I’m overjoyed to introduce the newest creative superhero today, Karen Walrond! Karen and I first met at a Blogher conference back in 2006. I shyly tapped her on the shoulder and we hugged and shouted with excitement since we were both big fans of one another. She was wearing a superhero necklace and I couldn’t resist photographing her right there on the spot. Isn’t she gorgeous?
The greatest thing about Karen is she has a way of making every single person she meets feel beautiful and amazing. She sees your beauty in a way that makes you see it too. She is a generous friend and cheerleader and I feel lucky to have her in my corner.
When my new site launched, she immediately called me and screamed OH MY GOD!!!!!! DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW BIG THIS IS???? into the phone. It made me laugh and feel so celebrated. Thank you Karen. So honored to introduce her to you today!
What is your superpower?
I can see beauty wherever I am, no matter who I’m with. It’s the most awesome superpower to have.
What are your obsessions? and how do they make their way into your creative work?
I’m obsessed with photography and telling stories, and luckily they both are a big part of my work as an author, blogger, photographer and public speaker. I’m also obsessed with making sure that people realize how awesome they are — and happily, I’m coming up with new and creative ways of making sure that people understand this.
What are the top 5 things you’ve learned so far as a creative entrepreneur?
1. It’s not as easy as it looks.
2. It requires as much time as it did when I was a corporate wonk — perhaps even more. The good news is that I love every minute.
3. Making a living as a creative is wonderfully fulfilling, but it also requires downtime as well. This is one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn, but I’m learning it.
4. Even though I spent most of my adult life doing something else, none of that time was wasted. It’s all fuel for my current life.
5. Being creative — no matter in what capacity, even in jobs which might at first glance seem uncreative — is the only way to live.
Tell us about a time when you had to practice courage.
The time that most immediately comes to mind is when I quit my job as a lawyer. It was very weird: I had a great job, I was good at what I did, and I had a boss who respected me and my work. To tell him that I had to leave, and it wasn’t for a better offer was a very strange and uncomfortable place to be, but it was my truth.
Happily, we’ve remained friends, and he has remained a mentor. I’m very lucky.
What are a few things people wouldn’t know by looking at you?
Most people wouldn’t realize that I love scuba diving, because in general, I’m a big scaredy-cat. Most people don’t know that I speak pretty passable Spanish, and can be comfortable in any Spanish-speaking country. Most people wouldn’t know that I’m deathly afraid of insects, snakes, feet, heights and what might be lurking under my bed at night.
What did you believe as a kid that you no longer believe?
I used to believe that my parents knew everything and were always right. As an adult, I still think they’re smart and good people, but I’ve finally realized they’re also human, making their world the best way they can, like the rest of us.
I used to believe in little woodland people, like elves and gnomes and fairies, and that plants and trees could feel pain and joy and happiness. I don’t believe in the woodland people anymore, but I kind of still believe it about the plants and trees.
I used to believe that I would never be the kind of perfect person that my parents wanted me to grow up to be. Now, as a grown-up, I actually don’t care anymore, because I’m pretty okay with the person I did end up being. Happily, my parents seem okay with her too.
What is your current mantra? Tell us about the last time you used it.
Be grateful, do your best every day, and don’t sweat it if it isn’t perfect. This is the latest mantra I’m working on, and it’s tough, sometimes. But I believe it’s the secret to a joyful life, so I’m going to keep trying.
Karen Walrond is a (nonpracticing) attorney, writer, photographer, and creator of the award-winning site Chookooloonks. Karen is also the author of The Beauty of Different, a book that will convince you that the thing that makes you different might just be your superpower. She loves dark chocolate, a good rum, and she’s wildly convinced you’re uncommonly beautiful.