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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.
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!
$50. Compared to the price tag to be a Davos Man, it’s a steal.
I was absorbed by a recent article in the Times by Andrew Ross Sorkin entitled A Hefty Price for Entry to Davos, the ‘heady power gathering’ of the World Economic Forum, a Swiss nonprofit founded by Klaus Schwab. Invitations to this event go out to members only, and the combined membership fee and ticket cost is $71,000 for the privilege of flying to Switzerland (not included in the ticket price) and mingling with prime ministers, CEO’s and entertainers like Bono.
What struck me about the Sorkin piece was his final quote by Steve Case, founder of AOL. Here you are, at the top of the heap at one of the most prestigious conferences on the planet and the feeling is the same as you had in 8th grade: “You always feel like you are in the wrong place in Davos, like there is some better meeting going on somewhere in one of the hotels that you really ought to be at. Like the real Davos is happening in secret somewhere.”
What happens at each of my Remarkable Women’s Network events is the opposite. All 30 CEO’s are in the same place, introduce themselves to each other and then break into smaller groups for more focused and intimate exchanges. After 20 minutes in one group, you’re assigned a second group and then a third. There are no private alcoves, no hidden perks, no unseen amenities. Equal footing, exquisite connections and an environment of support and acceptance. No one walks away feeling like she missed something. It’s all there and everyone gets her fair share.
Maybe Klaus should contact me for my formula…
Ronnie Ann Ryan, aka The Dating Coach, came to my Remarkable Women’s Network event last Tuesday night well prepared. (Ronnie is in the light turquoise on the right end of row 2.) She has put together a 5-day virtual expo called Dating for Keeps which she brilliantly used my event to promote.
Many people attend networking functions with no intention in mind. That’s fine, but their results often match their intentions. Nothing comes of their having attended. Because Ronnie came so well prepared, she was able to be specific in what outcomes she was looking for. One of those was to get other people to help her promote this event. I raised my hand immediately as did others in the group.
What’s also important to note here is how Ronnie took charge and created an opportunity. She put together an event, gathered other entrepreneurs in her market niche and is harnessing all that energy and excitement with an offering to the public. Even if you’re not interested in the Simple Secrets for Success in Love for Midlife Single Women, you can take inspiration from what Ronnie has created as a model of creativity and marketing.
If you are in that demographic, click here for the details of Ronnie’s upcoming expo.
In response to my blog post on Monday, the brilliant and creative Denise DiGrigoli, owner of Troy Fine Art Services, Inc., came rushing into my Remarkable Women’s Network event Tuesday evening exclaiming, “I’ve got something to show you!” Denise had written me a heartfelt response to my entry on self-promotion the day before. Last night she handed me this page from Martha Stewart which elaborately pinpoints exactly where you can find Martha–on television, on twitter (or The Twitter as Betty White so adorably calls it), at events, on the radio, on her blog and The Daily Wag which catalogs her pooches’ comings and goings. That’s how Martha is staying connected and letting her fans know where she is.
Marketing is not a passive activity. Build a website and they will come? Not anymore.
In response to Martha’s powerful example, Denise who is nothing if not a consummate go-getter created her own self-promotional version.
I challenge you to cut and paste your own version of Where To Find __________ and understand that a one-time postcard mailing or monthly newsletter is not going to get the big results. Today’s market requires multiple channels of visibility. Martha has laid them out well on her page. Borrow her example and use her variety and breadth of reach as a target.
Two-hundred and fifty women received a postcard mailing from me last week announcing my upcoming summer Remarkable Women’s Network events. It had the image you see here on the face of it taken at my March 15 event held at Boardroom in Stamford, CT. Only women who have attended one of my events received a card. Everyone else will get email blasts starting next week.
Colleague and friend Karen Hodges, who received over-sized postcard, emailed me saying, “You just AMAZE me in how you have your marketing machine so oiled, even using ‘old school’ marketing to catch people’s attention during summer vacation time of year when the focus might be off networking and business building.”
Now, I will take credit for using the ‘old school’ marketing and for catching people when they’re not expecting it, but the well-oiled marketing machine made me laugh. My process looks more like one of those old Rube Goldberg contraptions:
This was reinforced for me at a Mastermind Group session I led on Wednesday night. One member, a professional organizer, embarrassedly admitted that her desk was a disaster area. She said she’d be horrified if her clients could see. Another organizer chimed in, ashamedly, “You should see my files! A total wreck!”
Of course, I brought up the shoemaker, but everyone was laughing too hard to hear me. I say “here’s to keeping up the illusion” and don’t beat yourself up if it’s messy getting it out there, as long as you do get it out there.
At my most recent Remarkable Women’s Network event in Irvington, NY at the Eileen Fisher LAB store, Sheila Longhi, an independent rep for Silpada Designs, and I had a chance to chat between small group breakout sessions. Since both of us have the role of host at events of our own creation, we have a keen eye for what works and what doesn’t.
There’s tremendous competition out there for busy people’s time, so both Sheila and I are respectful of and delighted by those who sign up for our events. Sheila has boiled her philosophy down to three words:
She simply puts out the invitation and hopes that her audience will see the value in getting together with like-minded individuals in pursuit of business, networking, buying, selling or whatever the day’s proposition holds.
She’s not embarrassed to remind attendees of their commitment. With so much on our plates, it’s essential to say, “Don’t forget!” It’s part of the process, even though they may have rsvp’d weeks before. It’s necessary to reiterate the invite and the specifics of attending. I believe (I do this myself, actually) that invitees wait for final instructions.
The most important piece of Sheila’s formula is part three: serve. And I don’t mean coffee and tea! Be sure there’s value in what you’re offering. What will each participant take away when they leave? Are they walking off with something special?
What I love most to hear is about connections made, resources discovered, enthusiasm shared. Sheila, too, is all about giving to others. It’s a winning formula.
Thoughts of coulda, shoulda, woulda flashed through my head last Thursday evening as I waited for the endless rainstorm to convert to snow as had been predicted. I had postponed my event for that night after hearing the dire predictions measured in feet of snow, not inches. I knew there would be women coming from the far reaches of Connecticut and did not want to put anyone in harm’s way. So I picked a new date with host Marjory Abrams, let the caterer know it would now be held on March 15, then proceeded to contact everyone on my list via e-mail and phone.
I missed one person who called me from the appointed location at 5:30pm to inquire about the event. Seems I had completely missed her registration and had not entered her on my list of attendees. She never got a phone call or an e-mail message with the change-of-date explanation.
I didn’t see her name on the list and thought the error was on her side. When she got home she forwarded me her receipt which had inexplicably never made it to my Outlook inbox. Stuff happens.
I immediately called and apologized, but the aftermath of my error stayed with me. I was mortified. I beat myself up.
Then I had a good talking to with myself. I’ve learned an acronym for SHAME: Should Have Already Mastered Everything. I learned that well growing up. The message I would hear was something like, “And of course you know that…” which set me up. If I did know, it was self-evident that I should, and if I didn’t know, well, there was no excuse. I learned to fake it or keep my mouth shut. Neither an appealing option.
Here’s what I said to myself on Thursday: Jane, you did the absolute best you could. You handled this situation as you would respect someone else’s handling of it. And you made a mistake. You called the person, offered to make good on the error and apologized from your heart. That’s enough. Move on. Do something now that feels good to you. And I did.
What ways do you make amends for human (or other) errors in your business relationships?
(BTW, there are still a few spots left for this Remarkable Women’s Network event at Boardroom in Stamford on March 15.)
I went out venturing Friday and crossed several bridges on a drive to Brooklyn. I felt like Alice in Wonderland! It’s such a great big, energetic and inviting city. I’d been there before, but mostly by subway, which is actually a better alternative given the traffic. But, after I’d found parking (not easy) I loved walking its wide streets.
My motivation was to check out a referral that Amanda Wiss of Urban Clarity had recommended for one of my Remarkable Women’s Network events–Linger Cafe. I’d emailed the owner, Jessica Pichardo, to figure out when to visit. She was enthusiastic, gracious and welcoming.
I arrived around noon, found Jessica seated in the window area of her cafe and accepted a cup of chamomile tea with gratitude. Jessica told me all about her new venture–less than 5 months now–and her vision for Linger. It’s an inviting space as much for moms with strollers sitting over coffee, businesspeople grabbing a bite and discussing a deal, or groups listening to music and enjoying community with friends and neighbors. I loved its feel. Jessica’s vitality and spirit exude from every inch of the space.
After telling Jessica about my mission–to give successful entrepreneurial women a place to meet each other–which dovetails perfectly with her vision of creating a warm and friendly environment for people to gather, we set a date: Monday, February 22 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm.
If you’re a remarkable woman who wants to meet other remarkable women in a meaningful way in a space that’s conducive to that purpose, sign up today.
Since I believe in walking my talk, I have my own coach and two cherished sessions with her a month. On our last call discernment was the topic that we spent most of our time on. I’m in the enviable position of having many opportunities coming my way, several of which I created. But there are have been some unexpected surprises arriving as well that look attractive. My work is to decide where to put my energy and focus.
Recently I was invited to be a part of a nationwide educational program to offer teleclasses on the subject of Mastermind Groups, a business building program that is near and dear to my heart. I lead Mastermind Groups and participate in them as well. They serve as the most important tool in my own business’ growth and accountability. I’m a believer and want to spread the word. I thought the opportunity to be a part of a larger mission would suit me…at first.
What was required of me, though, was to cross-market with the other providers, which I know and appreciate is a way to build your contact list, database and renown. But I wasn’t crazy about the materials I started to receive from one of the other providers. I don’t have products that are ready and available for sale that would make this kind of marketing more viable. I could feel my heart and my gut saying, “Uh-oh!”
When I discussed it with my coach, she helped me remember how it feels when I’m involved with alliances where my heart sings–like with Brad Isaacs this past weekend delivering our Get Real program. Or with my promising collaboration with Eileen Fisher and my Remarkable Women’s Network. I understand the relationship. I know, admire and respect the individuals. It feels right.
As Michele said, “You’re driving around in a Jaguar with these collaborators, and someone is offering you a free Ford. Do you want that?”
The temptation is there, but I have to stay clear on my chosen destinations, my traveling companions and the quality of the ride. While it was still challenging for me to reject the teleclass offer, having that analogy made it crystal clear and slightly easier. I said “no” and “phew”.