Coal becomes a magnificent diamond only after sustained pressure.
A caterpillar literally turns to goo inside its cocoon before it emerges into butterfly glory.
It’s only through Process that these beautiful things come into being.
When we fall in love with the process, surrender to its adventure, even the icky, scary, unknown, uncontrollable, and annoying bits, that is when + how we find true success. Rewarding success. Purposeful success.
By making this subtle, yet profound, shift in our approach to anything we want to create in our lives, success then becomes a matter of when, not if.
True success is about the Long Game. Patiently played with faith in yourself and trust in the Universe.
The Shiny Pretty splashed everywhere is not the Real Thing. Illusions are much easier to create than substance, but illusions evaporate as fast as they appear. Substance weathers the storms.
My approach to creative success boils down to two main themes:
- Show up fully in your life. Live your integrity.
- Question all your own assumptions. Let go of everything that is not serving you. Release the nonsense.
From there, it’s all about lather, rinse, repeat.
We cannot have it all. We cannot do it all. But we can have and do what matters most to us if we are willing to prioritize.
The Culture of Consumption has us hooked on more than is necessary. The Status Quo wants us to fall in line and do what we’re told. Neither of those beasts is gonna relent anytime soon.
The only option for imaginative, curious + intuitive folk, is to set ourselves free.
Neither I, nor anyone else, can tell you exactly how you set yourself free. However, I can, and do, help you determine it for yourself. On your own terms. On your own timeline. Fully within your own integrity.
My secret sauce is:
Observation > Pattern Recognition > Arrangement
This hat trick of superpowers forms the core of my Open Sesame process. The result is a heightened awareness of the universal creative cycles and amplified personal rhythms, in order to use them ALL to your full creative advantage. These energies, both yours and the universe's, are going on all around you right now, so why not use them?
It all comes together to serve you and your creative dreams.
We are all in this together. Pollyanna-ish as it seems, I don’t just believe that, I know it. With all my being.
Thanks for hanging out here. I look forward to getting to know you.
Shine on, you magnificent diamond.
My clients + I share many qualities. A key one is that we are all Reluctant Leaders.
We didn't choose it. It chose us. We tried everything we could to avoid + ignore it. But that never worked. Eventually the point of surrender comes around, that's when the real work begins.
Creating has always been a part of my life.
In high school + college it was photography. Like old school stuff. Black + white film, multi-format cameras, tank developing, enlargers, safe lights, and darkroom chemicals. I still wax nostalgic for those obnoxious vapors. #weirdo
In the 90s, I headed into the real world. In my case, San Francisco. I soon realized darkrooms + film were way out of the budget as I worked shitty jobs just to keep a roof over my head. But that’s when I turned to cooking + food as my self-expression. I was Foodie-ing long before that term was a thing. Watching PBS cooking shows were my grown up Saturday morning cartoons. Organic, vegetarian, vegan, locavore, farmers markets — this was my delicious world.
As the century turned, so did my location. I've now been a Midwesterner since 2001. With this move, I shifted my creative practice into high gear. That's when my hero, Design, entered my life.
In all the years I’d been making, I never had the language or concepts to advance my work past my intuitive abilities. Until I earned a Graphic Design degree that is.
That's when my creative spirit truly came alive. Along with design, I learned screen printing, letterpress, bookbinding — and sewing came roaring back into my repertoire, too. As another 10 years passed, business + branding became my thing.
The multiple layers of know-how compounded the effectiveness of each of them, and yet, something was still not working for me...
I was super stuck. And super depressed.
Armed with talent, vision, knowledge, theory, and a skill set that was pretty hardcore rockin’ — if I do say so myself — why was I so freakin’ frustrated? And increasingly more so every day?
The shit hit the fan about 2 years ago.
After investing my resources, money, energy, time, talent in the wrong places and with the wrong people one too many times, I began to realize what my problem really was. Some of my assumptions about myself were all wrong.
I wasn’t Behind the Curve, as I had spent my entire adult life lamenting. Holy freakin’ crap. I was ahead of it!
My ego wants to stop here and let you know what “Ahead of the Curve” means.
It doesn’t mean I — or you, because if this is resonating, you are Ahead of the Curve too, my Sister — am an undiscovered genius or a tortured artist who can never be understood or inherently better than anyone else.
Not at all. Here’s what it does mean.
Your antenna picks up different signals than the The Status Quo. And you pick them up much earlier than the Masses.
Your consciousness is an early adopter. Your creativity is finely tuned. Your intuition picks up a boosted signal that is too strong to ignore.
So this is where we loop back around to Reluctant Leader.
I have never sought the spotlight. In fact the Back Row is still my favorite place to hang.
The Way It’s Done has always been a major turn-off to me. Even as my ambition burned bright. Even when the successful, smart, ethical people tried to teach me a more "enlightened way". None of it ever rang completely true for me.
My integrity couldn’t be overridden — even when I begged it to just let me “be like everyone else”. I couldn't disconnect from the nuances + context of what art/work carries into the world.
The deeper implications of our presence + self-expression just don't make for great marketing soundbites.
Everywhere I looked for answers, I was served Assumptions, Lowest Common Denominator Formulas, Short-sighted Tactics. And then.
I began to look to the Creative + Innovative Minds that I truly admired — instead of the Popular Kids on the interwebs.
I looked to history and the humanities. I dove into psychology, spirituality, and philosophy and found they were more much powerful teachers than marketers or coaches.
Books, documentaries, museums, biographies. Artists, musicians, writers, philosophers, psychologists, entertainers, inventors, filmmakers, photographers, explorers.
True innovators that not only accomplished great feats of creativity and substance, but they also did it on their own terms. With their integrity leading the charge.
I examined the actions these Creative Warriors took themselves. I began to see they were me and I was them. Different points on the same curve.
The same is true for you. You are them and they are you.
I looked for the patterns they had spent lifetimes living and documenting — the micro, the macro, the archetypes, the symbols, the duality, the transcendent — and used that fuel to find my own way, too.
Here’s what I finally allowed myself to understand — true success is only found through self-expression and personal integrity. Not in spite of it.
Listen to your inner GPS, create what you know needs to be birthed, and then share without expectation (good or bad). It doesn’t always make rational sense in the moment, or sometimes for years afterwards, but the Universe knows when you are showing up and helps you accordingly.
The cosmic winds will carry your creative seeds to the exact places they are needed.
Magic is the collaboration of you + the Universe working in tandem. Synchronizing your beat to its rhythm, instead of demanding it be the other way around.
The act of showing up is where all your power lives.
Faith and trust is part of showing up. Letting go is part of showing up.
Back to Reluctant Leader.
When you live + create + work from this sacred space, what seems possible is unlimited. Not just different from what you picture for yourself + your life, but deeper, more fulfilling. Less struggle, more reward.
As awesome as our imaginations are, the Universe has a way better one! And at times you’ll have to learn to be comfortable while blindfolded. Yes, even the Universe likes it kinky sometimes.
Leadership is nothing more than and nothing less than showing up.
Do the work, stay humble, and share without expectation. And when you model this behavior, you are setting others free as much as you are setting yourself free.
And that's why you and me are Reluctant Leaders. When we show up for ourselves, we are showing up for everyone.
Like many artists, my finished work isn't always well organized.
So there are definite gaps in my visual history. Que sera sera! However, below are a smattering of my past portfolios. Hope you enjoy them — and thanks for perusing. <3