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I’ve been a fan of Heather Habelka, the owner of Red Poppy Marketing, for many years. I remember being impressed with her at the very first networking event where we met. There was a level of professionalism and enthusiasm that was inspiring.
Our paths continued to cross. I particularly remember when she got a big idea at one of my Remarkable Women’s Networking sessions and ran with it.
I was so impressed with her enthusiasm and talent that I hired Heather to help me launch several initiatives in my business.
Then, last spring, Heather hired me.
In very short order, Heather has blown it out of the water. We started with a vision of what she’d like to see happen for her company. That dream, or vision, is the fuel for everything that comes after. It’s the process I use with every new client so we can determine what you’re aiming for.
From there, we created a mind-map, which is a tool for getting on paper all of those big ideas and what it will take to make them happen. Heather’s included building her team and client list; weeding out those that don’t support her vision. Like all successful business owners, it’s essential to let go of the bottom 10% of your customers and team members in order to grow. In addition to growing her team, Heather mapped out finding a new space (which she has) and increasing her revenues significantly (which she has).
When I asked Heather how our work together was helpful, she said, “One of my greatest lessons in working with you is to no longer apologize for how I run my business. And, I saw results incredibly fast.”
As a special offer to my community, before I depart on my 3-month journey, I have a special abbreviated coaching package–Come Away With Me! that will use the same methods I’ve taken Heather through. Within a limited time frame, you will create your vision, mind-map your goals with me and travel through them over the next few months as I travel the world. There are a few spaces left for this one-time offer. Is this journey for you?
I had a glorious 24 hours with my Mastermind Intensive group Sunday-Monday. We gathered at a member’s home the afternoon of the 8th to create vision boards, have a potlluck and reunite after the summer. I was as much a guest as everyone else, basking in the warmth of our members and soaking up female togetherness in such an intimate environment. Monday was our all-day session in Westport where I took charge and continued the process of helping these unstoppable women to realize their visions.
On Sunday afternoon one of our group said something that struck me. We were all gathered in the pristine white, screened-in gazebo in our hostess’s backyard. This particular member was sitting crosslegged on the cushioned window seat looking totally at peace. She told us how grateful she was to be in such a safe, loving and nurturing environment. And that she wished she could have this intimacy and safety more often.
What struck me about this was that, for her, it was the exception.
In that quiet, unspectacular moment I had a big AHA. I realized that safe, loving and nurturing environments have become the norm for me.
Five to seven times a week I attend a fellowhsip where I walk into unconditional love, respect and support.
Three times a week I speak to an accountability partner (aka good friend) about whatever next step I’m taking in my business.
Every Tuesday morning at 6:30am I speak with two of my spiritual buddies about financial serenity.
Every Thursday at 6:15am I take a call from a woman wanting that same financial serenity.
I meet with my own Mastermind Group once a month to offer support to each other.
I have a regularly scheduled call with my siblings once a month to offer love and support to each other and to catch up on our news across the miles.
Most important, I have weeded out the energy vampires who would quickly undo the benefits I’d received from the other environments. I am a free woman!
And that’s what it takes for this soul proprietor to stay peaceful, productive, serene and joyous.
Last night I had dinner with my Mastermind Group. I capitalize it because it’s that important in my life.
We’ve been together for over 20 years although the membership has shifted some. Doesn’t matter.
Every significant growth step in my business is a direct result of having this form of support in my life. Being a part of a Mastermind Group and leading them for others are constant sources of inspiration and motivation to me.
This is primarily because I hear others talking about business development along with its trials and tribulations. I feel NOT alone. Trials are not happening just to me, which as a home-based business owner I could deduce.
And the results in my own group and those I lead reinforce the power of the Mastermind–products designed, new clients signed on, studios built, income increased.
I get to be on the ground floor of others’ big ideas, risks and rewards, baby steps and giant leaps. I am privileged to watch others prospect, aim high, succeed, fail (occasionally, and it’s very educational) and most of all, stay in the game.
It is in this intimate, structured and safe environment that the real issues of being an entrepreneur get spoken of, witnessed and resolved. Where else in a business owner’s life would she have that opportunity? The cashier at Whole Foods isn’t interested. My kids love me, but don’t necessarily want to hear about my latest marketing gambit. This dedicated group has been there for me for decades.
My next venture is my first NYC-based Mastermind Group offering starting in September. In the late ’80′s as a new business owner, I took two courses in NYC to help me grow. I know the power of going to any lengths for my business and want to offer that opportunity to those in the metro area who are looking for the same.
Here are the deets.
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.