Q&A with Dyana Valentine

Dyana Valentine has been called “part seer, part urban priestess, part cheerleader.” We say, “Yep, that pretty much describes her.” For a taste of her awesomeness, check out this video, You Will Survive. We did a live chat on Twitter with Dyana about energy, John Waters and her upcoming gig at HOW Design Live.

Dyana, thanks for your time today! First, tell the nice folks what you do & where you do it!

I kick creative ass (can I tweet that?) and take names. My fave description from a client: Modern Muse. I see through the fog to what you do, help you do it UP and talk about it.

What kinds of problems do you help creatives work through?

Requests fall into a couple categories: making BIG decisions, testing ideas and presenting self or ideas

To paraphrase the Talking Heads, “Well, how did you get here?” How’d you land on this work?

I like Tom Waits’ version, “What is he building in there?” A circuitous route: microsurgery, horse training, Olympics. I worked the ’96 Atlanta Olympics—100% intense, wild, devastating, elating, the whole shebang. Learned a LOT about myself.

I’m naturally nosy & bossy & was always ending up facilitating meetings, etc. So, then BIG life shift=freelance

This is not your first HOW gig. When did you first speak to the HOW crowd?

Irocked the stage for the Creative Freelancer Conference in 2008 and I.can’t.kick.it. Every year since. Thrilled and honored to rock the InHOWse Managers Conference and HOW Design Conference in 2011.

We’ve got you doing a couple of things at HOW Design Live this year. Tell us what you’ll be up to.

I talked with Andy Epstein about it on the InHOWse Blog: I’m doing five gigs in five days—bringing the platforms & sequins! I’m also 100% excited to be doing some interviews on site—and I am open to invitations for adventures (relax, art/fun ones).

Wow. 5 gigs in 5 days? How do you store up the energy to be ‘on’ so much?

I am an introvert for cultivation of creative energy and an extrovert for expression of the same. Translation: I need my naps. It takes training and considerable effort to prep/stay hot/be judicious about extras, plus I rock the recharge: sharpened knives, farmers’ market, art docfilms & very quiet walks before dawn.

You’re great at helping people connect with others. What’s 1 key piece of advice for connecting at HOW Design Live?

Hook it up early & keep it live: make dates now, keep blocks of open time for surprises; get up early and walk with us before sessions. (You can connect with other HOW Design Live attendees on the event’s Facebook page.)

Here’s a connector idea: stop people in their tracks; for any reason, just go with the connection. You may not see them again.

Your Pitch Perfect session came from personal experience. How did you learn to tell your unique story?

The hard way, as usual. Gulping & ErrUmm-ing my way to a state of disrepair & finally flinging my hands up and fixing it. I hate homework, so I made it into a game.

Give us a book and a website that you recommend people check out (not your own!).

John Waters’s “Role Models” and the drool-a-thon over on DesignBoom is a daily loveBAM! to my artsoul.

Tell me about your new venture, Woke Up Knowing.

Woke Up Knowing Experience is deep.rowdy.hardcore 115% Dyanaland. I have three live gigs coming up: Ojai, Marrakesh, Hawaii.

So with the Woke Up Knowing Experience, I tell you something I’m struggling with, you sleep on it & call me in the morning with insight?

You got it—it doesn’t even have to be a struggle, but can be an idea/concept. I’ve worked with a venture capitalist on a possible project. Oh, and I may call you in the middle of the night. WUKE does not yield to traditional civilities.

What will people learn from your Pitch Perfect workshop at HOW Design Live?

How to talk their walk. Get out of the BUY ME & into Believe Me mode of sharing ideas/values of themselves and their businesses. I hope they take the Pitch Perfect learning and share it w/everyone who will listen. Let’s change the way we talk to each other!

Meet Dyana Valentine in her Design TV video, How to Bring Out Your Best.

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