“The whole essence of story isn’t about being likable.”
– Marc Gutman
Marc Gutman and I met at his Happy House – an old coal shack renovated into his office space – outside of Boulder, Colorado. It was the perfect location since this week we’re talking all about finding your happy place. Marc is an amazing storyteller who I’ve known from Maverick, Entrepreneurs’ Organization and weirdly overlapping social circles. We could talk for hours – but here’s an hour we recorded on the podcast just for you.
Marc grew up in Detroit, Michigan before hopping into his car after college and driving to Hollywood where he began his storytelling career. He’s the founder of Wild Story, a brand story messaging consultancy. Marc found his happy place in between being a master storyteller and a strategist working with outdoor brands.
“When you talk about putting your values where your money and your mouth are – that’s what brand is really about.” – Marc
Listen in as we talk about balance, work-life integration, finding your personal and professional core values and the art of sticking to them. We use Nike as a case study for the power of having enough courage to show up for your brand. The kickass-ed-ness of using your brand to polarize. And how taking big risks can lead to huge wins (like 30% increase in sales for Nike after their Colin Kaepernick ad.)
WARNING: This episode contains adorable puppy-appreciation breaks:
Check out Marc’s office – The Happy House – and adorable pup here:
AS HEARD ON THIS EPISODE: Find out more about First Descendants and the work they do for young adults with cancer and how you can support their work. And make sure to tune into Wild Story’s new podcast Baby Got Backstory!
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In his words: Marc is creative, humor, adventure, storyteller, and extremely cuddly.
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(Caveat: This is NOT for people who love the holidays & think they’re the jolliest. If you think they are, skip this post completely.)
As soon as the adorable kids in their uterus-tugging costumes walk away from the house and the Halloween decorations come down, you know it’s time for the holidays to really begin. CVS has had Christmas decor up since August and you’ve been hearing Deck The Halls-esque songs since the school year kicked off. (Side note: in Norway, they don’t celebrate Halloween or Thanksgiving so they’ve been ready for Christmas with their Norwegian sweaters and tinsel for months.) In the US, we’re bombarded with Black Friday ads since before the leaves change color – and yet all we can think about is “which relatives will be talking about their political views and how do I stay far away from them?”
I was Googling terms like “how to handle the holidays” – because I’m one of the many Grinch-grumps who doesn’t like Christmas music or Christmas decor until after Thanksgiving is put away. I’m actually the girl who looks forward to January 2 when the holidays are over, the unmet expectations are still crying tears of sadness and a new year of hope is finally beginning. I LOVE buying gifts for people all year long – I dislike buying things just to buy them. I also dislike having to see people I’m not interested in seeing JUST because it’s the holidays. And then there’s the whole “I didn’t get what I wanted” crap. Expectations are the reason for the season, right?
DID YOU KNOW: Two of the synonyms for “expectation” are FEAR and HOPE?!
Anyway – in case you were wondering, there are LOTS of articles about how to handle the holidays. They tell you all you have to do is: be positive, be grateful, love yourself, and breathe. Easy peasy. *eyeroll*
I mean, I’m typically a super positive human but I have to ask – have you ever wanted to punch someone when they tell you to “just be positive”? It’s not as easy as they say. And the people who say things like “just be positive” are probably the people who need to hear that the most. Also, “just” is demeaning. As if it was nothing.
Since I can’t find an article on how to unsuck the holidays without “just being positive,” I’m writing the dang thing myself. Mostly because I need to hear this but if it helps you as well? BOOM! Winning.
Let’s start with yoga. (but not really)
I was in a yoga class this weekend, and the teacher started the class sharing a prayer asking for wisdom through our pure thoughts, our pure words, and our pure hearts. We touched our foreheads, lips, and hearts. Throughout the class, every time we would get into Star pose (where you basically spread your arms & legs like a star), we would squat into Horse (where you squat in Star pose & put your hands in prayer in front of your heart) and touch our head, lips and heart. It was a reminder to purify our thoughts, words, and intentions. Over and over – for an hour. By the end, it was with each of us.
I walked out of class into the icy weather with a renewed heart, happier thoughts, and joyful words. It was just what I needed. A reminder that everything I have to give this holiday season is inside of me – not anyone else.
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Now let’s talk about church. (but not really)
That same day, I went to a church service about Forgiveness. I had just taken a test about my Strengths and got 100% on Forgiveness. I felt like – this is gonna be an easy service. I’ve got this.
Until he started talking about how most of us have a hard time forgiving OURSELVES. *sigh* Yep, he got me. I’m REALLY good at forgiving other people – but beating myself up about things I’ve done? Or things other people blame me for? I’m also really good at that. Typically I beat myself to a bloody pulp – FOR YEARS. (I still beat myself up over stuff that happened over 20 years ago…) By the end of the service, I was realizing how many things I had to let go of – that it wasn’t about being forgiven by others, but by MYSELF!
The fun of being human. Always something to work on.
Holidays are the best test of patience and self-reflection. From relatives who think you’re crazy for your political views, sexual orientation, tattoos, or haircut to the grating holiday music your older sister HAS to play on the untuned piano (and sing along to), there just isn’t enough rum in the eggnog to make it through. Not making the horrified face when you open a present from “that” uncle is almost impossible. And getting lipstick on your face (again) from your second cousin’s aunt Rose is imperative. Until your grandma reminds you that you’re too tall to find a man and you become 15 years old again sitting in the corner drinking more than your share of wine from a coffee mug so no one can see you’re a lush.
“Just be positive” isn’t going to work – but this weekend made me rethink how I can approach the holidays. You’re welcome to join me in my new holiday habits over the next weeks. Let’s change the conversation in our heads and see how we can find a little more of ourselves during the holidays.
10 Steps To Unsuck The Holidays
1. Forgive yourself.
That thing that happened when you were 17 isn’t your fault. Your brain wasn’t even fully developed yet. The stuff you think others still hate you for – it’s over and only you are still mad about it. That divorce, miscarriage, fight, misunderstanding – whatever it was. Let go of the mean things you think about yourself and whatever you feel is your fault – and forgive yourself for good. Then move on.
2. Limit social media scrolling.
Everyone is going to post all of their awesome holiday fun on social media – not all the fights or tears. Use the new iPhone Screen Time app to limit your usage so you aren’t just hiding in the bathroom scrolling through everyone’s parties while you’re miserable wishing you were somewhere else. If you’re having a tough time, share it with a friend. They’re probably have a tough time as well & can commiserate with you without making you feel worse.
3. Say nice things.
To yourself AND to others. While you’re sitting there judging yourself for what everyone else thinks of you and judging your family/friends for all their shit, you’re not doing anyone any favors. Find something you appreciate about yourself and the people you’re around – and say it out loud. The more nice things you say, the happier you’ll feel.
4. Buy yourself something you don’t need.
It doesn’t have to be expensive (but it can be if you really like to do that for yourself.) Choose something you REALLY want and buy it for yourself. All expectations for what you’ll get as a gift will disappear and you’ll enjoy yourself. (I’m buying myself a massage package to my favorite masseuse. #necessary)
5. Walk away.
When the shit hits the fan (and it will), instead of getting upset about it, take a deep breathe, say “I’m sorry you feel that way,” close your mouth and walk away from the situation. Period. Then text a friend who will cheer you up, go back in and keep holiday-ing. Staying in an argument or in a place where you’re feeling offended isn’t going to help you keep up the holiday spirit.
6. Do something nice for someone else.
Especially if they don’t expect it. And maybe even without them realizing it was you. Leave a sweet thank you note, gift a gift “from Santa,” send an unexpected card, send money to a friend, donate to your favorite organization, text a relative you haven’t talked to in years, spend quality time with humans less fortunate than you, and listen a little longer than you really want to.
7. Make a dish you love.
Food can be a big part of our happy memories. Make the green bean casserole the way you like to make it. Get up early and bake that coffee cake your dad used to make. And eat all the bacon before everyone else wakes up (just like he did.) Do what gets you into the holiday spirit by eating the things that remind you of your happy moments.
8. Know that it’ll be over soon.
The new year is just around the corner and you’ll be well on your way to “keeping” your resolutions. It’s just a season – and it’ll be over before you know it and you’ll have to deal with Valentine’s Day questions. So, ENJOY IT! Even if you have to choose one little thing to enjoy. Take a picture of your favorite part & look back on it with fondness.
9. Cuddle a puppy.
This is one of my favorites. Find a corner and snuggle a dog while you read a book. It’s amazing what dog affection can do for your soul. And stay there for awhile – without anyone realizing you’re gone. Having some downtime in the midst of the craziness will help you stay sane. And dogs are REALLY easy to talk to. They’re GREAT listeners.
10. Make up a new tradition.
Every family has traditions but where did they come from? Someone made them up. Buy everyone an ornament instead of a gift, find a new recipe that will become a staple at the holiday dinner, create a game for the kids to play, teach everyone a new card game, or let the kids stay up late watching holiday movies with the best homemade popcorn in their PJs.
There you go! You’re on your way to unsucking the holidays. (hey! At least it’s not “just be positive.”)
I’m going to make a concerted effort not to let my holidays be ruined by unkind words, thoughtless comments, or ridiculous expectations – especially if a certain person decides it’s necessary to tell me my dog is fat again (he’s FLUFFY!) I hope you’ll join me in this effort to unsuck your holidays. Let me know how it goes. And know that I’ll be posting the good, bad AND the silly. I’m with you, friend.
PS. Need a Kickass holiday gift? Go grab tshirts, tanks & mugs for you and the family members you really like. xoxo Shop
“Money is a tool to further your purpose in life.”
– Alex Agresta
Alexandria (Alex) Agresta is Chief Purpose Pioneer at Purpose Pioneers and is now a SPEAK With Confidence Rockstar Alumni! I’m such a huge fan of hers and I promise two minutes into this episode – you will be, too. This woman is so on brand and so purpose-driven it shines through her in every way.
Alex knew her purpose was all about purpose when she was six-years-old – so who better to talk about living a life and work full of purpose than Alex herself?! On this episode, we chat about systemizing purpose and creating systems around fulfillment in life, why your purpose is your brand, channeling both masculine and feminine energies, and, of course – manifesting that shit!
“If I’m tired and want to take a nap in the middle of the day because I’ve been working my butt off – then I’m going to freaking do it and not feel guilty.” – Alex
If you’re in a season that needs some light, tune into this episode & walk away puking rainbows.
“Life is too short to not make an impact in the world.”
– Jon Cook
Jon Cook is so good at connecting people that I found him because every time I asked for people who were connected in Denver, every person sent me to Jon. He is a wonderful human filled with loads of information about effective copy for your business. For this episode, we’re about to enjoy a stay-at-home double-date while sipping rosé at 4pm on a Wednesday talking all things branded copy.
Jon is a content writer extraordinaire who understands brand voice better than most. He builds trust for his clients by learning how to be them. John and his team at Keynote Content work with thought leaders and speakers to create branded copy & content creator that writes copy that passes “The Sniff Test.” (See – NOW you know why I like this guy.)
“the sniff test”: /snif/·/test/noun: An observation we all make when we come across a website, post or content that clearly doesn’t have a brand’s voice.
“If you’re obsessed with being great at your craft, everything else will take care of itself.” – Jon Cook
This episode is filled with nuggets of wisdom for authentic and effective copywriting. If you have to write emails, blogs or social media posts for your business or just looking to get into professional copywriting for other businesses – you definitely won’t want to miss this.
Listen to the podcast here:
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The October SPEAK With Confidence Accelerator is all wrapped up – but my Crew and I are gearing up to for April’s Accelerator already! Follow me and check out pics from October’s SPEAK With Confidence on my insta page or sign up to secure your spot for April’s Accelerator today.
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In his words: Jon is focused, curious, driven, relatable, and funnier than his wife will admit.
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“You have to be very mindful of what you’re trying to accomplish at the end of the day.” – Jenny Shtipelman
Last week we held our SPEAK With Confidence October Accelerator in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado. The week was busy, jam-packed with great Rockstars, Trainers, and Experts. During our 3-day retreat we were able to write talks, laugh, cry, eat so much delicious food and hold space for each other like we never have before at any other SPEAK With Confidence. If you’re feeling FOMO – don’t stress. The April SPEAK With Confidence Accelerator is ready for you & already starting to fill up! Go check it out.
Now that we’re done with all that for this moment, let’s get back to PODCASTING!!!!
Join me in a confetti party for the return of the Adventures of Branding podcast while I introduce you to my dear friend, Jenny Shtipelman.
Jenny is Senior Vice President at Eagle Bank, a powerhouse career woman with super savvy financial advice, and a closet that truly does redefine what a banker’s closet looks like. “Jenny From The Bank” is a kickass human with a personal brand that’s totally her own and stretches beyond her industry or position. If you didn’t think you could let your personal brand shine because you work in a corporate environment, this will challenge you to reconsider.
Listen to the podcast here:
Want to find out more about defining your personal brand? Listen to the SPEAK With Confidence podcast series’ Chapter 2: Define Your Brand (your friends might know it better) to find out how to get a personal brand that rocks as much as you do.
If hearing Jenny’s super useful tips about creating a team to help you build your dream business and reach your financial goals inspired you to learn more, listen to Give Me 1 Hour, I’ll Give You 9 Years. I share lots of nuggets of information I’ve learned the hard way over the last 9 years about building a business.*
*No coffee required
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In her words: Jenny is assertive, humorous, badass, traveler, lover of all foods and experiences.
Facebook: Jenny Shtipelman
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