Mid 2019 I walked into a free branding workshop, playing with the idea that I was going to make a living selling embroidery with off-color sayings on them. My comfortable community organizing job had recently been made redundant and I wanted to be intentional about my next career moves (note to seasoned organizing pro's: I know the idea of a "comfortable" organizing job might raise eyebrows - my workplace just happened to be supportive and collaborative, and my role was to wrangle logistical chaos for my boss. Support + collaboration + a dash of chaos = Me Thriving).
With some savings in the bank and two supportive partners in my corner (and the cheapest rent in the city thanks to having four other roommates), I had the privilege to do some thinking about what was next for me. Naturally, as a member of the side hustle generation, I looked toward my only handicraft and wondered that it would look like to monetize that. That's how I ended up at that branding workshop.
You can probably guess that my big takeaway from that workshop was not how to brand my irreverent embroidery business.
About half-way through, we were instructed to think about what makes our brands unique. What do we give that other brands don't? In the course of this discussion I mentioned that people tend to come to me for insight, analysis, or my opinion on their personal situations. I admitted that I was stumped as to how this applied to my nascent embroidery brand.
After a beat, the workshop leader offered the following: don’t ignore what people are already coming to you for.
I could tell in the moment that that warning was going to be a waymarker in my journey. Unfortunately, I had literally no idea how. Obviously no one was coming to me for irreverent embroidery - but what was I supposed to do with the fact that the thing people come to me for is not something I could yet understand to be A Thing?
I mean, people come to me to brainstorm. To see situations from different sides. To get a reality check. To make sense of all the moving parts - to put the details into perspective. To learn to prioritize. To wrangle the logistical chaos (remember how much I love that as a job?)
People come to me to do that, and inevitably leave with a plan of action (no, seriously, I'm the kind of friend where if you come to me with the same problem over and over and never implement our action plan, a hard boundary is about to be put up).
People come to me to been seen by someone who is as empathetic as they are analytical, and who can cut through the overgrowth to identify dysfunctional structures.
It took me a little while to realize that that skill set has a name: coaching.
And now, more than just my friends have access to it.
So, that's my story. The short version of how I got here. The long version happens over the course of about 30 years and is confetti'd with your run of the mill growing pains, drama, and chronic visits from anxiety and depression (we kind of just live together now, uncomfortable roommates). Oh, and a butt-load of student loans. By the way, it took me an impressive five years to finish a two year Master's degree in applied anthropology. Turns out, you can love a subject and still struggle to keep up with inequitable systems (hi, academia and capitalism).
What else is there to know about me? Here are some quick stats: I'm an Arab-American of Lebanese descent, I'm bisexual, I'm a feminist, I'm an anti-capitalist, anti-ICE, I cry about homeless cats, I'm in a same-sex polyamorous triad, I wrote my master's thesis on LGBTQ activism in my city, I almost exclusively read horror fiction, and I can do a rudimentary reading of your birthchart if you'd like.
Here's to future meetings!