I met the lovely Hannah Braime at a time when I was feeling a little desperate.
I was getting to paint all the time, setting up my new studio, and preparing for my first art show. And yet I was panicking. I was filled with self-doubt and uncertainties and basically working myself in a nice little anxiety-induced paralysis.
Fortunately, on a whim I contacted Hannah for a self-kindness counseling session through Sarah's Network of Nice. Best decision ever.
Hannah is an incredible listener and full of insightful and practical advice. She works as a writer and coach, and after talking to her, I knew I wanted to hear a bit more about her story and her tips for those of us who could use a does of self-kindness.
Hannah, tell us a little about yourself! What do you do?
I'm a coach and a writer from the UK. I founded becomingwhoyouare.net, where I teach people how to be kinder to themselves and reconnect with their creative joy.
How did you come to do this type of work?
I became interested in personal development when I went through a very difficult time during my late teens/early twenties. I originally started my blog as a way of exploring my own thoughts and feelings. After training to be a counsellor for a year, I realised that, although I think it's a hugely valuable service and profession, I felt more excited about supporting people to focus on the future rather than the past. I started coaching in 2013 and have been loving it ever since!
What has been the biggest hurdle you had to overcome to achieve your goals?
The biggest hurdle for me has been my internal dialogue. There's a saying that we end up teaching what we most need to learn ourselves, and this is certainly true in my case!
I started my site in 2010, but it's only become a business venture in the last 18 months. During that time, one of the biggest challenges has been self-negotiation -- learning to embrace uncertainty and discomfort, learning to take reasonable risks, and moving through the "what will people think of this?" fear (all of which are still a work in progress).
Two things in particular have helped me overcome this hurdle. The first is surrounding myself with the right people. In the beginning, I didn't pay enough attention to this and, consequently, I think the journey was more challenging than it might have been otherwise. One of the best things I've done over the past year is to start building a community of people who are supportive and challenge me to be the best version of myself.
The second is getting really clear on my non-negotiables, the activities that help me feel like the best version of myself. I know that when I'm getting enough sleep, journaling, exercising, meditating regularly, and making time to create every day, I'm far better able to handle the highs and lows of life and business. It sounds really simple (and it is!) but these activities are usually the first to go when we feel stretched or stressed.
What has been your proudest moment in this journey?
It's hard to choose one proudest moment. . . I know I've felt proud when I've been able to reach and serve a lot of people, whether that's through coaching, getting published in HuffPo, or through running a bundle of self-care products like I did earlier in June.
I've also noticed on a day-to-day level that I feel most satisfied by the work I'm doing when I focus on the process rather than the outcome and make sure I'm showing up each day, focusing on what's important, and putting my community first.
Who are some of your biggest inspirations or role models?
Steve Chandler. I love his wisdom around overcoming self-limiting beliefs and living as the best version of ourselves.
Jacob Sokol from Sensophy: Jacob really helped me get my coaching business off the ground and seeing his progress is an inspiration.
Eric Maisel. His books on creativity are down-to-earth BS-free inspiration.
Cigdem Kobu: I'm part of The Progress Lounge, Cigdem's group for introverted women solopreneurs. Not only is she a fabulous mentor, but she's created a lovely community there.
Gwen Bell: Gwen started off in the tech-meets-personal-development world and has since gone uber tech. I admire the fact that she lives life on her terms. She educated me about a few things that are key in my own life, from Non-Violent Communication to the writing software Scrivener.
What advice would you give to new creative entrepreneurs who are struggling with anxiety, stress, or feelings of defeat?
First, remember that you are definitely not alone in feeling this. Even people who appear to have everything "sorted" experience fear, worry, stress, doubt, and all that uncomfortable stuff. Feeling isolated can compound this experience, so I'd encourage you to reach out to someone you can trust who will listen and empathise with what you're dealing with.
Next, focus on what you can give rather than what you can get. We all want to pay bills and have clients knocking down our door, but these things both come from adding value first. When we become fixed in a scarcity mindset (i.e. not having enough, not doing enough, not being enough, etc.), we start making it all about us. Shifting that focus back to our clients, customers, and communities helps take some of that pressure off and leaves us in a better position to serve the people our work can really help.
Finally, think of your business like a marathon: if you're at the beginning of a marathon and you keep thinking about how far the finish line is, you'll soon start to feel demotivated and frustrated. Instead, focus on putting one foot in front of the other. Find someone to pace you. Use the people cheering on the sidelines to keep moving. Get up each morning and ask yourself: "What is the one thing I can do today that will move my business forward?"
Any projects coming up you want to share?
Yes! I have a big project coming up later this year. It will be an offering for creative entrepreneurs who want to explore ways they can reclaim their creative joy while building a sustainable and thriving business. If you're reading this and feel like you could use more balance in your hustle, I recommend joining my community to hear more information when its ready.
And just for fun. . . coffee or tea?
I gave up coffee earlier this year so, while I still pine for it, I'm going to say herbal tea. :)
Thank you so much Hannah for taking the time to share all this great material with us!