Passion Squared 2019 gratefulAF challenge hd

The 2019 gratefulAF challenge

There is always something to be grateful for.

Two years ago we kicked off our annual gratefulAF challenge and had NO idea the impact it would make. Like, WOW. Each day I saw you, our passionate community, light up the world. A big shout out of gratitude to all of you who participated in 2017 + 2018, you sparked so much fucking joy for those your serve and love.

We are doing the challenge again for 2019 because gratitude changes fucking everything.

This is my personal story and why gratitude is the center of all that we do at Passion Squared and how it can help you with perspective, awareness and even possibly help change the chemistry in your brain (here’s a study!)

In early 2007 I was in the darkest place I have ever been in my life. So much so, that I was planning my suicide. But here it is, 20 fucking 19… I am alive, living my purpose and empowering others to live their’s too. How did this happen? It all began with gratitude.

Of course, there is so much more to the story which I share in my book Follow Your Heart, but it was learning about the power of daily gratitude that made me realize that I had more to do on this planet, and that no matter how dark my head became, there was always something to be grateful for.

From there, I was able to keep perspective, and perspective allows me to get through just about any hardship, sadness or loss. It was this quote that changed it all for me, which is tattooed on my left arm to be sure I never forget that gratitude saved my fucking life.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie

We created a simple challenge for you and one I hope you invite your community + teams to join in too. It’s called the gratefulAF challenge.

Each day in the month of November we invite you to practice a little piece of gratitude and kindness.

Passion Squared 2019 grateful AF challenge social art square final

 

Here’s how it works:
Launch date: November 1, 2019 (but you can begin anywhere, anytime!)
1. Capture your gratitude
2. Post to your Instagram page or Stories (only if you feel inspired to do so)
3. Use #passionsquared
4. Tag @passionsquared /@ mention passionsquared if posting in Stories

Click here for the Instagram portrait size graphic
Click here for the Instagram Stories graphic
Click here for the Instagram gratitude list template
Click here for the Facebook/Instagram/Blog post square size graphic

To use our gratitude gif’s for your Insta Stories or anywhere, search the term PASSION SQUARED under GIFS in Insta Stories or on giphy.com
Passion Squared_GiphySticker_1_GRATEFUL_BK_GLITTER

My intention is that after 30 days you will feel how much gratitude can change your perspective, your energy, your brain, your biz and your LIFE and you see the value of a daily gratitude practice.

How will you incorporate this challenge into your business and life? We would love to hear your gratitude ideas!

With love + a fuck ton of gratitude-
Nina @passionsquared


BTS of this blog + challenge
Total Time: 4 hours

Building the challenge
Developing the idea and daily themes 1 hour
Designing graphics on Canva.com 1 hour
Editing 30 min.

Building the blog
Writing 30 min.
Editing/SEO stuff 30 min.
Proof reading 15 min.
Designing graphics on Canva.com 15 min.

Passion Squared #gratefulAF challenge 2018 hd

The #gratefulAF challenge 2018

There is always something to be grateful for.

Last year, we kicked off our annual #gratefulAF challenge and I had NO idea the impact it would make. Like, WOW. Each day I saw you, our passionate community, light up the world. A big shout out of gratitude to all of you who participated!

So this year, we decided to start a month early. Why? It seems like so many are grateful in November, but we believe in 365 day gratitude so there is no better time then NOW.

This is my story and why gratitude is the center of all that we do at Passion Squared…
In early 2007 I was in the darkest place I have ever been in my life. So much so, that I was planning my suicide. But here it is, 20 fucking 18… I am alive, living my purpose and empowering others to live their’s too. How did this happen? It all began with gratitude.

Of course, there is so much more to the story which I share in my book Follow Your Heart, but it was learning about the power of daily gratitude that made me realize that I had more to do on this planet, and that no matter how dark my head became, there was always something to be grateful for.

From there, I was able to keep perspective, and perspective allows me to get through just about any hardship, sadness or loss. It was this quote that changed it all for me, which is tattooed on my left arm to be sure I never forget that gratitude saved my fucking life.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie

We created a simple challenge for you and one I hope you invite your community + teams to join in too. It’s called the #gratefulAF challenge. Each day in the month of October we invite you to practice a little piece of gratitude.

Passion Squared gratefulAF challenge 2018 social art

 

Here’s how it works…

1. Capture your gratitude in action
2. Post to Instagram page or Stories (only if you feel inspired to do so)
3. Use #passionsquared #gratefulAF
4. Tag @passionsquared /@ mention passionsquared if posting in Stories

Click here for the Instagram graphic
Click here and here for Instagram Stories graphics

NEW for this year is our Instagram Story GIF’s! Search the term GRATEFUL to find our grateful logo GIF.

Heart Love Sticker by Passion Squared for iOS & Android | GIPHY

My intention is that after 31 days you will feel how much gratitude can change your perspective, your energy, your brain, your biz and your LIFE and you see the value of a daily gratitude practice.

With love + a fuck ton of gratitude-
Nina @passionsquared


BTS of this blog + challenge
Total Time: 4 hours

Building the challenge
Developing the idea and daily themes 1 hour
Designing graphics on Canva.com 1 hour
Editing 30 min.

Building the blog
Writing 30 min.
Editing/SEO stuff 30 min.
Proof reading 15 min.
Designing graphics on Canva.com 15 min.

#gratefulAF challenge Passion Squared blog

The #gratefulAF challenge

In early 2007 I was in the darkest place I have ever been in my life. So much so, that I was planning my suicide. But here it is, 20 fucking 17… I am alive, living my purpose and empowering others to live their’s too. How did this happen? It all began with gratitude.

Of course, there is so much more to the story which I share in my book Follow Your Heart, but it was learning about the power of daily gratitude that made me realize that I had more to do on this planet, and that no matter how dark my head became, there was always something to be grateful for.

From there, I was able to keep perspective, and perspective allows me to get through just about any hardship, sadness or loss. It was this quote that changed it all for me, which is tattooed on my left arm to be sure i never forget that gratitude saved my fucking life.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie

November seems to be the month people remember to be grateful, so I decided to create a simple challenge for you and one I hope you invite your community + teams to join in too. It’s called the #gratefulAF challenge. Each day in the month of November I invite you to practice a little piece of gratitude.

Passion Squared #gratefulAF challenge art Insta

Here’s how it works…

1. Capture your gratitude in action
2. Post to Instagram page or stories
3. Use #passionsquared #gratefulAF
4. Tag @passionsquared /@ mention
passionsquared if posting in stories

Invite your community + team to join us!

Click here for the Instagram graphic
Click here for the Insta Story graphic

My intention is that after 30 days you will feel how much gratitude can change your perspective, your energy, your brain, your biz and your LIFE.

With love + a fuck ton of gratitude-
Nina @passionsquared


BTS of this blog + challenge
Total Time: 4 hours

Building the challenge
Developing the idea and daily themes 1 hour
Designing graphics on Canva.com 1 hour
Getting feedback + editing 30 min.

Building the blog
Writing 30 min.
Editing/SEO stuff 30 min.
Proof reading 15 min.
Designing graphics on Canva.com 15 min.

The First Passion Squared blog March 2012 hd

5 Truths of Turning A Passion Into A Brand

Small business isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s for the brave, the patient and the persistent. It’s for the overcomer. Unknown 

Five years feels both so very long and so very short. My first and only career lasted 25 years. My life, 50 years as of this writing. But there is just something about creating a business from scratch, and reaching this milestone that is giving me all the feels, something I know all small biz owners can relate to.

How did we get here? It’s a simple story quite honestly, but far from easy. Actually, it was, and continues to be, hard AF. The obvious is passion. But, and here is a big BUT, you can be passionate as all get out, and never turn that passion into a brand. It takes more. Way more. A lot more!

Courage
This comes first cause without this; we will never start. I gave up everything. Sold everything. Sacrificed everything. Do you need to do that same? Not at all. But no matter how you slice it, you gotta dig deep for the courage to take the road less traveled. To risk everything. To walk from failure to failure with grace. Courage will keep you going when you want to quit. There are still days I want to quit. But I don’t. And you don’t have to either.

Clarity
There was never a doubt of what business we were in and why we were in it. From day ONE. Clarity allows you to make decisions, build strategies, stick to plans and most important, not become distracted by the latest, greatest fad. Know what business you are in, and more importantly, WHY you are in it. Gain a deep understanding of your purpose, promise and people. That is the foundation of an awesome brand.

Commitment
Building a brand around the social + digital web in 2012 was not the most brilliant of ideas. We were too early, like 4 years too early. But knowing that business was changing, forever, and our belief in the social + digital web as a means of empowering small business was so strong, we stayed committed. No, after no, after NO. Most people are committed only for as long as it’s easy. It’s never easy. Which is where commitment comes in. Commit. And take action. And commit again. Adjust your strategy but never your vision or purpose.

Consistency
Once you have committed, now comes the even harder part, consistency. And I do not mean consistency as in never changing, boring, status quo stuff, nope. I mean consistency of purpose, vision, message, voice, of focus, of story and of simply showing up every damn day. A big part of our success has been simply; consistency.

Community
Without relationships and a tribe, we got nothing. From community comes clients, from clients comes revenue, and from revenue comes the ability to create more value for your community. Simple in theory, but not easy in execution. Building relationships takes time, and good intentions. If you think you are going to make something and all of a sudden the world is going to start calling you, it just ain’t so.

You see, I didn’t just fall into creating brands and businesses. Nope, I had a long, awesome, and very successful career as a leader, marketer and educator. I spent over two decades creating stuff for others, but I had never, created something of my own.

But on March 26th, 2012, I finally hit the LIVE button; on our website, newsletter and social pages. OMG! I totally wanted to throw up. You feel me?

Passion Squared began with a vision of empowerment and engagement. Myself, and my former biz partner saw something that we believed could “change everything” for creative small businesses. But nobody would listen. We had some pretty turbulent times, and every day came with at least one WTF moment, well, actually, a ton of them.

Early on, my biz partner decided to move on, and I was left with what to do next. I began again, from zero, about 1-½ years in. Throwing in the towel was on my mind, almost on the daily. But how could I throw away something I believed in so deeply? How could I throw away the idea of waking up each day empowering the people I loved? I just couldn’t.

Pushing my ego aside, I got back to work. And worked, and worked, and created, and showed up, and delivered value, and built relationships, and community and… finally, one day, it all clicked (pun intended, kinda).

Here is what the first few years of Passion Squared looked like;
Daily blogs
Daily newsletters
Daily Facebook engaging
Daily Instagram engaging
Monthly webinars
Weekly vlogs
Online Courses

This was my strategy. I did not create an Internet marketing funnel. I did not take any Internet marketing courses, I did not need to. If I knew nothing else, I knew how to build a brand, a community and how to market. It’s what I did my entire career and quite successfully. But, what I also did was stay true to my purpose, and promise, and that was infusing personal development into everything I did. Every course I created. Every piece of content. As one thing I know for sure, MOST of what gets in the way of creative small biz owners after all the stuff, is confidence. And that is an inside job. It requires self awareness, therapy, losing the notion of perfectionism, setting healthy boundaries, prossessing traumas, and dropping the co-dependency bullshit.

As community builded, I built more online courses and offered one on one coaching. I created more products and services that I knew would add value to my community. I wrote a book, and sold lots of them, and helped a lot of people in doing so. I created A School, by far the most awesome service I ever created, and to this day, my greatest pride and joy. As our A School Members remind me on the daily WHY I started and WHY I stay.

I got into a ton of debt, took side jobs as needed, and even worked a few hours a week for $15/hour, after making millions as a big executive. And I did all this for two reasons; to save my life, and to live my purpose by empowering the people I love.

You see, I never, ever thought I would leave my career. I had not planned on it, not ever. Money has never had much value to me, so I did not have a nest egg significant enough to last me the early years of not generating revenue. But I persisted. And never gave up.

And here we are. This is not a unique story. This is all of our stories. And this is mine. Today, I can breathe. I can wake up each day knowing I have one job, and that is to help people by empowering you to create your own kind of awesome.

To our beloved tribe, thank you for 5 awesome years of passion + awesome. And while this is a milestone that I am proud AF of, we still have so much work to do! Heeeere weeeee go!

Love + Awesomeness-

Nina

PS: We made a little love note for you to say thank you. For reals. Watch it. THANK YOU!

 

Passion Squared blog- The Wizard of Social Media (1)

The Wizard Behind The Selfie

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”  L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

In today’s world of online everything, there is so much light and love, but there also can be so much darkness and deception. You see, online we have the ability to present and promote just about anything. And many actually believe what is being presented to them. In so many ways, that can be awesome, but in other ways, it can be debilitating and impact people’s esteem.

What am I talking about? Perspective.

There are millions of images being shown to us each day. Some are real, and some not so much. And my question is… Is that a good thing or a bad thing? And my answer? Both.

The Magical “But I’m Sick” Selfie
Recently, I was asked to provide a head shot for an event. Which normally I would simply email my go-to black and white head shot most of you have seen on my website and social media, taken by my awesome friend Anne Slattery, and one that I did not have much makeup on and for sure no filters. It’s real. Wrinkles and all. And I love it. But this request was for a color head shot, which I did not have, and they needed it within 24 hours. OMG, what the hell was I gonna do?

On that particular day, I was battling a nasty cold, and the last thing I wanted to do is take a damn picture of my snot nose face. But as any awesomeness creator does, we step up and show up. So I put my big girl panties on, scrubbed my face, put on a shit ton of makeup (which I hardly ever do), called in #teamawesome, and said “lets do this”!

Makeup + Ringlights + Filters Oh My!
With packed on makeup, a fake smile (remember, I was sick!), a ring light and a Snapchat filter (the one that removes all trace of any flaws on our faces, which I call the good self esteem filter), we began shooting. About 25 pictures which were mostly selfies. And then I was done. What little energy I had was zapped from my body.

We took those pics and began to filter them even more, using whatever editing apps were going to create the most magic, and like magic, we had our final pic.

I don’t think I have ever received more feedback about the pic we took that day. I mean, it was like I had just finished a shoot for the cover of Vogue. “Nina, you look beautiful. Nina, those lashes. Nina, the light in your eyes, Nina….

And while I was so grateful for those beautiful words, it made me immediately think about the insane pressure we put on ourselves to look “perfect” on social media. To present “perfect”, to edit to “perfect” and to compare to “perfect”. And the fact it, most of what we see is just smoke and mirrors. Like the Wizard. Like my new head shot.

Yes, it’s me. Yes, I know I am beautiful, inside and out. But don’t get it twisted; it is not what I look like everyday. Not even close. I am two months from 50. I have wrinkles. My skin tone is not even. My lashes are extensions. And with a cold, I look even worse. And that is what is real.

Comparison Is The Thief of Joy
Now let me be clear, there is NOTHING wrong with using the awesome tools and technology available to us to present our best self and our best work. It’s awesome, and I love it. BUT, where it becomes dark and destructive is when we believe it’s actually real. Like 100%. And we begin comparing ourselves and our work to what we see on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.

In addition to that, please remember that most of the time, people only present what they want you to see. And we make things up in our heads as to what we believe to be true. Follower counts do not equal paying the bills. Pretty head shots do not equal being successful. And beautiful work does not mean you have a full clientele.

My promise as a human and a brand is to always be honest and authentic. Why? Because I am in the empowerment business. And empowerment comes from within. Empowerment comes when we own our awesomeness, wrinkles and all.

So by all means use the lights, the filters, the lashes, the makeup, the apps, all of it. But please, be honest with yourself and others. And stop comparing your behind the scenes to others highlight reels (or selfies, or head shots or work, or claims, or follower counts, or…).

Love + Awesomeness-

Nina xo

PS: Wanna share Snap stories? I’m passionsquared, I would love to connect with you!