You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2012.
I filled out a survey today asking me why I attended the ICF-CT meeting last Friday. Good question. The speaker sounded knowledgeable. This particular meeting was in Norwalk vs. Cromwell, CT (a good hour plus ride for me). I wanted to see some acquaintances I hadn’t seen in awhile. And, having been tethered to my computer for the last several weeks organizing and finalizing my webinar modules, going out and networking was the biggest draw. I wasn’t disappointed.
Margaret Ruff has been enrolled in my webinar since November. She also attended the ICF-CT meeting on Friday. If “Bumping into Margaret Ruff” had been one of the multiple choice answers on the survey, I would have selected it. She excitedly expounded to me everything she had experienced in our few months of intensive classes. It gave me goosebumps to hear her enthusiasm and clarity.
Margaret, and her colleague Janis Bowersox, are offering a workshop next week called Immunity to Change. I have actually registered for the 3-day course in Cambridge to be given by the founders of that program this spring. But both Janis and Margaret have encouraged me to attend their 4-hour version to get my feet wet. They, too, learned it from the authors, and both agreed that attending their offering would enhance my experience in April.
There are two spaces still available on the morning of Friday, February 10 (9:30am – 1:30pm) if you’d like to be in our small group experience. The cost is $30. Please let me know if you’re interested, and I’ll pass on your information to Janis and Margaret.
Margaret, a Certified Immunity to Change™ Coach, envisions bringing this program to leaders worldwide. In her words my “webinar offered the structure, details, know how, and activities so that I could come away with the tools I needed for my business development plans.”
I’m thrilled that as a result of my classes, she’s bringing her enormous talent and expertise public. If you can’t make it next week, check out Margaret’s future offers.
One of the enticements I offered attendees of the Remarkable Women’s Network event I hosted last week was publicity. I said that I would blog about one participant’s new idea for her business in 2012.
In addition to creating marvelous, collectible pocketbooks, Debbie has been active in her community as well by offering Project Runway-style activities for girls attending the Ridgefield (CT) Guild of Artists summer camp . She has taught them how to paint shoes, stencil t-shirts and craft other stylish accessories. Not only is Debbie having a blast learning and teaching these skills, but she also sees it as a means for building girls’ self-esteem in the process.
Debbie has the confidence to tackle any craft and make it fun and accessible, but wasn’t clear how to make that side of her talent marketable. During one of the mini-mastermind sessions, Pat McGrath–another attendee– made a suggestion that hit Debbie like a lightning bolt, in a good way. “Why don’t you make videos?”
That started the wheels turning for Debbie who sees infinite possibilities using that medium to reach a wider market for her talent. She envisions putting together kits based on the craft projects she teaches via youtube or other online video channels.
I love watching the exchange of information at these events. I watch the women meeting each other at the beginning of the night with smiles and handshakes. By the time the evening is over, bonds have been forged, no one wants to leave, and warm hugs are exchanged along with business cards and promises to get together again.
I love what I do!
At last night’s mastermind group, during the first round of sharing successes, photographer Katie Settel took her turn with pride and delight. Her goal had been to photograph Beyonce’s new baby. We all supported the dream she had laid out in session 1 (this was our 5th) and have witnessed her transformation as Katie developed her marketing materials in that pursuit.
At our third session, Katie arrived with an elegantly designed package of her photographs, which demonstrate her talent, plus her freshly written cover letter…and a huge smile. She had put together an exquisite pitch package which she sent to Beyonce’s agent in NYC. Even getting that far was a win. Katie also designed the concept of a photo shoot with purpose (i.e. not winning a million dollar contract from People, say) which she proposed as a differentiator from all the other photographers in pursuit of that opportunity.
The baby has been born. I haven’t found any photos on the internet yet (correct me if I’m wrong), but as Katie put it last night when giving her report, “I didn’t get the shot, but I gave it a shot.”
While not everyone would claim not getting the sought after opportunity as a success, I surely do. How many people scheme and dream and don’t even take the first step in the direction of their own success? Katie moved several paces in that direction by not only following through on her own vision, but also by ratcheting up her skills, materials and courage level by giving it a go.
Success is the journey toward a worthy goal, so chalk up miles of advancement for Katie’s career.
You’re probably thinking, what does this subject line have to do with entrepreneurship? But, the essence of this question arose yesterday when I received an email from one of my webinar participants inquiring why I’d combined my two groups in one private Facebook page. That is, the ones who’ve been in the program for 5 sessions with the newer students who are only up to Session 2.
In 1997, while attending my first ever NSA annual meeting in California, I attended a workshop where the speaker talked about his career development in terms I’d never heard. He knew that he was using high level language and explained, unapologetically, that his job as a motivational (and I use that term thoughtfully) speaker was “to keep the Toastmasters running after the caravan.”
That image became seared in my mind. Here were the paid professionals holding forth and allowing us newbies to press our faces up to the glass, to mix metaphors, and see what being a pro looked like. It felt aspirational. These NSA’ers had what I wanted, and by joining them and attending their meetings, I was going to learn what they knew.
It had me breathless in anticipation and effort to keep up with and master the arenas they were all playing in. I loved that I got to rub shoulders, listen in and ask questions of the pros. I’d much rather play in a tennis game with someone better than I am than someone not as good. Don’t we all want to up our game?
So it is with intention that I combined the two groups who are participating in my webinar. One group has had four more sessions than the other, are deeply engaged in comparing notes, sharing successes, products and resources with each other. It may be a stretch for those who are newer, but my objective is that it become an invitation as well as a temptation to grow and join the conversation.
I had the honor of opening the 2012 season for the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s meeting this week with my talk on Creating Your Own Future. It’s a goal-setting session with lots of interactivity. After asking participants to dream big, I had them break down their dream into a manageable next step. Then I asked for volunteers to share what they’d written.
Debbie Blumencranz of Kitchens By Deane raised her hand to share her deep desire to pass the NCIDQ exam which would change her status to ASID - American Society of Interior Designers. She’s currently an Allied member and wants that elite distinction on her business card.
I asked if anyone in the audience had achieved that hard-won designation. Two rows in front of Debbie a hand went up. Terry Scarborough turned her chair around, faced Debbie and offered to give her some tips on taking the exam.
At the same moment, the two of them burst out laughing. I asked what was so funny. “Terry sits next to me at the office. I never knew she had that designation.”
Terry said, “I had no idea Debbie was studying for the exam.”
It was a precious moment, and the rest of the crowd had their mouths hanging open (figuratively). In my experience leading goal-setting workshops, this happens all the time. We think that our hopes and dreams are totally unique and that not one other soul could possibly comprehend how precious this thing is to us. Then, when we put it out there, the Universe provides willing helpers to guide our way.
Here’s a challenge for you this January: Share a goal or longing with someone you know and trust and notice what happens. Please share the results with me.
I met with a group of women business owners recently, where one participant whom I know and adore, shared a challenge about how crazy-busy she is. She felt frantic and incapable of prioritizing. The proverbial fires were all burning equally in her arena. Taking time to deal with one over here could cause a huge conflagration over there.
I could feel my stomach begin to get knotted up.
And then I realized that I didn’t have to fix this for her, nor do I believe she desired a solution. She wanted to vent, to be acknowledged, understood and appreciated. Don’t we all?
I asked her permission to share an observation, which she welcomed. “I’ve known you a good 20 years, Barbie (not her real name).”
She immediately interjected, “And I’ve been complaining about this issue all along, haven’t I?”
I nodded. “What I get about you is that this is how you thrive. You’ve been wildly successful in this competitive and male-dominated industry you’re in. You’ve always made your deadlines, and you actually seem to thrive on the chaos of it. Why not re-frame your attitude about the situation and enjoy the ride? Instead of beating yourself up for not being better organized, how about some new and different self-talk? Try saying, ‘I’m really good at dealing with a million balls in the air. I always pull off these presentations. All nighters are the price of admission in this field. And I love it!’”
I wasn’t sure what kind of reaction I would get from that piece of truth-telling and coaching, but Barbie’s face went from drawn to relieved. She felt heard and understood and didn’t have to change a thing about her work method, except her attitude about it.
When I emailed her this morning to ask her permission to share the incident, this was her reply:
You certainly may blog about it!! I can’t tell you how great it was to hear your words!!
Someone asked me today if there’d been a full moon (it was full, huge and beautiful last night), because the atmosphere felt fraught with unpleasantness. I knew what she meant. I’ve been experiencing some push-back and hearing tales from others that it’s choppy waters out there. Whether it’s the turn of the calendar page, the back-biting among our nation’s candidates or holiday hangover, something’s in the air.
What’s a woman business owner to do?
What has gotten me through over the years is positive self-talk and mantras that affirm that this is normal and to be expected. Rosabeth Moss Kanter, from the Harvard Business School, says that her ‘personal law of management, if not life, is that everything looks like a disaster in the middle.’
I also love the saying that the higher up the mountain you go, the harder the wind blows.
And that mastery is less about your skill set than your recovery time.
I’ve had a few confrontations already this year and have faced them square on. I don’t always like the outcome, but the issues are dealt with and done, which beats dragging garbage bags full of resentments with me wherever I go. My side of the street is clean. Not everyone may like what I do, but I’m comfortable with the decisions I’ve made.
What has helped me most is a reliable source of support. I’ve created many safe havens for myself in my years as a business owner. Interestingly, and this must be why this is popping up right now, my next webinar module (after this week’s on Communicating Your Message) is entitled Establishing Support Systems for your business. I have individuals to call upon, my own coach, my own mastermind team, and weekly groups where I go and share my current issues and receive supportive feedback. I know that I’m not alone, and a burden shared is a burden halved.
My favorite mantra of all, which someone reminded me about just today, is “Don’t quit before the miracle.” You’re not alone.
I wanted to share a testimonial from one of my current attendees in the Soul Proprietor’s Formula for Building Your Business. Debbie Crichton is an Artsy Girl whose company designs and manufacturers utterly cool pocketbooks called ArtBags. This is what she wrote to me yesterday after another Q+A session with our group:
I am enrolled in these sessions now. They are really motivating, enlightening and inspiring–in ways which you really cannot imagine until you try them. They include fabulous Q+A sessions that are truly food for thought as well as serious substantive tools for your business–whether you are just starting out or have been in business a while as I have.
You have until midnight tonight to enroll at the discounted price for the series of 8 sessions + 16 hours of coaching (in your class group) over that period of time. The price goes up at 12:01am 1/7.
We’re having a blast in the group. Don’t miss out!
Jill did a great job summarizing yesterday’s interview with me in her blog post. You can read the capsulized version or listen to the recording–my tips on networking–also downloadable on her post.