“I have too much to worry about to not be myself.” – Strother Gaines
Strother Gaines is full of glitter and wisdom.
He’s the head unicorn of But I’m a Unicorn, Dammit, LLC an entrepreneurial coaching company helping humans who want to build their next step. When I asked the Kickass Humans Club who should be on the podcast, Sarai Johnson, one of our recent Rock Your Talk-ers put her hand way up and suggested Strother saying “He’s AMAZING!” spoiler: she was right.
Strother is a Kentucky-born triple threat who is keeping busy as an entrepreneur, artistic director for TBD Immersive – a new theater company in DC, and the event director for Network Under Forty.
Oh – and one of his drag queen names is Joann Fabrics. (Like, the fabric store… Yeah, I love him.)
In this week’s podcast episode, Strother Gaines lets us in on the phone call from the IRS about his LLC’s name, But I’m a Unicorn, Dammit, LLC and how to network without being an asshole (this was fun). His bits about growing up in the rural south, coming into his own, and the glory of Southern Queens are what make Strother such a fabulous human being. He shares HIS story, which helps others share theirs. BRILLIANT!
“I get a lot of feedback on the beard.” – Strother Gaines
Looking to channel the magic in your career or business?
The next step is simple and the fabulous beard himself can let you in on the secret.
Ever wonder what the difference is between jackhammer careers and hummingbird careers? Maybe you’ve wondered how a career trajectory of cross pollination led him from being segway tour guide to entrepreneurial coach? Well, you get all of that and more – right here on the podcast.
My favorite part? Strother brings Joann Fabrics to the podcast – including the family inspiration for her and how he gets himself into character. (HINT: It’s a very specific swear word with southern flair.)
Why aren’t you listening yet?! This man has GLITTER IN HIS BEARD! Stop reading, start listening
I love words. Lately, my favorite word is “manifest.” It’s one of those weird little misunderstood words so many of us think is “woo-woo.” All the life coaches and energy healers use it so it gets put in the category of mystical. This word gets entangled with The Secret and positive thinking – when, by definition, manifesting goes way deeper. Most people think that manifesting is just another way of getting what you want. The faith-focused humans liken it to praying. Some call it “the laws of attraction” and still others don’t believe in manifesting at all. But it’s a thing. A real, concrete, fact-based thing. (read on for a free downloadable workbook)
My friend Amy got married a few weeks ago and I was the wedding officiant. Being the wedding officiant wasn’t just about running the ceremony, it also meant I was behind-the-scenes helping her get to that day with the least amount of carnage. The day before her wedding, Amy realized the dress she ordered for the rehearsal dinner didn’t fit. (Insert massive freak-out moment) I didn’t worry about it, I knew we’d find just what she needed. She couldn’t figure out how I wasn’t worried – I told her that I would manifest one for her. And it worked. We walked into the local mall, into the first dress shop, and the first dress we picked up – the first she tried on – was exactly the dress that made her feel like a million bucks. And her groom was blown away by her stunning look that evening. Much to her surprise, we hit the manifesting lotto. It wasn’t just because we wanted it, it was because we had a clear picture of what we wanted, made a plan, and did the work to find it. (isn't she gorgeous?!)
“Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses.” – David Rendall
6 months ago, I quit my business. I had just been in the magic land of Bali and realized how out-of-balance my life was between my purpose and running my business. For years, I had wondered if there was something bigger, but worried way more about what would happen since I had a team that relied on me. I kept standing in my way by hiring more people, taking on clients when they weren’t the right fit, and doing work I never intended to do. I couldn’t say no – everyone around me kept telling me that the only way to scale a business was by hiring more people and getting more clients. I told everyone around me to follow their dreams and do the hard things to make them a reality – but I was sitting in silence hoping it would show up instead.
As soon as I made the decision and released it to the world, I started a journey of manifestation. That journey led me to more success in 6 months than I had in the 8 years previous. I had a very clear picture of what I wanted – I knew what success would look like for me. I made a plan and worked the plan. I got rid of everything I didn’t want to do anymore (and yes, I’m still learning how to say no) and started doing the things that lit me up. I noticed how all of my limiting beliefs about success and business were slowly disappearing and being replaced by abundance. I worked on it every single day.
When I called my mentor to share my accomplishments, he reminded me that everything I was doing right now was exactly what I said I wanted to do 6 months ago. My bookkeeper even told me that we were at 27% higher gross income over last year and net profit increased by 657%. HOW?! Because I manifested that shit. I made the decision, put in the work, and made it a reality.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
I recently decided it was time to finally find my tribe. I’d felt for awhile as if I was on an island – working hard without much support. Supporting so many people without getting the support I needed to keep my cup overflowing. I had done the work on how I wanted to show up in the world and my business and it was time for me to find more people like me. I wrote down the qualities of the humans I wanted to surround myself with. Incredible humans who lifted me up as much as I lifted them up. Hardcore entrepreneurs doing big things in the world – not just for themselves but for others. And I found them! I knew them as soon as I saw them because I showed up fully as myself and they loved me just as I was.
As a group, we went to Vermont to do more personal and business development – only to find ourselves spelunking, rappelling, and running a mini Spartan race – while tied to other people. We also learned how to make shelter, build a fire, and survive a zombie apocalypse. By the end, I was able to visualize more of what I wanted for myself and even how we can help disabled kids stay more active and disenfranchised kids stay out of trouble. I know it all might sound random but it was the best leadership training I’ve ever attended. Because that’s the kind of tribe that fits me. We’re crazy, but we want nothing more than to be our best selves and give back to the world we live in.
(Maverick pics by Alex Kane)
And in that tribe, I found my person. Someone I didn't believe existed until a friend (who happens to be a dating coach) told me that I would have to come down to earth because the man I wanted was harder to find than winning the lotto. Guess what?! The best way to get me to do something is to tell me it can't be done.
I found him. A man who is building a business in order to heal the world. A man who thinks bigger than himself – who does as much personal development as I do. A man who runs at my energy level and who envisions a life bigger than either of us can dream up. Because I finally figured out that I was attracting the wrong kind of humans – and I grew within myself to start attracting the right ones. I didn’t fix anything because I wasn’t broken. I did the work and he showed up.
He was obviously created just for me to the point that this past weekend, we sat down at a gorgeous little tea shop in DC (go try Calabash – it smells delightful and has the best chai ever made) to write out our life goals. We started by writing out the vision we have for our lives separately – and then read each other’s. After which we wrote out a list of our life goals, long and short term goals, and next steps to making them happen – while holding each other accountable. Can I even explain to you how long I’ve waited to find someone who would do this with me?! And he showed up up, not just out of nowhere, but because I knew what I wanted, made a plan, and showed up for myself.
“Every single one of your desires is attainable.” – Mama Gena
Mama Gena of the School of Womanly Arts (seriously, if you don’t know about her – fix that now) talks a lot about manifesting the life and love you deserve. Manifesting is deeply ingrained in who we are as humans. We are powerful beings and have the ability to bring to life whatever we desire. We can ask for what we want – and get it. We can call things to us. We can do the work and watch it show up. It’s really up to what we want and how we show up in this world.
But manifestation isn’t all about us. Just as our purpose on this planet isn’t a selfish one. We’re given the ability to make something from nothing – and as much as it feeds us, it also must feed those around us. When we are full, we can spill out on others. When we get the things we want (especially when they aren’t selfish), we are able to be a bigger presence on this planet – and make a bigger impact. It’s cyclical.
Let me put it simply – when we show up for ourselves, we show up for others.
And THAT is the key to manifestation. It’s not about sitting on the couch and thinking positive thoughts. It’s not about waiting for Prince Charming or that business idea to pop into our heads. It’s about knowing what we want, making a plan, showing up for ourselves, and doing the work to get it. That’s what I mean when I say “manifest that shit!”
The word manifest is an adjective AND a verb. Let’s get super clear on what it means and put it into action so you can manifest the life/business/person you desire. Grab a coffee (or your drink of choice), download & print the workbook, grab your favorite pen – let’s do this thing!
1. GET CLEAR ON WHAT YOU WANT
Before it’s an action, manifest first means “clear or obvious to the eye or mind.” This means manifesting is not a secret. Amazingly enough, the antonym (opposite) of manifest is “secret” – which means it’s in front of our noses. And sometimes we can’t see what’s right in front of our noses. From little things like getting a parking spot every time you go to the gym so you’ll be less likely to stay home to big things like the business you want to start or meeting the man/woman of your dreams, I want you to get super clear on everything you want for your life. You already know what you want, but sometimes we just need a little clarity.
In the first column, write a list of what you think you want.
In the second column, write down the reasons you want them.
In the third column, write down how they will make your life or others lives better.
Circle three things from the first column items you want to work on manifesting.
2. WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU WANT
To manifest also means “be evidence of; prove.” That means you have to create a place to show evidence – proof – that you want it. If you want something, you have to write it down. Put it on the wall, on your mirror, in a journal, or as a status on Facebook. Write it somewhere – pronounce it as the thing you want and then make it your mantra. Once you put words to it, you’ll continue the process of manifesting.
Label each of the columns with the three things you want to manifest.
Under each, write out a list of why these things are important to your life or others lives.
Then ask yourself why they matter.
Ask yourself why again.
Ok, one more time.
Check the sheet and make sure you are positively sure you have the right three. If so, move onto the next step. If not, fix it.
3. MAKE A PLAN TO GET WHAT YOU WANT
A manifest is “a document giving comprehensive details of a ship and its cargo and other contents, passengers, and crew for the use of customs officers.” A manifest is a detailed list of everything that’s included in a ship. Think of this as the detailed list of everything you need to get what you want. Writing all the little details down will help you hone in on the things you want. It will help you get super clear about the path it will take to get there. Without this plan, you’re just hoping. With this plan, you’ll start manifesting.
Grab page 6 and answer the following questions for each of the 3 items you want to manifest and create the plan for how these will manifest.
What am I manifesting?
What do I have in my life already that will help?
What do I need in my life to help?
Who is in my life already to help manifest this?
Who do I need to meet in order to manifest this?
Where do I need to go?
What do I need to learn?
Who will hold me accountable?
What are my daily action items?
What are my next steps?
4. WORK TOWARD WHAT YOU WANT
To manifest means to “display or show (a quality or feeling) by one's acts or appearance; demonstrate.” This means you have to DO the work. You have to show up and put some skin in the game. You have to MAKE a plan then WORK the plan. Mark Patterson, my pastor, likes to say “Work like it depends on you. Pray like it depends on God.” Swap out the words however you need, but DO THE WORK. Sitting on the couch will never get you what you want.
Get out your to do list, calendar, planner, whatever you use to keep track of everything you’re doing on the regular. Do one or all of the things on the following list and get working on the plan.
Break down the plan into small action items.
Add your daily items so you can check them off. (Set reminders)
Add weekly items so you can check them off. (Set reminders)
Schedule meetings with people who can help you.
Schedule time to send someone a love note (filling up other people’s buckets will only help your cause.)
Schedule time to help others.
Sign up for that networking event you keep putting off.
Say yes to the friend who invites you out.
Write sticky notes and put them on your mirror.
Smile at yourself & say “hi sexy” before you leave the house.
Be ready for anything. Because anything can happen.
“Success is something you attract by the person you become.” – Jim Rohn
Now, let me be clear. Just because you want something doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. God, Spirit, The Universe, whatever you believe is out there giving you what you want – it might not be what they want for you. These things might not be the best thing – and you have to be ok with the fact that something better may show up – better, different, not-quite-exactly-as-you-planned. And that’s the fun of manifesting – we typically don’t know what we want because we can’t dream that big. Or we just aren’t dreaming big enough for the things we really deserve. But those will show up and we celebrate all of the loveliness that is manifested. And if bad things manifest – well, that’s a whole different blog post.
Get clear about what you want and then do the work to get what you want. Download the Manifest That Shit workbook and start manifesting that shit.
“It’s important to work together to ensure everyone has the opportunity to take time for themselves.”
– Michelle Lim Warner
Meet my neighbor, Michelle Lim Warner. Michelle owns DCanter Wine Boutique on Barracks Row here in DC with her husband. Together they are creating a powerhouse in the wine lifestyle market.
We hadn’t seen each other in awhile so it was great to do some catchup here on the podcast. She and her business have been undergoing some serious growth! Michelle has been branding her business like a branding pro – so much so that all of her new hires are so excited about the culture they have created together at DCanter – and the crazy part?! They were all customers FIRST!
This week, we talk about growing your team, using your growing team’s talent to help catapult your business, manifesting a work/life balance, and the commitment it takes to own a business with your spouse. First tip: take walking meetings! Listen in to find out why.
Watch her answer "What's one tip for building a better culture?":
“I want to build relationships and foster community – and I want to use stories to do that.” – Stuart Jones
This week, I’m talking to my good friend Stuart Jones – a people person, videographer and photographer from Raleigh, North Carolina, and the current producer of this podcast. In this episode, we take some interesting turns – creating your own opportunities, being unconventional in the way we apply for jobs (and the way we post for them too) #noresumes, roadtrips to see Rob Bell, and the importance of sharing your story.
We’ll also share about Stu’s uncanning resemblance to Chris Pratt.
And of course, I couldn’t leave you without posting the amazing video that landed Stuart a job with the mayor of Raleigh. As Stu told the lone guy and dog watching him dance in the middle of the park: “Enjoy the show!”
Strength, finding yourself & not caring what they think.
When you walk into a room, you end up worried about what everyone else is thinking about you. And they’re worried what you’re thinking about them. The reality is – everyone is just thinking about themselves. So, why are we always caring about what everyone else is thinking about us when they really don’t care?
Nedra Davis was the poster child for best kid ever. She checked every box on the list of being an amazing kid and young adult until she was 25 and she became pregnant – unmarried and unplanned. She placed what she believed everyone else would think of her over her own happiness and found herself miserable. She didn’t even enjoy the first months of being pregnant because of the shame she was feeling. Until she got a response from her parents she never expected.
But even after that, she kept the loop cycling when she continued worrying about what everyone else would think about her and ended up married and unhappy. Raising her children and getting divorced, she started realizing what everyone else thought didn’t matter and found her wisdom through reading and finding her spirituality. Getting her thoughts out on paper empowered her to be one of the strongest, most resilient human beings I’ve ever met. She had to learn how to embrace her shame and her worry in order to let it all go. She now fully lives in a place where she owns her worth, her value system and her life – personally AND professionally.
Do you truly care what other people think of you? Do you worry about fitting in? Guess what – they don’t care because they want the same things. You are loved. You are enough. You can do this. Find the loop and learn from it so you can move forward as a kickass human. Listen in as Nedra shares her solid character, how she’s raising strong children, and why it matters that we live authentically inside our true selves.