[#1] Share with us a snippet of your story.
My story started in 1994, when I took my first job for an entrepreneur. I've started over a dozen businesses since then, the largest being both my biggest success and my biggest failure. It was a namesake company that annually grossed seven figures, but also collapsed in bankruptcy, due to a host of factors. If there's anything I've learned from that, it's to embrace struggle, fear, and failure as fuel to propel me forward to better things.
Now, I am the designer of a yearly strategic planner and daily agenda called the Day Designer. I am also fortunate to be able to pour into ladies by doing small business coaching, consulting, and speaking at a few amazing upcoming conferences and workshops this year such as Stationery Academy, Beautiful Art of Balance, Pursue Workshop and Influence Conference.
The heart of what I talk with entrepreneurs about is a body of research I call Authenticate. In a nutshell, Authenticate is a personal strategic planning process I developed for creative entrepreneurs. It requires self-awareness, an open mind, a willingness to grow, and a commitment to alignment, which can often take time. It fits in perfectly with the Beautiful Art of Balance workshop, because balance is found in alignment (when your actions match your beliefs), and very often creatives struggle with honoring their art, and valuing their gifts with the same appreciation the world holds for more scholarly skills. When I talk with creatives, I often hear them taking the back seat, offering the roles of importance to those whom the world has deemed more intelligent, athletic, verbal, beautiful, or otherwise gifted in some other way. As stewards of the gifts we have been given, it's our job to see to it that those gifts are used to the best of our ability. Authenticate is about understanding that those gifts are our purpose, our light, and it's our daily mission to let those little lights shine.
[#3] Speaking of balance, what challenges have you faced in balancing motherhood and your passion for creativity?
In trying to balance motherhood and creativity, one of the biggest challenges I've faced is not feeling selfish, or guilty for wanting to pursue projects and creative expressions. When I was running that big company, I remember coming to a crossroads where I felt like I had to choose between using the creative side of my brain or the number-crunching side of my brain. I chose the numbers side, thinking that I could just sacrifice my creativity to the gods of business and I'd be fine. I wasn't fine. I learned, the hard way, that creativity is a gift, and using that gift glorifies the Giver. (A phrase I got from my friend @sweetwaterellie). So now the challenge is, how do I use my creativity to help me find balance in motherhood, and how do I use my creativity to be a better mother.
[#5] What is a family tradition that you love sharing with your kids?
Family traditions are funny, right? There isn't any one major thing that comes to mind as a family tradition that we are passing down, but there are lots of tiny things. Growing up, we only drank milk from this local dairy that has a chain of fast food stores here, called Braum's. My kids only drink milk from Braum's now. It's totally an Oklahoma thing. My husband has perfected my dad's homemade buttermilk biscuit recipe, and I'm proud of him for adopting that tradition. We've done a good job of new family traditions, I think. Saturday mornings are for pancakes. Books and prayers at bedtime. Tiny things and the important things.
[#6] If you could give us a peek inside your home, what image would you share and why?
The "perfect" peek inside my home would be me, standing in the middle of a red Oriental rug, dressed to the nines in heels, jeans, and something cute, holding a screaming child while two toddler boys ran around me ankles hitting each other, while I smirk casually, enjoying the moment for what it is. The more realistic look inside my home is me, in my pajamas, no make-up on, trying to catch an extra ounce of sleep while they watch some sort of forbidden and much-over-watched cartoon.
Click on over to the “Beautiful Art of Balance” website and snatch up one of the last few seats! Registration closes March 24th.
*******As a treat to our (Kelli & Vanessa’s) readers: If you sign up by March 24, you will receive $100 off. And if you and a friend sign up together, you will both receive $200 off your ticket!
Photos courtesy of Shannon Ho Photography