How does an upscale brand consultant attract passionately loyal clients while taking her business from a two-year plateau to 600% growth in only 10 months?
Join me in a conversation with Kristen Domingue as she talks about how she moved past several unconscious, but common entrepreneurial obstacles by implementing a few counter-intuitive techniques. Kristen also shares how she is now living a fuller and more meaningful life by empowering women entrepreneurs with strategies gained from her life changing experiences.
Click Here To Download The Recording Of Kristen Domingue or read the transcription below.
“I believe that feeling unconditional love and that you belong is the basis of your confidence, your access to creativity, and your full capabilities”
Bryan: Hi it’s Bryan here with my good friend Kristen Domingue who is a super power woman and is also an awesome contributor in our community of entrepreneurs, and we’ve known each other Kristen now how long has it been, like three years?
Kristen: Yeah it’s about three years
Bryan: Three Years…and we’ve just seen her on a rocket ship in that time. She helps women entrepreneurs link their personal style to their brand, which is so important, since especially for women our personal style and our brands have really become diverged over the last couple of decades as a culture, and people are starting to value the personal brand coming back. We think of Apple, we think of Steve Job’s actual personal style. When you think of Facebook, you think of Mark Zuckerberg’s personal style, and regardless of what kind of business you’re in, you’re own personal style really needs to be infused with the brand so it resonates with employees, with customers, and with investors. She helps women with this and she helps make sure that their branding and their style is also lined up with their deeper purpose. And this way they know they are attracting the right customers, and they’re doing their “right work”, which to me when she says right work, it resonates a lot with the Buddhist idea of Right Action. Am I on the right track?
Kristen: Oh totally, that’s the idea.
Bryan: When I met her, she had a sustainable, but I’ll say unexciting coaching business kind of in the health domain for a number of years, but recently she’s grown her business 600% in less than a year by getting clear about her purpose and then having the courage and creativity to do what really matters to her and now that she’s gone through that process and that transformation, she now helps women to do the same thing. Kristen, tell me how do you suddenly get the creativity and confidence to do that? How do you go from chugging along as kind of a flat line for a number of years to suddenly a rocket ship?
Kristen: It’s an interesting process. I believe that when you really get to the root of it, that feeling unconditional love, and that you belong is the basis of your confidence, your access to creativity, and your full capabilities. So my super power really is that that feeling of unconditional love and belonging, that comes from within me, and while it’s supported by those people around me, it’s not necessarily dependent on them.
Bryan: So your super power is that unconditional love and belonging comes from inside you?
Bryan: One the one level it sounds kind of corny. It sounds like something you might put on a hallmark card, but you’re saying that really ties to creativity and confidence?
“At some point we always hit this wall where they feel like there’s a limit to the amount of love that they have to doing their right work on the planet. Once we bust through that they’ve got so much more access to taking huge steps in service of their dreams and in service of the planet”
Kristen: Totally, so much so, like I’ve seen clients come to me and when we start at the beginning of our work and there just in a rut around how they can infuse their branding with more purpose, their business with more meaning, the first place we look is where are you feeling loved? Where are you feeling belonged? And at some point in the work, we always hit this wall where they feel like there’s a limit to the amount of love that they have to doing their right work on the planet. Once we bust through that, they’ve got so much more access to creativity, to risk, to taking huge steps in service of their dreams and in service of the planet.
Bryan: I love that it’s more and more explicit in our culture that love is at the root of what we’re able to do and how we’re able to contribute, and the value we’re able to create. It feels inherently true, but it’s still something that’s not talked about out in the open in certain corporate settings for example, but it’s starting to more and more and more, where people realize that it’s not enough to just want the best for their customers or to mentor their employees, but you really have to love them. So I love that that’s just being more explicit and that you’re a part of bringing that out in the powerful clients that you have. You work with women who are just starting out, but also some high end, some more powerful women who have successful sort of celebrity based businesses is that right?
Kristen: Absolutely, with the women who are just starting out, we really work on connecting their purpose and their branding, and with more successful women with established brands, we work more on connecting the personal style piece to the branding and making sure all the pieces of purpose are in alignment and that physical expression of the brand.
Bryan: Awesome. So is this something you were born with? How did you get this super power? The super power fairy came and gave it to you one night? How did you get it?
“I realized the times I was most numb was when I was feeling the least self-expressed”
Kristen: It wasn’t always this way. The reality is that, actually it started on the far other end of the spectrum where I was going in and out of feeling numb and using things around me to try and avoid feeling numb using relationships, food, etc.. It didn’t go as far as things like alcohol and drugs, but I know that for some of my clients, that’s part of what occurs for them. So things just really didn’t feel as meaningful as I wanted them to and as I thought they could in my life and that was really kind of the impetus when I’ve really felt like something is off and I couldn’t quite figure out what it was, but I was just willing to face the fact that something is off. Then what I realized is that the times that I felt the most numb or the least amount of meaning in my life or meaningful, was when I was feeling the least self-expressed. Now that might sound a little hokey or new-agey, but here’s the reality of how that was playing out. I was feeling like there were things I wanted to do, ways that I wanted to be, and I was feeling instead of being able to just do, be, and have those things, I felt a sense of hopelessness or victimization by trade offs. Oh, I want to start this business or be this way, or do xyz, but then it would come with a, b, and c complications.
Bryan: What’s an example of a trade off that you felt victimized by?
Kristen: That’s a great question. I remember for example, and I mean this numbness, it was pervasive in my life. I do remember specifically prior to high school, and it went on for at least a good 7 or 8 years. I really wanted to take a year off. I wanted to travel and then go to school, and my parents were an absolute no to that. Mom, Dad, if you’re listening, I love you, but that’s what I wanted. Another thing was in college, I really wanted to go study abroad in France and the relationship that I was in, I just got the sense that it wouldn’t sustain that at that time. It was a semester abroad, my French teacher though I was ready for it. She was like, you have to come, and I was like uhhh, but my relationship! So if you notice there is a pattern to the two things that I just said. There was something there I wanted to do or be and what I thought I had to give up was something in my relationship to others. Most of the time those were the kind of trade offs that I was feeling victimized, and that you might notice as a pattern in your own life.
Bryan: I was just working with the CEO of an Internet startup. This company has got about $50 Million in sales now. I see them as a billion dollar company in 4 to 5 years. One of the trade offs that the CEO is going through right now is if he really hires the people that he thinks are best for the roles, then he’s going to have to give up on the camaraderie feeling that he has on the team now because not all of the best players fit into the same social group. He’s in that trade off right now trying to figure out how to navigate that. I think the answer to unwinding that lies in his discovery and adherence to his deepest purpose. To what he’s really here for instead of this idea of what he should be as a CEO or what he should be as the founder of a startup company or what he should be in terms of his image of success. Just to give an example that more on the business side. I think it directly ties to what you’re talking about, so continue…
Kristen: Absolutely, I just got to a point where I found myself where my back was against the wall with these trade offs. No matter what I chose after a point, the situation was always a lose for me because I’d be losing A or I’d be losing B, but I’d always be losing something. And so I got to a point where I was just like I can’t live this way anymore. This is not serving me; it’s not serving my business. My business can’t grow. I’m not in my passion. I don’t feel like my life means anything. I mean ultimately there are a lot of ways that I felt like I was put here for more than this. The biggest trade offs I had was I really wanted to be a successful entrepreneur. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and I’m sure some of the ladies who are listening will be able to relate, but I had horrible, horrible, horrible relationships with men. I didn’t trust men. I didn’t feel like men were supporting me. In particular my father, Bryan, and I got to a point where the trade off was clean up your relationship with men or quit the game. Because that is 50% of the population and a whole lot more of the entrepreneurial population that you’re going to need to network with and have support you and back you up. Especially at any point if you ever intend to ask for money for your business. If you don’t have this under control then you might as well stop now. I realized that there was just no way I could keep playing the way I was playing.
“For us to evolve we have to go past the capacity of understanding that our parents have of who we are and create something new”
Bryan: So you got to the level of honesty where you saw your relationship with your father and your desire to be something he approved of in conflict with your desire to be an entrepreneur. I don’t know your dad, but I do know that for the species to evolve we have to exceed the dreams for us that our parents have. For us to evolve, we have to actually go past the capacity of understanding that our parents have of who we are and create something new. I know for many people in our parent’s generation and their parent’s generation, there’s something lost when a woman becomes an entrepreneur and self sufficient and totally independent. And our generation has transcended that. We’re ready to really be led by women, be led by women entrepreneurs, by women politicians, and women leaders and that there’s nothing lost there. You know what I mean. It’s like the undercurrent of an old idea of a traditional gender role.
Kristen: That’s hilarious. When you said undercurrent, my body went, no, you mean over current! It’s really cute. My dad one day came to visit me here in New York years ago and he just said to me “Kris don’t you just want a man to just take care of you? Don’t you just want to have that? That’s how men are built.” I was like “Dad, I really want to know how to take care of myself, first, more than anything. I want to know that I can care for me, that I have that capability”.
Bryan: I was just talking this week with Stacy Morgenstern about this exact issue and as you know she runs a really powerful leadership and entrepreneurial company. Her husband Gregory Kellett just signed up for their mastermind program. He’s paying in full, of course, and one of the things that came up at their first meeting was where he would stand up and talk about his need as a man to be a provider and since Stacey has her business is just taking off and he’s actually elected to stay at home and be Mr. Mom, and take on the parenting responsibilities more. He now has decided that providing doesn’t have to be monetary, so if he provides an emotional safe haven. He provides a context for her experience. He provides a platform for her to become her greatest expression of her self. So he’s connected to providing in that way instead of providing the dollars. So when you said “don’t you want a man to just take care of you”, I think you do want a man to take care of you, but that doesn’t mean ownership, or it doesn’t mean an absolution of your responsibility of taking care of your self. It’s more like he can be an emotional provider so you can feel cared for, tended to, and supported in your expression.
Bryan: So when you’re in the midst of it must feel like people aren’t supporting you because you’re split, part of you is trying to become something that is what you should do or feel the right thing to do from a almost an external point of view or even though part of you doesn’t feel fulfilled by it or feels numb. But if that’s not being supported it must feel like people don’t support you.
Kristen: Totally, I had a story about my ex, and how I wasn’t getting supported by my ex, my parents weren’t supporting me enough, and my friends weren’t supportive enough. I had this total story going on in my life about the ways I wasn’t being supported and in particular the biggest story I had was that I wasn’t supported by the men in my life and I just was like, OK, that’s enough of this song and dance, somebody stop pressing repeat on the track please.
Bryan: You say you had a story that you weren’t supported, which indicates that you don’t believe that anymore.
Bryan: How did you wake up to the falseness of that story?
“It was actually more me denying what I wanted than anyone else denying me what I wanted or who I wanted to be”
Kristen: I just took a look for the root of the story and confronted it. The biggest place I had that story going on was with my own father and I realized how untrue that was. Not as a result of my own hand. I actually needed to put myself in an environment where I could then be called out on, that that story was actually not true. That it was actually more me denying what I wanted than anyone else denying me what I wanted or who I wanted to be. So while my father’s expression of love wasn’t necessarily the perfect expression of love that I wanted to hear, what was irrefutable was that he loved me.
Bryan: If you’re in a business that’s sort of parked or you’re walking around feeling like you’re not quite doing what your purpose, you don’t really know what your purpose is. It’s one thing to know that, it’s another thing to make the change that you made and grow your business by 600% in 10 months. So what did you do?
“If you move in the direction of the difference you actually make, and turn the volume up on that, that’s when things shift”
Kristen: There are a couple things that I did. Its so funny how it has nothing to do with business and everything to do with business. So the first thing I did was gave up hope that I would ever be loved by my parents for who I want to be. I think there is a phrase that you used one moment. You just looked me in the eye and said, “you know what Kristen? Your parents are not coming to your freedom show.” That did it. I was like oh snap. I cannot deny this any longer. I can’t play. It’s going to happen if I just make myself slightly different, more acceptable, it was like either get out of the double bind or continue to feel this way for ever. Step 2 was that I moved towards making a difference by paying attention to what actually made a difference in the other person’s beingness as a result of being with me. What where they actually getting? I did research. I asked people. What are you actually getting out of working with me? What is the actual result that you derived from being in my presence? I asked friends, I asked past and current clients. One of the most profound problems that I find women come to me with is again the same idea. There is a difference I want to make and then there is the difference I actually make. Rather than just moving in the direction of the difference you actually make and amplifying the hell out of it, we beat ourselves up for falling short of the difference that we want to make. But actually if you move in the direction of the difference you actually make and really turn the volume up on that, that’s when things shift.
Bryan: There are two hypotheticals that I have in mind. One is someone is in exactly the shoes you were in before. They are feeling numb or they have the sense that they’re not living their purpose, but they have no idea what their purpose is, and they want to matter, but it doesn’t even matter that it doesn’t matter enough because of the numbness feeling. What can they do today?
Kristen: Go back to the fact that you’re feeling numb and know that on the peripheral boundaries of numbness, just outside that there’s some stuff you don’t want to feel. So what you’re going to do is you’re going to feel it. And you’re going to feel it until there is nothing left there to feel of that, and then you’ll move into the next feeling. If it’s anger, get help feeling the anger. If it’s sadness, get help feeling the sadness. If its guilt or shame, the reality is that feeling, you’re choosing numbness instead of choosing those feelings.
Bryan: I would call that the metaphysical. On the more physical side, you’re like “OK Kristen, I’m ready, I want to be more boldly who I am. I’ve felt the pain. I’ve felt the sadness. I’m done with the therapy. I went dancing. Ok, but that’s not helping my business grow 600%, what can I do in the physical world if I want to be more boldly who I am, but I’m afraid that people won’t accept me or having the sense that I might be having some of the issues that you’re talking about.”
“You end your liberation letter with a declaration of choice”
Kristen: If you’re in trade off land, you want to do something I call writing a liberation letter to the people that you’re afraid will or the circumstances that you’re afraid will dissolve or leave you if you really go for it with your fill in the blank dream. So you want to tell them what you want to do. What is your true fear that their reaction will be? Like really picture it what they’ll say, how that will feel hearing them say it, and try to avoid clichés or blanket statements about what that will be. Really be as concrete as you can. And you end your liberation letter with making a declaration of choice.
Bryan: Once you actually write that letter, once you actually say what your real concerns are and then make a declaration the form of those concerns has changed from something larger than you and impenetrable to something smaller than you, concrete, and negotiable. Was that you’re experience?
Bryan: If this topic that we talked about really speaks to you and you want to talk with her, Kristen, you have something called the ignite core concept guide, where people can really discover what their core concept is, which will end their questions about their purpose and have them be able to tie that purpose to their business directly. If you want the ignite core guide, go to www.kristendomingue.com. Go there sign up for Kristen’s list, ask her questions, comment on her blog, and get the concept guide. Kristen I just wanted to say thank you for giving your time and sharing your super power and living and letting us see in the cape. As you know we’re doing more and more of these super power interviews where the amazing people that we know that are really flourishing, and living what I see as the future of where entrepreneurialism is going, where every person is lit up about who they are, what they’re doing, and living their purpose in a way that is lucrative. They feel successful and their clients feel successful. Thank you so much for being a part of it.
Kristen: I am so honored. Thank you for having me today. It’s been a pleasure.
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