IT’S A START

I’m in a group of amazing women and one of the things we do is meet every month and  each woman plans one goal to accomplish.  We can ask for help achieving our goal if we need to, or it can serve as accountability which ultimately helps us to achieve what we set out to do.  I’m sure I will write more about this group later, but for now, my goal for the month of April was to clean up my desktop.  I also thought it would be nice if I could delete a lot of my old email messages, a task I have NEVER attempted in the five years or so that I’ve been doing emails.  So today, I stepped into my courage and started deleting!  and deleting, and deleting.  I have taken some trips down memory lane, (reading encouraging emails sent to my daughter Keeley when she was studying abroad in Barcelona, and looking at notes to Caitlin about managing her finances at 17. I also discovered a picture taken of one of my first paintings and realized how far I’ve come with expert instruction in the last year!) It’s been enlightening, encouraging, exciting and sometimes depressing viewing my life in messages, as well as looking at the mass of junk I’ve accumulated over the years.

Well, it has taken me four hours to delete about 5000 email messages!!!  WOW!  That would be pretty impressive I guess, but I still have over 24,0000 emails to go. However, IT’S A START, and you have to start somewhere. Sometimes all we need is to start, whether it is launching a dream, taking that first step to doing something we love, or tackling that great big job that seems way bigger than we are!  Just start. take the first step, and the rest is all down hill from there.

xo, jan

What Are You Getting From Your Business?

It’s been a busy week! I love everything I do, but time has been a little short as I’ve maintained my normal busy schedule in addition to preparing to teach my two new Entrepreneurship classes this QTR. To save time, I could just use the materials I used last QTR, but I strive to be a better instructor and want to make each QTR the best I possibly can. That means I have to do quality research, design engaging activities, think like my students to figure out what might motivate them to become an entrepreneur and bring in materials or speakers that will excite them into learning. My students aren’t necessarily budding entrepreneurs.  Entrepreneurship is a required class and while they might enjoy the information, they are probably less than thrilled with the amount of work required to write a full scale business plan. So, I have my challenges. This QTR, my motto for the classes is to SIMPLIFY & ENTERTAIN.   I think if I can simplify the information they receive while entertaining them at the same time, they will be more likely to enjoy the BPLAN project and embrace it as more than a learning experience.  

As I ponder my class and try to figure out what I can do to make it better, I also can’t help but mentally respond to the question one of my students asked last QTR, “what do you get from teaching these classes?” It makes me examine what I do and realize it is just as important for me to make it exciting for me too. Whatever business you are in, don’t lose sight of what you want from the business, more than paying the bills, more than prosperity. A big mistake would be to just stay comfortable or forget the passion that started your business in the beginning.

Stay fresh.  Stay excited. If you do that, your business will stay.

xo, jan

 

The things we learn when we aren’t even trying

This past weekend I took an all day class on aging, (as in wood, concrete, plastic, canvas, etc), not physically, since I already know how to do that quite well. The neat thing about this class was how many things the instructor shared that apply to art, but could also apply to business.  

The first thing we learned was that when you are aging a piece of furniture, you need to think about what you want the piece of furniture to say and to know that, you need to know the back story.  You can’t just take a piece of furniture and start hammering it or wiping off paint in random places.  You want to create a story that may mean Uncle Jimmy sat in that chair and rocked back and forth, wearing out one particular arm as he rested his elbow on one side while he used his other arm to hold his pipe.  A cupboard may bear the story of a woman in hoop skirts who had to bend down to open the drawer, but found it much easier to shut the drawer by kicking it shut with her foot.  The door may show that story by the wear and tear clearly seen on the door where her foot kicked it shut, day after day.  In telling the back story with every piece of furniture, you create a more authentic piece.  Every business can benefit from that instruction, especially in a day and time when the backstory can help to make your business success.

In relating a story about an antique dealer that tried to sell her a piece of furniture that clearly did not have original markings, I asked her if she called them on it.  “No, she said, I have no need to start a fight that I have no interest in.”  I’m not a confrontational person, so that one made me think.  How often do I get involved in something, just because? “I recently saw someone blatantly cut in line and take something unimportant off the counter.  I let the shop keeper know, because I felt I needed to share, but in reality,  the behavior was nothing of consequence.   Yet Carol was right, that fight is not my fight.  I don’t have a vested interest in the outcome either way, but I somehow felt compelled to let the shop keeper know, putting the action back on her back.  “Focus on your own front yard my mother always used to say, and I have indeed found when I’m looking out for my own interests, I am far more capable.

There is more to share from this woman who is high in age with knowledge and wisdom to match.  I will post more on my blog at another time.  For now, good night.

xo, jan

 

 

STOP THE WORLD, I WANT TO GET OFF

When I was in high school, my family and I had some tough times to deal with.  Life seemed pretty overwhelming and we tried to deal with it with humor whenever possible, or at least relate to something that allowed for a release.  I remember during my sophomore year, there was a play at the local dinner theater titled “Stop the world, I want to get off”.  I don’t recall what the play was really about, but the title became a catch phrase every time we needed relief from some pressing issue that we were dealing with.  There was a special knowing that we were understood and everything was going to be all right.  These days I’m doing okay with tough times, but often I find myself in overwhelm. There is so much to learn, keep up with, lists to complete, places to go, people to respond to, things to accomplish, etc., etc., but if I just say to someone out loud or even to myself, “stop the world, I want to get off”, I get a jolt of instant relief and know everything is going to be okay. It gives me a moment to refresh, and recall a time that was truly hard, yet I got through it, time and time again and so I will, once again.

xo, jan

13 simple-steps-to-get-you-through-a-rough-day

I haven’t really had a rough day but it has been a BUSY day and I feel a little (okay, a lot), overwhelmed!  and we can always use a reason to smile or feel grateful!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/13-simple-steps-to-get-you-through-a-rough-day

also, who knew?!!  enjoy this word of the day

\kah-kuh-LOR-um\
noun
1 : a boastful and self-important person
2 : boastful talk

IT’S OKAY TO SCREW UP

There is not a single person out there that hasn’t screwed up.  As Bob Dylan sings “We are all fighting our own battles” and doing the best we can.  The important lesson from screwing up is to recognize what you did wrong , make amends if necessary, and move on.  At the end of the day it’s the result or the final destination, not the journey you took to get there.  A few months ago, I was watching the TV show ” The Biggest Loser” or that show where the trainer spends 365 days of the year coaching this individual in the fight of their life. Not a single one of these individuals made it 365 days without a glitch. Some quit for a while, some definitely got off track, and some experienced significant triumphs. At eh end of the show, they had all lost a significant amount of weight.  It takes courage to go on when you’ve gotten off track, but there are always huge rewards at the end of any journey, so stay the course and accomplish your goals! xo, jan

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

I really enjoy going on vacation.  I also really enjoy coming back home. Spending time in Boulder this weekend, I’ve had so much fun exploring new places, but especially going to my favorite haunts.  There’s something wonderful about knowing what to expect when I visit one of my favorite restaurants or boutiques.  It is that special something that keeps me coming back.  A familiarity and expectation I can count on.  The same holds true with our business.  Customers want to feel like they are coming home. Consistency and meeting your customers expectations will have your customers saying “there’s no place like home”. 

xo, jan