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Archive for the ‘Mentoring’ Category

Leverage to grow your creative business

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

 

You’ve probably heard people talk about leverage. And not the TV show of recent years. Leverage is about using a resource to its maximum advantage.

When I think of leverage in your business, I think of it as a triangle with Time, Money, and Knowledge + Talents + Passion as the three sides. When you start your business, you have all these elements in varying degrees. And likely some are limited.

         TIME (1)

As you grow your business, you begin to have more of each and can use each to its maximum advantage. And, you can leverage other people’s time, money and knowledge, too.

You invest in each of them because you want something back in your business. You have an expectation of a return on this investment.

Read more…

Terps and Mentors

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

feartheturtle

Are there basketball fans in your house? I occasionally watch college basketball, and this time of year — March Madness — is always lots of fun. While none of the local men’s teams are still in the running, we are routing for Wisconsin, since my niece is a freshman there. On the women’s side, the University of Maryland Terrapins are on their way to the final four. Last week, The Washington Post ran an article on the Terps working regularly with a “performance enhancement coach.” The coach’s job is to keep the players minds in the right place, and it looks like it is paying off.

 

I’m a big believer in seeking help from mentors for business and personal growth, and I love to see my growth, personally and professionally, as a result of doing so. Here are seven good reasons to work with a coach or mentor.

 

  • A coach helps you think and play bigger. Because a coach isn’t involved in the nitty-gritty aspects of your business, she does not get bogged down in your day-to-day details. She can see the big – and bigger – picture. This is particularly enhanced with a mastermind group. I have been amazed at how large my coaches and mastermind partners want me to play. Yes, it can be scary, but once you start thinking big, it is impossible to go back.

 

  • A coach can keep you accountable. Your coach can help you keep on track by having you report weekly on your accomplishments. She is able to help you make a commitment and stick to it. One of my coaching clients remarked that she is accomplished more in the first two weeks than she did in six months and attributes it to having to be accountable to me on a weekly basis.

 

  • A coach can be another source of creative ideas and feedback. During one of our monthly calls recently, someone asked for a suggestion about how to do a video of her machine quilting studio. It was easy for me to think about how to approach this, and she loved the idea I came up with. It is always easier to look at someone else’s business, and a different perspective can make the difference.

 

  • A coach can help you create your vision and, more specifically, a road map to get there. We all have dreams. Accomplishing them is something else. A coach can help you get clear about what is important to you and set a plan for achievement.

 

  • A coach can help you build on your strengths, learn how to attack obstacles, and look for opportunities to grow your business. Yes, we all have roadblocks to growth, business or personal. A coach can help you identify what is hindering your progress and help you focus your thinking process toward growth.

 

  • A coach is also your personal cheerleader. It is great to have someone at the ready to encourage and motivate you toward your goals.

 

  • A coach can actually save you money. Working with a coach requires you to plan out your actions ahead of time. You will waste less time, money and resources and get to the success you desire at a much quicker pace. In the end what a coach does is challenge you to be your best. And, if you put your best self out there, you will grow, both personally and professionally, and you will help more people.

 

I love this quote from Marianne Williamson about playing big, letting our lights shine. Perhaps you can relate:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light,
not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about
shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant
to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others

 

Perhaps you have had an experience with a mentor in the past, or played a key part in that role for someone else. Maybe there were things about your experience that you appreciated and maybe did not appreciate. Feel free to comment below, on our blog or go to our ICAP Fan Club Facebook page?

 

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Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com.

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What’s Your Gratitude Practice?

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

small__4786965539Over the weekend I was working on the content for our Creative Arts Business Summit and thinking about the 36 women and men who are joining me this year. A wave of gratitude came over me, and I reflected how fortunate I am that they are trusting me to guide them for three days. They are all blessings in my life.

When was the last time you sat and reflected on your blessings? When you take the time to focus on what you are grateful for, you will find more happiness in your life. You’ll also begin to see more of what you are grateful for show up in your life. You will find yourself more resilient and even less stressful. Positivity all around!

Here are four tips for adding a gratitude practice to your life:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal. At the end of each day write down three things that you were grateful for during the day. They do not have to be big. They can be as simple as watching the sunrise or the extra cookie someone left for you or the laugh from watching your kitten chase the ball of yarn. Periodically go back and read what you have written.
  2. Set aside a few minutes every morning to hold a silent gratitude session. Think about what you are grateful for. Think about those people you are grateful for.
  3. As you go through your day, look for times you can say, “Thank You,” and do so. These can be little gestures. It makes a difference to you and the other person.
  4. If you think of someone and the difference they have made in your life, take time to call or write and let them know.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes about gratitude:

If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice
Meister Eckhart

Do you have a gratitude practice? Please share.

photo credit: shannonkringen via photopin cc

Are You Qualified to Begin?

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Do you have some business or personal dreams that are putting off because you think you need to know more before you move forward? Maybe you think you need another art course, or maybe you need that extra marketing course. Or, your website could be better. Or, your quilting skills need to be better to enter that show. Or, you don’t know as much as or are as skilled as someone else. Or,…

Hey, I’ve been there. I’m someone who thrives on knowledge, and I’m always searching to learn more. And, it’s a good thing, except that it can put an obstacle in my path. It’s easy to look for the next course to build my knowledge or skill level instead of taking action, albeit imperfect action. Here are some tips to move you forward:

1. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect. It never will be. There will always be more to learn. The best time to start has already passed. The next best time is now.

2. Don’t compare yourself with others. There will always be someone who is further along the path than you. And, remember there are others who not as far as you. You are only where you are and have to start from there. Any action you take at your current level moves you to the next level.

3. Commit and take a bold action. You have something to offer that no one else does. Others are waiting to start; don’t follow that path.

This reminded me of a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes:

Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.

So what are you waiting for? You are definitely qualified to start.

Please share your thoughts below.

Birthdays, Accomplishments & Influence

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

On Monday I received a lovely email from a friend wishing me Happy Birthday and reminding me of all I had accomplished. She also said that I had influenced many more artists than I could imagine. That was a wonderful reminder for me to take some time during the day to reflect on those two thoughts.

I find as entrepreneurs that we often do not take time to look at our accomplishments. We tend to have the end goal in mind and just keep working toward that. We don’t look at all we accomplish, and we often don’t celebrate those we do. Last week I mentioned that I like – or try – to end my day with a review what I accomplished during the day. It’s nice to have a formal mechanism for this, whether it’s a journal you update daily or just notes and the check marks of completed items on your calendar page. What was fun for me was to go back through the year and see what I had accomplished and how I am in a different place today than I was in January.

The second part of my friend’s email was about the influence I had that I didn’t realize. Again, to some extent its the “not looking back” part. I talked some about this recently when I wrote about the ripple effect. Yes, I can see the influence I have on a direct basis. That’s easy. Someone makes more money because I made a suggestion for her business or she starts to build her list of followers because of another. I have a harder time seeing this on a larger scale. It could be an off-hand comment I make to a large group about trying something new. I may never realize that comment set something in motion for someone to create something new, whether that’s artwork or a product; to venture down an uncharted path; or to make positive changes in her life. I think that both the influence I know about AND the influence I don’t are the reasons I find so much joy in what I do.

So thank you, Christine, for the wonderful reminder. And, thank you to my clients, members, followers and e-zine readers for letting me share what I know with you.

When was the last time you looked at what you accomplished? And do you have a formal mechanism for doing this? Do you know who you are influencing?

Please share your thoughts below.

Are you rippling?

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Last week I received an email from Clara Vargas, a Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army. Clara is currently stationed at Shinand Airbase in Afghanistan. Clara and her team of American and International soldiers are tasked with the mission of educating more than 4,000 widowed Afghan women how to sew. The goal is two fold: to show the Afghan people that they can do for themselves rather than rely on charity or terrorists for survival and to show them that American troops are there to keep them safe and to help them rebuild their country for themselves and their children. At the end of 2010, when Lisa Steele, owner of Bella Fabrics in Virginia Beach, Va., and Clara’s home shop owner, learned of the program, she jumped on board and began pulling other shop owners as well as industry giants, such as Checker, into a program to support Clara’s mission. You can learn more about the program at www.clarascalling.com.

 

Back to my email. I received an email from Clara along with some of her other industry contacts letting us know that Lisa had been named 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year by the Isle of Wight County (Va.) Department of Economic Development. Clara and I then traded emails back and forth about the mission and what is happening now. I sent her a copy of the article I wrote last summer in The Professional Quilterand she sent me pictures I’ve placed on the blog and on Facebook of the Afghan women smiling with their new sewing machines.In her email, Clara wrote to me, “I always said, ‘You don’t have to be a Soldier to make a different around the World.’ You’re one of my Heros! I truly LOVE the article.”God is good to me, he provided you to our mission. I thank you again, for keeping our Soldiers safe in Afghanistan, we are winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan people, and I believe because of that more Soldiers will returned Home to their loved ones.”Her email got me thinking about the ripple effect and how even the smallest thing we do makes a difference. Did I think writing an article and publicizing the mission was keeping solders safe? It’s easy for me to look at what I do and not see something significant. OK, I publish a magazine and coach women on how to grow their creative businesses. If I really think about it, I can see how helping someone grow her business in turn lets her support herself, add to her family support or change how she views the importance of her contribution. But I need to look even further to the people that person will effect. It’s really pretty astounding what one person can do in the scheme of things.

Where are you making ripples? Please share below.

Give Up Perfectionism

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Give up Perfectionism. No way, you say! Everything must be just so, the best, perfect. After all, it’s probably served you well in the past, and perfect has its place. Besides, what will happen if it’s not perfect?

This is something some of my clients wrestle with. And, I’m going to come clean and include myself there. Actually I never really thought I was squarely in that boat, or at least that it wasn’t that obvious to others. This past Sunday after church, I had a conversation with our priest, and she said to me, “You need to give up having to be perfect.” Whoa! Back to working on imperfect!

Truth be told, I had already realized this about myself and thought I’d been making progress to move from this. And, I have. I know where my perfectionism comes from and when it crops up. I know what needs to be perfect and what doesn’t, though I do struggle with it on occasion. Perfectionism has its good points. It can also become a dead end. Here are some things it can lead to:
1. Procrastination and/or indecision. If you need everything to be perfect, you wait for the best solution or the right time. You don’t want to miss it, so you wait and wait.

2. Missing the big picture because you are focusing on the details. It’s like missing the forest for all the trees.

3. Loss of creativity. I think this one is tied into procrastination, because you want perfect results so you put it off. You don’t have “failed creative efforts.” And, of course if you did, they could lead to growth. (Ironically, growth is one of the reasons people want to be perfect.)

4. Perfectionism in the extreme can lead to depression and alienation of relationships.

So how do you work on becoming a recovering perfectionist? Here are some tips to try:

1. Be aware of why you are a perfectionist and recognize when it rears its head. Know whether it’s good perfectionism or obsessive perfectionism. I think that’s often half the battle.

2. Ask yourself, “What will happen if it’s not perfect?” or even, “What will happen if I don’t have to do it perfectly?”

3. Aim for good enough. I have two signs in my office. One says “Good enough is good enough.” The other says, “Progress, not perfection.” It’s not license to slack off, it’s license to finish.

4. Look at the big picture, i.e., look at the forest not the trees. Prioritize to figure out if all the trees, aka tasks, are necessary to fill in the big picture. If not, get rid of that tree.

5. Learn how to delegate. Once you do this and begin to have faith in other people’s abilities, it becomes easier to delegate. You don’t have to do it all to be perfect. And, it may not be perfect to your way of thinking, but it will be done.

6. Just once, set a goal to do something poorly. What a concept! This is really freeing. Imagine being perfectly imperfect!

7. Celebrate. My clients know I like to have a weekly Success and Strategies Summit. If you’ve managed to let go of some of your perfectionist tendencies, celebrate it as a success.

I love quotes and searched for the perfect (!) quote on perfectionism. In the end, I decided to share the words from one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, from her book Bird by Bird:

Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism,
while messes are the artist’s true friend.

Are you a perfectionist or a recovering perfectionist? Please share your thoughts below.

Want to Play a Bigger Game in 2012?

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

I went on a personal retreat last week. In addition to all the museum visiting, one of the things I did on my retreat was to reflect on all the changes in my business in 2011 and the big plans I have for 2012. I guess you’ve heard about the Creative Arts Business Summit! That would be my big plan. Do you have big plans for 2012? Why not set a plan to play bigger in 2012? Here are some ways to help you.

1. Set a stretch goal.

I’ve often heard of this as a breakthrough goal. The idea is that once you achieve such a goal, you break through to a new level in your business. Look back to a really big goal you set and how you felt when you achieved it. Could you really go back to how you felt before? Look for a goal that would make a really big difference in your business and focus a little each day until you achieve it. It could be writing that book you keep thinking about or getting your portfolio together and actually contacting galleries to show your work or submitting your teaching proposal to a national show.

2. Take action.

Achieving any goal is all about taking action, whether that’s giant steps or baby steps. Both will get you there. Decide today to take some action each day toward your stretch goal. Write down what you plan to do each day.

3. Track your results and make necessary adjustments.

Every day take time to look at what you accomplished that day. I also like to do a weekly review. When you do this and see yourself moving toward your goal, you’ll build your confidence and keep going.

4. Get support.

Support comes in many varieties. It can be a coach (that’s one of my favorite support systems) or mentor. It can be business friends also growing, and you’ll network and encourage each other. It can be a class environment where you learn something to build your business. And, it can be family members if they understand that you are trying to grow. Be sure the people on your support team are people like you, truly invested in their own success and who want you to succeed as well.

5. Watch your mindset.

This one stops a lot of us. “What we think, we become.” said the Buddha. Take action to eliminate negativity and small thinking from your life. Read or listen to uplifting books, leave affirmations where you’ll see them and start a gratitude journal. These seem like simple steps, and they are. They can have a profound effect on your goals.

Lastly, I want to share my favorite resource for planning my year, Your Best Year Yet! by Jinny Ditzler. It’s the book I took on my personal retreat. I’ve recommended it before and everyone who uses this process finds it valuable. I’ve reprinted the review from last year below.

Please share your thoughts below.

Teaching Through Your Website

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Earlier this year in The Professional QuilterGloria Hansen focused on how you can teach online without dealing with the technical aspects of creating a website, marketing to get the word out about your class nor collecting class fees. It works for the person who wants to show up at the virtual classroom, teach, get paid and then move on. For those who want to teach but also run the complete show, another option is to teach through your own website. Here’s an excerpt from her article listing some teachers who take this approach:

Popular mixed media artist/author Judy Coates-Perez (www.judycoatesperez.com) teaches color theory on a password-protected website that she created. “I prefer having control over how the class is presented and taught without having to format things to someone else’s technology/website,” she says. “I can also control class sizes and when I want to teach them.” Judy’s website is clean and easy-to-navigate with links to each specific lesson. Each lesson includes instructions, color photos and links to further information on the topic. Judy also set up a private Yahoo group for students to post pictures and discuss their work.

Canadian teacher and quilt artist Pamela Allen (http://pamed.homestead.com/home.html) rose to the challenge of online teaching in part because of a change in border regulations that negatively impacts on her ability to teach in the United States. To continue offering her classes to all interested students, she developed five online classes. She offers her students downloadable lessons, “mini-lectures” on the principles of art and art history, and “one-on-one personal critiques.”  “I can teach my class how I want it, and I can immediately troubleshoot any problems,” she says.

Artist/author Sue Bleiweiss has been using the online world for years to share her vast knowledge and offer classes, such as for journal making. Her latest three-week class, Watercolor Exploration for the Fiber Artist, came about after hitting on a process that allowed her to work through ideas for creating new fiber artworks. “My goal is to make it as personal an experience as I can for my students, which is why I make it a point to be online constantly throughout the class checking my email so that no student has to wait too long for an answer to a question or feedback on a photo that they’ve posted,” she says.

Mixed media artist/author Alisa Burke (www.alisaburke.com/onlineworkshops.html) began offering online classes about three years ago. To make the experience more personal, Alisa includes video instruction. “Much of the class content is photos and video that I film in my studio of me working and demonstrating techniques,” she says. “I film and edit everything myself (camera on a tripod). I use iMovie and Final Cut Pro to edit my videos and then upload them to Vimeo (a video service), password protecting them, and then embedding each into a private  blog.”

Artist/author Carla Sonheim (http://carlasonheim.wordpress.com) has a series of online classes with all of the right ingredients. Her popular The Art of Silliness class features one downloadable “activity sheet” per day for thirty days. Her goal is getting her students to “play” for ten minutes a day with pen and paper. Carla offers a dedicated blog and a Flickr site for her students to share, and to keep things fun she offers prizes. She also considers the comments and feedback extremely important to the overall success of the class, and she blocks out an hour per day for the month the class is in session to be available to her students.

Artist/author Diana Trout (http://dianatrout.typepad.com/blog/) teaches an online class called Inner Circle Journal with lessons and videos. “Since the format of online classes is so different from an in-person class, I will be offering different subjects that will allow students to go into more depth than in-studio or retreat classes would,” she says. “There is more time for thinking, playing and allowing time for paint and glue to dry. These are huge benefits! Also, the blog is interactive so that students can post their artwork and get feedback and questions answered.”

Each class is unique to the instructor. While these teachers have successful online classes, others do not. I’ve spoken with several students who were unhappy with the experience. Just as your reputation as a teacher spreads when teaching in-person classes, so does it spread when teaching online classes.

When contemplating whether teaching through your own website is right for you, Sue stresses that you do your homework. Whether you are comfortable with creating the class yourself or if you only want to focus on teaching and leave the technical work of the site to someone else, online teaching can offer the opportunity to reach a broader range of students while earning additional income. Before you have students start their homework, however, be sure to first do your own.

Please share your experiences with online classes, either as the teacher or the student, below.

If you would like to read more of Gloria’s article on teaching online, it’s included in the Fall 2011 issue of The Professional Quilter and available to IAPQ members. The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership here.

Is Procrastination Holding You Back?

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Procrastination. We all know what it is: putting obstacles in our own way by handling those low-priority tasks instead of taking action on the high-priority tasks. The Latin roots of the word mean “in favor of” and “tomorrow.”

Dr. Piers Steel, a researcher on the science of motivation and procrastination and the author of The Procrastination Equation, says that procrastination is pervasive, with at least 95% of us procrastinating on a occasional basis. Count me in that group, as I found several ways to extend writing this article.

And we pay a price for procrastination. We miss out on opportunities, we cause ourselves unnecessary suffering, and procrastination also has an economic price. Steel says that procrastination falls into three different categories:

1. Expectancy, i.e., we expect to fail;
2. Value, i.e., we don’t value our work;
3. Time, i.e, we let momentary impulses rule us.

So how do we get beyond procrastination? Here are five tips:

1. Eliminating procrastination is tied to goals. Be sure you have set, clear goals and that you know why you want to accomplish them. You have to know why – your “Big Why.” What value do you attribute to completing these goals? It can also help you to break your big goal into smaller doable goals. And, if you need an extra push, consider finding an accountability partner to work as an external deadline for yourself. I’ve found this to be effective for completing the small doable tasks with my goals.

2. Learn how to prioritize. When you look at your list of activities for the day, which are most important? And, of the most important, are any urgent? One source to consider here is Stephen Covey’s matrix for prioritizing work. He classifies your tasks as urgent and non-urgent and then as important or not important. The problem with procrastination is that we neglect the important but not urgent until they become the fires we need to put out, i.e., important and urgent. We do this by focusing too much time in the not important quadrants.

3. Reward yourself. You can create a system whereby you earn points for each task that is accomplished as you set out, or you can pick a reward for completing the task. This should help focus you on the goal.

4. If low expectancy is one of your problems, try replacing your language. Expect that you will achieve your goals. That in turn will lead to self-confidence and optimism.

5. If impulsivity is your problem, try a technique Dr. Steel calls the “unschedule.”  He asks you to schedule play time into your calendar, being sure the amount of time is reasonable. He also suggests that “you should schedule an activity that represents the temptation you indulge in when you procrastinate.” For example, if you find that when you procrastinate, you surf the Internet, update your Facebook status or watch television, schedule time for that. Steel found that people that he worked with who “unscheduled” were better able to work on the task at hand.

6. Look for reminders that procrastination is a problem. I found the following quote from Victor Kiam – you may remember him as the man who “liked the shaver so much, he bought the company” – that I read periodically to remind myself that I might miss out on something good. Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin. 

Please share your ideas on dealing with procrastination below.

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