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Slow to Flow

Saturday Takeover by Kristen

At no point did you ask to get to know me. I know, I checked the email replies, but I’m going to tell you about myself anyway.

By Kristen Dahlin

6 min read

Well, well, well, fancy meeting you here! At no point did you ask to get to know me. I know, I checked the email replies, but I’m going to tell you about myself anyway.

I’ve already decided we’re friends. If you still need convincing, I’ll send you pictures of my dog.

image of a cute brown and white dog

I’m also answering burning questions, like Kristen, how does an aspiring actress-wedding-planner-barista become of all things, an SEO fanatic?

Great question. I like to blame improv.

You’ve probably heard improvisational theatre’s most popular motto “yes, and…” co-opted in business speak, marketing, product development, and what have you.

It works! 🎤

For a scene, you can’t say no to whatever the person or group you’re with does next. To do so would kill the energy, and you’ll lose the audience and flow. Big ol’ belly flop.

"Yes, and" empowers you to go with the flow, think fast, expand on ideas, reinvent every moment, and keep moving.

It applies to many things, particularly a lesson of surrendering control and singular vision for one's life.

At least, that’s been my takeaway.

It’s the chief reason I’m constantly exploring, tinkering, and confirming my friends' questionable ideas are really good ones, so we have a story to tell later.

Uncommon Childhoods

I’m the result of a household maintained by a corporate accountant and the drummer of an alt-rock band from LA.

Wait a minute, is this an improv scene? 👀

Nope. My daycare was listening with rapt attention while my dad's band of twenty-somethings smoked, drank, cursed, and put poetry to music. It was awesome.

image of four men in a rock band

Besides giving me a penchant for needing a swear jar wherever I go, my parents taught me that money and stability are cool. But that if you’re not personally fulfilled by your work, it isn’t worth doing.

You are your best self and giving the most you can to this world when you’re deeply satisfied with your life and doing something meaningful to you.

Sometimes you know off the bat. Sometimes you need to try and experiment before you find the right thing.

They both went back to school in their 30s. Gamely trading the 9 to 5 suck back and forth for each other while they pursued their passions. My accountant mom is now a social worker, and my drummer dad is a woodworker with his own shop.

Their bravery and risks are always my north star, and I’ve taken that as permission to reinvent myself a lot.

9 Reinventions and counting

I almost enlisted in the Navy, but they couldn’t guarantee an opening in Intelligence. So, I went to work at Disneyland instead! Good thing too, because pretty much everyone in that recruit group became aviation mechanics.

image of three smiling people, one in an aviation uniform

I got this close 🤏 to going to school for acting, but decided to jet off to Hawaii instead. That’s where I coordinated over 100 weddings!

I also half-started a dozen novels, but decided my Peter Pan era was over and returned to Oklahoma where I got a degree in entrepreneurship. I freelanced to support myself, writing content in every niche you can think of—and probably some you can’t!

After graduating, I went all mainstream and took up content creations for a SaaS tech business, where I became really good at SEO. It’s also where I met Rebekah.

When she asked if I wanted to come to make some magic with her at Hey Rebekah, it was an immediate yes. Dreamers, doers, and people getting $#!t done to live life on their terms are my bread and butter.

Plus, she’s pretty cool.

What grinds my gears, just Taurus things

One-size-fits-all perceptions and exercise that isn’t fun.

This is a real thing. I get angry and stubborn when I’m physically uncomfortable #justTaurusThings. I’ve flat-out refused to finish a repertoire in barre class because the instructor told me I could do it and I um… disagreed.

One of the few times I haven’t been lightly enraged when exercising is during the most insane thing called Sling Bungee Fitness. You do high-intensity low-impact workouts on a bungee.

And you get to Superman!

Yeah, I was too distracted by the fun to notice I burned close to 500 calories. But Kristen, sometimes you just have to embrace the suck for progress.

Yeah, yeah. Or I could work out on a bungee line and everybody wins.

What I love, a selection of my favorite things

image of a walk in oahu
  1. Being outdoors
  2. Gardening (flowers)
  3. Cooking dishes from places I’ve traveled
  4. Spreadsheets and color-coding
  5. Learning all about other people

3 random questions

  1. Favorite Book? This is, first of all, an unfair question because I read constantly. One book I always look at fondly when I mosey past my bookshelf is Gods of Jade and Shadow by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia.
  2. Favorite Disneyland Ride? My favorite ride was the Tower of Terror - that was one of my two attractions. I once got to ride it after hours with all lights on and no sound, and then again with lights off and only sound. Lights on is way scarier.
  3. What do you do in your free time? Work on novel ideas, advocate for kids in the foster system and help curious family members research their relatives from WWII. I know, incredibly niche.
Kristen Dahlin

About Kristen Dahlin

Kristen fell into content marketing between Disneyland gigs and Hawaiian weddings. With a few years of SEO-fueled freelance under her belt, she wandered into tech. That winding path eventually landed her as a founding team member of BRIL.LA.