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Conversations with the Inspiring Kristen Hartnagel

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristen Hartnagel.

Kristen, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Hi, Thanks for the opportunity.

Throughout my career, I’ve been in dual roles, providing both services and sales. I spent 9 years helping teachers and students organize and run campaigns to raise money and then wanted to be more directly involved in shaping school culture and impacting the lives of young people, so I lead a student to student mentoring program in several schools all over the country. This evolved into my next calling which was leadership and performance coaching and now I’m a Personal Brand Strategist and Spiritual Breakthrough Coach. While the latter may at first seem like the puzzle piece that doesn’t fit, it’s actually the foundation of my entire life’s journey! Let me give you an example. While developing my spirituality has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, it was in March of 2012, that I had a life-changing experience. My family and I were on the beach in Playa Del Carmen. It was Spring Break for our two sons. My husband, Jeff, and I and several families were together on vacation. Sitting in the sunshine, I was suddenly overcome with a wash of emotion. It was as if a beam of unconditional love enveloped me and muted everything else from my senses and awareness. My whole body was filled with light and it felt like my chest would burst. I remember hitting my husband in the arm when the sensation subsided, saying, “Do you realize how blessed we are!? We have two healthy boys. They have both sets of grandparents. They actually like spending time with us and each other. Do you know how rare and wonderful that really is?” I was blissed out. The feeling of gratitude was so strong. It was like being held in God’s arms. Looking back, I realize this moment was truly a divine gift. It was a visceral experience of truth and inner knowing that we are loved. It was a blanket of belonging and wellbeing. Little did I know then, that it was actually as if God was giving me this glimpse to help me handle all that was about to unfold. As if to say, “Hang on honey, because shit’s about to hit the fan.”

Cell service was sketchy, so I hadn’t been on social media much. When our plane landed on the first leg back home, I had several texts and missed calls from my sister Lauren. In line to go through customs, we were able to talk on the phone. She asked if I had seen anything on Facebook. I answered no and asked why. She said, “Oh, honey, I’m so glad you didn’t hear about it first there. I wanted to be the one to tell you myself. I get to heal from Ovarian cancer.” The lights in the airport blurred through my tears and every part of me felt weak and numb.

Over the next several months, shit did hit the fan. It’s really unfathomable how much happened in such a short amount of time. Not only did I drop everything to be by her side for her initial surgery, but while I was with her, my husband Jeff’s father passed away.

Upon learning their daughter was ‘dancing with an answer’ as Lauren claimed (she asked us all to frame her journey this way), it was as if both our parents somehow hastened their own exit. As if they each declared, ‘Oh hell no, there is no way our daughter is going to die before me!’, Mom died of pancreatic cancer within five months of her diagnosis and Dad one year later almost to the day the following year. The greatest gift my sister gave me was staying alive to walk them through their transitions together, which prepared me to walk her through her own.

The experiences of our lives shape us. But more than the experiences themselves, it’s our perspective about them that allows the space for what each is offering. Like Lauren’s decision to have fun and die differently, and my gratitude gift on the beach from God, the recognition that we all have the opportunity to choose with intention and then, choosing well – that’s what continually forms us. In fact, finding appreciation for every moment is truly what makes life delicious!

As a spiritual breakthrough coach, professional speaker, and personal brand strategist, I help you shift your perspective, shaping results in both your life and business. After all, the wisest perspective when it comes to building a personal brand is to realize it’s not about you! It’s about the people you serve.

I’m a founding team member of Brand Builders Group. We provide strategy and ongoing support for building and monetizing your personal brand. Authors, speakers, influencers, podcast hosts, entertainers, and so many mission-driven messengers are among our clients. How can it get any better than helping people who are feeling called to make a difference in the world do that successfully?

No matter what the moment may appear to be offering, the most liberating perspective is trusting fully that “Holy Shift! Everything’s a gift!”

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s been relatively smooth but only in the rearview mirror! In the middle of massive unexpected change, it can feel like you’re freefalling, hoping there’s a net somewhere. It’s the perspective time provides that lets you see how divinely orchestrated every event actually is. And living through many rollercoaster experiences I can have a different expectation because I now trust that each struggle leads to the next expansion! There is so much to do when it comes to creating an entrepreneurial business. Simple, doable steps, but SO MANY! It’s easy to get lost, be inefficient, and feel overwhelmed. In fact, 80% of them fail and I think that’s largely due to not feeling confident about which next step makes the most sense. And that’s not the same for everybody. I remember my frustration trying to navigate the crowded, noisy world offering an infinite number of ways to launch or grow my business. Many of us suffer from this ‘entrepreneurial disease’ – we know we want to be in business FOR ourselves – but thinking that means BY ourselves – that’s what derails success. It’s enough to be good at what you’re good at! Trying to do everything that needs to be done all on your own is a recipe for failure. That doesn’t mean you’re not strong or capable. It means you’re smart! The most successful businesswomen in the world surround themselves with people smarter than they are, so they continue to learn and grow -and they master the art delegating quickly. So my advice is to find your people!

What should we know about Brand Builders Group? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Brand Builders Group is about helping you build a business from your personal brand. It’s the long game of growing your platform and establishing thought leadership and cultivating relationships. We have this Reputation Formula which states Results x Reach = Reputation. You can have the best service or offering on the planet, but if people don’t know about you, they can’t do business with you. As a personal brand strategist, I help entrepreneurs expand their reach and grow their business. From mega-influencers looking to diversify their revenue streams to individuals working on their side-hustle, we move through four phases of building and monetizing their personal brand. How do you articulate the problem you solve? Why should someone work with you over anyone else in your space? Is it clear who you’re serving? What is your message? Is it compelling enough that people feel you’re their person? And can they feel the passion driving you to serve them? Aligning all of your messaging so clearly that you’re a magnet, not a megaphone, is the first and most important step.

Then we build your relationship engine and the roadmap to attract and drive people so you can scale. Clients say we’ve saved them thousands of dollars and years of time because every next step along the journey is laid out and we walk alongside in collaboration throughout the entire process. It’s not that there is only one way to impact the development of a personal brand. In fact, there are so many different ways you can waste a lot of time, energy, and resources, unsure if all that effort will pay off. Having a brand strategist guide each step you’re executing gives you confidence and assures results.

Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
If you’re just getting started in your entrepreneurial business, learn to think about things differently. Get inside the hearts and minds of the people you serve and provide such amazing value that you become the go-to person for that value. You’ll grow your audience by steadily establishing thought leadership and being known as the source of value and good information. This big picture thinking of growing your platform is what leads to sustainability.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Lisa Shaw
The Bigger Picture Photography, LLC

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