Tag Archives: entrepreneur

Dreams come true, just not how you ordered them

For years I worked towards being an entrepreneur. I called it ‘entrepreneur’ because in my mind, it looked like nothing that I was doing all day as a job. Then I became an entrepreneur–for the third time in my life–and it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. I was supposed to be creating digital stories and working on new forms of storytelling when in fact, I was just looking at other people’s tweets all day. I wanted to bang my head against a wall some days after spending 16 hours looking at 1800 streams of Facebook posts, Pinterest pins, Tweets, Infographics, Foursquare check-ins, and links, links, links. I guess I learned a lot. I did bang my head. I also realized that the one thing I wasn’t doing anymore was story. Which is death for a writer.

Then along came the perfect job, at one of my favourite places in the world, and a gorgeous place to live as well. And just like that (insert snap), I had a new life. I’m still shaking my head at how it all happened overnight but I’m clicking my heels that it did. I’m writing. Getting paid for it. Creating stories. Getting paid for it. And teaching. Getting paid for it. Oh, and hopefully, I’ll invent some new story forms while I’m at it. Here’s a few pics (from my iPhone, sorry for the grain) of my first few weeks of my new chapter.

Just today, I could clearly see I got what I had wanted all those years ago, it just wasn’t in the form I thought it was going to be. Life is weird like that, eh?

(If you click on a picture you can scroll through the larger slideshow.)

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When things go sideways, just go with it

On Friday I had to present to a ballroom full of people in my industry, 109 visitor centres from BC, who were there to hear me talk about destination storytelling. The one thing you never, ever want to hear right before you have to give a presentation is this: “I’m afraid there’s an unknown glitch that I cannot figure out so you’ll have to present without your speaker notes.” After rehearsing for dozens of hours with speaker notes, it was a shock to hear I would now, in front of hundreds of people, have to wing it.

For also an unknown reason, I had gone out the night before and bought printer ink to ensure I had enough to print off the 60 plus slides and put them in my computer bag. Many of the slide notes were too tiny to see but thankfully, I did have something to use while I gave the presentation.

The fact is, my theatre training never fails me. I am ever grateful for my theatre degree and the many years I spent learning the art form and working at many different theatres honing my craft, which allowed me to be able to react and think in a live storytelling situation with grace and calm. Even under the difficult circumstances, I would say that I am still happier in a live setting under pressure than I am any day sitting in a dreaded office chair. I usually hate the preparation for a presentation but having an audience is what theatre practitioners live for and I miss the tension and nerve-shattering pressure of opening night and the backstage panic of lost props, drunk actors, missed cues, and audience revolt.

That is why I’m so happy to be working on my first Transmedia play with my writing partner. We’re going to launch it in 2013 and it’s going to be epic. It’s going to break ground in an unrealized art form that will combine digital experience and live theatre. Because I miss the theatre. As in every day. And I think media is becoming more and more peformatory and I’ll be exploring how to bring this into my consulting with clients as well. I think there’s so much yet to be developed with regards to destination marketing using Transmedia. So, it’s lifted my mood just to think that I can get back to what I love best this year.

Today though, I’m taking my first complete day off since the beginning of March. I’m going to putz around as my mom used to say, catch up on some chores, and then go and escape into a dark movie theatre to see Argo. I love my work, but it’s nice to have my life back again for a little while. I hope those of you reading this also get to putz around this weekend and just be in your life. Sometimes simple living is where the inspiration is right?

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Filed under Non-fiction, Transmedia

Your life at the top

Some nights I wonder if I what I am doing is the right thing. It’s midnight, I haven’t seen the light of day in 48 hours, only the cold glow of my computer screen and a sputtering lamp with a light bulb that needs changing. It’s lean in the house, the cupboards need stocking, the cat meows, the plant droops, and the growling hunger of my son is ever-present.

Why don’t I just give up? Let go. Cave. Succumb. Go silent. Fall down. The mountain.

Because I know this moment is where the real work has begun, the summit, when you swing yourself over and up and there, above you, is sky and air, the kind you were dreaming of that intoxicates your life and makes you remember what you were climbing for. Only, just before that, the oxygen is thin, and it feels like hell, and it’s midnight and a long time since you were touched. It’s midnight and the only sound is the rain and your own voice in your head telling you to just keep going.

The thing is, happiness isn’t some stroke of luck, it’s not won in a card game, it’s most certainly not delivered by the promises of others. It’s hard work. It’s huge sacrifice. It’s defining things so clearly you can know exactly what to bring into your life and what to keep out. It’s being disciplined enough to ignore the low-hanging fruit: the easy job, the adoring but fleeting man, the phony friend, the flat-line marriage, or for some, the next bottle or numbing needle. It’s hard, I won’t lie to you, to follow the voice in your deepest of hearts that says to climb to the top of your mountain. But that mountain is what requires you to dive into your resources and see just what you have. What are you made of? it asks. And it pushes you beyond what you ever imagined you could do.

That is the sweet spot. I’m staying focused like a boxer in a dressing room. Because I feel like I’m just on the cusp of it. I am hoping those who really love me stay with me. Transformation is not for the faint of heart. It will not require luck. It will not require money. It will not require help. It requires that you honour that which is calling you forward. Put your ear to it and hear it before your life passes by you for one more moment.

Will you hear it?

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We Still Need A Room Of Our Own Virginia

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

-Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Last night as I walked in the door, kicked off my old boots, and collapsed onto the couch at 8 pm still clutching a large black bag to my chest with rain-soaked hair and coat my son looked at me like I was a creature from the mist. Lately, my days are calculated by what deadline is looming, ticking off the number of hours to accomplish said project, with not a single social outing on the calendar until the end of November. In the midst of my sprinting towards the finish line of these projects since last February (when I started my business full-time), an interesting shift has happened in the interior spaces of my mind and well, I suppose my heart too.

I’ve stopped thinking of men entirely and it is quite wonderful. I realize, when I had more time, I day dreamed a lot about them. They took up huge residence in my brain. If I likened it to a house, they would have had the living room, dining room, upstairs bedroom (for sure the biggest one) and of course some man-cave space in the basement. I shared my house with ghosts of men who weren’t actually living there, a sort of spooky real-estate deal that left the culture of my life devoid of my own true self.

Yesterday I decided step more fully into my own life, and owned it as it had always wanted to be owned.

The fact is, for years I have been running around in crappy Zeller’s boots, always cringing when I put them on, feeling bad about my life as I wore them, ashamed of my single-mother status (read: poor), and thinking, next year, next year, I’ll get a really good quality pair of boots. As I walked to the Skytrain station after a long day of a Transmedia conference, I passed by a gorgeous shop called Modern Vintage (couldn’t find a site for them but they sell on Shopbop). I saw a little hand drawn sign that said ‘hand-made’ hanging on the door. Yes. Let’s get hand-made instead of Zellers.

I wandered the shop. Everything was incredibly expensive but…beautifully, lovingly made. I found a pair of boots and tried them on. They fit perfectly and felt like expensive, hand-made shoes should feel: delicious, sexy, special.

A voice in my head whispered: Be who you want to be now.

Silence. I looked at them in the mirror and remembered where I was last year, and thought about where I was now.

I realized in that moment that I was being who I wanted to be: an entrepreneur creating art, writing, making money, living in an urban setting. What was missing? A boyfriend? Yes, I suppose. but suddenly it wasn’t on my list anymore of being who I wanted to be. It was time to buy the boots. They were who I was now.

I’m eternally grateful to my last relationship because if I hadn’t had that experience, I think I would still have other people living in my psychological house. Don’t get me wrong, my head still turns when I smell certain cologne’s pass by me, but my desire is on building my own house, with a room where I can write, and decide what happens inside that space and perhaps more importantly, what doesn’t happen in that space.

The door is closed at the moment to relationships, but I know the right person for me would find a creative way in. For now, I’ll be walking a little more confidently (and comfortably) in these beauties.

Triple stitched, custom detailed, embossed sole, soft as cashmere. I’ll wear them forever.

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Filed under Non-fiction, Transmedia

Ocean’s 11, the big gamble, and a lightness of being

Today as I walked up the very same hill I’ve been walking up for 4 years as a government employee, there was a beautiful, dusky light, filtered through the trees and spilling over softly onto the road. Everything felt like cotton candy, with no edges, rolling together as easily as waves abundantly tidal and endless.

Because today I was no longer an employee, but an entrepreneur. I’d just finished teaching social media storytelling all day for Continuing Studies at Royal Roads University under my company name, ‘What Is Your Story?’. It has been a long journey, and for some of us born with this gene, liberty and our own path, no matter how difficult looking or risky it may appear to others, is as important as air. Oh, the breath I took today! Deep, from my toes, filling my lungs up, so my cheeks smiled in recognition it had been a long time I’d been holding my tight, struggling breath inside.

It kind of felt like this scene from the Ocean’s 11, you know the one? After all their hard work, they pull it off.

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Warrior

I was going to write a post about what I went through this week and was trying to figure out the right words when I remembered something Pema Chodron wrote that I read many years ago but never really understood fully until this week. I’ll let her tell the story here, far better than I can.

“Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?” Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?” Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.” In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear. ” 
― Pema ChödrönWhen Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times

So, to that end, I leapt into my own beautiful roiling creative abyss and left my government job behind. If you want to see what I’m up to, keep an eye on http://www.whatisyourstory.ca That’s where I’ll be staring down fear and living powerfully as my true self. Stay tuned……

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Air-born in 2012

It isn’t easy to escape your life I thought to myself as I pulled the covers over my head yesterday and tried to hide. Then I realized it wasn’t my life I wanted to escape. I actually wanted to step into my life more fully. What I was doing was shedding an old skin that no longer fit me.

Vulnerable.

That’s what you are with brand new skin and no hide.

Vulnerability. The very thing I’d worked tirelessly to avoid being.

Now. Deep, deep breaths. Wind in my hair. A little vertigo as I look down. My toes on the edge of a 40 story building about to swan dive from my old life. The phrase ‘on a hope and a prayer’ comes to mind.

What choice do you have when your old life, your old skin, no longer serves you but holds you back, tied like apron strings to a way of being in the world you no longer recognize as ‘you’?

Cut them.

Soar.

Send me lots of your prayers for 2012. I know they’ll help me fly.

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