So how did I become a “business consultant,” and what’s with the “intuitive” bit?
Well, to tell that story, I’ve got to back all the way up to a big, earth-shattering moment: the moment I got fired--by people I’d considered family, right up until the very moment they uttered those words.
In 2012, I was fired, and it did suck. I walked into work that morning completely unsuspecting. By the time I left, my world was upside down.
For three and a half years, I’d watched their notion of “company culture” grow up around us. Employers, mine included, were touting “Beer Friday” and “Newsroom Style Offices” as means to fulfilling employment. But what I saw, felt, KNEW was that none of those things mattered when people didn’t bother to say “good morning” to one another in an open office and when earbuds and instant messages replaced real human interaction 90% of the time. Grabbing a beer at the end of the week with folks I barely interacted with during the work day--well, it felt inauthentic. At the time, I didn’t know how to demand authenticity from my peers. Instead, I had been--no doubt--showing my teeth too much.
My truth was that I didn’t want to be part of the agency-world that produced either “burnout” or “lifers” (a notion we, as a company, often laughed about), but I didn’t have the gumption to opt out myself. As a result, I’d brought a lot of resistance to a team that was (seemingly) just fine with the current “company culture.” So, they made that life changing decision for me.
YOU’RE FIRED. You’re Fired. You’re fired. You’re fired. You’re fired...
Those words! Ughhh. It took weeks (actually, years) to get over the shock of that “break-up.” In the days that followed, I assessed everything in my life in the midst of a blinding “WTF Fog.” The guys that fired me wanted to help me get another job--they even sent glowing reviews to other shops on my behalf. Problem was, I just couldn’t stomach any more inauthenticity. I realized that I was still not steering my own ship--and I knew better than to let any of them continue to steer it for me.
And that’s how I ended up buying and selling vintage furniture. 😅
Yes, I hocked Mid-Century Danish furniture for a good while, an effort to shake the “you’re fired” vibes. But eventually I missed collaborative, creative work. So I sat down and started listing all the things I was good at. High on the list: “I am really good at writing emails.” Was that even a marketable skill?! Turns out, yes. Because when I started expanding on all that went with writing great emails, my truth was I am awesome at communications. And every business needs good communications.
I carved out a niche for myself as an independent, contractor-project-manager. I supported a handful of small teams in managing their interactive marketing clients. That was cool. I pieced together an incredible living-wage without having to stretch much at all. In hindsight, that’s really what my ego needed for that season of my life.
Working for myself opened me to the notion that we all have superpowers. They aren’t super-natural abilities - they’re skills that come EASY to us, that other people find HARD, cumbersome. You don’t have to think about, fret over, or try harder for your superpowers. Sticking to them means we are closer to full-up before we pour ourselves out for anyone else. It’s a space in which we feel energized, instead of depleted at the end of the work day.
As an extension of my superpowers, I eventually started my own “non-agency” called The Eddy. We support companies with branding, strategy, content creation, and marketing collateral. The Eddy is a thriving platform for me to continue to demand authenticity in my work life. And because I am feeling all that goodness, I am able to pay it all forward every day by empowering others to do the same.
Neon Cardigan grew naturally out of the consulting I do for my Eddy clients. In this space, I stay 100% in my communications superpowers as I show up to talk primarily, but not exclusively, about [your] work. I’m empowering my clients to own their own ease as much I own mine. I tap into my own intuitive knowingness to bring my clients to their truth. Often that's truth about what will serve us best professionally. Sometimes we work on resumes. Sometimes we draft emails to YOUR boss / team / peers / employees - remember, that’s one of my superpowers. Sometimes we explore how to get the most out of your team--and how to be a better leader. Other times, the work is less practical, more about feelings and conjuring a life that fills you all the way up.
Our work together is the intersection of practical life lessons and soul-level alignment and we're discovering what it means to be a human being that wants joy and love and success. The real magic happens when we believe that we are doing the right thing--and that belief gives us enough perseverance to keep making it happen. Every day. Because we choose it.
Turns out, all of THAT is the real definition of “company culture”. Doesn’t matter how big - or small - the company is… #companyofone