It’s time for another episode of Brand it! with Petchy — and today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Rachel Allen. Rachel is the owner of Bolt from the Blue Copywriting, where she and her team make words make money. She loves mixing the neuroscience of communication with the art of great writing to create the words and strategies that make it possible for businesses to take the cap off their income, impact, and influence. Ultimately, all her work is in service of one simple mission: to write the words that bring great ideas into reality.
A little while back, Rachel wrote a series of three articles about the state of the online business world. They’re so good, I highly recommend you read them — in fact, I think they should be mandatory reading for every business owner out there! (See links below.)
Anyways, out of everything that Rachel wrote, six words really stood out for me. And by “stood out”, I mean: I couldn’t get them out of my head. They’re still there, they keep popping up in my mind almost daily — a sure sign of a true golden nugget!
Those words are: Human is the only move left.
And that, my friend, is exactly what Rachel and I are going to dive deeper into in this episode! I don’t know if you listened to the episode I had ChatGPT script for me, as an experiment? Well, this episode is the antidote to that. If you were starting to worry about AI being a threat — really, you don’t need to worry! This episode is also the perfect follow-up to the last episode I dropped; about reclaiming authenticity. I hope you enjoy this very human conversation!
TL;DR — episode links:
- Bolt from the blue website
- Connect with Rachel on Instagram or Facebook
- Article 1: The big lie
- Article 2: The third wave of masculine marketing is here. It’s smart. It’s woke. And it’s horrifying
- Article 3: Human is the only move left
- Jonathan Stewart (Rachel mentions him)
Disclaimer: The following transcript has been auto-generated and then cleaned up – and while the general flow of the conversation is there, it’s probably not 100% accurate.
Petchy: Rachel, welcome. I have so been looking forward to this conversation. Like, you have no idea. I’ve been immensely looking forward to it. I’ve been wanting to invite you onto the podcast for ages and I’m just so delighted it’s actually happening. So welcome.
Rachel: Thank you. Thank you. I have quietly fangirled in my corner at you from afar for years as well, and so when I got the email where you’re like, hey, do you want to chat maybe, on the podcast? I’m like, oh, yes, I do. So thank you so much for having me.
Petchy: Oh, I love that we’ve been sitting in each of our corners looking at each other’s stuff, thinking we should connect, and then… How did it take us this long?
Rachel: I know. It’s two introverts, right? That’s what happens when you don’t have an extrovert at the party. You need somebody to be like, hey you, friend, say things.
Petchy: Oh, well, we’re here now and we’re going to have a lovely chat today. And like I said, I can’t wait. But before we dive into our main topic today, I would just love to invite you to take a moment to say hello. Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you? Who is Rachel, the human? What do you do? What’s your business? Who do you help? Anything, really, that you want us to know about you?
Rachel: Sure? Well, hello, Internet. I’m Rachel Allen, and I run Bolt from the Blue Copywriting, which is a full service copywriting agency. And long story short, we make words, make money, so we work with clients all over the world, mostly smaller industries, but we have clients in industries ranging from accounting to astrology, which sounds like a joke, but it’s actually true. And ultimately all it comes down to is we just love helping people get important messages out in a way that actually gives them a return on that time, on that money, on that energy, and then other things. About me. Well, shocking no one: I love reading, I’m a total history nerd and sort of just learning nerd in general. I get really obsessed about topics ranging from Cyrus the Great, war tactics, to antique counterpane knitting, which is also something that I really enjoy doing. So, yeah, heavy on the nerd energy. And I’ve been really obsessed lately with just topics around what it means to be human, kind of in our modern age and modern society. And I think that’s kind of what led into this conversation today.
Petchy: It did indeed, yes. And I’ve mentioned this in the intro, that you wrote a series of articles a while back, and every single word of those articles resonated with me so deeply. There’s this one phrase, though, that really stood out and stuck with me and that’s human is the only move left.
Petchy: You know, seriously, it was a goosebump moment for me. So thank you for that. Yeah, and of course, I think you’re absolutely right, you know, which is why I’m planning on full-on stealing that as the title for this episode.
Rachel: Fantastic. I love it.
Petchy: It’s not stealing if you’ve asked permission, though?
Rachel: Exactly. You have my full permission.
Petchy: Thank you. I think it’s also very timely that we’re having this conversation now, because in my last solo episode of the podcast, I talk about authenticity and how that’s been misused for profit, you know, to such an extent that the word authentic doesn’t really mean what it used to mean anymore. And now, instead of leading to increased levels of trust, it’s doing the exact opposite, because we as consumers, as humans, we have surprise, we have seen through all that bullshit and would call their bluff. And so what I’m thinking is those brands, what they’ve been doing is shooting themselves in the foot, but even worse, they’ve ruined it for the rest of us. And I’m not okay with that.
Rachel: And it’s so funny, I was actually just having another conversation about authenticity with some other clients of mine because their whole thing is about bringing your authentic voice forward. And I was like, oh, no. Now I’m a soapbox. Everyone paused because I’ve been talking about authenticity like, I don’t know, for ten years when this whole thing first came out, because first it was all about being authentic, and then it was all about being transparent, and then it was integrity. And it’s all the same things. And all of these are important things, but it’s the same concept with different sorts of marketing masks put on it. Well, if I do this, performative authenticity well enough, then I will have earned everybody’s trust and then I can sell them lots of stuff. If I’m transparent, then that means that I’m super woke and nobody can ever come after me for anything. I’ve been so transparent. And now we’re saying this exact same thing with integrity. And I’m going to call it doubt. The next version is going to be alignment. When you’re aligned, that’s going to be the same thing. So, yeah, it’s this whole pattern of co-opting really important concepts and then turning them into marketing hacks, which is just the worst.
Petchy: Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, I think that the second, like, if you show up human and then you start feeling like you need to shout about it, oh, look at me being all human and real and stuff, and I’m humaning the shit out of this, and oh, aren’t you impressed? You should be impressed. I’m so human. If you do that, you’ve kind of missed the point.
Rachel: It’s like giving yourself a nickname. Like, if you have to say it, it doesn’t count.
Petchy: Yeah. I think it’d be really interesting in this conversation today to try and sort of unravel this. Like, how do we approach this? How do we fix it? Okay, so actions that we can take, steps that we can make to kind of try and shift things in a slightly different direction. But yeah, so the whole sort of authenticity thing, that’s one aspect of everything. And obviously that’s one reason why I think it’s great that this is the next episode to air after my authenticity won, but there’s so much to unravel. So where do we even begin? Like, where do you suggest that we begin?
Rachel: I think that the very first thing that goes into unravelling this is realising that there is no certainty, there is no checklist. Because, shockingly, there is no checklist for being human. I hate that so much. I really love a checklist I want so badly.
Petchy: I do love a good checklist.
Rachel: Right? I want to be the good student. I want to get everything right and righter than everybody else has ever gotten it right. But that desire for certainty of form comes from anxiety around the potential consequences of getting it wrong. And when you’re in a situation where you’re dealing with such complex situations, like, one, a global market in which we’re all participating, and two, just all the humans in that, that’s a level of complexity and chaos that transcends any kind of strict checklist. So I think that the first thing is realising that there’s no way to get this right. There are lots of ways to get it wrong, and there’s no checklist for actually doing it. It’s showing up every day, imperfect as you are, in all of the glory and horror that that brings, and then being responsible for the consequences of that.
Petchy: Yeah. Because I think we just need to get comfortable with the fact that we are going to mess up at some point.
Rachel: Oh, God.
Petchy: It’s inevitable. We are human. And that’s part of being human is making mistakes. We’re going to fuck up. And to me, it’s more in how we deal with that. Like, do we try and cover up when we’ve made a mistake? Do we make excuses? Do we try to blame someone else for what we’ve done wrong? And I think how we handle that is going to be really important moving forward, and it’s going to separate the people who are truly authentic and are truly not using human as just another buzzword from the people who are trying to profit off of it.
Rachel: Oh, gosh, yeah, we’re already seeing this. I think you and I talked about this in our last conversation where we’ve seen some very public figures make some very big mistakes in the past. I feel like there was two or three years we’ve seen just some really bad fuck ups. And as bad as those were, the things that really made them, I don’t know, worthy to be talking about three years later, is that the response was almost universally like denial delayed in response. Oh, well, I didn’t mean it like that. The Internet is just picking on me. Like that kind of stuff. And it was just so badly handled every time that it compounded the mistake exponentially. Yeah.
Petchy: I think when we spoke last, I think we also mentioned that we’ve been dehumanising ourselves almost. And I’m more interested in how we can rehumanize ourselves and we’re going to build brands, we’re going to build businesses, but we’re humans first and foremost. We were humans before. We were business owners. We were humans before we started building these brands. And so, like, how can we honour that? That, I think, is a big, big, big question. I don’t think we can do it overnight. I don’t think we can do it each on our own. I think it’s going to have to be a combined effort and kind of a ripple effect. And we’re going to have to accept that it’s going to take time to kind of fix the damage that we’ve done. What’s your take on that? How can we rehumanize ourselves without it being just a performance?
Rachel: Yeah, that’s such a good question. The first thing that comes to mind is we’re already human. There’s nothing that’s been lost, it’s just been hidden. And I think that we’ve been taught to hide it and to put these masks on and like, to have this perfect appearance in the service of brand consistency, which that’s a good thing, but also you’re a person and not a brand. And so I think part of what the next step forward is to realise that even if you have a so called personal brand, even if you’re the face of the business, that’s not all of you, and you shouldn’t try to make it seem like it’s all of you or buy into that story yourself. Oh, but now, well, I guess I’m a business and so now I have to instagram my entire life for the world. One thing I talk a lot about with clients is what I call the big lie. And this is, I think, the biggest lie on the Internet, in marketing spaces at least, which is that you can and should be able to produce content and show up in the same way as an individual human, as though you were the marketing department of a multinational corporation. Because it’s like, well, just put out like five blog posts a week and seven posts a day, and why don’t you have seven nurture sequences? And that’s so infuriating to me because I’ve worked in the back end of these businesses that do have full marketing departments and they struggle to produce that amount of content and they struggle to show up like that on a regular basis. And so to try and put that standard on individual humans, it’s unsustainable and it’s a lie to make you buy courses. That’s what it comes down to.
Petchy: But the worst thing is it’s been working. That lie has been working. People have been buying into it. They’ve been buying courses. They’ve then not seen the results that they were hoping for because, hello, they’re only one human and they cannot possibly do everything like you said. And so clearly it’s going to be difficult to achieve the same levels of results as those people who have the big teams behind them. You can’t replicate that as one person and then you feel like a failure because so and so can do it. Why can’t I? That’s a big big pet peeve of mine. I cannot show up on every platform. I’ll not have time for my client work. I’ll not have time for anything else, and when will I sleep exactly?
Rachel: And I don’t want to. I think that’s a huge part of it, too. And that’s along the same lines of while we’re talking pet peeves, that whole thing of like, you have the same number of hours in the day as Beyonce.
Rachel: You do not. She has bought more hours. She has bought the hours of other humans to help her do things.
Petchy: I think if I was Beyonce, I would probably like, if I had the financial means that she has, I would probably be able to outsource the entire running of my life. Like, I’d have someone look after my kids. I’d have someone manage, I’d have someone clean my house, cook for me. But do I really want that? I don’t. I really don’t.
Rachel: And I think that’s another standard of success that’s put up to us particularly. And I only have anecdotes to back this up. I don’t have hard data, but how I am often marketed to as somebody who’s, like, passing in the rich white lady category on the Internet right. Is, well, like, you need to just work on your money mindset. And if you don’t have all of those things, then there’s something wrong with you, because, like, why wouldn’t you want X and Y and Z? You know, why wouldn’t you want this and this and that and that? And I’m like, I want what I want, and I’m cool with that.
Petchy: And I think that’s why I resonate so strongly with you. And, like, I totally agree. It’s like my life does not revolve around money. I want to have enough money so that I can live a comfortable life, enough money so that I don’t have to worry about money. And if I can get there, then that’s obviously a major privilege just in itself. But I don’t have any kind of dream of becoming a multimillionaire because I know what it would take me to get there. And those are sacrifices I’m not willing to make. I want to be a human, a mother, a wife, a partner before being this big brand owner.
Rachel: I think that’s another element of the answer to the question of knowing what you actually want, like what success looks like, truly to you. And if that is being a multimillionaire — fantastic, go for that. Do that. That’s wonderful.
Petchy: Just know that it’s not everyone’s dream.
Rachel: And there’s nothing wrong with you if it’s not your dream or if it’s not your dream for now, maybe you’re doing something else for now.
Petchy: It’s also okay if it is your dream.
Petchy: But I think it comes down to having the freedom to choose and not feel like you’re having to fit into all these little pigeonholes. I don’t like being put in a box.
Rachel: Yeah, no, this is bringing to mind a concept that a friend of mine, Jonathan Stewart, and I often talk about, which is a profitable life. And so thinking about what it actually would feel like to feel profitable in every area of your life, not as in I’m making money in every area of my life, but like, when I get to the end and when I die and when I look back, what areas are going to be feel like, yeah, I’m glad I did that.
Petchy: That’s so good. I’m going to link to him in the show notes. I know Jonathan, he’s equally as awesome as you, I think. I think he’s in the good books with me. We like him. We like him. This is going to really boost his ego, isn’t it?
Rachel: He totally is, too. I know. Well, I can actually tell you again. He and I have talked a lot about ChatGPT and stuff lately, and I know that’s another reason why you and I were talking, because I don’t even know how it came up in conversation, but I’ve had so many clients asking me about it lately and being like, are you worried that your business is going to fail? You’re going to be obsolete next year? And I’m like, oh, honey.
Petchy: Where do we even start?
Petchy: I feel like there’s a lot of fear out there. People are like, oh, what’s this new thing? What’s it going to do, this artificial intelligence? Is it going to put me out of a job or whatever? I honestly don’t think most people have anything to worry about. Some people might. The people who aren’t really coming up with any original thoughts anyways, or who are just ripping off other people’s ideas or contents and putting it out as their own, possibly they could and should be worried. But if you’re an individual with individual human thoughts, don’t worry. One of my episodes, one of the most recent episodes, was an experiment where I asked ChatGPT to script me an episode just to see what it would come up with, and it was factually correct, but it was just word vomit. There was no personality there. It was just cold and clinical. And if I had just, like, put that out there, nobody would have been fooled. There is no way that ChatGPT could pass as Petchy. No way. Not yet, anyway. I don’t know where it’s heading, but as of yet, I’m probably not well known enough.
Rachel: To control your archives.
Petchy: I don’t think people have to worry about that.
Rachel: No, you and I have both been in business, I think, about the same amount of time. So we’ve seen these panics before. And you know what this reminded me of? I don’t know if this has crossed your radar, but way back when, the Google Panda algorithm update, where before that there were a whole bunch of content mills, which is actually like, where I got my start I got started writing little 400 word articles and paid, like, $0.75 for them. So the whole point of that is… (yeah, it was great. It got me very fast at writing) But the whole point of these content mills was if you flood Google, it was rewarding volume over quality. And then Google did this update, and it was called the Panda update. And then all of a sudden, it rewarded quantity and engagement over sorry, quality and engagement over quantity. And everybody was like, the Internet is over. It’s done. It’s going to be the worst. Everyone’s going to lose their jobs. And then obviously, that has not happened. And I think it’s the exact same thing. We have lost an avenue for lazy writing, potentially, but actual conversation, actual connection, it is technologically unable to tap into the things that makes… let me think about how to phrase that. By virtue of the way it’s designed, it cannot replicate a human experience.
Petchy: No, I think you’re absolutely right. And I think the people who are most scared of it and that, like, steer away from it and like, I’m not touching AI. That’s not me. I think those are the people who are going to be left behind. I think you need to kind of greet this new development with kind of openness and curiosity and the mindset of, oh, how can this be a tool that I can use in my workflow, in my day to day job? How can I use it as a tool to enhance what is already there up in my brain? So I’ve actually been using it myself to create content ideas to pad out. And then I’m not, like, asking it to write me an entire email sequence because that would just be it wouldn’t read like me at all. People know, people recognize the way I write and the way I speak, and it would be terrible to have Chat GPT try and replicate that. But where it’s kind of really good is I give it some semi thought through thing and I say, hey, can you help me generate some more ideas around this? And then I can then spin off from that and take that and then develop it. And that I can see being really useful absolutely. For a lot of people.
Petchy: I think even if you’re a copywriter, don’t be worried.
Rachel: Yeah, that’s what I’ve been telling all my clients. I’m, like, not worried. You shouldn’t be either. And there’s no like you said, I think that you framed it so well. It’s a tool. And having that framing of, how do I want to use this? As opposed to, how is this going to destroy my job is a completely different endeavour.
Petchy: And I can imagine that this was the same probably when — I am not quite old enough that I was completely there for the switch from, like, when everything had to be hand drawn to when we started using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and all those things to create all of our graphics. I’m old enough to remember the shift, actually, because I did a lot of cutting and pasting and hand drawing and yeah, all of that. But I can imagine, like, it must have been the same, almost like the same sort of, oh, shit, what we’re going to do now? This computer can do anything that I can do, and my skills are obsolete now. But that didn’t happen. I think what happened instead was it kind of separated the people who are really good at what they were doing from the people who were a bit shit at what they’re doing. So the people who are a bit shit at what they were initially doing, they got left behind. The people who are really good at what they’re doing were able to take this new tool and make something even better. And I think that’s the same thing with artificial intelligence. Really?
Petchy: It’s only going to be as good as what input it gets from us.
Rachel: Yeah, I mean, what’s the really old developer saying? Garbage in, garbage out. That’s what you’re going to get. But I think this ties in really nicely as well to our overall conversation about humanity, too, because I was writing to my email list about this, I don’t know, a couple of weeks back, and I was like, okay, let’s talk about this, because everyone’s losing their minds over this and let’s just get real. And I was curious about the patterns of behaviour that I’m seeing around the adoption or not of this. And I think a big thing is there’s so much uncertainty. And this promises certainty, it promises ease. And when we’re all in this state where we’re so tired and it’s just been like a ridiculous couple of years and nothing is the way it was. And in light of that, of course you’re going to try and look for something easy, or if it feels threatening, you’re going to be less likely to adopt it because everything else is already threatening. Why would I want more?
Petchy: Yeah, but I think we’re living through almost unprecedented times, at least in my lifetime. Like, this is like a collective trauma that’s kind of like, of course I’m talking about the little panini. It’s like, when was the last time we as humanity, sort of experienced that on a global level? I’m like, bad things happen across the globe all the time. I’m not going to dismiss that. But this was, I think, the first real big global incident that we like every human being on the planet. Unless you’re living under a rock in Antarctica somewhere, you were affected by this. And I think that’s also done something to how we view our own humanity and how maybe we feel like more as one again. So maybe we can take this big fat lemon and make some lemonade out of it or something. But there’s got to be something in this shit fest that we can try and turn around to something positive.
Rachel: God, yes.
Petchy: I didn’t mean to get all heavy.
Rachel: No, I mean, it is what it is, and it got me thinking about it’s a really lovely on ramp to my personal soapbox about the last time we renegotiated our societal agreements. Do you want to go there?
Petchy: Yeah, sure. We’ll go there. I’m not scared to go there. Let’s go there. Let’s hear it.
Rachel: It’s my pet theory that I’ve been working on for so long. So as I said at the beginning of the episode, I’m a huge history nerd, and I’m interested in it to see the patterns of human behaviour that we see playing out over and over and over again. And when I started seeing all of this shift away from humanity in our society and globally and in our online market, I was like, okay, what’s going on here? And I kind of traced it back and traced it back and traced it back. And I really think that it has to do with World War I, which I know is a ridiculous long way to go back over 100 years now, but that was the last you’ve got my attention.
Petchy: Now I’m intrigued.
Rachel: I’m so glad that I have my soapbox talk about this. That was the last time we renegotiated our societal agreements on what it means to be a human on a global level, because before that, right, you’ve got Victorian Edwardian society. Things shifted a little bit around the turn of the century, but it’s still largely the same societal agreements of, okay, here’s how we exist. We exist in these types of communities. Some of those communities abuse other communities, but we’re all within the same kind of snow globe. And then you have this horrific event come along, and within the first six months, more people have died in that one war than they did in all of the European wars before it. And so it’s a complete shift of society. Nothing’s going to be the same. And I think that at that time, we made this shift in our mindset to move from what I would describe as being a people to being a public. And what I mean by that is a people is like a nation. A people, they come together. We are individual people living together in a collective agreement, whereas a public is a resource. We agreed to make ourselves resources because that was when we shifted from localised warfare into the total warfare state, where everybody was focused on winning the war, whatever country you were in. So we made this shift from people to public, and I don’t think we’ve ever quite gotten back out of it, because we’re all like, well, I mean, we’re in this, like, public. We’re public now. We buy things. We are consumers. We live in consumer societies, and we positioned ourselves so differently. And I think we’re only now kind of. Swinging back out of that, perhaps with the shifts of the last few years where we’re like, I want to be a person again. I don’t want to be part of a public, I don’t feel connected to a society. So many people feel disconnected. So that’s my working theory and I think that we’re seeing the echoes of that and the pushback on that playing out in our society today.
Petchy: That’s a really interesting point of view, actually. I’ve never ever stopped to think about it that way before. So I do love that you’re a bit of a history nerd because otherwise I wouldn’t have had this perspective. But do you think though, that’s like recent events and it seems to just be escalating and it’s just getting worse and worse and worse. Do you think it could be like a catalyst for a positive change as well? Like you were saying, you think we’re possibly on the way out of it. Do you think we’ve reached bottom now? Like rock bottom and we’re thinking, you know what, I don’t want to do this anymore. Let’s all be one again. Let’s stop this sort of us and them thinking like, I’ll pour them, we’re the best. Those people are just like they’re not as worthy as us. All of these kinds of thoughts that I really do not identify with and I don’t want to be a part of. Do you think that maybe now that things are so dire and so horrible in the world that that could be the nudge that we need? Or do you think it’s just going to scatter us even more? This is definitely getting to deep end here.
Rachel: Things for diving in with me. So I honestly don’t know. But what I do know is that it’s a moment of great potential. And I think that we are in a moment where there is more potential for rapid change one way or the other than there has been in quite some time. And that’s why let me see if you can see on the thing behind me, I can put a picture in the show notes, but I have this picture of Woody Guthrie and he has his guitar and he painted on his guitar: This machine kills fascists. And I I love the ethos of how he goes about what he does. But another favourite quote of his is keep your hoping machine running. And that’s the thing that’s keeping my hoping machine running right now, is there is enormous potential. The things we’re experiencing right now are human constructions. We made them. They’re not welded into the rebar of the universe. So we can make something different and.
Petchy: But we just need to be jolted out of the comfort zone to be able to actually actively seek that change.
Rachel: Yeah. And I think that I guess I don’t know anybody who’s been in a comfort zone for quite some time. So I think we’re jolted, I do.
Petchy: I think some people are, but I don’t think the people who are running in my circles. I see some people and I think definitely like, okay, so you’re profiting off of this misery, so you’re probably comfortable where you are. But as for the rest of us who actually have hearts and who want to consider other people’s well being, outside of our own and, like, look at things, look at the bigger picture, maybe then that this is you. Say it’s an opportunity for change, but maybe it’s also up to us, the people who really want to be change makers, to grab that opportunity. And how can we do that? So obviously I speak specifically from a branding perspective and business perspective as well as from a human perspective. And I’m not suggesting that brands kind of take this opportunity and repackage it and pretend, but like, maybe there is an opportunity here for brands who genuinely want to see a better world and see a world where we are all equal regardless of our status or gender or whatever it might be that’s now dividing us. But how do we do it? Because it feels monumental. I know a lot of people who feel paralyzed almost. Sorry, actually that was really ableist of me. Sorry about that. I didn’t want to use ableist language. I’m trying to call myself out here, but what would be a better way to put that?
Rachel: Overwhelmed. They feel overwhelmed.
Petchy: Overwhelmed. Yeah. And I don’t know where to start. There’s too much. So that overwhelmed kind of makes me freeze. And I think I’m not alone in that. But also I know that there are many more people who feel that way and that if we can just bring those people together and everybody pulls their weight, then maybe we can put human back into branding and business and every aspect of life.
Rachel: Oh, absolutely — that is my shining torch. I love that because ultimately business is an access point to power, right? That’s what branding is. That’s what marketing is. That’s why I love it so much. Because we can give power. I mean, not give power like it’s mine to give, but we can help open up access points of power to people who have historically not had those access points. I can help facilitate that. And so I love that you brought this up because I think the overwhelm is, oh my God, how do we fix the entire world? Like, that’s not going to happen. You’re not going to do it. That’s not yours to do.
Petchy: And if you can exactly. If you can, then maybe it’s chocolate and maybe it is you.
Rachel: But I think what I mean, this comes right back to it, right? Human is the only move left. That’s all we can do. And I think that when we do that, it feels so small, but it is so incredibly powerful. And so I think it comes down to those moment to moment decisions, okay, how am I going to show up human now, and now, and now? Because here’s the cool thing. So my other intellectual legacy grandfather in my brain, not my biological, but my brain grandfather, Carl Rogers, talks about how oh, my gosh, I’m going to butcher the quote. But it’s something like, self regard is contagious. So when I show up, congruent in myself, like, hey, here’s where I’m at. Here’s what I got. When I show up human, it signals to you the psychological safety to show up human yourself. And then that builds, and it builds and it builds. And so I think that in doing that, it’s that’s how that’s how we fix it. Right. The more human I can show up, the more human those around me will necessarily show up, because we’re pack animals. That’s how we do, and that’s how this spreads.
Petchy: That’s a really good way of seeing it. It sounds so simple, but yet it’s so complex.
Rachel: Yeah. Because then, of course, you’re fighting all the stuff in your own head, right?
Petchy: Yes. And that’s not easy because we’ve all been conditioned to behave in certain ways, and depending on the culture that we grew up in or the people that we surround ourselves with, those kinds of expectations are different for each one of us. But I don’t think I know one single human being who is not at some point trying to conform to other people’s expectations of them.
Rachel: Of course.
Petchy: And that says quite a lot, actually. And I want to be a part of the change there. So I’m not saying that people should share every little gory detail from their private sphere. That’s not what this means to me, because I was actually just chatting to a friend earlier today, and we were talking about this. We were saying there’s a difference between being personal and being private. You can share something personal without sharing from your most private parts of your life. It’s absolutely possible. And we get to decide what we’re comfortable sharing.
Petchy: And with whom.
Rachel: Exactly. And I think sometimes bringing it right back to the authenticity thing, right? People are like, well, if you’re authentic, that means that you just need to open up your heart to the Internet and show everything. And I’m, like, absolutely fucking not. Do not do that. No, it’s uncomfortable. That’s not authentic. That is it’s boundaryless. So the way I like, I teach this in my bio workshop a lot, right? Because one of the main problems people have when they try to talk about themselves on the Internet is that, well, how do I show my personality without being over personal? And I’m like, it’s all about the context, right? Because you and I, we’ve got a close relationship. There’s lots of things that I share with you. And also, I’m not going to take the computer into the bathroom with me like, while we’re having our interview, not because it would be, like, somehow more authentic of me to do that, but because we’re individual humans and that’s not contextually appropriate.
Petchy: Yeah, let’s not do that. Yeah.
Rachel: And I think that’s what it comes down to when you’re talking about yourself or when you’re trying to share things, it’s absolutely possible to share things that are deeply personal and still have strong boundaries. I mean, I am an intensely private person. I am very boundaried in what I share on the Internet and with who. And everything I share is true. Like, it’s true. It’s me. It is authentic. And there are some other authentic bits of me that are not for public consumption. And so I think knowing that line for yourself is what keeps you from the way I describe it when I’m teaching it, I say, don’t drunk cry on the Internet’s shoulder. Like, it happens. People do it.
Petchy: That is the best part.
Rachel: But you don’t want to make a habit of it, right? Because you don’t want to be that person at the bar where everybody’s like, oh, come on. Again.
Petchy: Yeah. And the ugly crying. Maybe we could leave things out. I’ve heard people say this before, like, don’t share from an open wound. Because obviously it’s a different thing if you’ve gone through something traumatic and then you’ve healed from it. You’re in a different place to talk about it then than what you are when you’re in the middle of it.
Rachel: Another thing that I talk about a lot with that since sometimes there’s a misconception that you have to be completely Zen with all your everything before you share it, and that’s also just not humanly possible. So if there is something like that that people want to talk about, what I recommend is what I call the minimum viable truth. So you can say something that’s true about it without getting into, like, all the crazy gory details. So, for instance, a client of mine had a client — a weird chain of events — but her client was writing a story and memoir, and this client had had pretty severe anorexia, and so she didn’t want to talk about how she had had an eating disorder. But there were chunks of the story that didn’t make sense if you didn’t know that she was dealing with something. So they said she was ill, she had an illness, which is true. And it’s not like, here’s all the ins and outs of my battle with my eating disorder because I’m not comfortable sharing that. So you can do that with anything. A lot of things that I share are minimum viable truths. They’re absolutely true. And all the details are not the Internet’s business.
Petchy: This is true. And also, I think a lot of sort of coming back to showing how we’re human, it all comes back to our values. What do we stand for? What do we believe in? And this is why I take a values driven approach to my branding work as well. It’s so important that people know what they stand for, where they want to go, what they want to be known for, all of those really fundamental things. It can be so different from person to person as well. So it’s like I’m not saying one thing is wrong and the other is right, but at least if we know our own values and we know that they are our values and not some values that have just been pushed onto us because that’s what you’re supposed to feel or mean or think, then we’ve got something to lean on. When we do find ourselves in a bit of a tricky situation or we’ve messed up something or we don’t know how to navigate. And that goes whether it’s your brand or your business or in your personal life, if you can look back and you know what you stand for, you know your core, it’s so much easier to navigate. Because you can ask yourself, well, if I do this, will that take me further away from my core and what I want? Or will it help me get closer to my core? Does it align with who I am and what I stand for and my beliefs? And of course, we are humans. We’re all different. So what that looks like to me is completely different to someone else.
Rachel: Absolutely. And I think that’s the easiest answer anybody’s ever going to get about those tricky situations. And like, how do we show up human? It’s like, okay, well, what are you willing to take consequences for? I am willing to stand up for certain things because I deeply believe in them. Other things I don’t actually care about whatever happens there, whatever. But I know that if I’m taking a stand for something that I truly believe in, then whether I’m getting pushback or whether I’m losing a client over it or whatever, I would prefer that to the compromise of those values. And I think that’s the easy way.
Petchy: Yeah, because then you’re walking away from the situation with your integrity intact, which is to me, that kind of means a lot because I’ve compromised my integrity before when I was employed and also like when I felt like I had to to please a client or to get a client. And I know how shitty that’s made me feel.
Petchy: Like, really, I’m spending my time and my expertise helping someone achieve something that goes against every value that I ever had. I am not doing that anymore. But it takes a little bit of experience and you need to work up the guts to be able to actually say, no, this is what I stand for. This is it. Take it or leave it.
Rachel: Yeah. And I think a lot of times it can be more complex than that too. There are so many other things if you’re in a situation where you genuinely need the money, then it gets really easy to start kind of like massaging some of those values. But I think, like you said, it takes time, it takes experience. And it comes back to the imperfect thing you learn as you go. You learn what you’re willing to do when you find out what you’ve done.
Petchy: Yeah, I think anyone listening to this, definitely they’re getting a very human to human conversation here because we’ve touched on so many things, we’ve gone really off into tangents. But I’ve got the right listeners, they can handle this. I think they will value this conversation and I hope that they will also feel like adding to the conversation. So when I post about this episode on social media, on LinkedIn, wherever I am, and when you, Rachel, perhaps do the same thing, no pressure, but if you do absolutely. I hope that our followers and our networks are going to sort of chime in and bring forward their opinions on this, because I really want the dialogue to happen around this, because I think it’s just too big for you and I to sit here and dictate what it looks like to be human in branding and business. Because I definitely don’t have the one answer to that.
Rachel: No, I don’t think any one of us can or does. And I think that it’s a fundamental feature of being human, that this is a group endeavour, right? Like we are a social animal. That is how we do, that is how we exist. That’s the only reason we are still alive after this long. And so I love that invitation to community and I really hope people chime in too.
Petchy: Yeah, it’s getting towards that time where we have to round off, because as lovely as it is chatting with you, people have other stuff to do than listen to us all day, surprisingly enough.
Petchy: But if you could leave the listeners with just like that one key takeaway or one tip, what would that be?
Rachel: So I think the one key thing is human is the only move left and that includes you. So whatever human looks like to you, as imperfect, as complex, as nuanced, as evolving as that is, it’s the only thing, I think, that is working on a societal level. It’s the only thing that is working on a personal level and is the only thing that is working on a business level as well. So my invitation is to tap into that humanity for yourself and maybe we can make some change.
Petchy: I think that’s a lovely sentiment to end this episode on, but I’m not going to let you go just yet because I would also love for you to share with people where they can find you, where can I connect with you and learn more from you? Because it’s clear that you have a lot of knowledge that people need to know. Where can they go to get it?
Rachel: Oh, thank you. I’m easy to find, so my website is Boltfromthebluecopywriting.com. I’m also on Instagram @boltfromthebluecopywriting. I’m on Facebook as Rachel Allen, so you’re welcome to friend or follow or whatever they’re doing nowadays. And no, I think those are all the places. Yes, I’ve been culling my presence down. So, website, Insta, email, that’s how we do.
Petchy: Lovely. Now you know where to find Rachel. Go and connect with her. She’s awesome. Thank you so much for being here and having this conversation with me today, Rachel. It’s been such a joy.
Rachel: Thank you. I really, really enjoyed it.
PS! Before you go, I have something for you.
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Until next time,
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