My Story:

The Two Million Dollar Lesson

The Goodlife Institute Founder Kate Byars smiles with a white vignette edit.

I began working at the age of 11. I grew up in a modest family and dad didn’t allow us to buy a lot of things. But I loved the freedom of having my own money. It never occurred to me that I would be anything other than a businesswoman. 

I busted my ass, and by 30, I was International Vice President of a billion-dollar corporation. I had a driver, housekeeper, and personal shopper. 

I thought the pace of life would slow down, that I would have more room to breathe. I felt like I was constantly holding my breath.

But life didn’t slow down. The pressure went up.

I lived in fear of losing my place at the table, and I always left meetings with the most work.

And I was always rushing; I couldn’t even find the time to make a dentist appointment. (One top-level female executive horrifyingly pointed out, “Why do you think we all wear dentures?”)

A family portrait of the Byars family when Kate was a teenager.

By 33, burnout hit me so hard I found myself secretly desiring I’d get fired.

A leadership coup soon gave me my wish. I was ousted. 

I could have found a leadership position in many companies around the globe, but I was so burned out that I walked away from the comp, the benefits, and the perks that I’d worked so hard to attain. All I wanted was to sleep.

A composite of Kate Byars island life which includes scuba diving, walks on the beach, and more.

So, I traded my lipstick and pinstripe suit to live on an island.

I sold everything, including my coveted garden home. Overnight, I went from the bitch in heels to beach bum in the Virgin Islands, ironically teaching burned-out executives how to scuba dive. 

My pay was $8/hour.

My new low-pressure life was simpler, but it wasn’t fulfilling. Plus $8/hour was a problem.

And before I knew it, I was merchandising the dive shop, sharpening customer service, and improving the bottom line. I loved the ambitious bad-ass in me, but fear of overwhelm and burnout quickly snuffed out any thoughts of returning to executive life.

After a year in the Virgin Islands, I moved to Florida to be a cave diver, married my husband, Scott, and after a couple of years of low-budget living, I re-entered the corporate world because we started our family of four.

This time, I was determined to find a way to work without sacrificing my freedom and my family.

But how? How could I keep my career from consuming me?
From burning me out? From robbing me of my family time?

My husband and I took up these questions together, united in our determination to find a better way.

We turned our family into a testing ground for how we could live well while holding down highly successful careers. Slowly but surely, we figured it out. My life was peaceful, content, and full, even with a demanding career.

And finally, I could see what I’d been blind to previously; a lesson that cost me $2 million in lost compensation to figure out.

My career was
never the problem;

I was thE

Problem

I didn’t know how to approach
my work without overworking!

The Goodlife Institute Founder Kate Byars staring off into the distance.

Figuring out a better way to live allowed me to have the best of both worlds; a high-level career and low-pressure, happy living!

One day I wrote a LinkedIn article about my journey: “Why I Traded My Lipstick and Pinstripe Suit to Live on an Island”. I wanted to share the discoveries that had helped me so much. I published it at 4am, thinking it would likely gather only a handful of likes. But by noon, my inbox had blown up! 

More women than I ever imagined felt precisely in the same tough spot that I did when exhaustion prompted me to walk away from my high-level job.

Corporate Women

Unleashed

was born!

Today my company, Goodlife Institute, teaches people to change how the game of success is played in the workplace. We help hyper-successful executives realize they are working 10x harder than necessary… and guide them to retain their outstanding careers, avoid burnout, and enjoy deeply fulfilling personal lives.

Success

is WASTED if you can’t enjoy it!

ourValues:​

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We believe in blazing trails. We believe in challenging the status quo. Our favorite question is, “Is that really true?” We take risks because that tension is where world-class change develops. And we are here to change the world.

A vector icon of an eye.

We believe in truth. We don’t stop with answers that are convenient. Instead, we reduce every problem to its root cause. We believe that once you find the root cause you can break past barriers that most would find impenetrable.

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We believe in mastery. We do not rest on our laurels. We do not change for the sake of change. We continually seek to evolve our knowledge of human well-being from a place of curiosity and humility.

The Goodlife Institute image

We believe in empathy. We embrace everyone just as they are. We do not judge, discriminate, nor believe in good vs. evil. We are all worthy, capable, and deserving of living extraordinary lives.

A vector icon of a support group.

We believe in community. We are a group of like-minded individuals dedicated to well-being. We courageously transform ourselves and our own lives, while supporting each other to do the same. We laugh, we cry and we grow together.

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We believe in taking a stand. We advocate relentlessly for what we believe. We will continue to serve our mission until our mission is no longer necessary. We aim to see the world become a place of well-being for all.