Kelsi Corlett, Writer, Ghostwriter and Remote Year participant tells GoWonder about her experience interviewing top business leaders in 11 countries for a book she is writing on embracing failure as a stepping stone to success.
Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself & your project?
My dad has been an entrepreneur since I was born so being raised in this environment piqued my interest in being an entrepreneur myself one day. I have currently been a ghostwriter for 5 years and decided to write a book for myself to capture and share successful people’s stories of failure and overcoming adversity. My goal is to share that failure is ok and you are not going to be successful without some kind of failure along the way.
I was originally going to write the book in the U.S. as I had never traveled outside of North America but when the opportunity came to travel around the world with Remote Year I decided that I would do this book and interview successful business leaders in every country that I visited. For this book, I interviewed business leaders in China, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, India, Croatia, Italy, Ireland, England, Spain, Prague, and Mexico.
How did you connect with business leaders around the world?
I am a member of the Young Presidents Organization so I first reached out to my connections through this network. Then I started to google things like “Top 10 most successful business women in Cambodia”. Next, I would send an email about who I was and the book I am writing while asking them to share their story with me. It was scary as I was this 25-year-old girl and all of the books I’ve written aren’t in my name. I wasn’t expecting a reply but I was overwhelmed with the positive response! Everyone was willing to sit down with me and tell me their life story. One of the most valuable lessons I learned is that you really just have to reach out and ask for help and people are willing, or even eager, to sit down and talk to you.
What were some of the highlights of your interviews?
Each one was very memorable. The participants invited me to their homes or their offices. One person even took me for a 3-star Michelin meal at the hotel that he owned.
One question I was always nervous to ask was, “What is the worst thing that has happened to you and how did you come back from it?”. One participant shared with me how he was homeless when he was a child and his mother was very depressed. He would sleep in storm drains when she was in the hospital and she ended up committing suicide and blaming him for it. When I was at his house interviewing him he took me to the window and pointed to the storm drain. He shared how he purposely bought this house so he could look at the storm drain and remember where he came from. This was my very first interview and it made me realize how powerful this project is.
Another highlight is that I am now friends with all of the people I interviewed. We keep in touch on Facebook and I will hopefully see them in the future.
Where there any major lessons you learned?
One of my goals was to find the common threads between the people I was interviewing. When I asked what their favorite quote was they almost all responded with, “Success is the ability to move from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm.” by Winston Churchill. They all said that you really need to embrace failure and say bring it on! You will never be successful without it.
What were some of the challenges of this project?
Getting to the interview’s was the hardest part. I had to learn to take an Uber or a train for the first time. I often didn’t speak the same language as the locals and couldn’t understand the signs so learning to navigate my way to the appointment was always a challenge. The great thing about this was that every time I completed this task I felt stronger and more confident in my abilities to navigate and be independent while traveling.
Why did you choose to travel through Remote Year?
I have never really been anywhere and before Remote Year I was a very fearful person. I was stuck in a bit of a bubble and I knew I would never travel on my own so joining Remote Year gave me the comfort of traveling with a community. Another reason I chose Remote Year is that the logistics are taken care of. While on the trip we are guided on what is safe to do and not to do in each country and placed in safe neighborhoods. I am so grateful I did Remote Year. I now have the confidence to travel on my own in the future.
What did you learn about traveling while on Remote Year?
I started my trip in Malaysia and many people told me it is unsafe because of all the bad things happening in the world. But once I arrived the people I met in Malaysia were wonderful and I thought it was so great to be exploring new cultures and it was very safe. It was also a very humbling experience as you are now this person sitting in a room where you can’t speak the language but everyone is so nice to you everywhere you go.
What advice do you have for women who want to travel?
Just do it. Buy a ticket and go. The more you sit at home and think about it the more you will get doubts and worry. I feel like if I didn’t leave as abruptly as I did I would have never gone. I think we don’t realize how strong we are and as long as we are careful, kind and considerate of other cultures it’s a great experience. Just do it!
When will the book come out and what is the name?
The book is currently unnamed but my goal is for it to come out in about a year. You can learn more at www.kelsiwrites.com.
About Kelsi Corlett
Kelsi Corlett is a writer, ghostwriter, and speaker from San Diego, California. She has worked under best-selling business author Peter Economy and completed personal story training with the world’s greatest speaker, Bo Eason. Kelsi spent years extensively developing her writing through ghostwritten books, writing for publishing companies, consulting, PR work for public companies, and editing work for many different projects and websites.
Currently, Kelsi is on a year long journey across the world as she interviews high-profile CEOs and business people to uncover the stories of true grit that are endured on the path to success. She is compiling these stories and the knowledge she has learned into a book that will be available late 2018. When not writing, Kelsi draws inspiration from experiencing new cultures, interviewing interesting individuals, and trying new and exciting foods. Always an avid question asker, she thrives on learning what exactly makes the people around her tick. In the past 8 months, Kelsi has been to China, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, India, Croatia, Bosnia, Italy, Czechia, Portugal, England, Ireland, Spain, and Mexico. After all of this traveling, she will be making a more permanent home in New York in August.
Article by Amanda Elizabeth, Founder of The Wellness School