April 23rd, 2017 - Brand

Turning your bruises into badges of honour

In the week leading up to Easter, I felt like I was in the middle of a sh*tstorm. Every time I turned around, there was one more crisis, one more screw up, one more problem to solve … and not enough hours in the day.

From our bank accidentally freezing our accounts, to our electrician leaving half our house without electricity, and my husband’s car being towed (to name just a few of the mishaps) I was, as they say, beside myself. Paralyzed. Pissed off. Sad.

And the noise didn’t stop there. As I waited with hope for a weekend respite of relaxing and enjoying the Easter break, a horrific flu struck our home on the eve of Good Friday. The epidemic culminated with my dog vomiting more on our couch than you could possibly imagine during Easter dinner appetizers and a call to 911 later that night for one of my humans.

It was a sh*t week. And it came at a time as I was poised to make a monumental decision about the business of Blackcoffee Studio.

More and more clients are turning to us for creative inspiration. Building brands and gorgeous websites, telling stories and making magic. It’s massively inspiring to breathe creative life into an entrepreneur’s hope and dreams.

And it’s so different from the adrenaline-pumping (and addictive) world of politics, media relations and crisis communications. The world where I started, where I thrived and where I learned so much.

At Blackcoffee, we have served both worlds and have served them well. We make our clients happy and we make money. And it has all worked so far. But there’s a niggling voice at the back of my brain that’s calling on me to choose one, to be all in, to dedicate my efforts, learnings, time and skills to one path, and to one passion.

The little voice had made me stop and ponder. What lies ahead? What do I want to become known for?* What makes my soul happy?

Is it the world of telling stories and making magic or the world of adrenaline-pumping firefighting?

So, as I stood evaluating my life with a foot in both worlds, balancing precariously and facing a critical life decision, I was ducking the crappy lemons of day-to-day life and they were coming at me fast and furiously.

I was exhausted and ready to throw in the towel. To stop growing. To say ‘NO’ to choosing. To snuggle back into the safe little world I’d created. To take the easy way out.

How often do we do that in life? Hide from our dreams? Do what we think we should do rather than what we want to do?

“Too often, we do things just because. Because that’s the way it’s done. Because someone told you to. Because that’s the way the world works. But most importantly, because we don’t want to have to think too hard about it. Thinking is work. And we don’t want to do more work.”

Ash Ambirge

I’m not going to take the easy way. I’m going to look at the bruises and scars from the battering of last weeks lemons as badges of honour. As reminders that I am strong and as a sign that I have the guts to pursue a path that will fuel my passion.

And in the end, it really wasn’t a choice but an obligation. I have big dreams for our team here at Blackcoffee. And to realize those dreams it’s time to follow Seth Godin’s advice below. To raise the bar, change the rules and play the game better than anyone else. To do that, I need to fully invest in creating brands as ambitious and powerful as my client’s dreams.

“I don’t think we have a choice. I think we have an obligation to change the rules, to raise the bar, to play a different game, and to play it better than anyone has any right to believe is possible.”

-Seth Godin 

So I’ll stop the balancing act here, unapologetically start saying no to the stuff of crisis and chaos, and focus my attention on building incredible brands and telling the stories that help entrepreneurs grow and thrive.

It will be with gratitude that I’ll look back on the sh*tstorm of flying lemons that drove my decision-making process and helped me realize I have the strength to make this change.

Where will your lemon pummeling lead you? What do you want to become known for?* Do you have an ambitious dream you’re ready to launch?

Give me a shout. I’m here to help you tell your story.

With gratitude,

Shannon Larkins

Shannon Larkins

Founder, Blackcoffee Studio

Over the course of 15+ years, Shannon has grown Blackcoffee Studio out of a love for building brands and reputations. She serves up Blackcoffee as a morning ritual while caffeinating clients and readers on the regular. You can find her at www.BlackcoffeeStudio.com


Blackcoffee Studio

Blackcoffee is a premium brand development agency, offering luxury brand experience to clients at home in Calgary, Canada and around the globe. Brands create experience, set you apart from the competition and drive growth. Anyone can bulid a business but only the exceptional can create a brand. Are you ready?

Shannon Larkins

Shannon Larkins

Hi I’m Shannon, founder of Blackcoffee Studio. A former reporter, spin doctor and politico, I now focus on using my powers for good.

I create mighty brands for clients and share their stories with the world. I’m also rather addicted to my nutty family, dogs with pushed in faces, Mexico and of course coffee … black.