Emily Thompson 0:01
Welcome to Being Boss, a podcast for creatives, business owners and entrepreneurs who want to take control of their work and live life on their own terms. I'm your host Emily Thompson. And in this episode, I'm joined by the OG business bestie, Kathleen Shannon to talk about taking business personally, including when you should, when you shouldn't, and how you can generally not take it too personally when appropriate. You can find all the tools books and links we reference on the show notes at www.beingboss.club. And if you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe to this show and share us with a friend.
Emily Thompson 0:37
Kathleen Shannon is the co founder and former co host of the Being Boss podcast joining me for the first 240ish episodes of this show with several one off episode since. Kathleen is a partner and creative director at Braid Creative a branding agency she founded with her sister over 10 years ago, Kathleen has always lived by capturing, shaping and sharing who she is, whether that's with a blog post a podcast or on social media.
Emily Thompson 1:05
Kathleen Shannon 1:06
Emily Thompson 1:08
How you doing?
Kathleen Shannon 1:09
I'm good. How are you?
Emily Thompson 1:11
Good. I'm very excited to have you back again.
Kathleen Shannon 1:14
I'm so glad to be back. I live here now. I've just moved back in.
Emily Thompson 1:21
I feel like you've always you've always kept a box here. You know a toothbrush?
Kathleen Shannon 1:25
Emily Thompson 1:26
In case you ever came back.
Kathleen Shannon 1:28
Yeah, a pair of underwear or two.
Emily Thompson 1:31
Yeah. Just in case just in case.
Kathleen Shannon 1:33
Emily Thompson 1:34
It's been a lot of fun brainstorming ideas with you for episodes that we can do together things that we're both sort of interested in talking about. And I'm really excited about diving into this one today because I feel like this is going to be a really great topic for anyone and everyone as creatives and our feelings about our businesses and the things that happen in them. But before we dive into it last episode, we started with a little business, really bestie conversation of we were about to head to New Orleans together. Now we're back for this episode. We have coming on and I figured we take a moment to share just like yeah, just share a little I don't know what was your favorite parts? How was being back in New Orleans together.
Kathleen Shannon 2:22
It was so good. It felt so normal and natural. We just picked up right where we left off. I cannot believe I think that you told me it had been five years since I had been there last which would have been with you. Yeah, that was wild.
Emily Thompson 2:37
Which is crazy.
Kathleen Shannon 2:38
But yeah, it was beautiful. It was really hot. I've I'm officially a cold weather person now. I much prefer 45 and sunny over 80 and humid and sunny.
Emily Thompson 2:53
Yeah, I am a hot weather person. And it still shocked me how toasty and humid it was while we were there for sure we had to go buy tank tops or you bought tank tops. I bought a hoodie which is just a whole other conversation. But it was very toasty in New Orleans and we did so much walking so much and like just sort of hitting up some of our favorite places. Finding couple new places along the way. It was a couple of really great days of just hanging out together and in our favorite city.
Kathleen Shannon 3:27
Loved it. I got a new earring. I got my Tragus pierced which is that little flap of cartilage that covers your ear hole whenever I was about 15 years old, so 25 years ago and I have had the same earring in it for 25 years. So we hopped into the cutest jewelry store. What was it called?
Emily Thompson 3:50
Porter Lyons. It's one of my very favorites. I've been a follower for a very long time if anyone's interested check it out for sure.
Kathleen Shannon 3:58
They had the most stunning beautiful jewelry and then I realized about halfway through that they were also a piercing shop and so I found a cute little dainty earring that I had put into my Tragus to replace that earring that I've had for 25 years. And it was more than I've ever spent on an earring before but I figured if I'm wearing this one for another 25 years it's basically a cent a day so.
Emily Thompson 4:25
Yeah, that cost per wear is worth it.
Kathleen Shannon 4:28
Emily Thompson 4:30
I did not tell you this but I ended up going back while bosses were there because Kathleen and I sort of front ended a Being Boss retreat with some time with the two of us together. And once Kathleen left and I was there with my C-suite bosses. We ended up going back to Porter Lyons because one of my C-suite bosses is a very big fan of Porter Lions so we went there together and I ended up getting one of those threader earrings and in the yellow gold and it is the coolest thing I have ever owned.
Kathleen Shannon 5:01
I can't wait to see it.
Emily Thompson 5:03
It's super cute. Um, so we did that. We also I think, again, maybe had one of the best meals of our lives.
Kathleen Shannon 5:11
Yeah, we went to a restaurant called Lengua Madre. And it was a pre fee kind of tasting menu dinner that we decided in advance that we were going to do a wine pairing, neither of us are really big drinkers by any means anymore. So having a glass of wine with every single course that comes out was a big task. I remember I was like, you don't have to drink at all, you don't have to drink at all, which I didn't. I didn't drink at all. So anyway, but it was so enjoyable. The meal was phenomenal. I recommend it to anyone, it was definitely spendy. In fact, we were gathering all of our expenses and putting it into an app called splitwise. And Emily sent that meals tab thinking it was for both of us. And I was like, oh, no, no, that was each. But it was worth it. Right.
Emily Thompson 6:05
100%. 100%. I mean we were there for hours, absolute hours, eating some amazing foods and food combinations that I never I mean, there were crickets on top of one of our courses. Things I would have never tried before. And it was all so delicious. And the wines were fantastic. I had a really great time tasting all of those wines. And yeah, it was just it was such a great evening. Whenever I do things like that, you know, I think it's really easy to do like ROI on food, right? Or like maybe you know, ROI, but really thinking like breaking it down. I'm having like, I'm spending how much money on how many courses, whatever it may be. But whenever you factor in the experience, and the time spent and all of those things, not a bad investment, not a bad investment by any means, and will be one of those things that I absolutely remember forever. Also the walk there was very entertaining. Kathleen took us way down, we walked way down, far beyond, you know, the central business district and the warehouse district like farther than I had ever walked on foot before. And we show up in front of this unmarked house on this sort of sketch block. And I'm like, Kathleen, you're the one who's afraid of being murdered constantly and brought me here. Like what the map says that it's here, but I'm not seeing anything. So it was just like a really fun time walking down.
Kathleen Shannon 6:57
Those anti anxiety meds are working wonders because I can lead us straight into danger now without a problem.
Emily Thompson 7:38
Yeah, and just like giggle about it along the way. We also had a really one of my very favorite, just Kathleen memories in general walking to this dinner. Do you remember what that was? Because I feel like you have to share.
Kathleen Shannon 7:52
I don't remember.
Emily Thompson 7:54
No, as soon as I say it, you're gonna remember because I keep thinking about it and just laughing out loud at random moments during my day. And that is that a woman as Kathleen was passing by flicked a chicken bone at her.
Kathleen Shannon 8:12
I completely forgot about this. So we're walking on the sidewalk.
Emily Thompson 8:17
Kathleen Shannon 8:17
Just minding our own business. A woman is sitting, you know, like on a ledge eating a box of chicken wings. And right as we walked by, she throws a chicken bone at me and I dodge out of the way Emily was like, what was that? I was like, she just threw a chicken bone at me.
Emily Thompson 8:36
So what my favorite part about this is I saw it coming. I didn't know that that's what was going to happen. But we've talked about this here on the show at several points before one of my very favorite things is watching how people react to Kathleen. It is one of the most hysterical things to just be walking through any place with Kathleen who is like, tall and has the hair and is stomping her feet everywhere she goes. And there's always this very polarizing reaction either people are completely enamored by her or obviously hate her guts.
Kathleen Shannon 9:14
Emily Thompson 9:15
It is hysterical to me and as we're walking up towards this woman, I see her and she hates you.
Emily Thompson 9:22
Emily Thompson 9:22
Hates your guts, your bones and everything in between. And so I didn't know what was going to happen but I definitely saw the loathing in her eyes as we were walking towards her. And then whenever you jump over at me and tell me that she threw a chicken bone at you. It just made sense.
Kathleen Shannon 9:44
And you know, it was kind of so funny. I couldn't even really be mad about it. And I just didn't take it personal. Like usually I would be like what.
Emily Thompson 9:55
You just took it in stride.
Kathleen Shannon 9:57
Took it in stride let's just keep walking, just keep walking.
Emily Thompson 10:02
Anyway so I will remember that forever. I've I think about it probably daily and giggle. No, I don't even giggle, I like guffaws out loud whenever I think about this moment because it was really a gem, really a gem. So anyway my
Kathleen Shannon 10:16
other favorite moments when we other favorite moments and then we'll move on to talking about what we're going to talk about today is we got biscuits at Willy and Jean this little breakfast spot. Or is it Willa Jeans?
Emily Thompson 10:31
It's Willa Jean.
Kathleen Shannon 10:32
Okay, Willa Jean.
Emily Thompson 10:33
Kathleen Shannon 10:35
Willa. Jean. This is how you know I'm a Michigander now is because I'm putting an S at the end of everything. That's a Michigan thing. Okay, so we go to Willa Jean, we order biscuits, we kind of make friends with the woman working behind the bar who's serving us we love sitting at a bar. And we ordered some biscuits.
Emily Thompson 10:57
And this was our second morning. This was our second morning in a row there one morning and I think I think I had ordered a biscuit on the side or something. And I like we eat we end up sharing the biscuit really, this is the best biscuit ever. So the next morning, we wake up and we're like, can we just go back to Willa Jean for biscuits? And please continue?
Kathleen Shannon 11:16
Yeah. And so this is something that we share in common is that biscuits are probably the food that soothes our spirit the most.
Emily Thompson 11:25
Kathleen Shannon 11:26
So we're eating some biscuits. I'm seeing Jesus in this biscuit. It was the best biscuit of my life. And we finished eating. So this time we each order our own biscuit. And then afterwards, I was like, Do you wanna another round of biscuits? And so we ordered another round of biscuits. I think that the waitress thought that we were kidding, we were not kidding. We dominated some more biscuits. So that was really fun.
Emily Thompson 11:52
Yeah, I believe that was one of my favorite breakfasts. And it was definitely like, telling the telling the waitress that we wanted that second round she, she did, she thought we were joking. And then when she realized we were serious, it was like high five, of course, you want more biscuits. But there was definitely a moment of surprise, and literally some of the best biscuits in my life. And I haven't told you this, but I went back for those biscuits one more time.
Kathleen Shannon 12:15
Yes. I'm proud of you.
Emily Thompson 12:18
Thanks. Thanks. last morning. That's what I did as I was heading down as they went and got one more biscuit. So anyway, it was such a great time, I had such a great time with you, of course. And then we also had such a great time with the C-suite. You were able to meet them all and hang out for a couple of hours.
Kathleen Shannon 12:36
I love them, I love everyone.
Emily Thompson 12:39
They're great. And one of the things that was so amazing about everyone from this trip is that I had been to New Orleans with every single one of them at least once before, at least once before in some capacity or another most of them within the context of C-suite retreats, but not all of them. Some of them had been there with in other capacities with me. And so it was just such a magical experience to be there with everyone again, like it felt like a little full circle of like it's been years and years of cultivating these experiences with all of these people to bring them all together. And for us all to do it together again was such a great time. So it felt more like sort of a fun girls weekend. With lots of business on top for sure. Than any other retreat I'd ever done. It really felt like it always feels like coming home whenever I go to New Orleans, but this time was like coming home with some of my oldest friends.
Kathleen Shannon 13:36
One cool thing about the C-suite retreat is that you had rented this mansion. And there's so many rooms in this place. There's enough room for everyone. And I was like yeah, no, we're staying in the same room. I slept on this like little day bed next to your king size bed in this room. How would you even describe this room? It was it was something out of a movie.
Emily Thompson 14:02
Yes. So I think the house had been built in the late 1800s to be a an ice cream parlor and pool hall. Right, right, which makes sense for the we were sleeping in the pool hall.
Kathleen Shannon 14:17
Okay, that makes sense.
Emily Thompson 14:18
And so it had these like fabric tapestry walls that had these like images of lions and like racked pool balls. And then on the ceiling was painted naked babies doing various forms of physical labor and entertainment. A lot of time looking up at these babies and like, and well some of them were clothed. We decided that maybe some of them had had clothes added later, but some of them were still left naked and babies not angels, not cherubs, babies, naked babies. Just doing all these things on the ceiling. It was one of the most Insane rooms I had ever been in. It smelled musty AF too there was a fan in there that I kept going the entire time. But it was really cool and definitely a piece of history. So imagine like old school dark sort of moody pool hall with like some weird art. That was the room that we slept in, and I definitely missed you when you were gone. I felt like maybe it was a little bit haunted. I needed you.
Kathleen Shannon 15:25
Yeah see? Yeah.
Emily Thompson 15:30
Yeah, for sure. Anyway, okay, let's dive into the vein today. Sorry, not sorry to everyone. I feel like you all need to know these things are very important. Also, if you ever get the chance to rent a large mansion down on Canal Street in New Orleans, definitely do it and sleep in the billiard hall, it was quite a hoot.
Emily Thompson 15:51
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Emily Thompson 16:57
Okay, today we're talking though, about taking business personally, or really rather how to not take business so personally. This was one that you brought up as something you wanted to talk about what has led you to this topic today Kathleen.
Kathleen Shannon 17:16
I have a lot of experience in taking it all very personally, all of the things. And I don't know if it's age or experience or just a level of maturity, either within my own personal self or within my business self having been running my own business now for over 10 years. I'm just not taking it so personal anymore. And it is so liberating. And I finally struck the balance of when to take it personal or when to bring my feelings into it for good and when to kind of compartmentalize and create boundaries around certain things so that I'm not taking it. So personal.
Emily Thompson 17:58
High five. I think making it to this place is is quite real. And as we were sort of talking about what this would be about, one of the things we settled on was this idea that as you are in business for a long time, or as you mature, but either as just like a person or as a professional, the idea is that you do mature into not taking it as seriously as you do when you get started. But I also think that there is a special set of circumstances that has creatives may be having a harder time with this evolution. Because we put so much of who we are into the work that we do, whether we are sharing, you know, content or sharing, creating and sharing content, or if we're creating art, or we're delivering a service that's very, you know, closely tied to something that we're passionate about or whatever it may be. So I think this is an important conversation because I think that we ended up holding on to all of that a little longer than most probably do.
Kathleen Shannon 19:08
So I'm curious to hear from you, Emily having had Indie Shopography, Almanac, Being Boss, the tanning salon, have you taken business like what as your degrees of taking business personal been like which businesses have you taken the most personally and in what ways?
Emily Thompson 19:26
Oh, that's such a good question. I think I probably, I think I probably took Indie the most personal. So my web design business. And because two things one, that was probably the most me being creative for especially a single person at a time I've ever had in any of my businesses, and I was probably the most like the least evolved, how about that. And I will say not quite the same as tanning salon. Like it was a teenager owning a brick and mortar business, but it was a tanning salon that was already there like a whole other situation way back then. Indie was the one though that was the most tied to my like, to my creativity. And it was the one that, yeah, the one where I was probably the least evolved. I will say Being Boss is probably the second one. Because there is so much like, the business is me talking. Right?
Kathleen Shannon 20:33
Emily Thompson 20:34
But over the years, I've definitely like learn to let a lot of that go. And it's so much easier for me to think about metrics and things or remove the feelings from it at Being Boss. And I will say Almanac is like I don't even care. I don't even know, like I am so not even I'm so not very personally tied to that business in a way that is like next level evolution. So much so that like the team that like I don't even know what customer support stuff comes through. Like I'm unaware, in a really beautiful way because I've even built it so that I never have to think about whether I'm taking something personally or not, I just am doing business, which is nice. So that's probably my scale of things. What about you?
Kathleen Shannon 21:20
At the beginning of Braid, I took it very personally because I was launching it with my sister. So that is a very personal relationship. And whenever it came to working with clients, I was also still taking it very personally because I didn't have as much experience or confidence. And so it was really easy to really wrap myself up into the outcomes of projects back then, I will also say that I was really wrapping my whole identity around being a creative entrepreneur. And that's probably because of the content that I was creating, where I was sharing that information. And then Being Boss, for sure, I took incredibly personal probably, as it relates to my identity the most, because that was the most public facing we had ever been, it really hit a mainstream audience in a bigger way than I had ever experienced. And so with that, I was taking my relationship with this like parasocial relationship that I was having with our listeners very personally. And if I would accidentally hurt someone's feelings, it really bothered me. Or if I couldn't solve somebody's problem, I felt personally responsible. And so I really took on a lot whenever it came to Being Boss. And then since leaving Being Boss, and really investing myself back into Braid Creative. Again, I don't know if it's an age thing or a maturity thing, or maybe just all of the things. I'm taking it so much less personal whenever it comes to clients and project outcomes. But that doesn't mean I'm taking it less seriously. Because maybe in some ways more than ever before I take it very seriously, because I'm making more money as a business than ever before. We have more employees than ever before. So there are some things that I take very seriously. But at the end of the day, I know that who I am is not just the work that I do. And that has been probably the biggest shift of all.
Emily Thompson 23:22
Yeah, I think there's a really important thing there. This difference between taking something personally and taking something seriously, because I feel like a lot of people don't know the difference. And don't know like what the difference feels like. You can accept responsibility without taking an outcome personally. And that differentiation is something that you have to grow into. And it's funny, as you mentioned to about, you know, doing projects, and this is how I heard it, I don't know exactly the words that you said, but being responsible for the outcome of those projects. I remember this is something that probably Indie taught me better than anything of you know, working with clients and doing these projects and never seeing these, like projects come to life. Like you build a website, you build a brand for a client and the business never takes off. Not your problem. You showed up, you did the logo, you built the website, whatever it may be. That for me was probably one of the most important practices that helped me get out of any sort of processes of taking things personally, like I was here to do a job and what happened with the product of that job was not my responsibility, and I should never take those things personally.
Kathleen Shannon 24:32
Yeah, I still really need to feel a degree of investment in what I'm doing. And especially whenever it comes to graphic design, I love being a graphic designer. And I need to really love the work that I'm doing and the work that I'm creating for it to be good. So there is and it almost feels a little bit like magic to me. That feeling that I get in my gut whenever I know that something is good or whenever I'm on to the right direction. And it really does feel like this resonance in my body. And it's really hard to explain. But that is a personal experience, right? It really is tuned, tuning into my feelings to make sure that I'm moving the project in the right direction. But I'm just not so enmeshed with it, like, I'm not going to let a bad day at work turn into a bad day at home, I say that, you know, it's that. So actually, whenever it's really hard not to take it personal, like it's hard not to bring your work home with you or to be thinking about it. But in general, I, I'm just not taking it so personal. And I wonder if that's too because I'm not creating as much content as I used to be. So I think that there is something to sharing along the way that creates another level of relationship or another level of consumption. So now it's not just between me and my client, or me and my coworkers, it's between me and all of the people consuming my work, whether that's on social media, on a newsletter or on a podcast, on a blog post. So as I've removed myself from being so much of a content creator, I'm not as affected because I'm not putting myself out there as much to be affected.
Emily Thompson 26:19
I'm sure that is absolutely a part of it. One of the things that one of my experiences, though, as someone who's still in it creating and you know, out there a whole lot is this broadening of perspective as to where your efforts sort of hit in a larger marketplace and like the industry where it is that you're showing up. And I think you know, whenever you and I started, we will often say that, you know, I think we were the first business podcast ever hosted by two women. Like that was there not.
Kathleen Shannon 26:53
I'm not sure ever but at least in the top charts on iTunes, there weren't any other women in the top charts on the business podcasts in iTunes at the time we're hitting those charts.
Emily Thompson 27:05
Right. And now, there are so many and thank goodness, like, so glad we're all there high five. But you know, and whenever we started, you know, and we started when Instagram was fresh, when it was a new little baby platform, just doing its thing. I remember being one of the first a couple 1000 members of Pinterest, right, like I remember, I remember these like very early beginnings of what it was like to be on the internet creating content. And the market, the industries and markets have changed so much over the past 10 years, that I cannot bring with me now the same metrics by which I measured success back then, because it's a completely different ballgame. And so for me, it's been both an evolution of myself, but also well and a broadening of the marketplace, but also a broadening of my perspective of the marketplace that has allowed me to not. To give just generally give fewer shits about how something performing. Because 10 years ago, if I'm the only one doing it and it's not performing well, then I missed a mark. Now if I do something that's not performing well, it's because like, what's happening in the economy? Who changed the algorithm this week? Who else launched something similar or completely different from mine IN that week, like the factors that play into success from the content creation side of things are vastly more numerous than they were a couple of years ago. And because of that, I've been able to release a lot of cares around how, how I measuring success, and how I feel about the things that we create and the you know, the metrics that we measure along the way, a really great example of this.
Emily Thompson 28:59
And I've talked about this lightly here, we did a big Show and Tell sort of workshop and the Being Boss Clubhouse last week as of recording this, but it's a while ago, once you will hear this on our search engine optimization efforts, both at Almanac and add to Being Boss. And one of my favorite illustrations of this like I can't take it personally, is we spent probably six months prior to pulling Almanac into it, really trying to like turn some dials on search engine optimization at Being Boss, like optimizing pages, optimizing blog posts, like really getting in there with some really amazing strategy and measuring our results along the way. Needle wasn't moving at all. And we were like, I mean, we could have taken that personally like we just put all of this effort into doing the thing that we know is right. That we should be working but it's not working. What did we do wrong? Why is it not working all of these things? And so we're like okay, fine. If it's not gonna work here, let's just go do some things at Almanac and see what happens. And things started bumping at Almanac, our website traffic has like quadrupled plus over the past year, because unlike we're seeing traffic from these pages and blog posts that we're optimizing and doing things, and in some cases, they're growing like many hundreds percent, month over month, year over year. So in that comparison, it's like, it's not that the work isn't great. It's that the industry is completely different at Being Boss as it is from Almanac and so that that for me, too, was a very big lesson. And like you can do great work. But if it's not at the right time, and in the right place, it's going to have different effects and a way in the online business space is just getting, I will say worse and worse. I think in a lot of ways. In a way that was just a little too easy Back in the day, when we got started.
Kathleen Shannon 31:02
I have an instance of whenever I take things personal or how I used to take things personal that I don't anymore. And so you talking about SEO kind of reminded me of that, because I used to feel like I needed to feel passionate, and who cares about the metrics and the analytics, it doesn't matter. It's all about how I feel. And I've stripped some of that away like no, not really like great, like I can feel good. And I need to feel certain feelings to do my best work, and to have like high intentions and low attachment. But I also need to be smart about metrics and analytics and not wasting my efforts. I don't want to be spinning my wheels in something in business that's not working whenever I could be hanging out with my kid, cooking an awesome meal, going on vacation with the girlfriend, like there are so many things that I could be doing, rather than spinning my wheels trying to make something work that is just not working. So I think in a lot of ways, it's just about being honest, and using all of the tools available in order to really see what the whole story is. So yes, your feelings play into it. But so do the analytics and metrics. And that's one way that I've really grown in business. But anyway, back to not taking things personal.
Kathleen Shannon 32:20
One thing that I used to really take personally, is whenever clients would have questions about my process or my deliverables, it's like almost I would feel attacked if someone was asking me a question, because I felt that I hadn't explained it well enough in the first place. Or I would feel defensive if I didn't know the answer, because I'm supposed to be the expert, and they're paying me money. And I don't know. And it would make me feel wrong in business, which would make me feel wrong as a person in life kind of that perpetual little sister syndrome that I seem to have. So now I'm able to see just a little bit more clearly. And whenever a client has a question, or they are questioning me about my process, or my prices, or my deliverable, or they have feedback, it actually has very little to do with me. It's that they don't understand. They have a question. And it's okay for me to just answer the question without making it mean anything beyond the question that they have. So for example, this happened just last week, I had a client call me. I did, I worked on his brand platform. And he was wanting to make some paint colors to match the colors in his branding. And so I said, Hey, you're just gonna have to get as close as possible with what's available on the paint swatches, you know, at Home Depot or whatever. And he was like, uh, can you do it for me? And I was like, Sure. So I match his brand colors to the closest available swatches, and in paint colors that are mixed.
Kathleen Shannon 33:58
And he was like, I don't understand why my colors aren't real colors, like the colors in my brand are not real colors like helped me understand. And I could have made that mean, oh, I did this wrong, I should have like, should I mix all my colors based off of paint swatches, so I just called him and explained to him what Pantone colors are, what CMYK mixes are, what RGB colors are, what hex colors are, and then what paint colors that you can get at the hardware store are and how all of those are different and it's kind of hard to understand, but they're all used in different applications. And if we get really close, we are close enough, he will still be on brand, it's all still going to look very cohesive and it will be great and fine. And he was like okay, cool. Yeah, I just wasn't really sure. Thanks for answering my question. And like I could feel myself getting riled up right before I called him I was like, Oh, this guy, or like, oh, I should have done it better. I started to feel myself getting activated and taking it personal. Whenever I just answered the question, it was fine. And even if the outcome of that conversation hadn't been so friendly or good, or you know, if he hadn't felt satisfied by my answer, I can also trust that that has very little to do with me also, it's that he's scared for whatever reason, or he's afraid, or, you know, he's bringing whatever his stuff is into it. And that doesn't also have to be my stuff. Like I did my job. And I did the best I could, and I can help him solve his problem. If it's actually a problem.
Emily Thompson 35:37
Good job. Good job. This is something that I actually feel like I hear a lot of bosses coming to so if anyone needs to rewind that and relisten, you know, whether it's the Monday meetups or Clubhouse Conversation, like a lot of creatives do have a lot of angst around questions. Just in general, like a client comes to you with a question needing some clarification unsure about something, it's really easy to take those incredibly personally. And if you can mindset shift yourself around that you're going to enjoy your work and your clients significantly more, for sure along the way.
Emily Thompson 36:16
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Kathleen Shannon 37:27
And it's also easy to put yourself in their shoes and think of when is the time that you've been working with someone and you've had a question. So I have questions for Apple all the time. I have questions about my Apple watch. I have questions about my laptop, I have questions about my iPad, I have questions about all of the things. And if every time I called Apple, they got pissed off at me because they were like You can Google it or because they were like, we've already explained this to you in the instruction guide book that came with your watch upon setup. If they reacted that way, it would make me feel so dumb. And I'd be like, Okay, well, I'm sorry, I'm not an expert at this. So I just kind of pretend like I am Apple answering their questions. This is kind of part of my job. And just because they have questions doesn't mean that I didn't explain it well enough, it just means I need to say it in another way for them to understand. And that's okay, too.
Emily Thompson 38:26
I also think there's a level here of one of the words that I hear you guys using in brand platforms a lot. And one that I hear in bosses, often who are service providers is this idea of being a guide. Right? And so you're guiding people through your process, you're making a website, you're delivering an interior design, you are you know, doing whatever it is that you're doing. But you have to accept that one of the roles of a guide is to answer questions along the way. And so accepting that as part of your role as opposed to being you know, a little miffed by it as it comes along is incredibly important. I also think there's some really important sort of shifts to make around taking things personally when it comes to pricing. And you know, closing a deal or not closing a deal or having someone choose someone else over you. That's something over the years and I think probably more so at Being Boss than anywhere. I've been able to get over in a way that that was really hard to do. But one whe it happens often enough, and two when I am dealing for me this happens most often when I'm negotiating sponsorships for the podcast where I am dealing with just one person who is buying the ad space for an entire company and in some cases, a billion dollar company or whatever it may be. Not getting miffed or not taking it personally if they are trying to negotiate lower CPMs if they can, or cannot make the deal based on politics of some weird office sort, or the economy or like XYZ, there's like an infinite number of factors, I've over the years been able to do a pretty good job of like, of letting a lot of that go, I can still be annoyed, I can still not like decisions. But I'm not taking as personally now as I as I once did. Because that is just part of the job. And if you continue taking things personally that you should not be, it becomes impossible to do that job.
Kathleen Shannon 40:39
Yeah, I've had to learn how to not take it personally whenever it comes to being a manager and being a leader within my company. Because I've worked with a lot of people who are my peers, and at the same level, we can usually be more like vulnerable and honest with each other. So for example, Emily, whenever you and I owned Being Boss together, we could have professional but also like heated or passionate for better or worse discussions around the decisions that we're making. Because we're not really having to protect each other, we're like, on the same playing field, like we are teammates on the same playing field, and we don't have to, like, take it easy, or, you know, we can just kind of like get down in the trenches together and figure things out. And that's how it is with my sister and my business partner Holly at Braid, like we can, you know, jump in and really figure things out. But whenever it comes to our employees, you have to almost be like a parent, you know, parenting a kid where you can be firm, you they can see your emotions, but you also have to really keep it professional, and you can't take it personal whenever they haven't done the best job possible.
Kathleen Shannon 41:51
Because you're the business owner, not them, it is your job to hold the vision and to guide the company in the best way that you know how, which is hopefully with integrity and responsibility and accountability, and a little bit of authenticity for sure. But you have to be able to remove yourself so that you can have hard conversations with your employees about what they could be doing better. You have to sometimes give up taking credit for a project that you guided them through that had amazing end results. But at the end of the day, maybe they were the designer on it, and you want to give them that credit for it, to give them a boost of confidence. Even if you had your hands in the whole thing, the whole, you know, the whole time, right. So I think that that's incredibly important. And something to remember is that sometimes not taking it personal, is how you become a really good leader. And that doesn't have to just apply for your employees, it could also apply for your audience or you know, whenever it comes to the content that you're creating, like holding this air of responsibility around it.
Emily Thompson 43:02
Yeah. Okay, I think we've given some really good examples of times when we should all let loose little bit take things that are less, less personally not less seriously, you know, you're not putting down the responsibilities by any means. But you're not taking them as personally, when are times when we should take things personally. Why you making that face?
Kathleen Shannon 43:25
I'm just thinking about how to say, I'm thinking about how to say it? Well, you know, for me, it's really tricky. Because I work with my sister, I just hired my niece, as one of my designers, I am my best friend's boss, like it is going to be personal. And I have found that the work that we do together actually tightens our bonds. So us working together professionally, has only personally helped our relationships, you know, and so, for example, Emily, we work together in a professional setting, and now personally, we are in each other's lives till we die, you know what I mean? So that's whenever business can become personal in a really in a really great way. Um, you know, but I used to, you know that one of my values is authenticity. And I think that whenever it comes to business, you should bring your values into your business. So, whenever it comes to your values, you should absolutely be taking it personal because you are a human who is interacting with other humans. So if you want to say no to a job because it contradicts your personal values, say no to that job, that is okay. But you know, one of my values is authenticity. And I used to think that if I'm going to bring my values into my work, that being authentic meant saying what I felt all the time, and that's not necessarily the case. I can still bring who I am personally into my work with the level of professionalism on top right. So I think that that's just a huge part of it. And also taking a personal again, whenever I'm designing, and I can feel it in my bones, and I love what I'm doing, I guess, it's really easy to take things personal whenever things feel really good. But again, you have to have some sort of boundary around that.
Kathleen Shannon 45:22
Because if you're going to take it personal, whenever you've done a good job, you're also going to have to take it personal whenever you've done a bad job. So there is this certain amount of boundary that you have to hold around all of it good and bad. I guess I'm talking again about how not to take it personally, whenever you ask, how do we take it personally or like when when should we take it personal. And maybe that's because there's actually a very thin line between, you know, maybe these are just kind of two sides of the same coin, and that you can't figure out how to keep create boundaries and policies and systems so that you're not completely enmeshed with your work. But also, you have to take it personal because this is your livelihood, and it's your creativity. And we spend so much time at work, that if we're not enjoying it, if we're not feeling like we're doing a good job, if it's not adding to our lives, then what are we doing? So that's probably where I would take it personal. What do you think Emily?
Emily Thompson 46:19
I think you hit on a couple of mines for sure. Mines? Did I just become a Michiganian too?
Kathleen Shannon 46:27
I love it.
Emily Thompson 46:31
One is this evolved relationship piece, I think there is a like level of distance you have to keep with employees, vendors, etc, etc, for sure. However, sometimes, those lines get blurred as well, you work with your sister, I work with my partner, I've definitely like become really great friends with people that I've worked with, you are a great example of that. And so I think in those moments, or when relationships evolve past, just being in a professional manner, you have to start taking things a little more personally, if feedback comes to you from those people, and especially if it is of a personal nature, then that is meant to be taken personally, not just professionally, because you allowed in some capacity or another, that relationship to evolve beyond that point. And I mean, it's a little bit muddy, that line is not clear as to when is a relationship but just professional and personal. But those, those relationships are times when you need to, you need to take feedback and performance and all of those things a little more personally than not. And there can still be I think lines in those situations. I think, you know, whenever I'm at work with the people that I also live my life with, we are at work, like I am pretty good about holding a line in those spaces. But not everyone is. And that's a whole other conversation. So evolved relationships is one, I love that you brought up values, because I think that is a time when more or less, you should take things personally. And I think this is sort of twofold. One is when you are making decisions from a place of your personal values, for sure, like bring your values and the decisions that you're making, so that you continue to feel good about it even if it is in the context of your business. But I also think there's a little bit hear of like, if you are the person naming the values for your business and your business is no longer upholding its values, you should probably take that personally and go fix it. Take literal personal accountability for making sure that things get realigned.
Kathleen Shannon 48:48
Yeah, I think that we've seen this really go downhill in corporate capitalism, where corporations, you know, like the the leaders of corporations will say, Oh, well, this has nothing to do with me. This is about the corporation kind of as its own person who just needs to make profit.
Emily Thompson 49:07
And ya know, if you're the brain, it is, it is and it feels icky because it's out of alignment.
Kathleen Shannon 49:15
And there are corporations who are showing us the opposite. So like was it Patagonia for example, that has really good value is and they're bringing it to what they offer and how they're doing business. And so it is possible and it's possible for us on a more, you know, smaller level to be able to bring our values into our business.
Emily Thompson 49:37
I mean, that's just like next level practicing integrity, right? If you are creating or otherwise running a corporation, then you should be more or less adopting those values for yourself in some capacity and at appropriate moments. Another one for me, when you should take things personally, is when you are at fault. And maybe not necessarily take this one home and cry in your pillow all night, like taking it into your life. But you should absolutely take accountability. And like, instill that within yourself. If you have done something wrong, if you have not delivered on something. If you did not deliver your best work, and it was expected of you, if you are not upholding those values in some capacity or another, if someone, if someone on your team, or a customer, or a vendor is bringing feedback to you, that is like these are what the expectations were and you did not pull through, then take that if it's true, right. And this is not about taking, like non constructive criticism or those sorts of things is when you have done something wrong. Take that personally, and fix it for yourself and the continuation of your company moving forward, you're gonna learn some very important lessons along the way, but only if you accept accountability.
Kathleen Shannon 50:59
I agree, I feel like I've been just trying so hard not to take things personally that I'm now having a hard time thinking of when to take things personally, I also find that it's personal whenever you can feel the person that you're working with, you know, and so sometimes I can just feel what my employee is radiating, or my business partners. And sometimes I will take that personal and not necessarily in a way that means that I need to fix it or that I'm wrong. But if you can tell that someone's having a bad day, help them out. Or if you can tell that someone's really excited about something on a personal level, talk to them about it. So I think that that's where it is just being able to kind of read the room, whenever it comes to taking things personally and that can work to your advantage.
Emily Thompson 51:50
Yeah, maybe you just gave the answer. But maybe you have another one for if you were to give someone or our listeners advice, and how to take their creative business a little less personally, what would it be?
Kathleen Shannon 52:03
Yeah, I think that just the mantra high intent, low attachment is something that you should have on repeat. So at the beginning of your business, if you were younger in your business, or you've just started something, you're probably going to need to take it very personally, you're probably putting way more of yourself into this thing into launching it and getting it off the ground than you ever have before. And you what you really have to learn is how to get that personal passion and momentum behind your project, but then how to let it go, you know, so at the beginning of it, you're kind of like pushing this boulder up the hill. And that's one of your taking things really personal. But at some point, you get to let the boulder go down the other side of the hill, and you just get to let it roll. Right. And that's whenever you have to learn how to stop pushing, and to let go to surrender and to figure out who else you are beyond just your business and I hit that will help you take things a lot less personal. So the way that you started is not the way that it always has to be.
Emily Thompson 53:12
Lovely. I have a mantra as well. We'll call it because I love that you called it that and mine is fuck feelings, do math. And I say this all the time and binging especially like all the calls that we do in the Being Boss, clubhouse and community, someone always comes in and they're like, I feel disappointed in this thing that I did, or I feel like or I feel like I did something wrong. Or I feel really excited about how this thing went whatever it may be. And I'm like, but fuck your feelings. Do math. Like how did it actually do? I feel like as creatives we are very feely and I love that for us, I think that makes us really compassionate and empathetic business owners I think that makes us amazing artists and all of those things. But feelings can go too far. We can take things way too personally because we're just resorting to feelings when it comes to the performance of something whether it's yourself or that blog post or the Instagram or whatever it may be. But whenever you can work more metrics into your business and making sure you're actually seeing how that newsletter campaign performed as opposed to just how you feel it went. It's easier to one get out of your feelings and really know what you should think and believe about the effectiveness of whatever it is that you just did. And two it creates a habit of resorting the numbers before you develop feelings. It literally helps you take business less personally as you go and I think that if you can start you know creating that disconnect for yourself between how it is that you are how it is you think something went how it is you feel it went and replace that with how things actually went by numbers by the math of it. The more fun you can have in your business, the more you can disconnect yourself, your self worth from the effectiveness of what it or like perceived effectiveness of what it is that you have just accomplished. And you can just do business and make art in their compartments.
Kathleen Shannon 55:30
You said it.
Emily Thompson 55:31
Of course I did. I dropped an F bomb on live television. Not really not sorry about it either. I do that's like fuck feelings y'all. You can have your feelings. Run your numbers. You'll be much happier for it. Perfect. Then, Kathleen, it's been two whole weeks since I asked you this question what's making you feel most boss?
Kathleen Shannon 55:55
I have figured out a new way to do my liquid eyeliner. And I have been doing like a little wing for a really long time. But I just changed it up ever so slightly, just the angle of it. And honestly, it's making me feel really boss.
Emily Thompson 56:11
Kathleen Shannon 56:12
How about you What's making you feel boss?
Emily Thompson 56:15
Oh, I feel like I have like some big ones. But I think the one that I want to go with is that I have scheduled myself an Emily date for later this week. I'm very excited about it. And it comes from I've been traveling so much over the past couple of weeks. That one of the things that I realized that I have really missed from you know, living in a house with my family 24/7 for years now is doing things by myself. So as I've been traveling, I've been like going out to eat by myself and I was in Vegas and did all the I went to a comedy show by myself. I did all these things by myself and I had the best time. I am great company. And so as I got home, I was looking at my calendar and thinking oh, I really want to go have lunch at this one place here this week. And maybe I should find someone and I was like, You know what, though, like, screw other people's schedules or expectations or wanting to like rain on my parade because of whatever I was like, I'm am just actually going to do it by myself. And I'm so excited about so I'm taking myself out to lunch in a couple of days. Just for fun. And that makes me feel boss.
Kathleen Shannon 57:31
Emily Thompson 57:34
Kathleen's like, that sounds like a nightmare.
Kathleen Shannon 57:36
Great. I'm into it. I went to the movie theater by myself once whenever I was probably 18 or 19 years old. And I felt so boss afterward. And I've always thought I should do that again. And I never have and it's 20 years later, I've still yet to do it again. But maybe I should do that.
Emily Thompson 57:58
I don't think I've ever done the movies by myself. I love to go out to eat by myself. I love to travel by myself. So much like I had the most fun in Vegas. And I did some things with people. Like I was at a conference and I had you know my dinners and my coffee dates and all of those things. But in between I was getting up in the morning and going out for just like my day by myself or like all the things and every time I do it every time I've ever done it, I can actually very specifically remember a time I was in Paris by myself. Having a shopping day by myself walking down the street with all these bags in my hands. Thinking to myself, this is the best day of my life and not not because I'm surrounded by all the people I love and I love them. And I always wish they were there and all the things. But I am an introvert through and through. I just want to be by myself. And I've, I've always been good at. Well, I've always been good at practicing it because I've always traveled so much until obviously the past couple of years and I've missed out on it. So I have some catching up to do. So I'm gonna do it and I'm excited.
Kathleen Shannon 59:01
What comedy show did you see I got your text, but it was so early. I didn't want to reply whenever I finally got it. But one of the only comedy shows I've ever been to was with you. We went and saw Fortune Feimster in Chicago, and it was so much fun. I would love to go to more comedy shows. It's something that I don't do nearly enough. And we laughed so hard. I mean, we're already laughing together all the time. Put a comedy show on top of it.
Emily Thompson 59:30
Yeah. Oh, God really good times out. Except you can't kick out people for laughing too loud at a comedy show like you can at dinner which has been threatened before. So we actually have seen two comedy shows together.
Kathleen Shannon 59:43
Emily Thompson 59:43
We went to one in Toronto.
Kathleen Shannon 59:46
That's right with.
Emily Thompson 59:48
I don't remember who it was.
Kathleen Shannon 59:50
Um, he writes for Dave Chappelle, he wrote for the Dave Chappelle Show.
Emily Thompson 59:56
That is right. So whenever I was in Vegas, though I was looking up I had I had a red eye. So I had to like spend a whole evening just like out of the hotel, finding something to do. And so I went to Ticketmaster, I was scrolling through and I could have gone to see Usher and all kinds of folks. And I ended up finding a comedy show though, for I don't know how to say her last name, but Iliza Shlesinger.
Kathleen Shannon 1:00:23
Oh, yeah, yeah.
Emily Thompson 1:00:25
Yeah, yeah. So it was so good. It was such a nice time. And so I spent the entire day walking all the way down the Vegas Strip, which I know is like hell for some people but like show me pretty lights. I'm here all day. And then walk from one end of the strip all the way down to the end where I stopped and saw a show with her and it was hysterical. I absolutely loved it. I laughed out loud all by my lonesome and then I went and caught my red eye. And it was a nice little evening. So she is really great. Live if anyone ever gets the chance to see her. I do love a good comedy show. And I have seen a couple of my faves with you.
Kathleen Shannon 1:01:06
We had seen Neal Brennan. That's who we saw together, which was great.
Emily Thompson 1:01:10
Kathleen Shannon 1:01:11
It was really good.
Emily Thompson 1:01:12
That was a good one. So I do love a comedy show. Okay, we've done enough chatting. See you later.
Kathleen Shannon 1:01:19
Emily Thompson 1:01:21
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Emily Thompson 1:01:44
Now, until next time, do the work. Be boss.