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Good, if you said “yes,” then you’re old enough to appreciate the lyrics I’m referring to as I approach 64. My birthday is next Wednesday, July 4. I’ll have reached that landmark age immortalized by the Beatles back in 1966–the year I graduated from White Plains High School. Actually being a 64 year old was unthinkable then. Voila, here it is.
This is a great time to take stock, especially since I’m about to leave for vacation and sign off for a month of rest, relaxation and renewal.
At a meeting yesterday someone mentioned enjoying life in the moment, not waiting for ‘someday.’ It reminded me of my friend Beth Spatz who became a mom a few months before I did. We shared our daughters’ infancies over tea and lunches. Beth invariably served these delicacies on her fine china and used her sterling silver flatware as well. “What would I save it for? This way, every meal is special.”
It was a concept that was foreign to me, but I quickly adopted as making total sense. Why wait? Why not use all of our best stuff now?
I don’t mean squandering resources. But I do mean enjoying life in the present moment. For me, this is a daily exercise in contentment and serenity.
I can easily have my head turned, as I did after a phone call yesterday. The young woman I spoke to was researching coaching as a profession and had gotten my name from a mutual friend. She is enrolled in an 8 week program that costs $2000. She mentioned that there were 2000 women similarly enrolled. By my calculations, that would be $4,000,000 for the proprietor of the program. My gremlins leapt to the front.
I immediately got into my not-good-enough, I-should-have-mastered-social-media-by-now-and-then-I’d-be-getting-2000-enrollees mode. My body became tense, my heart started to race and I felt a sense of disappointment and anguish.
Until I put my Soul Proprietor cap on and talked myself down from the ledge. Compare and despair, I remembered. “Jane, you love your life. You personally know and care about every client you work with. You have everything you need and want. You lack for nothing. Stay where you are, in this moment of peace and happiness that you’ve created for yourself.” Breathing helps a lot at this point, which I remind myself to do. Inhale. Relax. Exhale.
I also remind myself of the last lesson in my book. Lesson 101: Success is enjoying what you’ve worked hard to get and recognizing you’re there.
What I have accomplished with my work and life is my own definition of success. I know what I want to be doing. I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I am doing it. I recognize that I have what I want. As simple as that sounds, I don’t know many people who have achieved this.
If this message rings true for you, I’ll be back delivering it on August 1. I hope you have a wonderful July. Assert your independence in a joyful way, and celebrate the fact that we live in an amazing country where we have the freedom to do just that.
You know me by now. I thrill to a hand-addressed envelope with a first-class stamp on it in my mailbox. That’s what I received yesterday from Christa Forrest Fine Art. Christa is a recent graduate of my Soul Proprietor’s Formula for Building Your Business Webinar.
Christa significantly upped her game during our time together. She worked on her website, and as a reward for signing her guestbook, she promised a gift–the image you see here printed on watercolor stock and signed–a treasure! Plus a hand-written note thanking me for taking the time to evaluate her website and register. I believe in the little things.
Evidently, so does entrepreneurial guru and best-selling author Seth Godin. In today’s posting he writes:
The mass market is no longer. There is almost no room left for the next Procter & Gamble or Google. Instead, you are far more likely to do your best work if you are willing to delight a few as opposed to soothe the masses.
I urge you to continue your work of delighting a few and not killing yourself to soothe the masses. That model is no more.
Here’s what Christa said about my webinar:
I wanted to share what I got out of our time together.
- I have become smarter in making choices in regards to my business.
- More organized and I can now picture what I need to do. Before I was all over the place.
- I am blogging daily.
- I have made the commitment to paint everyday and am sharing my experience on my blog daily.
- I am working on designing a quarterly newsletter in Mail Chimp as well.
- I signed up for email updates for EWN.
I don’t know about you, but Christa delights me. Sign her guestbook today, subscribe to her blog, and begin to enjoy her art every day.
Last week I gave a webinar on how to get outrageous publicity. Shortly after that evening session, I received a call from a TV producer whom I’d met at a networking event a month or so ago inviting me to be a guest on Channel 8 in New Haven.
It was immediate reinforcement of every principle I taught last Monday night from creating a media contact list, to networking, following up, and having all of your identity kit pieces current and available.
When Sue, the producer, called me to make an appearance, she listed what she’d need from me: a photo, bio, logo, press release (or questions the interviewer could ask during our conversation), a link to my site and a copy of my book. It felt like a nod from the Universe saying, You got it right. What great reinforcement that being media ready is essential to capturing an opportunity when it’s presented.
As I wind down this month and look forward to taking a July sabbatical, my assistant asked if I was going to have a set of pre-written blogs and newsletters scheduled to be posted while I’m on vacation thereby giving the illusion that I was still at my desk producing.
It was a good question.
She’s looking out for me, suggesting that my audience wants and expects to hear from me at regular intervals. I nod to that observation, but my heart tells me that my silence will send a greater message. And that when I return in August, my posts will be met with the recognition and appreciation of a familiar voice that you’ve missed.
What got me to this place of allowing white space around our relationship was the wise words of my coach and mentor. “Do you want to foster compulsivity?” she asked me on our last call.
To which I responded with a resounding, NO. The last thing I want for my clientele and readership is to ever have that glazed over look when they see my name in their inbox, or an, “Oh, no! here comes another one” experience I often have when I see certain names in my inbox.
I promise to offer you white space 3 times a week this July when I would have posted a blog, twice a month when I would have sent you my newsletter, and another couple of quiet moments when an eblast for an upcoming event would have required your attention. Please, use that time to take a deep breath, to relax, to look out the window or to simply smile and be grateful for a break.
I will continue to post next week, being that it’s still June. Also, I’m nipping at the heels of 600 posts and would love to start my sabbatical having achieved that number. (Speaking of compulisivity…)
There’s a line in the film The Hollywood Complex, a film that documents the annual migration of stage mothers and their offspring through movie-land’s pilot season, that caught my attention.
“You could die of encouragement,” said one of the players in this movie after being sent to yet another talent agent’s recommended photographer or acting coach. Everyone tells these kids and their overeager parents that if they just get the right headshot, dance move or line reading, they’re sure to win the attention of some big agent.
How do you distinguish true praise from false promotion? Isn’t this what sales professionals learn in sales school: How to appeal to your pain and promise the solution, all in a prettily wrapped pitch?
I’ve long been suspicious of false praise and have spent years discerning whose opinion I trust. I’ve got three criteria for measuring a promise:
- Is there anything to be gained monetarily from someone praising me?
- What’s the feeling in my gut when I hear the compliment?
- Does this information check out with what I already know?
This is where your support systems come into play, because you’ve built them to have your back when you need them. I’m in the habit, and recommend this process to you, of pausing before making any decision that involves committing dollars to anything where a whiff of doubt occurs. “I’ll get back to you” — the dreaded response if you’re in sales–is your best friend when you’re not sure. Trust me on this! I’m not selling anything here but your peace of mind.
I called Katie Settel today to ask her why she signed up for my fall Remarkable Women Mastermind Intensive. I knew she’d be an outstanding contributor to the group as she recently made a huge leap in her business. Katie took out a lease in an old factory in Bridgeport, 305 Knowlton, that’s been converted to studio spaces for artists, photographers and other creative entrepreneurs.
“I want to get into a New York gallery.” There, she staked her claim. I know she’ll do it, because Katie loves a challenge and thrives on accountability.
She just completed a course at the International Center of Photography that required her to learn how to work with low light–an area of no interest for this woman who specializes in capturing young children in all their colorful glory. But she dove in by contacting the Fairfield Theatre Company in Fairfield, CT and offered to photograph musical groups who performed there. Concerts are all about low light, so Katie made that her project work for the next five weeks.
Not only did she thrive in that milieu, but she also had the inspiration to create a documentary for the center because she found it to be a hub of creativity, originality and positive energy.
Katie described to me how she was talking to a gentleman whom she met there while she was hanging out waiting to shoot. She thought he was the bouncer. Turned out he was the artistic director, very supportive of Katie’s work and “incredibly kind” to her. By being fully present, engaged in her commitment to excel at that dreaded assignment, it turned into something much bigger and better than her own vision. She would like to take it a step further and create an entire documentary of the theatre and its players–including the guy who sweeps up after the show. Katie notices everything and sees potential art in it all.
She specifically mentioned, during our conversation, wanting to have her work at the Yossi Milo Gallery in the Chelsea district of New York. Having that clear a vision, this much talent and drive and a committed group of women to motivate and further inspire her, and to be held accountable for delivering on her dream are all the elements for success.
I can’t wait to work with Katie and the other Remarkable Women who enroll.
My schedule today included a fun destination to visit the studio sale of my good friend Jennifer Paganelli. I saved it for the end of my round of errands and appointments, knowing that it would be uplifting and fun. I was right.
A few times a year Jennifer converts her beautiful Wilton home into a showroom for her crafts. It’s appropriate, because her colorful fabrics add vibrancy and energy to each room. In fact, the raison d’etre for this event was the publication of her second book with Chronicle Books entitled Happy Home. I wanted to get an autographed copy.
Boy is it a gem! I haven’t sewn in years, but I’m excited to try some of the projects in her book that don’t require a machine. There are the luxurious looking, but simple to make crochet-edged pillowcases and the colorful, fun giant letters wrapped in fabric that don’t require sewing expertise at all. I’ve got to go through my calendar and see whose birthday is coming up so I can give myself permission to create. Anyone?
I’ll be introducing Joanne McCall during my webinar next Monday night as The Media Polisher. She’s making a guest appearance as a ‘visibility strategist’ and will offer her wisdom for how to maximize your air time once you get the attention of the press.
She and I just had a rehearsal. Although I’ve been aware of Joanne’s great success in the industry, it was the first time I heard her share her tips, and I am very excited to be introducing her to you during my class on June 18th.
She has a way of succinctly summarizing an issue and offering sound advice for how to overcome obstacles. As a sneak preview, I’ll share with you that she will make suggestions for desensitizing yourself to how you look and sound on camera. It’s sage advice and will save you from embarrassment and amateurism. You do not want to miss her segment.
On June 21 I’ll be guest-hosting Joanne’s free webinar on the subject of maximizing media opportunities. You’ll be receiving details about that soon.
I heard a wonderful podcast last week–a story told by a woman who participated in a trial drug for her depression. She was given a month’s worth of pills and a very serious warning that eating chocolate while taking these pills could cause temporary or permanent blindness.
After only a few days on the drug she knew that she was receiving the real deal drugs, not the placebo pills others in the experiment were taking. Within a short amount of time her depression lifted. She began getting back into life to a satisfying degree including an improved relationship with her boyfriend.
Before the end of the 30 day trial period she made the decision to eat a chocolate doughnut. It didn’t take long for the blindness to set in, which naturally brought back a depressive reaction. She took a nap for several hours and awoke to having her sight back. When she returned to the clinic where the trial had taken place, the doctor asked her if she’d like to know what test group she’d been in, even though she already had the answer. She was open to hearing, and he told her she’d be in the placebo group.
Her mind had created her wellness and her blindness.
I relate to this story as someone who is very suggestible. I can easily go into black and white, all or nothing, reality distortion thinking. Thank goodness, I have support systems in place to quickly move me out of those locations.
I have been tracking my monthly earnings on a spreadsheet for nearly 10 years. Last month was my second to worst month in a decade. I didn’t panic, but I did concoct disaster scenarios in my mind. Hence the subtitle of this post. Stay out of your mind. It’s a dangerous neighborhood.
Mark Twain said, “My life has been full of catastrophes, most of which have never happened.” A friend reminded me of a businessman’s saying of a similar nature. Mark LeBlanc, successful business owner, coach and speaker, says:
Never trust what you feel on a daily basis. Trust the process, work your plan, and anything you want to achieve is possible.
This month’s numbers are already considerably better, but my mind wants to dismiss those. What’s so great about numbers is that they’re simply information. The emotions I attach to them are all of my own making. But I can’t argue with the upward trend.
Is your mind creating a reality distortion? Do you have a place to come to to rein it in? My tip is to go out of your mind and into the safe harbor of colleagues and trusted advisers who will provide a reality check for you. I have my Mastermind Group meeting tonight. I am 99% sure I will heard what I’ve heard before, “Jane, you say the same thing every spring at this time. Take a vacation!” I’ve already got it scheduled.
There’s a spiritual principle: when you begin to give what you think you are missing, you stop missing it. I’m putting that into practice on a business level. I so want to be around women who are passionate about what they do that I’ve created a format that I wish I could find for myself.
I’m offering something very special in the fall of 2012–an intensive Mastermind Group for women I’ve worked with before, who know my style, and who want to have their feet held (lovingly, but firmly) to the fire of their own success.
Remember Victor Kiam? He was the guy who was so impressed with the Remington shaver that he bought the company? That’s me with my Mastermind Intensive.
A small group of committed women business owners will get together monthly. Each session will consist of a full day dedicated to the growth of her business over the course of one year. Before the program starts in October, I will meet with each participant individually to create a dream/vision of what would be possible to achieve; what would make her jump out of bed every morning to accomplish and what tools and strategies she will need to get there? After that, the group will meet every month to discuss, learn, be coached and commit to growth steps toward their desired outcomes. When I did this several years ago exclusively for artists the results were magnificent: museum shows, product lines, books, increased sales, etc.
I’ve found a beautiful space with comfortable couches and a bucolic view where we will do this work together. I’ve set the dates on the calendar and have begun finding experts in various business industries to bring in to meet with us. I want this to be the highlight in each woman’s month as we watch each others’ business flourish and grow.
I’m only opening this program to the people who I’ve worked with over the past ten years. There will be one group for successful business owners who are transitioning (Thursdays) in a new venture or aspect of their business. A second group will consist of women who are well-established (Fridays) in their current enterprise and looking forward to greater growth in their company. The make-up of the groups is critical. I’ve created an application process so that only those entrepreneurs who really want to make this commitment to themselves and their group need apply.
Are you one of them?