Friday, April 29, 2011

5 Questions to Help You Find Your Calling

The following piece was written for the What's Your Calling blog tour.

When Jeneen Robinson sat before the AME Church's Board of Examiners in the PBS documentary miniseries, The Calling, she was asked a "vocational discernment question":

What is God trying to do with you, and through you, in ministry?"

Jeneen replied:

"I don't know what's ahead.  I just know that I have to preach.  I'm compelled to preach the Gospel.  I can't rest unless I'm preaching and teaching and pouring out to God's people.  It's like an itch.  I gotta preach."

Jeneen's answer sums up, for me, one of the ways you can find your calling: identify what you just have to do. You might do it is as part of your job, as a volunteer, or as a hobby.  It might be a private act, or a public one.  The form it takes may change over time, but what remains true is that you must do it.

For example, what thread runs through your answers to these questions?
  1. I just know that I have to __________________________.
  2. I'm compelled to _________________________________.
  3. I can't rest unless I'm ______________________________.
  4. _____________________________________ is like an itch.
  5. I gotta __________________________________________.
If you get stuck responding to the prompts, try writing out your answers quickly (no editing!).  If writing isn't your thing, have a friend ask you the questions, and tell her the answers.  Or, ask yourself the questions before you go to sleep, and write down your responses first thing in the morning.

Here are my answers:
  1. I just know that I have to help people find and express their calling.
  2. I'm compelled to share resources, advice and inspiring stories to help people find and express their calling.
  3. I can't rest unless I'm teaching and guiding people to find and express their calling.
  4. Sharing advice, resources and inspiring stories to help people find and express their calling is like an itch.
  5. I gotta help people find and express their calling.
I'd love it if you shared your answers to the five questions in the comments of this post, on my Facebook Page, on the What's Your Calling Facebook Page, and/or on Twitter (@bbravo and @whatsURcalling).

You can follow the blog tour on the What’s Your Calling? Facebook Page, and if you subscribe to the blog tour by email, you'll be entered for a chance to win a Calling Dream Kit: $200 Amazon gift credit to buy supplies to pursue your calling, an hour of coaching to help plan your project, a DVD and poster of The Calling, and the chance to share your calling with the community at 

You can view The Calling on Netflix and iTunes.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

5 Fear-busting Tips for When You're Starting Something New

I'm honored that Kristin Noelle of the Trust Tending blog included me as one of the coaches in her post, Interview: 8 coaches you need to meet along with Bridget Pilloud, Chris Zydel, Jamie Ridler, Kate Swoboda, Kendra Thornbury, Tara Gentile and Tara Sophia Mohr.

She asked all of us to answer the question:

What key advice do you think people most need to hear and believe when they’re facing fear at the start of new things?

I've included an excerpt of my answer below:

I’ve always wanted to grow tomatoes, but I've been afraid I’d kill them. Turns out my neighbor wanted to grow tomatoes too, so last weekend we went to the farmers’ market to buy some plants, and learn how to grow them.
Your fears about starting something new may be related to a larger goal than growing tomatoes, but the same 5 tips apply:

1. Educate yourself

The woman we bought the plants from, as well as fellow customers, gave us all kinds of tips about which plants to buy, and how to take care of them.

2. Take small steps
I bought two tomato plants; my neighbor bought one. If they grow well, we’ll plant more.

3. Get a buddy
It was more fun learning about tomatoes with my neighbor than it would have been to do it alone. Plus, we can support each other as our tomatoes grow.

4. Accept that there will be the obstacles
You can read the rest of my answer, and see the adorable illustration Kristin drew of the 8 coaches, on Interview: 8 coaches you need to meet.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Juicy Blogging Giveaway Reminder

Just a quick reminder that I'm giving away one spot in my June Juicy Blogging e-course.

To enter the raffle, share your favorite juicy blog, along with why you think it's juicy, in the comments of this post, or of the post, 15 Qualities of 20 Juicy Blogs + a Giveaway.

The deadline to enter is Monday, April 25th at 5 PM PT. If you win, you can use it for yourself, or to give as a gift to someone you love (:

Juicy Blogging badge created by the hubs!

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How to Produce Your Own Podcast

"The percentage of Americans who have ever watched or listened to a podcast is 45%, up from 43% one year ago. This equates to approximately 70 million Americans." - The Current State of Podcasting 2010, Edison Research

I'm often asked how I produce the Big Vision Podcast, so I thought I'd share my process here in case any of you are aspiring podcasters. If you're just starting out, know that there are many ways to record, edit and distribute your show.  Below is a description of how I do it with my Mac.

For interviews outside of the Bay Area, I use ecamm call recorder for Skype, and a Logitech USB headset. (If you have a PC, you could try Pamela for Skype). Overall, the recording sounds best if the call is Skype to Skype, but it's usually OK if I call the interviewee's land line too. What does not sound good is if person is on their cell phone. I try to avoid that scenario as much as possible.

For in-person interviews, I use the hub's Marantz PMD660 Digital Recorder (he's an on location sound engineer), and a microphone like the Electro-Voice 635A. (If you go this route, you'll need a cable to connect the microphone and recorder, plus headphones to plug into the recorder).

I realize that the Marantz is beyond most people's budgets.  I've never used it, but I know people who like like the Zoom H4n, and the Zoom H2, which are still pricey, but more affordable than the Marantz.

I edit the Big Vision Podcast on GarageBand, which came with my MacBook. If you have a PC, you could try editing with Audacity (it's free). Sometimes I record my intros and outros with the Marantz, and sometimes I use a Snowflake USB microphone to record straight into Garageband.

When I'm done, I export the show into iTunes where I convert the file into an MP3.  Then, I upload the MP3 to my hosting service, Libsyn.  Libsyn makes it easy for you to format your show for iTunes' specifications, and they provide some basic statistics (e.g. number of downloads). They also provide code for an audio player (like the one below) that you can embed onto your blog, or website so that people can listen to your show online (if they don't want to subscribe via iTunes, or download it to their mp3 player).

I don't have one, but Libsyn can also help you make your podcast into an iPhone, or Android app.

If you want to learn more about podcasting, check out the imake Libsyn blog.  They have some good posts with tips and tutorials.  I also appreciate the discussion and sharing of resources on the Yahoo! Podcasters group.  Finally, see if there is a PodCamp happening near you.

Feel free to ask me any questions about podcasting, or share your best practices and resources in the comments.  I'd especially love to connect with more women podcasters (:

Image of Marantz taken from D and M Professional.  Image of Snowflake Mike taken from Blue Microphones.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

One Rose Can Make a Difference

 “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” 
- Leo Buscaglia

When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment.  I want to give that world to someone else.
- Georgia O'Keefe

I was kinda glum yesterday.  It was a rainy, gray Monday and tax day.  Bluck.  Walking home from the post office after mailing our tax return, I noticed a woman trimming roses outside her house.  She threw a big peach one onto the grass.

"Wow," I said, "That's huge."

"They're called 'Just Joey,' roses," she laughed.  "Can you believe it?"  She picked it up off the grass, and showed me how all the petals were falling off.  Then, she walked back to the bush and snipped off one rose.

"Would you like it?" she asked.


She trimmed off a few of the leaves and thorns from the stem, and handed it to me.  It was still tight in the bud, and covered in mist. I thanked her, and we introduced ourselves.  Even though we live just a few houses down from each other, we'd never met.

For the rest of the day, I watched the rose open and enjoyed its incredible smell as I typed away.

I often think I have to make a big impact to make the world a better place (my company is called Big Vision Consulting for heaven's sake), but honestly, it's the little things, and the collection of many small actions, that really make a difference.

Has a small act of caring by someone ever turned your day around?

Image: It's all the same rose!  I formatted the photos with Instagram and put them in the square with Diptic.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fabulous Film: Queen of the Sun - What Are the Bees Telling Us?


“More important even than global warming. 
We could call it Colony Collapse of the human being too.”
-  Gunther Hauk, Beekeeper

I'm in the middle of ripping out the winter weeds from our yard-garden.  Yesterday, while struggling with a nasty clump of crab grass I found myself groaning, "Why?!?" when a big ole bumblebee landed on my California Lilac/Ceonothus.

That's why.  Gotta save the bees.

On Monday, the hubs and I saw a fabulous documentary, Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us?, about Colony Collapse Disorder.  That might sound kinda depressing, but it was actually really moving and beautiful.  I've thought it about every day since, and am fantasizing about putting in heaps of bee-friendly flowers and flowering herbs this spring.

You can find an upcoming screenings near you here, and find info. for hosting a screening in your community here. At a minimum, watch the 2:43 minute trailer.  Enjoy!

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Four Secrets to Happiness: Cook, Connect, Care, Color

Last month I had a dream where I taught a woman the four secrets to happiness:
  1. Cook for yourself, and for others.
  2. Connect with yourself, and with others.
  3. Care for yourself, and for others.
  4. Color.  Have a lot of color in your life.  
At first, I felt resistant to the dream's message because these actions didn't seem strong and powerful. Honestly, they seemed too female.

Without realizing it, I'd accepted the belief that to be a nurturing female is not valuable. 


Not a pretty thing to recognize in yourself.

Slowly, I'm coming to realize how important being a nurturing person is.  I mean, where would we be without nurturers like parents, grandparents, teachers, farmers, cooks, counselors, health care workers and healers?

How do you feel about your role as a nurturer?

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Free Inspiration: She-ro's Journey E-book + Creative Living with Jamie Podcast

I'm honored to be included in two creative women's projects this month: Jennifer Louden's free e-book Step Into Your She-ro's Journey: If not now, when? and Jamie Ridler's Creative Living with Jamie Podcast.

Jen's free e-book, Step Into Your She-ro's Journey: If not now, when? is a compilation of 40 + women's answers via essay, photography, video, poetry and art to her question, "How are you stepping into your she-ro's journey these days?  You can download the free e-book here (I'm on page 42!).  

Jamie Ridler is the host of one of my favorite podcasts, Creative Living with Jamie, so I was VERY excited to be a guest on her show!  You can listen to the 24-minute program on Jamie's website, or on iTunes. In the first part of the show, Jamie talks about using your values as touchstones for your creative work, and then we chatted about having fun and doing good.  Enjoy!

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Blogging for Writers in Berkeley

Bay Area Writers and Have Fun, Do Gooders!

Just wanted to let you know that I'll be teaching my Blogging for Writers workshop May 15th from 10 AM-4 PM in the cozy Writing Salon classroom at the Strawberry Creek Design Center in Berkeley.

The workshop is great for newbies, and for folks who want to breathe new life into an old blog. You'll receive a 40-page workbook which we'll use to discuss and do in-class exercises about how to:
  • Join the "blogosphere" without having a blog
  • Set goals and realize your blog's purpose
  • Find your audience
  • Create juicy blog posts
  • Select your blogging platform
  • Choose your blog's features and functions
  • Build traffic and community
  • Measure impact
  • Budget your time
If you have any questions about the class, feel free to email me at britt AT brittbravo DOT com.  You can register on the Writing Salon website.

If you'd love to take the class, but don't live in the Bay Area, you can join my Juicy Blogging e-course June 1-22nd.

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Saturday, April 02, 2011

Your (Free) Spring Grow and Let Go Worksheet

How are your 7 Dreams for 2011 going?

These first few weeks of spring are a good time to dust off your New Year's wishes and review them. 

The hubs has created a Spring Grow and Let Go Worksheet for you to jot down what you want to grow (in the circles), and what you want to let go of (in the clouds) this spring.

You can download the worksheet for free from Dropbox by clicking on


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