August 4, 2020

Episode #238 // PART 1: The Being Boss Partnership

In this landmark Being Boss episode, Emily and Kathleen are interviewed by Michelle Khouri about their burnout and how it led Kathleen to make the decision to sell her ownership stake of Being Boss. Listen to Part 2 of this interview: https://beingboss.club/podcast/future-of-being-boss

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"Business is fundamentally a human and personal endeavor, and when it stops feeling right or when a decision doesn't feel right, you have to pay attention to that decision."
- Michelle

TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • A shift in ownership of Being Boss
  • What led to the ownership change decision
  • How Kathleen and Emily determined what needed to happen
  • How each of them diagnosed their feelings independently
  • Identifying the signs of your burnout before it's too late

RESOURCES DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE

MORE FROM Michelle Khouri

MORE FROM KATHLEEN

Braid Creative

MORE FROM EMILY

Almanac Supply Co.

Episode Transcript

Emily Thompson 0:02
Hello, dear bosses, Emily here, and it is with great anticipation and a heavy dose of bitter sweetness that I bring you this very special episode of the Being Boss Podcast. For over five years Kathleen and I have shown up in your podcast feed to let you listen in on conversations we've had about what it takes to show up as you are, live and work as a creative and how to monetize that creativity as a business owner. It all started at the very end of 2014 when I had a stroke of inspiration that had me pitching my business bestie to join me in starting a podcast. For four years Kathleen and I published a podcast every single week. In 2019. We started sharing episodes only once a month, and we told you why at the end of 2019 in an episode titled burnout and buyout or Kathleen's I shared with you how intense burnout led not only to us publishing episodes less frequently, but it led to a shift in ownership that took us from being 5050 partners to 8515. With me as the majority owner, if you haven't listened to that episode, I recommend that you go back and give it a listen. It's episode number 219. It will give you some important contacts to this conversation. Because we're basically here to give an update to that episode. As of a few weeks ago, Kathleen and I have implemented another shift when that leaves me as 100%, owner of being boss, and Andrew being boss fashion, we're here to show you how we did it, how we navigated another difficult conversation, and what will come of being boss, and the only way we know how openly and with full vulnerability to help us have this conversation. I called in a friend of mine Michelle Cory. Michelle is the CEO and founder of frequency media, a podcast production company based in Atlanta, Georgia. I called her in to actually interview Kathleen and me about this multi year journey that we've taken to land us in this place to guide us and sharing this story with you the story of friendship and partnership and business ownership, really digging back into that period of burnout that created the conditions for the shift and the future of being boss too. And because it This was such a big chat to have, we will be sharing it in two parts. This is part one. But before we dive in, I do want to share a bit with you about our sponsor FreshBooks.

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Michelle Khouri 3:37
Here we are. The day has come. Emily, Kathleen, much anticipated. How are we feeling?

Kathleen Shannon 3:46
Feeling good.

Emily Thompson 3:48
Also feeling good. This is gonna be big chat.

Kathleen Shannon 3:52
I mean any like hard or uncertain or scary feelings have already been processed like this is we are sharing In a time where the hard part of it is probably behind us.

Emily Thompson 4:05
Probably It better be.

Michelle Khouri 4:06
Well, and that's actually a great point. Yeah. Because there's a lot of processing in space that these kinds of decisions and conversations require that I think we don't talk as much about the need for processing. Right? So, you know, we're skipping ahead a little bit about, you know, talking about processing, but I definitely want to get back to what that processing looked like and felt like for each of you and how it went. But first and foremost, I want to know and I know all of the bosses out there want to know how this even came about, and how what the road to this decision looked like for you guys.

Emily Thompson 4:45
Yeah, so I think it really started with burnout. So right after the Being Boss book came out in 2018, I mean, we were like balls to the wall. Yeah, for year and a half, two years. Maybe even Like up to about three years at that point, just really making Being Boss happen on top of our individual businesses and not even being boss, just the podcast, which turned into the business, which was events and community and all of these things. But it was also the book then too. It was sitting down and writing a book and then creating all the marketing plans for the book and launching the book and all the things and once that was all said and done, Kathleen and I were a little broken.

Michelle Khouri 5:29
A lot you guys that's an incredible amount of it's not just work, it's creation work, which takes all of you mind body spirit. So I you know, I know full well, most of the people listening to this know full well about what that burnout ended up looking like and feeling like for you guys. And it's no wonder that that happened.

Kathleen Shannon 5:52
Yeah, and on top of that, we both have families, we have our own individual businesses and we launched a new business in the middle of all it. I was completely sleep deprived, which I stopped talking about on the podcast. But for those who are wondering, my child who is six and a half has just now started kind of sleeping through the night. But for the most, I mean, he's still up probably a few times a week. Anyway, all of this to say that definitely, like compounded things. And then there's the more like, current events part of it, which goes into the full buyout, which includes, I would say, around 2016. I mean, things just collectively started getting hard. And we had to start thinking beyond just here's how to grow a business. You know, we started thinking more holistically about the world around us. And that kind of, I think that that led to a little bit of burnout too, like how do you juggle all the things family individual jobs, a podcast growing a podcast into things like books and events I just became a lot.

Michelle Khouri 7:02
You know, I'm curious when you when you talk about it getting hard. What do you What did that look like more pragmatically. And I asked this because I think what we're talking about today is a really important conversation about knowing when to make a really big change. And I think it has a lot to do with being honest with yourself about when something doesn't feel like it's resonating as much anymore and being courageous enough to make the change that's needed. And I think it all starts with the feeling of something that you used to love and used to fuel you not feeling that way anymore. So talk to us a little bit about what hard felt like for each of you.

Kathleen Shannon 7:47
Oh, well that's interesting and tricky. I don't think that I don't think at any point did I not love Emily or Being Boss. If anything, my personal relationship with Emily was growing deeper. And, you know, we had, we had been growing roots into our friendship, right? So, whenever I say hard is kind of like the heart of parenting, where like, you don't always love being a parent, but you always love your child, you know. And so that's really how I felt about what we had created at being boss. And that's what made it so hard is that I loved podcasting. I loved writing a book with Emily, I loved hanging out with bosses in New Orleans. I loved so much about it. So then why do I feel funny? So I think that is getting to what you're saying, Michelle is I on on paper and even in my heart, everything was good. We were wildly successful, we were gaining in popularity. But at the end of the day, I was just feeling a little tired and spread thin and I wasn't really sure I just wasn't sure. And that's that goes into that processing part of it, like how do we start to really process what's actually wrong? Or if there's anything wrong or if it's just something needs to change?

Emily Thompson 9:13
Yeah, and I think for me, and I think for both of us too, because yes to everything Kathleen just said 100% and it started rolling into a complete depletion of energy. So to show up to a thing that we love and not feeling like we loved it anymore, just because we didn't almost have the energy to love it anymore. was really difficult and I you know, Iser, to going into and intense depression period of depression, the likes of which I had never really experienced before. And Kathleen, I think was going through similar maybe not quite as much depression as I was, but still not having the energy to quite show up in it. Like, we don't half ass anything, and we don't like to show up and half ass anything, if we're going to show up, we're going to show up and give it everything we have. But we're showing up and we don't have very much to give it. How is that really any different from half assing something. And I think there is a difference for sure. But we didn't like showing up and not having the energy to give it. And so that was really hard for us that idea that like, we just did that interview, and we neither of us feel great about it. Or we just, you know, we want to do this event, but do we really want to go like, you know, it really started going into each of those decisions. And each of those conversations that we were having, we just realized that the fire was like tiny, the like blade of fire that was once a blazing had really lost a lot of its fuel.

Kathleen Shannon 10:51
So one thing that you were saying, Michelle to about it, you know, being hard and what does that pragmatically look like what it pragmatically looked like was not an Knowing what was wrong. And so I think one thing that I could feel Emily and I were both doing is trying to figure out what was wrong without making each other the enemy, you know, whenever, like a relationship doesn't feel quite right anymore and so you turn the other person into a total asshole in your mind?

Michelle Khouri 11:16
Yes. Absolutely.

Kathleen Shannon 11:19
You know, really trying not to turn each other into the asshole, I'm sure individually we were like, Is it her fault? You know, or is it Being Boss? I don't I mean, you know, like, what is wrong here?

Michelle Khouri 11:33
Well, Kathleen, that's actually a very self aware thing to say because I just went through a similar situation and I feel like it's almost like we're hardwired or maybe we're taught I'm not sure if it's nature or nurture. But it sometimes becomes easier to make the outside world the scapegoat and to project your inner turmoil onto something tangible in front of you that you can point out and call the source of your problems. Because I think it's very scary for a lot of us to admit that the source of the issue is coming from within us. That's a scary thing. So that's a very self aware process that you went through.

Kathleen Shannon 12:13
And just like working on a relationship that you really care about, we also took we took different approaches to try and fix it. So we said, What if we don't have a vacation this year? What if we stop recording podcasts six months in advance and do it more in real time, like we started trying to take different approaches, you know, just the same thing that Emily always says, which is test and change. We were doing a lot of tests and changing which is probably why it took us a couple of years after the beginning of the burnout to figure out our final solution which was fully selling to Emily, which is a whole other story.

Emily Thompson 12:52
Even even what Michelle's saying about like putting it on something external. It wasn't as putting on each other. I feel like we were almost putting it onto the business model, right? The business model isn't working like there's something like we're doing it wrong. It's not easy enough. It's like it's draining as all of these things, which is why we started testing and changing everything was you know, maybe if we did less events, we'd feel less burnout. Maybe if we recorded less often, we would feel less burnt out, like all of these things. And it wasn't the business's fault, either. Like it was just a natural evolution of a lot of things that equated into just a bigger shift that needed to happen.

Michelle Khouri 13:30
Yeah. And, you know, I think that that's a really smart move. And it's actually something that those that like diagnostic period, right is a very important one. You know, we're in the middle of 2020 right now. And I think that we're all in an ongoing dust diagnostic period within and without, and, you know, even me with frequency I'm evaluating how to, we keep using the word pivot. And really what pivoting is is a process of diagnosing weak areas of weakness or areas that you've outgrown, or areas of opportunity to put it in more positive respect, and then turning toward those and incorporating those new areas into your life. And that's what it all has to kind of breed from those moments of discomfort or when your stomach is a little tight or when you're a little too exhausted or when you're not feeling energy replenishing. And to all of those points. I think that's the opportunity in discomfort is showing you where there is opportunity for diagnosing or diagnostics and pivoting.

Emily Thompson 14:39
Yeah, and after we tested everything in the business, we realized it wasn't the business.

Michelle Khouri 14:43
Right. Right. Right. There was like that. It was a you did your due diligence, right. You were like, well, let's try to figure out what where this is coming from. So what resulted from that process? What did you diagnose as the problem or opportunity?

Kathleen Shannon 15:00
I don't know that we ever diagnosed. Well, no. Well, it was me. I guess I was a problem because I'm the one that's out now.

Emily Thompson 15:08
No, no, no, no, I think it was. I think I think we both had different problems, I think. Because once we realize it wasn't the business necessarily, like it wasn't something within the business, we thought it's the business lead, then we'd both just need out of it. Like being boss needs to go, we need to go do our separate things. And that was a diagnosis. And so we started going down that road. And so for about six to nine months, we were operating under the assumption that at the end of 2019, being boss would be over. And so we let go of half of our team, we started stripping down our processes so that we were really just sort of just sort of skating by just as we figured out how to shut it down and what that would look like and that made Kathleen feel significantly better. I it made me feel better for a little bit and I think of the reasons And why it made me feel better was because we decided on an action. So instead of just like wallowing in it, we decided okay, here's the action we're going to take let's do it and that made me feel better for a bit and then it then I started thinking okay, then if we're not doing being Boss, I had just started Almanac, Almanac was not big enough to support me yet. It was not it wasn't going to so I was like, well, then I'm going to have to find some other way to support me and my family. So I'm going to have to go build a personal brand again, which I had kind of let slide because I had started putting all of my time into being boss. So I'm I have to go back, rebuild my personal brand and start doing coaching. I might have to start a podcast like just sort of building the sort of personal business coaching brand for myself, and I couldn't do it like sitting down for months, I would sit down at my computer to make the plan to design my website to figure out the content strategy. How it wasn't I was going to bring on creative business owners to coach them and help them start their business, which is what I had done on one on one before being boss. And in the first year or two of being boss that I had shut down so that I could do it within being boss. And I was going to shut down being boss, so I could go do it separately again, right, and I couldn't do it. I like it. My I could not do it. It was giving me so much anxiety and making me so angry. Like there was just some like heat in me that would come up every time I would sit down and figure this out. And so it was at that point that I realized that what was making me so annoyed was that I was building trying to rebuild something that I had already built. I was because being boss was the thing being boss was what I needed to build, but I'd already built it. And so the idea of letting go of the thing I'd already built to go build in I wrote this somewhere to go build a shadow of the thing that was already existing wow was something That intuitively, I would not allow myself to do every time I sat down I there was a huge block to doing it. And that's when I realized that my solution was not leaving being involved. My solution was to do the work that I've wanted to do within the context of the brand that I had already built with Kathleen. And so if Kathleen's solution is leaving it, my solution is keeping it. And it's, we had never really considered a solution, apart from each other. Like if we the solution was going to be the same for both of us. You know, it was like, if it's not doing events, then neither of us are going to do events. If it's doing less podcasting, then both of us are going to do less podcasting, or whenever we started taking our like situations and thinking about them separately, and we came up with separate solutions. That's when we both got the solution that we needed.

Kathleen Shannon 18:52
And then as a branding expert, I was very excited whenever Emily told me that she wanted to take over Being Boss because one, I understood the brand equity and Being Boss and what the whole reason why we started Being Boss, for context is to build up our own personal brands within and create like a lead generator for our individual businesses. As surprising and amazing side effect of Being Boss was the community that we built and the events and going to New Orleans for vacations and the book and all of those things. So, you know, Emily had a personal brand like I could see it from a more holistic branding standpoint where she didn't need to rebuild a personal brand because she already had it. It just lived within the Being Boss sphere. And then I could also see where she had knowing Emily, she's still my business bestie knowing that she likes to build brands that could live on beyond her like beyond her name. Being Boss was also a container for that where she could grow it in certain ways beyond just Emily Thompson. So it was really the best of both worlds. And then also I love being boss, and I love the brand and I was more than happy for her to continue to carry the torch. And this is where I say I was getting in the way and I was the problem because also what was happening is Emily, in trying to test and change she was like, okay, slowing down, didn't work. Only releasing one podcasts a month isn't really working. I want to do a conference on top of the vacation, maybe some quarterly masterminds and an online community and that was the deal breaker for me. I was like I cannot. And so so all of this to say whenever the solution was to buy me out a partial buyout. I was like, Yeah, let's do it. And even at that time, I said, you just want to do a full buyout?

Michelle Khouri 20:57
Oh, wow. Yeah.

Kathleen Shannon 20:58
And that was really for financial reasons like big, really for tax reasons. Like I don't know how the tax implications work not being 50/50 I was real nervous about it. I'm still nervous about it. I don't know what's going to happen whenever I file my taxes for 2020. But, you know, I thought I will still be here to support you, why don't you just take it 100%? And she's like, no, I really think that 15% feels right. And I'm like, that feels good to me too. Like it was really just based on feelings and gut decisions. And but then there were issues with that which we could go into. But...

Michelle Khouri 21:38
yeah, I you know, I think once again, the power of Being Boss and the two of you is that you are an example for what it actually means to be business besties which is which is like a cute moniker right? But like the depths of that the real energy behind that is actually having enough space. To see the other person and their needs, and what you've described, about, you know, Emily, when you're saying, you know, what I realized was that we weren't going to do this together as we always expected to do things together. And it was like joint all the time. You know, that's actually fundamentally the difference between codependence and interdependence, and being able to say and have the wherewithal to be like, I'm going to trust my gut. So Kathleen, you guys often listen to how things feel you feel through things. And that is an incredibly powerful business strategy. We're told a lot that that's not the way to do business, but it's actually the best way to do business. Because business is fundamentally a human and personal endeavor. And when it stops feeling right, or when a decision doesn't feel right, you have to pay attention to that decision. So not only were you all listening to what felt right to you, and I know that this is basically oversimplifying the journey of feeling what was actually right and wrong. And, you know, that's that's why I'm so glad that we talked about the diagnostics of it because it is a process and it feels really sticky and muddy and murky, when you're actually getting to these decisions that we're at today. But they're worth a lot. And going through that process is incredibly important. And now you have you looked at each other, you saw what the other person needed, but then you also listen to yourselves. And that's what landed you at that, that that first initial conversation, which sounds like it was really an easing in period to where we are today. Right?

Kathleen Shannon 23:40
Yeah, I also as you were saying that it made me think about kind of our individual visions and what we needed whenever it came to content. So my favorite thing about Being Boss is the podcasts and the book. The New Orleans vacations are like up there as well. But as Emily knows, they really stressed me out Like I would have a lot of anxiety before, during and after, not as much during but before and after those vacations. I was like, oh God, like this is a lot. It's really, for me, it felt like a lot of responsibility to show up and make sure that everyone stayed safe and all the things. But um, as far as like our individual needs and content, I also got to a place where I was sick of talking about business like through being Boss, I came to understand that what it means to be boss is just to try and be the best at what it is that you're doing to put in the reps. To be the best graphic designer you can be to be the best life coach you can be like, whatever it is that whatever your livelihood is, whatever your craft is, just aim to be the best. That's what it comes down to. I have nothing left to say I don't want to talk about business strategy. I don't want to talk about funnels or opt ins or all the things I just want to Talk about craft and you know that like almost habits and routines that support you being able to be the best. And there was a lot of that content in being boss. But it came to a point where I felt like I had said what I had to say already. And the actual recording and creating of the content started feeling a little bit like muscle memory, like a little bit like I was just impersonating who I've been and in some ways, recording of being boss was limiting me from growing into it is I'm going to become or changing. Right. And I want to be very clear that my decision to leave is not at all saying that Emily's decision to stay and to deepen the content of being boss is wrong. You know, like, that's the other thing that's like it's kind of a psychological mind flip whenever it comes to parting ways is that you inherently whenever you're making a decision or Even a bold opinion. I mean, some of our listeners sometimes felt challenged just by us having an opinion. We're not saying that one way is the right way. But it's tricky. It's tricky to see someone do something differently than you are and to not place a judgment on it, right or even an objective judgment. And so this is me saying that our needs in even what we were talking about were starting to shift a little bit.

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Michelle Khouri 27:04
Yeah, I think that look, I'm a Virgo. I know, I know way too much about judgment. And I think it's natural, right. But I also think if we spent all of our time or at least most of our time thinking about what feels right to us, and being totally non judgmental about that, I think we would experience less judgment to the world around us. But now I'm, I'm curious, because I think we're at a great point to start digging into the more pragmatic side unless you guys want to talk about going a different direction. But I think we're at a good point to start digging into the pragmatic side of how, how you all went from the 15% 85% split, to then making this decision to fully do the full buyout.

Emily Thompson 27:51
Well, I think like everyone right now, who's felt something it was COVID. Kind of, I mean, For me, it was sort of sparked by COVID it wasn't COVID COVID was like the point at which we all had to look at what it was we were doing and decide if that's how we wanted to continue. So whenever we did go at 85/15 I started putting into place all the things that I that I wanted to do that that I had always wanted to see it Being Boss or even like, not even always see me a lot of it, I've always wanted to see, but once I made that decision to to pick Being Boss back up, burnout wasn't over. And I think I don't even think I'm really still to this day completely over burnout. We've talked...

Kathleen Shannon 28:41
Remember our Burnout and Buyout episode where you're like, I'm over it, I'm good. And I was like, I'm not good!

Emily Thompson 28:47
I think I think it will always sort of not always, maybe not hopefully always sort of simmer on the back burner is how we always sort of explained is like sometimes it like the heat turns up a little bit and I have to like step away, or cool off or whatever, and it's with every passing month, the temperature goes down. And so I'm hoping at some point that bad guy is just off and I don't ever have to worry about it again, though, I definitely know that everyone should always have to consider it, especially in the very fast world that we live in.

Michelle Khouri 29:20
So hold on real quick about that, though, because when you say with every passing month, it goes down. Are you pretty, or both are either of you pretty strict now about building in times of rest so that it does gradually go down over time because listen, burnout will come right back up, it will rear its ugly head if you don't intentionally build in systems of rest.

Emily Thompson 29:44
Yeah, I definitely have significantly harder boundaries around my time and responsibilities than I ever have. And I'm be much more much more particular and just like vocal about where those boundaries are and you know, it's incredibly hard things are not taking on beings. And there have been times in the past, you know, I guess year at this point because it was just about a year ago that we made that initial transition. There have been several times where it's weird back up for sure over the holidays were one for me. Maybe two or three months ago was another one for me and I now see the symptoms. I know when I'm sorry, I feel like I just get this like insane tiredness in my body that like I just cannot shake. I know that I'm going to call into work to myself for a couple of days, right? I'm going to take extra care of myself. I'm going to sleep a whole lot. I'm going to go get me a couple juices like there's some things that I will do. So yes, I stay very mindful. And I am quite particular about taking extra care of myself whenever I feel like coming back up.

Michelle Khouri 30:55
Hmm. And that's also important is identifying the signs Have your own burnout. So, for me, I just hit a burnout point. And then I took a full week off, it was 10 days off, because there were weekends involved. I feel like a different person. What I realized about myself is when I'm burnt out, I get angry at everything. And everyone, I'm so irritable. I am the most tyrannical version of myself, like the worst version of myself because I'm exhausted. And so I'm just just snapping at everyone.

Kathleen Shannon 31:26
I, for me, self care has literally never been an issue for me, like I'm a youngest sibling. My motto since I've been young is do what you want. So I've always been really good at that. And what I wanted for a while was to work two full time jobs and have a new baby and all the things like I wanted everything that I wanted, and then whenever I didn't want it anymore, I got out. So whether that was by insisting that we slowed down, if anything, I felt like I was holding Emily back before we did any sort of Bible Because I was insisting on some boundaries and slowing down before we could figure out a solution, if that makes sense. And so if anything now I just work one full time job instead of two full time jobs. I do get a little bummed out because I feel like I'm lacking the ambition that I once had. And that's probably the only way that I'm feeling because I'm still doing I if you follow me on Instagram, you know, I do all the self care. I'm drinking my lemon water. I take two hour long mornings. I'm working out. I am. I take weekends. I don't work in the evenings. But lately, I've been thinking like, well, do I start another podcast? Do I start blogging like I've been trying to like, it's kind of like whenever you haven't had sex in a while with your partner and you're like, I want to want to do it, but I don't want to do it. And now I feel shy whenever we start to get it on, you know, it's kind of like that a little bit like I want to work on another project, but I don't want another project, I just want my full time job and then I want to be able to watch some Netflix and work out and make my meals from scratch and do those things. So I trust that I'll get it back. Like I'll get some content creating mojo back at some point. But for now, I'm just going to give myself some space and that's what my burnout like the boundaries around it looks like is no new things. One of the questions I've been getting a lot since Emily made the announcement on Instagram is like, Oh, I can't wait to see what's next for the both of you. Or Kathleen, I bet you're itching to do something new and I'm like, actually, No, I'm not.

Michelle Khouri 33:48
Yes, yes. So for you, it's like an aversion to anything new that's gonna push you into that workaholism mode.

Kathleen Shannon 33:59
Yeah, are just like Having to work at all mode. Right?

Michelle Khouri 34:01
Right. Yeah. And that is so fair and I think that it is good that you're sinking into that because you have to just allow yourself to be however your whatever your body and spirit are telling you, you have to sink into. I mean, you know,

Kathleen Shannon 34:14
I don't know that I believe in that either because I work full time at braid creative and that's my full time job and I bust my ass there and I don't always like my mind and body and spirit aren't always like yes, let's get up and do the thing like I actually really I guess I see a lot of that on Instagram, like protect your energy and I just want to be like, this is what protecting your energy looks like I know that you all are bummed that maybe I'm quitting being boss, but this is what it looks like or ivax getting up and doing the work that you don't necessarily I do think that that still required to be boss. And in order to be Boss, I had to leave being boss so I could grow braid creative and continue to work full time. Time. Um, I mean, I get what you're saying, Michelle, I'm not like completely being contrary to like...

Michelle Khouri 35:08
Kathleen, I am of your I am of your ilk. I mean there's like a thing called I'm not gonna name it but there's like people who like really push hard for napping. And like there's people who are almost orthodox about resting, I am naturally a workaholic. And and I think that has a negative connotation because the truth is, I love my work and I do not I really think you and I are similar because I don't have I personally don't have a tolerance for working on things I don't love. I don't have tolerance for not being aligned with my purpose and passion. So when I you know, but I will say my spirit so it's not your Spirit speaking to you when you're like lazy to do work. That's just like you're lazy to do work today. I think your spirit is speaking to you or at least for me When I feel shut down, and I feel incapable and averse of doing the work that I know, just a month ago, was driving my spirit forward. And that is when I realized I'm going to take a week off I'm going to shut down frequencies offering offices and have everybody else take a week off the week after. And so that I can ease back into it and lo and behold, I'm waking up motivated and driven and because what I love to do it is I am proud to say it is part of my identity to work hard and and create things that I'm proud of as it is for many bosses listening. So I am totally, totally on the same page with you. I think that with anything, there are extremes. And to say that you should be like napping all day so that you're really rejuvenated is like amazing if you have a trust fund.

Emily Thompson 36:51
And I will see what we're all explaining here is the mindfulness that is the foundation of Being Boss. Yeah, right. It's about Not doing what people are expecting you to do or even what you've always done it's about listening to yourself and evolving every step of the way and taking actions to align with that evolving. It's when you stop doing that, too that things get terribly broken and it's another reason why I've I've always felt such content with this evolution is because I know we both feel so aligned with it we are in every way shape and form practicing what we have preached on this podcast for over five years. Like that's what we're here living it and so you know, anyone who is sad I get it if you're sad about it, or whatever. And if you're if you're disappointed, you're missing the point. Yeah, that's what you should be is like so in all, why not have the fact that we are like we are here doing it, that you're watching the evolution of it that you're watching a show up and take the actions that are aligned even if they're if they take a long time to put into action or if they are not the most popular or if they are difficult or if it is leaving something behind, or if it is taking something on all on your own, or whatever it is, we're here doing it. That's what this is.

Michelle Khouri 38:15
Very well put

Kathleen Shannon 38:16
The evolution and intentionality of it taking a little while is whenever Emily made the announcement that the full buyout had happened and she is 100% Being Boss, and people said, Oh, I felt something was different. Well, that was intentional. For the past year, we've been intentionally kind of doing a changing of the guard, really bringing Emily's personal brand, upfront, and I was sliding to the background that was with intention. But that's also what made the 15% kind of hard. So coming back to that original question. Emily was now putting in place all of the things that she wanted to do. I felt so nervous about the conference. It's so funny. I think I had a little bit of You know how animals can start to like scatter before an earthquake, you know, real things coming. I feel like I felt 2020 coming because both my husband wanting to buy another rental property and with all of our cash and I was like, I want to hang on to our cash, like, I don't want to play anything that's not liquid. We, we had some things that braid creative, like some decisions that we made there where I was very conservative. And for a while, it was like as my anxiety through the roof that I just am so averse to risks risk anymore, which is another difference between me and Emily that we've talked about before is that Emily is very entrepreneurial, and I am very much of like the day job security. I'm scared to spend money to make money. Emily is all about it. So whenever she wanted to do the conference, I was like, I don't know like, this is a huge amount of expense. This is really scary. And then COVID hit and I remember I was sitting in the parking lot of my gym whenever Emily facetimed me, which is so on brand like I'm at the gym and Emily's like making really hard decisions. So she facetimes me and is like, well, we need to make a decision about what to do about this conference because of COVID. And I was a little, I will admit, resentful not of Emily like more of like, just the whole the whole thing, you know, like the whole world at that point. Because when we were having a decision, which is boss of us that we decided to shut down the conference before New Orleans decided to shut down conferences or events, like we decided to do the right thing before the government decided to do the right thing which was shutting down.

Michelle Khouri 40:47
Before it was decided for you.

Kathleen Shannon 40:48
Before it was decided for us. I kind of regret I kind of wish that we had waited an extra week because then a lot less people would have been pissed off if it wasn't us making the call but whatever. That's what Being Boss is about is like taking ownership, right? Except at that point, I didn't want to take ownership over these decisions. I was like, I'm not being compensated to make these hard decisions anymore. And that's where it goes to talk. Emily was talking earlier about like, half assing something, I didn't know how to be 15%. You know, like, I was definitely sitting in the backseat, kind of, but trying not to be a backseat driver to Emily, you know, and just trying to really be supportive and hold up the roadmap for her and say, I think we should turn this way. And she's like, No, I'm going off road, you know, or whatever it is. Emily never went off road. She had a map the whole time. She had a vision and a map the whole time, right.

Emily Thompson 41:40
I'm always the one who reads the maps like also when we're traveling. I read the maps.

Kathleen Shannon 41:46
That's true. So anyway, I I remember, at that point, thinking I've got to get out of this. Like I've got to get out I bet we both felt it. That's the other thing I want to say is that Emily and I feel each other We are at the point where we can basically read each other's minds. If I've learned anything, it's that if I have a funny feeling, I need to just talk to Emily about it, because she's gonna have my back and vice versa. Like, don't you think, Emily, we've been scared to have these conversations, and then we're always on the same page. Or if we're not on the same page, we give each other so much grace and compassion to get on the same page. I even remember at one point, we were actually kind of fighting, I can't even remember about what and you were like, I'm not your sister. And now I kind of want to be like, but...you kind of are. Like at this point.

Michelle Khouri 42:42
Definitely at this point, and you know what you said about, we're all we keep coming back to the fact that like, the timing of this is no coincidence. The rumblings were happening, you know, and it seems like part of the rumblings of what would end up unfolding in 2020 was this decision to buy out at least most of Being Boss from you, Kathleen.

Kathleen Shannon 43:05
That happened in 2019. So Emily bought out most of Being Boss from me this time last year. So July of 2019. Okay, so then what happened was...

Emily Thompson 43:20
Hold on, I need to I need to give my side of this. Because whenever I did FaceTime Kathleen in the gym parking lot, and I was like, we need to make this decision. This was also me not knowing how Kathleen needed to be 15% because I'd already made the decision. Right? And I was just going to include Kathleen in on that decision in a way that felt like me giving her 15% say, and because I also knew that she would feel exactly the way I would or I did about it, right?

Kathleen Shannon 43:58
And at that point, I was like, I don't want to get on an airplane like do I call it quits? If Emily wants to go, I ended up telling Emily, I remember saying, listen, I'll be there if you want me to be there, because at that point to the world hadn't been shut down. So it was really unclear how safe or unsafe it was to even get on a plane at that point. And so I really did want to be, first and foremost supportive of whatever it was that Emily wanted to do. But I knew that either way, after this conference that we were going to have a conversation that I wanted out.

Emily Thompson 44:33
And that's where we're going to cut it for today. But we'll be back in two weeks for the second part of this interview as we shift into navigating this new decision, and what's coming for the future of Being Boss. To be sure you get notified of that episode, make sure you're subscribed to this podcast. Until then, do the work. Be Boss.

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