Showing Up for Others (and Yourself) with Emily McDowell


What do you say to a friend or family member that is hurting? Whether it be from illness, grief, miscarriage, infertility or any of the other ups and downs we can come across in life, there are moments when we just don’t quite have the words to say to comfort our loved ones. Today I am speaking with Emily McDowell, a writer, illustrator, speaker and teacher who after overcoming cancer and losing a friend to cancer a short time later, decided to bring a product to market that would help both the person on the giving and receiving end. Emily created stationery products that would help express what people are feeling but don’t know how to put into words. We talk about her business and why she merged with another company. She also shares what she does when she is in a creative rut and why she takes the time to focus on self-care. 

What’s in this episode:

  • Emily’s experience of going to a breath work camp

  • The main takeaways that Emily took from her experience

  • Recognizing that you’re not responsible for other people’s happiness

  • Listening to our bodies when they tell us to stop

  • Navigating through her illness and feeling disconnected from others

  • How cancer gave Emily a unique perspective of the world

  • Feeling like sympathy cards didn’t express what she wanted to say

  • Why she decided to get back into journaling

  • What Emily does when she’s stuck in a creative rut

  • Deciding to merge with another company

  • Being reactive rather than proactive in her business

  • Creating meaningful work 

  • Taking the time to focus on self-care

  • Emily’s advice on doing what you dream about 

  • Being mindful and keeping what makes life beautiful to her a priority

About Emily:

Emily McDowell is a writer, illustrator, speaker, teacher, and entrepreneur who is fiercely committed to not doing all of those things at the same time. After spending a decade working in advertising, she founded Emily McDowell Studio in January 2013. In January of 2019, Emily McDowell Studio officially changed names to Emily McDowell & Friends to reflect their expansion into partnerships with other artists and writers.

Emily’s work has been featured by The New York Times, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, BBC News, and NPR's All Things Considered, among many others, and in 2015, she was named one of Slate's 10 Designers Who Are Changing the World. Her first book, There Is No Good Card For This: What To Say and Do When Life Gets Scary, Awful, and Unfair To People You Love, co-authored with Dr. Kelsey Crowe, was released on January 2017.

Emily currently serves as an equity partner and SVP of strategy at the Who’s There Group, while remaining creative director/founder of Emily McDowell & Friends. She lives in Los Angeles with her family and various half-dead plants.

Connect with Emily:
Website | Personal Instagram | Business Instagram

Knock Knock
On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard by Jennifer Pastiloff

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