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Laura Newman of Laura Newman PR called to get together with me last week. She’d heard me speak several years ago and wanted to let me know about her new business launch. What came up during our conversation is something that happens all the time with the small business owners I meet and know. We take for granted our hard-earned knowledge and skill level.
I was telling Laura I could use some suggestions for marketing my upcoming Creating Your Own Future retreat at Canyon Ranch in January. I prefer not to constantly bombard my newsletter recipients with promotions. She asked if I had thought about creating a postcard that I could have available at places like restaurants (we were meeting at Bloodroot in Bridgeport), libraries, salons, wellness centers, etc. Also, in what calendar listings might she find my workshops.
To Laura this was ordinary, everyday stuff. To me, these were pearls of wisdom and motivation. We may get into a cross-coaching arrangement. I’ll share my everyday coaching knowledge with her, like offering PR coaching to clients and have them do the footwork– and we’ll challenge each other with the implementation.
I recently had the privilege of hearing Susan Jacques tell her story at the Women’s Jewelry Association event called Women In The Know held at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC, NY). She’s the President and CEO of Borsheim’s a world-renowned jewelry store in Omaha. The Chairman of the company is Warren Buffett, which got my attention more than diamonds would.
What I found most memorable about Susan’s incredible journey from Rhodesia to the US and a career ascendancy that anyone would admire, was her statement:
“There were no billboards saying ‘chance of a lifetime’ as I rode from Santa Ana, CA to Omaha.”
She was hired as a $4 an hour sales associate and appraiser. Fewer than a dozen years later, because of her passion, dedication and reputation for integrity and business acumen, Warren Buffett invited her to a one-on-one meeting. A series of Illnesses and deaths befell several family members who would have been heir to that position. Buffett asked her to become the President of the store, a position she’s held since 1994.
There are so many times when my clients (and I) are passionately swept up in the day-to-day work of our lives. This story reminds me that while pursuing your life’s work, opportunities you aren’t even seeking are manifesting. Time and again I have seen and personally experienced Marsha Sinetar’s great book title:
A colleague and long-term friend of mine sought my help recently when we met. “I’m burning out,” she told me. She loves what she’s doing, does it magnificently and doesn’t want to stop, but is running on empty. I asked how her self-care was–how much time she was taking just for her. She looked at me quizzically.
“Do you meditate? Do you have quiet time? Is there any time when you’re not serving others?” I know she’s got a more than full-time position, an active family life and a happy marriage. These ALL take time and energy. Again, a blank stare.
I told her I had an assignment for her. “For one hour this weekend, I want you to simply BE. Sit somewhere quiet and relaxing (the beach, the reading room at the library or her favorite rocking chair) and do nothing.”
“You mean, like, just watch tv?”
“No. Do nothing.”
“Like read a book?”
“No. I really mean NOTHING.”
It occurred to me that she, along with many others out there, never stop DOING. You must! Our bodies need time to integrate, to assimilate, to process what’s happening in our lives. Burnout is a sure sign that you’re not giving yourself the time to do that.
An additional tip: if you do your nothing assignment in nature, you’ll double its effectiveness.
I live 2 miles from the World’s Largest Dairy Store (according to Ripley’s Believe It or Not)–Stew Leonard’s. I had the privilege of hearing Stew, Jr. address my Entrepreneurial Woman’s Network (EWN) meeting on April 24.
His message was: how do you grow like a chain business and maintain the agility of a mom & pop operation? For example, he bemoaned the fact that as members of our network came up to him with great products for his store, he was unable to immediately run with their idea as he may have in the past. Now the store has systems in place that reduce that mom-and-pop style spontaneity. Read the rest of this entry »
I received the best speaker gift I’ve ever gotten when I presented for the Women’s Jewelry Association last March–elegant personalized stationery. One hitch though. They spelled my name incorrectly: JANE POLLACK. I considered tossing the box away and saying, “Oh, well, that would have been nice.” But, no. I’ve been saying affirmations daily, one of which is: I ask directly for what I need in a clear and loving way.
What I wanted was to have this generous token of gratitude from the Women In The Know committee who organized the event. I wanted to have a reminder of the connection with these powerful women and the day I spoke at their conference. The cream-colored note cards with my name embossed in burgundy could be tangible reminders of that moment in time.
So I emailed the co-chairs and described my thrill at the gift and then my disappointment that I couldn’t use it. I requested that, if possible, I’d like to have the stationery redone.
Today, two months after the talk, UPS dropped off a great surprise. I just opened up a package of gorgeous, thick cream-colored note cards with JANE POLLAK correctly spelled in burgundy letters.
Lisa Quirk is a brilliant surface design artist re-entering the market now that her kids are older. She wanted to create a business card to bring to networking events, but wasn’t entirely ready to invest in a full identity package. I suggested she cut up business card size swatches of her hand-painted renderings, which she did, then rubber-stamped her contact information on the reverse side.
At networking events she’ll spread out 6-8 of these swatches and offers them like a hand of playing cards, “Pick a card” which immediately creates a sense of play and invites conversation–which is what you want when you’re networking.
Lisa feels good having these cards until she’s ready to commit to an official business name and brand. “I feel good,” she says. “It has my touch.”
This is a great example of starting where you are rather than procrastinating because of perfectionism.
On my morning walk recently I saw a fancy sports car in a neighbor’s driveway. Its bumper sticker said: The older I get, the faster I was.
I filter pretty much everything I see, hear and do through the senses of an entrepreneur so I thought about how that applied to me and my clients. Since I’ve completely closed down the art part of my business, I can say with full confidence that it was an enormous success–always profitable, highly publicized, nationally recognized with tons of customers. The truth is, while I was in it, I NEVER referred to myself as a success.
This lesson from my book, Soul Proprietor is: Getting advice from an expert is critical. You’ll save time and money.
Clients and colleagues have been telling me for months now that it’s time to start a blog. “It’s so easy. You can set your own up in an hour, really!” they said. Somehow I never found that hour.
But, I trust the wisdom of my friends and supporters and was fortunate enough to get a referral to an expert, Lena West who had recently spoken at EWN (Entrepreneurial Woman’s Network – Norwalk, CT). After a couple of introductory discussions I became clear, motivated, and willing to take on this new communication. Yes, it costs money for this expertise, but I always ask myself, what is the cost of not doing it and how many coaching hours would it take for me to figure it all out on my own.
Lena walked me through the process, got my blog up and running on my site, and is there to answer questions as they arise. Without her help, and my trusted webmaster Steve White, I’d still be promising to get started. Now I have.
Welcome to my blog!
One assignment I had during my coaching certification program was to sit for one hour and do nothing. I chose to bring my collapsible chair to Compo Beach for my hour of nothingness. It was chilly, so I had a blanket wrapped over my body. The tide was low and coming in.
Within a few minutes of disorientation–how does one do nothing?–I began to observe what was going on in the nothingness of sitting. I started watching the gulls. One would swoop down, pick up a clam shell in its beak, fly up and drop it to the ground. When it broke open, the bird would swallow the contents–mission accomplished.
I noticed that the activity would be repeated two or three times if the shell wasn’t immediately compliant. The bird simply swooped down again, retrieved the same shell, flew up and dropped it again. After a couple of tries without success, it moved on to another shell. It was a force of nature. No judgment. Just…NEXT.