Interview: 8 entrepreneurs that rock my world

April 18, 2011

The theme this month at Trust Tending is starting new things (click here for a list of past and future themes) and today I’m delighted to introduce you to a few of the muses that have inspired and helped me in my own new endeavors. I’m doing this for two reasons:

1. I’d love for you to know about and be inspired by these people, too!

Each perspective here is unique, and offers challenges and encouragements different from the others and from my own. Last time I talked about finding balance between our masculine and feminine energies, and I find in this line-up a wonderful mix of both. The differences between my life approach and theirs have been important agitations in my quest to live in an ever more balanced, awake way, and our places of greatest resonance continue to be gusts of wind in my sails as I pursue my own dreams.
I believe in their work so much that I’d love to give some away! Comments on this post will be entered into a random drawing to win a product of your choice. Winner chooses from any of the linked products throughout this post (none of these are affiliate links – I simply want to share these people with you and am happily paying out of my pocket to do so!).

2. I want to dispel the myth that successful entrepreneurs aren’t real people with real fears and challenges to face.

Each person on this list faces fear and experiences places of vulnerability. Trust, for all of us, I think, is nourished as lines between “successful” and “unsuccessful” shift into planks on a boat we’re all on, called Being Human.

So today each of these 8 entrepreneurs (alphabetically below) answers the following question:

What is one of the major internal blocks that you face (or used to face) as you launch new projects, and how did/do you overcome it?


Chris Guillebeau is a writer, entrepreneur, and world traveler with the goal of visiting every country in the world (click here for his current count). He creates super practical guides and products for anyone interested in breaking out of the status quo to a) live the life they want to live and b) change the world for the better. I love that combination! ($58 versions of linked items eligible for give-away) He publishes the Art of Nonconformity blog at, and has recently published a book by that same name: The Art of Nonconformity: Set your own rules, live the life you want, and change the world.

Chris’s Answer:

Chris: Resistance… in many forms. I have a hard time figuring out the timeliness of things. Why now? Why is this important at this particular season? That’s the bad news… once I figure it out, everything else tends to click.

Me: And how do you go about figuring this timeliness out?

Chris: It helps for me to get started, to work out the end game and plan backwards, and to latch on to one key thing — a component of the offer or message that everything else builds around.

Hugh MacLeod is a cartoonist whose drawings on the backs of business cards transformed his life…and now transform tens of thousands of others’. Like Chris, he writes a lot about living outside of boxes and changing the world for good, and has published two books that communicate related ideas as only Hugh can: Ignore Everybody and Evil Plans. Hugh’s drawings were a huge inspiration for my own sketch-a-day practice, and I remain inspired and agitated (in a good way) by the ideas his images convey. Read his blog at and sign up for his free, daily cartoons here.

Hugh’s Answer:

People often get stuck when they start comparing themselves to others- when they spend too much time watching what other people think.

I was never particularly good at following other people’s paths, but it took me a while to realize, hey, that’s OK.

Like I said in Ignore Everybody:

One evening, after one false start too many, I just gave up. Sitting at a bar, feeling a bit burned out by work and life in general, I just started drawing on the back of business cards for no reason. I didn’t really need a reason. I just did it because it was there, because it amused me in a kind of random, arbitrary way.

Of course it was stupid. Of course it was uncommercial. Of course it wasn’t going to go anywhere. Of course it was a complete and utter waste of time. But in retrospect, it was this built-in futility that gave it its edge.

The biggest gift to humanity The West has made to this world, is the idea that everyone must find their own path. That’s what the ancient Greek mythology is all about. Ditto with Christianity, Star Wars and Rock & Roll.

Remember the power is within you.

Jen Lee is a Brooklyn-based writer, photographer and a regular performer in NYC’s storytelling scene. She leads workshops and retreats focusing on creative expression, and has recently launched a multimedia course titled Finding Your Voice. I had the great privilege of attending her Companions retreat in Brooklyn last year, and can vouch with heart-felt conviction for her powers as voice-finding and voice-healing guide. She blogs at, and her honest writings there about her inner world combined with the soul-shifting work she offers through teaching and storytelling have been sun and water and nourishment for the growth of my trust.

Jen’s Answer:

When I launch new projects, having to actually tell people about them and spread the word is my most dreaded task. It makes my stomach turn and my nerves really raw, and all I know to do is to keep the hot cocoa flowing and keep focusing on the gift the work will be to others. How happy they will be to discover it, how changed they could be on the other side. I reach out for support and encouragement, even though I can hardly bear to ask. And it really affects me–pretty sure I’m losing weight over this latest project’s promotion. Self-care, gentleness and rest are the best medicine I know. It takes a lot of love to be brave, and self-love surely counts.

Jennifer Louden is a best-selling author of six books with close to a million copies in print, a retreat creator, and Comfort Queen turned activity catalyst. She just launched a new project that I’m following with so much joy and inspiration, called The Savor & Serve Experiment, at, where you can also sign up for her acclaimed Self-Trust course and learn more about her Savor & Serve Cafe, her support center for women to do what they love in service to the world (2 months on me if you’re the winner of the drawing and choose this as your prize!).

Jennifer’s Answer:

Only one block? I only get one? Why? I think two or three would be much better.

And there you have my lovely block, my dear old friend: choosing. Limits. Driving a stake into the ground and saying, “This is it. I dedicate my heart to this.” I love potential. I dig vision, the first flush, the rush. By the time I get to the launch? Getting a bit bored. After that? Yawn.

What’s a lover of more and new to do? Investigate my fears of staying put – tease out my stories. Embrace how I want to work – don’t make it wrong. Build a project-based business with support that allows something to run without me. Have friends who see me about to abandon horses mid-stream and say, “Stop it.” Do creative stuff just for the sake of creating. Charge more so I can pay people to do stuff I hate. Partner with great people who keep the whole process more yummy. Give myself lots of vacations and rest (boredom is sometimes exhaustion).

Most important of all: focus on serving something larger than myself.

Jonathan Fields is (in his words…) a giddy dad, husband, New Yorker, serial wellness-industry entrepreneur, author, recovering S.E.C./mega-firm hedge-fund lawyer, slightly-warped, unusually-stretchy, spiritually-inclined, obsessed with creation, small-biz and online marketing consultant and venture partner, book-marketer, professional speaker, copywriter, entrepreneur-coach, yoga-teacher, columnist, once-a-decade hook-rug savant, blogger and career renegade™…gone wild. In my words, he does many things unusually well, and spending any time at all at his blog,, will give you good things to think about and apply – not just to business, or entrepreneurship, or fitness, or spirituality, or life…but really all of the above!

Jonathan’s Answer:

First, the word “block” bugs me. Language matters and when you frame something as a block it gives it more “immovable” weight and creates a perception of an impass. So let’s change it to “challenge,” which is something you rise to, something that’s far more easily framed as an opportunity.

Okay, now what is one of my major challenges in starting something new? For me, it’ often deciding where to allocate my energies. I don’t have much trouble beginning new things and taking risks. I’ve launched, built, succeeded, crashed and burned and lived to tell enough times that I know I’ll be okay. But I also know anything worth doing will take away from other things worth doing, so deciding where to spend my energy is a big focus.

I run numbers, plan, assess leaps of faith, but in the end, the greatest adventures always have unknowns and you’ve got to learn to tap and trust your intuition when making the call. I also ask a simple question – “Will this opportunity allow me to spend the greatest amount of time absorbed in activities and relationships that fill me up, while surrounding myself with people I cannot get enough of, contributing to the world in a meaningful way and earning enough to live well in that world?”

Marianne Elliott is a change-maker, a human rights advocate, a yoga teacher and a writer. She is the creator of 30 Days of Yoga, an online course to establish a regular home practice of yoga and build a kinder relationship with your body. She is currently writing a memoir about her life as a UN peacekeeper in Afghanistan, and blogs thoughtfully and soulfully at Marianne’s writings and presence are, for me, a true trust serum.

Marianne’s Answer:

When I launch new things I face fear! Fear of failing, and equally fear of succeeding too much or attracting too much attention. Fear that I’m not actually good enough to do the things I’m trying to do.

I’ve thought a lot about how I work with fear and I keep coming back to Susan Jeffers line: ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’ It is simple, and over-used, but when you pay attention to what it says, it’s powerful.

1. Feel the fear

What doesn’t work for me is ignoring or denying my fears. I have to allow myself to feel the fear, soften towards it, meet it with compassionate clarity. And then…

2. Do it anyway

I love the simplicity of this. I’m not ‘overcoming my fear’, I’m just acting despite feeling fear. To find the courage to act even when I’m feeling fear, I connect.

I connect to people who support me. I connect to the energy and power available through my breath and body (hello yoga!). I connect to my sense of purpose, my reason for acting and I connect to the greater whole of which I am part.

Melody Ross is a free spirited visionary artist, product designer, and writer. After growing an international, multi-million dollar company from her kitchen table (, Melody joined her sister, Kathy Wilkins, to found The Brave Girls Club, an online community of women from around the world who want to live the best, happiest, most productive and brave lives they possibly can. Whether or not you feel you’re brave, the Brave Girl’s Club is truly worth exploring – retreats, ecourses, and other products (including this soulful CD) – not excepting!

Melody’s Answer:

I have started enough things in life that I have fallen on my face plenty of times. I have also had some tremendous wins…and that is a blast!

I think when you have had a lot of what can be perceived as “failures” in your life, it can be both very good and very difficult. It is good because you know that you have failed before and lived through it, so if you fail again, you will live through it…just like before! It can be difficult because you remember the pain, and the weak part of yourself doesn’t want to feel that pain again.

So…how I overcome this is to remind myself that ANYONE who does big things in the world has a few “failures”…and that is where they learn what doesn’t work SO THAT they can learn what DOES work. It is part of the process.

And, if it is part of the process, it is necessary and good. So, if this time it is one of those “lessons”, I will learn wonderful things that I will able to use to get to my next win. And…I will be able to pass those lessons on to others so that they can avoid the pitfalls, and that is always a good thing too!”

Seth Godin has written thirteen books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Every one has been a bestseller. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. I’m challenged by the many simple, profound, unconventional ideas he writes about at his blog, and by his persistent message to “ship it!” – get your ideas out into the world without bogging down incessantly. His official website is

Seth’s Answer:

Seth: I think the biggest internal block (for most of us) is the rationalization that looks like fact but is actually fear. We seek out proof that our fear is justified.

Me: And your strategy for identifying and moving through that rationalization?

Seth: Saying it is the strategy.

My heart-felt thanks to all the interviewees – for your good words here, and for being the lights you are in our world! My life, and trust, are better for it!

To join the drawing for a free product of your choice (linked items throughout this post are all eligible), comment on this post by Tuesday, April 19th at 8pm PDT. I’ll announce the winner here shortly thereafter.


UPDATE: I just put all the comment #s in a hat and drew….#1! Congratulations, Lindsey! I’ll be in touch to find out which product you’d like as your gift.

Much warmth to all!!

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28 comments   |   Filed in: Interviews   |   Tags: ,   |  


  1. What a great set of entrepreneurs, and a valuable reminder that the reason others are “doing it” when we feel we can’t isn’t because they don’t face fear and resistance like we do … an easy belief to have because it lets us off of the hook.

    Comment by Lindsey — April 18, 2011 @ 3:52 am
  2. Interesting interviews and perspectives. And now I have some new blogs to read, as well.

    Comment by Kari — April 18, 2011 @ 5:25 am
  3. Lindsey, yes! Your words remind me so much of Seth’s, above – “rationalization that looks like fact”.

    Kari, I hope you check them out! :)

    Comment by Kristin Noelle — April 18, 2011 @ 6:56 am
  4. This is an amazing post and an amazing resource. Thank you for basically grabbing me by the shoulders and spinning me around and giving me a gentle push in the right direction :)

    Comment by chel — April 18, 2011 @ 8:01 am
  5. Chel, my pleasure!! (though I hope you aren’t dizzy… :)

    Comment by Kristin Noelle — April 18, 2011 @ 8:06 am
  6. Thanks for the new tips. And Melody Ross is wonderful.

    Comment by Kay — April 18, 2011 @ 9:55 am
  7. Really appreciate each one of these pieces of wisdom. Will be coming back to read them again. Very helpful, thanks!

    Comment by nate — April 18, 2011 @ 1:00 pm
  8. great post.. thks for sharing this with all of us, would love love to win! hugs xo

    Comment by bonitarose — April 18, 2011 @ 2:00 pm
  9. Kay, I couldn’t agree more!

    Nate, so glad you enjoyed them!

    And bonitarose – yes! Good luck!

    Comment by Kristin — April 18, 2011 @ 2:01 pm
  10. What stellar company to be in, thanks so much for inviting me to take part Kristin.

    Comment by Marianne — April 18, 2011 @ 3:28 pm
  11. Marianne, my great pleasure! Thanks so much for joining and for sharing such profound and practical insight.

    Comment by Kristin — April 18, 2011 @ 3:40 pm
  12. I really resonated with Jonathan Fields’ first point about language. “Challenge” is much better than block. I think carefully about the words I choose as I am a teacher.

    I also love (and try to remember0 to “feel the fear and do it anyway.”

    Comment by Linda — April 18, 2011 @ 3:58 pm
  13. Great blogs and insights. I also love feel the fear and do it anyway. Or Seth’s go and make something happen. Sometimes I can spend so much time thinking, planning, absorbing info. and dreaming about making something happen, nothing does. The real challenge is trust it can be done or overcoming fear, stepping out of the box and doing something. Thanks for sharing these sites with us.

    Comment by Shandeen — April 18, 2011 @ 5:09 pm
  14. Linda, yes: I’m glad for the reminder about the way language shapes reality.

    Shandeen, I often get bogged down, too. I’m challenged in a good way by Seth’s message, and have to say I find myself also seasoning it with some of my own perspective, which is that good things sometimes really do take time, and there are rhythms to things, which include a necessary dormancy, sometimes, before spring’s flowering.

    This is what I love about these people: not all of them are just like me, but they challenge me to be more balanced, and to see more clearly what aspects of my “natural” way in the world I want to maintain, and which ones I’d like to try to change.

    Comment by Kristin — April 18, 2011 @ 7:10 pm
  15. Oh, we have a lot of the same taste – I adore so many of these people. Thank you for featuring them again here!


    Comment by Lily — April 19, 2011 @ 7:14 am
  16. What inspiring words! I love Jen Lee’s and Marianne’s work, too – and it’s comforting to know we all face fears/blocks/hang-ups.

    Comment by Katie — April 19, 2011 @ 9:23 am
  17. Thanks so much for this! Love your site. So much support and inspiration!

    Comment by Bella — April 19, 2011 @ 10:43 am
  18. Lily, Katie, Bella – thanks for stopping by!

    Comment by Kristin — April 20, 2011 @ 8:17 pm
  19. Loved ‘meeting’ these incredible people – I can count Melody as one of my friends, and she is well deserved of the recognition… she’s one amazing lady.

    Comment by Sandi — April 21, 2011 @ 1:55 pm
  20. Melody Ross is incredible ~ if you have a chance take her class. You will not be sorry. Brave girl in training.

    Comment by Bambi Pro — April 21, 2011 @ 2:03 pm
  21. Sandi and Bambi, so glad for your voices here! I truly hope to take Melody’s class one day!

    Comment by Kristin Noelle — April 21, 2011 @ 3:21 pm
  22. What a lovely blog you have-just found you and have put you on my Reader for continuing inspiration! I am inspired and thinking it really may be possible for me to take some of my ideas and create a business!!

    Comment by Diane Standish — April 21, 2011 @ 3:54 pm
  23. Diane, your words are pure music to me! Woohoo!!! So glad to meet you, too!

    Comment by Kristin — April 21, 2011 @ 5:22 pm
  24. I love Melody and Jen! Thanks for sharing this. It’s very inspiring, and I can’t wait to check out the others.

    Comment by kelly — April 21, 2011 @ 9:17 pm
  25. Hi Kelly! I love them too! So glad you stopped by!

    Comment by Kristin — April 21, 2011 @ 9:31 pm
  26. [...] the same vein, my mother recommended I read a blog post about entrepreneurship today.  She thought it would help motivate me through my current uncertainties.  (Shhh…really, how [...]

    Pingback by Internal Voices « Frannie's Rock — June 28, 2011 @ 11:23 pm
  27. [...] I think the biggest internal block (for most of us) is the rationalization that looks like fact but is actually fear. We seek out proof that our fear is justified. ~Seth Godin in this post [...]

    Pingback by a beginner’s mind | We Love Gratitude : Be Grateful — June 13, 2013 @ 4:13 pm
  28. Very well interviewed … I am really inspired by Seth Godin and Jonathan fields

    Comment by Best Apps for Rooted Android — November 16, 2013 @ 1:38 am

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