Always Tell Your Story.

Always Tell Your Story.


A couple of weeks ago I was in a  meeting with a local artist here in Dunedin. I was helping her set up files and putting together a shot list for an art retreat she was teaching at the Dunedin Arts Center when she asked me, “Bryan, do you think the world wants to hear from an older white woman?” The situation of an almost 40-year-old black man being asked if I think anyone has any interest in what she has to say, as an aging white lady, you can understand why I had an internal chuckle before I answered with a big, YES!

Everyone has a story. No matter what age you are. You have experiences that others like you may be going through right now and can identify with. There are still lessons you are learning and things you can teach others. Always tell your story, because you don’t know the effect it will have on likely and unlikely listeners as you build your community.

I encouraged her to keep pushing to discover herself in this part of her life. Find her why in the work she is producing. Then we discussed some steps she should take to document her process. I believe we all have something to learn from each other, no matter where we are in our lives. Knowing that there are people out there going through the same things that we are is helpful. As long as the stories you are putting out there are authentic, easy to follow, and show how you’ve grown. There will always be people out there that want to hear what you have to say.

What’s Your Super Power?

What’s Your Super Power?


What’s your superpower? I spent the better part of last year struggling to answer this question. I say I struggled with it because I had so many mixed emotions behind how I identified myself as a creative. I’ve been a designer since I could remember, though it’s been recently that I’ve been questioning, is that it?

Am I only this person who has become very skilled at organizing art and copy on a page to sell products that I really could less than a fuck about? I mean, is the reason, I’m good at being a designer it’s really my god given talent and that’s all there is and I should be happy with that and work harder at making it big as a designer?

I struggled with the question because I could not help but think, there is more to this. There’s got to be a bigger reason I’m blessed with a creative mind and being a designer may only be a tool I have at my disposal to call on. The idea of having a superpower and figuring out what mine is. That thought holds the key to a bigger world of possibilities. Possibilities I can go after and serve others by being nothing more than what I’ve been my whole life. Myself!

Understanding my ability to take complicated issues and get down to its true purpose. Then turn around and walk others through a process they can use to move forward with their own dreams. I’ll work with them until they understand and have full confidence that they are ready to turn their dreams into goals and work to achieve them. So my power is to live my life. Big or small. Rich or with little means.

Then take all of the experiences and skills collected along the way and use them to help others build their futures. Now!

What’s your superpower? What’s that one trait you have that pulls you to act, without being asked to? Prioritize your life around that, then use the skills you pick up along the way as tools in your belt on your way to achieving awesomeness.


Photo by: Leon Robinson

Staying The Course.

Staying The Course.


For so many of us, staying the course is how we assume our businesses will thrive and be successful. And in most cases, this is true. I also think that walking that line too straight, not allowing room for adjustments that address your clients or customers’ needs can pose a bigger problem for us as small businesses.

The beauty of running a small shop is that we are not big business. We have the flexibility to work closely with our clients and really drill into the core of their problems to get them what they need, sometimes even what they want, and a whole lot quicker too! Bigger companies need money and large teams of people to achieve one thing.

At first glance, this is alluring and we can get trapped thinking going bigger is better and this is the way we should go about running our business. And I can’t blame you for thinking this way. I get there myself from time to time. I have to remember all of my years spent working in large firms running accounts for some really big brands.

The lessons I have to remember from being on teams with upwards of 10 people at times, and those people are reporting to 5 or more people on the clients’ side to get approval on just pieces of the project. And if think about that for a second. It can take upwards of 15 people on a project to get one thing done. 15 people means 15 different opinions and levels of bullshit you have to weed through before we can even get down to the point of the problem and start addressing the reason we do this in the first place, the people.

Big companies have to spend as much time managing the people as they do tending to their clients. Staying the course for them equals less focus on the tailored client experience. Less focus on the end user and long drawn out deadlines, designed to support the salaries of all everyone involved. The advantages of us smaller companies is that we can work hard, work fast, and still take the time to serve our clients’ needs in the process.

Not staying the course does not have to mean changing your plans and goals regarding how you want to run your business. Just remember so situations may call for your to deviate some when your clients’ needs change. Lastly, run your small company as a small company and not a big one.

The Cost Of Not Facing Your Fears.

The Cost Of Not Facing Your Fears.


I’ve just hit send on an invoice to my client. A few days later, I get a text that went something like this.


Hey Bryan, when can we talk? Got your bill and happy to pay but some things are still not complete. Like collateral items, want to wrap those up, thx. Lmk!


Hey (insert clients name here). We do have some incomplete pieces I owe you. As far as collateral goes, I think you have a specific list of things you need? Some things were put on hold as you did not need them at the time. Won’t leave you hanging without those. What’s a good time for us to talk?

No answer.

A day or so goes by before I follow up with an email that explains the work that was already completed and attached are a few other collateral pieces I thought he needed in the meantime.

Still, no answer.

After two weeks of no communication with my client, I let the thoughts in. You know the ones, the thoughts that tell you that you got this one wrong. The thoughts that make you second guess things. They harass you with overthinking what you might have done to make the client bug out and cut communication altogether?

What did you do?! I asked myself. You started this project brilliantly, held things together through the middle part of the process, then we get to the end and drop the ball? You never drop the ball BVO. What the hell did you do?

After going round and round about where things went wrong. I set out to find the place things fell apart. I made lists of things we had accomplished together. I listed the areas I know I had excelled in and then listed the areas I knew could use some fixing if I had to do it all over to do again. Shamefully I reached out to the mutual friend of my clients to see if he had heard anything because I knew there must be something.

After the better part of a week, I came up with nothing. There was no reason I could construct that could explain why I was getting the cold shoulder from my client. And that it was simply not my fault and clients are all crazy and that’s just how it is. So, I’m good. It’s not me, it’s them. I can rest now.

Then it hit me! There was one thing I failed to do. The one thing I promise to all of my clients at the start of our time working together. I always promise that I’ll always pick up the phone when they call with questions. And because I had already let the disruptive thoughts in, that was the one thing I neglected to do, get on the line and give them a call. In the whole two week time, I did not give them a chance to tell their side of the story and answer questions I had for them.

The phone rang twice before I secretly wished it will go to voicemail and I could leave a message. They picked up on the third ring. BRYAN! In that moment the stress melted off and fear faded. The voice on the other end of the phone was not a voice of someone who was pissed and avoiding talking to you or paying your invoice, or any other stupid thing I may have told myself. Instead, it was a voice of a person who had been through a lot in those couple of weeks and needed to shift their attention to other parts of their life.

In that two minute call, I learned that on top of the things you need to finish together he’d been thinking of how we can move forward working together. Needless to say, that was more than I thought was going to happen.

So the lesson I learned from this was simple. Doubt is inevitable and the quickest way to get past that fear of the unknown is to confront the problem and squash any self judgment before it happens. If the problem you have is a person, pick up the phone or meet up with them and get things out in the open today.


Ideas Are Everywhere.

Ideas Are Everywhere.

Ideas are everywhere. Around every corner we turn. We just need to be in place for them when they arrive. And be prepared to do something about them.