The F-Word: Brittany Tiplady
Brittany Tiplady is the co-founder of the badass, female-driven Loose Lips Magazine and the feature for our June edition of The F-Word. When Brittany and her future business partner couldn’t find a magazine out there ready and willing to publish the kinds of stories they wanted to tell, they decided to build it themselves. We caught up with Brittany to find out more how she found herself starting a magazine, what being a young actor taught her about rejection, and her thoughts as a professional content creator about social media’s influence on our collective mental health. Here’s my conversation with Brittany.
HOW DID YOU END UP GETTING LOOSE LIPS OFF THE GROUND?
I run it with my business partner Kristi. We conceived the idea of Loose Lips when we were in journalism school together many years ago. After school was over, whenever we met up we would always talk about how much we wished we could create what’s now Loose Lips. That was our dream. Then three years ago, we each found ourselves in a really stuck place and it just felt like the time to make it happen. So we set up a business plan in April 2015 and by September, we were launched online.
AND YOU DO SOME FREELANCING ON THE SIDE?
Yes I do. So I quit my day job last February and I have been freelance writing, co-running Loose Lips and working in digital marketing with clients as well.
HOW DID YOU MAKE THE DECISION THAT IT WAS TIME TO QUIT YOUR DAY JOB?
I was really unhappy at my job for a long time. I had been trying to move into a different role that was better suited to my abilities and education but it just wasn't happening. I was also getting married so I didn't feel financially secure enough yet to just drop everything and leave my job. But eventually like I had to stop dreaming and just make the call. And with the support of my husband and my business partner, I finally decided to go for it.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE FAILURE?
I was thinking about this last night. It sounds super lame and cliche, but I really do think of failure as a form of growth, regardless of how painful or anxiety-inducing that failure may have been to go through in the moment. It leads to greater knowledge and a more refined trajectory so you know where you need to go next.
IN YOUR MOMENTS OF FAILURE, ARE YOU CONCERNED WITH LETTING YOURSELF DOWN OR LETTING OTHERS DOWN?
I’m really hard on myself, so some of it is letting myself down. But also when when you're a freelancer, the relationship that you have with the people that you work with, your clients and your editors, it's very special. They can choose to work with anyone they want and they’ve specifically chosen you. So I always want to make sure that I am putting my best work forward because I am full of gratitude to have that job and to be chosen from the large pool of freelancers out there doing exactly what I do. So I always try my hardest to deliver my best work. When something doesn't go right and I'm faced with some failure, it does it feel like I let down them down, especially after they chose me for the job. Which is hard.
HOW DO YOU ENTER INTO THOSE CONVERSATIONS ONCE A FAILURE HAPPENS?
It really depends on the conversation. If I'm having a conversation with myself, wondering how I am going to turn this around, I always come back to a point of humility. I'll tell myself to take it with humility and know that I'll have learned so much when I emerge out of it. And then when it comes to working with other people and having that conversation, it's about being honest and saying 'Look, you know what? I've fucked up. I'm sorry.' And so in those situations, for me it's all about owning it. Which I guess also comes back to humility as well, in a way.
HOW DID FAILURE FACTOR INTO YOUR CHILDHOOD?
I actually started learning about failure and rejection at a really young age. I started acting at the age of 5 and did it pretty consistently until I was about 16. I also danced competitively and performed a lot. And so I learned a lot about failure through auditioning and competing over those years. And it was kind of a poignant part of my life, how well I was able to handle rejection.
IS THAT ABILITY TO HANDLE REJECTION SOMETHING YOU’VE ALWAYS HAD?
I don't think anyone is born with a bulletproof vest on that allows them to just take it all. Some people are better than others. But I think it's just something that everyone learns eventually, at their own speed. I was really good at it when I was really young. But then as a teenager, I became much more self-conscious. All of a sudden, I found I was much more worried about what people thought of me. I had a hard time dealing with that.
HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO COME BACK OUT ON THE OTHER SIDE IN YOUR TWENTIES?
A lot of it came down to the people I was surrounding myself with. In my twenties, I changed a lot of the relationships I had in my life, both romantic and platonic. And when I added more of those positive people into my life, the energy and community around me also changed. All of a sudden there were all of these people encouraging me, people who really understand who I am and what my needs are and vice versa. And that had a way of really changing how I spoke to myself, too. I learned how to have compassion for myself through my compassion for other people.
WHEN YOU’RE DOWN IN THE THICK OF A FAILURE, HOW DO YOU PULL YOURSELF OUT AGAIN?
I can't get rid of social media altogether because I do work in content creation and social media. But I'll remove my personal Instagram account from my phone for a week to give myself a 'digital detox'. I think it's totally necessary sometimes.
And I like to take time to journal and set intentions and set goals. It lets me give myself a bit of a break and helps me rewire to determine where I'm headed, what I want to do next. I'm big on setting intentions. So I can set an intention to reach out to a certain editor with a pitch idea I've had that I've been meaning to get out there. Or maybe it's just to stay off my phone for the last hour of the evening before I go to bed. I like to set up things for myself that I know will make me feel good and give me quick wins.
WHY DO YOU THINK IT IS THAT WE DON’T TALK ABOUT FAILURE ALL THAT OFTEN
We're a part of a generation that really wants to succeed and wants to have a nice life for themselves, one that they've built entirely for themselves, by themselves. Our generation is incredibly entrepreneurial. Coming up against failure can make you feel like you're not succeeding fast enough. Maybe it gives you some anxiety about future employment or landing clients. We always want to be broadcasting the good things in life because life can be so tough. And I think people don't want to look weak which is silly because we all fail.
HOW DO YOU THINK THAT SOCIAL MEDIA HAS IMPACTED OUR CONVERSATIONS AROUND FAILURE?
I love this question because I love the internet, social media, and connecting with people...but I’m also acutely aware of how damaging it can be. We usually only put positive content online about what's going on in our lives. But that’s not what life is, really. Sometimes your online persona almost becomes like a character you feel like you have to play. And the truth is you don't have to, you never do. I think some people are really beginning to become super honest and authentic online, which I love. I want to see more of that.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU SHARE WITH SOMEONE LOOKING FOR THE COURAGE TO PUT THEMSELVES OUT THERE MORE, EVEN IF THAT MEANS FACING THE POSSIBILITY OF FAILURE?
I mostly work with women and it's shown me how important it is to look at who is in my community. I’ve intentionally surrounded myself with strong women who really support me, and vice versa. So I’d urge them to look around at who is in their network. Lean on them and ask for support, ask for help. Ask for guidance from the people in your life. If you're feeling down or you have encountered a failure, I encourage you to lean on those around you. It can make a world of difference.
Stay tuned next month when I’ll be digging deep into failure with an extra special guest--my very own fiancé (and independent game designer) James Lantz.