Musician, life coach and author Kerry Pastine on not letting fear run the show

Sean Hartgrove
Not the average self-help guru, rock-and-roller Kerry Pastine found that after tapping into her own best self, she was able to show others how to do the same. A life coach for close to two decades and lead singer of The Informants, Pastine recently penned and self-published Know Thyself, a simple workbook-style approach to helping others live life on their own terms.

After work in a college admissions office pushed her to realize that she was passionate about helping others achieve their dreams, Pastine went on to coach local businesses on how to develop healthy, happy companies; eventually, she opened her own self-help practice. The author sat down with Westword recently to explain her own journey and how she became a guide helping others forge a deep, loving relationship with themselves.

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Westword: You're a musician and singer, but you also work with people in an intimate, personal way. I don't want to mislabel you, but are you a life coach?

Kerry Pastine: I am a life coach and I have been a life coach for about eighteen years. I've been working on myself, pretty much, my whole life -- you know, the bullshit repression stuff that you have when you're younger. But I thought, these are the things I want to do -- I want to sing, so bad. That was all I ever gave a shit about from about five years of age on.

But because of my background, my environment, the parenting and the conditioning and stuff, it was a miracle that I could even go that direction. I decided, what I have to do is get through all of these issues in order to get to that place where I even felt like I could try. It took me a while to move through that junk and personal issues through journaling and just trying on different things.

While I was working through my stuff and trying to heal my body, I was tapping into every new method and philosophy and idea that I could possibly think of. Which inevitably kept me learning and growing right into my passion. As I continued to move forward, I was able to let go of what was no longer serving me. Funny enough, those life experiences turned into a career -- I suppose that is really what happened.

I started teaching "The Artist's Way" course, and was doing that with all of my students. It all kind of burst at once -- I think I was like, thirty, and I decided, okay, it's probably time to walk away from the corporate empire and live life on my terms. That's when I started playing music and working on helping people. Here I am at 51 going, I feel twelve. (Laughs.)

Were you teaching art during that time you were at the Art Institute?

No, I was actually in admissions. It's funny -- to this day, I get Facebook hellos from students I met back then who I talked into following their dream. Now they're doing something really fucking cool. But the one thing I realized, especially back then, was when I was working with students and doing my own stuff and teaching "The Artist's Way," I realized that it is in our mentality to talk ourselves out of what's next. We second-guess ourselves and overanalyze everything and never believe that we're enough. That's when I decided that was what I wanted to make my passion and mission at the Art Institute.

It was interesting because back then, they didn't really give a shit if people stayed in school; they just wanted them to matriculate. I thought, why would anyone sit in classes all day and not fulfill their dreams? It got to the point where students were coming into my office and they were asking me to help them, because their friend had told them I could help.

It was kind of cool -- the retention rate at the school started to shift, after years of me working there. I was still in admissions, but I had sort of created my own way of helping people stay in school. That's all I really cared about -- making sure everybody who wanted to fulfill their dreams could.

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