An Interview with Kat Mische Elle
Casey, tell us about the twists and turns on your road to success.
From a very young age, I was not into rules at all.
I ran away from home at three years old, and my mom helped me pack my bags. She sent me to my babysitter’s house, who lived across the street. My mother’s stern words to me were, “Alright, be on your way, but don’t cross the street.” Believing that would make me turn around at some point and come home.
And, of course, she’s watching me the whole time.
I crossed the street anyway because she told me not to.
The next thing I know, mom comes flying out of the house and whips my little tale back home.
Looking back at moments like these tells the story of how I was designing the rest of my future.
I didn’t want to follow the rules.
My family moved from Oklahoma to Louisiana when I was still very young for my dad to have extra support from his family. He was a Vietnam vet who did two tours in Vietnam. He came home from the second tour because he was hit by a grenade, which put him in a coma for about six months. Then the military shipped him back home.
My mother created a bubble around my two sisters and me to the point where we were not told that what my father was going through was severe PTSD and alcoholism. I didn’t have much of a connection with my dad when I was young. It wasn’t until years later, when my father became sober, finished college, moved the family to Texas, (at the time I was in the seventh grade), and got a job at Texas Instruments, that the magic in my life began.
After my dad was sober for a couple of years my sisters and I started building relationships with him.
One day we went with my dad to one of his friend’s house and the people at the house were riding dirt bikes.
I said to my dad, “That looks fun!” I watched the men riding and jumping and I was captivated by it so I announced, “I want to do that.”
My dad got on a motorcycle, came over to me and said, “Get on.” He wanted me to get on the back. I said, smiling wide with sassiness in my voice, “You get off.” He got off the bike, and I got on. Of course, I was too small, and my dad held the bike in position for me.
Later, my dad and his friends fastened a rock under my foot so I could reach the pedal to kick start it. At that moment I felt as if something was changing for me, and I was starting something powerful besides the motorcycle.
I was a natural at riding dirt bikes and eventually got into racing cross country. I loved it, and I placed second in the state. I enjoyed having something to be good at and being recognized for it because I always felt like such an outcast.
I wasn’t doing what everybody else was doing and was okay with it. And being a redheaded, freckle-faced, gawky child, I was often the subject of bullying.
Motorcross helped my confidence at that time and I met my first boyfriend. I was thirteen when we met at church, and he eventually became my husband when I was eighteen.
I thought it was love at first sight. We were very much in love for what we knew love to be. We were married for nineteen years until we chose our different paths. The relationship served a purpose for a time.
That purpose was to give me two amazing boys who have genuinely taught me what it is to love beyond myself, and I am a stronger woman for it.
During my marriage, at the very beginning of college, I found out I was pregnant and supposed to give birth six weeks after finals. I ended up giving birth six weeks before finals.
My baby boy was 12 weeks early. He spent the first few months out of my body in the hospital in an incubator.
He weighed 2 pounds, 4½ ounces.
At this time, I had passed all the drop dates for the classes, and the college refused to work with me and failed me in all my courses.
I was so mad and discouraged that I decided I was not going back.
The first year of my son’s life was incredibly challenging.
And then, even with precautions during his first year, I became pregnant again. I was experiencing frustration and joy and, on some days, didn’t know which way was up.
My second son was also born early, but we knew what to watch for this time.
Then at twenty-one, my life leveled out, and I decided it was time to return to work.
I felt a little lost at first, but my determination overrode that.
As I headed out into the workforce, I didn’t have high level skill sets or a college diploma behind me. I knew it was time to show up even more for myself now, and I was ready.
While I was still searching for employment, my father called me and told me that his friend, the man who helped me learn how to ride dirt bikes as a kid, was looking for help with his business.
He owned a business that contracted with nonprofits to help assign the daily operations needed for their organization.
I was able to separate from that job and create a company of my own from this business, and I was good at it, but I was able to discover that I am the worst boss in the world to myself.
I made myself work many long hours with little breaks. I drove myself into the ground. So, I eventually sold my business. And wanted to do something new.
I was now twenty-eight, wondering what my next step would be.
An opportunity presented itself to work for a woman who had reached out to me because of my writing abilities and wanted me to come on board. Her business was contracted to do accounting for schools.
When she contacted me, I told her I wasn’t sure if I could because I was trying to find a way to return to school. She said, “Come work for me. I’ll pay for you to return to school”.
I joined this woman in her business, returned to school, and got my degree.
I left her company after thirteen years and then moved into recruiting and networking for companies that needed talent.
From there, I shifted to the company I’m with now, VIP Search Group.
I have the best support from this team that I have ever had in my life! When it comes to fulfilling my dreams and expanding into areas where I never thought I might be able to grow, they have encouraged me every step of the way.
With VIP, we have been recording our podcast for three years, and now I have also become the face of the company. I am promoted as the hiring expert from VIP, and I still get to fulfill that entrepreneurial drive in me, But I do it as an intrapreneur instead of an entrepreneur.
What else do you do with your time?
I have been supporting an organization called Success North Dallas for about five years. This amazing organization is a 34-year-old networking organization. It was founded by a gentleman named Bill Wallace, who has run the organization the entire time.
Every month, we meet on the third Wednesday, and I have been the organization’s chief of staff. At each gathering, we have the best of the best speakers on our stages.
As of this year, Bill wants to step back in his role and have a bigger team leading the monthly meetings, which is where I come in.
So, I’ve been promoted to director within the organization to help keep everything running smoothly.
We started a new initiative this year called The Young Executives and will follow the legacy that’s been created for hopefully another 34 years!
There is one other thing that’s going on this year, I am about to become a published author.
Tell us about your book.
It’s a quarterly journal in one book, and the name of it is Awaken Your Potential.
This journal helps you to explore beyond just one aspect of your life. It’s about integrating all aspects of your life, from work to play, and to give you a bigger reveal of who you are. It’s designed to help you know yourself at the core so that you can be solid in learning about what you stand for.
It helps the reader to discover the truth about what we think about ourselves.
It’s a guided journal. It has guidance and prompts to support you throughout the entire text.
The six different sections help take the reader to their next level.
Some of the sections are mindset, affirmations, and efficiency. This will help you with habit stacking which will create more time in your daily routine to get your tasks completed. There is also a section for Goal setting so that you can manage the speed and preciseness of your productivity.
Then the section for a preview and review. This is where you can assess where you need to scale up or down for your best outcome as you move forward.
And then the last section is what makes my journal so unique and complete. There is a section for finance.
The journal is an all-in-one how-to guide for every quarter through the year.
It’s not for the faint of heart. It is for the people ready to be serious for great success in their life with no more excuses.
And where will people be able to find Awaken Your Potential?
It can be ordered on Caseyhasten.com, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.
There won’t be a pdf version. Regarding goals and daily practice, there’s so much power in holding an actual book and writing it down.
But there will be a potential option to use the journal on Remarkable. It mimics the feel of writing on paper.
What advice would you give to someone to stay centered while moving forward in life at the same time?
I would say pour words of wisdom into yourself.
Take the time to give to yourself, permitting yourself to do what you love. For me, that’s reading. I love to have quiet time to sit down and read.
I believe that taking that time for yourself is in the morning. Avoid quickly getting up, hitting the ground running to the shower, getting ready, and getting to work late all the time.
I don’t believe that that is conducive to a successful lifestyle.
I have very strict boundaries around my morning routine.
And honor that connectivity with the fantastic people in your life that support you 100%. They are the best to help you remember you can make it in the times when some people want to tell you, “You can’t do it.”
Do you have a book to recommend?
One book recommendation is The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. Although I have hundreds to suggest. But this is a great one.
How do you keep your life inspired?
It’s the people who surround my life—all of them.
I developed a tight group of friends who have lifted me and have encouraged me to where I never felt like I would fail no matter what direction I chose to go.
And my boyfriend. He makes difficult times seem easy with his love and support for me.
What is the best way for people to find and follow you?
The best way that people can find me is through caseyhasten.com and LinkedIn.