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John Callahan, Provocative Cartoonist reads the obit in today’s NY Times. As soon as I saw the headline and illustration, I immediately remembered an article I had read in that newspaper’s magazine section in 1992 when he was featured. According to the Times, Callahan “made irreverent, impolitic sport of people with disabilities and diseases.” What made his work so provocative, yet acceptable, was that he himself suffered from quadriplegia.
The line I remember most from that article 18 years ago was about how we compare ourselves to others. He was referring to people who have been paralyzed from the neck down vs. from the waist down. (Forgive me if the quote is not exact. You’ll get the essence.)
“Quads want to be bi’s. Bi’s want to be normal. And normals want to be Jane Fonda.”
Greener grass, anyone?
Back-to-back coaching calls with similar themes give me ideas for my blog. Yesterday two of my creative clients reported in with extraordinary success stories.
A designer client began apologetically, saying she hadn’t completed her fieldwork assignments, but that she had booked $15,000 in business that week. She was about to rush into her reasons for not making her first Toastmasters speech. But, I stopped the conversation right there to celebrate her enormous victory.
“This is the universe showing you that you can support yourself with work you’re passionate about,” I reminded her. She knows this, but because there are no labels like ‘end-of-year-bonus’ or ‘promotion’ attached to these occurrences, they’re harder to identify.
Another client who is a successful illustrator targeted getting her MFA, creating a body of work and extreme self-care as her goals in our work together. She had just returned from a two-week intensive program that marked the beginning of her studies. Her husband is taking a work opportunity on the West Coast leaving her on this side of the country to completely focus on her art. Again, because these coincidences don’t come labeled, it was important to articulate exactly what was happening in her life. The planets had lined up to allow her to have precisely the time and space she requires to accomplish her goals.
Often, it’s only in looking back that we can see how these events pave the way to our future. Sharing what’s going on with another mortal, be it a coach or colleague, is an excellent way to validate what is happening for you. It’s easy to miss the signposts. And the gremlins are never far behind saying, “Yeah, but…”
Wishing you a success-filled and gremlin-free day!
I’ve been interviewed several times this month and wanted to give you the opportunity to listen via podcast download. Here is a link to Karen Hodges’ interview where:
We discover a few secret’s to Jane’s success:
- The rituals and routines she uses to keep her on her path
- How she deals with the inevitable obstacles on her entrepreneurial adventure
- What the view is from where she is now
- What’s next for her
An organization called The Skirted Roundtable has also posted our recent conversation. As they so eloquently put it:
We chatted about establishing core values, establishing our own worth and charging appropriately, learning from those who have done it before us and enjoying our successes. Great stuff and as we say on the podcast “Food for thought”.
I had the immense privilege of hearing Rick Jarow speak at the Kushi Institute’s Macrobiotic Conference. I haven’t yet transcribed my notes from his talks (I attended all three he gave), but wanted to whet your appetite so you’ll visit his site, order his books and listen to his talks. As the author of Creating the Work You Love, Rick named the anti-career movement, which aligns exactly with what I’ve been speaking about and living for all these years. He’s a professor at Vassar in addition to his speaking and writing career. His academic treatment of this subject and his vast and diverse knowledge, made listening to him a treat.
I’ll share just a couple of the thoughts he imparted to the group. Rick suggested this simple mantra for creating work you love. (An “a” or “the” may be miswritten, but you’ll get the gist.)
I have the perfect work.
I have the perfect pay.
I do perfect service
For perfect pay.
In his seminar on Friday, Jewel in the Darkness, Rick talked about discovering the opportunity in adversity. A detail he added in his Saturday sessions was a list of the ‘career promoters’ aka the 5 D’s:
all of which may serve to get us out of our numbness. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions regarding the impact of any of these on your lives and careers. I’m sure it’s much easier to reflect back on what opportunities arose from these than to embrace the challenge if you’re experiencing them currently.
I didn’t go to the macrobiotic conference to learn about creating work you love, but wanted to check out the competition (!). I was very glad I did and can share it with you.
I’m attending the Kushi Institute’s Macrobiotic Conference for the next few days in Palisades, NY, and just heard Annemarie Colbin speak. She’s the founder of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts, plus author of multiple books on nutrition and cookbooks. The talk I attended was about Healthy Bones, to which Annemarie applies what she calls her Three Bears Rules. You’re probably way ahead of me on this already, but here they are:
- Too much is no good.
- Too little is no good.
- You want it just right.
Today she was referring to the amount of calcium we take into our bodies. Too much, like a quart of milk a day–which she admittedly frowns upon; too little–not paying attention to your intake of dairy or leafy greens; or just right–finding out exactly what YOUR body needs and giving it that. I loved what she called an accurate means for measuring your bone strength. She asked for a show of hands if anyone had fallen in the past year and not broken a bone. Many hands went up. Then she asked if anyone had fallen and broken a bone. A couple of hands went up. That, she said, was as good a bone density test as there is.
Being who I am, I can see this set of rules for everything related to owning and operating a small business as well. Too much marketing, networking, goal-setting can interfere with production and quality of your work. Too little of those can result in stasis or disintegration of your business. The test with a healthy body and/or business is discerning what the exact right formula is for you. Although I’d love a doctor’s or consultant’s precise recipe or remedy for a healthy body or business, I’ve known for a long time now that I am the best advocate and practitioner for those formulas.
It works every time. What’s the first piece of mail you open, should you receive any, in your snail mail box? If there’s something there that is thick and bulky with a first class stamp and a valued name on the return address, my money says that’s what gets ripped open before you reach your front door.
I received such a mailing last week from trusted client and colleague Brooke Feder. It included a beautifully written note thanking me for my part in her Joy Project launch and a cool-looking white plastic container (in photo).
I slid open the top of the device to reveal a stack of colorful cards, each with a phrase such as: seeing an old friend, a local farm stand, as well as the ones you see here. Each of these cards stated a shared joy which is Brooke’s mission: to spread and share joy.
To learn more about what Brooke is up to and to participate, visit her website: www.3minutestojoy.com. Her mailing to me, and I presume several others, is her living her purpose. It certainly brightened my day.
In addition to spreading joy and closing the loop on her goals from when Brooke participated in my Mastermind sessions, this mailing set me in motion. The neat gadget that Brooke sent is from Moo. I had ordered cards from them when I first began my blog. I’ll be attending the BlogHer Conference in NYC next month and realized I needed to re-order for that event. Brooke’s well-timed mailing was just the reminder I needed.
There’s another trick I want to share in this post. It’s called letting go of perfectionism. I know that the image I took of the cards is ‘blown out’ in photography lingo. The flash was too bright on the cards. I could have spent time and effort making it better, but have learned to focus (no pun intended) on what was more important here: Brooke’s genius mailing, and to let go of getting the image just so. Done is better than perfect.
My younger daughter Laura, to whom my book Soul Proprietor is dedicated, helped me out this week by listening to the soon-to-be-released audio version of the book. Line by line, she read the text while listening to the recording I’d spent the last couple of months on. I wanted a fresh pair of eyes and ears to catch any stumbles or other errors in the recorded version.
She did a fine job dog-earing any page that had a repeated phrase, a mispronunciation or missed word from the text. I want this to be letter perfect. I plan to submit it for acceptance in iTunes and know that any boo-boos would throw it into a reject pile. (BTW, if anyone knows the best way to get onto iTunes listings, please let me know.)
When she was all done reading this new edition as well as listening to my voice speaking it, I asked her if she had learned anything new. After all, she’s known me for 28 years. I was pretty sure it would be in her bones having lived with and observed me for the first 18. Laura is entrepreneurial now herself, translating Japanese text daily for an international television company. She works independently and takes on other freelance work as it comes.
“I was not aware of how much help you’ve gotten from other people,” she told me. The book is filled with examples of my reaching out and asking questions of people in my mastermind group, taking courses, attending networking events and otherwise relying on a think-tank of friends and colleagues who have been more than generous with their advice and resources.
“I didn’t realize how many people you’ve hired and how much you’ve delegated.”
“I had no idea how persistent you have to be. You would call someone six times before letting go. I’ve never done that.”
I love that Laura had me so magically powerful–that I had created it all by myself. But, I love it more that she knows the truth and has a realistic sense of what it truly takes to be successful: lots of help and the determination, willingness and self-caring to go for it.
In May I attended my first Savor the Success event in NYC–an all-day program called Rock the World, which I thoroughly enjoyed (and blogged about). Last night I went to the organization’s monthly meeting hosted by founder Angela Jia Kim. The setting, 75 Wall Street – top floor – had a spectacular view of the East River. Here (in photo), featured speakers on the subject of branding gave a talk about packaging products for media attention.
The ride into Manhattan was fun as I was accompanied by Laurie Davis, aka the Glitter Fairy, and Kate Woodman of Sharp Hill Designs. Both are Premium Members, so I got all the details and a hunger for more. Riding home, we picked up two more passengers to Connecticut: Nancy Moon of Moon Public Relations and Robin Horton of Robin Horton Design and Urban Gardens. As Kate said in an email today, the ride was the best part. Which says a lot, because the event was really good. How rare is it to sit with five women (in an enclosed space) and share stories about business ownership! It’s where the truth comes out quickly and the intimacy of the details is savored.
So why would I join yet another network, especially one 50 miles from my home? The women! Everyone I met had an enthusiasm for entrepreneurship that I have not previously encountered. Angela radiates confidence, poise and intelligence. She gave a brief and crisp talk about midway through the evening. It was informative and to the point. She attracts good people and kept the flow of the night pulsing. No small feat.
I received an email this morning from a colleague I admire asking advice about speaking. It triggered my radar noting that this request for information about speaking comes my way weekly.
So, I’m going to share with you what I shared with her. Most people who approach me to find out the best way to get into speaking (whether professionally or otherwise) have a great story to tell. That’s a perfect beginning.
The two elements required to get in front of an audience are:
1. Get your story into shape for sharing it.
2. Find an audience.
We’ll talk about getting paid another time.
The best way I know to get your story audience-ready is to join Toastmasters and sign up for the Icebreaker speech: the first manual presentation where you introduce yourself to this friendly group of strangers. I’ve always maintained that if you can captivate and amuse this disparate gathering of men and women of all ages and backgrounds, you’ve got a good chance for success.
This is a two-for-one situation, because practicing in front of the Toastmasters audience gives you a receptive crowd and a deadline to begin. When you’re planning to move into any new arena, you need a forcing mechanism. The ongoing meetings (usually every two weeks) of your local Toastmasters club will give you the opportunity not only to get started, but to commit to building your repertoire of topics and talks.
That’s my advice. Go to Toastmasters, work through their manual, and call me in the morning after you’ve completed this assignment.