Welcome Lindsay! Tell me about your background:
I am a storyteller. It started when I was 3—my parents took our family of 6 on a sabbatical to some of the most remote places in the world—trekking across Kashmir, sailing in Tonga, and visiting tribes in Kenya. Rinse and repeat in ‘88 when we traveled around Europe in a VW van stuffed with road bikes, hiking shoes and baguettes. These moments would inform how I perceived experiences from age 3 on—normalcy was the enemy; people and their stories were the gift; and stories that ensued carried a message that have the ability to shape and impact our lives.
Fast forward past magazine editor jobs at Outside and Skiing magazines when I traveled across the globe as a freelance journalist for Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Skiing, MSNBC, Yahoo! and many more. Among others, I traveled to Annapurna in Nepal documenting Ed Viesturs’ final 8,000m peak; to northern Norway retracing the steps of Jan Baalsrud, a forgotten war hero; to Utah where I was buried in a simulated avalanche to report on the physiological repercussions of oxygen deprivation and hypothermia; to Canada, Chile, India, and numerous other locations across the world.
In that time, I learned what mattered to people and why. I learned how to use language to connect, and how to translate highly personal stories into universal truths. In essence, I learned how stories can transform people.
After years of telling other people’s stories, I began training companies, brands and trade associations on how to use storytelling to engage and resonate with their audiences. That led to creating complex branded content programs in the digital space for clients such as Toyota, Twitter, NBC, Yahoo, The Olympic Games, MSNBC, National Restaurant Association, Aetna, MapQuest, Competitor Group, and many more.
From the outside, it looked like a fabulous and lucrative career—and it was for a while.
I was traveling to incredible places all over the world. I was interviewing fascinating people. And working with iconic brands the world was familiar with. But I was trading time for dollars, and not building a business I was proud of, nor a legacy I could point to for my kids. Plus, I was away from my 2 young children and the guilt was overwhelming as I felt I wasn’t doing anything well—working, taking care of myself, nor being the mother I wanted to be.
So, in 2019, I took a break, stopped traveling for work, and started taking a very hard look at what I wanted in my life, how I could leave a lasting legacy that changed people for the better. I took courses, hired coaches, read every personal development and business book I could find, ripped apart my business, and I realized several things. First, I wanted to help people, not just brands. I wanted to give them a holistic transformation in themselves, in the stories they told the world, and how they would be perceived by others. In that, I came up with a brand story framework for entrepreneurs, coaches, athletes, and businesses that allows them to discover their own story that is aligned with their values and strategic business goals, and share it with the world so they can stand out, and build movements. That is what Raw Strategy is all about today.
What was the catalyst event that got you to take your risk to pursue your dream?
In one fell swoop, I lost 2 major clients due to market changes, and they were my bread and butter. As I picked myself back up, I started networking but kept feeling massively unmotivated to just keep doing the same thing I had for years. It felt like a rinse/repeat business, devoid of meaning, and I wasn’t sure how to pivot, if I should pivot, or what would replace my income (which was pretty high). Plus, I wanted to have an impact on people rather than just being a cog in the wheel of a larger brand apparatus. So, as I mentioned above, I took some time off while we were building a new house, read and studied a ton, found mentors and leaders that inspired me and started experimenting. I created videos, blog posts, frameworks and highly valuable free content.
Through that process, I realized that there was a different way, a different feeling that I could achieve in business.
Once I started working with individuals, business owners, athletes, and course creators, I started to see massive transformations. It was so fulfilling, so I began to really hone in on teaching more, writing more guest posts, and restructuring my business so that I could stand out as a thought leader. And that’s where I’m at today.
When you felt stuck, what made you feel most stuck? What did it take to get unstuck?
I don’t often feel stuck—I’m extremely motivated, generally. So, when I felt that yearning and drive that I normally have drain from me as I tried to pick myself back up (after losing my clients), I knew something had to change. For a while, I didn’t know what to do, where to turn, how to start, what to start, and who I wanted to serve.
It took a year of journaling, reading, listening, and being coached to really figure out what that Venn diagram was that included what I loved, what I was good at, who I could impact, and what I could make money at doing.
Once that work was done (and it took some damn hard work), I began to build out the “how” which allowed me to feel unstuck. It was baby steps at first, but the momentum started to build quickly.
How does it feel like now to think about the time when you were uncertain if this life pivot was the right path for you?
My dad always says: You never learn less. And, when I reflect back, I often think of this because it breathes life and reason into why we have to go through things in life. There are always mini epiphanies along the way that get catalyzed into significant life lessons. But it takes reflection to cement those learnings. So, I’m grateful I took that time as it has altered how I feel about, and act within, my business—and life!
What is one sentence of advice you have for people who are reading right now and afraid to pursue their true passion?
Two things: As I mentioned above, it’s worth remembering that life is a series of tangents, and you never learn less.
The point isn’t to have a linear trajectory so you get to arrive safely at the end of your life.
The point is to experience the fullness and richness of life, arrive with some twigs in your hair and dirt under your nails, and that means taking risks to push yourself to the outer limits.
Secondly, and this is my plea: share your story! I always love this quote by Morgan Harper Nichols that says, “Tell the story of the mountains you’ve climbed. Your words could become a part of someone else’s survival guide.”
At what moment did you know your ideas had to work--the point when you knew there was no turning back?
When one client said, “you’re the answer to my prayers,” one day, then another client said, “I’m so thankful I found you, you are changing my life,” that’s when I knew there was no turning back. There is no greater joy than knowing that you had a hand in ushering someone’s life in a direction that allows them to feel the toxicity of confidence, clarity, and joy in their own personal story. I get choked up every time as I feel holistically invested in my client’s success, so when they feel it too, it’s like fireworks!
What's new or next for you? Are there any special projects you're working on or resources you want to share with others? What gets you excited about them?
I’ve been working with several athletes recently, and they are a part of a larger community of athletes that have been sidelined as they transition both within their career, and after their athletic career. These athletes go through several transitions in their career as it pertains to their message, their story, their focus, their values, etc. These transition points for athletes can be intensely confusing, and at times devastating, as they navigate what’s next, how to contextualize their message so that it is relevant and meaningful to their audience, and how they recreate their story within, and after they leave their sport. Given my history in the athletic world, and my passion for it, I’m designing a new brand story program that is for athletes, specifically, who are in a time of transition with their own lives, with their own message, with their own story. This program is insanely powerful, and hugely transformational for people who have been locked in a very specific trajectory their entire lives. It allows them to find confidence in their story, build a message that is rooted in values and a new identity, and create businesses that are sustainable. I’m so excited about this new program! It should be ready summer 2021!
In the meantime, head to RawStrategy.net and download the free guide called 4 Suprising Ways To Use Stories In Your Marketing. You can also download my Ultimate Brand Story Quick Start Guide, which is a robust worksheet-style pdf that allows you to get into the depths of your story, find what matters, the lesson attached, and how to connect those stories to your messaging to build trust, connection, and a movement of loyal fans!