Creative Genius Podcast 015 - Lori Siebert: Practice, Practice, Practice: Mastery in Creativity

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Lori Siebert: Practice, Practice, Practice: Mastery in Creativity

Lori Siebert is an artist, designer, teacher & businesswoman. She has worked with clients like Universal studios and licensed her work for products that are used around the world and now is featured on BloomTV. She runs art retreats and you can often find her running super fun art challenges on Instagram. Today she sat down with me to share how after some difficult life events caused her to disconnect from her creativity, she was able to find her way back to it, what she did when her company grew into something she no longer enjoyed, and towards the end of the show she shares the number one important thing she thinks we can do to cultivate our own creativity. Lori is so sweet and genuine and candid I really enjoyed talking with her.

I hope you enjoy my conversation with Lori and if you do, please make today the day you leave a review for the show -  in under 30 seconds you can do so much: from helping others discover the show, to bringing me tears of absolute joy. Head over to Apple Podcasts for that. 

Lori is really good at knowing when to and being willing to reach out for help. Whether she was navigating the isolated darkness of depression & anxiety and needed friends to remind her of the JOY inside her, or when she has found herself in the uncertain terrain of uncharted territory of a new skill - Lori has allowed herself to reach out for support - been willing to receive others guidance and allowed herself to be open to learning and being influenced -  or collaborating with others around her. She has made a habit for herself of reaching out to people and allow them to influence her when she has been on unsteady ground. 

Her ability to do this has pulled her out of depression, allowed her to redirect the course of her business when it was causing her burnout and has allowed her to step into new realms of her creative offering that she may not have otherwise ventured into on her own. 

After her brush with burnout when her company had grown without conscious intentions from her about what she wanted it to be, Lori has learned to be really good at self referencing and asking herself if the things she is embarking upon are actually what she wants. This has helped her build a business that meets her creative needs AND falls within who she is as a person and what she wants. 

I was touched by Lori's willingness to be so open with us about how she struggled when she lost her parents, losing herself for a time to the grief of it and then later not wanting to be a Debbie Downer and keeping it to herself. 

Finally she realized that she not only needed to give herself Grace to go through that and not put pressure on herself to be somewhere that she wasn't, she also learned the importance of reaching out to her people. Ultimately it was in feeling all her feelings and reaching out to her people that she was able to lift herself back up again. 

I was really glad she shared what she did about how her life went off the rails when her company grew to a size that overwhelmed her and I loved her clarity that it was because had been making decisions based on what she thought she SHOULD be doing - rather than by what her creative heart actually wanted. 

Realizing that what you thought was your dream isn't actually working for you and stepping back from it can be terrifying, it requires bravery and is often the only way to find the life of your dreams.  

And I think she is right that so many people seem to be unconsciously waiting for their dreams to come and find them… waiting for their big break… when actually it's up to us to do the reflection, find out what we want and then go out there and make it happen. 

What I learned from Lori is that just like life itself, creativity is a bit like a rollercoaster ride -  we get inspired, we get to work on it, we find out we don’t like it, we rework it, we like it, we make a change, we think we’ve ruined it then an unexpected moment happens and leads us to something we fall in love with and for all of it -  we're just along for the ride. 

I pulled the word trust for today’s episode, so I will leave you with this:  What would be available today if you trusted the creativity inside you, and let yourself be taken for the ride of your life. 

A lot goes into producing Creative Genius - even a small contribution from you will have a direct impact on whether I am able to continue to bring you these conversations. I create a bunch of bonuses to thank my supporters, early access to episodes, behind the scenes content, even original art sent to your door, these are extras I think you wont want to miss. Head over to ​ to find out more

And you can always consider buying some of my artwork as a way to show your support - from Gratitude Birds and other paintings, to my Handmade Nature Inspired jewelry Morning Moon- everything I make including this podcast is intended to ignite joy. Please keep my work in mind next time you need a gift for yourself or someone you love. Thank you

Kate Shepherd: website | instagram | facebook

Lori Siebert: website | instagram |


FULL TRANSCRIPT FROM Episode 15 of The Creative Genius Podcast with special guest Lori Siebert 

Lori Siebert 0:01
There are going to be times where you're like, I hate this, this is terrible. I suck, you know, all of that. Why can't Why can't I put what's in my brain on this piece of paper and make it the way I saw it in my head? You know, I asked myself that a lot. And and then other times it's like, okay, well, this end product isn't exactly where I thought it would land in my head starting out. But what about this do I like and what's interesting and why do I want to explore further and maybe, you know, dive deeper into how I use this color or how I use this line work or whatever.

Kate Shepherd 0:52
Laurie Siebert is an artist, designer, teacher, and businesswoman. She has worked with clients like Universal Studios, and licensed her work for products that are used around the world. She runs art retreats, and you can often find her running super fun art challenges on Instagram. Today, she sat down with me to share how she lost connection with creativity after some difficult life events, and how she was able to find her way back to it. She shares what she did when her company grew into something she no longer enjoyed. And towards the end of the show, she shares the number one important thing she thinks we can do to cultivate our own creativity. Laurie is so sweet and genuine and candid. I really enjoyed talking with her. A lot goes into producing creative genius. Even a small contribution from you will have a direct impact on whether I'm able to continue to bring you these conversations. I create a bunch of bonuses to thank my supporters, everything from early access to episodes to behind the scenes content, and even original art sent right to your door. These are extras I think you won't want to miss. Head over to Genius podcast to find out more. And you can always consider buying some of my artwork as a way to show your support from gratitude birds and other paintings to my handmade nature inspired jewelry, morning moon. Everything I make, including this podcast is intended to ignite joy. Please keep my work in mind next time you need a gift for yourself or someone you love. Thank you. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Lori as much as I did. And if you do, please make today be the day you leave a review for the show. In under 30 seconds, you can do so much from helping others to discover the show to bringing me tears of absolute joy. I truly love reading your reviews. Head over to Apple podcasts for that. And now, here's my conversation with the inquisitive, curious and truly lovely Laurie Siebert.

Laurie, hello, thank you so much. I'm so thrilled to be here is so wonderful to meet you in person.

Lori Siebert 3:02
And thank you for kind of where you are, I get all excited when I'm around people that are creative. So yeah, contagious. At but

Kate Shepherd 3:12
before we get started, there's so many things I will talk to you about. But before we get started, I like to share the intention of the show, both for you as our guest and also for our listeners, which is around creativity. And obviously, it's about creativity, we're called the creative genius podcast. But, you know, for me, creativity has been a constant presence in my life. You know, it's, I feel like, it's the one thing that's never left me. And it's been there through the dark times and light times. And it is actually the thing that always brings me back to the light. And as an artist, myself for my whole career. I've heard so many people say things to me along the lines of all, well, I don't, I don't have creativity in me or I don't have a creative bone in my body, or I wish I could be creative. And when I heard that for what felt like the millionth time, I had this kind of epiphany. I realized that, you know, not everybody has the kind of relationship to creativity that I was lucky enough to have. But at the same time, I knew that it wasn't true, like creativity is innate, and it is in everybody. And it I like to think of it as like if you're breathing, creativity is moving in you like it's the it's it's part of our life force. And so, you know, it hit me that it's this idea that everybody collectively holds that not everybody has access to creativity or could be creative or that it's in them is why humanity is glitching. And as soon as I had that moment, I knew that it was my calling to do something about it. And everything sort of fell into place really quickly after that. I knew that I had to direct so much of my own attention and creative energy into this. And so that's kind of how the creative genius podcast was born and how we got to where we are.

Lori Siebert 4:59
That's wonderful. And I, I wholeheartedly agree with everything you just said. And I have a lot of thoughts about that, too. So good.

Kate Shepherd 5:06
That's why we're here. That's why I'm so excited to have you. Because, I mean, from what from where I stand looking at you, I feel like you exude this abundant, joyful, curious, natural creativity. And, and one of the things I'm really excited to talk to you about maybe this is one of the things you're just mentioning is I feel like you have seem to have cultivated a certain mastery around creativity. And I think that's a really important thing. And I want to talk about that. But before we do, you know, as a way to get to know you, I wonder if you would tell us a little bit more about your own relationship with creativity and who you are as an artist,

Lori Siebert 5:43
I started creating ever since I can remember, and my sweet mom got me into art lessons, private lessons when I was seven years old. So I took oil painting and pastels. And I went on from that to I studied art all through school through high school, and then got a degree in graphic design, and started my own company three years out of school. But as a kid, I remember like, I just always was making stuff, whether it be drawing or painting or making tissue paper flowers or going on nature walks and collecting flowers and stuff and making cakes out of leaves and stuff that I found out in the woods. I just I don't know, it's always been something where I'm like, very curious. And that's never gone away. I'm just a really curious person. And I get inspiration from everything I see. So when I travel, I'm always lagging behind and taking pictures of weird leaves on plants or sewer covers, or graffiti on the walls, or I don't know, I'm just the person that I just see inspiration everywhere I look. And that's something that's been a common thread since I was a little kid.

Kate Shepherd 7:06
Well, I love that it sounds like you've kept kept that sort of child's eyes. I feel like we all kind of want that. But somewhere along the line, we sort of lose it. And somehow you've managed to keep that, you know, when I think about walking my kids, even just two blocks to their school, like we live very close to their school, how could it possibly take so long? You're every leaf and every you know that that's that child wonder that? You know, so how did you manage to hold on to that all the way into your adulthood?

Lori Siebert 7:34
Um, wow, I don't really know, I think it's just that it's just something that's innate inside me. But I guess I always like if I'm feeling like, I'm not as creative sometimes because of, you know, might be something happening in my life. You know, I've had a couple hard things happen in the last couple years. And I felt like, you know, unlike I'm never going to be creative again. But then I would challenge myself to, you know, go to a store that I love, like anthropology or go visit with friend or go for a walk or something. And then something just kind of clicks inside where when I'm out in the world, and I'm seeing things you know, it might be a great color combination, or a great pattern or something that just sparked something inside. And then ideas start forming. And then it's going back into the studio and playing. And I think I think allowing yourself to play is a really important part of creativity and fostering that and like, you know, we have art, we have two grandsons, they're six and three. And it's all about play when they're over here. And you know, my their imaginations just blow me away the way that they think and the way that they draw. And so I think part of the key is when you feeling a little bit out of touch with your creativity is take yourself to another place, or do something that's going to something you love to do. Because I think when you're connecting to your heart and things that you really love, I think that's where creativity lives, and that's when it comes down and that's when it sparks

Kate Shepherd 9:28
if you're if you're in a place in your life where you're feeling like disconnected from those things that you love, and that bring you joy, it can be really hard to remember what are the things that bring you joy in order to put yourself in even to have the wisdom to put yourself in those situations. Are there tips for when people get stuck that you might give to somebody to guide them back to even remembering what they love?

Lori Siebert 9:53
Yeah, I think that um, like I lost my pick both parents in the last A year and a half. And there was a point after I'd lost my dad in May that I just thought, wow, I don't, I don't feel creative at all. And for a while, I really didn't even want to talk to my friends, because I didn't want to be a Debbie Downer. And, you know, I didn't want to share the the dark way that I was feeling because I'm usually a very positive person. But I realized that, well, first, I realized a couple things. First, I think you need to give yourself grace, when you are experiencing those kinds of times. And don't put the pressure on yourself to be creative, because sometimes you just can't, because it's just not the right time. And I do feel like creativity kind of goes in waves. And sometimes you feel like you're totally in flow, and you're just, you know, right on the money and you love what you're making, and it's just coming out. And other times, it's not as easy. And you have to kind of realize that and sometimes when you're not in flow just kind of backed out of it a little bit and not put the pressure on yourself. So I also realized, too, that, you know, I was stopping myself from reaching out to people, because I didn't want to be a certain way around them. But then I did reach out to a couple of people that are very close, and the things that they said, and shared and encouraged me with their words that kind of brought me out of it. So I know that it's hard when you're sad, or you have a really hard time to push yourself to get out in the world or to reach out to somebody. But I think that's what's really, really important to get yourself back into that place where you feel like you can be creative.

Kate Shepherd 12:02
Oh, yeah, it's like a life preserver almost like those those they can bring you back to yourself. And to that to that light. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I think those times in our lives are our I mean, they're hard, but they also seem to serve a purpose. Right? Like there's important things happening even in the sad and dark times. And I'm, I'm curious what other people think and what you think, is going on with creativity itself as an energy, I think of creativity, almost like a being like an intelligence with a personality and like, I feel, you know, yeah. And so I wonder, what do you think it's doing during those times when we're brokenhearted? And we're like, because it didn't just cease to exist, it's still in there. It's doing something to think it's doing during those times.

Lori Siebert 12:48
I think it's just quietly laying dormant for a bit and giving, giving your brain and your mind a rest because it needs to focus or process through some other things that you're you're healing from or dealing with. And I think it's really hard sometimes because creativity is such a joyful being. And it's, it's full of energy and passion and heart. And I think when you're, you're sad, it's it's kind of hard to get yourself in that frame of mind. But at the same time, if you can even bring yourself to do small little things that bring you joy, whether it just being getting up and making yourself a cup of tea, or eat pancakes, or whatever it is that bring you joy, in small ways. I think those build up to getting yourself back on track where you can practice creativity. And I use the word practice, because a lot of times when I'm doing retreats, and anywhere I go, if I tell people that I'm an artist, or that's what I do, a lot of people say like you said earlier, well, I'm not creative. I'm not an artist, I can't draw, you know, all of those things. I hear that all the time. And I always say to them, Well, can you play the saxophone? Well, no. Well, how do you think someone gets to learn how to play the saxophone? And you know, it's all about practice. And it's the same with an athlete, you know, you you're not born being, I mean, you might have athletic abilities, but that's something that you hone and practice and show up for to make yourself better. And I feel that's the same with creativity. And creativity is such a big word that encompasses so many things. It doesn't mean that you have to be great at drawing, or painting or, you know, you can be creative be a wonderful cook, or, you know, your passion lies in baking or born, sewing, or whatever. And all of those things nourish creativity and nourish what's in your heart. But practice, practice, practice, I think, is a really important thing. Because like I was painting side by side with my daughter this weekend, and she works mostly digitally, but she was painting. And she said, during the time we were sitting there, she said, Oh, I just, you know, I really can't paint and how are you so fast. And I said, because I do it every day, I show up every day, and I'm painting every day. And, you know, I realize even if I go for like a week or two or whatever, and I'm not being creative, or I'm not painting, or I'm not drawing, I feel a little bit of rust, you know, you feel a little rusty every time you start again, because you have to connect to that, that memory muscle, I guess I don't know. It's just like, if you work out all the time, and then you stop working out, and then you go back to it, you might not be able to do as much as you could before because you you weren't practicing daily. And so that's one thing that I always encourage people, if you want to get better at drawing, or painting or making or whatever, it's all about showing up and doing it like a lot. And you're going to have a lot of family or to you know, I don't I don't love everything I paint. And but if you show up enough, and you're doing something every day, these little gems emerge. And like the challenges that I do on Instagram, you know, I'll do a month worth of work, or a month worth of images. But I might only really love two of them. So, but again, it's just about getting in there and getting in that space where you're just wanting to play and you're not putting these parameters on yourself about, you know, this has to be a masterpiece every time. It's really more about the play and the discovery process that leads you to what could potentially become a masterpiece.

Kate Shepherd 14:58
Yeah, and I love that the tying these two pieces together around the times the rhythm of creativity and how you it isn't, no matter how prolific an artist is, and how we see them through, you know, social media or wherever else. They're, I love that you admitted that you also make ugly art, I think that's really important for people to hear. Because I think we project this idea that, well, I'm not good unless every until I can get to a place where everything I do, I'm in love with. And but but that you can increase the amount of things that you love by practicing, and also allowing those periods of rest, like those periods. Whether they're about grief or some other life event, or even just like a unnameable creative block. They're they're there for a reason. And I'm imagining the athlete, you know, the star athlete who's out there on the soccer pitch or running the marathon, their coach isn't going to tell them you have to keep running today, even if you're hurt. No, you there's a time to rest and to let that internal process of healing take place. And it's all kind of Yeah. So you you've three or three, your design studio, you had Lori Siebert and company you have a design. So you've worked with some pretty massive brands, you've worked with target and Bath and Bodyworks and Nickelodeon and even Universal Studios. And when I read that, I thought, how do you take this slowly, wild, joyful, unpredictable energy and harness it enough to work with these big brands? That I mean, my story about them is that they have a very specific idea of what they want and that. So how do you how did you manage to and how do you manage to? And this is going back to the mastery question because I feel like in order to be able to do that, you need to have a certain amount of mastery over your creativity where you're not controlling it. But obviously, you're directing it with Can you tell us a little bit about that process for you?

Lori Siebert 17:17
Yeah, um, I think part of the reason why I can work that ways. My, my schooling, I was lucky enough to go through a design program that talked a lot about problem solving. So a lot of times we were given a problem to solve, and then they would talk through the process on how to get from here to a solution. So that was really helpful in I actually find that when I'm given a design brief from a company where you know, they're giving parameters. That's kind of helpful because, you know, sometimes you can have too many ideas and you don't know how to corral them into, you know, you just don't know where to pick and I have that problem a lot. Trust me. So sometimes I really appreciate where they're telling me I want a, a 1960s luck with this kind of color palette, and, you know these kinds of icons, because that, that then gives me an area in which to explore. Because even with those parameters, there's still so many different solutions that can happen. So I, that's one of the reasons, again, why I do the challenges on Instagram, because it's the same kind of thing where I'm giving people prompts that kind of give them a starting point. And when you have a starting point, it's much easier than when you're just staring at a blank page. And it gives you a place to focus. So, you know, instead of doing, you know, like, the one now is about patterns, so we're giving them a different type of pattern for each day to explore. And so then you're not all over the border, you don't know where to start, I think right away, when, when a creative brain or any kind of brain is given a cue or a prompt, your brain starts working that prompt, and the wheels start turning, and you start formulating pictures and ideas. And then you can gather inspiration around that idea. And then, you know, it just it's helpful to me to work both ways. Sometimes I like where I have no parameters, and I can just do whatever I want. But I'm probably because of my training in school, and ever since as a designer, I actually prefer having a starting point. And I'm finding that a lot of people feel that way too. I think the creative brain is blessed with a lot of a lot of ideas floating around in there. And sometimes focus is a really hard thing to do for for creative people. So, yeah, I like I like I like both. I like to play when I have no parameters. But I sure like it when I have something that I can, you know, really pinpoint and play with around that idea.

Kate Shepherd 22:17
I love that. And I I mean, I've heard the expression freedom by limitation before but it just kind of popped into my mind as you were saying that, like how you are actually more free when you're like this is your world rather than when you're like you can do anything, because then you just sort of back at me that can be paralyzing. It totally is. Yeah, no, I'll even give myself like, I won't know what to do with a certain problem. And I'll say, Okay, well, I think I'm going to just play with this technique in I'm getting used masking fluid and watercolor. And that's what I'm going to use. And that's where I'm going to explore. And then that eliminates all the other possibilities. And then I can just kind of focus and master that one idea that I'm trying to focus on that at that time. Yeah, and there's that curiosity again, like I wonder what happens if I use this basket filled with this thing? And I'm only answering that question of curiosity. Yeah. This episode of creative genius is brought to you by mourning Moon nature jewelry. Instantly familiar yet, unlike anything you've ever owned, this extraordinary handcrafted heirloom jewelry is famous for its incredible detail of actual textures from nature, get 15% of your first order and feel the Wonder use coupon code, creative genius, at love morning What happens when you're I mean, I'm again, I'm imagining these like powerhouse collaborators who so they give you their they give you the brief and they give you the idea. And you you go and you do your has it been fairly? Because you've listened to the instruction or the brief? Has it been fairly easy when you bring that back? And they say, oh, yeah, that's exactly it or, or has it been times when you just couldn't see eye to eye? And how does collaboration because I I'm an independent person, I think a lot of people listening are painters, but you know, creativity is not limited to those things. And I'm fascinated at the idea of collaborating when it comes to creativity and like, maybe I'm because I'm a little bit of a control freak or type A personality. I just want to do it my way. So, like, what's that? Like? What's that collaboration piece like?

Lori Siebert 24:24
Um, I think again, because of my personality, and again, my training as a graphic designer, when you're, when you're trying to do graphic design, you're, you know, you go into whatever company it is, and you absorb what, what story they're trying to tell or what their brand is or who they're communicating with. And you your job is to take all that information and convey it visually or in the in or verbally. So, since that's my background, I find it a great, fun challenge to sit with a client and ask tons of questions and really try to understand where they want to be and who they're trying to reach with whatever I'm designing. And I think when you're intent listener, and you also have a mutual respect back and forth, if I were to come back with something, usually I'll come back with a couple of solutions. So there's a place to, you know, have a conversation. But I like to continue the conversation where if I'm not completely on the mark, that's okay. Because then we can talk about where what's missing here? Why why is it not working? How can I rework it that it does feel like it resonates? And, you know, design is so subjective to so everybody has an opinion, everybody has a thought. So I love it when I can work with people. And I've been blessed to work with a lot of people that I really respect their, their I, in their opinion, and the way they see art and design. And so that back and forth collaboration of people that respect one another, I think ends with a solution that's way better than I would have come up with by myself, or they would have been able to come up by themselves. It's that coming together of different ways of thinking that inspire something that I think is even better. Oh, and that's bigger than the individual pieces. I love that like, yeah, oh, I love that. Has there been? You don't have to name names, but have there been like, was there a major chat like working with these big brands? Was there ever like a really huge challenge that you just thought, oh, my gosh, we can't get we can't fix

Yes there is one that pops to mind really quickly. And I won't mention who it was. But, um, yeah, there was one where I was like, I, you know, I had I have a conversation where I, I just don't know that we're ever gonna, we're not ever going to meet. And we actually worked it out and still work together. But yeah, I mean, it's not always just like, if you hire someone, you know, we've had employees that I felt like, as a manager, I should. I'm in charge of whether this works or not. And so I would do everything I could to try to make it work. And then you finally come to a realization like, we just don't mesh and that's okay. And so it doesn't have to be horrible. You can just come to that realization and have that conversation and, you know, move on.

Kate Shepherd 27:49
Yeah. And were you willing to walk away from it? If like, it sounded like you're very level headed, and you know, you just named named what was obvious, and, and that being willing to walk away peace?

Lori Siebert 28:00
Maybe we can, like, yeah, that part of it, or Yeah, yeah, I mean, part of my personality, those I say, I'm loyal to a fault. And I don't like to give up very easily. So you know, I will try and try and try to make things work and come to a solution that works for both of us. But, you know, if there if, after all that effort, it's just still not getting there, then you have to realize, you know, okay, this just isn't a good fit.

Kate Shepherd 28:30
Are you a Capricorn I know, that's a random out of the out of the blue,

Lori Siebert 28:33
Gemini, Gemini,

Kate Shepherd 28:35
Okay. I'm a Capricorn and I'm very much like, I will collaborate till the cows come home. But then if we just, if we get to that point that I'm like, and we're done. And it's okay. It's all smiles, but you know, we can, yeah, what was your biggest surprise, working with those big companies and on some of those big projects?

Lori Siebert 28:52
Um, well, one of the biggest projects that we worked on, was we did all the signage for the superhero Island at Universal Studios. And we got that project when we were fairly new at doing environmental graphics. So we pair it up with a friend of ours who has an architectural firm. So, you know, we, we were a team. But my, the people that worked in our office at the time, we were up to about 12 people, then they that taking on that job scared them to death. And they, I think were a little upset with me at taking the job thinking that we really were not qualified to do it. But we did it and afterwards, like maybe a year or so after there was a lot of unrest in our company because of that project. But at the end, a couple years later, one of the people, one of the designers who was really involved in it closely said That job was the most terrifying project I've ever done. But it's the job that I learned the most from, and feel the most proud of that we actually did it and completed it. So I think the thing that I learned, you know, I used to be the person that I would say, if I don't know how to do it myself, I'm not gonna take it on. But then I learned, I think by doing different collaborations that I, you know, maybe I don't know everything about what has to happen or has to get achieved. But I can find someone that knows the pieces that I don't, and build a little team around trying to come to a solution together.

Kate Shepherd 30:47
What's it like leading a team through a growing spurt like that, like, I love that you had this vision, and you said, you know, you were so brave, and you took it on. And I know that feeling of like, that's how I felt about this podcast before I started, I was like, I don't know how to. I've never, I don't own a microphone. I've never interviewed a person. But I was like this, knowing that it was my next thing that's terrified. But I was just leading myself through that I, you know, I could sit down and have a talk about, you know, what is it like to lead a team of people and be the brave one?

Lori Siebert 31:18
Well, I'm gonna be really honest here, because there was a time in my mid 30s, when I had, you know, there were 12 people in the office, we were doing these very big projects, I had, we had two young children. And I pretty much kind of came apart of the seams at a certain point, because it was just too much. And so I had to take a step back a little bit, and I started working with a leadership coach, and she kind of helped me through a process of taking a look at your life in the way that it is, in terms of all the pillars involved. You know, what is your home life? Like? What's your family life? What's your faith? How do you dress, you know, looking at all of the aspects that make who you are, and kind of ranking where all of those things are in terms of how satisfied you are, and then kind of writing a dream vision of where you want it to be. And then formulating some planning around how to get you from A to B. Because I was pretty depressed, I guess, and just, you know, very full of anxiety, and it was just a lot. So through that process, I realized I don't like managing a large team of people, I'm more of a person who likes a smaller team. So now in our you know, there's only four of us, which is perfect. And our daughter is one of them. And my husband is one. So it's pretty much a family plus one other designer. So I kind of like that smaller and more intimate group. I did. I mean, all the people that worked with us were amazing people. And I think the thing that's tough is, every, everybody has a different personality and a different way of approaching life and things. And I think it takes a really, you really have to be a special person, I think to understand how to communicate, communicate well, with all of the different ways people think. And I find that I'm more of an introvert, and I like to be a creative person. And I don't, I don't as much like spending my time on the whole management side as I do the creative side. So through that process, we really scaled down, we changed the direction of the company, you know, we made a lot of changes, which, you know, a lot of the things that we did during that period, that kind of still ring true today, that's kind of the company that we stayed after that whole, you know, when all that time period, the refining the refining time.

Kate Shepherd 34:12
Yeah, what's coming up for me as you're sharing this, and thank you for being so candid about that, that time. It's difficult. That's a tricky time. You know, it's not all it's not all roses. But I'm thinking about that sort of overlaid with like ours a parallel to sort of the creative process. You know, when you're thinking about, well, do I want to become a watercolor artist? Or do I want to do acrylics? Or do I like sewing or wood what? You were doing that with your company? So it's in a different and so I wondered if you look reflecting back on it. Remember how the intelligence of creativity helped inform some of those decisions and choices that you were making? Was it like, I want to do this or I want to do that or like when when you were working with that. That person that coach to help you had was creativity helping you make And, um, I think,

Lori Siebert 35:03
I think yes, because what I was really trying to do was to get back to being my most creative self, because I think that's part of where the disconnect happened. You know, I had to realize the kind of person that I am, and try to be more authentic to that. Because, you know, I think I was doing a lot of the things that I thought I should be doing. There's that, you know, there should I should grow this company, I should go after these kinds of projects. I, this is where I think a company should become what it should become. And I realized that it's more about like, understanding what works best for you really getting an understanding of who you are, and where you want to go and what lights you up, I think that's really important to connect with in terms of creativity. Like I just had someone send me a direct message on Instagram, and she was saying that she dreams of working with target. And I said, Well, if that's what you really are dreaming about, and that's what you feel will light you up, then what you need to do is learn everything about all the companies that are selling products, and target all the manufacturers and figure out which ones you really think could be a good pair with you. And then you need to really figure out how to wow that with some kind of presentation or, you know, how are you going to reach out to those people that will get them excited about what you're doing and what your work is, and really focus on that and make that mission to make that dream come true? Because I think a lot of times people just wait, and you know, they think, Oh, I'm waiting for target to call me one day? Well, that's really not how it happens. I mean, we went for years in the first part of my company, where we were doing a lot of business, the business work for banks, and, you know, manufacturers and it was it was okay work. But I did, I did love it. So made a conscious decision to really look at who do we want to work with. And so that's when we started reaching out to companies like Bath and Bodyworks and Nickelodeon and target and, you know, really trying to figure out okay, what, what could we send them? What can we do that would really get them excited about our work, and you have to take that step and be brave and go for it. Because it doesn't always just come to you, you have to make it happen. Asking that question seems so simple, what do I want? But really, that is the doorway to where you want to go? For sure. We have asked that question. But then when you find out what you want it that's like it didn't end there. Right, you then have to now take inspired action to to make those things come to life. You have to be an active participant in in bringing it to life. Yeah, yeah, to set goals. I have to, you know, if this is where I want to go, what is the path that you have to take? And what are the things you need to do to get yourself there? And do you like, do you like that part of it too? I think that's just as much of an appeal. Because you take one step, I think that's what you're saying is you take one step, and then you say, does this, so like this? Does this feel good? Do I want to do this and then you're kind of always so that you don't end up sort of snowballing yourself into a place where like, Wait, none of this feels good, right anymore, I got my outline, then you find yourself and bring yourself back. Yeah. And sometimes when you're taking on something that's really scary, especially, I think you really have to have the passion to overcome that fear. You know, it's sort of like, I want this so much that I I will do what it needs, what it takes to make this happen. And that will get me over that fear. And every little step you take, I think, takes a little bit of the fear away. Because you know, you learn this little piece, and then you move on. And next time you do it, it's so much easier. And you know, look at what you've learned. So I think learning and not being afraid to learn new things is also a very big component of creativity. You know, whether it be a new medium, or you know, like during COVID Some friends said you should be teaching online and I'm like, Oh my God, that sounds so big like to learn everything that goes into that. And so we plunged in and yeah, made a ton of mistakes. And you know, didn't do it the right way initially, but now I kind of understand more what is the right way? And I appreciate that. I know that and then I can make an informed decision. It's like okay, now do I want to do this? Now that I know what goes into making this happen. Is this something I want to do? Or is this something that I chalked it up to learning and move on to something else that I think is interesting, right?

Kate Shepherd 40:12
What do you do with when you bump into the those those big moments in life when something does feel really scary? And like what what were the things that you did to walk yourself through that unknown place?

Lori Siebert 40:22
Oh, I rely on the people that I work with a lot. Like technology is not my thing. So Jeremy, in our office, and our daughter, Kenzie, who works with us, you know, I am lucky that I have really good support. And I also I reach out to people a lot. If I'm, if I'm not clear on what I need to do to make something happen. I think getting mentoring or reaching out to people that you know, understand whatever you're trying to achieve better than you do, I think is always a really good thing to do. And just kind of gather as much information as you can from the people that you respect and admire, and are doing something that you're trying to learn.

Kate Shepherd 41:07
Oh, I wanted to ask you about you license a lot of your artwork. And I was wondering, if you ever go on vacation and see your or just even in your life and you see your design? Do your designs in surprising places? Or do you have what's that lively? What's that?

Lori Siebert 41:23
Finally, um, it's funny, because when, when my mom was alive, and I'd be with her, she would right away march up to the person in the store. And I have friends that do this to, you know, if they see my stuff, they're like, she did this, she did this. I kind of quietly, like, try to take a couple pictures, and then you know, walk away. I don't, you know, I don't make a big deal about it. But it is a fun feeling when like, we were just in Key West, and there was a shop on Duvall that had some a couple of my things in it. And you know, it's it. It's gratifying, it's, it's fun, especially if you like the product, which is not always the case. Sometimes I license stuff, and I'm like, Oh, I would never put that in my house. But you know, most of the times any more, because I really love the partners that I work with the product that I see out in the world and proud of and excited to see it.

Kate Shepherd 42:26
I know what goes into having a creative business or a business around creativity. And I was curious, how do you find time to you, you mentioned earlier that you still do create every day. And you paint and you sew and you sculpt? And you do all these? How do you first of all, how do you choose which one you're going to do that day? And how do you make time for it? Do you have like a ritual around it? Do you have carved out time in your calendar? What's your giving yourself daily goals,

Lori Siebert 42:49
I think is a really good idea. And try not to like I think a lot of people that do goal planning, they say you know, give yourself your top three, three things you want to accomplish that day, like what's the most important. And I think if you a lot the time to the most important things. And I find myself like today I was trying to write copy for I'm hosting retreats next year. And I had to I have to write all the copy for the website. And I was trying to batch create, which is another really good thing to do, like I have, I have a lot of writing to do for different things. So I'm going to do all the writing together. And I found myself like, you know, I look at Instagram for a minute and I go down a rabbit hole for a second. I'm like, nope, nope, nope, bring it back. Stay focused, you said you want to have this writing done today. So that's not going to happen if you're off, you know, going down the Instagram rabbit hole. And it feels so much better to check that thing off your list than to have spent, you know, two hours looking at stuff so because you're getting yourself closer to a goal and you know, I hate when things are lingering around. And I can't check them off that bugs me so. So I don't know, I just try to always have some kind of it's not a really, I don't have like a planner. I've never like a physical plane or book. But I always have lists somewhere that I'm yeah, my I have about.

Kate Shepherd 44:21
I have I should not have done this. But I bought a stack of loose leaf. And I've been writing these lists and they're all over my house. I need some way to break them together because I'll find that to do list that was a great one from like a week ago and I didn't do any of the things. They were all such good intentions. When you do find yourself in the studio, and you're you're you've got some free time to be in that free place of creativity. What does that like for you? Like what does creativity feel like in your body as you're sitting down and you're, you're kind of feel it taking over and you're getting into that zone and what does it what does it feel like for you to create

Lori Siebert 45:00
Well, I love to play music. I think music for me is something that's really inspiring. And it brings such a positive, joyful feeling. And when you feel like you're really connecting with something, and you're loving what you're doing, there's really no better feeling than that. And it is so fleeting. Sometimes it's you know, and sometimes if I'm just not getting it, and I'm just not loving what I'm doing, I will paint over what I did, or I paint over things all the time. That's what, you know, my daughter Kenzie, she was when she was painting with me recently. She's, she was so tentative. And she's like, well, what if I put the color color down, and I don't like it, I'm like, paint over it. It's it's just, you know, it's like, I paint over stuff all the time, if I'm not loving it, and I'll even take canvases that I might have done a year ago, and I hate it now. And I'll just paint over it and make it something new. So you're always changing, always evolving. And, but when you do something that you're like, Oh, really liking this, or, Oh, I think there's a spark here that I really want to investigate and do more of this. Then I think things really start clicking. And that's when again, that word mastery, you know, if you find that little technique, or that little style, or that little color combination that you're loving, and then you just like dive into that and focus on that for a while and explore that. The more you explore it, I think the closer you get to having something that's really special.

Kate Shepherd 46:48
You and you you describe yourself as having this insatiable curiosity. And you mentioned earlier that you felt like that was connected to creativity in an important way. And I wanted to just give you a chance to go back and say a little bit.

Lori Siebert 47:00
Well, it's all creativity is all a journey. I think it's all like, you know, you're in the studio. And there's, there's, there's this whole journey you go on when you're working on something. And it's almost inevitable, where I'll start something, and I'll be like, This is really cool. This is really interesting. And then I'll go further, and I'm like, Oh, I don't like this at all. I'm really screwing this up. This is awful. This is terrible. And then I'm like, Oh, I think like I can change this part and make this work better. Oh, I changed that. Oh, no, this, I like this too. And then you'll have like a serendipitous moment where you put something down unexpected, and you're like, Oh, I really love that. And then you kind of wind up thinking, Okay, I really do like this, but it's this roller coaster ride you go on, I think when you're doing something creative, where there are going to be times where you're like, I hate this, this is terrible. I suck, you know, all of that. Why can't Why can't I put what's in my brain on this piece of paper and make it the way I saw it in my head? You know, I asked myself that a lot. And and then other times, it's like, okay, well, this end product isn't exactly where I thought it would land in my head starting out. But what about this do I like and what's interesting, and what do I want to explore further and maybe, you know, dive deeper into how I use this color? How I use this line work or whatever?

Kate Shepherd 48:42
Yeah, that really resonates for me, I really felt like I find that often. I can feel a painting and or a drawing or whatever it is. And I can I can't see it. Because I can't actually see with my mind's eye. I have this funny thing where I can't see. But I can feel it. And then I do it. And it's nowhere near what Yeah. And so you so you ask yourself why you're just saying that you ask yourself why that is why can't we create the way and why do you think we can't ever do that?

Lori Siebert 49:12
I'm, for me, I think sometimes it's I've I see something that inspires me. And the thing that inspired me, I think is so wonderful that I want my version or my interpretation to be as wonderful. But then it comes out and it's different. And then I have to ask myself is the different? Is that because of the filter that it went through in my hand in my eye in my colors? And do I still love it? Is it still interesting? Is it still something you want to explore and play with? And is maybe the filter that it went through? That's you know The thing that makes what you created magic, but we can't see it because we're asked like, yeah, you know, I think we're so hard on ourselves. And you know, that's very, very true.

Kate Shepherd 50:09
I was wondering if you're aware of what your most dominant thought is about, or what your personal mantra is about the I mean, it could be as big as life in general, or sort of the thing that underpins your mindset about creativity, like, what do you think is kind of the thing you believe the most.

Lori Siebert 50:29
Um. I believe the most that it takes practice, practice, practice, practice, and you have to get into the studio, and you have to explore and you have to fail, and you have to try again. You know, it's, it's all that stuff. And sometimes you learn from the failures the most, you might do something some painting, you're like, Oh, this is terrible. But then why is it terrible? What can I do to fix it, it's all about problem solving, and practice, like you learn every time you work. And it takes, they're just these little surprise moments that happen, I think, when you're in it. And also when you're not putting so much pressure on what the end product is going to be and just kind of trust, trust the creative process. There's, there's a couple artists that talk about their process. And one of them I really like, I can't think of her name right now. But she talks about the different phases in art creating, and the first one is when you're in the child phase, and just putting marks down without any rhyme or reason, and just playing and getting messy. And you know, this is on a canvas. And then the next phase is the teenage phase, when you're starting to look at different pieces or parts of what you're creating, and you're seeing what things are working, and you're refining those and kind of focusing on the areas that are working. And then the last is the adult phase. And that's that final refinement phase, when you're really really honing in on the sections of the work fatter, are great and wonderful, and just putting all of that final phase of refinement on pace. And I like that way of thinking because I think if you plunge into a new pace, and you're working like a child, and you're not, you know, just put something messy, and it can be ugly, but know that you can, with every phase, refine it and learn until the end product is something that you think is beautiful. I just have one final question for you. Which is the billboard question. If you had a billboard that you knew that every single person in the world who longed to be creative, but who all the people who said I don't have a creative bone in my body, or I don't believe that it exists in me or at all, even maybe, that and you knew that they were gonna see this billboard, it was gonna land in their heart. What would you put on it? Well, I would have two billboards. The first one, I would borrow from Nike and say, Just do it. Because you really do you just have to plunge in and do it. And don't worry about whether it's bad or good. Just do it for the joy of it. And second, I would say creativity takes practice. You don't just, you know, create masterpieces without working at it. And learning from every step of the way.

Kate Shepherd 53:42
Thank you again so much. Thank you, and where can people go to find more? What are you most excited about that you want to wear? Do you want to point people to go and find out more about your work and what you're up to in the world. Um, I'm mostly on Instagram. So I'm Laurie Siebert dot studio and Instagram, or my website, it's Laurie I have lots of things coming up. And I'm hosting retreats and doing challenges on Instagram every other month. And you know, just all that stuff will will be showing up either on Instagram or on my website.

I was touched by Lori's willingness to be so open with us about how she struggled, she lost her parents, losing herself for a time to the grief of it. And then later, not wanting to be a Debbie Downer, and so keeping it all to herself. Finally, she realized that she not only needed to give yourself grace to go through that, and not put pressure on herself to be somewhere that she wasn't. She also learned the importance of reaching out to her people. Ultimately, it was in filling all her feelings and reaching out to her people. She was able to lift yourself back up again. I was really glad she shared what she did about how her life went off the rails when her company grew to a size that overwhelmed her And I loved her clarity that it was because she'd been making decisions based on what she thought she should be doing, rather than by what her creative heart actually wanted. Realizing that what you thought was your dream isn't actually working for you and stepping back from it can be terrifying. It requires bravery, and is often the only way forward. And I think she's right that so many people seem to be unconsciously waiting for their dreams to come and find them, waiting for their big break, when actually, it's up to us to do the reflection. Find out what we want, and then go out there and make it happen. I think what I learned from Laurie is that just like life itself, creativity is a bit like a roller coaster ride. We get inspired, we start working on it. Find out we don't like this part of it. So we rework it, or we like that part of it. Now we're making some changes. Oh, no, now we think we've ruined it. And then an unexpected moment happens. And we find ourselves falling in love with it. And for all of it. We're just along for the ride. I pulled the word Trust for today's episode. So I'll leave you with this. What would be available to you today, if you trusted the creativity inside you, and let yourself be taken for the ride of your life. Thank you for being here for opening your heart. And for listening. It takes a lot to put together this show. And I'm a fiercely independent person. Recently, though, as I was being curious about ways I might open to receive some support for this work, gratitude birds came to me. I'll tell you more about them in a minute. But before I do, if you feel inspired to make a financial contribution to support the show, please know that I sincerely appreciate every bit of support so much. It will make it possible for me to continue bringing you these inspiring conversations with these beautiful humans. Every other week. Find out how on Genius podcast. Okay, so, gratitude birds. I don't know how long I'll do this. But right now, every month I'll do a limited run of original four and a half by four and a half inch watercolors of the most adorable birds you've ever seen. They all have unique name and superpowers you can collect them for yourself. Or you can have me send one directly to a friend. Maybe somebody you want to know that you feel grateful for. Find out more on Kate Shepherd Just look for gratitude birds. We have a truly incredible lineup of guests coming up, do hit the subscribe button in your podcast app right now so you don't miss a single one. And I know it's one of those things that seems like it doesn't matter. But please take a moment to rate and review the show and Apple podcast. It really matters hearing your words about how the show is reaching your heart is fuel for my passion to keep creating these episodes for you. And it also helps other people learn about the show.

Thank you again for listening. Me you find an unleash your Creative Genius

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