THE POINT: As we "undiminish — growing and expanding in our lives and businesses — it's common for our branding to start to feel outdated. With ever greater clarity about the possibility we bring to the world, it's important to allow our brands to evolve and communicate more powerfully, too. It's particularly rewarding for me to get to co-conspire with clients to develop their first brands and/or to rebrand. With this blog post, I officially launch my own refined logo/branding. If you're curious about the brand evolution of my revolution, a bit of the story is shared below. I hope it inspires you to keep believing and following your heart, too!
Ten years ago, my life pretty much turned upside down. My (now ex) husband had returned to Munich, Germany, where he's from, and we had decided that I would not be joining him. (Side note, we are dear friends today, for which I am very grateful!). Understandably, my employer at the time assumed I would be moving back to Germany and had written me out of the next fiscal year's budget. To be fair, as much as I admired the company and respected the people in it, I was unhappy in my life in general ... and manifested "losing" a marriage and a job in one fell swoop.
Shortly thereafter, my Dad was visiting me, and I recall saying, "I don't know who's life I've been living, but it definitely hasn't been mine." He responded with a question that helped me set out on a journey I could not have predicted would lead me where I am today. That question was: "What do you do, that you love so much you completely lose all track of time?" I led him down the stairs into my basement and showed him multiple large fashion sketches hanging there, that I had done 10 years earlier (now 20 years ago!) and said: "I've always gotten happily lost in drawing and working with fabric." With his encouragement — ok, he basically dragged me onto the bus — within 2 hours we were standing in the middle of a student fashion exhibit at the Art Institute.
I already have one design degree, and wasn't inspired to go into debt $75k for another. It turned out a program had just been started at Portland Community College by the passionate and committed artist, teacher and leader, Eileen Celentano. She and I met to talk about classes and the local fashion market and get to know each other — the beginning of another dear friendship. I ended up taking a bunch of classes at PCC and started finding my joy, again. One day early on, Eileen asked me if I'd like to teach a 3-hour sales and marketing segment in her product development class, and I jumped at the opportunity. This segment turned into a full class, that became a prerequisite to the product development class. In hindsight, I now can see that developing and teaching this class was the beginning of my business.
During this time, I also was given an unusual opportunity to learn how to make tutus in the Oregon Ballet Theater costume shop and ended up working there for a year — a perfectly timed possibility to reconnect with my ballet roots and reclaim a significant part of me that I had closed off years before. At the same time, I consulted with a couple of local fashion designers and other creative small business owners, helping them to build their businesses. I found myself needing a business card, so my first step into branding was a new email address — firstname.lastname@example.org — and a graphic that communicated the essence of what I was doing ... helping creative people get all the "gears" of their business working well together, so they could be more successful. Although my approach has evolved significantly, essentially, this is still what I do today.
The workbook I'd created for the fashion sales and marketing class eventually morphed into a "Business Clarity Questionnaire," that helped clients identify their "point of view" and then integrate it throughout all aspects of their business. It was starting to feel like I was onto something, and I wasn't having any luck finding meaningful employment (in Portland in 2009-2010), so I decided to take a bigger step and more fully develop a brand for my approach to helping creative people design and build their own businesses.
My first business name was Flaunt Consulting, and the tagline was "Own it. Bring it. Live it." A key message was that creating and promoting a successful business requires us to "show up" fully with our own clear, bold, empowering point of view. A writer-friend, Ellen Galvin, expressed the idea well in the title of an article she wrote about my work back then: "Don't Hide Your Talents, Flaunt Them." The article was selected for the launch of a new high profile women's business magazine, that never actually launched. The fact that her article had been selected, though, was highly motivating and gave me a much-needed boost in confidence, at that time.
5 years ago, I abandoned my business altogether. As much as I loved helping others to grow their businesses, I never felt like I got to do as much or go as far as I was capable of. (Note: focusing on "doing" rather than "being" was a big part of the problem, and I hadn't figured that out, yet.) I remember feeling like I was living under a wet blanket in rainy Portland, so I decided to move back to sunny California and return to my professional roots in the Silicon Valley, with the hopes of joining another entrepreneurial start-up team that was thinking big and going for it!
Although I did some interesting project work, I learned (the hard way) that my broad experience and skill set weren't what recruiters and employers were looking for. Through this experience, however, I also learned one of the most valuable lessons and pillars of my work: The primary reason I hadn't been fulfilled in my own business was that I hadn't let myself "be" in my own business the way I had been helping everyone else "be" in their businesses. I realized that the "point of view" is also the "point of you" ... the revolution we are here to bring to the world, first and foremost by practicing what we preach. I recommitted to building my own business, and shortly thereafter my brand evolved to Revolution Business & Life Design, with the tagline "Liberate the point of v-you" (view + you).
Over the last 4 years, my understanding of the possibility I stand for and share has continued to expand; and with greater clarity, my brand is evolving, again, into a visual representation that (for me) more powerfully communicates what I have been "trying" to say all along:
Each of us has our own unique form of "love" to bring to the world, because of who we are and our life experiences. I call this love the Point of You. It turns out, this love is not only what we stand for. Unbeknownst to us, it's also what we're seeking and denying ourselves in our lives and businesses. Whenever we struggle and feel resistance, we're denying ourselves this very specific form of love and respect. In my view, our revolution begins by liberating our "love" (the Point of You) for ourselves, first, so we truly can share this love with others ... by leading lives we love, that make a difference and love us back.
The new logo makes me giddy with joy! It excites and scares me in the best way, inspiring me to "show up" and create even more possibility for myself and others. After all, don't we each need — and doesn't the world need — all of the love we each have to share (and receive), now as much as ever?
Vive la revolution! xo