Last week I gave a talk at The Circles Conference, a two-day gathering for designers and artists to learn and get inspired. Because I only work with other working creatives I decided to use this chance to talk about so many of the patterns I see – the struggles but also daydreams we working creatives all seem to share in common no matter what city we live in. Most of us share The Dream of having a job with purpose, creative fulfillment, and control of our own schedules. But we also share The Fear. The fear that keeps us from creating that dream job, from leaving the day job, from owning our expertise, and the fear that has us feeling like frauds.
These are painful and relatable fears we have as working creatives – but we gotta push through them so we can get back to work, right? So how do you push through the fears? I suggest the following:
Get specific about the worst case scenario – what does failure actually look like?
Get specific about the ideal day – what do you really want?
Make a mantra to help remind you of your dreams
Make a decision and move forward
You can see more by watching the Circles talk I gave here.
The questions I got from the crowd were so great. Here was one that really stuck with me:
“How do you know if you’ve made the right decision?”
My answer? Surprise, surprise – it’s get specfic. When you set goals, and get really specific about those goals, you’ll know when you’ve achieved them and you can celebrate your success. Whether that’s a certain salary, a dreamy partner-in-crime, the perfect car, or a big vacation. Be clear on what success looks like so that when you get it you don’t move the bar higher without acknowledging your accomplishments first.
But as I was reflecting on that question on my road trip back home, I think I was being asked: “What if I look back and realize my decision was wrong?”
So here’s my answer:
The decision itself doesn’t matter nearly as much as the act of deciding. In other words, I believe that if you really know what you want and make any decision at all it will move you closer to where you need to be. Whereas spinning in your head by weighing out all the pros and cons and possible outcomes of your decisions won’t get you anywhere.
So the question then becomes: what do you really want?
I’ll be writing more about pinpointing what it is you really want in this week’s Letters for Creatives – which you can sign up for here.
Our Braid ECourse Dream Customer Catching is in-session this week but our next ECourse Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How to Buy You is now open for registration and will be in-session October 17 - 26. Learn more and register here.
Craving more work / life introspection? You might like to try the DIY Coaching for Creatives email sessions. Sign up to receive 4 weeks of creative coaching content delivered straight to your inbox for just $40 anytime.
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Nothing prepares you (or forces you) to be more confident talking about what you do for living, like being interviewed about it. Isn’t it odd that just ten years ago, being interviewed would be limited to a very specific format, most likely print, or if you were super famous, then broadcast, for like, Johnny Carson? Okay maybe I’m thinking fifty years ago. I’ve been watching too much Mad Men.
Tara here, and I think it’s pretty neat that Kathleen and I get to talk about what we do, teach others what we’ve learned, and get to feel mini-famous, at least for thirty minutes when other creatives want to have a conversation with us, because they found us online, and believe in our vision, or just think it’s really cool what we get to do – even when we live right smack dab in the middle of middle-America.
We work and live in a city that’s not always on the radar, but it’s still a city where we run into other creatives every single day. Meanwhile we’ve worked with creatives who live in the middle of nowhere, who still run into other creatives (there’s more of us than you will ever know) every single day, too, and are getting more than just mini-famous on platforms of their own.
But who’s to say that anywhere is nowhere? When we’re all made of the same stardust, who’s to say we can’t all be stars? I’ve also been watching too much Cosmos.
If someone has a passion and is able to tap into what they really do best, and have a platform for sharing it – maybe they don’t have to move to the coast or the big city, they can bring the bigger and better, and the next chapter of what they want to do… to them. Before I start getting all Parks & Rec on you (if you saw the last episode Leslie Knope knows what I mean, it’s only a semi-spoiler if you haven’t), let me share how I get ready for an interview, but I’m going to share in the “we,” as I speak for Kathleen, too, who gets interviewed way more than I do, as she is quickly moving out of the mini-famous into the almost-famous, ha!
Because Creatives Can Have a Voice from Anywhere. Preparing for your next interview:
1. First off, you can not watch too much awesome TV as proved by above. No, this has nothing to do with being interviewed, just getting that point out of the way. Unless you like to pretend you are Don Draper, Neil deGrasse Tyson, or Leslie Knope while you’re being interviewed – which actually, is actually a pretty awesome confidence booster on all three counts.
2. No, we don’t like listening to our own recorded voices. And you won’t either. This is a universal law of astro-physics. Everyone hates their own voice. Neil deGrasse Tyson is about to do an upcoming episode all about it. Not really. Okay, maybe.
3. If you’re about to be interviewed, jot down one or two stories, and three points you’d like to make, then cut that list in half.
4. Go for a walk or run and try to remember the points in your head without looking at anything.
5. If you want to look extra crazy. hold an interview with yourself while you’re walking and see where the rabbit hole takes you, if anything you’ll just wear out your inner over-talker and know which tangents to not go down during the real thing.
6. Then just wing it! Have confidence, and hope that you’re interviewer is a great editor, and they’ll always make you sound good (like ours have been!).
7. Yes, we do love the clarity that comes out of being put on the spot to say what you mean, or at least say something in your own voice and style. It’s scary for about one second, and then you just gotta enjoy it.
If you want to listen to or read some of our recent interviews, check them out here:
How to Connect With Your Audience with Kathleen Shannon and Erin Anacker of Pixology and her Below The Fold Podcast, about the stories and voices of women in design.
Kathleen’s talking about how your process should be delighting customers every step of the way, while asking the question – do your customers want to know exactly what it is you do or just how you’re enabling them to do what they want to do?
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With Purpose Episode 10 with Tara Street and Erin Haslag and Katie Dalebout of With Purpose Podcast, for feeling, fulfilling and working toward that big sense of purpose with your life.
Tara’s talking about what it means to have that sparkly inspiration mixed with the logical process and how both of these sides of your creativity are how creatives can sell themselves as experts.
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Braid Creative | The Sisters with Kathleen & Tara and Aimee Adams of OkieMama magazine for connecting the lives and stories of those pioneering people who have chosen to grow roots in the heartland.
Both of us sharing about what it means to grow up in a small community in Oklahoma, and now growing a business here, while sticking close to family.
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Our Braid ECourse Personal Branding: Blending Who You Are With What You Do is the next to be in session! This ECourse is by far our most popular and shares a lot more when it comes to being who you are on your blog – both professionally and personally. It will be in-session from May 16-25th. Learn more and register here.
Or check out our DIY Coaching for Creatives email series. It’s insight delivered straight to your inbox over the course of 4 weeks.
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When Minted Magazine, an online publication that empowers women in their lives and careers, asked to do a Q&A feature with Braid, we said, “bring on the empowerment, Minted!”
So Kathleen and I got to share our take on some of the unknowns facing
other entrepreneurial women just starting out – like dealing with
unexpected scariness (it’s not always what you think it’s going to be)
and trending brand topics like how to blend personal branding into the
We can share advice like that all day, so consider us minted! And we certainly don’t mind sharing the company of other connection-minded women like Molly Cain, the CEO and co-founder of Glass Heel, an online community for professional women. Molly is going to be featured on the cover of the Minted Spring Issue coming out March 12th.
Great quote and Glass Heel is a cool name. A little bird (okay it’s Kimberly Lin the co-founder/publisher of Minted) tells us that Minted and Glass Heel are partnering up to host a women's small business conference this October in Austin, TX. We’re hoping we can be part of the event, as well.
“The challenge is being brave enough to take on the scary things that matter, to stop doing the things that aren’t strategic. The last thing you want is to be trapped on a treadmill of your own making.”
- Minted Magazine, Q&A with Braid Creative & Consulting
‘Cause we like to share our minty-fresh point of view, too.
Check out the upcoming issue of Minted Mag coming out on March 12 and the meantime be sure to check out our Q&A over on the Minted Mag blog.
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