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Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Let’s celebrate + stretch

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

July. We are midway through the year. Have you taken time to review where you are with accomplishing your goals at this half-way point?

This week is the perfect time to look back at what you have accomplished so far this year and adjust your goals for the year. Why now? Other than it is half-way through the year, this is the week of July 4, Independence Day here in the United States. It is a day meant for celebration — picnics, fireworks and gratitude. I like celebrating where I started and where I am. I like celebrating that I am able to work both independently as an entrepreneur and interdependently with so many wonderful people. I’m sure you have some of those same celebrations.

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What are your “pinch-me” moments?

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Last week I was honored to be a special presenter at the Handi Quilter Retailer Academy. The first day I gave a talk on Capturing the Creative Customer and on Social Media. The second day I offered individual coaching sessions on a first come, first served basis to those who were interested. I met some fabulous retailers from around the world and reconnected with a few I already knew. I also had a lot of fun.

During the final banquet, Handi Quilter presented four of us with a special gift — the biggest pair of scissors I’ve ever seen. In fact they were so big, and of course sharp, that they wouldn’t meet the carry-on requirements of the airline. Mine should be arriving in the mail, and I’ve picked out a wonderful spot to hang them.

One of the recipients said earlier that speaking at the Academy was a “pinch-me” moment for her. I agree. It also reminded me of an article I read sometime back by Connie Schultz, a columnist with the Cleveland Plains Dealer, about how her mom lived a “pinch me” life.

I love this attitude. It’s about being in the moment and grateful for everything. It doesn’t matter if you are experiencing something for the first time or the tenth time.

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Thank You for Your Business!

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

When was the last time you sent a letter via the US Postal Service to thank someone? When was the last time you received one?

I know that today we are all about digital. However, I think you are missing the boat if you don’t add some higher touch activities to your marketing and/or customer service efforts. By marketing, I don’t mean selling. I mean inviting people get to know, like and trust you.

Personal hand-written notes are the perfect way for you to build that connection. A simple note only requires a few of minutes of your time and a first-class postage stamp.

The rewards for both parties are way beyond that. You will feel good doing this. The recipient will feel appreciated. I’ve seen examples of people sharing their thank you notes on social media or in their blogs, making even more people feel good. What a great example of word-of-mouth marketing. Remember, the more people learn about you, the better.

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What’s in Your Rewards Jar?

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

How often do you reward yourself for your work? If you are like many creative entrepreneurs I know, it’s not very often. Sure you accomplish the items on your to-do list, you make progress towards your goals, and you may feel proud about what you are doing. Then, it’s on to the next thing on the list, the next goal.

Many of my clients take part in what I call a Success and Strategies Summit on a weekly basis. I had been taking time to look at what I accomplished and plan ahead on a weekly basis for years. It made a difference in how much I was accomplishing and the confidence level I had. When I started working with private clients and ICAP members, I shared this more formal practice with them. They began to see how important this review was in their own lives and businesses.

A big part of this Summit is celebrating your successes. Did I mention how often we are on to the next thing and don’t do this?

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Lose the New Year’s Resolutions!

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

What’s In a Word?

Many people choose a “word” as a focus tool for the year. I have been doing this since probably 2005 when Kathy, the owner of the yoga studio where I practiced, passed around a basket with words. I chose “openness.” At the time I asked if I could pick a different word. After all, the woman next to me chose love, which seemed like a much better word. I remember Kathy telling me that I was stuck with openness because the word had chosen me.

I went home, taped the word onto my computer, and let it be an anchor as I went through the year. Looking back, I know that this made a tremendous difference in my year.

What it did was allow me to focus on being a person who was more open to opportunities, more open to challenges, and more open to other people. It required me to “be” or work on “becoming” a certain person.

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Reclaim Your Creative Energy

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

reclaim-creative-energy

I am really a very organized person. I know where to find what I need. I could say, “A place for everything, and everything in its place,” only that is not quite exactly true.

While I am organized and I know where everything is, I can become someone who is consumed by stacks of this and that. Yes, I know what is in the stacks, but all those stacks are robbing energy from me.

When the space is clearer, so is my mind. When my mind is clear, I will work better. I know this to be true. I also know that once I start working in a clear, clean, clutter-free environment, new opportunities show up for creativity and for business. Why would I — or you — not want this to happen?

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Avoid the Comparison Trap

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Comparison Trap

Do you ever get that sinking feeling when you look around and start to compare yourself to others — their art or their business success?

You start to think that no one will every want what you have.

And, then you start to believe the one or two people who have ever commented negatively on your work.

And, then the spiral starts. Really, who are you to do this anyway?

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Finding Your Why

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

Finding Your Why

 

Have you ever thought about what your why is? You know, why you do what you do? Why you are in the business you are? Why art or creativity chose you? And why you chose to make it important enough that it is your business?

 

Frederick Nietzsche said, “He who has a why can endure any how.”  I believe that when you know your why, it helps you figure out meaningful goals that lead to creating a meaningful life. It acts as an anchor when you need to find the courage to keep going or even just to take the next step. It helps you stay motivated and can lead to a life you can only imagine. It even helps you get out of bed in the morning.

 

That sounds good, but how do you really find your why? Your why may just come to you easily or it may take lots of thought. (I was in the lots of thought category.) It may also change over time as your life circumstances change.

 

For years I never really gave it much thought. I was working to add income to our family coffers. When I first started my business, it was actually at my accountant’s suggestion. He saw I loved quilting and thought I could turn it into a business on the side. That was great, and I never really gave it much more thought. As the years went by, the business grew and changed. I earned a graduate degree in journalism and thought how wonderful it would be to combine the quilting and journalism together, which I did. Again, not really giving it a huge amount of thought as to why beyond I enjoyed it.

 

The past couple of years, I decided to actually put real thought into the process. I can now articulate what I do and why. I believe it is so important to start to do the work of our why that we spend time working on this individually at the Creative Arts Business Summit. And knowing this absolutely makes a difference. Once you figure our your “big why,” you complete your tasks, reach your goals, make a difference in the lives of those you serve, and live your own life with so much more ease.

 

Here are some ideas to get you started figuring out your why along with some good resources.

 

    1. If you are having a hard time answering yourself why. Complete the sentence: “I am doing this because ….”  or “I’m doing this so that….”

 

    1. Take a look at your top passions and try to see what they have in common. That can lead you to your why.

 

    1. What are your innate strengths? What are things you are naturally good at? Sometimes you dismiss these thinking everyone is good at this thing. And how do these connect with your passions?

 

    1. What gets you out of bed in the morning. What is it that drives you to take inspired action?

 

    1. What was your youthful joy? Ask people who knew you as a child what they remember about your strengths and passions.

 

    1. Remember that the why is the driving force behind our actions. We need strong, or Big, Whys to keep going.

 

    1. Our Big Why can change over time. It is a good exercise to revisit yours occasionally.

 

 

Some resources to check out:

How Great Leaders Inspire Action,  a TEDx talk by Simon Sinek.

The Element and Finding Your Element by Ken Robinson, PhD, with Lou Aronica

 

What is your why? I know you have one and I would love to hear what it is. Please share it below or on our ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages?

 

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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.

 

WANT TO SEE MORE ARTICLE LIKE THIS?

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A Tribute to Yvonne

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

iris, me, yvonne

Over the weekend, the quilt world lost a visionary, Yvonne Porcella. I do not remember when I first met Yvonne in person. I know her influence came into my life back in the early 1980s with her book Pieced Clothing. I came to quilting from a garment/sewing background and still dabbled in garments even though quilting had taken over my life. Her book was all about how to used patchwork and pieced techniques to construct garments. The garments were not fitted; all the pieces were cut from rectangles and had their roots in folk clothing. I went onto make vests and jackets for myself in this fashion. Eventually, this concept formed the basis for the commissioned garments I made for others. Over the years I followed what she created, both her own work and the Studio Art Quilt Associates that she founded. We chatted in Houston when we were both there. I learned that my pronunciation of almond did not match with hers, and she was, after all, an almond grower.

Fast forward to 2014. I remember having a conversation with Yvonne at the SAQA Conference in Alexandria, Va. I gave the keynote address and talked about how important it was to know your why. Yvonne came to share with me details of her upcoming book Defining Why. What struck me over this weekend as I looked at the tributes that poured in was the gifts she shared and received. It really was all about love.

Here is a shot of me with Iris Karp of Mistyfuse and Yvonne taken at Quilt Market in 2014.

To learn more about Yvonne, the Quilt Show has its legend show on Yvonne free for the rest of the month. To access it click here. In the meanwhile, maybe you have memories about Yvonne Porcella from the Quilt Show, or a  another tribute about the books she has written. Feel free to leave them on our on our ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages?

Creative Arts Inspiration: Focus is Saying No

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” ~ Steve Jobs

 

People think focus

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