[quote style=”boxed”]We have a daily routine where we first plan what we’re going to do for the day, then at the end of the day, reflect on what we did, brainstorm ideas to do better in the future, and list the things we loved. This helps us in three ways: it helps us know how we’re actually spending our time, it helps us improve a little bit each day, and it helps us be happy and grateful.[/quote]
Pace and Kyeli Smith are the co-leaders of the Connection Revolution, where they help dreamers change the world. They write, blog, and teach workshops to foster understanding, tolerance, healing, authentic communication, and personal growth. Pace loves to play DDR and carries a spare spleen everywhere she goes. Kyeli sings, has lots of tattoos, and believes in faeries. They’re happily married (to each other) and live in Austin, Texas, with their awesome teenage son.
What are you working on right now?
Currently we’re teaching the World-Changing Writing Workshop! We’re concurrently brainstorming ideas for our next project, and considering a course based on the material from our book, The Usual Error.
Where did the idea for the Connection Revolution come from?
We read The Story of B by Daniel Quinn. It changed our entire view of the world, but left us hanging as to what to do next. The Connection Revolution is our answer to that question.
What does your typical day look like?
In the morning, Pace goes to her day job where she does artificial intelligence research, while I (Kyeli) hang out with our son and make videos and art. The three of us have lunch together. In the afternoon, we work on the Connection Revolution. We coach, teach classes, talk, write, create, plan, and do all the little things it takes to run a business. In the evenings, we eat dinner together and have family time. Sometimes we’ll watch movies, have a family game night, or read together.
How do you bring ideas to life?
First, by lots and lots of talking. Second, by making decisions. Third, by making plans. Fourth, by doing them. If an idea is worthwhile, there will be no clear, certain answers as to how to bring it to life. It never really gets easy to forge ahead in the face of that uncertainty, but that’s the life of an edge-walker.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The trend toward connection. More and more people across the globe are getting fed up with the way things are now. We’re living in what’s called a “control paradigm,” where the default answer to any question addresses the question, “How can I control this problem to fix it?” More and more people are living lives full of connection, and their lives serve as an example that it’s possible to live that way. You don’t have to buy into the status quo; you can choose connection instead of control.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I (Kyeli) worked in a department store factory for about two weeks. I learned that I am a highly sensitive person. The intensity of the noise and the high pressure of getting my piece done before it rolled the rest of the way down the assembly line was a nightmare, which is why I lasted only two weeks. Nowadays, I’m very mindful about my work environment, and since I’m empowered to create my own work environment, I make sure it’s respectful of my needs.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
We would be more cautious about making big decisions (big in terms of time and money) early on in the process of growing our business. In the early stages, we thought we knew what we were doing, but it turns out that we needed to evolve several times. If we would have started smaller (e.g. not invested in that expensive website or not put so many months into creating that course that nobody signed up for), we could have grown faster. The moral of the story? Stay flexible while you’re small, and only grow once you have something small that works really well.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
We have a daily routine where we first plan what we’re going to do for the day, then at the end of the day, reflect on what we did, brainstorm ideas to do better in the future, and list the things we loved. This helps us in three ways: it helps us know how we’re actually spending our time, it helps us improve a little bit each day, and it helps us be happy and grateful.
What is one problem you encountered as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
A big challenge we faced was learning how to work together well. We overcame it with these 10 techniques.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Be authentic, even if you fear it will make you look unprofessional. People don’t want to buy from a professional image. They want to buy from a person they know, like and trust. And people don’t trust companies; people trust people. So write a blog post from your heart instead of a polished essay. Next time you get fired up about something, record a video and publish it raw, without retakes. See what happens. We bet you’ll be amazed by the response you get from your readers and customers!
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
We would shift the dominant paradigm away from control and toward connection. We would go about it by founding a business called the Connection Revolution. We are totally on it!
Tell us a secret.
Sorry, we don’t have any! We’re big fans of openness.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
- WordPress is simply the best for blogging.
- Twitter is so good for sharing content and growing your tribe!
- MaestroConference is a great way to teach online classes. You can break students up into discussion groups and do other things that really help your students get engaged.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte. It’s about bringing ideas to life!
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
- @DanielleLaPorte because she gives amazing bite-sized bits of inspiration.
- @MarkHeartOfBiz because he gives amazing bite-sized bits of spirituality and business advice.
- @SockDreams because, OMG, amazing socks!
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I (Pace) made Kyeli crack up by filking really dumb words to one of the songs from Super Mario World. (It was about raccoons.)
Who is your hero?
My (Pace’s) hero is Mark Silver of Heart of Business. He’s my role model for spirituality, business, and bringing the two together with integrity.
My (Kyeli’s) hero is Patti Digh. She is a fierce, open-hearted woman who walks her talk, loves her family, isn’t afraid of being a goofball or being brave, and will lay the smack down on you when you need a smackdown.
When people try to bring ideas to life, what’s the step they get stuck on the most? What advice do you have for helping them get unstuck?
The step they get stuck on the most is getting started. People often have lots of great ideas, but also have fear that gets in the way. We have found that the best antidote is giving yourself permission to bring your idea to life. So, don’t let anything stop you! No one else is ever going to give you permission, so give yourself permission right now. What are you waiting for?
How does your queerness affect your business?
Positively! It helps determine who is in our audience. It helps us have a more niche focus. It helps us clarify who we’re talking to. (Hint: not the mainstream.) But the best part about being queer and being entrepreneurs is that we’re getting our voices out there, being heard, and just being ourselves. We’re running a business, raising our kid and talking about our cats–and we’re also queer. It’s not the focus; it’s not even that big of a deal. We set a strong example that you can be yourself–whatever that entails–and be an effective agent for change, an effective entrepreneur, and a person to whom others can relate.
Pace Smith on Twitter: @PaceSmith
Kyeli Smith on Twitter: @Kyeli
Connection Revolution on Facebook:
Connection Revolution’s website:
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.