Episode 192 // Cultivating Optimism

September 4, 2018

Staying positive is something we really rally and try to do, but sometimes things don’t go as you’ve planned—especially when you’re starting or growing a business—and fraudy feelings can get in the mix. So today we’re sharing our tips and tactics for cultivating optimism and staying positive when you’re feeling pessimistic or falling into the comparison trap.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"I find that sometimes I'm able to cultivate positivity when I have a new challenge to tackle that doesn't feel completely overwhelming."
- Kathleen Shannon

Discussed in this Episode

  • Optimism vs. pessimism
  • Daily things you can do to cultivate positive feelings
  • Staying positive through business failures
  • Setting intentions and leaning into your intention to get yourself out of a funk
  • Learning to trust the process
  • Being realistic vs. being a pessimist
  • Staying positive when you're falling into the comparison trap
  • Finding inspiration
  • Feeling like everyone is doing what you're doing and the fraudy feelings that come with a saturated market
  • Dealing with copycats
  • Will it matter in 500 years?


More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


Kathleen Shannon 0:02
Hello, and welcome to being boss,

Emily Thompson 0:04
a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm Emily Thompson. And I'm Kathleen Shannon.

In this episode of being boss, we're talking cultivating optimism. As always, you can find all the tools, books and links we reference on the show notes at WWW dot being boss club.

Kathleen Shannon 0:29
Alright, bosses, Caitlin here works with us behind the scenes here at being boss. And you may have heard her on our minisodes over at 10 minutes to being boss, and today she's popping in for a minute here to talk about money. Hey, Caitlin, okay. All right, I have a question. When did you start using fresh books cloud accounting?

Caitlin Brehm 0:49
Well, as a freelancer, I started using fresh books in 2015. And there are so many choices, of course out there for accounting software as a contractor or Freelancer or solopreneur. So I was super grateful to have a recommendation from some bosses at being boss that I trusted, that would be

Kathleen Shannon 1:07
us. So what surprised you about using freshbooks

Caitlin Brehm 1:11
just thought it's so easy. It didn't force me to do a ton of complicated setup, or designing to just send a simple invoice that looks professional.

Kathleen Shannon 1:21
And what's your favorite feature?

Caitlin Brehm 1:23
My favorite freshbooks feature is being able to create an invoice from the time that I tracked for a client within the same app. It's just It's so fast and easy. I don't have to do any calculations. I've already tracked my time right there. So I just pull an invoice from that time and send it to the client. And that way I can just stay focused on doing the work. I don't have to feel anxious about setting aside time to send my invoices for the month. It literally takes me a couple minutes.

Kathleen Shannon 1:50
All right, you heard it here bosses, fresh books. Cloud accounting was designed for creative entrepreneurs, just like Caitlin and just like you try it for free by going to freshbooks comm slash being boss again. That's freshbooks comm slash being boss, and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section?

Emily Thompson 2:12
Today, it's just me and Kathleen, and we're going to be getting real real with you about what we do when life and work are feeling heavy. because believe it or not, it's not always unicorns and puppies over here.

Kathleen Shannon 2:29
Alright, Emily, I want to talk about staying positive. It is, it is something that we really rally and try to do. And I use the phrase Don't be a negative Nancy, I think I wrote it in our book. Yes. And everyone knows about frosty feelings. And you know, that comes with negativity. But here's the deal, I think that a lot of creatives, ourselves included, have been kind of taken a beating lately. And I don't know if it's that the world is feeling really heavy. I mean, there's some intense stuff happening on a, you know, national and global level. And it can make what you're doing feel flippant, or, like you're not doing this pointless. And even personally, you can start to feel a little hopeless. And so, um, it's a struggle. And I know that it's something that we've dealt with, I know that it's something that a lot of our being boss community has struggled with. And so I really wanted to get into this today, because it's been a while since we've talked about cultivating positive feelings, especially in the midst of stuff that feels really heavy.

Emily Thompson 3:41
Yeah, this is an important thing to talk about. And I will even point out to this is something you and I have been dealing with personally a lot over the past couple of months insane where I think that just everything going on in the outside world starts to seep in to the inner workings of your daily life. I think the idea that you can separate the two is not sustainable. Like I don't think you can do that. And it can definitely start wearing down on you and other ways. And, you know, we've experienced this talking to other creatives like this is fact. And so I'm excited to dive into this too, because I think this is important and very timely conversation and one where we can really bring in some very personal insights and experiences, because it's been a rough couple of months. I know for me personally, and one where I've had to really dive into some being boss practices that I thought I was a pro at and realize that I really needed to go back to practicing what I preach in order to you know, show up and do the work.

Kathleen Shannon 4:46
And the other thing that comes with being your own boss and being a creative entrepreneur or a side hustler or a freelancer or small business owner, no matter where you're at, is if you feel like you're constantly butting up against failure years and disappointments, which you are because guess what? That's your job. Like, that's part of what comes with the territory of this life that looks so glamorous, you know, on the outside, but on the inside we all know comes with a lot of work. So, yes, let's dive in. First off, I want to talk about cultivating optimism, because I feel like as I'm getting older, I'm slipping into what you see a lot of older people slipping into, which is an attitude of cynicism, or even pessimism, or at least maybe some of the older people in my life, right?

Emily Thompson 5:35
Or maybe just indifference Are you becoming curmudgeonly?

Kathleen Shannon 5:38
A little a little curmudgeon a little a little grumpy. So first off, I want to know, we talk a lot about introverts and extroverts. And so there's, you know, optimists and pessimists, right. Do you consider introverts? pessimists? No, I'm saying like that we use those two labels a lot. Yes, describe a certain kind of boss. And so I think that I wouldn't bring in some labels here of optimists and pessimists to I, I assume that to be boss, you have to be an optimist. But I don't, this is what I want to explore today. Would you consider yourself an optimist?

Emily Thompson 6:16
I think, deep down on a very basic level, yes. And I think you're right, I think for you to be an entrepreneur, you have to be like this a ruthless optimist, like you see a hole in the market. And you think you can be the one who feels that and you think it's so strongly that you take a leap, and that's either you know, quitting your job or changing, you know, your daily routine, or whatever it is, so that you can support this dream, like having that dream, I think defaults you to optimist, at least on a very, like core level.

Kathleen Shannon 6:51
So I think I'm a pessimist. I think that my optimism has been attached to being just naive, almost not knowing any better. And so I'm so glad that I started my creative career and working for myself whenever I was kind of too young to know better. So I really don't know if this is an age or maturity thing. But I've seen enough things not work to not want to waste my time on things that don't work. And so I feel like I'm almost at this place where I'm going to say no to most things, unless there is a compelling case or evidence or whatever, for me to say yes. Whereas before I would jump in feet first saying yes to everything. And that that served me well. And so I'm kind of mourning, this, you grieving this attitude of optimism that I once had, that I just don't have anymore.

Emily Thompson 7:51
Yeah, I think experience does dampen just adorable optimism. I think I think it does it because you're shown that strategy is required about some extra forethought or experience is required to better like concrete, that positive outcome. And this is absolutely something that I've been experiencing too over the past year, especially is this idea of and will is something we talk about a lot here even at being boss, on one hand, anything worth having you have to work really hard for. But I also believe that anything that's right comes easily. If that makes sense. I'm

Kathleen Shannon 8:40
so glad that you said that. Because a lot of times I don't feel like that you have to work hard for anything. of value. I mean, there's some things that actually come easy and that's your kind of maybe natural skills or talents. I don't feel like I have to work really hard at being a great designer or I don't have to work really hard at loving my family. Well, some

Emily Thompson 9:08
right or whatever you say things like the right opportunity will come to you like that's a very passive attitude that you're taking to, you know, moving forward in life that doesn't actually require very much effort on your part. It's just sort of a waiting for those things. So, I do now see the see the juxtapositions or even the the polarities of how it is that we that we show up and work and on one hand working hard to get, you know, things that are that are great, but on the other hand, sort of waiting around for the things that are great, and that has definitely caused in me a sort of an inner battle as to Am I being optimistic like a durably optimistic, or am I being necessarily pessimistic because sometimes the rules can predict each other.

Kathleen Shannon 10:01
Can you see the phrase that you said again earlier? which one it was, it was like a light bulb. Yeah, whenever

Emily Thompson 10:07
I said that things that are worth having you have to work hard for, but also things that are right will come easily.

Kathleen Shannon 10:17
That's it, things that are right will come easily. So that's the energy I want to tune back into, because that is the kind of optimism that's the kind of optimism that feels more like alignment, rather than just blind faith.

Emily Thompson 10:35
Yes. And so let's talk about this alignment, then. Because if you are operating at a very low vibe, and I'm just talking like, angry, grumpy, and I think we can all think of someone in our life who is just like an eternal OPT or eternal pessimist and is angry, grumpy, then you know what kind of life they're living. And you know why it is that way is because they are angry, grumpy all the time, because that vibe will attract the same thing. On the other hand, you can think of people who were who are eternal optimists who are always, you know, very happy and like, jolly, if I can even use that word, those people even if their conditions are not, you know, what you would want for yourself. They're happy with them, and they are attracting more of those good things into your life. So this isn't even like a hardcore, like, let's manifest rainbows and unicorns, is like, just look at people in your life and recognize that grumpy people live grumpy lives and happy people live happy lives. And I agree tuning back into happy breeding happy is definitely one of the things that I want to work more on too, because I think it's easy or definitely, it's, it's easy to say, it's obvious, I think, to say that most of us are feeling a little more low vibey these days than usual. Or maybe it's just all Me, me and all my friends in which case in my the low vibing problem, and I could go off on a legit tangent now.

Kathleen Shannon 12:13
Okay, so if you're feeling grumpy and sad, and I've been to some pretty dark places where it's hard to ever see your way out of it, you know, obviously, if you are in a place where you need help, hopefully you've got people in your life that will say, Hey, I see that you're struggling, you need help, if you have enough awareness to know that you need help, I would definitely seek that out for sure. But I want to talk about just kind of these daily things that we can do to cultivate positive feelings. So the in general, the people that we want to be like we become, which is happy and jolly, and also, you know, badass, or whatever it might be to be able to just roll with the punches whenever they come, because I don't think that happy, jolly people don't ever experience struggles like anybody else. I just think that they sometimes have more positive experiences and negative ones. And so that's

Emily Thompson 13:08
and I also think they bounce back more easily. I think everyone goes down. It's just how quickly do you come back up afterwards?

Kathleen Shannon 13:16
Yeah. Okay, so one of my things I like to do whenever I am feeling grumpy or sad is to do more fun things. So to eat the kind of food that I like, to maybe go for a walk in nature to do the things I imagine a fun happy person would do. And just do those. So I kind of almost behave as if I am a happy positive person. And then usually my brain starts to follow suit.

Emily Thompson 13:47
Yeah, one of the ways that I deal with cranky moods is self care. And my like, choice is taking Bad's and I found myself taking lots of baths this summer. But there's just something to me about like being in water, like filling it full of Epsom salts to light candles and just sit there quietly like it relaxes my body I think water has like some magic qualities in there that help you know I've heard heard even people say whenever you know your kids are throwing a temper tantrum or whatever, like just add water is something that I've heard where either they need to hydrate, which don't I know I usually need just some hydration whenever I'm feeling my most grumpy or put them in a bath or throw them into a pool or whatever it is and they will likely end up being significantly more happy. I think that applies for adults as well. Sometimes whenever I am feeling the most grumpy, I just want to get in a bath and that seems to help me a ton. I love that sometimes

Kathleen Shannon 14:53
in a room taking a bath. I visualize as the tub is draining, I stay in until it's totally drained and I visualize all of my bad vibes off of my body, out of my body and just going down the drain. So visualization is another thing that I really like to do. And when it comes to cultivating positive feelings, and I just am more visual by nature, so I might go into a meditation and just visualize what I would look and feel like as a happier, more productive boss.

Emily Thompson 15:26
I agree, I think and I think you're, it's just it's finding little ways to to help yourself and until you need help from someone else. Another way that I do this is I just go to bed. That is my favorite way to deal with a really crappy day is just make it until bedtime, even if bedtime needs to be like 7pm and go to bed and sleep it off. I always feel better in the morning. And this is also one of those things that parenting has taught me, if my kid is having an awful day, if I can just get her to bedtime, and let her sleep it off or make her take a nap, she will wake up a completely different person. We definitely work through so many things while we are sleeping when we release so much stress. While we are sleeping. Sometimes I just need to get myself in bed.

Kathleen Shannon 16:18
That's a good one. So one of the things that I've been working on is assuming the best case scenario. So again, a pessimist and pessimists will always go to the worst case scenario, how will this thing not work? How will it fail, and instead just almost interrupting that thought pattern? Because I do think that it's a practiced neural pathway that has just been grooved a little bit. And really assuming the best case scenario, what if this lunch is amazing? I think the place where I struggle with this one, though, is coming up against disappointment. I think that I'm trying to protect myself from being disappointed or feeling like a failure, if I'm going to assume the best case scenario. So what do you what do you do about that? Like, how do you stay positive and assume that this launch is going to be amazing? Or that this book is going to be a best seller? And then if it's not, not feeling like a total jackass?

Emily Thompson 17:19
I love that you assume I have an answer for you. Because I don't know. I mean, I've had plenty of failures, and every single one of them fucking hurts like fact, that is absolute fact. So I like to try I like to prepare myself for both, I guess. So it's not just looking at the best case scenario, but it's also looking at the worst case scenario and understanding it's probably going to fall somewhere in the middle. And it's probably that I think that that it always does. But that's not what we're talking about today. It's for me, it's about for just preparing yourself for all the options. And again, that doesn't mean that failures don't hurt because they do and doesn't mean they won't come because they likely will. But it does mean that you can understand the potential whichever way it falls. So for me, I'm usually pretty good at talking through the best and the worst case. And and not like the worst case and the like I'm gonna be a crazy cat lady, like with you know, what is what is your illustration, cat lady or bag lady with a pushing a buggy.

Kathleen Shannon 18:27
the very worst case scenario is that I have a grocery cart full of cats,

Emily Thompson 18:32
right? So I'm not going quite there with my worst case scenario, but really trying to be super, super reasonable, and then preparing yourself as best you can.

Kathleen Shannon 18:45
So another thing that I've been really practicing and leaning hard on is our intention practice. And so you and I are both pretty good about really tuning into our values and intentions and really picking one word or mantra to really focus on. And for me lately, I've been feeling a little grumpy and maybe even self indulgent and just thinking, Okay, I need to get out of my own head. What do what is my intention here, and coming back to a word that's been coming up for me a lot lately is the word of service. And I don't necessarily love that word. It feels a little, like self sacrificing to me, maybe not anyway, but just to be of service, right. And so, if I'm just trying to be of service whenever we're creating, for example, our CEO day kit, or whenever we're hosting a bunch of bosses in New Orleans, or whenever I'm teaching a branding workshop, or even whenever I'm coming into meetings with my team, if I can just focus on being of service. It seems to eradicate any failures or disappointments, it doesn't matter and it brings me back into the journey of honor partnership and why I'm doing this in the first place. So I keep coming back to that. And it's been feeling really good. And it doesn't mean that I don't have hard days, it just means I can still practice this value or intention of service, even amongst the hard days, and maybe it's even my job to make somebody else's day a little bit better. And so that's been feeling really good to me lately.

Emily Thompson 20:24
That's a good one. That's a really good one. I

Kathleen Shannon 20:26
also think that as like a little sister archetype, so I'm a little sister and I definitely embody that vibe. But we're, you know, kind of just little spoiled, maybe a little, I need other people to take care of me to step into this role of service and taking care of other people is also a little bit of a twist on what my experience has been thus far. And so that's fun, too. It's almost a new challenge. And so I found that sometimes I'm able to cultivate positivity, whenever I have a new challenge to tackle that doesn't feel completely overwhelming.

Emily Thompson 21:01
That's good. And I will say to maybe this is my like, oldest sibling here. One of the things that I've been focusing on a lot lately, because I've been, again, I've been feeling feeling pretty, like battered, I suppose, is trying to see the lesson in everything to understand that everything is happening for a reason. And I don't know what I don't know. Yeah, it's where I don't even know what the other side of things is going to look like. or I don't know how much better My life is going to be because you know, I'm losing something or because something isn't working out, right. So I've been trying to focus on just sort of like dressing the process, which sounds really gross in my mouth. So trusting the process, and really trying to see the lesson and the like and pull positivity out of it, to try to spin it on its head because I think you can look at any situation and a myriad of ways. I think one is the worst way possible, which I think most of us probably lean towards whenever something bad is happening. And the alternative, or I guess the polar opposite of that is to look at it in the best way possible. And that is that it is here to serve some higher good that you don't even know yet. So I guess I've been practicing some like faith and trust, like never before.

Kathleen Shannon 22:31
I like that you mentioned that because one of the things I was thinking about is the difference between being realistic and being a pessimist. And so I remember whenever I was like teenager, I had a grumpy one of my one of my brother's friends who I admired. He's a little bit older than me, he was super grumpy and wear a trench coat and combat boots. And he was always like, I'm not a pessimist. I'm a realist. And so I kind of equated like being real with being negative or grumpy. And what I'm hearing you say, though, is that you get to choose how you look at the world, right? And so you could be a real realist, or you could be realistic, and through your worldview that could either be very negative, or potentially positive. And then your thoughts are things and they will manifest themselves. And so if you can continue to think the good thoughts, more good things are going to happen,

Emily Thompson 23:26
right? Or even along those lines, if you think something is the worst thing ever, it will be like it will, it will cause so many more bad things to happen even like it will become the worst thing that ever happened to you,

Kathleen Shannon 23:38
like Disney World as an example. For some people. That's the best experience in the world. For some people, it's their own personal hell,

Emily Thompson 23:45
right. And that is the same place seen by the eyes of to just different perspectives, right. And on the other side of that if you look at, you know, a really shitty situation as the best thing that could happen for you, and you'll laugh at it in a couple of years, all of those things, then you probably will.

Kathleen Shannon 24:06
Okay, oh, the final thing I want to mention when it comes to cultivating positivity that's really helped me a lot. And it comes from our book is some list making magic. So I've been doing a five minute journaling practice where every morning I just list a few things I'm grateful for. And so this puts me into this place of seeing the world through a positive lens. So there are some days where I'm literally writing down. I am grateful for the sun that's shining on my piece of paper right now it might be little like that, or it might be big or like I'm grateful for my health and it really just what it is for me and I used to not really resonate with gratitude practices like this, but I think what it is for me is that it's really allowing me to, yeah, it's almost like putting on a new pair of glasses, like just seeing the world through a different lens. So it puts me in that place and then I write down and three Things that will make me success make me feel successful today. And I picked this up from Tim Ferriss, I think his book tools of Titans. And I think of just three small things. So whenever, especially when I'm coming up against a lot of failures and disappointments, if I can just list three things that will make me feel successful, and it might even be going for a walk, or eating a good meal, or crushing it in a meeting, or just even attending the meeting, right? Then I am setting myself up as someone who is successful, even if it's these teeny tiny successes, and that starts to attract even bigger successes. And then the last thing that I write is, can you have some affirming mantras, so like, I am radiant, or I am articulate and kind of going back to some of these intentions and values. And just reaffirming that like, okay, on these things, right, am a positive, happy person. Sometimes that can feel a little bit more aspirational than actual. So this is what I love about the practice is it goes from actual things in the world that you're grateful for, to projecting what will make you feel successful to like even bigger aspirations have these affirmations?

Emily Thompson 26:15
That's great. And it's funny, I was literally thinking about this practice of yours yesterday, because you know, somewhere where I'm not as high vibing right now, as I feel like I usually am. And I was thinking about, you know, what can I do to make myself feel more Boss, I guess if we need to go there. And I thought about this practice, because you've shared it with me before. And I think it really resonates with some of the things that I need to be doing a little more consistently and systematically, even like a daily practice where you're getting up and doing it. And I think that I want to say for anyone listening to this is that you have to find what will work for you. And sometimes that requires you trying lots of things, guys, I've done lots of things over the past couple of months. And I found the things that I know work most consistently for me, and you're right is doing fun things. For me that involves like being with friends being with people who know me and who I'm going to have fun with. It helps me remove myself from from any sort of anxiety or stress that I'm feeling at least for those couple of hours. And sometimes all you need is those couple of hours. And for me it's going to bed or taking a bath. But I do also think that I need a little extra something. And I love the sound of this journaling practice.

Kathleen Shannon 27:31
Another list making magic thing that I've been doing lately is writing just a bucket list. So it's been a long time since I've wanted anything because I've just kind of been in survival mode with moving across the country trying to raise a four year old running some businesses. And so it's been a while since I've really been able to daydream. And I've started a list of 100 things that I want to do. So whether that's eating sushi in Tokyo, or climbing Machu Picchu or going to Kilimanjaro, like just different grand, big things, but also little things. And really coming back to that practice is putting me in this place of wholeness, desire of wanting to have desire again, and then non cultivates really positive feelings in that, I don't know, I can just tackle some things and cross things off my list. And that feels really good too. And for me, I know anytime I make a big list like this, and I think it's happened for you, Emily, as well, those things come true. And it brings me into this place of trust and faith that feels really easy. Like it doesn't feel like a challenge of trust and faith. It's like, Oh, I wrote it down. So now it's most likely gonna happen.

Emily Thompson 28:47
I love this, except I don't think I could do this right now. I think that's one of those practices that you have to be in the right place for. And I think of someone and actually, maybe I could do it. Now I don't think I could have done it maybe a month or two, like you're

Kathleen Shannon 29:02
in it too deep, you're in your dark place

Emily Thompson 29:04
too deep to be able to really be that aspirational or to see really big goals and think they would ever be achievable. So I think that's one of those things. I think all of these are the kinds of things where you just have to know what's right for you. In this moment. If you're really feeling like you are in a dark place. There are going to be some things that will trigger you I think that would probably trigger me. And there are going to be things that would actually nurture you.

Kathleen Shannon 29:34
So I want to talk about triggers a little bit whenever it comes to Friday feelings or just even feeling in general grumpy or negative. And for me, I've been falling into the comparison trap lately, like oh, that's for them. It's not for me. So for example, something as little as I've been wanting to paint again.

Unknown Speaker 29:57

Kathleen Shannon 29:59
and I just can't help but look at Instagram accounts of fine artists and say, Oh, well, that's for them. But I can't be a quote unquote fine artist. I can't pick up a paintbrush again. That's not my identity. That's not who I am. But who says I don't know. But just falling into this comparison trap or even on another scale of, and it's probably funny, even for someone listening to this to be like, wait a second you. I bet people I bet there are some people listening to this who fall into the comparison trap with us like, oh, Emily, and Kathleen, have it all figured out. They've got this book deal. They've got these businesses. Yeah. And we just feel like we're like doggy paddling across a giant ocean at times. And so anyway, it's just funny to say this, that I'm falling into a comparison trap, where I just see success as being something for other people.

Emily Thompson 30:53
Sometimes I feel that as well. And one of the ways that I deal with that is putting on my blinders. Like when I'm feeling really, really down, I will not open Instagram for a couple of days or I will unfollow people, I will go on an unfollow spree for sure where anybody's whose life is looking a little too glamorous. They're out of my feed. Because in those moments, it's not inspiration. It's, you know, jealousy, even an anger. All kinds of dark things. And I think I think this is where, you know, being very mindful and self aware comes in and, you know, as as I'm working through my summer. That's one of the things that keeps coming up for me is when I'm so grateful that I am as self aware as I am because it's really helped me sort of, sort of cut off some like nosedives before they even happen, for sure. But also, sometimes I wish I were a little less self aware. And that, can I just wallow for a minute without realizing that I'm probably manifesting some really nasty shit, or whatever it may be. But I do I do come out of it. Understanding that being very mindful and self aware is definitely an advantage that you have whenever whenever you start getting a little gloomy.

Kathleen Shannon 32:22
So I'm going to talk about jealousy and inspiration, because I think that the two sides of one coin, and one can be incredibly productive, and one can be incredibly damaging and toxic. And so I'm with you on unfollowing. But I've also, you know what, I think I underestimated inspiration. And I know that a lot of bosses will come to us and say, How do I get inspired. And we're like, you don't need to inspire you be inspired, you just need to do the work. And so I had an experience recently, and I might even end up negating myself here in talking this out. But I had an experience recently where I was like, Okay, I want to become a fine artists, right? What does that look like? And really just forgetting about what that end picture looks like, and getting into the inspiration of creating. And so even just as last weekend, I was up at a cabin with my friend, Liz. And he's like, hey, let's create some major art. It's temporary, it's going to be washed away by the rain and by the lake. And it's no big deal. But we created this, these fun little vignettes out of seashells and crab claws and driftwood. And it was so much fun. I was so inspired just by the act of creating and I went ahead and documented it. And just really feeling that inspiration again of Oh, I can also still see the end outcome that I want, which is creating even cooler stuff and photographing even more amazing stuff. But it starts with these really small little steps. That How do you spark that inspiration like little match to then create that wildfire of a body of work, right? And it does really start small. And so I got inspired to strike that match. But it took a little bit of almost accountability and collaboration like pulling my friend and in saying, hey, let's do this thing just for fun. And so that's something I want. I'm really cultivate even on my own though, whenever it comes to picking up a paintbrush, like how do I strike that match of just picking up the paintbrush? So one thing I've been thinking about is even just getting instead of buying a huge Canvas made out of European linen, and buying my amazing oil paints is just getting a sketchbook and a few like watercolor pens, you know and just starting there, right, you

Emily Thompson 34:42
can definitely start small. And the thing that I want to point out here too is you know, the thing that we've said so so often is you don't need to be inspired. You just need to do the work but I do think for you to be inspired you have to leave the work behind. I think you have to like get away from your to do list for me. It's getting away from my computer. It's going out into nature, you're right or even like, sometimes it's scrolling through Pinterest on my phone in bed like that can definitely be the place where it happens. But it's not in the usual routine, I don't think where some of your biggest moments of inspiration can come. I do say that with the caveat that, you know, I've been designing some new things for the being boss website intent. And I've been feeling very inspired to do those within my to do list at my computer to you know, create these new these new sections of, of the little online home that we are creating. So you can find inspiration, but I also think that is in place because I've made finding inspiration away from my to do list our priority.

Kathleen Shannon 35:51
What are some other ways that you find inspiration? So for me, even like you said, Pinterest for me, it's going on Pinterest, and then actually making the meal that I've pinned, or I even saw this thing is so silly. I feel really silly saying this out loud. But I saw someone suggest basically attacking your spouse with water balloons and they come home from work.

Emily Thompson 36:15
I told you that. Oh, you did? That was me.

Kathleen Shannon 36:18
Wait, did you do that?

Emily Thompson 36:20
I did, David. Yeah. Billy and I did that. David, when she was probably three or four. And it's still one of her favorite memories. For sure. And I told you that about a year ago or so

Kathleen Shannon 36:31
that's what so I just did it. Did I tell you that?

Emily Thompson 36:33
I did tell me that you did it? What did we already podcast about that? No, we haven't. Okay, so

Kathleen Shannon 36:38
you told me about it. And I felt really silly. Like, because maybe I didn't come up with the idea. Right, right. And so, but then I actually did it. And it was so much fun. And I just think about Fox having that memory now of bombarding my husband when we came home from work with water balloons and how fun that was. And also my mom and nephew were in town. So it was like a whole thing. Anyway, it was so much fun. And so for me, it's not just reading about the inspiring thing or looking at the inspiring thing, but actually recreating it or doing it and it's almost looking at it more as practice versus I don't know, yeah, I can make a big deal out of things in my head, like it needs to be a big special deal and just do it.

Emily Thompson 37:25
Yes, for sure. One of the ways that I've been well, the forest has been calling me a lot lately a lot and so has like large bodies of water. And so for me, it's been

Kathleen Shannon 37:39
getting definitely need to come to Michigan, then

Emily Thompson 37:41
I'm on my way. It's definitely been getting getting into nature. And again, not like looking at nature photos, and not like planning out, you know, my bucket list of dream vacation spots, it's been going to the woods, it's been going for hikes and sitting on rivers, and really making it a point and a priority to get out in nature on a level that I haven't felt this in a really long time. And I always know that whenever I feel this, it's time for me to do it. It's actually past time for me to do it. So I've been listening and I felt significantly better. And even like if you were legit feeling depressed and gloomy. You know, going out in nature is proven to make you happier, like trees make you happier. And I've definitely found that to be true for me.

Kathleen Shannon 38:34
Alright, so coming back to Friday feelings and those sorts of triggers. So the comparison trap, I also think feeling like everyone is doing what you're doing can be a little defeating.

Emily Thompson 38:47
Oh my god, there are so many podcasts in the world right now. So many boss podcasts, for example. Or for me, it's people you know, who are doing candles and crystals. I know for you all the branders all the graphic designers, and the course creators and all of the things and I think I think about this a whole lot. You know, whenever you and I got on the internet for me 12 years ago for you, like eight, nine years ago, like to do business online. There weren't that many of us like I almost feel like I knew everyone. I don't think that's actually true.

Kathleen Shannon 39:30
It was a slim phonebook.

Emily Thompson 39:32
Yes, it was a very slim phonebook and your voice was able to be louder. Or you were just like you were a bigger fish in a smaller pond, I suppose. And you know, 12 years later sometimes I look at the Internet and I think what the fuck is the point like there are so many people here and like you can just as easily argue the opposite where there are so many people of course you should be here is is where like you get To choose which way you view it. But I have been getting some serious frauding feelings around the internet lately, and by showing up in this place and putting myself out there. And it's one of those things where I don't plan on making any big shifts at the moment. But I've definitely thought I'm going to delete it all. Like, what if I were to delete my Instagram, and like, get rid of all of my websites, and just like, you know, I don't know, crochet in a corner somewhere, I don't really know what I would do. But I think about those things, because saturated market can definitely bring up some serious frosty feelings.

Kathleen Shannon 40:37
Yeah, so I'm tackling this in two ways. One is that I'm trying to create really relevant and concise content. So specifically in writing, I'm trying to make sure that all of my blog posts are incredibly helpful and of service. And then whenever it comes to podcasting, making sure that the podcast that I'm recording is incredibly honest. So, for example, this is why we're talking about frosty feelings and comparison traps and negativity, because it's something that we're actually truly struggling with. And as leaders, we don't want to be doom and gloom, right? Like we want to. We want to cultivate optimism and positivity and other people. But I think we also need to clear out some junk a little bit of our own. And I think that it can help other people to clear out some of their junk to see that you've got struggling Yeah, we've all got junk, everyone does. And it's helped me to even see you behind the scenes of some incredibly powerful creatives and influencers and to see that they have junk, too. So anyway, for me, creating really helpful and really honest content has been helping me combat this feeling of everyone's doing it. And then the other thing that I've been doing is just being really more intentional about on my Instagram, for example of creating the feed that I want, like, I want to look at my feed and I want it to be beautifully consistent and have a color story and to be reflecting the life that it is I want to be living. And so instead of thinking about the numbers and the likes and whatever, I'm just thinking about creating something for myself, that feels good. Your feed is looking fliers fuck to say,

Emily Thompson 42:25
was looking at it yesterday going? Check, Kathleen, you're doing it and doing it. No, you're not like and again, not like you need me to tell you that you're doing it. But I noticed, I know.

Kathleen Shannon 42:38
Well, and it's just taking maybe five more seconds and VSCO or visco cam, that's the app that I use to edit my photos to just edit my photos just a little bit, and then they can all look beautiful together. It's, you know,

Emily Thompson 42:54
it's hard. It's It's not that hard. And I think I think that's something even to note there is like all these little shifts, they don't have to be that hard. Sometimes they get really bogged down. And Mike, you know, maybe what we need to do is shift our whole business model know, what you probably need to do is just reword the header in that email, or whatever it may be. Sometimes it's just little bitty shifts that make all the difference. One of the things that I've been trying to really wrap my head around and make sure that I'm not falling into the shadow trap is not getting too bent out of shape around. What's the word? propriety, I guess, is the word I'm looking for. So this idea that just because I said it doesn't mean someone else can't say it. I recently saw something on an Instagram account of another boss something that you said in an episode, that they turn into a graphic and then did not credit you with someone in the comments credited you and being boss like it was a little passive aggressive, and I'm very much so appreciated it and it kind of got me bent out of shape, but also kind of not in that I've never really let things like that bother me too terribly much not too terribly much because they understand the nature of these things. But in my gloominess, I'm definitely triggered significantly more easily. And I had to really sort of bring in this idea of not being too wrapped up and propriety and having an idea that is just mine. And thinking that I need to get paid for it because I think it's funny. Our lawyer friend autumn, gets really annoyed at me when I start talking about the copy left. And so imagine if you have the copyright, this thing that you say that you own, the copy left is a whole like school of thought that you don't own anything that you say, basically, or you don't own anything that you do or that you've created because it's all a cultivation of inspiration that you've gathered from everyone before you. And so I'm not going on that end, all the way to that end of this bactrim by any means, but I do definitely. I feel some alignment, I think with that point of view, but I also am a business owner. So maybe a skew a little right.

Kathleen Shannon 45:13
I definitely lean more copyleft probably like I don't want someone copying and pasting my blog posts or my book or I don't know, the my positioning statement for my podcast and turning it into their business. I think it's whenever someone starts profiting off of my content, or the things that I've said, that's a little frustrating, but even then, I don't know I'm definitely have the even in my operating agreements with all my business partners, you included, we don't have we we don't have a non compete. And because we're constantly sharing information back and forth. And I make sure to credit the things that you say that you always say that we know that you always say, but also there have been times where someone's credited something that you've said, as my name, or vice versa, something that that I've said with your name? And also I don't care because I don't know I feel like we're family in that way but

Emily Thompson 46:10
and we say all this to say that being bosses trademarked and use our shit will come after you.

Kathleen Shannon 46:17
And here's the deal is yes, that the scenes that I've trademarked, I've trademarked for that reason, but there's also a lot of things that are I'm not saying I think that you'll be a little copy left on I'm a little copyleft is definitely where I lean

Emily Thompson 46:32
right? So but I also say all this to say that I know that I am a little depressed, or feeling a little a little subpar. Whenever I do let things like that get to me a little more.

Kathleen Shannon 46:46
Okay, so that's interesting is where that's more of a symptom. Yeah, of frati feelings or depression versus something that you're actually riled up about? Absolutely,

that's a really good point, because I definitely have that stuff, too, that are more symptoms versus actually caring

Emily Thompson 47:04
self awareness. But guys, um, so. So I want to talk about this, like other Friday feeling thing that I've been dealing with. And if we want to get real Whoo, this literally came from some research that I was doing into some into a Neptune transit that both Kathleen and I are both dealing with at the moment. And whenever I was reading this, it hit home so hard. And that is this idea or thought of what is it all going to matter in 500 years anyway?

Kathleen Shannon 47:38
Okay. I, I symptom for me is that I think about death constantly. So I'm about to get real deep. But I think about it constantly. And it can either inspire me to just pick up the paintbrush, who cares, we're gonna die, or what does it matter? What is even the point? Yeah, you know, and so, I definitely have to choose the lens through which I see death and thinking about it to be a more positive one and not a negative one that will take me to a dark place, roll roll real fast. And But yeah, I don't know. I'm even getting a funny feeling in my stomach talking about it, because I think about it so much.

Emily Thompson 48:19
Right? So this one for me is definitely around creating the next thing or sometimes even fucking getting out of bed for sure. We're like, it doesn't matter if I don't check off my to do list today, because, uh, what's it all going to matter in 500 years anyway,

Kathleen Shannon 48:35
but I can also see you being in a place where you're like, I'm gonna make such an impact. I'm gonna create a legacy that lasts people are gonna be saved my name and 500 years.

Emily Thompson 48:44
I'm not there yet. Maybe that's how I'll back bounce back in a couple of weeks is I'm gonna come back and blame

Kathleen Shannon 48:52
about my love for Beyonce, right? Like Beyonce has made an impact people are going to maybe know her name in 500 years. See Even then, like, okay, they know it, they might not it might be the same way that Cleopatra is for us. We're like, Alright, I don't know you love Egypt. So you might that might evoke more emotions for you. But like, whenever I hear the name Cleopatra. Like it doesn't evoke any sort of fandom that I have for Beyonce. If that's what I'm trying to say.

Emily Thompson 49:21
Yeah, or Okay, so this is what 2018 500 years ago would have been 1518 I don't know who the hell was doing anything in 1518.

Kathleen Shannon 49:30
Like, I don't know who the Queen was. Right? Whatever.

Emily Thompson 49:34
When did Shakespeare live? I'm googling this right now.

Kathleen Shannon 49:37
I don't think 1518

Emily Thompson 49:40
we're about to find out. Hold on. Oh shit, I'm not that far off. 1564 to 1616 so like 404 50 years ago, Shakespeare. So like Shakespeare guys in 500 years. Are you going to be Shakespeare?

Kathleen Shannon 49:59
No. Most likely not. This is what I love about Seth Godin is that he's so just have the frame of mind that like, you know what it's like winning the lottery whenever it comes to having this grand success, like Shakespeare or Beyonce or anyone, right? And so all you can do is to do the work that you want to be doing. And I get the impression that he wants people to be prolific in that work, like just make as much as you can, and then see what sticks. So that's kind of the mind frame that I'm have. But then it's almost like, just do the work that makes you happy. And that makes you feel aligned. And I see what comes of it

Emily Thompson 50:40
right. And so the flip side of what is it all going to matter in 500 years is what is it going to matter today to you? Like Like, right, like, if you are here living this day today, like this is your life right here, right now, what do you want to do with it. And that's literally all that matters.

Kathleen Shannon 51:00
So that's where I keep coming back to, if I can just do one thing that has impact is probably going to be writing a blog post versus, I don't know, checking off some of the things on my to do list, you know, and so I will say a lot of my tasks, you've probably noticed, because you get to see all that stuff behind the scenes, I've been bumping them and a lot of times I'm bumping them because I'm doing my most creative work first. And that comes with a little bit of sacrifices, it means that there are some tactical things that aren't getting done on time. Because I'm serving my creativity. First I'm writing that blog post, I'm recording that episode, or even just getting aligned to come into the conversation in a positive place.

Emily Thompson 51:43
Don't feel guilty about it, because I'm doing the same thing, yay. And partly because I have to bump your mind because you're bumping yours. But I'm also feeling in this place where I can't just show up and slog. Like, if you want any quality work for me, I'm gonna have to do the work that I want to do. And so, so I've been doing it, but also, no one's noticed, like, I've noticed, because I see yours. And only the teams notice that I haven't done that I've been pushing mine at all, they haven't been noticing that you've been pushing yours, like the world is still the world is still going. So I think that's really important to again, self awareness, like knowing what it is that you need to show up and do. I mean, this definitely how I've been able to get through the past couple of months, is just consistently checking in as much as I don't want to, and I really don't like it and all of these things. I know it's for a greater good. And it puts me in a position to make the decisions every day that will put me in a better mood than not, even if that's as simple as pushing a task till tomorrow.

Kathleen Shannon 52:50
Right. Alright, this has been a really great therapy session.

Emily Thompson 52:56
Right? I agree I feel better already.

Kathleen Shannon 53:00
All right, what are some action steps that we can share whenever it comes to? And even just being committed to being positive? Like what are some tactical things that either we can practice or that maybe our being boss community can start putting into place or even just thought forms. So for mine, it's probably been lately. This idea that small but significant changes add up. So that journaling practice that I mentioned earlier, it didn't fix me overnight, by any means. It took probably four months for me to start to see that it was making a difference.

Emily Thompson 53:40
I think I think that gratitude practice, if I can even break that down to like the one that I know would impact me the most and the one that I've seen it impact others too. It's a gratitude practice. And whether that's like praying in the morning or at night before you go to bed, or if that's literally writing it down, because that's how I have to do it too is like pen to paper, write it down whatever you need to do to express and to bring your vibrations up to gratitude as often as you can, but at least once a day, do that thing. But then also go outside, go outside,

Kathleen Shannon 54:16
I think outside is huge. And then also a social component because I realized that anytime you were mentioning earlier hanging out with your friends, anytime I'm hanging out with my friends and laughing until I'm crying, it is some good medicine. So there is definitely something to that is call a friend FaceTime a friend, go to a coffee shop, meet up, go for a walk in nature together, do what you got to do to hang out with some people. Absolutely. And then

Emily Thompson 54:43
I think my final one is get help in whatever way that you can. I have probably asked for help more often in the past three or four months than I have maybe the past three or four years combined. And it was hard to do. It's still hard to do. It will always I think probably be hard to do, at least for me. But it's important. And so whether that is, you know, for me, you and I have been having plenty of extra conversations over the past couple of months. So sometimes as easy as saying, hey, Kathleen, can we talk about this thing? Or if it's, you know, sometimes I've told David like, I need to go to the woods this weekend, I need to make you or I need you to make that happen. Like, figure out what trail we're going to when we're going and take me there, please. Whatever it may be. I've also been getting David to do some extra grocery shopping for me, because I just, I need to like, not sometimes, or whatever it may be asking for help is imperative. And whatever way you need to.

Kathleen Shannon 55:44
Yeah, and I want to make sure not to gloss over the mental health aspect of this because I have certainly received help on a medical level. So I've gone to a doctor, I've been given a prescription, I've gone to therapy, really in that more traditional way. And that has been incredibly helpful. And a new podcast that you all should check out is Jen gotch is okay, sometimes. So Jen gotch is the founder and CEO of bando. And she's become a mental health advocate. But she shares her story in a really approachable and relatable and often humorous way that kind of doesn't feel so deep or heavy. It's not a scary podcast to listen to you. And she shares so many practical tactics for getting help. And she explains what her therapy experiences have been like. So I really love that podcast if you want to dig a little bit deeper into that as well.

Emily Thompson 56:42
Agreed. Oh, all right, Kathleen, it was very good to sit down and have this conversation with you. And just to like, sort of recap, Kathleen and I have have been going through some fun shit, both together, together. And separately, and part of it is just being parents. But also a lot of it is, you know, being entrepreneurs and business owners, and we've definitely been able to lean on each other to get through it. And I hope that everyone listening to this is also getting through it. as well. I hope that we were able to lay out some thoughts and options and some tactics for you to, to pull yourself out of any gloom that you're feeling and just create the thing because if I've learned anything over the past couple of months is that creating, if it doesn't heal you though I think it will, it'll heal someone else too.

Kathleen Shannon 57:39
And by Hill, Emily means heal. All right, I want to end this by saying not do the work and be boss but go take a walk and take a nap. Hey, man. Hey bosses, I want to tell you about the CEO day kit. The CEO day kit is 12 months of focus planning for your business in just one day. So Emily and I have packaged up the exact tools that we've been consistently using for years that have helped us grow from baby bosses to the CEOs of our own businesses. gain clarity, find focus, get momentum, prioritize your time, make better decisions and become more self reliant with the CEO date kit. Go to courses that being boss club to learn more and see if it's a fit for you and your business.

Emily Thompson 58:33
Thank you for listening to being boss. If you're looking for more help and being boss of your work in life accom check out our website where you can find Episode shownotes browse our archives and access free resources like worksheets, trainings, quizzes and more. It's all at WWW dot being boss dot club. Do the work the boss