“Get past the fear. There is greatness in who you are and what you are doing.”
“Put yourself out there!” everyone ever has told me. What does that even mean? It sounds intimidating and unspecific. And the times I’ve tried to do it have been scary and brief.
But Christine Clark has turned that phrase into a science. When she moved to Kansas City without knowing many people she felt unsure and isolated. But she roused her courage and turned “putting yourself out there” into a strategy, into a business model. And now she’s helping other people do the same thing.
Terrified though she was, Christine dreamed of having an entrepreneurial life. Upon her move, she heard that tiny voice inside that encourages us to follow our dreams - and she amplified it.
With big dreams and equally big nerves, she dipped her toe in the water. “My first entry into a conference, I was so nervous. I didn’t know anything, I was afraid of speaking. In hindsight I knew I was only there for one thing… and it was for permission to go after my dreams,” Christine tells me of her first foray into her new life chapter.
Then, she started going to more conferences… and she chatted, and she networked. She realized only she could “grant herself permission” to do the things she’d been dreaming about.
She started trusting herself. After that, her capability to do these things rose to the surface.
“Giving ourselves permission is a skill that’s learned over time. I’m constantly giving myself permission because no one else can give it to me. People ask me how to find sponsors for their start-up endeavors. I respond ‘Just ask them. They’re probably just waiting for you to ask.’”
From that little seed, Christine grew a thriving community. “One day it hit me like a ton of bricks that if I needed community, others did too.” After having surface level conversations at events, she knew she wanted to go deeper, to ask real questions.
That’s where The KC Influence was born. Christine now hosts meet-ups, workshops, and events to bring budding entrepreneurs into the light of community – and to connect them.
My favorite part of The KC Influence, is “Mastermind.” Through this project, Christine brings a handful of creative entrepreneurs together to support each other, collaborate with each other, hold each other accountable, and hold each other up when things feel tough.
Mastermind cohort members meet monthly for six months, and during this time they report back to the group on three things: 1) One thing that has been working well in their business, 2) one struggle and brainstorm, and 3) a resource she’s discovered to share.
“It gives people the thing that I needed when I moved to KC, which is a partner to keep in touch with throughout the week. We have an Instagram group to connect with questions and updates. We stay pretty connected throughout the month,” Christine explains. This project has created a loving and supportive type of accountability.
The thing about entrepreneurship is that it’s not just about business, it’s also about your personal life. Sometimes it’s those inner barriers that keep us from getting our career or business to the next level. They cannot be kept in isolation from one another. Christine has created a safe place for women to share their “real life stuff.”
That is exactly what Christine’s blog encourages. It’s a uniquely integrated approach. The sections on her KcInfluence site are: Faith, Fashion, Beauty & Wellness, Motherhood, and Local. She has built an entrepreneurial community where before there wasn’t one. She has filled this void in the most fantastic way, and it’s improving all the time.
“I love focusing on leadership learning,” she says, “The biggest thing I’ve taken away from it is that we have to set high standards for ourselves as leaders. And keep people in your sight while you lead. The point is to bring people with you.” She lives by the quote from John Maxwell “If you get to a mountaintop and you’re by yourself, you’re not a leader – you’re a climber.”
“I love hearing the stories after the events, the collaborations that were made, the friendships that were made, or that someone decided to take a step in their business… even just one person. That fills my soul when I hear it,” Christine says.
Written by: Kelly Flanagan
CHRISTINE'S 3 FAVORITE THINGS
“I get my best ideas when there’s sunny weather and I go for a run. I love being in nature, its therapeutic and I can be alone and think.”
When it comes to fashion sometimes it’s the simple stuff. “I love a good basic white tank,” she tells me. “I wear these more than anything. You can layer it, dress it down… or pair it with a blazer. It’s so easy to it mix up!” Proving there can be creativity in every part of our lives.
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