Entries from April 2014

Coaching for Creatives | Show Up With Intention

April 14, 2014

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How are you showing up for your clients?
If you’re racing from deadline to deadline you might be showing up frazzled, resentful, and spread thin. And it will show in your work and client relationships.

How are you showing up for your partner, your family, and your friends?
If you’re itching to check your email under the dinner table you might be showing up with scattered attention and only a part of your whole heart.

Try this – the next time you go into a client meeting take a minute beforehand to consider how you want to show up. Take some deep cleansing breaths and visualize how you can best help your client and what you want to accomplish. The next time you sit down to work on a project clear off your desk, close all your browser windows (and perhaps open a real window). Soak up the potential of a blank page and set an intention for how you want to feel while you do the work.

The next time you have dinner with a friend or a date out with your main squeeze try leaving your phone at home. Instead of falling back on conversations about what sucks, instead speak from the place that holds your dreams and desires.

This week try to consistently show up as your best self and share the gift of attention and intention – in work and life. I’ll join you. 

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If you like this post you might like my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s 4 emails x 4 weeks (16 emails total) for just $40. Complete with worksheets, exercises, mantras, meditations, and to-dos for time management, decision-making, and strategies for living more of what you love – in work and life. You can learn more about what you’ll get and purchase anytime here.

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The Daycare Dilemma | Part 2

April 11, 2014

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This post is a follow-up to The Daycare Dilemma | Part 1, a series of emails between me and some amazing women about an honest look at the decision to send our babies to daycare.

Before Fox was born I was pretty sure that I’d be able to swing working from home – at least try it out for a few months – maybe until Fox was 8 months old. I imagined that I’d have a baby perfectly content to sleep in a sling while I worked. I even had this vision of us in the backyard on a quilt – me blogging while the baby keeps himself occupied trying to master getting his foot into his mouth.

So imagine my dilemma when 6 weeks in I was freaking out about how reality looked nothing like the fantasy. I only had two more weeks of maternity leave left and no plan for how I would work and be a new mom. Because the truth is being a mom is both harder and better than I could have ever imagined. When Fox is napping I just want to hold him and stare at his perfect little face. And when he’s not napping I’m feeding him, or walking laps around the house with him, or simply being present with him. All of this does very little for my productivity.

Let me be very clear here: I love my job and I was looking forward to going back to work. I also love being Fox’s mom. I thought I could do it all, and it turns out I can. It just looks a little different than I had imagined. It looks like getting help – and that help comes in the form of daycare.

Fox has been in daycare for 4 weeks now and here’s what I’ve learned and would like to share about the experience and coping with the concerns most moms have when handing over their baby to someone else’s care. Please remember that I’m new at this and figuring it out as I go. What I’m sharing below are parenting choices and circumstances that work for our family. What works for my family may not work for yours – and that’s okay!

Choose gratitude over guilt
This is the first big lesson I had to learn. There is this huge culture of guilt among moms – and while I get it, I’m also calling bullshit on it. I started to fall into the guilt storyline when I started taking Fox to daycare. That is until I realized daycare is awesome. I am so grateful that I have the means to take my child to a safe space everyday where he can be nurtured and taken care of by other women who are now a part of our trusted tribe. I am beyond grateful for the space daycare gives me to nurture myself with dedicated time to work, write, meditate, and move my body. Guilt is one of the lowest vibrating emotions you can experience – so I choose love and gratitude instead.

Co-sleeping
Sharing a bed with a baby is not for everyone – but it is what feels best and most intuitive for our family. Never once has it felt dangerous or uncomfortable. So, one of my concerns with daycare was not spending enough time with my baby. The idea that he would spend more waking hours with his daycare providers than with me made me worry that he would be confused or feel unloved (this fear is unfounded, whether or not you co-sleep). That said, co-sleeping does give us more time together – and when it comes to bonding with a newborn staying close is what matters most.

Daily rituals
If co-sleeping gives us quantity time together, then our daily rituals give us quality time. We spend an hour every morning cuddling in a wood rocking chair handed down from my mom. We spend every afternoon going for a long walk – only after decompressing with some skin-to-skin time after the daycare pickup. Then we’re usually guaranteed with a dance party once Jeremy comes home followed by the go-to-bed rituals of swaddling, walking, singing, and feeding. I know myself well enough to know that if I stayed at home with Fox all day I would still love these moments but I wouldn’t be soaking them up with the presence they deserve.

Fox is not my job, he’s my baby
The cliche that being a mom is the hardest job you can have is true. Or at least it’s true that being a mom is way harder than my job of coaching, business visioning, and branding for other creatives. I’m a great mom but I don’t want Fox to be my job. I want him to be my baby. I want writing, consulting, coaching, and designing to be my job. Daycare allows me to be really good at both my job and my role as mom and wife.

I’m learning new ways to care for my baby 
One of the things I love about daycare is I learn new ways to take care of Fox. For example, I noticed one of his teachers swaddled him with his legs sticking out of the swaddle – meanwhile, I had been struggling for days trying to get his whole (growing and kicking) body contained, which was frustrating the both of us. I learned how to swaddle him in a way that comforts him and gives him a bit of freedom to move at the same time. I also learn little noises (like clicking) that make him happy. It’s awesome.

More love for Fox 
Just today I picked up Fox and one of his favorite teachers was holding him. She told me about taking him on an adventure outside for 30 minutes earlier that day (at that point another teacher accused her of spoiling Fox). Another time she confessed to me that he was the happiest baby in the class. One time I surprise popped in to drop off some extra baby wipes for Fox and he was on his teacher’s lap being read to – and he seemed really happy. I get the feeling that he isn’t just properly cared for but he’s actually being loved by the women looking after him all day. It makes me hope that his daycare experience is expanding his capacity to trust, love, and be loved.

In closing, I get asked all the time – even in client meetings – “where’s the baby?” When I respond with “daycare” I am met with either “Awwww (that must be painful, huh?)” to “Good for you!” – and the truth is, it’s a little bit of both. Does it tug at my heart to drop Fox off or find him occasionally crying when I pick him up? Yes, of course. But does that make me want to give up my career to stay at home with him all day? No, not really. Being a mom is complex and often feels like a tug-of-war of emotions and decisions! Who knew (pretty much every mom ever).

Candid snaps by my amazing friend and photographer Greer Inez – she’s the best at capturing sweet family moments.

Circles Conference Giveaway!

April 9, 2014

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Have you been hearing the buzz about the Circles Conference for designers yet? Well, it’s THE conference for the creative community. Oh, and I’ll be speaking at it. So will Jessica Hische… no big deal. (For those of you who don’t know this is a really big deal. I’ve admired Jessica’s work for years and am so excited to finally meet her.)

I’m going to be sharing my behind-the-scenes journey from blogger to business owner, defining your niche, embracing your expertise, attracting your dream customer, blending your personal brand into your business, shaping the content you share and showing a process for what you do, so you can sell yourself better as a creative and act like a creative expert, not an order-taker. Which all boils down to not just designing great logos but designing your dream job.

The Circles Conference will be in Grapevine, Texas on September 18 and 19. And I’ve got two tickets to give away!

Enter to win a ticket to the Circles Conference:
• Follow Circles on Twitter or Facebook
• Leave a comment here telling me your biggest challenge as a creative.
• Be sure to leave a valid email address!
• Two winners will be picked by random from qualifying comments the morning of Wednesday, April 16th

Coaching for Creatives | Move Your Body

April 7, 2014

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While I was in life coach training with Martha Beck I learned something that has forever changed how I move through life and it was this:

Emotions live in the body.

It seems really simple and perhaps obvious. But think about it – when you’re scared, stressed, worried, excited, anxious, in love, happy – how do you experience those emotions in your body? I find that most of my feelings live in my gut – but sometimes I feel them down in my tailbone or up in my shoulders. And I’ve found that if I don’t move them through my body they can get stuck – which usually results in long-term funks or some sort of meltdown that involves sobbing into my pillow. Now, crying is a legitimate release of emotions* but I’ve found a less traumatic way to move emotions through my body is simply by moving my body, on the daily.

A pattern I’ve uncovered with all the creatives I’ve done one-on-one creative coaching with is that they all want more time to move their body – whether that’s at the gym, a walk in the park, or spending some quality time on the yoga mat. It can be hard to justify the time it takes to move your body when you have important deadlines to meet and emails to answer but I think making time to move your body daily is the most important thing you can do for your creativity. You’re not only moving unproductive emotions out of your body, moving your body allows creativity to move through you.

I’d like to invite you for the next week to tune-in and notice where in your body you feel your emotions. And then I challenge you to spend just one hour a day, every day, moving your body. Make it a non-negotiable priority. Schedule it on your calendar (during work hours is even better!) and make it happen. Take note of how it changes your attitude, productivity, and creativity.

What is your favorite way to move your body? Have you noticed an impact on how it affects your mood or creativity? The mind/body connection is one I’m going to continue to explore over the next few months – so I’d love to hear your thoughts.

*P.S. I love what Tonya Leigh writes about the beauty of crying here.

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P.P.S. If you like this post you might like my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s 4 emails x 4 weeks (16 emails total) for just $40. Complete with worksheets, exercises, mantras, meditations, and to-dos for time management, decision-making, and strategies for living more of what you love – in work and life. You can learn more about what you’ll get and purchase anytime here.

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Anniversary Party for Two

April 4, 2014

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I’ve been lazy about it for the past few years, but lately I’ve had the desire to put a little more effort and enthusiasm into holidays and events worth celebrating. That desire stems from wanting to create family traditions and magical memories for Fox. But I want to expand my own capacity for joy and make magical memories for myself too. I need more intentional and thoughtful celebration in my life. So last Friday was our 5 year anniversary. I was sleepy and trying to choreograph the get-it-all-done dance but decided to muster up the energy to celebrate five good years of marriage to my main man.

We had lunch at our favorite Indian buffet and split a bar of fancy chocolate in my car. Then I picked up a nice bottle of bourbon and spent the afternoon making these no-bake cookies (they were amazing – I used walnuts for the cookie base and maple syrup instead of agave). That evening we went out to a local block party and ate crepes from a food truck. We came home and after putting Fox to bed enjoyed takeout sushi and split a bottle of carmenere over candlelight at our dining room table. For three hours we had each other’s undivided attention and it was exactly what these sleepy new parents needed.

It wasn’t grandiose but it was pretty great. What I learned from the day was that we create our own magic and the kind of memories we choose to have are up to us to make.

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