DIY Brand

DIY Branding

When I first started designing, I was awful.

I had always loved design. I had always respected designers. And I had always known (or at least thought I knew) that I was not a designer. I left making pretty things to the people who were actually good at it.

But one day at my corporate job, they fired my entire department and they asked me to design.

I needed a paycheck, so I said “sure thing, boss” and I started designing.

And it was awful.

They didn’t care, because they were getting a 5-for-1 salary deal.

I cared a lot, so I worked really hard at improving my skills.

I got better. But I didn’t get really good until the company I was working for hired a seasoned designer who was exceptionally kind to me and forgiving of all of the atrocities I had created in the absence of a real designer.

“You have the eye for it,” she said.

“You just need to learn methodology.”

And she taught me.

This blog post actually has nothing to do with design, though.

DIY design is a terrible idea — especially when it comes to your brand. Because brand design is not about what YOU think is pretty. The visual elements of a brand are informed by your already-existing brand.

We’ve reached the portion of our programming where you might be like, um what?

By virtue of existing, you already have a brand — in order to create really effective design, you have to paint a clear picture of what that brand is.

Why are we here? Where are we going? Who’s going with us?

I don’t highly recommend that you take up logo design. It will be terrible, just like my first 147 attempts at logo design were terrible.

But I do recommend that you DIY your brand.

Take time to write down your vision.

To declare what you stand for you.

To declare WHO you stand for.

THIS is your brand. And while you can’t do everything yourself, you CAN do this.


I’m gonna be a Celebrity (Brand)

I am a bit of a theater nerd.

Big surprise, right? (I mean, have you seen my Facebok live videos?)

I’m always looking for parallels between the things I love — from surfing to Broadway. Lately, Roxie Hart’s self-titled song from the musical Chicago has been on my mind.

I’m gonna be a celebrity, that means somebody everyone knows…they’re gonna recognize my eyes, my hair, my teeth my boobs my nose…

Being brand makes you a celebrity in your own right.

While we are on the theme of music, Miranda Lambert sings a song called everybody dies famous in a small town. The premise is in a small town, everyone knows your name and gets in your business.

The entire purpose of branding is to leave a legacy and to leave a legacy, the name on everybody’s lips has to be yours.

Well, not exactly the name on EVERYBODY’S LIPS.

One of the most important pieces of branding is carving out a niche for yourself. The smaller the community, the easier it is for you to become known and therefore famous.

So let’s talk niche today.

Thus far in my entrepreneurial career, I have only attracted entrepreneurs who are up to life-changing, world-changing work. They are taking on difficult conversations about sex, money, confident and body image. They are opening restaurants concerned with feeding people REAL food, when the industry norm is to feed people whatever is the cheapest.

I want to change the way spitfire entrepreneurs do biz and brand. So naturally I attract spitfire entrepreneurs.

The PROBLEM with people who are up to such WILD work is that they always want to share their talents with everyone.

Honestly, it’s a good problem to have.

But when it comes time for the She Oms team to write brand and marketing strategy for our clients, we always ask the question who do you serve.

And 95% of the time the answer is, well, I can serve anyone.

And you can, but …. you can’t really.

We live in a noisy world and there are certainly other people doing something similar to what you’re doing. They may not be doing it the way you’re doing and they certainly don’t have your charm and intellect. But they are competing for a piece of the same pie.

By choosing a niche, you put the kabash on the competition.

I am my own best example of this. In early 2013, I left my corporate job to start a boutique branding agency. I had a decade of marketing experience, I had spent three years working in design and managing something like 20 different brands under the same umbrella.

I had the experience.

But more importantly, I had the understanding of how individual entrepreneurs could use these same principles of branding to get to a place where people know who they are.

I also had the understanding that the smaller the community, the faster the fame comes.

And the faster the fame comes, the sooner you can make a difference.

So when I founded my first company, I started REALLY niche. I was deeply connected to the yoga community—not only in my area, but I had yoga teacher friends across the country. And I saw a deep need for yoga teachers to do biz and brand better if they ever intended to make a reasonable living.

I found ONE tiny community that I connected with and who I knew also connected with me and I founded an ENTIRE business on that.

It worked. I build trust quickly. And I built a business from 0 to six figures in less than two years.

Eventually, through word of mouth and a growing online community there was a demand for me to venture out of that yoga and wellness space and that’s how Kiss Me Creative was born.

But that’s a story for another post—coming soon!

Let’s talk about carving out that niche community.
Step 1: Examine who you already attract.

There’s a lot to be said for that which comes naturally. Who you are has a certain appeal to people and you will work with a lot more ease if you embrace who you are and make an effort to understand why it appeals to YOUR people.

Step 2: Identify their similarities & stalk them

For some of us the similarities are glaringly obvious — like, everyone who is attracted to me is a yoga teacher. For others it’s a little more difficult. Some of the questions I ask my clients to answer on behalf of their ideal clients are

What are their values?

What really pisses them off?

What do they do on Friday night?

Where are they on Sunday morning?

There’s a lot you can assume by just looking at the people around you who you attract. But if you’re at a loss do a little stalking. Sounds creepy, but it’s ridiculously effective. Meander on over to their Facebook page and see what pages they like and what their friends are saying to them or about them.

It’s all very telling. Plus, you get to use research as an excuse to be on Facebook.

Step 3: Show up as the parts of yourself that are most attractive to YOUR people.

Branding is actively influencing people’s perception of us. Human beings are dynamic and inconsistent. But once you know what attracts your ideal client to you, you NEED to consistently put on a show for them, making yourself even more attractive.

Ok, that’s all I’ve got for now, BUT, next Tuesday I’m hosting a FREE LIVE Class called Trust Me, I’m Branded.

And I want you to be there.

Please register for Trust me, I’m branded on May 31, 2016 3:00 PM EDT at:

How branding creates trust and grows your business mindfully & sustainably.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Your ideas are not original, but your positioning can be

brand positioning

There is someone else out there doing what you’re doing. I know that. You know that.

Fortunately, it has no bearing on your success.

I was at a business mastermind last week and one of my business coaches said people always tell him, “man, you know a lot.” And his response is, “no, I just read a lot.” He emphasized the importance of always reading, always learning and always growing.
It’s easy to get complacent and just focus on putting your head down and doing the work.

For the last year of my life, that’s where I’ve been. I’ve bought a million books, but never made time to read them, because I was busy working.

After my training last week, I made a commitment to get up every single day by 6:30am and read at least one business article (or chapter from a book) and one article for my spiritual growth.

This morning I was revisiting some of my favorite books about branding—books that I used at the very beginning of my career when I was still at a corporate job teaching myself brand strategy and design.

I started reading about positioning and it led me down a rabbit hole of every chapter on positioning in every branding book I own.

Positioning is essentially the place you hold in the minds—and hearts— of your dream clients.

It’s really important in industries like yoga, health & wellness where it seems like everyone is doing the same exact thing.

There are lots of different positioning strategies like…

I was here first (think Red Bull— they created the energy drink market)

I am really good at this particular thing (think Zappos, customer service)

I totally my very niched dream clients (think She Oms serving woo-loving women entrepreneurs)

I am a leader in my industry (think Microsoft, a computer on every desk)
You don’t necessarily have to pick just ONE of these positioning strategies, but you’ll probably maintain your sanity a lot better if you pick just one.

It’s not about the product or service that you’re providing. It’s about how your product or service is perceived by the people.
Perception is reality.

You can’t tell people what to think. You have to show them who you are as a brand to influence their perception and position yourself.
So now the question is how do you even do that?

95% of the time I advise that my clients take the target market strategy – I advise that they REALLY understand the kind of person they want to work with. I ask them to paint a picture of that person– what they look like, what they talk like, where they like to shop, how they spend their time and their money.

I advise this strategy because my clients’ ideas are not original.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t be wildly successful.

It just means they need to compete on connection, rather than benefits and features.

Do you know where your brand is positioned in the minds of your dream clients?

Let’s talk about it. I opened up a few slots in my calendar to chat it up with you this week—

1 Brand Defining Questions to Ask Yourself

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The elusive brand—a business must have, but largely indescribable.

Brand is not a dictionary definition of your business—is the essence of who you are and what you stand for. And while it can be beautifully packaged from a design perspective, it takes some experimenting and exploring to uncover—and be able to describe— the essence of your brand.

As you dive into the experimenting and the exploration required to unearth your brand, here is one MAJORLY brand-defining question you have to ask yourself:

Who am I?

We often define ourselves by our hobbies, the factors that motivate us and the circumstances we find ourselves in.

In my own quest for self-discovery, I got myself a good therapist. This is one of the best investments I have ever made in my personal development AND in the development of my business and brand.

One the most difficult concepts to wrap my mind around in the process of doing my “inner work” was the distinction between true self and “all the other stuff.”

You may be defining yourself by your coping mechanisms.

What I didn’t realize until recently is that coping mechanisms don’t always manifest as behaviors that are obviously destructive. I spent my entirely life thinking that coping mechanisms were inappropriate forms of conduct—sleeping around & binge drinking—not productivity and exercise.

Turns out, I was wrong.

Productivity and discipline, though excellent for propelling my business from zero to six figures in 18 months, were actually coping mechanisms.

But does that mean they are bad? I asked my therapist.

I’m always wanting to put things into categories of “good” and “bad.” But this doesn’t exactly work that way. In this case, the coping mechanism wasn’t a truly destructive behavior.

It was actually an obsessive behavior that I thought would give me something I really wanted: freedom.

Now, I’m not trying to play therapist with you.

Because, let’s face it, I’m highly unqualified.

But I want to share this lesson, because after many vulnerable discussions with myself, my friends and my counselor, I started to uncover that the behaviors I was defining myself by were indicators of meaningful themes in my life—my values.

So what does all of this have to do with being brand?

When it comes to branding, what we are ultimately seeking to put words around are our values. When you hear the brand gurus, strategists and extraordinaire of the world talking about “MESSAGING,” it’s just a fancy way of saying the words you use to describe the things that are important to you in your business.

I recently took a workshop about values with my friend, client and first-class life coach Jessica Hetherington, where she asked us to think about traits, characteristics or events in life that really irritate us—WILDLY annoying, not mildly annoying.

If people who are always late annoy the ever living shit out of you, there’s something to be uncovered about your worldview there.

It’s by getting into the dirtier parts of this life that we start to understand who we are and what matters to us.

But, Laura, I still don’t get what this has to do with being brand?

Well, remember last week when I blogged about how brand should come before business— because sharing parts of ourselves creates connection, connection creates trust and we buy from people we trust…sometimes it doesn’t matter what they are selling.

That’s my point here.

What you’re selling might change. You might go from yoga instructor to wellness coach— from mommy blogger, to Instagram Marketing Maven, from nutritionist to restaurateur, but if people align with your VALUES—with your brand—you’ve got big fans for life.  But that kind of connection—getting people to fall madly in love with you—requires letting them in on who you are. And you’ve got to start by asking yourself—Who am I?


You Already Have a Brand — Look Around!


She Oms is sponsoring our very first BIG event.

For some reason—despite the fact that I hate procrastinating and I work terribly under pressure—I spent the last 32 hours sleepless in Orlando, preparing for this event.

True confessions: I wasn’t going to sponsor this event because I was SCARED. I have never sponsored an event before. But I have been to a lot of events with a lot of lame sponsors. And I figured I could avoid being added to the hall of lame sponsors if I avoided sponsoring all together.

My business coach was not having it. (Thanks, Kevin.)

Kevin talked me onto the ledge, which seems counter intuitive, but it happens to be what I needed.

I had ONE WEEK to get it together, people.

One week to design, order & expedite an 8 foot banner with my face on it. (Top on the list of things I could live my entire life without seeing: my face on an 8 foot tall banner.)

One week to decide on & purchase table decor.

One week to figure out how to not be lame.

So I did what any entrepreneur sponsoring her first event would do.

I proceeded with business as usual.

And then 32 hours before I had to show up to set my table, I went shopping.

While there was lots of room for improvement in the planning & scheduling of this operation, the procrastination did have one upside:

My idea to avoid being lame was freaking brilliant.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may know I love to stage photos. I stand on counter tops and sprinkle fairy dust over coffee cups to capture a perfectly staged photo of what my real life would look like if I had not stayed up until 3am preparing to sponsor an event.

So I had this idea to set up a branded photo-staging station at my table.

I have vinyl backdrops.

I have pretty paper products for days.

I have props galore.

But as I started to pack a box full of props for this table, I realized something:

Everything I had to stage photos with was a representation of MY brand.

I needed some versatility for my guests, so I went shopping.

And as I filled up the cart with tchotchkes, I realized that I had done it again.

Everything in the cart—with the exception of a random flask (I can explain…) — was in my favorite colors and textures and fonts.

Knowing the little you know about me,  YOU probably could have picked out the tchotchkes for me. So I put it all back and picked things outside of my comfort zone so that people could stage THEIR brands, not mine.

I got a very valuable reminder out of this experience.

We all have brands. (Even if you’ve put NO thought into it thus far, you’ve got one.)

That which we are drawn to and much of what we draw to ourselves is inherent.

Curating a brand…designing a brand…being a brand, is simply a process by which we verbalize, visualize and consistently display that which already exists.

Just look around you.

The clothes in your closet (or the clothes you WANT in your closet), the color of your nail polish, the books on your nightstand, the people you attract into your life—they are all tied together by some common threads.

Those common threads are the essence of your brand.


Brand first, business later

mom blogger

It’s time for another round of true confessions.

I am obsessed with mommy blogs.

I am single. I have no kids. And I find such joy in watching the highlight reel of every blogging mother in Utah playing amateur photographer with her beautiful family.

I am not being sarcastic.

Part of me is obsessed with these cute little families, because it’s sweet and it’s pretty and I love to look at things that are sweet and pretty. But another part of me—clearly, a more practical part—is really fascinated by the way they embody what it is to be brand.

I started following Ginger Parrish about two years ago. Every Instagram photo stopped me dead in my Instagram scrolling tracks, inviting me to stare just a little longer at her adorable family. Her cheery photography style, her picture perfect family and her consistency make me smile.

At the time, Ginger wasn’t selling anything.

In fact, I don’t think that she ever set out to sell anything. I may be making this up, but I want to say it all started as a creative outlet to share the beautiful and messy parts of her life.

Here’s the thing, though…

We don’t just share parts of our lives purposelessly. We share, because we are seeking connection. I believe that connection is an admirable way to be of service. Ginger Parrish, is sharing who she is with a community of people she is serving.

She’s a brand.

And as soon as she was ready to have a business, wild success was right there waiting for her.

When she released her book about Instagram photography, I was the first one in the virtual line to buy it.  And now that she has a “shop coming soon” tab on her website, I’m checking it daily.

I want to be a part of what she has going on and buying her products is one way I can do that. (Interviewing her for my Courageous Branding Summit was another way I did that!)

Brand & branding are misunderstood.

They are seen as expensive pieces of the marketing puzzle that we deal with when we have more money or more success or more time.

If Ginger had built a business before building a brand, she would not have sold hundreds of copies of her book in the first 24 hours, because no one would have cared that she even had a book.

If we want to get really detailed about it, if Ginger had not built a brand first, she would have never been inspired to write a book in the first place. She wouldn’t have had the relationship with her community that she has and she wouldn’t have been able to see and understand what they wanted from her.

I am making a lot of assumptions here—

assumptions about how things would have played out and assumptions about Ginger.

But, it’s all to make this very important point:

Brand first.

Start the blog and the Instagram account and the Facebook page NOW.

Work with a designer (or at the very least a consultant) to choose colors and fonts and photography style and a logo NOW.

Do you need business strategy? Yes.

But it’s brand that ultimately creates connection.

What are you doing to build yours?

It all comes back to Brand

Closed sign posted on a wooden plank

Last week I gave a short talk at an event that She Oms sponsored.

I always give the same talk at these things — how She Oms came to be and why I do what I do.

But this time, I opened my mouth and something completely different came out.

Earlier that day, I had gone to meet with a friend who recently opened a brick & mortar business.

I watched her circle the parking lot on the phone. Before we even exchanged words, I knew she was frantic. But I couldn’t have anticipated what was next.

I am going to put a damn closed sign on the door, she vented.

She talked.

I listened.

We both teared up a bit.

I know what it’s like to carry the responsibility of a business—your business. I know what it’s like to have that oh shit moment, when you realize that no one is ever going to care about your business as much as you do. The people you hire to support your operation will have other priorities. They will call in sick, they will miss deadlines and they will generally misbehave.

You will pick up the slack.

I know what it feels like to be on top of the world, because you are doing it all.

I know what it feels like to be filled with resentment

And know what it feels like to say, screw this, I’m getting a real job.

But I’ll never actually do it.

And even as my friend threatened to hang a closed sign and turn in her keys, I knew she wouldn’t do it.

Because there are other people to think about.

(I’m not talking about our families and our landlords.)

I am talking about the people we serve.

There are women in the world with HUGE ideas that will inspire hundreds—if not thousands or millions—of other people to live happier, healthier more fulfilling lives. But if I can’t help them get their ideas out into the world, what will become of them.

Real talk: they might find someone else to help. But it won’t be the same. And I have serious FOMO.

Some might call this greater purpose—and that’s certainly one way to put it.

Call me biased, but I have to say it all comes back to brand.

Brand is the essence of who you are.

Brand is your raison d’être, perfectly packaged for the world to see & understand.

Brand is how you show up for the community you serve.

BrandING, is something different.

Stay tuned as I bring things back to brand for a bit, here on the She Oms Blog.

Idea Generating & Passion Chasing

Organize your Business Ideas

I wish I could get paid to just generate ideas.

I actually think that some people DO get paid for that.

I’ve never been pregnant. But I imagine that having ideas and never actually birthing them into reality is the tiniest bit like being  past due.

When I first started offering consulting services here at She Oms, I was supporting women in bringing their ideas to life. But what I found is that every week, my clients had new ideas.

Their old ideas were not even put on the I’ll-Get-To-It-Later List, they were just completely abandoned.

If that happens once, or maybe twice, that’s normal.

If it happens every week, you’re an idea chaser.

Idea chasers—without a strategy—have a really hard time getting shit done.

And a way harder time making money.

I am sure it would feel really good for me to tell you every idea that you have is awesome. And, it’s very likely that most of your ideas are all awesome. But if you never stick with an idea long enough to bring it to fruition, wild success will never follow.

The women in this community are called to create…something, anything. They have something deep inside them that needs to be birthed to make the world a better place.

They just don’t always  know which idea should be birthed.

This post is for she who has 99 ideas floating around in her head and is struggling to decided which is is THE one.

Ask yourself these very important questions:

(1) Do people need this?

If your product or service doesn’t solve a problem for people, it’s probably not the greatest idea you’ve ever had.

(2) Is it possible for me to make a living delivering this?

If the answer to number 1 is yes, then the answer to number 2 is yes. But before you proceed, the real question is HOW can you making a living do this?

(3) Can I stick with it even on the days or weeks or months when passion fades?

Wild success depends on staying the course.

Entrepreneurship has really high highs and really low lows and no matter how much you read about this and hear about, you could not possibly understand until you’re actually living it.

There will be days when you feel rich as can be and there are days when you will want to get a job.

Hell, there are days where you may actually apply for a job.

If you can continue to take forward-moving action to grow your idea even while you’re working a side hustle, even when you’re not as passionate about it as you were when you first set out, even when you are tired and broke…well, then I’ll say you’re ready to take this business from concept to creation.

Mindful Marketing | The 3 Things You Need to Know

I spend 30 hours a week marketing my business.

The other 30 I spend working with clients.

(Do the math!)

And for everything else that needs to get done, there’s prayer.

In all seriousness, companies hire full time marketing managers for a reason. It is a full time job with a million moving parts and pieces.

You’ve got to write your blog, and send emails, and make videos, and write guest posts and make sales calls.

Some people separate sales and marketing. I was one of those people. I had this great story I told myself about how if I was really good at marketing, people would come to me and I wouldn’t have to make sales calls. And that was true…until it wasn’t.

I promise I’ll tell you that story on a different day.

Right now I want to talk about something very real: Marketing Overwhelm.

Whether you read a book about marketing or you devoured every post every written by a marketing blogger or you’re just watching what other people are doing and following suit, you’ve probably made a very important realization by now.

There’s not enough time in the day.

If you’re blogging and video making and emailing and Instagram challenging, that’s all you have time to do. Which means that you have no time to do what you actually set out to do—HELP PEOPLE.

Last year, I was spending so much time marketing that I had to hire people to do that work that I originally set out to do.

W? T? F?

Now, I really love marketing. But I also really love helping my clients be super successful and create huge change and celebrate big wins with wine. And I was not getting to do any of that, so I knew something needed to change.

I needed to be way more mindful about my marketing.

Normally when you think “mindful marketing” you think of yoga teachers forgoing claims about yoga butt in favor of claims about love and light. That’s beautiful, but it’s not what I’m talking about here.

I’m talking about being mindful of why you created your business.

I’m talking about being mindful of your sanity.

I’m talking about being mindful of who you are and how you want to show up for your people.

This doesn’t mean you can throw in the marketing towel, but here are the three things it DOES mean.

(1) It does mean you need to get really strategic on what your goals are.

If you know that you need to sell $40,000 worth of private yoga or acupuncture sessions by July, your marketing efforts should focus on that and not the ebook you’re selling for $4.50 on Amazon.

I know the ebook is an easier sell, but it’s not going to help with those goals, love.

(2) It does mean you need to get clear on what marketing mediums help you achieve those goals.

You can post beautiful photos to Instagram all day long, but if people aren’t clicking over your profile, clicking on the link in your profile, going to your website and filling out an interest form, it’s not sales-driven marketing.

Deciding where to spend your time is a data game. (Data is so sexy, right?) You’ve got to track where people are coming from. It’s nice to have really great systems in place (like google analytics) to find out how people are finding you. But, the good old fashioned way of just asking them and writing it down on a whiteboard works too.

(3) It does mean you have to let go (or hire someone.)

You can’t do it all and you’ve got to spend your time where it’s most effective, so there are some things you’re just going to have to let go of. I love Instagram, but right now it’s not taking me towards my goal to get people into my mentorship programs.  It was a little heartbreaking, but I made a strategic decision to post less often, so I could write better quality blog posts, create incredible content and entertaining emails.

It seems so simple when I put this way, doesn’t it?

When it comes to marketing mindfully, what’s your biggest struggle? Leave a comment below.

Who do you Hustle For?


Have you ever made something all about you, when it wasn’t?

It’s totally ok for you to admit that you have, because I’m about to play my favorite game with you: True Confessions.

For most of my life, I’ve made everything about me. Sometimes in the showy, look at me, look at me, way. But more detrimentally, in the guilty-conscience, what did I do wrong kind of way.

For the last 6 months that was bleeding into my business with the fury. Every time a client emailed me or texted to tell me we needed to talk, my inner dialogue went something like this:

Oh. F#$%, what did I miss? Where did I make a typo? Am I giving her enough attention? Maybe I should send her a gift. This is going to be so uncomfortable.

In 3 years of business, having worked with over 100 woo-loving, women entrepreneurs, I have only had 3 uncomfortable conversations and they all ended REALLY beautifully. I have no logical reason to think that my client interactions are going to suck.

So why, was I having this tragic inner dialogue that literally made me want to throw up?

Because I was making it about me. I was bringing my insecurities, my impostor syndrome, my own inner chaos into relationships that were otherwise perfectly awesome.

My clients didn’t want to tell me I was sucking. They just wanted to talk about where we were in their project timelines. They wanted me to tell them what they should be doing.

They were looking for my guidance and all I could muster up was a guilty conscience.

This story is drenched in irony, because—in its most simplified form— branding is all about being clear on who you are and who you serve.

I am not a paranoid, guilt-ridden, anti-social piece of work.

(At least as far as I know.)

And part of serving people is being stoked to meet their needs, because taking a stand for them is SO FREAKING EXCITING.

In early January, I was having a conversation with one of my brand design clients. We were hashing out the copy for her homepage and she had written something that I can only describe as inhibited. It was as though she were writing a term paper, not a love note to her dream client.

Write this for your dream client, I told her.

In that moment, I had the epiphany that brought me back to my center. I’ve had a ROUGH go at life over the last 6 months. It’s made being boss and being brand really hard. (I even wrote about it over here.) It’s also made me extra paranoid.

It wasn’t serving me.

And while my awesome team took THE BEST care of our clients, I was feeling gypped of the experience of watching their growth and wild success happen live.

I needed the reminder from the universe that this isn’t about me, it’s about the women I serve who are changing the world—women who need my support to get their ideas out of their heads and into the world.

I’m thrilled to announce that I got my shit together.

This story was partially to entertain and inspire,  (because, if we’re being honest here, part of my MO is making sure you get a good, hearty laugh once a week.) but I will leave you with some inner work:

Ask yourself, who am I doing this for?