Bright Light Graphics Visual Story Telling Wed, 25 Nov 2020 01:22:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bright Light Graphics 32 32 What Are YOU Grateful For? Wed, 25 Nov 2020 00:24:30 +0000 Do you remember, back at the beginning of this year when the pandemic just started, we all said “when this thing is over, then…” and then some statement would follow that would describe a “back to normal” life.

It’s November now, and clearly, life is still not “back to normal”, and may very well not get there for at least a while.

if 2020 was a bag of chips: Lay's Orange Juice & Toothpaste flavor

While unpalatable in many ways, 2020 has made me realize how much I value the normal, day-to-day, regular parts of life:

  • Going to the grocery store and not having to stand in line outside.
  • Said store having full shelves with all the products I want (toilet paper).
  • Being able to gather with friends and hug each other.
  • Kids spending their days in school instead of in their room.
  • Attending social events.
  • Going to the gym.
  • Hiking without a facemask.
  • Breathing fresh air…

Now that the “new normal” has been adjusted to a whole different level, it’s the random and regular things that get most of my gratitude. 

How about you? What things are YOU grateful for? I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime: Happy Thanksgiving!


One turkey to the other: Dude! I have a ton of followers and they all want to have me over for dinner!









Thanks to:

Bored Panda, for the “Orange Juice & Toothpaste” meme

Simon Maage from Unsplash for the “Give Thanks” image

The artist who created the “Turkey Invited For Dinner” cartoon. I am sorry I can’t find your name, “N”.

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Love For the Win Wed, 04 Nov 2020 15:26:49 +0000

If you’re like me then you may occasionally find other humans complicated and confusing, to say the least…

In an effort to mitigate that, I attempt to educate myself on how to be a better communicator. Imagine my joy that I got to work with Aileen Gibb on designing not one, not two, but three books about communication! 


Aileen’s books Asking Great QuestionsThe Conversation Edge, and the forthcoming Now Listen, are meant to help inspire meaningful conversations, cultivate genuine curiosity, and practice deep listening. 

With emotions running high these days, and tolerance taking a nose-dive, these three books contain tools for anyone who wants to improve their communication skills in order to connect with others.

In these uncomfortable days after an undecided election, let’s continue to see and celebrate each other’s humanity, and learn to genuinely connect with people even if they are “different” than us. Let Love win.

Kind words from Aileen Gibb, about our collaboration on creating her three books



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What’s the Game Plan For Your Website? Mon, 02 Dec 2019 05:14:35 +0000

Marsha had a great idea for a business. She dreamed about it every night, thought about it incessantly every day. She bought the domain name and chose a lovely shade of green for her logo.

Weeks went by. Then months. And Marsha began to lose enthusiasm for her project. WordPress themes. Graphics. Actual words. Opt-ins. Newsletters. Analytics. They danced through her head like high-strung Sugar Plum Fairies. What started off as “this is going to change the world” morphed into “I’m sooooooo overwhelmed.” Her idea stayed just that… an idea, tucked away safely in a Moleskine journal. In a box. In her garage.

Don’t be a Marsha.

The tasks involved in creating a website should never prevent you from putting your awesome thing out into the world.  It all begins with a plan.


You wouldn’t build a sailboat without first drawing up some kind of plan. “This goes here. That goes there.” Follow the instructions and eventually you havea boat. AN ACTUAL BOAT! Heck, even Ikea provides a manual for putting together a side table. Four legs and a top seems pretty straightforward, but we still refer to the instructions to make sure we’re doing it right.

The same is true for a website. You need a plan, an instruction manual.

I’ve noticed that people tend to view website creation as a finished masterpiece rather than a work in progress. “Look at Davey Dinkleshort’s website. It’s so shiny and savvy.” They become frustrated by how much work they think it takes to make it all come together like Dinkleshort. What they don’t know is that Mr. D’s current website has been reinvented 12 times.

So… where should you start? Instead of choosing some random element and cobbling everything together so that it “kinda-sorta fits,” I recommend working through two big questions first.

  1. What do I want my website to do?

You think the answer would be as simple as “make me lots of money.” While a fistful of dollars can be freaking fantastic, the answer is a bit more complex than that. Do you want to build an email list? Sell products directly? Educate potential clients?

How you answer this question will determine the direction of your website.

  1.  Who is my audience?

Please don’t say, “Everyone!” This is the wrongest of all wrong answers. Your audience should be a specific person with specific needs.

What is the pressing problem they want to fix right now? How do you solve it for them? Is your audience tech-savvy? Or do you need to keep things uber-simple?

Over the years, I’ve consoled dozens of clients who’ve struggled with their websites. I knew that I needed to create something that would help take away the pain of website overwhelm and break the process down into bite-sized, digestible chunks.

So I designed a Website Planner, an interactive tool that helps people design the look feel, and tone of their website while keeping ALL THE THINGS organized.

It’s yours and it’s free. Seriously. Sign up here to download it:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

I believe that with the help of this guide (and some quality butt-in-the-chair time), your website will come together swimmingly.

If you’re ready to kick your business up a notch, check out my new 35-day course, The Art of Creation. Together we dive deep into creating your brand identity and build a strong foundation for your business.

art-of-creation_smallAt the end of the day, the most important thing you can do for your brand is  put it out into the world. Keeping it hidden away until it’s absolutely perfect means no one will benefit from your awesome thing. Lives won’t be changed.


So start today. I’ve got your back.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
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Getting to the Soul of Your Business Mon, 04 Nov 2019 20:21:24 +0000 Redesigning your current website? Developing your brand voice? Publishing a book? Launching a marketing campaign? Keep reading, friend. Maybe you’re a coach, a wellness worker or an author. Business cards have been ordered. You’ve created an Instagram account. There’s a cup full of brand new pens on the corner of your desk. Each morning you open your Mac, ready to do #allthethings. And then sit there. What should you write? Should you be calling someone? Will another inspirational meme on Facebook light a fire under your crowd’s hineys? You re-fresh your inbox every ten minutes, only to find 3 new email newsletters from other businesses that seemingly have their shit together. It’s called “being stuck.” You want to connect. You want to serve people. You want to stand out. But you have no idea how to make that all happen. It’s something I see over and over again with my clients. Most people are too close to their business… their baby… to see beyond its intricacies and dive deeper into the actual “brand.” Running a business without a clear idea of what your brand represents is like building a car and forgetting to put the engine inside. You just sit there, wondering why it isn’t going anywhere. Building a brand is a unique, mysterious and often confusing process. You see,  a brand is something you earn. It’s based on other people’s experiences with your services or products. They form a story inside their heads based on how you make them feel and the values they believe you have. They create it. They experience it. A brand is their perception of your company’s soul. While it’s partly out of your control to determine what others think, you can set-up a brand poised for success by gaining a clear understanding of what drives your business. What’s the core? What’s the why? What’s the grand vision? Without this awareness, it will be difficult to express your brand identity visually or know what will connect your business to its right crowd. I have a strong desire to make life easier for business owners. I understand how overwhelming it can be to build a brand and keep it in front of people. The world is a competitive place and standing out in it takes work. It’s why I created a new 35-day program called The Art of Creation. I wanted to give business owners insights into their unique story, as well as the ability to wrap their brains around the brand creation process.

“The Art of Creation offered me the structure I needed to develop my business plan. My brain works intuitively and nonlinear which is great for inspiration, but when it comes down to getting all these ideas structured I needed some help. The Art of Creation gave me exactly that.” Ingelise van Tijn, Founder of Heldenreis in Praktijk (Hero’s journey in practice)

I’m super proud of this program because it’s not just another wimpy e-book telling you what to do. Instead, it approaches brand development from seven different vantage points. You are forced to think deeply about yourself, your business, your crowd and your vision.

Lieve, I need some brand clarity. Let’s do this! (Click on the book image below)

The Art of Creation is an invaluable tool for building a brand identity. If you are taking on an overwhelming project such as building a website, diving into a book project, crafting a logo or creating a promotional video, The Art of Creation will be the anchor that restores focus when your work is tempted to drift.

  • You’ll dive deep into the creation process and learn about what drives your business, who you’re talking to and where you’re heading.
  • You’ll know who your ideal clients are, where they hang out and    how to inspire them to take action on what you offer.
  • You’ll have a clear idea about the visual aspects of your brand and how they are used to express the soul of your business.
  • You’ll walk away with a list of comprehensive, practical action steps for building your brand.
  • Workbooks, Skype calls and a heavy dose of inspiration are all part of the program. Together, we’ll formulate a plan for building your brand.
  • At the end of the five weeks you’ll have more clarity about doing good work in the world. You’ll know how to infuse your passion and unique talents into your business without losing chunks of your soul in the process.

That’s what building a brand is all about.

“One of the reasons why The Art of Creation worked for me is that as a participant you get set time frames in which you’re invited to finish the different sections. Each section lasts five days. These five days gave me enough time to freely think about the questions and enough time to write it all down in some logical order. A deadline helps…” Ingelise van Tijn, Founder of Heldenreis in Praktijk (Hero’s journey in practice)

If you’re tired of spinning your wheels and not seeing results from your brand building actions, this program will help you immensely. Imagine drilling down to the core of why you do what you do and consciously building (or re-building) a brand that perfectly captures your essence and connects to the right crowd.

“I’m a retired Reading Specialist that had an idea! Something I developed at the end of my career. Given lots of time to ponder I decided this idea could be a benefit to many! I didn’t know where to begin and how much of my retired life I wanted to work. When The Art of Creation was presented to me, I thought, perfect! It will be like taking a inservice training. It turned out to be much more than a training! ~ Cheryl Brooks, Founder of Mr. Hip’s Reading Tips

Yes! I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and begin The Art of Creation. (Click on the book image below)

There are a few givens in life. Death. Taxes. Bad hair days. Sunrises and sunsets. Freedom to change the path you’re currently on. You get out of life what you put into it. The same is true for crafting a compelling brand. The Art of Creation is a worthwhile brand journey that works when you fully commit to the exercises and the process.

I can’t wait to help you create!


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The Difference Between a Brand and a Visual Identity Fri, 04 Oct 2019 19:22:32 +0000 Ever noticed how easily people toss the word “brand” around in conversations? “You must build your brand!” “I just re­branded my business!” “Do you do branding?” It rolls off the tongue as a muddled, overarching word meant to describe everything about a business.

But what does the word “brand” actually mean?

What I’ve noticed is that many people use “brand” and “visual identity” interchangeably. Maybe it has something to do with the images that come to mind when we think of the word “brand,” such as a rancher searing a logo into the haunch of his cattle. At a glance, everyone knows whom it belongs to. It’s extremely visual, right? But is that little symbol the epitome of what he’s worked his entire life to build? Is the brand his “brand?”

What’s the difference between brand and visual identity, anyways?

I wanted to get well­rounded feedback on the question, so I turned to the wise corners of LinkedIn. Here’s what people told me:

  • A brand is the “big picture.” It’s the personality, the voice, the character, the unity, and the visual identity of a company.
  • Compare both “brand” and “visual identity” to a person. How is he or she presented to the world? What are the external identifying factors? This outside presentation is the visual identity. On the flip side, how is the person perceived and judged? What associations do we make with the person, with their “essence?” That is the brand.
  • A brand is the personality and visual identity is the tangible expression of that personality.
  • A brand incorporates the elements of a visual identity (website, logo, social media imagery, packaging, stationery, email headers, etc.) and uses it to express values, style and unique messaging.
  • Visual imagery such as logo, letterhead, color, composition, and layout comprises the initial vibe of a business. The brand is more of an emotive concept. How does it make a person feel?
  • A visual identity helps a brand create cohesion and consistency.

So we know the two terms are distinctly different, and yet one element is not complete without the other. Let’s dig a bit further into what creates a brand.

  • A brand is the experience that a business conveys to its people. Coca­Cola does this masterfully. Their logo, instantly recognizable due to their longevity, only scratches the surface. Your personal encounters with their product is what makes their brand beloved.
  • A brand is based on “touchpoints.” Every interaction determines a feeling. People form a story inside their heads based on how you make them feel and the values they believe you have. They create it. They experience it. A brand is their perception of your company’s soul.
  • A brand is earned. Over time. Through a consistent presence and evolving story. Because of your promise and how you keep it. BOOM. Like my friend Dennis Conforto says, “A brand is a promise kept. Whatever you say the brand is or what the brand will do, it must do.”

Does your business need a compelling visual identity? Abso­freaking­lutely. The look and feel of your business is what will initially attract people to you. They’ll resonate with your colors or vibe or style or voice. Strong brands are built on a strong foundation of messaging and design. After that, the way you answer the phone to how you follow up after a business transaction (and everything in between) determines how your brand will show up in the world.

What are your thoughts on brand vs. visual identity? Still confused about what you should focus on? We’d love to lend a hand. Contact us today for a complimentary chat about your business.

The Art of Creation Coaching Program for business owners

Redesigning your current website? Developing your brand voice? Publishing a book? Launching a marketing campaign?

As an inspired and passionate business owner you want to connect. You want to serve people. You want to stand out.

But you have no idea how to make that all happen.

It’s why I created a new 35-day program called The Art of Creation. I wanted to give business owners insights into their unique story, as well as the ability to wrap their brains around the brand creation process.

To know more, click the cover image below…


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The Art of Asking Great Questions Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:23:45 +0000

I love asking questions. The inquisitive part of me adores learning and having meaningful conversations that go beyond surface-skimming chit chat. As a business owner, I’ve learned that asking questions is a crucial component of building a brand and making connections. But there’s an art to it. Knowing the difference between “okay” questions and “great” questions is like going from Kansas to Oz.

For example, “What do you do?” is an okay question. We ask and answer it all the time. But how often does it lead to thought-provoking conversation? We give our pat answer, reciprocate the same question and move on.

There’s got to be a better way.

So I went to an expert on questions (yes, there is such a thing), my client Aileen Gibb, author of Asking Great Questions.

Aileen Gibb with her latest book “Asking Great Questions”.

What’s the big deal about questions?

“The most powerful conversations happen when you ask questions” Aileen explains. Good questions and meaningful answers can change the world.

Mind. Blown.

What is the best question to ask?

When you enter a conversation with “preloaded” questions, you can’t help but mentally tick off the boxes in your head. Yes. Yes. No. Yes. You’ve gone from “whoa” to “meh” in four questions flat.

“The scary question is the one that makes the difference,” she notes. It’s the one that comes up when you are focusing on the moment, when you are in a back and forth conversational groove. If it makes people pause before answering, it’s a great question.

What is a good question to start a conversation?

“Anything but ‘So, what do you do?’” laughs Aileen. It’s important to be genuinely curious about others. Ask questions you haven’t asked before and you’ll receive interesting answers. Be bold and ask questions that come from a different place than everyone else’s. “What inspires you?” or “What’s a dream or ambition you haven’t yet fulfilled?” gives a conversation a set of sturdy legs to stand on.

Ask open-ended questions such as, “What do you think about…?” It shows a respect for opinions, which leads to trust and understanding.

Why do some business owners and leaders have a hard time asking questions?

As business owners we often feel responsible for having all the answers. We are expected to be decisive, fearless and innovative… and to know the answer before the question has even entered anyone else’s brain space. It’s not easy to hang out in that vulnerable space where we are waiting for answers instead of providing them.

If the floor is open for answers to emerge through asking questions, the possibility of innovation and creativity will be infinitely larger. Our co-workers and clients will feel valued when they realize their voices are important. By letting go of the need to have all the answers and fix all the things, we create an environment of trust.

Asking questions is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it’s a way to open doors and build relationships. Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, once wrote, “Effective leaders ask questions instead of giving orders.”

How can we be better listeners?

“It’s all about the intention you take into the conversation,” says Aileen. Are you truly open to what others say? Or are you attached to specific answers that swing the conversation back to you? Create space for possibilities and surprises. Learn to be comfortable with silence as you wait for a response. Don’t interrupt.

Trust that the conversation will be way more meaningful than anything you try to force.

People love talking about themselves. It douses our brain with dopamine, a “feel  good” hormone. When you want to make another person feel good, give them space to talk about themselves. Asking better questions is a surefire way to develop lasting relationships and build trust with people. (And that’s always good for business.)

What are your favorite questions to ask? Have you ever been asked a question that stopped you in your tracks?

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