New beginnings can be unpredictable and scary, but if you just take that chance to unchain yourself and take the leap, they can also be incredible.

Welcome to Lean In. A podcast that explores ordinary people’s extraordinary lives through honest storytelling. My guests share with me their journey of discovery, laughter, personal experiences and healing.

If you are going through a change or challenging period in life, Lean In is the space where we can surrender to the cycle together.

In this episode, I speak with Emily McDowell the inspirational writer, illustrator and multifaceted entrepreneur. In 2012, Emily moved away from her hard-earned career in advertising to begin an illustration business, designing and making not-so-average greeting cards. 

By January 2013, Emily McDowell Studios became a global talking point after she released her true to life empathy cards that encapsulate life’s emotionally awkward moments, with honesty, humour, and heart.  

The non-traditional empathy cards came from her own experiences with grief and this much-beloved collection started taking the world by storm. Emily has since been featured across hundreds of media outlets, including BBC News, NBC, Good Morning America and The New York Times. 

Emily takes me through her influentially artistic childhood and how she climbed the ladder towards success, only to find it had been propped up on the wrong wall. She speaks about the greetings card that went viral and explains why we need to prevent internalisation by genuinely feeling our feelings.

We also discuss:

  • A true artist from day one
  • Entering into her cancer phase of life
  • Emily’s advertising career path and where it led too
  • Wake the F**k up! – Why a friend’s death changed everything
  • How Pinterest kick-started the artistic ball rolling
  • Our messy and chaotic journeys, with the vulnerability hangover
  • Starting a business in the lounge – The Empathy Cards
  • Why you don’t need to be the next Oprah
  • The real meaning of bravery


Emily McDowell: Website

Emily McDowell: Instagram

The Awkward Valentines Card: Shop

Emily’s Book: “There Is No Good Card For This: What To Say and Do When Life Gets Scary, Awful, and Unfair To People You Love,”

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