Posts in My Brand
Listen in: Authentic branding on the NursePreneur Podcast with me!

Hey hey! I hope you're having a lovely week so far. I'm just back from a few days visiting some of my family in west Wales which was super lovely :) I don't have ANY phone pics to show for the long weekend - it's so unusual for me, but I think it's good for me to leave my phone in my bag sometimes and let go of capturing everything, all the time ya know!

Today I'm sharing a fab podcast episode with you I was thrilled to do with one of my dear clients, Catie Harris.

Catie and I worked together on her personal branding photography about three years ago in Philadelphia (see the blog post here) - it was such a wonderful time we had together and I've so enjoyed following her journey since!

I was excited to be interviewed for her show aimed at NursePreneurs and anyone starting their own business - it's filled with interesting biz stories, tips, inspo and practical tools to help her listeners recognise and hone their skills, market their services and live a life and business in harmony with their true values. I have personally found the episodes fascinating and useful and highly recommend listening! Catie asked amazing questions to bring my learning's and experiences through to help her audience.

In our 25 minute conversation we covered some of my personal and business journey, plus...

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  • How to craft an authentic personal brand that resonates with your ideal clients

  • Ways to use photography, and the hidden benefits of having a photo shoot

  • Catie's experience of starting her business, developing a personal brand, and reflections on her shoot with me

  • Ways I help my clients to get confident and comfortable in front of the camera

  • Tips on finding the right photographer for your brand

  • The power of video in your business

  • The transformative process of a personal branding shoot, the revelations and up-levels that can come from it

Click here to listen!


I hope you enjoy the interview and find it useful, it was so lovely to have this conversation. Would love to know what you think!

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share with you and your audience, Catie.

If you have a podcast and feel your listeners would benefit from hearing from me, or know someone who does, I'd be delighted to do this with you. Just reply to this message and we can take it from there!

P.S. I still have one space available for a shoot THIS MONTH (April), so if you've been wondering about a Spring brand session, message me now and we can speak to plan your best ever shoot and get you all set up!

Have a beautiful rest of your day! Becky xx

On Social Media and it's Impact on Identity, Our Relationships and Mental Health

I posted this on my personal Facebook page and appreciated the feedback and conversation it started, so thought I’d share on my blog too as the themes I am exploring are important and something many of us are facing.

Social media plays such a huge part in our individual worlds, if you’re on it most days (or all day). There are things that are amazing about that, and aspects so concerning to me, that are coming to light in research more and more of the time and being talked about. I wrote most of this over a year ago to clarify my feelings just for myself, but didn’t share it at the time because I was confused about it and felt paradoxical to post, but now it feels like I should.

This post is not to belittle the positive aspects of our online culture, but to bring awareness to its impact on our mental health, and really to think openly and talk about it.

I feel some fear to share what I have to say because of the work I do as a personal brand photographer; specifically helping people to represent themselves online, and not wanting to put down the validity of my own work or make it less credible. I have always held the values of love, truth and integrity above all, and have never been supportive of telling any story visually for a business or a person that is untrue. If anything, the work I have been doing for these past seven/eight years has given me so much insight to examine the phenomenon of social media as I have used it in such a big way, and look into how to get this right for ourselves and for the people we impact by being involved with it. As someone who is having conversations about ‘how to show up online’ most days, I feel like this is more important for me to talk about than hide from.

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So… Social media has created a kind of reference point for everyone using it, about what is ‘normal’ through what we see from each other, yet as we all know, this is based only on what people choose to share, and we don’t always remember that. We’re overloaded with information about the people we’re connected to online when we use Facebook or Instagram for example, and the wider world , a lot of the time without even realising it because it's so 'everyday', with information that tells us little bits about what’s happening in other peoples personal lives, relationships, businesses, travels etc. These are things that can help us feel connected and inspired, and things that can create feelings of being totally inadequate, far away from ourselves, our dreams and each other, when we forget that we're not seeing the whole picture or hearing the full story.

We see a curated world, based on how we’ve been interacting online since we started playing with social media, and since the internet was a thing. What you’re looking at is a uniquely refined feed of what algorithms understand that you, personally, will most engage with, enjoy, find of interest — and will keep you online (and I think I think it’s not unfair to say - addicted and buying). I feel that the world we each experience online has been being carved out slowly but surely, like a river, over the years we’ve been using it, and it has affected our interpretation of what the world is, and most likely our tastes and opinions and the way we use our brains, as the river gets deeper, it’s current stronger.

We are each seeing a body of content that is filtered specifically for us, based partly on our choices and interactions, and a partly automated never-ending stream of content. With the amount of time many people spend online, it’s become a huge part of our daily life, our reality. I can't help but ask myself the questions... is that okay? Can this be a positive thing? Can this be a bad thing? Is it just the way it is now? Everything seems totally fine with social media when we’re doing well and have things ‘in balance’. But so many of us just don’t, are struggling with this, and are afraid to say that. Some of us find balance only in going through periods of engagement and then abstinence to be okay. Why is that? And what is it that tips us from one way to the other and back again? I’m curious about how everyone is finding it all, and how we each are developing ways to live with its very real presence.

From my own experience and through conversations with friends and clients, I know that so much of the time we are comparing ourselves to what we see of the lives of others online, and so much of that is unconscious. As I mentioned, we can forget that we're only seeing parts of the lives that friends/creatives/entrepreneurs/influencers are choosing to make public. We accidentally idolise and unthinkingly figure that other people have got it sorted and we are failing behind when we’re not in a good place. We don’t see any of the other stuff going on in their day, the human issues they face, that we all share and don’t always know how to talk about. (I am aware of some amazing users and influencers who really do share the very difficult or weird times too, so I know this is not 100% of people, but it is the majority.) I want to draw more attention to it so we can be aware of how it’s affecting us personally and culturally, and aim to have a healthy relationship with it if we are to continue using. I’ve got some thoughts on that later.

Then it comes to our contribution. Social media is an amazing tool, AND we I feel need to be responsible about the way we interact; personally and in business. Once you add the ‘cultivating of an online personal brand’ and having a service based business that you may feel dependent on for your income, there’s another layer to it all that can be very challenging as you are forced to go within, clarify your identity and message on a public platform and decide how much to say. We as business owners obviously must be true and real at every touch point we have with our followers and clients online and IRL, as ever, but how does having an online presence that you use to represent yourself personally and professionally affect your deeper sense of identity on an ongoing basis?

I don’t mean to blow this out of proportion or scare anyone, but I really feel its important to look at this.

I have been using social media to grow my business for years, and hadn’t had any real trouble with this in my heart. It wasn’t until I was very low for some time, that I questioned what I have been doing, as I realised I felt unsafe to say how I was actually feeling during that time. I touched on it in some of my posts, but I felt way too vulnerable to really share about depression and what was going on… I had been through some pretty big life changes and was finding myself again, and that was my personal journey. It felt messy though, because I thought I needed to keep using social media to run my business but didn’t feel I could be fully honest without damaging what I had already built. It was like flipping between being different people depending on how I was feeling that day… I stayed true in what I did say and still did a great job in my work (my work with my clients and our photo shoots inspire me and add to my creative energy), but I felt unsafe to tell the truth online in my darker times. I felt guilty about that because I was projecting a version of myself that was not whole. I also questioned how much of our full experience is appropriate to be sharing when we have no obligation to say anything at all. If it is acceptable to post only when you’re happy, then what are we using social media for? Who are you writing to? What is it doing to us? And what online identity had I created if I couldn’t be completely honest within it?

I know we wouldn’t walk down the street talking to strangers, friends or clients about everything difficult going on inside for us, so we shouldn’t feel we have to do that online either, but I’m curious about where that line of privacy and self preservation is for each of us, if there is one.

Overall I believe we do have some responsibility to use our social for good, and to be open about the shadow side to the online world. I’m seeing so many business owners trying to find ways to express themselves with their full spectrum of human experience - that the shiny happy posts are not the whole story of every single day, that there are difficult times too, and they’re doing their best to keep it real AND position themselves in their expertise. I think that is really great to see and a relief for many, it starts a healing process.

Every single profile has opened a door to the once private world of each person using it, and no matter how well intentioned we are in our posts, I think it is healthy to question what we’ve been sharing, the stories we are telling, and what ripple effect that causes.

What representation have we crafted about ourselves and our lives over the years of having a personal brand? How connected do we truly feel to the version of ourselves that we share online? How does going on social media make you feel most of the time? How do you feel social media is affecting you?

For the people using it/sharing regularly, as I used to and probably will again, we are posting in the first place to contribute, to stay in touch with those we know, to share ideas... and then we find over time that we have formed an avatar of who we are, an impression of our lives and thoughts based on what we were comfortable sharing or proud to say in that moment. This is happening on a mass scale. I’m not necessarily saying that it’s bad or wrong, it is what it is… we are learning… but by using it at all, we are contributing to the positive and negative effect it’s having on us, our people, children and planet. (And there is so so much good that is happening as a result of fast spreading information which I love and am so grateful for.)

As it will continue to be a thing that most people use, I believe we each need to take personal responsibility for our own consumption of social media and our contribution to it. We need to find our own ways to have a relationship with it that is healthy, kind, inclusive, honest and well rounded. It’s not going away and it is growing. I feel taking this responsibility is especially important for us to do for more vulnerable people (particularly for children and young minds that I believe we have a responsibility to look out for as we build the world they are coming into). I’m sure this is a real phenomenon of our times for all people, not just 20-somethings and business owners.

For now what I would love us to remember as we move forward is that…

1. What we see on social media in general is a curated feed and is not the whole truth.
2. Even though we know at a deeper level that everyone has ups and downs, light and dark, good times and bad times, know that they don’t share all of these personal details of their life because it IS personal and not necessarily safe or appropriate for them to do so. Respect the privacy of others, know that theres a bigger picture behind everything you see. Don’t judge others by what you observe online - there is so much more to them. Be kind.
3. Let’s know that social is an amazing tool for connection and relationships, information and education, inspiration and ideas, yet can also be a tool of harm. Let’s bring awareness to how it is personally affecting us — try to consciously release thoughts of judgement on ourselves and others. For example, when we feel negative emotion come up while using social media, I find it helpful when I can to name what I’m feeling and consider the thoughts that led to it. e.g. ‘I’m not good enough, I should be doing better’ — if that came from actually comparing myself/art/life/home/career/relationship/friendships with something I just saw, I try to notice what it brought up, and take a moment to reconnect with my own truth and what lights me up.
These triggers can be used as a navigational system to help us reconnect with what WE truly desire, what inspires us, or what we genuinely do want more of in our own lives. Sometimes feeling the contrast of something we’ve seen reminds us of our own values… that’s when it can make a positive difference; when it inspires clarity, action or positively motivates us.
4. The only truth that we can hold on to is our own personal truth. By that I mean , as always, we have to trust our own intuition/gut about things, try to notice those moments where we’re comparing ourselves to what we see online, bring our focus to what we’re doing well in our lives and what we care about, what we have to appreciate and be so humbly grateful for… and to know that we are whole — no matter how segmented you may feel because of the impact of technology, no matter where you are at right now and how you’re finding all of this.

As social media and more advanced technology continues to find it’s way into our lives, I want us to consciously think about how we interact with each other through it, in a way that is healthy, if we are to use it at all.

We will navigate this together, and for now and as always I think, taking personal responsibility for our own usage, talking about how we're feeling about it, and bringing kind self-awareness is where we start.

I'm on a Podcast! - Adulting With Ebonie

I had so much fun on Ebonie Allard’s amazing podcast @adultingwithebonie, of which I am a huge fan! Podcasts are one of my go-to’s when I’m working on photos from my computer, road tripping or cooking, and are one of my favourite ways to receive information, get to know about people, learn, and be entertained!

Each week, Ebonie and her guest discuss what it means to be a kickass and kind adult in our modern world, share personal stories and ideas about how to navigate that and explore the most fascinating and important topics such as sovereignty, creativity, privilege, intimacy, love and more. In this episode we talk about:

✔️ Age. And the ways it is and isn’t important
✔️ How taking risks adds value to our lives
✔️ The fluidity of identity
✔️ How our environment affects our sense of self
✔️ Where to start with creating an environment that works for you

Plus, we talk about learning to trust and take great leaps of faith in order to grow and evolve our identities out of their comfort zones.

I’ve known Ebonie for a few years and love our friendship and our creative brand photo shoots, and it was a real honour to collaborate on her podcast!

Listen to the episode on iTunes or any of your fav podcast providers. Link to the show is in Ebonie’s bio and at www.adultingwithebonie.com.

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Awesome things from 2016 + end of year Love to you!

You know that feeling of giddy excitement when you see or hear something that resonates so deeply with you and is so perfect, you almost feel that your work here is done!?! And at the same time it gets you so fired up, you go straight into your work with more love, passion and dedication than ever before?!

There have been some seriously awesome books and podcast episodes that have touched me this year in so many ways, and it's been so nice reflecting on what really stuck with me and added to my life. There's also gorgeous music that was new to me this year I so enjoyed listening to while painting and working! I wanted to share the best bits with you here and pass it on... This is such a gorgeous time of year for revisiting podcast episodes, dipping back into favourite reads and music.

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I hope 2016 has been full of magic and wonder for you in your life and business... What have been the highlights for you?

Sometimes we can take for granted the achievements we have made, opportunities we said YES to and created for others... Times we were kind to ourselves when it would have been easy to get down on ourselves, when we went deeper into truth instead of denial, when we chose to show up and embrace our fullness instead of hiding or playing small. I'm going to my heart (and through my diary!) to look back on my own year and celebrate all of those successes.

I'm grateful to say this year has seen me massively stepping up in my business, traveling joyfully in Australia for two months, flying out to destinations such as Paris, Florence, Miami, Philly, Cyprus and around the UK for shoots with amazing, brave, soulful clients(!), moving to London (and now down to Brighton), embracing more expansion through investing in my own coaching and a personal branding shoot, and attracting the most amazing romantic relationship, which has certainly brought an incredible new level of self-discovery and beauty to my world!!

I hope it's been an amazing year for you too... And if we've worked together this year, I trust your photography is serving you delightfully and continuing to enrich your experience of your business and the kinds of clients that are flowing to you!!

Here's my list of recommendations from 2016...

 1.  Podcast: How to Ride the Wave of Transformation That's Occurring in 2016 by Samantha Nolan Smith

This podcast episode made me cry on the train in such a good way! Samantha shares such a powerful and beautiful message about reclaiming our divine feminine power, rising above victimhood as women... the age of the Feminine is here, the world has evolved. it is our time now to really be seen and honour our gifts and inner wisdom... I have listened to this episode many times because I found it so much shifted me into my greatness, it is moving and powerful and I highly recommend. Listen to it here (and all of Samanthas other amazing episodes!!). (17 mins)

2. Book: Pussy by Mama Gena.

This book also radiates with feminine power! I found Regenas personal story and learnings fascinating and beautiful. It helped me to relate to the world as a powerful woman (as we all are) and look at the beliefs I have around what it is to be a female in this world, lovingly challenge ideas I have blindly accepted about what that means... Like the episode mentioned above, this book really got me tapping in to divine femininity in myself and all, and my personal learnings through reflecting on everything echoes throughout my life and work. So so powerful and beautiful. ALSO made me cry on the train!...

http://fourhourworkweek.com/2016/12/07/testing-the-impossible-17-questions-that-changed-my-life/

3.  Podcast: Testing The “Impossible”: 17 Questions That Changed My Life

I listened to this in the car the other day on my way into London and OMG, it was so funny, so insightful, so inspiring and thought provoking... I love Tim Ferriss's work and this was an awesome compilation of very powerful questions to ponder and journal on. I highly recommend listening to the episode, and the questions can be found here too! I'm so looking forward to reading his new book Tools of Titans which just came in the post! Even though it's the biggest book I now have on my shelf!! (52 mins)

 4. Music: Positive Force by Delicate Steve

I have listened to this album hundreds of times - it's so good!! Loved putting this on while I was painting and drawing, processing photos, writing (no words in this music to distract me!), dancing, road tripping... So good. It's not new but I only found it through Spotify this Summer, and so glad I did.

5. Light is the New Black by Rebecca Campbell
 
I was a little slow to pick this one up, and it was the most incredible book that I started the year with with while away in Australia. It gave me goosebumps with every page I turned, and inspired so much connection in me. I believe that the new depths I went to as I soaked in Rebeccas channelled words enhanced the way I saw the world this year, I found even deeper connection to myself, divinity + purpose. So much serendipity was occurring all around as I read this too, in the places I was being called to go, the people I was meeting, timing working out in perfection! (hello 11:11, 22:22!) I'm excited to read her new book Rise Sister Rise!

6. Podcast: "You Have a Screaming, Not a Calling." Featuring Sarah Jones

I love Elizabeth Gilberts work and message, and so enjoyed reading Big Magic last year. When I heard that she was doing another series of her podcast Magic Lessons I couldn't wait to check it out. She interviews and coaches a guest who's experiencing blocks around their creative work in each episode, and has a friend join in to share their advice too. In this episode she has the HILARIOUS Sarah Jones on the line, and the transformation she facilitated was awesome to feel unraveling. I particularly loved this episode for its huge humour and compassion. (75 mins of WORTH IT)

7. Music: At Ease by Dharma Moon (Various Artists)

Such a beautiful selection of calming and devotional music, so gorgeous. Love this for starting the day, writing with, practicing yoga or just creating a cosy and peaceful atmosphere in my home or in the car!


I'm sure you'll really enjoy these...

What were your favourite tools and resources of 2016? I would love to know what you'd recommend!

I hope you and your loved ones are enjoying the most beautiful, joyful and sparkly time over Christmas and New Years, and that you take some time to celebrate all you have been, all you have felt, all you have achieved this year <3

And if you're thinking about starting 2017 with beautiful new photography for your website, emails, Instagramming, Facebook ads, sales pages, book launch, or just for your gorgeous self, I have ONE SPACE LEFT for a January shoot.

If this calls to you, email me at becky@beckyrui.com or book in a call here and we'll get joyfully clear on your personal brand, the kinds of photographs that will best serve you in your business this year, and make magic together!

With so much love and hugs!!

Becky xx

Join me in America next month! + my favourite journaling questions

Hellooo! I hope you’re having the best week so far.

I am so excited to be heading to Philadelphia mid-July to photograph a beautiful soul (!) with other US destination possibilities popping up too. If you’d like to explore shooting together while I’m in the US (maybe you’re based there or would like to fly out and join me!?) or catch up in person - please reach out!

I’d like to gratefully invite you to consider who you know in the US that may be interested in this opportunity while I’m in the country! You can connect us at becky@beckyrui.com! Thank you so much.

I also wanna talk about what we find in our quiet and solitude, and the power of morning journaling and intention setting.

The last few weeks and months have been very full for me, but journaling never stops.  Sometimes self-care can feel like a lot to fit in when there's lots 'to do', but I know when I’m committed to my personal practices I feel more rooted in my light and truth throughout the day and this alignment echoes through all of my interactions. Do you feel the same? What are your non-negotiable personal practices?

Coming back to a series of questions each morning that I curated for myself over the years is really helpful.

Sometimes I mix and match them, only ask a few, or change the words to suit me that day to find clarity and live more intentionally. I have another amazing set of questions for evening reflection too which I’ll share soon! Here are some of my favorites.

Morning Journal Questions

  1. How am I feeling today (in my mind, body & spirit)? Starting off with noticing how I’m really feeling in the morning helps me to bring awareness to where I'm at, feel into what IS good, and what I can do to be better that day if I'm not feeling my best. I find myself being kind or more realistic about what I’m able to achieve rather than overwhelming myself with action to take!
  2. What am I in appreciation of/grateful for/thankful for? I write out at least 3+ things and expand on each one - and really feel into my appreciation! It can be anything from the bed you had to sleep in last night, an aspect of your health, a dear friend, the clients you're attracting, your car, the plumbing system in your house, the money you DO have, an experience you had this week, the food in your fridge, where you are in the world... When we train ourselves to look for amazing things we cant help but notice all the good stuff there actually is all around, and manifest more joy and wonder in the world! You create positive momentum when you truly feel gratitude and joy and it's such an amazing way to start the day.
  3. What needs to happen for it to feel like the best day possible? Maybe it would feel good to get that 'thing' ticked off your list you've been totally putting off (but really wanna do!). Maybe it's to go for a walk in nature, practice yoga, meditate. Maybe it's to reach out to someone you love. Maybe it's giving yourself permission to allow joy to flow through your actions today and resist mindlessly ploughing through the tasks of your day.
  4. What one action would bring me the most joy, relief, pleasure today?
  5. How will I honour my mind, body, spirit, creativity today?
  6. What loving action could I do for another? (a loved one, a client, a stranger, a neighbor, the person serving you at the store...)
  7. What are my intentions for today? For this one I usually round up the above pieces along with any thing else I'd like to set myself for the day!

I then find myself with clear intentions which I leave open on my table and return to. I'd recommend taking your time to ponder these and enjoy the practice of feeling it out - at least 20-30 minutes or more if you can! If you aren't able to for whatever reason, I feel even considering them in your head is better than starting the day without checking in.

I’ve heard of a great Abraham-Hicks technique called the Placemat Process where you write out the things you WILL do today (simple, reasonable and short list of the things you’re going to do), and on the other side write out ‘things the Universe will do today’ and write everything else that you’d like to have happen, for these things to be resolved. A non-action path to resolution where there is no resistance to achieving these because there is no desperation or attachment. Have you tried it? I’m going to start doing it!

Let me know if you find these questions useful or how you get on with your journal practice? What tools or ideas do you find most useful? I'd love to know!

Wishing you a wonderful rest of your week!

Love,

Becky x

P.S. I have a few spaces left for shoots in August so email me now if you'd like to explore your personal brand, or book in your clarity call here, and we'll dream up the photographs we can create together!

About that big dream of yours...

I've been back from my Australia adventure for a few weeks now, and it has been so good to return to beautiful shoots, catch up with my dear friends, family and clients in REAL LIFE, and have a wardrobe again!!!

My time away was so inspiring... An opportunity to enjoy, live by my wits, listen in to my inner guidance, away from my 'everyday', everyone I know, the routines, everything! I am so grateful for that, and to have been able to live that dream.

The personal space helped me to become really aware of my beliefs, what was true for me when I am apart from it all. It was so insightful and a great part of the adventure!

I have some big goals and dreams in my heart as a result of this trip and what unfolded... And one lovely big goal in particular! I will share more on that soon!

This week during a morning meditation, I received this 'download', and quickly grabbed my journal and scribbled down the words as they flowed through me.  I thought I'd share them with you here because it felt so pure...


Find the spot where you’re not in fear around your goal.
Find the angle where there there is no resistance around your goal.
Always find a way to feel good about the intention you are holding, where it feels like the natural next step, and it will simply be in the flow of what is coming to you.
It is actually not about the destination or the completion of the goal, its about your journey of expansion as you move towards the desire and realise how everything aligns for you.
It’s about opening yourself to the process of allowing what is naturally next for you, because it feels so good.
Do what you need to do to feel good and inspired about your intention, and then allow!

 

It feels so light when instead of thinking (or worrying) about how you're going to 'make it happen', you can open up to just allowing... Be available to listen to your inner guidance, trusting, and taking the INSPIRED action as a result!

Do what you need to do to feel really good about your dream, and meet it there.

I have just two spaces left for April photo shoots now, so if you're ready to stand out in your business, let's jump on a call to explore you and your brand and how I can serve you with your radiant new photographs!

This is the perfect time of year for capturing the vibrancy of Spring, your expansion and opening up to shine like all the flowers and trees...

Click here to book in your call with me now or email me at becky@beckyrui.com.

With so much love,

Becky x

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