Obsessed with start-ups, coffee, and online marketing.That about sums me up.
“The Trouble is You Think You Have Time.” – Buddha
So true. Happy Monday friends, lets go make something of it.
It’s a choice. How big or small do you choose to be in this life. It’s not something that is done to you, or something that someone else decides. It is entirely within your control. Which is why, it is so confusing that many of us consciously chooses to be small.
The other day I was having this great conversation with a very powerful, and amazing woman. We were talking about leading women. Who are they? What do they do? How do they stand out? The conversation turned to the mistakes we make, as women. The patterns we fall into make us smaller than we are. The conversation turned to non-verbals. I was saying how I watched this fantastic TED talk that talks about how our body language shapes who we are. Watch it. Seriously.
In it, Amy Cuddy talks about how we must make ourselves bigger. We must exaggerate our motions, and passionately express ourselves — even when we are scared to death. It’s a muscle you strengthen, and then eventually one day you wake up and you are…in fact…bigger. Not “I ate four dozen cupcakes bigger” but “I can do this, I can do everything I ever wanted” bigger.
This friend of mine talked about how she can’t stand it when people cover their hands up in meetings with their sleeves. It’s like they are shrinking into a ball and retreating into their sweater, shirt, or coat. All of this talk got me thinking — how much do we do that makes us smaller? Why do we choose to be small?
Then it hit me…because we think we are. Damn it. Bitch slapped. It’s because somewhere along the way we stopped choosing to live larger than life. Continue reading →
Inspiration is one of those words. It’s so big. We are all inspired by different words, pictures, people, ideas, etc. We overlap of course, but each of our soul’s is uniquely lit at the core. To me “what inspires you?” is as personal (and as important) a question as “who are you?” and “why are you here?” You can imagine why so many people hide from tackling such a beast.
The problem with hiding from it is knowing what inspires you and how to cultivate it, helps you help others figure out what inspires them. It’s like one big happy domino string of creative sparks. And isn’t that what it’s all about…inspiring others to be their best selves?
Yeah I think so too. We live our lives working in teams. We are collaborative animals and at the cornerstone of success is often individuals helping each other doing great things and providing value in this life.
So how do you do that? What are some top ways you can inspire those around you and those on your team?
Uhmm, awkward right? It feels too personal to come right out and ask, but trust me…it’s worth it. You might do it by asking what project they are loving right now and why? Or you might ask them what they are up to this weekend to get a sense of what they are looking forward to. Maybe you comment on that extra snap in their step and give them the stage to teach you what they love and why it has them smiling.
It’s not always work related, and that’s okay. Inspiration outside of work, when fueled, can be a huge catalyst across a team and the organization. So don’t be afraid to just go there, as they would say.
Not too long ago my team got in a room and we all shared our favorite TED talk. Was this the best use of an hour right now given our crazy busy schedule? You bet ya. Inevitably, we all picked different videos and it was fascinating to hear the Why. Knowing how each video pulled at each team member’s heart strings was the takeaway.
I shared that I am inspired by people that aren’t afraid to say they were wrong. That hopefully left my team with a few messages — that I want them to be forthcoming if we make mistakes, and that I don’t mind, nor is it a bad thing to fail — but instead it can be a “fail fast” approach that is your advantage. That conversation could be hard to facilitate naturally, this sort of inspiration collaboration hour gave us that platform.
It doesn’t have to be TED talks. Maybe its a book, or an article, or a person. Maybe it’s a song or a specific sentence in a song. Inviting others to share that inevitably leaves the team more aware of how to help each other, which is, of course, key to success. Continue reading →
For those of you following my rambles about ISITaYES, it probably comes at no surprise that I love fashion apps. I’m constantly bouncing between them, downloading new ones, and trying them out. I came across Poshmark not too long ago and was impressed. It’s like a virtual closet swap – hello fun! Next week they are throwing a little party here in Seattle (see details below), and I’d love to invite my fellow fashion lovers to join me.
A few ladies from around town (including the always fashionable @mollieinseattle & @jessestrada) and I will be co-hosting a get together where us style-obsessed women can get together and catch up. I know I am newer to this world than most of the other ladies, but I can’t think of anything I’d rather do then get all gussied up and talk fashion with brilliant tech ladies. Continue reading →
It’s the year of emerald green you know. Or so *they* say. Whoever that is. Pantone apparently. The last few days I’ve found myself bringing this up in conversation way more than what seems normal. I am compelled for some reason to talk about colors a great deal lately. Maybe it’s the hours spent on Pinterest, or the gray skies of Seattle, but the bottomline is my mind is wandering to color time and time again.
Color statements are a strange thing. Our minds instantly think of fashion and favorite colors…favorite shirts…favorite dresses. For me color has always been a way to show up for the day. Is it a yellow day? Is it a coral day? Am I going to drift through these 24 hours in neutral shades. I’ve always had a strong attachment to color and used it, for lack of a better phrase, as a mood ring of sorts.
So emerald. Here we are. 2013 and you and me. I wonder what we will experience together? When I think of you I admit I don’t have too many images come to mind.
I was reading something earlier today and I came across this line — “There is no right or wrong way to be yourself. The basis of authenticity is acceptance.”
Snap. I must have read that sentence three times. I uttered it out loud (like a crazy person I might add) a few times. I was, for all intensive purposes, bitch slapped. Authenticity requires acceptance.
Acceptance…what a freaking word. Accepting others. Accepting boundaries. Accepting loss. All of it can be so hard at times. But perhaps the biggest challenge of them all? To accept yourself. I mean like — for real– 100% accept yourself.
Impossible right? Well I don’t think so. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the beauty that is authenticity. It’s hard to imagine living a happy life without being authentic. It’s a wonderful thing to wake up and feel like your words are your own, and you are acting out of some grander morale code that is rooted in being honest, true, and honorable. I’ve seen a lot of that over the years. People I know have shown me what it means to be authentic to themselves…
My best friend dreamt of many careers and she has pursued each and every single one of them — nursing, politics, theatre, literature. That is being true to yourself.
My father only speaks to things he has lived through, he doesn’t pretend to know more than he does, he doesn’t speak to that which he doesn’t have something to add too. That’s honest advice.
My brother and sister-in-law have been together over a decade and never got married. They are in love, happy and not legally married. They’ve decided to ignore a societal expectation they don’t believe in, and I admire them so much for that.
I love it. I love the idea of authenticity thriving in each of our lives. But damn it’s so hard…why is that?
Entrepreneur. It’s a tough word…both to spell and to call yourself. It feels like one of those words that is so big and so bold. I almost feel cocky calling myself an entrepreneur. I am one though. I have been one for almost a decade now. I’ve started, and built, and innovated, and challenged the status quo across a variety of industries and mediums. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not.
Even today, inside a company of 100+ employees, I feel like an entrepreneur at times. I’ve also launched a side project to create a mobile app for social shopping. I am constantly thinking up ideas, then scratching them, then thinking of new ones, then scratching them. So is the way.
I think being an entrepreneur brings with it a love of leaping. Some of the most amazing people I know, including my current CEO, leap a lot. They leap into the unknown so much, I’m not sure they even notice. That’s a nature that I aspire to have more of in my life. It’s a muscle I hope to strengthen over the next few years so its a “gut-driven, somewhat calculated, well-justified, beautifully executed, value-providing” leap. Those are the leaps few of us ever get really good at taking, because they take practice. They take years of practice at times. They also take mentorship.
I was having coffee with my CEO the other day and he brought up mentorship. I’ve been super fortunate to have a variety of mentors over the years, and I simply can’t imagine standing where I am today if it wasn’t for them.
Our conversation dabbled on challenges that are well beyond my tenure in business, and growth challenges I’m feeling right now that stretch everything I know about who I am and what I offer as a startup lover.
This year has been, by far, my biggest challenge professionally as we grow SEOmoz both in customers, and in team. Things like culture, structures, mission, and more run through my head as I try to sleep–often unsuccessfully.
But perhaps the biggest constant in my life is those mentors, and their advice. I started thinking about the different voices I am lucky enough to have in my life, and I realized they really do come from different roads, and offer different perspectives. I thought I would run through the different types of mentors I believe every entrepreneur should have in their life. These are the ones that have helped me over the years. Continue reading →
November is almost over. Who is freaking out? Yeah same here. It’s already been a month since I my crowdsourcing efforts on Indiegogo closed. I raised $10,000 to build my app, ISITaYES? Since closing funding it has been a whirlwind to say the least. Two Seattle-based mobile app developers approached me about partnering up on our efforts. They were super stoked about the concept, and after a few emails and some coffee meetings we through our hands in and got to work. We’ve been going full steam ever since. The project has been awesome, and creative, and challenging, and all those other *epic* adjectives us geeky people love so much.
We have final user flows, and final designs! A working prototype has been built, and this week our developer will be wrapping his code in beautiful designs. We are hoping to open a beta in about two weeks time. We didn’t get up in the App Store by Black Friday like we had hoped, but we are still optimistic for a “before End of Year” launch in the App Store. Want to see some of the beautifulness our UX superstar has come up with? Here you go!
You can see we went with a super simple design vibe. We wanted to keep the essence of the app uncluttered. The only things you can do are post images to get votes, vote yourself, and watch the community feed. You can leave comments, and close your own images (if you’ve made a decision), but that’s about it. I think keeping it simple was the most challenging thing. We had all of these cool feature ideas, and we played with them — but ultimately they took us further from the goal of the app. We just want to be able to crowd source a shopping dilemma and we believe these designs do that. To say we are stoked it an understatement.
You did you know. You knew what you were doing.
Everyday I get a note from the Universe delivered to me. Sound crazy? I swear I am not. You can grab your own if you want, over 400,000 people get the daily note. It’s often a reminder of strength, life, love, or something else equally as awesome. Many of them get read from my bed after I hit snooze on my alarm, and I gloss right over them. But one of them the other day really struck me. I mean really struck me. Here is what it said:
Well damn. Isn’t that the truth. That bitch slap was hard and real — I got me here. I made choices, I made plans, I made moves to get me right where I am…and I knew what I was doing.
As the year winds down (almost every year) I get this overwhelming feeling. I feel like a tornado on top of a tornado on top of a tornado. This year has been crazy. “Crazy-push-your-limits-awesome-work” stuff. “Deeper-love-for-life” stuff. “Travel-all-over-the-damn-globe” stuff. “Side-projects-crowd-funded-and-now-becoming-real” stuff. I find myself gasping for air sometimes and I can’t help but feel like I’m a passenger in all of this sometimes. But it felt good to read this and remind myself. I knew what I was doing when I said yes. When I launched the side project. When I committed to this love. When I took this new role (that is way beyond my comfort zone in so many ways.)
I knew what I was doing.