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The Wixii™ Project: Brit Stueven

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Brit StuevenName: Brit Stueven

Current Location: Dusseldorf, Germany

Permanent Location: Denver, CO

Professional Industry: Communications and Marketing

Company: Brit Stueven PR

Title: Owner


WIXII-ISM™ FROM BRIT
:

Three things have been very top of mind lately:

  1. Sometimes the best things in life are unplanned, unintended and totally uninhibited.
  2. If you’re the smartest person in the room, SKEDADDLE. If you’re new and uncomfortable, STAY.
  3. Never be afraid to take flight from your familiar.

BRIT’S STORY:

Meet our featured Wixii™, Brit Stueven. She is in her early 30s and a proud aunt to six nephews, a niece and another one on the way. She studied Communication at University of Colorado at Boulder. Since November 2014, Brit and her other half have been living in Dusseldorf, Germany, thanks to a two-year opportunity through her husband’s work. After an exploratory hiatus from her business, she’s re-launching Brit Stueven PR, learning the German language, unlearning work addiction and rediscovering how to live, play and just BE!

NAME ONE INTERESTING/UNIQUE FACT:

I’m strangely proud of the time I tried and failed at open-mic stand-up. Probably one of the most terrifying, random and silliest things I’ve ever done. It’s a story I’ll never forget. It’s a good lesson that even when we totally bomb, we can still gain a lot. Plus, life’s too short not to laugh at yourself. At least one person’s still laughing! Har! Har!

BRIT’S MINDSET AND WORK-LIFE MIX:

After taking 100 days away from my business to immerse myself in completely new things in Germany, my work-life perspectives radically changed for the better. I finally realized the workaholic I’d become and regained a life-changing, increasingly unpopular skill: how to take a BREAK. You can actually read more about that in my first blog on The Huffington Post!

(How did this happen? FACT: Until you ask, the answer is always no. I recently took a chance and emailed Arianna Huffington my story on this biz breather, just for the heck of it. She RESPONDED. You never know until you try!)

I’m getting back into my groove of helping businesses bring their brilliant stories to fruition, but I have a new lease on life, work and all the crucial playtime we need in between. Inspired and already impacted by the European lifestyle, I’m now determined to help others take time for themselves, be more present and embrace the possibilities that their personal and professional paths can hold.

Pssst…If you’re interested in taking part in The Break Changer, a 10-day take-a-break experiment in June, sign up here.

BRIT’S CAREER PATH:

My career started in the music industry…in college. In between classes, I was the office manager and promotions assistant at CU’s radio station, and by night, you’d usually find me at the Fox Theatre. For three years, I worked at this Boulder music venue, doing everything from selling tickets and managing guest lists to cocktailing, coat-checking and selling merchandise. I even created my own internships with the talent buyer and publicist – some for credit, some just for fun.

I loved the structure and opportunities that college gave me, but I wasn’t always over the moon with my studies. After changing my major three times, I finally stuck with something broad (Hello, Communication!) while interning my little heart out. Building relationships, getting to know my local community, learning the inner workings of businesses and gaining on-the-job experience was way more motivating and interesting.

It wasn’t until a writing internship with the Colorado Daily (the LAST semester of college) that I realized I wanted to get into journalism and writing.

Then, thanks to a post-college internship in NYC at BUST Magazine, I became SO inspired to work with influential women and the communities surrounding them. I incorporated that energy into different corners of my career through launching blogs and feature sections on women in business and entertainment, landing notable ladies onto pages of local and national publications and, of course, starting my business!

But thanks to prior experience of working for one of the first and largest citizen journalism sites in the U.S. (YourHub.com), being on the ground floor of an internet startup that became a top 100 website (Examiner.com) and helping establish PMO processes for the second largest newspaper company in the U.S. (Digital First Media), I wouldn’t be bringing what I’m bringing to the table with Brit Stueven PR today if it wasn’t for what I learned along the way.

In short, I’ve dabbled in it quite a bit. (I’ll spare you of the complete history + evolution, believe it or not!)

I’ve worked with close to 100 different businesses and publications. Through ALL of it, though, there’s always been a consistent motivator: I just want to inspire people. I love building communities, helping others learn new things and leaving places better than I found them.

If I can inspire at least one person from one project to see life differently, gain a fresh perspective or take part in something new, my mission is accomplished.

Work:  How do you “think outside the box” with respect to your work-life potential and opportunities? 

AH! I love this topic. It’s one I could talk about for miles.

Today, though, here I am in a foreign country living a very “mixed” work-life mix…one that I continue to roll with and evolve in. In the past five months, I’ve been exploring and mixing new roles and interests: expat, homemaker, hostess, cook-in-training, English teacher, German student and blogger. (Yes, finally doing some personal blogging!)

Perhaps the most out-of-the-box move as of late, though, is re-launching my business. Although Dusseldorf is a very diverse and innovative city, it has a vastly different work environment than Denver does. There are not only challenges for women and expats to find paid work in a number of fields, but there are also very complicated systems, much harder “sells” and new rules to navigate when it comes to being a business owner…even if you’re only doing business with people in the States.

It’s difficult, but it’s not impossible, and it’s something I’m willing to give a fair shot. I’ve already debunked a handful of things I’ve heard about this culture and what you can and can’t do in Germany. I’ve also decided that during this stint in Deutschland, I want the best of both worlds (Denver + Dusseldorf). Why not mix the two? Cross-pollination, please!

So, when I hear the words “potential” and “opportunities,” my head starts spinning, because here’s the truth: We are truly capable of anything we put our minds to. We have the power to design a path that works best for us at any point of our life, especially with all the accessible resources there are today.

What advice would you give an earlier version of yourself?

Hmm…I’d tell an earlier version of myself not to worry so dang much because our biggest challenges turn out to be our biggest blessings. We’re here to continually grow and learn, and we’re capable of so much more than we think.

I wouldn’t change one thing from my past, though. We are who we are today because of the experiences and mistakes that molded us. So, instead of looking back, why not focus on today and tomorrow? That said, here’s some advice for our current and future versions of ourselves:

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot

I couldn’t agree more with this, especially in 2015.

There are INCREDIBLE amounts of programs, apps, content, communities and platforms available at our fingertips to create almost anything or learn something new. I’ve finally realized that we don’t have to shift our entire path to make way for the things we miss or dream of.

So many times I’ve thought, “GOSH…I should have been a photographer. I should have gone to design school. I should have kept at this…I should have kept at that…WHERE would I be now?”

Newsflash! This thinking gets us nowhere. It keeps us stuck and doing things the way we THINK they need to be done.

Here’s a tiny example of what I’m talking about:

Those I-should-have-gone-to-design-school thoughts have surfaced countless times since I started consulting, but in the last year, I’ve been churning out promotional PDFs, flyers, newsletter banners, media kits, social media images and more for clients.

In fact, it was the follow-up sponsor guide and event flyer I did for Women in the Mix that got me back into biz mode. We’d worked together in the fall on their media kit, so when they reached out for collateral documents, I couldn’t resist. I just adore Cindy and Nicole and the community of resourceful, inspiring women they’re building. Can I get an AMEN?

So, I never got formal design training, but I’m making it work. You know what I use when I want to create something on my own? I was using PicMonkey.com, but now I’m head-over-heels for Canva.com.

When I don’t have time or resources to outsource to my go-to, expert peeps (Ahem, Lana’s Shop and Kristie Carney), I give it a shot myself and am always surprised with the client response. Plus, I love how Canva allows you to send an editable link for folks to tweak and edit to their desire. (It’s really convenient to be able to access your own promotional documents at any time, ESPECIALLY if you don’t own all those fancy Adobe programs or have any clue how to navigate them.)

My clients are getting their communities excited about their happenings because of the visual stories I’m able to create for them because of the awesome, intuitive programs that exist today. And guess what? I didn’t have to go back to school, change my business model or totally shift my path to make a “should-have-been” thought become a reality. I’m mixing design services into my repertoire! I’m doing it!

Sometimes it’s just a matter of being informed, taking a chance or even starting SMALL. Baby steps, people.

Most of the resources and tools I turn to these days came from asking others (OH! Don’t get me STARTED on the art of asking!), being open to new things, networking, putting feelers out into social media and attending brilliantly curated events like the Work-Life Thrive Summit.

Be sure to check out Brit’s Summit Promotion – The Break Changer.

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