wrote a song that I hoped would make an impact.”
Which it did, that song won the Mildura Rural City Council Meaningful Writers Competition and “kick started” Jo’s music career.
After finishing high school, Jo went on to study an Advanced Diploma of Music Performance followed by a Bachelor of Music Industry.
“For me, music is a beautiful way to creatively express and communicate and is a universal language that everyone can connect to,” Jo says.
Since returning to Mildura Jo has continued to share her love of music with the community by teaching at the Sound Trap and Mildura Academy of Music and Performance.
“Music and coaching are the best, I love seeing people grow and sharing their insights and breakthroughs with me,” Jo says.
“I love seeing them build their inner confidence and seeing their well-being improve.”
While Jo admits her two career paths may seem completely different, they work well together and she often finds she brings her coaching ability into many of her music lessons.