5 Years

5Years

I keep going back to Pikes Peak. It was one of our smaller adventures compared to Mt. Everest base camp or the summit of Mt. Rysy but it was one of our firsts. We didn’t know what we were doing, really. We didn’t hit the trail early enough, pack enough food or water, and we didn’t know that a 13-mile hike up a 14,000 foot mountain isn’t the best way to break in a new pair of hiking boots. We pretty much fumbled our way up that trail … not to mention the altitude sickness. At the top of the mountain we ate the world famous Pike’s Peak donuts in a daze … and if it weren’t for the quaint cog railway we probably would’ve never made our way back down.

We spent the next day numbing our pain with beers at the bar of The Great Divide brewery. It seems so obvious saying it out loud, but it was then that I realized the specialness of unshakable bonds forged together in adventure. It was then that I realized I wanted the rest of our lives to be an adventure – weaving us together water tight. But what I overlooked was the love that grew during the rest, recovery, and reflection, over hoppy IPAs and dark chocolate stouts … only after we had come down from the mountain.

Here’s to five years of marriage, beebs. Lately we’ve been fumbling our way up a different kind of mountain (one that we’re guaranteed to never summit)… But what do you say we go grab a beer?

Let’s TED

TED

I have to spend about 20 minutes a day pumping breast milk while my baby is at daycare – this means I have a good amount of time on my hands where well… I can’t use my hands. (I know they make those hands-free pumping bras but the inconvenience of changing into one of those does not outweigh the convenience it provides.) Enough about boobies. The point is this time gives me the perfect opportunity to catch up on all the videos I never seem to find time for.

So the other day I asked my Twitter friends what their favorite TED talk is. There are some gems in here for sure:

Want to be happy? Be grateful. David Steindl-Rast
The one thing all humans have in common is that each of us wants to be happy, says Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar. And happiness, he suggests, is born from gratitude. An inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you’re going, and above all, being grateful.
Recommended by Natalie

The key to success? Grit. Angela Lee Duckworth
Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.
Recommended by Elleonce

How great leaders inspire action. Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers …
Recommended by Mike

Before Avatar … A curious boy. James Cameron
James Cameron’s big-budget (and even bigger-grossing) films create unreal worlds all their own. In this personal talk, he reveals his childhood fascination with the fantastic — from reading science fiction to deep-sea diving — and how it ultimately drove the success of his blockbuster hits “Aliens,” “The Terminator,” “Titanic” and “Avatar.”
Recommeded by Liz

Normal: Joli Talusan Vega
Joli Talusan Vega is a 10-year-old with a message. She is a survivor of childhood retinoblastoma, a very rare pediatric cancer of the eye which has left her with a prosthetic right eye. As a result of her cancer and subsequent vision disability, Joli has developed a deep sense of compassion, care, and justice. She has a kind heart and a mature perspective on what it means to be a good friend and a caring person; she sees the beauty in what makes us different.
Recommended by Olivia

The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance. Shawn Achor
In Shawn’s TEDxBloomington presentation, he says that most modern research focuses on the average, but that “if we focus on the average, we will remain merely average.” He wants to study the positive outliers, and learn how not only to bring people up to the average, but to move the entire average up.
Recommended by Jose

Your Elusive Creative Genius. Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.
Recommended by Jensen and Danielle

The Power of Vulnerability. Brené Brown
Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.
Recommended by Alexandra. I can also pipe in and say this one changed my life.

So now I want to hear from you – which TED talks (or any other videos!) would you recommend? 

Braid // Behind the Scenes

BRAIDCREATIVE:SEPT2013AU_47

I was the first person in my family to pursue working for myself when I left my day job in advertising to go it alone as a freelancer. Blogging about that journey here was not only a big part of what convinced my sister to join me in creative entrepreneurship and launch Braid Creative but is what kept me feeling grounded through the questions and uncertainty that comes from being your own boss. Over three years later I’m feeling pretty comfortable but have been itching lately to share the insecurities and victories alike that come with building your own creative career.

With that, I’m going to be sharing more behind-the-scenes business insights. And today I want to talk about my sense of urgency to be a big deal. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said:

I just want to be Danielle LaPorte. Gabrielle Berstein. And Marie-Freakin’-Forleo.

Okay, let me clarify. I want to be me, of course, but I want to have the kind of self-built success that these women have manifested for themselves. I often find myself racking my brain to figure out how to build a scalable empire with great reach and meaningful impact. And if I’m being completely honest I can’t help but sometimes fall into a middle-school popularity contest mindset. I’m limited by the belief that because these women are popular they are successful – which is just not true and straight-up insulting to their hard work. They’re popular because they make their hard work look so easy.

What else do these rockstar women have in common? Clarity of purpose. I know what I stand for, but I’m not sure my capital P Purpose is so easily defined. I’m still young and am far from having all the answers. But this I know for sure: purpose is woven into the daily grind. Sometimes it’s hiding in the details and other times it’s so obvious it can be easy to overlook. So from this day forward, I’m going to try and move through the daily grind step-by-step with a little more mindfulness and patience, and perhaps I’ll find that clarity of purpose.

So today I want to know – do you have clarity around your purpose? Any online rockstars you admire (or are straight-up feeling jealous of)? 

P.S. For more behind-the-scenes business insights like this check out our exclusive Letters for Creatives with content never shared anywhere else online. 

The Daycare Dilemma: Part 1

DaycareDilemma

I’m incredibly fortunate to have so many choices when it comes to childcare. Because of this my options ranged from stay-at-home to work-from-home to hiring a nanny to putting my baby in daycare. Each option has its pros and cons. And as I explored each one I found myself flooded with self-doubt and guilt.

Ultimately, I found myself leaning towards daycare. It seemed to be the most straightforward and financially sound solution for our family. So why did I feel so bad about it? I scoured the internet for pro-daycare articles but came up short. Everything made it seem like a necessary evil and ultimate compromise for women who would much rather stay-at-home.

So I called on Rebecca Egbert for help. I first met Rebecca when she took all three of our Braid ECourses and quickly realized we were kindred spirits. Rebecca is a former midwife and maternal health expert who launched her own business working as what I call a “momma coach” for successful women who need help transitioning into parenthood. (P.S. Yes, I have since hired Rebecca. I wish every new mama had one-on-one access to her – it’s the best decision I’ve made in a long time. But more on that later.)

Six weeks in to my maternity leave I sent Rebecca this email with the intention of sharing it with you all who may be struggling with the same issues. This is a long post so I’m going to share behind the cut (for those of you who aren’t interested in my baby-momma drama).

(more…)

How to Attract Dream Customers

BeYourself

A lot of you, dear readers, are creative entrepreneurs or aspiring to leave your day job and live what you love. And you might already know that a big part of loving your job is loving who you work with and who you work for. Or on the flip-side a client from hell can leave you fantasizing about working at the MAC makeup counter in the mall (or is that just me?). So today I’m going to cut to the chase and give you three secrets to attracting dream clients.

1. BE YOURSELF 100% OF THE TIME
In our society there is an expectation that when you’re “on the clock” you are buttoned up, polished, and sound a little bit like a robot. You have your work clothes and then you have your evening & weekend clothes. The person you are for your friends and family is not the same person you are for your clients.

I think this is a total bummer. And worse, this kind of separation of personal and professional is a disservice not only to yourself but to your client. You see, when you can be who you are on and off the clock you create the opportunity to forge genuine relationships, which leads to real trust, which then cultivates collaboration, which then results in enthusiastic approval on projects.

But here’s the deal. Most of the creatives I coach only PERCEIVE that they won’t be hired because they let their true colors shine – which is the total opposite of true. Give your potential clients more credit. Treat them like the humans they are and they’ll respond with equal respect. I always use my hair as an example. I assumed it would keep me from being hirable but the opposite has been true. In fact, I’ve doubled my income since dreading my hair. So, wear what you want to wear, dye your hair crazy colors, write your truth and hit publish, and just be yourself – 100% of the time. You will attract dream customers with cash and you will repel the clients from hell.

2. LIKE ATTRACTS LIKE  
I’ve found that whatever I’m interested in personally at any given time is what I attract professionally. When I was deeply into my yoga practice I was hired by a yogi to rebrand her studio. When I was going through life coach training I found myself helping other life coaches define their brand and business vision. And the most explicit hit-me-over-the-head example of like attracting like is when I was captivated by Brené Brown’s message of Daring Greatly and was then hired by Brené Brown herself to overhaul her personal brand and website before appearing on Oprah.

I think the Law of Attraction is at play here but more than that I think a big important step in attracting like-minded clients is not just being who you are 100% of the time but explicitly sharing what you love. That means blogging, talking, and Tweeting the things that interest and inspire you.

3. YOU HAVE TO ASK FOR IT 
So finally, you have to not only know what your dream customer likes (probably the same things you like, per point #2) – but you have to ask them for their business. That means you have to have an offering that fits their needs. And then you have to ask them to hire you.

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So here is where I’m going to ask you to hire me. Our Braid ECourse Dream Customer Catching: Embrace Your Expertise and Attract What You Track is open for registration through this Thursday and will be in-session from this Friday March 21 – 30th.  You can take it for $50 using the code ANDKATHLEEN50 when you register. Learn more here to see if it might be a good fit. 

P.S. Even if you don’t have a creative business, I think this ECourse is great for bloggers too! Just replace “dream customer” with “dream reader” and voila, you’re on your way to attracting like-minded readers who will engage with what you have to say.

P.P.S. If you don’t have $50 that’s cool – I totally understand. We have lots of free resources too including the Braid Blog (this week we’re talking about conversations that get your hired), my Coaching for Creatives blog series, and our exclusive behind-the-scenes Letters for Creatives that are delivered straight to your inbox. Here’s a sneak-peek at this week’s letter about coming back from maternity leave in case you’re interested.