masked faceLast night I dreamt that I was on my way to my memoir class and was crossing the campus (it’s actually housed in a skyscraper on 8th Avenue) on a snowy afternoon. I couldn’t get my footing and kept slipping backwards as I was trying to walk towards the building. I seemed unable to get there, not making any forward progress.

Hmmmm. Any symbolism there? My unconscious dreamt up a scenario that played out all of my fears and made memoir writing into a cold and unwelcoming place. Fortunately, I woke up from that reverie, acknowledged my creative unconscious and got back to work reading through all the comments I received on my submission last week.

While everyone is in a dress-up mood for Halloween, have you thought about what mask or outfit you might choose to put on or take off this year? The one that says SUCCESS or FRAUD? How about WRITER or MUSICIAN?

In your heart of hearts, you know what’s coming next for you. Really, how many people are 100% satisfied with the status quo? We’re always thinking one career or life move ahead, right? So, what’s on your agenda to claim in 2015?

Whenever you’re about to declare–internally or externally–your next goal, there’s fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of success. How will I accomplish this? What if it doesn’t work out the way I thought it would? What might I have to give up if it actually does? Consciously or unconsciously, these play out in your mind.

I’ve got a bag of tricks and treats to offer those who know what calling is next and are stuck, struggling or simply need support in claiming what’s theirs. Join me on Monday night at my Remarkable Women’s Network to unmask your secret project in the safety and joy of a roomful of like-minded thinkers.

Bryan Mattimore’s Book of Creative Thinking

My Mastermind Intensive met last Friday and had the privilege of hearing Bryan Mattimore’s expertise on the subject of innovation and creative thinking. He’s the author of Idea Stormers and a long-time business associate of mine. He graciously accepted my invitation to inspire 8 remarkable women business owners and share lunch with us.

Inspire us he did! Using his own creative process as an example, he told of an experiment he self-imposed to come up with 21 big ideas (for business growth, but it could apply to personal as well)  in 21 days. To warm up for this exercise, he made a list of 70 ways to expand a business, bought magazines on a huge variety of subjects, and then read through them through the lens of his newly generated list.

He shared a term I’d never heard but had experienced: Principle Transfer. It means that you get an idea in one place and apply the skills, knowledge, etc. in a different arena. Using Eli Whitney’s cotton gin as his illustration, you could see the lightbulbs going off in everyone’s minds as ours expanded with the possibilities of this practice.

The benefit of this kind of rigorous challenge is that your inner critic gets quieter as you pursue the assignment. The assignment also gives you a way to hyper-observe and problem solve. As with Bryan’s technique called The Worst Idea, what you most want to do is take the pressure off of getting it “right.” This is enormously freeing.

Bryan also contributed a copy of his book to our group. Since we’re in the process of naming ourselves, he inscribed it to The Whatchamacallits.

The conversation on our private Facebook page has been flying back and forth as we allow ourselves to come up with the worst names ever for our extraordinary community. We’re laughing, creating and fully engaged.

We are all grateful for Bryan’s visit and generosity. Thank you, Bryan!

Debbie Roth Fay’s book on presentation skills

Don’t ask me why, but I keep my baby book (yes, from when I was a baby) on the lower shelf of my bedstand. Maybe it’s the memoir class I’m taking that has me reviewing my history, but this morning I came across my report card, hand-written my Miss Major about me as a 6-year old. “Jane is very sensitive,” it reminded me.

The reason I bring that up in regard to Debbie Fay is that she is the woman I’ve had coach me on my presentation skills for the past several years. There are few things in life as delicate as coaching a speaker. As you probably know, it’s the #1 fear of people in this country, ahead of death and spiders. It requires the gentlest, kindest, but also the most insightful and professional level of expertise to do well.

Which Debbie does.

Her brand new book, NAIL IT, on the subject is available starting TODAY! Not only do I congratulate Debbie, but also encourage you to plug into her wisdom, tools and strategies for nailing it–every time. Even though I’ve been a professional speaker for nearly two decades, Debbie helped me understand concepts–how to speak notes-free (!) and trust my own abilities in a way I’d never known before.

Seriously, if you’re at all interested in presenting like a pro, order her book today.

joyful woman senior

This could be YOU living your values

At my next Remarkable Women’s Network event the focus will be on radical fulfillment. Sounds like a lot to accomplish in two hours, right?

But it starts very simply by identifying what’s really important to YOU.

Easier said than done. How many times this week (year, decade) have you sat down to consider what YOU really value? Anyone?

Here’s a quick quiz you can use as a warm-up. Put these 6 values in order of YOUR priority, #1 being what you value most:

  • Tradition
  • Elegance
  • Collaboration
  • Personal Power
  • Service
  • Health/Well Being

How long did that take you? Were you in any doubt?

What did you like about this exercise? What didn’t you like about it?

I picked six random but unrelated values from the worksheet I’ll be using on November 3 when I’ll ask you to select your top 5 values from a lengthier list.

But for starters, these six were varied enough to get you thinking. Is my aching hip keeping me from volunteering at the animal shelter? Is my attitude around asking for help interfering with my deep desire to collaborate with others? And more important, if so, what can I do about it?

Is what you do every day reflective of your #1 value? And if not, what great project have you been putting off that would fulfill you beyond your wildest dreams?

That’s the focus of the night. What better way to meet women you feel aligned with than to sit down amongst each other and discuss your values in a fun and safe environment.

I’ll be sharing a coaching tool that is so transformational that after being introduced to it in 2006, I’ve been wheat and dairy free ever since, a personal health goal that has impacted everything else in my life.

Come join me on Monday, November 3, as I lead this session to explore an unrecognized value that may grant you access to your deepest desire.

 

 

This is my 800th blog post.

How I’ve fit all these into my life over the last 6 years is worth thinking about. Especially today when I find myself nearly topic-less, and with time on my hands. I’m almost embarrassed to admit it. I’m not that busy. Blasphemy! Right?

I don’t have anything I have to do today. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to say that. I tend to keep myself fully engaged.

I have a short list of projects waiting for times like this to fill in the gaps–trying a new recipe, packing up and storing my summer wardrobe, mining my journals for quotes and ideas.

Working on my memoir had been one of those time fillers. That’s moved onto my primary list of projects though. Since I just completed a chapter and sent it off to my writing coach, I find myself in this lull.

Talking this over with my wise accountability partner Sandy, she suggested I blog about it. “Not many people are comfortable being NOT busy. Why don’t you write about that?”

I am delightfully comfortable in this space. I saw it coming on my calendar after a super-busy week at the end of September. So I made plans.

  • This afternoon I’ll visit a good friend in Connecticut who I haven’t seen since leaving for my trip around the world in late January.
  • I’ve scheduled an eye exam on Wednesday since it’s been 3 years since my last one. That meant finding a new provider in New York City and scheduling the time to find the new location.
  • I just arranged a visit to my friend’s sukkot for dinner on Friday to honor her holiday and our friendship.

These are meaningful, fulfilling and sometimes necessary (the eye exam) items that often get pushed to the back burner when I’m more fully engaged.

Here’s how I look at it. There are so many things I want to do and don’t because I’m too busy. Rather than manufacture busy-ness for the sake of being like everyone else, I’m taking this time to do all the things that feel like rewards now while my calendar allows. I know I’ll get very busy again, although I don’t know exactly when.

I love the (very shortened) story from Love, Medicine and Miracles by Bernie Siegel.  The patient prays to God to be saved. One by one, his doctors come to see him in the hospital. “No, no, no,” he tells them. “God is going to save me.” He dies and meets God in Heaven. “I thought you were going to save me,” he said. To which God replied, “I sent you the oncologist, the radiologist and the surgeon, but you turned them away.”

If God is giving me these lovely gaps in my schedule, I’m going to take them and enjoy every minute.

 

NancyWilliams pdf09212014112133 - CopyI met Nancy Williams following my heart. With my new intention to spend more time involved with 1:1 networking meetings, I was delighted to be introduced to Nancy by a mutual friend.

Through that introduction, Nancy approached me via email inquiring about the use of my ‘banned words’ which she discovered by browsing my website articles. Nancy used my materials in a talk she gave at a large conference over the summer. I love sharing ideas, and her expansion of this one delighted me.

As we continued to communicate virtually, a bond was forged, and we met a few months later. What a connection! Through the intimacy of a shared lunch, we discovered mutual interests and ideas that may never have surfaced at a larger event.

My banned words are a series of stand-up tent cards I bring to all of my group meetings. It creates awareness of what I call ‘minimizers.’ I display them in order to discourage their use. Whenever I hear amazingly successful businesswomen use these words: try, just, little, should and can’t afford, I shudder. We downplay our own enormous accomplishments by applying these adjectives to feats like creating an art catalog, presentation or article for the press.

You’ve heard them all, but probably don’t react because they cause a subliminal shift in perception. Your mind begins to discount the value of what you’re being shown or told.

I love the way Nancy used this information and re-named them Discouraging Voices. She even elaborated on a few and expanded their impact. Zoom in on her article. Well worth it!

Getting Ready for Talk about Risk-Taking

Getting Ready for Talk about Risk-Taking

Me, too!

In fact, I spent a good part of this weekend getting all my gear in order for you. I got my projector working, my slides in order and my handouts printed. This is my desk in preparation mode (cleaned up for the camera, of course).

I’m very excited to see all the Remarkable Women who have already enrolled for my first of three Remarkable Women’s Network sessions that begin next Monday night, September 29, in Westport, CT. Many of them I know from our EWN days. Sadly, that venue no longer exists.

Has that lack of availability kept you from networking?

My topic is Living Outside Your Comfort Zone. Who, particularly us women business owners, doesn’t face the limits of our comfort every day?

My desire is to address the barriers that prevent you from having the life you want. Where do you get stuck? Often the reason is so buried that we unconsciously sabotage or derail ourselves even when what we want is right there for us to grab. I have heard countless clients talk about the opportunity that was in her hands that she didn’t pursue.

Can you identify? I can.

Come meet others like you on the 29th. Having a topic like this is the best ice-breaker I know. Sure beats, “And who is your ideal client?” I’d much rather get to know my colleagues this way than that.

There are a few spots left, so register today for this one or all three as many have. See you next week!

beckoning secret hand

Come hear what secret I’m going to share on Monday night, September 29.

I’ve been wanting to offer something special to all the remarkable women I know for seven years now. I put it out to the public right before the economy took a dive in 2007.

You all know what happened to hopes and dreams back then. Nada.

But my desire never diminished. I set the idea aside for awhile and am excited to be in the planning stages again to make it happen. Soon!

There’s so much to say about what I’m working on that my excitement cannot be contained in a blog post. Instead of breaking my news here, I’m saving my big announcement for my first Remarkable Women’s Network event in two years, which is happening in Connecticut on Monday, September 29 from 5:30-7:30pm. Not coincidentally, the topic of the night is risk-taking and moving out of your comfort zone, the perfect setting for my next leap…and yours.

I hope you’ll join me for my talk about how I moved out of my own comfort zone–25,000 miles out!–and meet 20 other remarkable women who are equally excited about making their next moves.

Be among the first to hear my new offer and receive the benefit of first dibs on your place by the cozy fireside this winter…Shhhhhhh!

 

comfort zoneOn Monday evening, September 29, I’m inviting Remarkable Women to answer that exact question. Is it really comfortable in there, or is it a hiding place and cover story that keeps you from what you really want in life?

Several years ago I was coaching a photographer who, more than anything, wanted a commercial studio where she could invite clients in for headshots, plus leave her equipment safely. Photographers notably have lots of that, and housing it in a Fairfield County storefront location was her vision. She might be inclined to turn down an opportunity because of the dread she felt loading and unloading her car for the job.

But she never got past Square 1 which, in her case was, “I can’t afford the cost of rent here.” I challenged her to go explore the area with a realtor. After a couple of rounds of “yes, but”s, she called a commercial real estate broker, toured the area and found a place in a Wilton, CT shopping center that met her needs exactly as she’d envisioned. This included the square footage, rent and length of lease. It was exactly two miles outside of her designated range, but she quickly overcame that objection and settled happily into the space soon after finding it.

What stops you from moving out of your comfort zone? Money? Time? The unknown?

At my next Remarkable Women’s Network event, I will help you identify and dismantle your biggest stoppers. I overcame a bunch of my own when making the decision to spend a Semester at Sea earlier this year.

  • How could I take off three months from my work?
  • Could I really afford to take this money out of savings to go on this journey?
  • What about all those shots I had to get?
  • And leaving my loved ones?

I’ve become quite adept at moving out of my comfort zone and into the thrilling arena of self-discovery and growth.

On Monday, the 29th, not only will you be able to move forward towards your desired outcome, you’ll be a witness to the transformative power of watching others move through their fears as well. I’m very excited to share highlights of my travel with you. I’m also pleased to offer an exercise that will reveal which area of your life may be keeping you stuck.

Please join me for the first of three Remarkable Women’s Network events I’m offering this fall and early winter. Space is limited for this special experience.

Joanne McCall and me

Joanne McCall and me

I’ve been reluctant to attend any of the new networks I started going to when I moved to NYC nearly two years ago. I have met a handful of wonderful women, particularly through In Good Company. But I am not feeling the love or sense of connectedness that I used to experience back at the Entrepreneurial Woman’s Network some years ago.

True, the entire fabric of business has changed radically, but something still has been missing for me.

So I began, as any good entrepreneur is wont to do, making up my own networking strategy. It’s been terrific, and I’m going to stick with this plan for the near future. I wanted to share it with you so you can try it on for size yourself.

I’ve been holding my own set of get-togethers, meeting 1:1 or 1:4, as a way of getting to know other women business owners and professionals in a more up close and personal way than shaking hands, exchanging business cards and trying to find common ground.

Much of it has happened organically. Living in New York City now, people I’ve interacted with virtually over the years are contacting me when they’re going to be in the Big Apple. I loved Norwalk, CT, but it wasn’t the hub that this great city is. For instance, Joanne McCall, whom I’d met via a webinar on creating webinars several years ago, gave me the heads up that she’d be in the city last week. We arranged to have lunch at Le Pain Quotidien and immediately connected in person after knowing each other across the miles.

Joanne inspired me with her mantra: All the way in, all the way out. The deeper you can go into yourself, the further outside of yourself you can also travel. For someone who has just circumnavigated the globe, I nodded enthusiastically.We also talked about partnering to offer a retreat for women that addresses that concept.

In addition, Joanne shared a study she’d read about that was literally shocking. Published by the University of Virginia, it tested people’s ability to spend time alone with their thoughts. More people would actively seek out brief experiences with painful electrical shocks rather than remain totally quiet for under 15 minutes.

The investigation found that most would rather be doing something – possibly even hurting themselves – than doing nothing or sitting alone with their thoughts, said the researchers, whose findings will be published July 4 in the journal Science.

Back to my networking program. You can see how excited I get when I share ideas with other creative women! I’ve been meeting referrals from good friends. I started a new writing group with women I’ve met in NY who have mentioned editing, memoir writing and teaching writing.

The point here is, I’m not sitting around waiting to meet people. I’ve established my own calendar of events so that I’m out there in a meaningful way once again.

BTW, I’ll have an offer coming out this week for those of you, especially in Connecticut, who also miss EWN and would like to have a meaningful evening where you can meet like-minded women entrepreneurs in an intimate, educational and fun environment. If you find that you want to connect and would appreciate my assistance in gathering remarkable women, stay tuned for the announcement and invitation to attend these sessions.

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