Kathleen Shannon

Creative Entrepreneur, Podcaster, Total Boss

Kathleen co-hosts the wildly popular podcast, Being Boss. She's also Creative Director and co-owner of Braid Creative, helping other creatives blend who they are into what they do through brand & business visioning.(Photo by Justin Falk)

03/18/16

interviewed by Kejal Macdonald

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I started following Kathleen online around 2011 B.I. (before Instagram). At that time she had long blonde dreadlocks and was leaving the advertising world to launch her own creative shop with her older sister. I was drawn in by her hilarious transparency, and officially knew she was my kind of woman when I stumbled upon a lengthy post she wrote all about her period. She's a passionate creator, a badass boxer, and, after reaching out to ask her to give Icon a whirl, she's also become my cross-country pen pal. I'm excited to give you a glimpse into her sassy mind. 

 

Which of your body parts do you have the most affection for?

I love my legs. They look great but they’ve also taken me to amazing places – from the foothills of Mount Everest to beaches in Mexico. I also have a lot of gratitude for my skin. And I can’t help but love my boobies because they seem to make both my baby and my husband ecstatic. 

What’s making you leap out of bed in the morning these days?

Ha – I’m usually literally leaping out of bed to go get my baby when he wakes up. I usually bring him back in bed to snuggle for a good 20-30 minutes before we get on with our day. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day so that’s usually pretty great incentive for getting up and about. 
But one thing I’ve really been looking forward to in the mornings is recording my dreams from the night before. It’s a great way to gather insights into my waking life and to let my soul know that I’m listening. 
I feel most vulnerable when I’m making the first move. Whether that’s initiating sexy times with my husband or hitting publish on a personal piece of writing.

 

What’s causing you pain right now?


I came down with mono recently (WTF?) and have been recovering from that. I typically work out every day and have gone three weeks without – I’m itching to get back into the boxing gym.

 Where do you turn for inspiration and guidance?

I love listening to podcasts and reading memoirs. Hearing stories from other creatives always makes me feel a little more inspired.

One of the most inspiring books I've ever read was Brené Brown's Daring Greatly. It's all about getting in the arena, showing up, and being seen. I more recently read Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic and it changed the way I looked at being a creative in this world – a must read for anyone who is afraid to get started when it comes to creative expression. When it comes to memoirs Amy Poehler's Yes, Please changed my life and I just started getting into Nora Ephron who is an amazing story teller. 

My favorite podcasts to listen to are ones where people are simply having a conversation or telling their story. I devoured Lena Dunham's Women of the Hour and Alec Baldwin's Here's the Thing is a fun listen (I especially enjoyed the episode with Sarah Jessica Parker). 
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What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

I suppose quitting my day job as a senior art director in advertising to work for myself doing branding for other creatives felt like quite a risk. It has absolutely paid off – I am now unemployable and could never be anything but my own boss.

Having a baby and becoming a mom also felt like a big risk – I had no idea what to expect.

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What little activities or personal rituals do you do just for you?

I’m pretty “woo-woo” so I like to regularly smudge my house with sage, I charge my crystals under the full moon, and I love taking note and finding meaning in the synchronicity and coincidences in my life. On a more practical note, I’m really into adding grass-fed beef collagen / gelatin in my tea in the morning and at night. It’s so good for your skin! 

What makes you feel strong?

Being a mom has given me strength I never knew I had. From labor and delivery to the daily demands. The love I have for my baby makes me feel like a warrior.  

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When do you feel most vulnerable?

I feel most vulnerable when I’m making the first move. Whether that’s initiating sexy times with my husband or hitting publish on a personal piece of writing.

In what ways has motherhood most impacted your creative life?

I’ve only been a mom for two years now and so far I’d say my creativity has taken a hit. I don’t have quite as much time to write, reflect, or experiment as I used to. That said, since being a mom I’ve launched one of my most successful and personally fulfilling projects to date which is Being Boss – a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. Being a mom has only added to my experience and perspective, and has deepened my spiritual capacity. For now things might be on hold but my baby is still little and I know this is only temporary.

Complete this sentence: Womanhood is _____________.

A force to be reckoned with.

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You approach coaching creatives and sharing your story with such beautiful intention. What’s the most impactful advice you’ve ever received from a coach / mentor / trusted friend about mapping out your own creative journey?

My coach and friend Jay Pryor gave me the most simple yet powerful advice which is this:

"If you can see it, it’s yours."

The hardest part about embarking on a creative journey is knowing where you are going. But if you can get clear about what you want and imagine it in detail, then it is yours for the taking.

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We love the dedication you have to building, exploring, and expanding your own physical strength. Tell us about how exercise has impacted the relationship you have with yourself as a woman.

I believe that our souls live within our human bodies to gain understandings we’ll carry with us beyond our life on earth. We are so lucky to be in our bodies and I show gratitude for my body by pushing it to its limits. I want to experience everything this human life has to offer – from giving birth to going on meditative walks to climbing up a wall. Exercise reminds me everyday that I’m grateful to be alive in this world.

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We believe in giving ourselves permission and striving for guilt-free womanhood and motherhood as much as humanly possible. Tell us about a source of unnecessary guilt that you’re ready to let go of.

I feel like there is this ideal that moms should be everything for their children – a nurturing caregiver, a gentle disciplinarian, a crafty teacher … The demands placed on moms especially to be 100% “on” for their children 100% of the time is unfair and often makes me feel guilty. 

LIGHTNING ROUND!

INSIDE OR OUTSIDE?  Outside

BOOK OR MOVIE?  Movie

TINA FEY OR AMY POEHLER?  Amy Poehler

WAFFLES OR PANCAKES?  Waffles 

HIGH-FIVES OR HUGS?  Hugs

DINOSAUR OR UNICORN?  Dinosaur