We were lucky to catch up with Melissa Farley recently and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Melissa thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. What do you think it takes to be successful?
This is actually one of my favorite questions to answer because as a strategic goals and communications coach, the first thing I do is flip the question right around and ask, “What does success mean to you?” That has to be the starting point, because every person’s definition or vision of success is different and the steps that need to be taken to reach that measurement of success will vary depending on your answer. For some people, success looks like 100K in the bank, multiple investments properties and retirement by age 50. For other people it looks like only working 3 days a week to be able to spend time with their family and loved ones and creating art or volunteering. Once you do that inner work, remove any societal or cultural expectations and define at an individual level what success means, then you can begin that journey. There are, however, some universal qualities that I have found to be beneficial and consistent within all successful people from all walks of life.
1.) Resiliency in Failure. Fail a lot. Fail fast. And expect failure to be a natural part of the process. If you frame failure as simply the opportunity to collect data about how not to do something or a ruling-out process and remove the emotional response of shame or embarrassment, failure can be vehicle you use to drive yourself to success. The founder of Spanx, Sarah Blakely, often shares how her father would ask his kids how they failed that day and I LOVE that. They are all wildly successful business owners, by the way.
2.) Believe to Achieve. The lessons behind Ted Lasso are not only feel-good fuzzies, they are scientifically sound. Your brain is like a giant garden bed. What you plant there is what will grow. The world is hard and challenging enough as it is, so get in the habit of filling your mind with positive, affirming and uplifting self-talk. Before you can do anything, you first have to believe you can.
3.) Set Yourself up for Success. It is easier to change your environment than your mind. Be intentional and take some time to think about all the ways you can set yourself up to make the better, healthier, more productive choice. From setting up reminders in your calendar/phone to meditate or stretch to putting out your workout clothes and gym shoes the nigh before to creating an office space or using apps that allows you to focus on your work distraction-free, do it. Set your life up so that you don’t have to think about choosing the better way.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I have been in the media and entertainment industry with a professional career spanning more than a decade as corporate journalist, editor and manager. I was the manager of digital content for the Western region at the USA TODAY NETWORK with 32 publications under me and a team of 20 producers. I have also managed social media brand strategies for the largest media company in the country, conducted interviews with everyone from Martha Stewart to Mario Lopez, hosted and produced live events and shows and implemented in-community touch points for major organizations.
In 2019, after suffering from extreme burnout, I took a leap of faith and left corporate journalism to start my own business. It has been the best decision I ever made. Stronger Today is a multi-platform community helping women to feel stronger and better today than they did before with personalized support, guidance and resources through their journeys of self-discovery and healing. I am a certified life coach and I take people from surviving to thriving through the G.L.O.W.S method. On Stronger Today, there is a blog, book list, podcast and wealth of resources available all serving the mission of Growing Love Of Whole Self and inner strength.
Given my previous experience, I thought it only natural to help fellow creatives develop branding and messaging that represents who they are as humans, professionals and activists to change the world with a little mindful marketing magic. Stronger Today offers a boutique marketing agency experience, giving each client white glove treatment and expert strategy in Google Advertising, Social Media Marketing and Brand Development.
I also co-own Patty Melt Studios with my 13-time Emmy award winning and Pulitzer Prize winning husband Pat Shannahan. We met at work and shared a love for storytelling, humanity, justice, big hairy dogs, Italian food and travel. Our studio offers innovative and thoughtful video and digital storytelling services for small business, commercial endeavors and filmmakers.
I am very passionate about being involved with my local community. I have been a mentor and facilitator at New Pathways for Youth, an event host and moderator for the educational arm of IFP Phoenix, served on the grant committee for Season for Sharing and have been on the boards of several organizations elevating the arts such as The Fashionomic Collective and the Worldwide Women’s Film Festival.
I also have 13-year long acting and filmmaking career with nearly 40 IMDB credits and national titles, You can catch my feature length directorial debut ‘Moving Ashley’ coming soon to a streaming platform near you and I am currently working on an anthology about mental health, an LGBTQ documentary called ‘Boise 7’ and am in development on several other projects.
Want to work with me? Yay! Above all else, I value relationships with people. Throughout my entire career in media, I have made it my mission to interpret hard data and numbers into meaningful, authentic opportunities for audience engagement across all platforms. Thoughtfulness, deliberation, kindness and empathy are esteemed values that I incorporate into all that I do as a leader, editor, producer and creator of content. The clients I work with operate from a place of high integrity, purpose and vision.
Looking back, are there any resources you wish you knew about earlier in your creative journey?
Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely endeavor. There was a year and a half where I essentially functioned like the stereotypical lone wolf. I was trying to do everything by myself and I eventually hit a place where I realized, this is as far as I can go on my own. I need help. I need accountability. I need support. I wish I hadn’t waited as long to start researching membership communities for women entrepreneurs. There is a lot. Like a lot. But I spent a lot of time following and researching the leaders, the members, understanding the philosophies they operated by, and eventually I decided to join Quinn Tempest’s Creative Your Purpose Collective and it is life-changing. All of the women are wicked smart, remarkably genuine, open and transparent, diverse in interests and background and have enriched my professional path so much. Every single week I am learning, growing and challenging myself with the support of a focused and encouraging community. That is invaluable. There are so many elements of running your business – systems and flows, client interaction, content creation, budgeting, marketing, etc. so having a team of experts to help you work through ideas or smooth out some of the rough edges or learn new concepts has really helped me to level up in my business.
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Doing business as a creative feels almost counter-intuitive to nearly all standard business advice and approaches. You hear all the time that business isn’t personal, it’s business, but when you do business as a creative it’s all personal! All of it. As a creative entrepreneur and business owner, the amount of courage it takes to be vulnerable and put your work out there in public is huge because it is a direct reflection of you and what you care about in this world. I wish that it was common practice in business to treat everyone as a living, breathing human being not just a number or a quota or a piece of data. And because every interaction stems from a human, there are so many more opportunities for connection, collaboration and meaningful impact that could happen on a regular basis if we just slowed down and thought about the global conscious impact and not just the bottom line or profits. There is a different way to do business. There is a way to foster environments where managers are mindful, where every person is set up to succeed and where lifting each other up as valuable humans whose worth is not based on your output, should be the norm. I invite every person to think about how you conduct business with every person you meet/encounter today, from the highest person on the totem pole to the lowest, from the top high-yield client to the lowest, from the parking attendant to the CEO, did you treat every person with equity, integrity, respect and care? Do you view every interaction as an opportunity? If not, why?
- Website: https://strongertoday.co/
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- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/melissafarley
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissa-farley-b8097531/
- Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/themelfarley