Geelong’s fearless leader

Kylie Paatsch with husband Wes and sons Liam and Charlie. Pictures: Louisa Jones

By Angie Hilton

For all the negatives of Covid, one potential positive is that it’s given us all time to stop and reassess everything. Do I really want to go back to that same job? Is it time for a complete career change? What do I really want out of life after lockdown?

Well, Highton mother of identical twins and owner of The Fearless Way Coaching, Kylie Paatsch has seen a definite surge in people ready to explore a post Covid career change.

Kylie’s forte and passion is in helping people get clarity when they know they’re ready for change but have no idea what that change looks like. Then, she helps them become fearless in pursuing it.

And Kylie is living proof that taking that scary leap is worth the risk. Having worked for years jet-setting around the globe and juggling motherhood, Kylie started to become all too familiar with that soul-niggling voice telling her it was time for a change.

Leaving the dynamic, fast-paced corporate world, Kylie now couldn’t be happier with the shift towards a more authentic, simple life and leading others to that same inner-peace that comes with finding more meaning and purpose.

Now Kylie, in the spirit of being ‘Fearless’, let’s start with your most embarrassing moment?

Ha ha! I have so many to choose from. Aside from wearing shoulder pads to play netball in the 80s, I would have to say the time I accidentally broke my mother-in-law’s ribs. We were out for dinner and after a few too many wines, I thought it would be a great idea for her and I to take to the dance floor amongst the other diners. I lost my footing and my balance and proceeded to knock my mother-in-law into the table of a young couple that were out for a romantic dinner. She landed on her side and hurt her ribs. I am lucky she has a good sense of humour and is pretty forgiving.

Another fearless moment has to have been facing the birth of not one but two babies at once. How did you mentally prepare for that?

When we found out we were having twins Wes was shocked, but my first thought was ‘great, we can do this in one hit!’

Our boys were born 10 weeks early. Carrying twins, we were prepared for an early arrival but not that early!

My water broke at 29 weeks and then a week later I went into labour and was rushed up to Melbourne.

The boys spent the first two weeks in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and then they were transferred back to the special care nursery at St John of God Hospital in Geelong for the next six weeks.

We were able to bring them home when they were two months old and I can still remember Wes driving at about 40 kilometres, while people were tooting at him to speed up.

How would you describe the best and hardest parts of having twins?

Well, both our boys had reflux and were terrible feeders. Some nights there were 45-minute bouts of sleep. We didn’t get a full night’s sleep until they were about three.

Looking back, in hindsight I wonder how we did it while we were both working, but like most things you just get on with it and push through.

The best part is now. Both boys play in the same sporting teams and go to the same school, so we only have one place to drop-off and pick-up. Compared to some of our friends we feel really lucky. We also love the bond our boys have; they are great mates and great company to be around, especially when we travel which we love to do.

So you’ve recently had a big shift of gears with your career. What was the old life like and what made you change?

Yes! I absolutely loved my job and was lucky enough to work for a company that gave me lots of flexibility and opportunities to progress my career.

The last role I had was actually based out of Brisbane, which meant I spent a lot of time travelling. I was also involved in a few global projects, which meant I also spent a bit of time overseas.

As much as I loved the travel opportunities, my team and the work that I was doing, I found I did not have much space for anything outside of work or family and found myself starting to resent work and being away from Wes and the boys so much.

I didn’t feel in alignment with my values and knew it was time to make a change and do something that would work for me and our family.

I took a few months off to give myself a bit of space and time to figure out what was next and that was when The Fearless Way was born.

Kylie and Wes.

That sounds like a courageous thing to do. So what is The Fearless Way?

The Fearless Way is a company I created that helps individuals, leaders and businesses to break-down barriers and fulfil their potential.

We offer programs, events, one-on-one coaching and tools to help individuals, leaders and organisations transform the way they live, lead and perform.

At this stage it is just me and my admin assistant who I call my guardian angel, but the plan is to expand pretty quickly.

Because I am passionate about gender equality and women progressing in work and community, I am doing quite a bit of work helping women build confidence and find ways to get back into the workforce, build their businesses and take whatever the next steps in life are for them. I am also doing a fair bit of work with leaders and companies who are looking to bring a more conscious and courageous approach and have just started running some programs for this which is exciting.

So when you promote fearlessness you really have to walk the talk right?

Totally! Here’s an example … for as long as I can remember I have always felt panicked by heights, so much so that I fainted at the top of the Eiffel Tower on a visit to Paris.  So, to help me chip away at my fear of heights I thought I would really challenge myself and go bungee jumping. It was seriously the most terrifying thing I have ever done. The thought of it now still gives me the trembles. It definitely helped me build my courage muscle.

Is there a Fearless parenting philosophy?

I view parenting in the same way that I view leadership. In fact, I think parenting is the most important leadership position any of us will ever have. So, my philosophy is very similar to the one that I use in my leadership programs – to be conscious, compassionate, courageous and curious.

To be conscious means being mindful and, as a parent, this is about being present and in the moment. It is about being aware, focused and responsive rather than being distracted, reactive and on autopilot. It’s certainly not an easy thing to do and not something I do 100 per cent of the time, but I certainly do my best with this and cultivating my own mindfulness practice every day has definitely helped.

As a coach I am naturally curious, and both my husband and I make a real effort to take more of a coaching approach when we are communicating with our boys. I really believe it teaches them to think for themselves, to take responsibility and it shows them that we trust and believe that they have what it takes to solve their own problems. It is a great tool for boosting self-esteem.

Being compassionate for us is showing that we care by listening and making it a safe place to express emotions. We also believe that calling out poor behaviour and choices is the kindest thing we can do, but I can assure you our kids don’t always think the same thing.

When it comes to being courageous as a parent, I believe this is about leaning into the things that make you feel uncomfortable, having the awkward conversations and letting your kids work stuff out for themselves even though you want to take it away from them and fix it. If we want our kids to be resilient and achieve their dreams and fulfil their potential, you have to let go.

Last but not least, as parents, I believe it is important to lead by example. If you want your kids to be respectful, you need to be respectful. If you want your kids to be brave, you have to show them your bravery. Parenting is by far the hardest job I have ever had but it is definitely the most rewarding.

Do you have that elusive ‘work life balance’ thing down pat?

Hmmm … I think I do now. For us, the biggest key is being organised and everyone sharing their schedules at the start of the week. We make sure that this includes personal stuff as well as work.  Wes loves to play golf and I love making time for yoga and exercise, so we make sure we fit that in and around work and the boys. The other thing that helps is that we share home duties – cooking, school lunches and anything else that needs to be done.What’s a day in the life of your family look like?

My day starts anywhere between 4.30am and 5.30am so I can fit in my yoga, meditation, walk and gratitude journaling.

The boys are normally up at 7.30am and get themselves organised and ready to walk out the door for school. After school is normally some sort of sports training for the boys which Wes and I juggle together. Where possible we sit down to have dinner as a family and then hangout time either watching TV, reading or talking. Bed is by 9.30pm because I can’t keep my eyes open any longer, sometimes the boys tuck me in!

Yoga is obviously a big part of your life?

Yes I teach through Kundalini Yoga Geelong. I can’t imagine my life without yoga. It is such a wonderful tool for staying centred, focused, grounded and calm. I love seeing people’s faces at the end of a class. There’s an obvious shift towards relaxation which is so rewarding.

What’s the secret to a good marriage?

Laughter, respecting each other, making time for each other, working as a team and constant communication.

Favourite quote?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” by Ghandi

Favourite books?

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

What three people would you invite to dinner?

I love this question and have a list of at least 10 people but if I had to pick three it would be: Brene Brown – I have a massive girl crush on her and love her work; Emeline Pankhurst, the leader of the suffragette movement; and Barack Obama because he is an inspiring leader, husband, father and male.

Future dreams?

Start my own podcasts, write and publish a book, keep travelling and exploring the world. And the Fearless Way is a big contributor to gender equality and conscious and courageous leadership and workplaces.

What do you want your children’s future to look like?

My greatest hope for Liam and Charlie is that they love and believe in themselves and have the confidence to do whatever sets their souls on fire. I hope that the world they live in and bring their children into is more conscious and compassionate.

If you had a full day to yourself to do anything what would you do?

Hmmm … let’s start with yoga, a massage, maybe a walk on the beach, and then snuggle up to watch back-to-back rom coms on Netflix.

Where’s your favourite coffee in Geelong?

I am a pretend coffee drinker. I usually have a decaf latte or a turmeric latte. Skinny Dippers in Newtown do a great turmeric almond latte.

Ready to find your fearless? Chat to Kylie at

Kylie Paatsch is passionate about helping people get clarity.
Name: Kylie Paatsch
Age: 49
Profession (past and current):  Founder, coach, facilitator and speaker of The Fearless Way and yoga teacher.
Former General Manager of Leadership and Development for Flight Centre Travel Group
Husband: Wes Marshall
Describe him in three words: Down to earth, fun-loving and supportive
How did you meet? We met through a mutual friend at the Star Bar in South Melbourne. How romantic!
Children (describe in 3 words):  Twins – 12 years old. Charlie – Independent, curious and sports mad. Liam – Independent, funny and sports mad.