Catch Amy Lokken on the #PirateBroadcast™
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Introduction: [00:00:00] Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast™, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let’s get this party started.
Russ Johns: [00:00:10] And today we have a pirate. I think this is a first, I think this is the first Amy. Of course, the first person that was actually born on talk like a pirate day. So congratulations. Woo I love your little pirate in the background, so fantastic.
Amy Lokken: [00:00:25] I am doing fantastic, Russ. How are you this morning?
Russ Johns: [00:00:28] Oh, I'm better than average. No complaints. I always believed that if you talk to someone long enough, you find a connection and we immediately found a connection. Strange, crazy, I know. And for those that are paying attention in the world. It's always something, if you turn on your curiosity and you learn about someone else, it's always easier to engage in a conversation and enjoy the moment. And this time here in the morning that I have the #PirateBroadcast™, that's what it's all about is shining the light on the people that come here, visit us, have a conversation and share a few nuggets of knowledge, some #inspiration and things like that. Thank you so much. All the #gratitude in the world for you being here.
Amy Lokken: [00:01:12] Oh thank you for having me. I am uber excited and honored to be here with you, Russ, and the pirate community.
Russ Johns: [00:01:22] I know there's a few of us out there, a few hundred episodes here and there, on occasion. I want to talk just for people that may not yet be aware of you. What's your super power and what are you excited about these days?
Amy Lokken: [00:01:42] Oh, my let's see which is easier to answer and I'll go with superpower. I think differently and I see things differently. I'm all about the visuals and really digging deep. So going back to the initial thing you talked about, how, if we, I would say, if we listen and ask the better questions, we will always find more common threads than differences. That is probably my superpower. And what am I excited about? I think we are given amazing opportunities every day and I think it's really in how you perceive those opportunities. Are they challenges or opportunities? You can get up in the morning and stub your toe and go, great. What are the next two things? So I can get the three things bad in a row, out of my way, or say, oh, thank you. I felt that. There's people who can't feel that, or thanks for reminding me I'm alive today. I mean everyone's perception becomes their reality.
Russ Johns: [00:02:46] What a beautiful way of looking at it. And I have to agree with you. Perception is so real and it's so powerful because obviously, it's okay. I don't have this, but I do have this, fill in the blanks, whatever it happens to be.
Amy Lokken: [00:03:03] Absolutely. And we all have something, we all have stuff I should have grabbed the other one that's a skeleton and because we all have those, that's part of being human. No, one's perfect.
Russ Johns: [00:03:15] It is the human experience. So talk about a little bit about the visual nature of your personality. What is it that really draws out the visual nature of what you're producing and what you're. Interested in producing.
Amy Lokken: [00:03:34] Yeah. Background is in industrial design not a whole lot of females in that industry, but it was never felt that I couldn't do anything. In fact, my dad was the first person to teach me how to weld and I haven't welded in years, but I would love to get back to it. So that's a goal in the next few years. And I know my brother would be more than happy to have me come to the farm and play. Which definitely opened up an interesting world to me. I found my calling and seeing things differently. I thought through things very differently. I didn't find out until much later in life that I'm probably somewhere on the dyslexia spectrum, which then definitely made sense to me because I had to figure things out very differently. But that's all cool because it made me who I am and it allows me to use my talents in a unique way. After graduating with industrial design, I went into retail design and visual merchandising and ended up working in that industry for shopping center developers for 15 years. I also worked for high-end interior design firm for a couple of years as an interior designer which then at the end of 2008, I suspended my contracts. My last five years in the shopping center industry was actually contracted and we can all remember what was going on in 2008, entering 2009. So I suspended my contracts for nonpayment and found myself needing to reinvent myself. And during those five years I was putting on probably 50,000 miles on my vehicle in a year. So I had at my largest, I had six properties that I was responsible for the visuals and through that time, a lot of windshield time, and it led me to think through things and envision things differently. I create, I had this idea in my mind and after I left the shopping center industry, I ended up moving my parents into my home with my husband and I, and becoming their primary caregiver and decided what better time to maybe pick my dad's brain a little bit and see if I could create this product that I had in mind. And of course over the last 12 plus years, it has changed. A thousand times over. Today it is nothing like my parents saw before. They left this world, but I know that they are definitely watching over me every day. Yeah. So that's how Mud was born. And it is Mud (like mood), not mud, hence the umlauts above the U. It's a little dedication to my dad. He was Austrian German descent
Russ Johns: [00:06:24] Oh, fantastic. So I want to go back, something triggered and it's one of these things I'm always curious about is you studied industrial design. So what was it in your youth that triggered the idea that was a direction you wanted to explore? What was it, what was the idea? What was the concept that triggered that thought process?
Amy Lokken: [00:06:50] That's a really great question because it all stems from my high school art teacher, Mrs. Webber, who I consider a friend today and she really wanted me to go into being an art teacher or whatever. And I just knew I wanted to go in to the arts and design and lo and behold she received this poster that was from the Art institute of Colorado, in Denver, and it was announcing a new program that they had, which was industrial design. And it gave a list of all these things you could be: toy designer, automotive, anything that had to involve form and function. That's industrial design. And I was doing theatrical set design at a local theater, just volunteering. And I loved that. I loved building things and constructing things and they're there happened to have been theatrical set design as one of the things you could do with an industrial design degree. And I'm like bonus. Multiple versatility in a degree, like if I get tired with that, I can move on to toy design or whatever. So that is actually how I ended up getting an industrial design degree.
Russ Johns: [00:08:17] That's fantastic. I love that because a lot of people, they're either tossed into a career by accident or because somebody is encouraging them to go that direction. So it's curious when you're talking about your dad and the influence that he had in your life. Was his career also in the industrial space or was it something completely different?
Amy Lokken: [00:08:40] It would be something completely different. Actually, my dad had an eighth grade education. However, had he had a eighth of the education that I was given, I can't even imagine what he would have done. However, he he was a farmer. All of his life dairy farmer also worked for 30 years at a powder milk plant at the time was called Safeway and in our tiny little town in rural Wisconsin. But on top of doing that and bringing in a paycheck because farming isn't the most profitable. Supported six children, there's 16 years between myself and the oldest and six between me and the one before. But farming and loved being outside. I definitely have my dad's genes. I am the hotter, the better. I'm not a fan of winter. Why do I live in Wisconsin still?
Russ Johns: [00:09:41] Let's see... your business could go anywhere.
Amy Lokken: [00:09:46] And it definitely has. And so yeah, he was a farmer, but he would literally take something apart that was working perfectly fine at the time.
Russ Johns: [00:09:52] He was completely a creative individual that could make things work out of nothing.
Amy Lokken: [00:09:56] Absolutely. And even if it was working perfectly fine, he would find a way that made it work better or at least better for him. Yeah. And it was fun to be back with the family farm this past weekend, celebrating my one and only amazing brother and seeing what he has done to one of the greeneries. He's actually made it into his man cave and actually has a little invention going on himself with a old cooler and yeah.
Russ Johns: [00:10:25] I've actually worked a dairy farm. I have milked cows and had the entire experience so I can understand and appreciate all of that. So hats off to any farmers. I've had acreage and had animals and done that thing. I was Farmer Johns for a minute and the farmer's market and all the whole deal. So yeah. I just know that's fascinating. That's probably why the welding came into play is like the necessity of having to develop skills that you would normally not think about in a day-to-day age, working in an office or a downtown city or someplace like that. We have to appreciate that.
Amy Lokken: [00:11:07] Without a doubt and having to do it like in almost a split moment when something breaks down and to step out of your own way and go, okay, what's the problem. Let's address it and take care of it and move on.
Russ Johns: [00:11:23] Yeah, let's make it happen. The necessity is the mother of invention, as we say, and I love the idea that again, one the common thread. I held out until 2010 before my corporate gig ended abruptly. And it's one of those things that after you do that, and you've got your own thing and that it's challenging and that there's, good days and bad days, you just have to grab a hold of it and know that you can actually create something out of nothing. It's just like going back to the farm and saying, okay, what resources do we have? What can we build from this? And what can we grow and how can we grow from here?
Amy Lokken: [00:12:07] Absolutely.
Russ Johns: [00:12:08] So you took that and you...
Amy Lokken: [00:12:09] because I believe, and I coined this phrase in between caring for my dad and in his passing and into my mom. And he ultimately made me a much better caregiver for my mom, which was really important with her Lewy body. But I coined the phrase that it's how we stumbled through one journey that creates our next and we have a lot of journeys that we're on, so we better get good at some point.
Russ Johns: [00:12:38] We have a lot of journeys and that's a good thing. That's a good thing. We've got Jorge from Spain and from pirates. I haven't seen you for a while. I hope you're well, I hopeyou're staying safe, sane, and maybe enjoy life a little bit. Marcia, an individual that everyone should know. She's amazing. Thank you so much for being here. DJs in here from Florida. Thank you, DJ. Tracie.
Amy Lokken: [00:13:08] Oh yeah.
Russ Johns: [00:13:08] You know Tracie
Amy Lokken: [00:13:09] From emails, I certainly do now.
Russ Johns: [00:13:13] The amazing Howard Kaufman, necessity is the mother of invention. Absolutely positively.
Amy Lokken: [00:13:21] Without a doubt.
Russ Johns: [00:13:22] So as you develop this visual marketing piece of your world, you mentioned that it evolved from the first time you showed it to your parents and it evolved. So tell me what the journey was and where it is today and what we can expect from the pirate today.
Amy Lokken: [00:13:44] Wow. It's all about versatility and it has been from day one. I believe that our customers aren't flat, boring cutouts and neither should our marketing. Especially when it comes to our visuals. 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. 93% of all human communication is visual. So why not have things like fun cubes to walk through and talk to people about that can literally be taken down and travel with you in no time flat. Being able to have branding in the back. And I always believe that there should be a little element of surprise in everything. We're bringing in the modern day business that we're in today. We need to stop being talking heads. We need to engage with our audience as if they are literally in front of us. We're three dimensional beings. So why aren't we interacting with our spaces in a three-dimensional form. And the more we can be present in the moment, because doing virtual interactions is not like listening to a podcast people. I'm sorry, it's just not. We need to have that interaction. So when we're able to interact and flip graphics around because we're determining who we're in front of and we're thinking about that human psychology and really digging deep because when you don't show up 100% at authentically and as yourself and your brand, you're missing out on developing deeper relationships. And when it comes to deep relationships, the number one thing is trust. So when you have a fake background where you're losing an arm, if you're animated, like I am or an ear, and while losing the ear didn't work out real well forVan Gogh, I'm pretty sure it's not going to work out for you. And I understand that almost 14, 15 months ago, we we're all thrown into having to open up our safe zone to the world, which is our home. But it's also opened up a great opportunity to share some really fun little tidbits about our behind the scenes and who we are. So if you work in IT, then let us see a little bit of the inner workings of our technology. We may not understand it, but it's interesting. I worked through with a lot of my clients, whether it's through, the consulting end and then upleveling them into really cool, wall skins and things that have proper dimension, versus, something flat or going up against just the blankest, whitest wall in your space. Okay. If you're using a fake background, I'm wondering what you're hiding which isn't adding to my trust and that whole human psychology, that subconsciousness is like, I'm not really paying attention to our conversation. In fact, subconsciously I'm wondering what's actually behind there that I'm getting little glimpses of because you're moving.
Russ Johns: [00:17:13] Subconsciously, that's why I got this screen. I bought a TV for this. I'm not doing a green screen or anything like that, but I thought it was interesting and, talking through it and hearing you now it's, and some people I understand it's, necessity. It's just where they're set up is and it might be uncomfortable for them.
Amy Lokken: [00:17:32] But there's easy little ways to to make it comfortable because when we show up on anywhere, we're showing up for actually other people, like we say that your time and you matter to me, then I better show up as my best self to you. Does that make sense? The more we own who we are and I talk about, in my cubes that I had, being prepared and being bold and being unique and ready and interesting. It's all about. Honing in on, you asked me what my superpower was, put on that jacket that makes you feel like a pirate today, but in the end makes you feel fabulous. So you can be the best person possible for who ever you encounter.
Russ Johns: [00:18:24] Yeah. I was thinking about this last night and I wrote an article on it. Cause I was feeling this way is that sometimes creativity arrives as part of the action you take on the way to get there. Absolutely. And it's the same with showing up. Sometimes you have to show up when you're not feeling like showing up, and sometimes you have to be available to people that when you may not necessarily be the resource you need for yourself. And by taking this action and pouring yourself out there, sometimes magic happens and you discover along the way, like you did in 2008, that there's more to yourself than you actually know about. And as you go through that and take action, and you go through the challenges and the struggles and everything about it, it's really. It's really part of the journey. It's the fabric we weave as we go through life. And I just have to know that people like you that are creative, that create something from nothing, you draw something on a piece of paper, industrial design. I'm always amazed when I open a really nice package and it's just well thought out, it's well-designed and I think somebody took a lot of time to think about this. Somebody took a lot of time to know that I would be impressed and wowed and surprised by this packaging and it's the same way with ourselves. If you can actually show up in an authentic way that can surprise people along the journey, that's a wonderful thing.
Amy Lokken: [00:20:13] Absolutely. And I think just to acknowledge what you were saying about the being present. I think the journey of a caregiver forces you to have to be present and adaptable and always show up as your best self or find those alternatives to dig deep. One of the things I tell a lot of my clients is before you go do a presentation and interview, jump on one of these and I certainly did it. I do it all the time. Amy Cuddy is so smart and her Ted talk, she does on body language, two minutes. You can change how you perceive yourself.
Russ Johns: [00:21:00] Oh, that's a powerful statement.
Amy Lokken: [00:21:02] Two minutes in a power pose. I don't care if it's a restroom stall, if it's a closet, if it's wherever. Two minutes will change your perception of how you feel about yourself.
Russ Johns: [00:21:18] And smiles. #smilesarefree.
Amy Lokken: [00:21:20] Always, always. And it doesn't matter how horrible you feel if you just start to smile, like if you see someone and you smile at them, they're contagious. They're not only free, but they're contagious.
Russ Johns: [00:21:33] They are contagious. Mary's here. Talking about meeting in person, Mary and I met in person here. She's in Arizona from San Diego. And she came into town, she's new. So I made a point to make a connection with her. She's a pirate. So also in your neck of the woods, Amy, Wendy, love the pirate team. Happy Friday. Thank you so much. Mary says, yes, smiles are free. So all of these elements, Amy, I just really, I'm just excited and I was... I don't know, I just have a connection with you. And I just really believe that there's so many things that we haven't explored yet in life. And I hate to go to bed at night because I love learning. I love the experience. I love everything that we're doing. And the creative process is so amazing and it just continues to excite me. It continues to grow and expand in my world. And I just love the creative process. So what are you doing in the future? Looking forward where are you growing and what's your goals and what can people expect from Amy in the future?
Amy Lokken: [00:22:50] Just continuing to spread that confidence and build that confidence up for people. Mud was, we actually even created a definition of what Mud meant to us and or to me. And it really is the act of marketing and advertising your product, your services, to increase profits and ultimately grow your business. And that I wrote, over 12 years ago, so today it's still that. But it's more than that. It's also developing you and we're all part of our brand and we're our number one piece of our visual marketing. So it is about showing up and showing up as your best self and figuring out what that is. And I think I'm a really good listener. And I'm learning to ask the better questions along the way to get a little deeper. And I love making connections with people and I love finding those common threads and then taking those threads and visually sharing them with the world for people and helping people figure out how to really. Take what is their unique visual ID and allowing it to shine just naturally, like no one really likes seeing themselves on camera. Like none of us do, even actors. If you listen to a lot of actors and they're like, oh yeah, I just really don't like it.
Russ Johns: [00:24:42] There's some actors that don't even watch their movies after they're created,saying, I don't like seeing myself on camera.
Amy Lokken: [00:24:50] So we just need to get out of our own way and think, oh, we're our biggest critic. But the more confident you can find in yourself the better, and if I can help people, and that is my goal too, to dig a little deeper and allow them to shine and allow them to utilize fun, different magnetics and props, that's it's, that's like the clicker back in the day of being up on stage. And I used to say that people either use the podium as their shield, use the clicker as there pacifier. Yeah. But it was also the one thing that was going to trip them up the most. Because that clicker didn't exactly work perfectly.
Russ Johns: [00:25:43] Oh, things are going South fast.
Amy Lokken: [00:25:48] Really fast, unless they maybe took that power pose or whatever, and have that confidence to say, you know what? I don't need those slides. And besides people aren't really paying all that attention to them anyway. So it's yeah, it's helping people really identify that they can do some unique things. That we need to stop putting everybody in boxes and really start owning our uniqueness.
Russ Johns: [00:26:15] We need unique for the unique people out there, which everybody is.
Amy Lokken: [00:26:19] We all are, you can't be anybody else, but you.
Russ Johns: [00:26:22] Kimber says, I love my marketing from Amy's company so much. Thank you for being here. Wendy says Amy shines. Naturally. I love her. Marcia says, Happy Mayday tomorrow, everyone. This year flying by. Absolutely positively. Mary says love of learning. Absolutely. How do you like people to reach out to you, Amy and connect with you?
Amy Lokken: [00:26:49] Oh, you know what? They can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, email, social media, perfect.
Russ Johns: [00:26:58] Perfect. All of those links will be showing up in the post onRussJohns.com. So if you miss this or you came in late, or you want to watch the replay, you can watch it on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, even Twitch. So crazy. I know this has been a pleasure. I love the fact that we had a conversation like this, and I think we could talk for a couple more hours, it'd be a fun time. You'll have to come back. You're always welcome back as a pirate.
Amy Lokken: [00:27:28] I would love to, Russ, thank you so much. This has been so much fun.
Russ Johns: [00:27:32] It goes by quickly.
Amy Lokken: [00:27:35] Happy friday, everyone!
Russ Johns: [00:27:43] Happy Friday, everyone. Thank you so much for being here and look forward to the next time. If you like this, or you want to share with somebody that is out there that needs some assistance or support or thinking about some creative ideas, maybe needs to talk to Amy. I don't know, share it out. Let people know that we're around here. It's a pirate community. It's all about connections and #kindnessiscool, #smilesarefree, so you can #enjoyyourday. Take care.
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