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I had the privilege of being the opening presenter at the Make.Art.Work series back in January. My topic, my specialty, was goal-setting. I got to be with the artists enrolled in the sessions held in Fairfield, New Haven and Hartford. I challenged them to come up with a pie-in-the-sky opportunity that would change their lives forever. We had dynamic interchanges and commitments to take the next right action in the direction of that dream.
On Sunday I had the good fortune to run into two of the artists who had attended. One of them, Lisa Keskinen, was exhibiting her art at a gallery in Cornwall, CT. Among her pieces was a mock-up of a public art installation that she had ‘dreamed up’ during my session. I was beyond thrilled to hear that it was in progress.
Attending her show that morning was Amelia de Neergaard who filled me in on what’s been happening since she attended my class this winter. I asked her to write up what she’d been doing, and she kindly obliged. I believe her response will be inspiring and informative to anyone who ever gets stuck:
At your workshop, I made the goal to develop a website before March 1st, something I’ve been intending to do for a couple of years. Deciding which company to use–there are several that offer templates for art portfolio websites–was the first hurdle. Finding one that allowed you to customize it so it didn’t look like all the others was next. Checked out wordpress–lots of customizable variations but need to learn how to use it. Signed up for lynda.com. Sat for 2 hours just learning how to link the domain name to the website. There’s got to be an easier way, besides hiring someone to do it (cost is a factor, and as a former graphic designer, I want to learn how to do it myself).
In the meantime, out of a need to accomplish something more quickly, I decided to look at some of the artist residencies I was considering applying to. A deadline of March 1st was for the Haystack Open Studio Residency, a new, free program for artists who want to work on their own in beautiful studios overlooking the ocean in Deer Isle, Maine. I’d been there several times in the past to take a workshop in a specific media, usually paper making or fiber-based sculpture. The “open studio” in the title means that you can explore different media and work in one or a variety of studios– printmaking, metals, ceramics, fiber or wood.
I knew that I thrive in this environment, having worked 12 hours a day in past years, energized by the challenge and inspiration of this community of artists. No menial chores, no distractions, and wonderful food served three times a day. I applied: uploaded images, references, statements, resume, etc–and three weeks later was informed that I was accepted!
Another perk was seeing that the list of selected artists included two highly accomplished artists whose work I have admired and had considered taking workshops with in the past.I’ve been reading your blog off and on for several years, and appreciate your words of wisdom. “Start from where you are” is my favorite and gave me permission to ignore the myriad inner voices that try to tear me down– “I’m not good enough, I’m too old, I don’t have time…”
Lately I have been applying for grants and shows more often, and succeeding, much to my surprise. I’ve been letting my passions carry me, and not letting my fears control me. This has been a gradual climbing out of a very “stuck” place. When I finally got unstuck and took action, well, things started moving forward. I am also realizing that I have to learn to set goals and recognize dreams. Too many years of relying on somebody else to make decisions and set goals, left me just going from task to task, and helping others fulfill their dreams.
More Magazine featured entrepreneur Phylise Sands, the owner of Red Daisy, and her journey to success. If you’d like a realistic and sobering story about the ins and outs of bringing a product to market, read her story in the April issue.
My favorite parts were about her soliciting the aid of a famous lingerie designer, Roslyn Harte who, at first, turned down the offer to help this start-up. And I mean turned down: 20 times. Would YOU have had the courage to continue making that call? Phylise did.
All start-up companies are really a pain.
was Harte’s reaction. Until she discovered that Red Daisy had a give-back component that spoke to her heart–breast cancer research.
Along the way, Sands learned many lessons, like expanding her product line beyond one fabulous sports bra. “Three bras does not a company-with-market-presence make,” she advised.
Ms. Harte also alerted this new business owner to the fact that retailers stay away from new companies because of “control issues, delivery problems, and [their tendency] to go out of business.”
That wasn’t the case for Red Daisy. Orders came in, but she did face delivery problems from her manufacturer, which she handled one call at a time.
Stories like these, which celebrate the owner while shedding light on the challenges, are the most inspiring to me. No one has smooth sailing from conception to market. It’s good to hear what really happens. We all have our battle scars, but they’re not always shone the light of day.
I appreciate MORE sharing this satisfying story of success. I hope it encourages you to go the extra mile today.
Often I get passionate about an idea, then make it bigger and bigger so that evenutally it becomes impossible to make any progress. Then I use “failure” as an excuse not to try anything like that ever again. Telling my husband about it, I explained it like this: when building a fire, it’s smart to get rid of the old ashes, light some crumpled-up newspaper, then put some twigs on. After the twigs have caught, put on some small logs. When the small logs are burning nice and hot, then larger logs can be added. All too often, I plunk a large log onto the newspaper shortly after it’s caught fire. The flame is snuffed out and I say, “see, it didn’t work” and then sit in the cold, pouting. So in keeping with my analogy, I’m going to sit and watch my twigs burn for a while.
Our next session is on Friday at noon (EDT).
When you get a great idea, how do YOU begin executing?
It’s been a long time coming, but I realize that I do have a process that may seem cumbersome to the onlooker, but it works for me as I distill down from the lightbulb moment to ‘opening day.’ I’d like to share the basics with the hope that it helps you.
First I create a mindmap (this one is from a retreat I ran several years ago) where I visually dump my ideas on paper beginning with the central BIG IDEA as the jumping off point. From there, the component parts radiate out from center with more spokes emanating from each bubble of a thought.
You may be more comfortable with a formal outline style, but I have never been a linear thinker, so this method works best for me.
Once I can see everything that was in previously my head on paper, I take it another step and make each bubble a sticky note that I put on a wall. This gives me the flexibility to shift ideas around, to add and subtract, and to stand back and change my perspective.
This wall in my apartment now holds yellow sticky ideas plus some longer form pieces that I’ll be using when I launch my Soul Proprietor Community on February 1.
The next, and final step, before going live, will be to assemble these notes in a page format in the order I will be presenting them. Each page will have a large printed label for easy referral: EXERCISES, QUOTES, STORIES, etc.
The call will not be scripted, but I will use the bullet points I’ve created as my talking points.
I just read Seth Godin’s blog post today about what makes conferences (meetings, too) work. This is exactly what I’m going for:
Something that happens in the moment and can’t possibly be the same if you hear about it later.
I didn’t know that was what I wanted to create when I first drew the Soul Proprietor bubble in the center of the mindmap I began in December. But now I know it in every fiber of my being. And I can’t wait to go live.
What’s your process of getting from A to Z, and how is it working for you?
My Remarkable Women’s Network Come As You’ll Be event in Westport last week was a real hit. I want to acknowledge the dozens of courageous women who attended, in costume, for taking a look into the unknown and staking a claim for themselves.
As attendees experienced in their small group sharing, the success they seek is not that remote, and that talking about it, describing the steps it will take to get there and trying their imagined success on for size–the proverbial acting as if–is a powerful exercise in self-actualization.
I should know. I came dressed as Mos-ette–the leader of the Lifestyle Entrepreneurship movement. Just mentioning my intention to a colleague earlier that day was exciting. She immediately said she’d follow me. Easy!
Here are the 10 Commandments for my movement:
1. Thou shalt love the work you do.
2. Create your own definition of success.
3. Thou shalt not compare.
4. Honor thy heart and thy gut.
5. Thou shalt practice gratitude daily.
6. Remember to rest.
7. Allow the Universe to manifest.
8. Be aware of signs along the way.
9. Not every day is a winner.
10. Remember what it was like to work for someone else.
Jessica Bram, who years ago imagined and manifested the vision to create a writing haven, hosted this evening at the Westport Writers Workshop. She talked about other visions which had come to fruition: writing and getting her book published and, on the personal side, getting married.
We had a number of best-selling authors attend including Sandy Weiner the author of the soon-to-be-released (in her vision) Eyes Wide Open, Legs Firmly Shut A woman’s guide to dating smarter the second time around.
There was also a magazine cover ‘girl’–Andrea Deinstadt of Organizing Wisdom who had envisioned herself (in blue) on the cover of a regional publication alongside one of my entrepreneurial heroes, Eileen Fisher. I had the good fortune to ride on the coat tails of a similar visionary, Betsy Krobot, who created a mock-up of herself on the cover of Westport Magazine several years ago, only to appear on the actual cover in June 2007 with two other women business owners. This stuff works!
I dare you to try it.
My move to NYC has vaguely resembled my first birth experience.
Before my eldest was born, I threw myself into a study of pregnancy, the birth process and breastfeeding via reading, enrolling in Lamaze classes and attending La Leche League meetings. I was thoroughly prepared, having equipped myself with knowledge about fetal development, breathing techniques to ease labor pains, and learning how to have the baby latch on for nursing.
What I had completely overlooked was actually having a baby in my life.
It all worked out, as anyone who knows Lindsey or my other wonderful kids, Robert and Laura, can attest. But that moment of recognition, after all the planning and preparation for the birth experience, was something of a rude awakening. Wait a second here! I thought I’d already done all the work.
That was simply setting the stage for the greatest experience of my life.
Now here I am in NYC, in my humble opinion, the greatest city in the world. I was always drawn to Manhattan having grown up in White Plains, attending Columbia Teachers College, then living in a commuter town 50 miles away for the last 40 years. Time and circumstances have paved the way for this great move.
For the past several months I’ve focused on winding down my life in CT, getting rid of my leased car, packing up my apartment and making the actual move. All of this took time, energy and concentration.
I’ve landed. I love my apartment. I’ve met a lot of really terrific people. I know how to get around. I’ve mastered seamless.com.
The funny timing thing here is that next week I’m hosting my final Remarkable Women’s Network event in Connecticut, and it’s entitled Come As You’ll Be. I’m giving my friends, colleagues and clients permission (aka challenging them), to dream ahead five years, to dress accordingly as the success they can imagine and to speak that night only from the perspective of 2017 and all they have achieved.
And I haven’t a clue as to who I’ll be or even what I want to achieve.
This is the very first time in my memory that I can state this. I’ve always been 100% goal driven, defined and clear. Until this move to NYC, which was a long-held vision now come to fruition. Just like delivering the baby…now what?
Fortunately, I have a path to take.
I’ll do what I instruct my clients to do–create a new vision. My first step is to give myself time and space and some very cool magazines to work with. It’s one of those things that I’ll know when I see it. Flipping through the pages of travel, lifestyle and home magazines will offer images that touch my heart and make me say, “Yes. I want that!”
I may not know how to achieve getting that, but seeing it in front of me is always Step 1. I have my assignment cut out for me. I’m going to hit the magazine reading room of the NYC library which I recently joined, gather a stack of juicy periodicals and enjoy the process.
I also have a strategically timed call with my coach later today, which I know will help me hear what’s deep in my heart.
By next Monday, December 3, I will have a new vision for my future, will dress accordingly, and will act as if–the same thing I’m asking my attendees to do.
There’s enormous power in this process. I’m going to take my own advice and live into it. Please join me then and see who I show up as. I’m as curious to know as you may be.
Addendum – I started this post this morning before going to the library. I had to take this photo (above) as I entered the NYPL–God giving me a wink of encouragement as I entered the library. I knew the Universe would be with me on this. It always is.
My goal buddy, Sandy, and I re-connected this week after my July hiatus. It felt great to begin committing my plans to a like-minded woman entrepreneur. I’m so excited about my upcoming Mastermind Intensive being offered to the women I’ve worked with in the past. I told Sandy that I would have my ‘editorial calendar’ prepared by the time we speak again.
In order to accomplish this goal, I blocked out time on my calendar, made an appointment with myself, settled into a comfy chair with my pen and a large pad of paper to mind-map the year ahead.
The hardest part of any task, I find, is getting started. Every email, social media site, mote of dust on the computer keyboard seems more urgent than changing gears and starting something new.
Once I sat down, though, the ideas flowed. Now I’m even more inspired. I will invite experts to speak monthly on topics that are vital to all entrepreneurs: social media, branding, communicating your message, creating joint ventures, financial planning, etc. What got me totally psyched was going through my mental Rolodex (remember those?) of colleagues whom I’ll invite to share their expertise with my remarkable women.
Wouldn’t you know that as I was sitting with this mind-map, my phone rang with one of my most admired colleagues calling me for some advice? I had one particular slot to fill matching an expert with a topic, and her timely call was the gift from the Universe affirming my plan. She’s the perfect person to talk about strategic planning and creating joint venture opportunities.
Do you have a goal buddy to commit your plans to? What forcing mechanism do you have in place to get you out from behind the computer and into pro-active mode?
While the Hillshire Farms booth at the BlogHer ’12 trade show booth may have appealed to the “mommy bloggers” who outnumbered every other blogging genre in attendance, it was Martha Stewart’s tasteful, organized office products set-up that won my attention.
Her beautifully designed notebooks, journals, labels and other inspiring desk accessories were arranged most temptingly. Plus, everyone who passed by her booth in the Mercury Ballroom was given an orange or black notebook to add to our swag bags.
What I love about Martha’s products is how well thought out they are. As I opened my orange moleskin-like journal, pages 2 and 3 are filled with a calendar of holidays from 2012 – 2016.
I can’t tell you how beneficial this is to me as I plan my upcoming events. I never want to schedule something that conflicts with a Jewish holiday. Easter changes every year, so I want to be mindful of when it falls on the calendar and plan respectfully around it. The days leading up to and right after holidays are always a busy time, especially in an entrepreneur’s household where work and life are constantly being balanced.
This seemingly small detail is a hallmark of Martha’s brilliance and design skill which I truly appreciate. I used to have to go onto the internet and write Easter 2013 in the google search. I’m covered now for the next several years thanks to one businesswoman’s thoughtfulness.
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.