Boss is a State of Mind

An OKC branding, coaching and podcasting goddess and her new book on how to grab that dream.

story by Veronica Pasfield | photos by Sarah Becker

The first page of the Being Boss book serves as a perfect example of how bosses function: it boldly defines intention. This is not a book on how to scale your business, write authors Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson. This is a book about getting your mind straight. Your entrepreneurial dreams coming true is a by-product of that.

Kathleen and sister, Tara Street, founded Braid Creative, a brand-building business tucked into a stucco complex in the Paseo. Their OKC fan and client base is broad and it is deep—including the Wheeler District, A Good Egg Dining Group and Commonplace Books, as well as national clients like author and TED Talk phenom Dr. Brené Brown.

Kathleen was early to the blogging game, and quickly helped build a following for Braid's wisdom there. Yes, "Standing out in a saturated market" is a great blog topic. But "Does narrowing in freak you out?" is the kind of emotionally sticky conversation that's generated fierce loyalty among the entrepreneurs who gather under the Braid umbrella.

Kathleen furthered her reach with the hit Being Boss podcast, collaborating with "friendpreneur" Emily Thompson. They host frank and supportive conversations with entrepreneurs like Brené and Whole360 creator Melissa Hartwig.

Kathleen & Emily
The primary premise of the Boss approach is this: first take ownership of yourself. (No biggie, right?)

"After the popularity of our podcast, we realized the world of creative entrepreneurship was hungry for the behind-the-scenes conversations about what it takes to run a business – from combating "fraudy feelings" and cultivating confidence to developing productive habits and routines," Shannon says. "We peel back the curtain on what it's really like to figure it out as you go.... We decided to write the book we wish we had when we were first starting out. (I)t's a guide full of philosophies and concepts that will help you build a foundation for working and living on your own terms."

The promise of Being Boss: Take Control of Your Work & Live Life on Your Own Terms is not small. But it walks us through the Boss methodology, including workbook exercises, and interviews with their A-list "wolf pack" of creative entrepreneurs.

The primary premise of the Boss approach is this: first take ownership of yourself. (No biggie, right?) It starts with calming the mind, moves into identifying values and establishing boundaries that nourish them. Being Boss then lays out processes that make a difference.

One concept stopped this editor dead in my tracks: "Worry is a form of procrastination and an excuse for not doing the work you need to do."

"Emily said (that sentence) once during our show, and it hit me right in the gut," says Kathleen. "Worry feels so useful when you indulge in it. It's your primitive lizard brain protecting you from danger. Today we don't have to worry about survival, but instead the fear of rejection, failure, and feeling like a fraud. To the worrying part of our brain, (that) feels like a threat to our life–when in fact it's just a threat to our ego.

Using the Boss method, I broke worry down to a logic equation, which now lives on a Post-it on my computer screen. It goes something like this: identify your values x use them to set your goals + keep your intentions in your sights x set firm boundaries that protect your goals + values.

"Getting clear on your values, intentions, and boundaries won't eliminate worry or anxiety, especially if you struggle with perfectionism like most of us Type A creatives. (It) will absolutely give your worry a whole lot less power."

There’s a lot of thought and work required of that equation, to be sure, and Kathleen and Emily provide many tools. If you’re not up to it?

"(T)hen put this book down now…(and) consider getting your shit together," they write. "We'll be right here waiting for you when you boss the fuq up."

Being Boss: Take Control of Your Work & Live Life on Your Own Terms is available at local booksellers and Amazon.