“You are not your past.”
– Catherine Hoke
Catherine Hoke (@catherine_hoke) is the founder of the non-profit Defy Ventures. Defy’s vision is to end mass incarceration by using entrepreneurship as a tool to transform legacies and human potential.
Cat was named a #MakeTechHuman Agent of Change by WIRED and Nokia for being one of 17 Global Influencers Expanding Human Possibility Through Technology. She has received the MDC Partners Humanitarian Award on behalf of Defy Ventures, and was included in Forbes’ 40 Women to Watch over 40. She was also named by Fast Company as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business and is an Ashoka Fellow.
Cat is the author of the new book, A Second Chance: For You, For Me, and For the Rest of Us, which the Seth Godin encouraged her to write after hearing her amazing story. I highly encourage you to check it out.
Enjoy this incredible roller coaster of a conversation! It was very moving and emotional for me.
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Want to hear another amazing conversation that will inspire you? Listen to this episode with Terry Crews, in which we discuss his workout and diet routine, overcoming failure, discovering happiness, and much much more. Listen to it here (stream below or right-click to download):
This episode is brought to you by Four Sigmatic. You might remember Four Sigmatic for their mushroom coffee, which was created by their clever Finnish founders. Recently, I’ve been testing a new product — their reishi mushroom elixir — to help me get to sleep.
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Connect with Catherine Hoke:
- A Second Chance: For You, for Me, and for the Rest of Us by Catherine Hoke
- Cutco Cutlery
- Step to the Line, Defy Ventures
- Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP)
- Prison Entrepreneurship Program: PEP
- Daily Affirmation: Stuart Smalley Under-Prepares, SNL
- Tony Robbins Explains the Dickens Pattern
- Union Square Ventures
- Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
- Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
- Treadmill Desks
- Baby Lullaby Piano music on Spotify
- Vitamin String Quartet
- Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion by Wayne Cordeiro
- How Catherine met our mutual friend Seth Godin. [02:27]
- Catherine talks about her cold email strategy that gets the attention of hard-to-reach people. [04:07]
- Catherine’s persuasion tactics were forged in a hamster sales empire at age seven, golf ball retrieval, and selling knives door-to-door. [06:48]
- How Catherine applied her hustle to attend her school of choice. [10:46]
- Where does Catherine’s aggressive drive originate? [12:23]
- On being raised in a “super weird” (but super supportive) immigrant home in Canada. [14:22]
- What brought Catherine’s family from Canada to the United States? [16:16]
- How Catherine developed compassion from her mother. [17:09]
- How did Catherine go from thinking poorly of the incarcerated to trying to help them? [20:58]
- Understanding the power of language and how it serves to label us and others. [22:46]
- Why did Catherine’s passion for helping society’s underdogs — and giving them the right to a second chance — stick? [23:57]
- Catherine empathizes with the people she serves because she understands how different circumstances could have easily put her in their position. [27:29]
- Who is Coss Marte and why should he inspire us? [28:58]
- How does Catherine vet the incarcerated who should be given a second chance vs. those who should remain behind bars because they’re a threat to society? [34:02]
- What if you were only known for the worst thing you’ve ever done? [45:08]
- Catherine talks honestly about her own second chance. [46:55]
- What recommendations does Catherine have for people who are unforgiving of themselves? [1:00:19]
- How to get stubborn about forgiveness. [1:07:38]
- The power of affirmations. [1:10:19]
- “You can’t be angry and curious at the same time.” [1:12:09]
- How are Entrepreneurs in Training (EIT) taught to meditate on ways to replace self-limiting beliefs? [1:14:36]
- What form does this meditation take? [1:21:07]
- What are the ingredients that make Defy effective? [1:22:21]
- How does competition-based entrepreneur training work? [1:29:31]
- Where can people learn more about Defy’s curriculum? [1:37:11]
- What books does Catherine gift most often? [1:42:48]
- As we forgive ourselves, remember to forgive others. [1:44:26]
- What would Catherine’s billboard say? [1:46:35]
- What does Catherine do to overcome feeling unfocused or overwhelmed? [1:48:22]
- What’s are Catherine’s favorite foods? [1:52:16]
- What does Catherine hope to do by her 53rd birthday? [1:57:57]
- In Catherine’s estimation, what would be the defining factors of doing away with mass incarceration? [1:59:52]
- What questions does Catherine ask herself to get centered? [2:03:55]
- What would your own eulogies say? [2:07:27]
- Parting thoughts. [2:09:00]
- Seth Godin
- Duncan Niederauer
- Catherine’s father
- Helen Maroulis
- Jerry Colonna
- Brad Feld
- Coss Marte
- Bill and Andrea Townsend
- Stuart Smalley
- Al Franken
- Scott Adams
- Tony Robbins
- Henry Cloud
- Emily Post
- Tim Draper
- Sheryl Sandberg
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 500 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.