Sh*t Happens – Find the Beauty – Branding Passion per CRUSH IT! book message

by Sheila Finkelstein on June 12, 2010

Thanks to my friend, Lynn Terry, in whose Elite Mastermind Group I participate, I learned about Gary Vaynerchuk’s book CRUSH IT! (Why “Now is the time to Crush It and Cash in on your Passion”). Based on Lynn’s review on her blog, I purchased the book. It came quickly from Amazon and I’ve been enthralled. It’s been a fast, powerful and empowering read. The thrust of the book is about learning “to navigate the digital waters of social marketing to build a business and promote a personal brand based around what you love most.” (p.14)

As I skim the pages now to look for my highlights I see numerous pink strokes on “personal brand” – “The thing that most people don’t realize is that in today’s world your business and your personal brand need to be one and the same…” (p. 28) So as I’m reading, I’m considering, once again, “What is my passion? Where is it?” I’ve done countless courses and reading on this and…. Then, Clunk!, I remembered the photo I took that I was so excited about the day before –

I sent this out to some friends, with the tag, “Sh*t Happens – Find the Beauty”, and I realized this IS my passion and my brand, “Finding the Beauty in Whatever Shows Up.”  As a young child my favorite books were those in the POLLYANNA series.  In later years, I came to recognize that it was her always finding the positive in any situation was what drew me in and quite possibly was instrumental, in part anyway, in shaping my future.

Thanks to Gary’s CRUSH IT! I feel like I’m standing in a more powerful place as I’m crafting/refining what’s next for me, at least in the speaking of it.  I’m not sure I’m comfortable in standing in “Sh*t Happens – Find the Beauty” as my brand in those words AND it’s something to play with – have fun with.

The book is full of concrete and specific ideas for using Social Media and other strategies to monetize and more.  I was familiar with much of it and there was some great information new to me.  Lastly, just before breaking to write this post, I read Gary’s suggestion to put our brands on t-shirts. “What fun!” I thought. “I wonder if anyone would buy and wear a “Sh*t Happens – Find the Beauty” t-shirt.” “What the heck,” I decided.  And I put the image on some T-Shirts in my Cafe Press Nature Art Gift shop.  While at it, I added another image and message – “Fish or Fowl? Change Perspectives” – Changing perspective is always big part of my message and, you can see, rotating the above photograph, 90 degrees, creates a whole different image and experience.

In the top photo, I saw the “bird” in the upper left, facing to the left. Then someone pointed seeing the same shape as a bird facing to the right going through the top of the head of the “bird” facing us.  I hadn’t even noticed that frontal bird until I downloaded it into my computer.  So, as I write, the top photo has 4 birds.  How many do you see?

Then in the rotation of it, as I prepared the photos for t-shirts, I immediately saw the “fish” (formerly bird) in the lower left.  For now, I’ll say the larger image is a fish also. What are  your interpretations?

Adding to my passion is sharing this with you, reminding you that there are many ways of viewing the same thing in our lives, both our interpretations and then those of others… none of which are “RIGHT”.

Here are the resulting images now on t-shirts.  You can find them at Nature Art Gift Shop

As always, have fun with this and enroll others in having fun with you.  Be sure to share your experiences with us in the comments below.

I’d also very much appreciate your thoughts on “Sh*t Happens – Find the Beauty” as the marketing brand for my work.  Many thanks in advance.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan Fleming June 12, 2010 at 3:58 pm

I do like the concept for a brand, but am not really comfortable with the verbal representation. Even though it is a pretty commonly recognized phrase, I don’t think i would want my personal brand to be that crass.

However, having said that, what about playing off of it, and having a picture of something like a sinkhole, or the aftermath of an earthquake or avalanche, and use “SHIFT HAPPENS…” instead?

Just my personal opinion, and I know that one size doesn’t fit all — probably doesn’t even fit most!


Sheila Finkelstein June 12, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Actually, Susan, I agree with your discomfort. I feel it myself AND it would be very BOLD of me to take it on. It is an attention getter. On the other hand…. I don’t know how “beautiful” it is either, so I suppose it’s whose attention I want to get.

With reference to SHIFT HAPPENS, a friend of mine suggested that also and I suspect I might get caught up in infringement of copyright from a company already using that.

It also doesn’t quite say the same thing as my message – “See something. No matter what it is, you can find some beauty if you look.” Only after that does “Shift Happen”. It’s the SEEING and the LOOKING… the CHANGING PERSPECTIVES.

Thanks for the opportunity for me reflecting on this further. Will be interesting to see if the t-shirts grab any interest.


Julie June 14, 2010 at 10:56 am

Interesting, Sheila. Personally, I’m tired of that exact phrase “Sh*t happens,” b/c I’ve seen it too much. But I certainly appreciate the power of the “find the beauty” message. What about “doo happens,” since it’s a picture of bird doo? Or, play on the word “do” — like, what can you “do” about it? Or, “droppings?” Maybe that’s too big a word.


Sheila Finkelstein June 14, 2010 at 11:20 am

What a great and thoughtful response, Julie. “Doo”… On one level it doesn’t quite “feel” right to me, perhaps because I never used the “word.” And it’s certainly a match in terms of “do” being an action word.

Your popping in now with your response, also reminds me of my current focus, coaching Moms in understanding and accepting their own creativity and expanding communication their young children. I certainly don’t think that you’d want Toby meeting, or connecting with, me from the brand “Sh*t Happens….”

Great timing, for me, on your comment. Again, it’s greatly appreciated.


Roslynn June 16, 2010 at 9:01 am

Thanks for sharing your personal brand conversation with us! As you know I am also working to allow my personal brand to emerge in a coherent way. I have gone through many rounds of naming. And each one, while the words didn’t stick, helped me get more grounded in who I am and how I am of service in the world.

I commend you for testing and learning so rapidly. That’s another recommendation I’ve heard from people like Pam Slim, Chris Guillebeau, and Molly Gordon. I find it hard to do sometimes myself!

My gut feeling about this seeing and looking gift that you embody is that YOU are the brand. You bring this with you wherever you go: in your writing, in your photography, in your comment responses, in your coaching.

I think your just-right clients – be they moms and their young children or someone else as time moves on – will find you most easily if your words speak to them. No one knows that sh*t happens better than moms! Your message seems to be more of a: beauty is / come home to beauty / don’t miss it! kind of thing.

I imagine someone connecting with you at a ‘I don’t want to miss these years with my child just because I have to work and I’m stressed out and s/he is growing so fast it’s like s/he doesn’t even like me anymore’ level. Maybe that’s not their pain…but whatever it is, it’s what they worry about when they wake up and then put aside to get through the day. You have a profound offer of hope. What is that message?


Sheila Finkelstein June 16, 2010 at 9:25 am

Wow, Roslynn. What AWEsome feedback!!! and just when it’s most needed. Thank you SOOO much!! Can’t wait to promote what you have/will have going.


Rachelle August 13, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Wow Roslynn! Beautiful 🙂 Nice to cross paths with you in the blog world.

Sheila – I ditto what Roslynn says!

The beauty you see and the words you connect to it and the meaning that comes out of it all is just amazing!


Rebecca Collins June 16, 2010 at 2:16 pm

I see a mermaid in the dark figure of top image.

Nope, I would not be comfortable with the phrase, not for the reason of it being crass, just overused. And to get away with profanity within your branding it really helps to be a 20-something dude with a shaved head and ink on your arms. Just my 2 cents.


Zoe Grace July 2, 2010 at 2:55 am

Hello Sheila, thank you for this thought-provoking discussion. My friend and I are teaching a personal development course, starting on Sunday, called The Power of Connection, in the UK. We had reached a point in our planning when my friend had ‘gone under’ with her mind’s accusations that she couldn’t handle the logistics of the course material etc. She had started crying and saying that she wanted to go home and have a rest. She has rheumatoid arthritis and does need more rest than I do but we live two hours away from each other and had met in the middle. Because of our diaries we had agreed to complete this piece of work in one session and had no other time to meet before the course starts.
She is great at taking support and in response to the suggestion had just gone into the ladies’ toilets to express some of her ‘No’ and get into her authority and ‘Yes’ when a man, who I think might have been noticing our interaction ~ we were sitting in a pub garden ~ came and started talking to me about what we were doing. When I mentioned the course he immediately, and rather stridently to my ears, asked me what our marketing and sales strategy was.
I noticed several things but the most obvious was how reactive I was to the idea of having a sales strategy to our personal development courses, and my belief that the very act of having one would undermine the preciousness of the amazing interactions and insights of the course, and our passion for it. Of course the more reluctant I was to acknowledge that we have a sales strategy, which we have, its word of mouth and works excellently, the more dogged he was in insisting that we had to have one. By the time my friend came back from the toilet, in line with her purpose and integrity once more, I was in a place of real disconnection from this man. An irony when you think of the course content!
When I did some work on this later I noticed that I had not been real and honest at the point when he had started a conversation. If I had been I would have said that I was not up for a conversation at that point but would happily talk to him later. In fact I was planning to take the time my colleague was in the ladies to do some work with my own reaction to her crying and wanting to pack up and go home. A perfection lifeshock for me as I rarely cry in public and grit my jaw and push through stoically when under pressure. Our difference is why it is so great to be partnering up.
So on top of all this it is wonderful that Life has brought me back to the very subject of marketing. I will get the book and have been inspired at your creative, sensitive and flexible response to it. I have a web site for my professional development courses and had no second thoughts about that! Thank you, love and respect, Zoe Grace


Sheila Finkelstein July 2, 2010 at 4:11 am

Zoe, thanks for your in-depth share and acknowledgment. What a great story for demonstrating the many different ways we learn and the “pains” we often go through in getting to the other side.

In addition to your belated realization that you could have taken responsibility for yourself in pausing and telling the man you were not up for his conversation, your experience with him is also a great reminder for us on how important it is for us to ask for permission before we start coaching!

I think you’ll love the book. It is an easy read and the author does not set “sales and marketing” a part as something to “do”. His sharings of actions come right out of expressing passions. It’s obvious that you are passionate and committed to what you are up to.

There’s a lot of simple, easy to digest, “how-to” information on social networking, which if you’re not much into it, I’m sure you will love, from his perspective.

Much success in your workshop. Thanks again for visiting here and taking the time to share.


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