1. 5 Reasons Why Pulling the Plug is a Good Thing

    Having just come off one of my busiest spring speaking schedules, I was celebratory about meeting all of my deadlines and aspirations. At the same time, I was also dreaming of when I could escape to the Rocky Mts. with my tent, with no demands other than: what time I wanted to get up (answer: when I WOKE up!), when we wanted to have dinner, and if we’d rather go fishing or hiking on any given day.

    It’s no surprise, then, that I wore a smile as wide as the Grand Canyon when my husband, Richard, and I finally loaded up the car and headed for the hills. With every mile clocked on our drive to Nirvana, I felt a new glob of tension being left on the pavement. By the time we arrived at our campsite, set up camp,

    Our Campsite Visitor

    and popped the cork of a good zinfandel, I was darned near giddy. After all, this was V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N and I’d been lusting for it for several months.

    Summer is the time of year when the majority of us in the U.S. take our vacations. Or, at least we take them in theory. The sad truth, as shown by a recent poll by TripAdvisor, the largest travel site in the world, is that 77% of U.S. respondents reported that in the last year, (Read more…)


  2. Wandering Mind Syndrome: Good or Bad for Creativity & Success?

    Have you ever noticed that when you need to write an article, a report or a presentation, or even come up with a new and original idea or a better way of doing something, your brain often wants to play hooky? It will take you on many different desultory paths, revisiting where you went on your last vacation, thinking about Aunt Lulu’s upcoming birthday party that you’re hosting or even recalling that golf game where you almost got your best score ever. It will go anywhere but where you need it to go. When this happens, do what you would do with a child who wanders away from the homework table: gently and repeatedly take her by the hand, bring her back to her chair and help her refocus.

    The truth is, however, that this wandering mind syndrome is part and parcel to the creative process. As all artists know, some of it is a good thing, as it can take us to places and ideas we might not have directed it to go. But too much of it can just keep us away from our objective, i.e., to get that article written, the painting finished or that new method figured out. Know the difference.

    As you create, keep your end goal in mind and persistently maintain your focus while also paying attention to the quality of your mind’s wanderings. All the while remember: one wandering ain’t the same as the next.


  3. Going in Circles: Success Strategy for Life and Work

    This 4th of July weekend, my husband and I were on a glorious 6-day tent-camping trip in the Colorado Rockies. The peace and quiet and sheer beauty of the surroundings calmed our minds and opened our souls in the way that nature can do.

    As a bonus, about two minutes from our campsite, we discovered the gorgeous alpine Lake Monarch. Around the lake was one of the most splendid hiking trails, winding us under the shading trees and through exquisite columbines and wild roses. As much as we enjoyed hiking around the lake, we also enjoyed being on the lake in our IK (inflatable kayak).

    Monarch Lake Colorado

    Being fairly new to kayaking, we’re still flexing our beginners’ muscles and so, amidst hearty paddling (synchronized as well as we neophytes could), we often found ourselves going into a spin out of which we could not come, no matter what. Although we tried our darndest, we realized that at a certain point, we just had to relax and surrender to the circular spin, smile and enjoy the stunning views and refreshing water––Nature’s Masterpieces.

    We all live in such a linear society where we’re so often rushing to get to some straight end point that it’s nice sometimes to just step off the grid and happily go in circles . . . to realize that “going in circles” does not have to have the rather negative connotation we usually give it, but that it can be a positive endeavor.

    There’s a freedom and a relaxation in the circular pattern. In art that’s often what brings about unity in a painting or sculpture’s composition: everything coming together as one. I think that’s exactly what we were feeling: being one with nature and the world. And if that’s what “going in circles” once in a while brings about, a betterment for both our lives and our work, sign us up again!


  4. Harrumph! What Are Your Intentions?

    Harrumph! WHAT ARE YOUR INTENTIONS?

    Every time my aunt’s zany brother-in-law saw any of my boyfriends at a family event, the first thing out of his mouth was, “Harrumph! SO, WHAT ARE YOUR INTENTIONS?” Naturally, the first time he said this I was mortified, but since my boyfriends thought it was a hoot, I learned to laugh it off, too. The query, however, became a family joke, emerging here and there.

    Emerge, recently, it did. I was having a lovely summertime garden lunch outside one of my best friend’s art studio. This friend is a highly decorated artist. No, not with a lampshade on her head, but with top prizes from just about every juried art show she enters. Before lunch we had looked at the painting she is currently working on.

    IT’S AN UPFRONT THING

    As we talked about life and our work during lunch, I told her how beautiful I thought this new painting was. She said, “You know, I think I have finally learned something about painting: if I decide what my intention is at the beginning of a work, I end up with a much more successful result.” I couldn’t resist and asked her, “For this new painting . . . what is your intention?” She said, “My intention was to capture the fresh smells and sensations and dewiness of a field of newly mown grass and hay in the early summer—when it’s so strong and liquid you can almost bottle it. . . . I didn’t want to just ‘paint a pretty picture’ that showed how it looked (which was more what my early paintings were about). I want it to have a richer feeling and deeper connection to my intention . . . and I won’t sign off on a painting now unless it does that.”

    This got me to thinking about intention and how we can apply this to our work and lives to end up with a “much more successful” result, too. (Read more…)


  5. 6 STEPS TO LOSE TRACK OF TIME

    TIME? Fugeddaboutit!

    One can hardly pick up a magazine or newspaper, go online or listen to the news without hearing about “time” and our relationship to it. How to get more time, how to save time, how to produce more in less time, how not to waste time, how to be on time, how to better manage your time . . . and the list goes on. In fact, with springtime here, many of us just adjusted our

    Dali's "The Persistence of Memory"

    clocks to Daylight Savings Time, gaining us more time with daylight. So with our 21st century near obsession with time and all things time management, I dare to propose that we diligently try to lose track of time!

    Now I’m not talking about the “losing track” habit that my dear 2nd son developed while he was growing up (in fact, our neighbor still chuckles over the image of me standing in front of our house, warbling, “Collin, what’s the delay?”). No, I’m talking about deliberately and consistently losing track of time. Yep. On purpose. Now I know this sounds counterintuitive in this fast-paced and demanding world we live in, but it does have merit.

    Having studied the habits and strategies of the Master Artists through my whole adult life, I am very aware that losing track of time was one of their keys to success. Their objective was to (Read more…)


  6. The Icarus Deception

    Seth Godin and I have a lot in common. Since Seth Godin is known by many as a front-runner thought leader, a revolutionary business guru and a many-times best-selling author, my premise might seem to be a bit presumptuous. But hear me out.

    Although his latest book, The Icarus Deception, has sat on my pile of “must reads” since December, I finally made the plunge (pun intended) into its pages. The title refers to the popular myth that we learned in school: Icarus was the son of Daedalus, who, in order to help the two of them escape from the Labyrinth, fashioned wings from feathers and wax. As we learned the story, Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too high or the sun would melt the wings. Icarus, caught up in the ecstasy of flying, however, did just that, falling to his death in the sea. The part of the myth that we were not told (or at least that wasn’t stressed) was that Daedelus also warned Icarus not to fly too low, which would cause his wings to get wet and likewise be ruined. The interpretation of the myth has, for centuries, thus, focused mainly on the idea to not fly too high, to put a lid on your potential, to play it safe.

    FLYING TOO LOW

    Godin says that flying too low, however, is of greater danger than flying too high, as it (Read more…)


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