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When you’re looking failure in the face…embrace it.

when you're facing failure, embrace it

Last week, I went to an “Urban Campfire“, a night for entrepreneurial women to come together to share stories, not about business, but about life, over dinner and drinks. There were five awesome speakers (my friend Jen being one of them) who told personal stories around the theme, “Rising From the Ashes.”

They opened up about relationship struggles, about recreating old patterns, ignoring their inner voices, about unbearable abuse and pain, including a woman whose baby and husband both died, about traumatic health scares and so many BIG SCARY things. The common thread through each story though, was that they all got through it: lessons learned, insight gained, perspectives shifted.

And their stories, as painful and hard to live through as they must have been, all led to these women, standing strong and brave before our eyes, baring themselves, inspiring and connecting us.

When it was dinner and dessert time, around our individual tables we were asked to answer some questions with one another. First up…

“What’s your biggest failure, and what did it lead to?”

I heard women from 30-something to 60-something opening up about their failed marriages, about having to declare bankruptcy (3 of them had!), of being misunderstood and not accepted by family, of health issues, of wanting to be better mothers- more BIG stuff.

So when it came time for me to share, the spiel I had been rehearsing in my head about how “well, I don’t really believe in failure, but if I did, I guess I’d say that my biggest failure is not being able to fully show my true self, come out of my shell, and these are the ways I’m working on it…” fell away, and instead, my mouth just spilled open

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What I’m leaving behind in 2013, to let more in

leaving things behind to let more in... by Jena Coray

I, for one, am ready to leave a few things behind in 2013: my fear of judgement. Perfectionism. My inhibitions. My fear of showing my whole self, even the parts that might be misunderstood.

I’m realizing that subconsciously, eventho I may try to be all “fuck what other people think” on the outside, other people’s opinions really matter to me. I think that’s part of what makes me empathetic and kind, which I don’t want to change, of course. But I’m seeing differently how worrying about what other people might think has held me back in small and large ways in my life. I don’t want to disappoint, let anyone down, create conflict.

So instead, I tend to keep a lot of bits of myself, to myself. There is so much within me that feels too sacred, too precious to let out into the big, bad world of harsh criticism. I’m protective of myself. I cling to the walls of my safe shell, letting only a few select visitors deep into its cavernous spirals, the center of which, only I really know.

photo by drsmoothdeath

Since the new year dawned though, I’ve been feeling an urge, a rushing wave coming through me, beckoning me to let some of that protection fade away and trust myself that I’ll be able to handle whatever happens outside of that shell. That the fear itself is scarier than what will actually meet me out in the world.

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DIY PR: 9 tips to remember before you send your pitch (and one for after)

DIY PR: 9 tips to remember before you send your pitch (& 1 for after)

Now that you know how to write a pitch an editor will love, from subject line to closing, you’re ready to start emailing your little bootie off!

Before you hit send, here are some quick reminders to help you make sure your pitch stands out as a GEM in that busy editor’s inbox, and has even more of a chance of getting read, responded to and featured!

BEFORE you hit send:

1. Start at the places where you already have contacts/relationships, or at your dreamiest dream spots to be featured (aim high!) and then work your way on down the list- you want to give the best matches the chance for a super fresh feature!

2. Do your research prior to pitching. Check out their about page, submission guidelines, go thru the archives of your product categories and see what sort of things they’ve featured in the past. The better you can get a sense of their specific taste, personality and items they might be drawn to, the better you’ll be able to write a pitch that interests them!

3. Write the kind of pitch that you would like to receive. Keep the editor’s perspective in mind and write to them like a fellow human being. Be specific about why you think your shop/brand might interest them, or what features or columns you think it could fit into based on what you know about their specific taste/interests already (from all the research you did above.) The pitch is about what you can offer them, not the other way around.

4. Keep it friendly, personal, succinct. Don’t worry about being “professional” or send them a formal press release- they go largely ignored. Just write a simple email that sounds like yourself.

5. Keep it focused to one “call to action”, so to speak. Don’t ask about getting featured and for their advertising rates in the same breath- have ONE set focus for each email and you’ll increase the likelihood that they’ll respond.

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