Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Chris Cherrie, Founder of Cherrie Collective, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I acknowledge that I am writing to you from the traditional territory of many nations, which is now home to many diverse First Nations peoples. I also acknowledge their Governments and roles today in taking care of our home and native land here in Toronto, Canada. A decade ago, my professional journey into ethical branding and education began as the Art Director of a Queer-Feminist Sex Shop in California, as a facilitator of sex-positive education, and as a counselor for trans and queer youth at the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
Growing up in Toronto with the shame of being gay and fumbling through rough relationships and marriage mistakes has given me the life experience to show up as the husband I am now proud to be. Today as an experienced Leadership, Career, and Sex Coach, I get to support and challenge folks to create the impact, lifestyle, and relationships of their dreams through 1:1 and couples coaching. I am experienced in supporting marginalized communities, including BIPOC, LGBTQ2IAS+, youth, newcomers, and people with disabilities, through an intersectional trauma-informed lens honoring lived experience. I am aware of my own limitations, biases, privileges, and multiple identities. I work from an evidence-based perspective rooted in the sciences of applied positive psychology, appreciative inquiry, goal-setting theory, and mindfulness, and although I am absolutely not a therapist, I have training in Acceptance & Commitment Therapy which is solution and action-focused.
My approach leverage's my client's values and character strengths as guiding principles to help them slay their shame and gain self-awareness to see blind spots—how they might be getting in their own way and missing out on being the best version of themselves through accountability. For bits of trust-building, connection-creating intimacy igniting juicy goodness for you and your relationships, follow me on Instagram @coachchrischerrie or schedule a complimentary session with me at coachchrischerrie.com.
Tell us about yourself
Unless you were born in some emotionally intelligent commune deep in the heart of Brené Brown's basement, you have experienced trauma. I live with depression and anxiety, and what gets me up every day is thinking about that LGBTQIA2S+ person who experiences so much shame for something so natural that they can't flourish in their career, relationships, or being. Human suffering is common and universal. Almost 100% of all people on the planet will, at some point in their life, contemplate killing themselves (Chiles and Stroshal 2004, American Psychiatric Association).
This is the rare type of work that many people will never do. My clients are exceptional and brave because they take action in areas that many of us design decisions to avoid. I wasn't exactly intentional about my own professional practice in the beginning. But realizing I was disconnected from myself as a catalyst for getting curious. There have always been values rooted in integrity, leadership, and justice.
For example, my thesis in university was on Grindr, and I conceptualized an app back in 2012 to help mitigate the emotional and physical ramifications of the ease of cruising and anonymous sex for folx living in a society where queer sex ed didn't exist. HIV cases were on the rise, especially in BIPOC communities. Believe me; I am sex-positive; I believe that everyone has the fundamental right to sexual fulfillment regardless of what they're into, so long as there is consent. I felt a responsibility to help educate, empower and protect other queer youth. This was inspired by my own experience of accepting sex and validation when I was so desperate for my own love.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Observing the ripples and impact that I have had by helping other folx over the years and seeing their dreams come true makes my heart swell. When I am feeling low, I like to imagine running a marathon where all of the people I have supported share words of encouragement and smile back at me. It really helps me keep on doing the work.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Taking responsibility for everything that occurs in my life. Learning how to thrive in uncertainty. A willingness to make mistakes and learn lessons. Being comfortable with rejection. The power to recognize that I always have choices and options.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Work with a Coach or Mentor.
- Consistently practice self-awareness and mindfulness.
- Become a master of acceptance and emotional intelligence.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
What distorts our perception, amplifies anger, and cuts our confidence? Rejection. Feeling like we don't belong or aren't good enough can cause potent psychological suffering so stingy it destroys our self-esteem if left untreated. Awareness about emotions is a game-changer because no matter what conversation we might be having, emotion will likely be the voice of disconnection and hurt. Negative emotion gets in the way of our ability to be creative, curious, and compassionate towards ourselves and others.
I invite you to get dirty. An authentic, courageous, and compassionate relationship with ourselves is the lifeblood of connection. The hard thing that I had to accept was that if I was unwilling to do the work, I might likely never experience what it feels like to have a real relationship with myself or anyone else.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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