A Sit-Down with Bree Pear and Crissy Saint-Massey, Only Human

As Part of the Heroes of Change Podcast

Jeremy Turner, Founder & Managing Director of EPIC Mission:

Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the Heroes of Change podcast from EPIC Mission. This is Jeremy Turner, Founder and Managing Director of EPIC Mission and I’ll be your host. Here on the podcast, we are highlighting the trials, victories, and applied wisdom of our community change agents, unsung heroes, and those who empower them to be the change across Appalachia and beyond. We seek to inspire and equip everyday heroes, just like you, to take on our greatest challenges because together, we are the change. And today on our episode, I’m really thrilled to welcome my second dynamic duo to the show. We’re going to meet the co-founders of Only Human. Before we do that, I want to read a little bit about them and see if we can prime the pump. So first I want you to meet Bree Pear, the Founder and Creative behind Only Human either self-proclaimed Jane of most trades.

She spends her days dreaming up new designs, upgrading the Only Human website, and trying to do the most good she can in the world for you. Welcome. Thanks for having me. Absolutely. And secondly, we have Crissy Saint-Massey, Co-Owner and Head of Content at Only Human. Crissy is a wild one and loves to be outdoors. You can also catch Crissy at home with her wife and son writing the next Only Human blog post and bringing people together for good and a little bit about firstly welcome. I’m a little bit about Only Human as a community of good humans doing good things for good causes. They release a new cause campaign and line of apparel each month benefiting a nonprofit partner for every sale, Only Human donates, a portion of the proceeds to that month’s cause. So this is some awesome stuff. And firstly, welcome to you both. Thank you for coming on today and thank you in advance for sharing your story.

Bree Pear, Founder & Creative of Only Human:

Absolutely happy to be here.

Jeremy:

Well, certainly happy to have you; definitely want to learn more about you as human beings and you know, sort of your personal stories and surely want to learn more about Only Human. So if you would, let’s get a little bit more personal and go beyond the formal bio and perhaps you can get us started. Tell us a little bit more about you and the work that you’re doing and really what brought you to this point today and then Crissy, we’ll jump into yours as well.

Bree:

Perfect. Yeah. I think if we’re going to dive in and get more personal, honestly, that starts Only Human. That’s what began on all of this. About five years ago, I was in a really hard place in my life and had to make some changes. Those changes looked like physical health changes, diet changes, what I was consuming, and reading, who I was connecting with. And I think that I became a personal development junkie and realized like I have the skills to share this type of work with other people. And you know, out of that, like my own values are met. I love designing. I love creating, I love taking photos and videos and making emotion come out through what I capture and what I design and that paired with this mentality of wanting to do good and to develop and to be the best person I can be and then inspire others to do the same, you know, Only Human was developed and built. And I think that’s the most personal I could get because Only Human isn’t really just a company. It was one human story that then changed into every human story. And I love it.

Crissy Saint-Massey, Co-Owner & Head of Content of Only Human:

You got tell the part though, Bree too. So there was a time a few years ago, like right at the beginning where Bree was over at my house for dinner and she’s looking at me and she’s like Crissy, like I’m going to sell all of my things like and just travel with Myka, her dog. And I’m the logical, one of the two of us, like the very like level-headed, reasonable, strategic, like risk-averse. And I look over at her and I’m like, Bree, are you sure? Like what do you mean? Like, why? Like, I don’t understand where is this coming from? Are you okay? And that was really, for me, at least in my like, historical recollection of how Only Human got lifted off the ground so quickly was Bree’s ability to just jump in headfirst and take a risk that so many of us, myself included would not.

Bree:

Yeah. Still to this day. I mean, I’m an Aries, like a ram. I’m like headfirst into everything. If you ignite passion in me, there’s like, no, stopping it. Then it just becomes this force that I can’t even control. And Cris is right. Like it takes both of us, the wild creative, and the like logical strategic. And that’s why I love working with Crissy so much and why she joined in so quickly.

Crssy:

Yeah. Bree’s that I did a thing person. Do you know, those types of visionaries, they have this idea, they go experiment with it for a while and then I get a, hey, so I did a thing and my questions are like, how much did said thing cost? How likely is it that said thing will succeed. What’s the time and, you know, the risk involved in all of that stuff. So yeah, we’re definitely an awesome, awesome pair.

Jeremy:

Well, I think it’s a cool dynamic that you’ve struck here and, you know, it’s something that I, you know, I’ve had businesses where it was a partnership and sometimes they, it went well and other times not so much, it can be tough sometimes. Right. So maybe you all can talk a little bit about how you find such balance when you’re two different personality styles.

Crissy:

So Bree and I actually, luckily had some track laid down before Only Human even got started that allowed us really to understand how to navigate one another, which I think is crucial to being successful in any kind of business relationship or otherwise, right. With other humans. And so we worked together a brand development and marketing agency. She was a project manager and I was ahead of content there. And so we started to learn like what pisses one another off, or you know, how to approach one another when things are a bit tense with our company, for whatever reason. And through that, we’ve developed a really good way to communicate with one another and to overcome the hard times that always happen on any entrepreneurial journey.

Bree:

Yeah. And I think even to recall that we have had our worst fight as friends while working together, like in the same room, like where you have to still show up, there’s things you have to do and you have to move through it. And, you know, we moved through it and obviously like we’re still best friends. Like I still hang out with Crissy willingly just in my free time. But most of the time we end up talking about all the human and we’re like, why do we keep talking about work? But I mean, I think that just proved, like that’s what partnership I think is missing is like not everyone has that, like, yes, I’ve been through it. I know we can get through this again. I know we can face upcoming challenges. And I guess for Crissy, there was no risk in that. Like we knew we could work together. It was just, were we willing to build this thing that was going to be a heck of a lot of work? And where are we willing to like face all those challenges together?

Crissy:

Yeah. With lots of sacrifices along the way. I mean, Bree and I both have families and kids and that sort of thing. And I think one of the biggest fears that holds people back from truly cashing in on something that they have a vision for is the sacrifice and the risk of not knowing how it’s going to impact your day-to-day and your stability. Right. And there’s certainly have been really difficult times financially we’ve taken hits and that sort of thing, but we consistently just keep pounding away at the dream and the vision and growing it and building it. And I think that’s why we’ve found so many humans that truly see what we’re trying to accomplish and just come in and join the effort.

Bree:

Yeah. I know so many humans, especially like in our audience are those ones that want to build something like this, want to have that community, want to do good, want to volunteer. Like they have this long list of things they’ve always had this deep desire for. And for me, like my biggest challenge in this has been, what if I start this? And what if others judge me for it? Like, what if they say you’re wrong, you’re not going to make it. You’re not going to succeed. Like, what are you doing? You know, and I got those even at one point from Crissy of like, are you sure? And I think what’s really cool about this community and how it’s being built is that Only Human isn’t just about selling things. We’re truly about what the community can do together. What benefit can we bring our audience? How can we connect them in deeper ways and how can we inspire them to create what we’ve created here in their communities, in their friend groups and their relationships. And that, to me has always been what I can look at and just plow through that challenge of like, what if people judge me you know, coming from bullying, that’s like a big thing for me. It’s like, I get scared over something like that, but knowing I’m inspiring people and creating this like ripple effect in the world, it’s just so cool.

Jeremy:

I love it. So often I meet entrepreneurs on the for-profit and nonprofit side and what they do is really based so much on experiences that they’ve lived through. And things that they’ve either personally been impacted by in some major fashion or, you know, something they’ve witnessed or they have somehow been exposed to. So entrepreneurship can be such a great outlet for you know, being the change as we’ve talked about before. And, you know, so with that, you know, the name of this podcast is, the Heroes of Change podcast. The tagline for my company is Guiding the Heroes of Change. When you hear that phrase, Hero of Change, what does that mean to you and how are you working to live that out every day?

Crissy:

For me, I mean, hero to me makes me feel like they’re really big shoes to fill. I would never honestly call myself a hero. But I mean, when you think of the hero’s journey and the obstacles generally that are within that plotline, it makes sense. You know, I think a Hero of Change is really someone who’s willing to pave the way and most importantly, leave gifts and open doors and portals for other people to either forge their own path, be inspired and empowered, or to follow along in a way that really fulfills them. For me personally, I had a really difficult childhood and upbringing. And even shortly before I joined with Bree and Only Human, I had suffered some severe mental health challenges. So being able to overcome that and share those stories, which is something that we do often at Only Human is shared just real human stories and seeing the responses and the inspiration that it provides others to me is opening the door for others to make the same change.

Bree:

Yeah. And I felt pretty similar at first. I’m like, okay, I’m not a hero, but I remember back to my days working for Apple, and this was back when, like you used to go into the Apple stores and we used to have different sayings across the shirts. And I remember one of the sayings I had to put on and I felt uncomfortable with was “Not all heroes wear capes.” And in that I was like, okay, what is a hero then? Because there’s like this superhero thing that we, you know, have where it’s just like you save people. But what Heroes of Change for me means is that it takes multiple change. I believe only happens with multiple people. It may start with one person, which you could look at as a hero, but it takes other people in amplifying that message to actually create change. So Hero of Change for me, really reminds me of what we call like our Reoccurring Impact Model, where it starts with one person and one person’s story and journey. And in that, if we can seek community out of that, if we can take that community and we can give back, and then if we can take that community and give back and then share what we’ve learned, it creates this cycle of change and it creates those heroes for themselves, heroes, for their communities. And I think so for me, it starts with one and that might be the hero. Like you can be the hero to yourself and then connecting with others creates change. So to me, that’s Heroes of Change.

Jeremy:

I love it. I love the ripple effect, too. You know, the amplification of impact and such and you know, just the little time we’ve been on already today, you know, I haven’t heard you talk about your company and our organization, it’s our community. I love that. And there’s, you may have read this. There’s a book by a guy named Peter Block that talks about community. I think the, even the name of it is Community. I don’t recall, but it talks about these dual meanings of community, of community being, you know, the built structures, the physical buildings and such, and then community is this sense of community, a sense of belonging to something bigger than yourself, and then all the rights and responsibilities go along with membership in that community. And so, you know, I liked that word a lot and I love that, you know, it’s so fundamental to what you’re doing because it sounds like you are building community.

Crissy:

Yeah. We’re first and foremost, a community organization. We sell apparel that, you know, is a vehicle for us to create funding, to help others and carry out our passions and do good in the world. But isn’t that what all businesses are, any group of humans rights starts creating their own culture and community. And again, like, this is how we show up in our community. This is what we stand for. This is why we’re here and this is what we’re committing to. And those are values and mission statements and vision statements for any business or nonprofit or organization. 

Brree:

Yeah. And we always make the change to like every morning when we get dressed. And what we’ve discovered is what we wear that says, something says something bold. And typically for us goes along with the cause with a nonprofit, with something we’ve supported or a mission we’ve sought out, but these shirts also inspire conversation. So isn’t that also community? So it might be clothing, but really it’s conversation starters, it’s meeting new people in coffee shops. So that one person who came up and asked to take a picture of my shirt at the grocery store, the compliments that you get at the airport each moment in that is an opportunity for you to connect with someone in real life. So for us, yes, we sell clothing. But what that clothing does in the real world is inspired connection, inspire community.

Jeremy:

I love that. And it’s such an important distinction that you’re sharing there is that you know, we sell apparel, we do this and that, you know, you’re talking about your vehicle by which you do this bigger thing, you know, you’ve got this grander purpose. And I think that’s great. I imagine that, you know, as folks listen to this episode, that pieces like that will resonate. You know, too often, I think we get caught up in the, our identity is wrapped around the thing that we do, you know, we are a tee shirt company, or we are consultants, or, but there’s so much more that we can do and we don’t get wrapped up in this labels. Right. When we go beyond the labels, the entrepreneurial journey has lots of labels and lots of landmines and lots of interesting terminology in it.

One of the reasons why this podcast is existing is that I’ve found and likely you found this as well. There’s a lot of misconceptions about what is the entrepreneurial journey really look like? I’m afraid that a lot of our media paints it as, you know, you have this idea, you go get a few million dollars in funding, you launch, and pretty soon you’re a billion-dollar corporation, and then you get acquired and you roll off to the Caymans or something for this beautiful afterlife. That’s not quite how it works, at least in what I’ve seen. Can you talk a little bit about your all’s journey and some of the hiccups you’ve encountered along the way, maybe some failures, and what you’ve learned?

Bree:

Absolutely. I think being an entrepreneur really what they don’t tell you is that it’s just all failure is failing until you find the way to succeed. Like, Oh my gosh, I didn’t trip that time. Like I can keep stepping and it looks like long hours. I really, I feel like anymore. My work is just one. It’s just this big ball of this is my life now. And it provides a living and I don’t really know if I stop working and I start like that other personal side, because it all meshes together, but it’s taken literal blood, sweat, and tears to build. And you know, the percentage of companies that do like, they start, they blow up and then they sell and then you’re living this lifestyle, you know, it’s so small. And what you don’t see is that most of the time entrepreneurship just looks like a small business that gets to run and a local community gets to connect and their community to them, the 200 people that they might interact with on a day-to-day basis, like are so important to them. And for us as entrepreneurs, I think connecting with other people humbling yourself, like you should be in rooms with people smarter than you connecting with professional development groups and growth and always seeking that next level is important because when you stop seeking that, that’s when that growth stops and you’ll never get to that Cayman Island experience at the end.

Crissy:

Yeah. I’ll add on to some of the challenges for sure. Some that you probably wouldn’t expect us to be doing. And I bring this up because, you know, we have an online presence. That’s pretty large. And even we were on a call with some of our advocates the other day. And one of the humans on the call was like, do you guys feel like you’re on a call with someone famous right now? And I’m sitting there like, am I famous? Is that what’s happening right now? Are we famous? Bree? Are we famous? But anyhow, there’s there that outward perception. And then there’s like Instagram versus reality, right? So reality is you know, the year before last week or last year, we were at 40 some events around the nation and Bree and I were traveling nonstop, you know, taking time away from our families and going to these different events. And each event had its own set of challenges, right. Where, Oh my gosh – and then we have to go to Target and a taxi or Lyft and get a new tent within like a half hour before this event starts. And now it’s going to start raining and no, and there are these crazy situations that I never, and I don’t think most people would envision us doing just like everyday people like trying to figure out how to make those tents set up, work at a festival that’s raining or something crazy is happening. And then there have been the other just when – Go ahead.

Bree:

Oh, I was going to say like, there’s these 40 some events that we’ve done. And then when you say that and that you’ve traveled to, you know, 20 some cities in one year, people go, whoa, that’s a cool travel lifestyle, no one that shows the real travel. And that is like hardly any sleep lugging. I mean, at times I’ve walked through the streets of New York with eight large suitcases in the middle of summer, I’ve lost weight. You don’t hydrate well enough to find like healthy food everywhere. Like the travel lifestyle is not that lavish. And it’s hard for people because they’re like, you’re living in the best life. It’s so cool. I’m like, you know, I’m still, I’m giving up a lot of things, even just doing this because it’s hard work. It’s tough work.

Crissy:

Yeah. And I think besides that, there have also been honestly, some really scary moments where we’ve looked at either, our own personal bank accounts or, you know, our bank account for our company and have looked at it and been like, oh man, how do we do, like, how do we get through this next portion of growth? Because growth always comes with a set of challenges and that it pushes us into new areas of discomfort that we’ve maybe never felt before. And we’ve certainly sat there and had to put our heads together and figure out, okay, now what do we do? How do we overcome this? How do we get through it? What’s the way forward.

Jeremy:

So it seems like you’ve come to where you can embrace the comfort in the uncomfortable world. And you found that entrepreneurship is a grind. Now you can absolutely be passionate about it. And that’s great just because you’re passionate about it doesn’t mean that you can be, that you’re going to necessarily be successful. There’s, you know, the participation and the inspiration, you’ve got to overcome failure and you know, deal with the grind as you were talking about the travel experience. So, you know, with this podcast, we want to share what life is really like as an entrepreneur. So we, so that others who maybe somewhere along the journey with an idea they’re at, they have an idea, or perhaps they’ve already launched a company. And they’re experiencing some of the things that you’ve already experienced. They can say, wow, you know I thought that I was the only one feeling this, but now I recognize I’m not, I am part of a community of entrepreneurs. So I appreciate you sharing some of the real stuff here, Bree. You were talking about personal development and growth, and can you talk a little bit about, and you know, both of you talk about where do you go for personal and professional development and why is that so important for you? As humans and as entrepreneurs?

Bree:

Yeah, I think the first place I go, which is like been my number one resource, the thing that has like literally caused the success in my life. I didn’t go to college. I do not have degrees. I am completely self-taught. And I say, I attend YouTube University. And YouTube is the place that houses so much gold content. Like you can get a master’s degree in anything like I’ve learned and entrepreneurial skills and how to be a better public speaker and all these things that as you’re starting something you have these questions about like guarantee open YouTube and you type that question in, you’re probably going to find a community full of people who make content just dedicated to that topic. So you do have been incredible books read lots of books. I typically have like a fiction book that I can escape into and then a nonfiction book, which required there’s a little bit more attention. And then I just recently went through the landmark forum. That’s a personal development, it was more of a very personal, very like childhood development. But I think a lot of mistakes that entrepreneurs make is that they go after all business development and what entrepreneurship is, is self-development. And you have to be okay as an individual in order to keep your business, your team, your culture running.

Crissy:

Yeah. And I’ll add on to that for me. It’s something I’ve been learning to do a lot more recently. It’s looking to other humans that we know to help guide us. So we have several, you know, business mentors who have backgrounds in different industries and have different, you know, paths of success themselves and have overcome various things. And so a lot of the times when we find ourselves or I find myself asking like, is that really the right way? Or should we do that? It’s like, hey, let’s, you know, let’s phone our friend here and figure out if they have anything to relate to us with that. A lot of story sharing can help guide business as well. And then we’re also part of EO, which is Entrepreneurs’ Organization. And through there, we have a business accountability group as well, where we’re able to talk numbers and be just completely transparent with other business owners who might be going through similar things as well. And we help guide each other through that. And that’s been really, really helpful.

Jeremy:

Love it. So you didn’t just wake up one day and say, I think I’ll be a successful entrepreneur and it just happened.

Bree:

No – always learning.

Jeremy:

You know, and again back to you know, some of the, I guess, false narratives that are out there you know, you talked about only seeking business development stuff and not really working on your human self or the fact that you do need to continue learning throughout that. You know, just because you’re good at one facet of your business doesn’t mean that you are good at all facets of the business that you’re personally responsible for. So I appreciate you digging and digging into that a little bit, you know, when someone hears that, that you sell apparel and you support nonprofits, why do you think that it’s so important for you to support nonprofits and why should other people care about nonprofits and supporting them as well?

Crissy:

I think that you know, it’s all about what you put out in the world. You get back so that boomerang of factor karma, or law of attraction or whatever you want to call it you know, every single time that I’ve seen us, even if we’re in a hard position and we give more than we take, there is something that happens. University’s just like, okay, we see you, we see you out there doing good, and we’re going to carry you through this thing. And, you know, I think there is a lot to be said and how empowering it is to give back to humanity, to, you know, do something bigger than yourselves and to carry others along in that journey. There was a time when Bree and I were on a road trip to an event in Denver, Colorado from Phoenix, Arizona, where we’re based. And I remember she and I were just driving, you know, a few hours in and we’re like, what are topics that impact humanity that we can, you know, dive into? And it was, Oh, maybe there’s a lot of humans struggle with their identities and religion or there’s this. And so a lot of the times we just get to think of how is the world alien right now, or how are, what is, what are humans struggling with and how can we find a way to partner with someone who works closely with that topic and bring more awareness to it, to help others? That’s kind of how we go about doing that and why. 

Bree:

And I think when this is for all the entrepreneurs, are people thinking about starting something out there when you think I want to create a legacy, I want to do something really good in my life, but you’re like, what skills do I have that is even applicable to that? I don’t have tons of money. I can donate, I don’t have this, I’ll have that. And they kind of live in that like lack mindset and what I feel like Crissy and I tapped into is we figured out the skills that can make us money, marketing, photography, content strategy, and then we directed it at a legacy and that’s helping those who help others, helping nonprofits who are on the ground, truly supporting these communities of humans we’re trying to connect with as well. So I think when you can finally tap in, like, this is my skill and I’m going to own it, and this is where I’m going to direct it. And that’s where I think what Crissy said, like that karma that give back type mentality comes in. And like she said, the more you give swear, you get so much more back from that. It goes back to like Tony Robbins’ story of giving his last, you know, change out of his pocket and then look at what he’s created out of that. I think there’s just beauty in that karma and that cycle.

Jeremy:

You know, there’s such a buzz these days about social enterprise, about being a social entrepreneur. And I love it. I’m glad that there’s more discussion about that because I think the earlier model of start a business, make as much money as you can, win at all costs was always a losing proposition. So I appreciate you highlighting you know, it’s not just about making money, you know, to be a business, for-profit or nonprofit, you have to make money, but doing well and doing good, aren’t mutually exclusive things. And I don’t know, at least within my own experience, and it sounds like in yours and in the experiences of others that I meet, those things are, they operate together, right? You do better financially when you’re focused on doing good in the world as well.

Crissy:

Absolutely. And a lot of the time I’d say a good portion of what we do isn’t like, there is no monetary association involved at all. We’re literally just thinking, how can we help these humans or, you know, what are we hearing from our community that they need and how can we respond to that? And I’m grateful every day that we wake up and we have the opportunity and the infrastructure and the platform to be able to be so nimble and flexible, like we’re a real living entity that’s malleable and responds to the world as we live it. And I think there’s something really incredible about that.

Bree:

Even right now, as we’re recording this, we are at a distance, we’re staying home. You know, COVID-19 is a part of our world now. And we, as a company could instantly respond to that. You know, for those of you watching the video and wearing our “Wash your hands” shirt, where $5 of each of these shirts goes to project here, who’s helping to provide medical supplies on the front lines of this, you know, we’re facing against a virus. So that’s something that we can really quickly respond to and that’s timely. Our audience is talking about it, and then we can do more good in a really quick which manner. And that’s just based on all the work we’ve put into building the infrastructure, building community, building a support system that when we say go, it will run on its own. And it’s just so incredible to watch that happen.

Crissy:

Here’s another awesome example of that. So we’ve been wracking our brains lately, trying to think of, okay, we’ve always had this mentality of, you know, we use technology to connect with one another, but the real goal is to then find people in real life. Well, right now we’re still using technology. You’re going to find people in real life, right. We don’t have the ability to meet at an event or that sort of thing. So we’ve been thinking, what can we do virtually using our platform to bring connection community? And we’ve partnered with local gyms to roll out fitness classes and yoga classes and that sort of thing. And then, you know, we’ve had other ideas of, oh, maybe we could do a book club. Community is found in little clubs with a common interest. And we just had an Only Human advocate email this morning saying, hey, I’d love to start a book club. And we’re like, hey, we can set you up. We have the platform, like if you’re willing to commit, go with it. You know, and I think that’s the beauty of building something and sharing it with others is we don’t necessarily own it. We together built this platform and we all get to bring it to life.

Bree:

Yeah. Our virtual meetups are something we’re super excited about right now. So https://onlyhumanco.com/virtual/, they’re free events. If anyone wants to join meditation, yoga, just general meetups with topics that are cool to talk about with people. And that’s our small way right now with building community, even while we’re secluded.

Jeremy:

And, you know, we were talking offline about the importance of staying connected even in times like this. So know it’s really cool that you’re doing, you’re being so very purposeful about continuing to build community despite the obstacles. So, you know, I’ve heard you talk a lot today about you know, paying it forward and helping other people and, you know, being very, very focused on not just the, you know, the dollars and sensitive business, but the human aspect you know, that’s Only Human, talk a little bit about how your work is making a difference and talk. You can talk about that on whatever level you want to talk about, but tell us a little bit more about your business and how it’s making a difference if you would.

Bree:

Yeah. And I think to, I mean, this is going to go right back to the community that we’ve built around this. And I get asked the question a lot, you know, what are you most proud of? And when I think about Only Human and what we’re building my proud moment is actually a lot of other people’s hardest moments and what they’ve gone through. And it’s that I’ve lost count now of how many times, how many humans have walked up to me and said, like, I had a plan to take my life. And then I found you guys just by chance. And then things changed. I connected, I saw what was possible. I use resources and I tear up every time thinking about it because it’s like for that to happen once it’s like, all we’ve ever wanted out of this. And the fact now that I can no longer count how many people have come up to me and talk to me about their struggles and what they’ve been through and how they move through it and we run a campaign that’s our one and only campaign that runs all year long. Typically our cause campaigns are one-month long, but mental health and suicide awareness is something that our community is seeing more and more of. It’s a huge struggle that millions are facing. And there isn’t an easy solution for it. And out of our community, what we wanted to provide was a platform for others to feel connected in their deepest time of need. We’ve partnered with better help to now provide our audience with a free month of professional counseling. So those that come to us and are in those spots, like we have these resources that we can provide and our state campaign. So I’ll show the camera. This is my ‘stay’ tattoo. And now hundreds and hundreds of these tattoos exist. Other places on people’s bodies. And for me to know, like I drew this thing that had so much meaning to me, and then it inspired that same meaning and others that it saved lives that it’s caused human connection and growth is just something I can’t even put a metric on it’s success beyond measure.

Crissy:

Yeah, I’d say the same. I mean, even when we traveled to events there at every single event, there is a time where a human comes up to our booth. Maybe they walked by a few times trying to be discreet, looking at the different sayings on the tees where maybe they’d heard of us online or that sort of thing beforehand, but without fail, they’ll come up every single time, some human will start crying and just in complete gratitude that we exist and that they found us. And that maybe now that they, you know, have found a community that they never had before. I think often I was born in a super, super small town, like a few thousand people. Biosymmetry up in California. And I think all the time about humans who might not have the ability to connect with, with other humans that are like them in whatever ways that they’re needing at that time, for whatever reason and how we’re able to just open this door to what so many people describe as like a family, they had that connection alone can bring people out of really dark moments in their life and into becoming empowered, you know, humans who are giving back and feeling good and spreading that joy and kindness to others. And to me, that’s the biggest impact we could ever have as well.

Bree:

Yeah. We’ve also seen our community even like on their own, not any direction from us start like phone trees of life. Like if you’re in crisis or need help, you know, feel free to text me. Here’s my number, here’s the hours I work. And they created this long list of just these people willing to support you anytime you need. Like how beautiful is that?

Jeremy:

It’s so cool to see, as you were talking earlier about the ripple effect of, you know, you do something, and then it continues beyond your, you know, your initial idea or your initial action. And that’s got to be super fulfilling for you. Just to see what continues to happen. So, you know, you’ve likely learned some lessons along the way, continuing to learn them. What advice would you give to your younger self or your younger selves? If you could go back and whether it’s at the pick a juncture in your life and go from now to there, what advice would you give?

Bree:

Oh, I’d go straight back to high school. I mentioned the beginning, I’ve suffered a lot of bullying in my life. And it started at a young age. I went to six schools in seven years. And just out of that, I didn’t really have that lasting community connection. And I think what was born out of that, and it came out a lot in high school was I just did what others told me to do. I thought success meant going to college or becoming a nurse or a teacher or something that held this like status to other people. And I watched my best friends do it. And I remember just following along a lot with what they were doing because I thought what they were doing was right. And if I followed that, then they weren’t going to make fun of me. Then the attention wasn’t going to be directed to me. But my whole life I’ve been artistic and I’ve just never owned that I was, I never owned it. And when I didn’t own it, when I didn’t share it, then you can never create that change. Like you keep it to yourself, you keep these ideas locked inside of you and it will never create the life you want because you never let it out. So I’d go back to high school and like shake myself and say like, let your weird out it’s okay. You will find your people.

Crissy:

She lets her weird out all the time now.

Bree:

Well, now I know it’s beautiful. We love it. Totally.

Crissy:

I’d say for me the advice I’d give my younger self would be just that we can make it as humans through extremely difficult situations and we’re always stronger for it. You know, I mentioned I had a troubled childhood and there was domestic violence. I lost my father to suicide and all different kinds of things that, you know, make people at times think that that it’s not possible to get through. Or they don’t believe in themselves because everything around them seems to be failing. And so maybe they think they’re the cause of that failure. So I think that’d be the advice that I’d give myself because having gone through so much and having the opportunity to really empathize and understand what those struggles can feel like, and there for others is seriously the greatest gift. 

Bree:

Yeah. And the people I like following the most, the people I look up to the most are always the one that have taken that adversity that they faced in their life and changed it into their advantage. Like took the hardest thing that ever happened to them and use it as the tool to help others. And honestly, like the hardest things that have happened to me pale in comparison to some other people’s, but you know what happened out of mine, I decided to heal through building something like Only Human and Only Human was the platform that healed me in that. And that’s how I turned the worst thing that happened to me into something that can be not only my advantage, but everyone’s, and that’s that pivotal moment of breakthrough. When I think that you can look at the hardest things you’ve been through and say like, I can make it. And eventually, this will become something that I can use as a tool to help others.

Jeremy:

It’s brilliant. So, you know, we all, I think in your Bree in your introduction, describe yourself as a Jane of most trades and you know, Crissy, you talked about growing up in a super small town. So we’re just every day, average people. Why is it so important for everyday average people like us to get up and be the change we wish to see in the world?

Crissy:

If, cause my thing is, if not you then who someone’s got to do it, right. If someone started, you know, Apple and someone can change the world, if you never know what kind of gifts you have, unless you start exploring and you take action and you believe in yourself.

Bree:

Yeah. And I imagine if that one person who had that brilliant idea that then created this device, that all of us, you know, seek to find and connect with. If that one person never brought their gifts out into the world, if they kept it to themselves and it died with them, like the world will never know that beauty that’s locked in you, unless you let it out, show your weird, embrace your skills, find a way to direct it at good and something great will come of it. That’s just, you know, the universe will respond. The more good you see, the more you will get back, the more, you know, abundance you feel, the more that you will receive. And it’s all about that mindset in it.

Jeremy:

I think I was, I think it was Brene Brown. I was listening to the power of vulnerability and she was talking about how someone had told her don’t die with your magic inside. Right.

Crissy:

And we all have that magic, you know, we just have to believe that we do. And then we have to sometimes take a little risk with it.

Speaker 4 (44:17):

Bree:

I mean, yeah. Perfect example. Like I spent 28 years knowing somewhere deep down I had magic, but still like just not letting it out. And it wasn’t until that moment that I let it out, that it just all made sense. Then it was like, oh my gosh, this is the thing that I’ve been seeking and hoping to find. But typically that thing that you’re seeking is in the darkest corner of the room. You don’t want to go in.

Jeremy:

That’s I think that’s amazing to talk about that. That, because what I’m hearing is a couple of things is one is you’ve got to confront the things that scare you the most so that you can have an opportunity to let your magic out into is that, you know, your magic doesn’t look like everyone else’s and there’s nothing wrong with you because of that, that in fact, that there’s everything right about that. And I guess the adage is that you need all the colors in the crayon box to make beautiful pictures. So I appreciate you bringing that up. This has been an amazing conversation and I would love to talk to you more today, but if I ever, if I keep you all too long, they call it kidnapping. And you know, you’ve got plenty of other things to do, I’m sure as well. But I’ve got a couple more questions for you that I want to wrap up with. And one is my hope is that there’s other Heroes of Change that are listening or will be listening or watching or reading the transcript. And again, my hope is that something has resonated with them today. I’m sure it has. What bits of wisdom or advice or encouragement might you offer someone who’s, you know, either at the beginning of, you know, I have an idea or I’m feeling called to do something, but I just don’t know or they’re somewhere along their journey and maybe they’re feeling a bit uncertain or maybe they’re, everything’s going great for them. It could be any of those scenarios, but what bits of wisdom or advice or encouragement might you offer to other Heroes of Change out there?

Crissy:

I would always say, just start, take action any time that I’ve found myself stagnant or not knowing what to do next, it’s just maybe even getting my body moving or watching something inspirational and then going out and doing something with that newfound energy that I created, ask the questions, find the people, make the connections. No one just going to hand it to you. You gotta, you gotta do.

Bree:

And I laughed really hard when Crissy started saying that that was my exact answer. Just start, like you just got to start and I guess I’ll add onto that with my all-time favorite quote. And it’s that all it takes is 20 seconds, just 20 seconds of insane bravery. And I promise you something good will come of it.

Jeremy:

That’s awesome. I love it. Thank you both. So I believe that people will want to learn more about you and the work that you’re doing because of this conversation. And hopefully it, it you know, shine a light on you on what you’re doing. How can people learn more about that? You and the work that you’re doing at Only Human.

Crissy:

You can find it on our website, onlyhumanco.com. We have an advocate community you can join in. We have a resources section. You can read the stories and learn about our monthly campaigns through there. On Instagram, @onlyhuman, on Facebootonk @onlyhumanco.com. Check us out on YouTube as well. We have some really incredible videos there, @onlyhuman.

Jeremy:

And I would encourage listeners, watchers, go check them out. I’ve gotten to know a little bit about these ladies and the work that they’re doing and it’s really, really good stuff. So go check it out. Well, that’s all for this episode of the Heroes of Change podcast from EPIC Mission, we hope that you’ve been inspired by something that you’ve heard today because together, we are the change. Tune in next time as we dig into the story of another hero to learn about what they do, how they do it, and most importantly, why they do what they do in the meantime. Take care, stay encouraged, and we’ll look forward to seeing you next time on the Heroes of Change podcast from EPIC Mission. Thank you.