Business & Wealth
I went to Portland last weekend to attend an unconventional conference and being that it was my first visit, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I’d heard my business mentor and cousin, Tony rave about it and now that I’ve been living in Austin for almost two years, I’ve become well aware of the comparison folks make about Portland and Austin, calling them sister cities.
This was a trip in which I went with the flow of each new day (true chillaxin’). What I’ve concluded is that I love my Austin, Tejas. Sorry P-landers.
I’m sure if you stay awhile, you’ll get the similar vibe amongst the locals of my town and P town, but as far as the way the two places look, I got more of a San Francisco (SFO) feel.
I have to say, no city has topped San Francisco for me…well, unless you journey to this colorful town south of the U.S. border or take an 8 hour flight for some fancy-shmancy bike riding in this Italian village.
I ate really well in Portland. A satisfied palate is crucial for any traveling, convivial woman.Tweet
I’ve made it back to home sweet Austin after a convivial weekend in Portland for Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit (WDS 2013).
It was my first time attending and I’m thankful to have shared the experience with my friend and fellow Austinite, Monica Crowe. On our flight home, we sported our new WDS 2013 shirts…
Once you get familiar with going to conferences (or any social event), you begin to understand that it’s not about impressing, it’s about (more…)Tweet
I once attended a SXSW talk given by Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield Yogurt CEO and his wife, Meg Cadoux Hirshberg and she was discussing her new book, For Better or For Work: A Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs and Their Families.
As they shared their experience creating and running Stonyfield, what stays with me the most is when Gary said,
“I am a pathological OPTIMIST.” -Gary Hirshberg
Meg had us captivated when she talked about the stress that came with building their business (couples in attendance all nodded their heads) and how there were times when she and Gary didn’t speak to one another (couples elbowing one another and chuckling), when they literally had to stay away from one another to give Gary the space to do what he did well (couples smiling).
There was a time when they got news that their farm had received some sort of citation which required it be shut down that day. This was potentially devastating to their operations and Meg thought it was the end of the world while Gary never saw the risk involved because he had something fundamental to true entrepreneurial thinking…the understanding that there are no impossibilities unless you choose to see them.
When Gary shared his one-liner with the group, it was like a lightning bolt straight to my heart. I clearly understood what he meant because I see opportunity and growth everywhere and seek to find ways to maximize and express it.
It’s easy to go on that “just-be-positive-and-have-faith” spiel when it comes to the aspects of our lives that aren’t so convivial, but you have to meet hope halfway and find ways to think and act in the face of risk and fear.
Have the courage to see your problems for what they are, then take the necessary steps to figure them out. That’s much better than playing the sugarcoating game, or ignoring them altogether.
Where in your life can you choose to be more pathologically optimistic?
(Photo by Julian Dufort, Inc Magazine)Tweet
I just came across this article on the Huffington Post called The Rise of College Alternatives and it was yet another reminder and comfort to me about the choices I have made in the last decade of my life.
I am a student of life, but in a different sense.
I didn’t make the list of students graduating summa cum laude . I was farrr from it. But that didn’t mean I lacked a thirst for learning. I just didn’t focus on ‘making the grade’.
When I was a sophomore in high school, you would’ve seen me in the library perusing many different sections or flipping through the pages of thick poetry books, looking up words I’d circled in Vogue articles, or reading about the life of Black Panther founder, Huey Newton.
I was simply curious…about everything that interested me.
You would never have imagined that I was nearly failing my chemistry class, even though I adored my teacher who resembled Elmer Fudd. But his adorableness wasn’t enough to get me to pay enough attention to protons and everything else that proved to be a foreign language to my ears and eyes in that class. I just wasn’t into it and knew I wouldn’t pursue it in life.
I wasn’t the best student when it came to what was always required of me, but I still never questioned my need for an education, for a degree.
When I graduated high school, I wasn’t able to ask my parents to borrow money to go to school (I’m still laughing about that one, Mitt) nor did I have a concrete plan for college. I was completely on my own when it came to that, but there was never a doubt that I would go or that I would finish. I was American and having the opportunity of a college education was ingrained in me.
I ended up getting guidance from a fellow college friend who walked the campus barefoot just to prove that he could. He helped me register and schedule my classes – interestingly enough, we had two classes together and he wanted to keep that pattern going the following semester because of his feelings for me, but his revolutionary ideas weren’t impressing me anymore.
Where he saw being bold in the face of authority or disdain for anyone’s upward movement in life, I saw limitations and struggle surrounding him and the life he was leading. That was not how I wanted to feel in my own life, so I eventually changed the company I was keeping.
When I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Finance, one thing I was grateful for was to declare myself debt-free from that experience. I worked in Banking and found a company that paid 100% of my college fees. I’m talking, they covered tuition, books, and even my cap and gown. It was a fantastic deal plus I was getting real world experience in the Finance world while educating myself.
There are always trade offs, though. I can’t look back on my college days and recant stories of me yelling in the lunch cafeteria “Food fight!!” or going to thriller parties with my nerd boyfriend from Lambda Lambda Lambda. I was too busy mixing and mingling from 9 to 5 like Melanie Griffith once did…as a total “working girl.”
I didn’t have the dorm life, the roommate you either love or hate, the parties, the football games, but when I left college, I LEFT it behind me…no debt, no creditors, no loans, and had a degree to call my own.
The choices YOU make in life shape YOU and determining the path right for you is all in your hands.
After getting my Bachelors degree from UT Dallas, I went back in to pursue a Masters in Aesthetic Studies- which is pretty much like an interdisciplinary studies degree where you curate the curriculum of your choice in the Arts. It was a whole other world and I knew UT Dallas was not known for its liberal arts program, or for much of anything liberal arts-related; it was a commuter school primarily for working folks and best known for its computer science and business programs. So I canceled that higher education plan out. I wasn’t willing to move forward, because I didn’t feel it was the best route to take.
So I went alternative and threw myself into the world. I went to Mexico and mingled with published authors, returned to Dallas to work alongside magazine editors at the best city news magazine in town, then went entrepreneurial and started my own personal concierge service, then got into the blogging scene. Who knows where I’ll go next, but that’s the beauty of life…it always changes and I am more than willing to go with that kind of flow.
Many routes that I’ve taken have actually felt more like detours, leading me down paths that have brought me knowledge about life and myself that no college education, professor, or former boss ever offered me.
Experiencing my life, making unconventional choices, becoming a mother, writing my first book, heartbreaks, and trusting in the unknown and my own intuition have been my best forms of education.
I highly recommend you pay more attention to what you want to learn, what calls your interest, what attracts you, who speaks to you, and follow that pathway. This is the very concept of living that I discuss in my book ‘Convivial | A Quest for the Masterpiece Within‘. Have you gotten your hands on a copy yet?
College degrees are a great accomplishment, but they don’t solve everything and they don’t entirely bring you the knowledge you need to live a convivial life.
This is truly a different economy. You’ve got to adapt to it. Your curiosity for learning, for delving into new environments, for connecting and building relationships with others, your willingness to adopt new habits and outlooks, your desire for continual improvement, your openness to criticism, your ability to be proactive and creative, and your courage to face your fears is what will take you through life successfully.
Determine how you best learn.
Declare the world your classroom.
Take your seat up front.
Pay attention to the lessons.
Choose the best teachers…
Life, Love, and your very own heart.Tweet
You know that inner critic inside all of our heads, the one who loves to construct the walls, the glass ceilings, the roadblocks and imaginary obstacles deep within when we set out to fulfill our dreams?
That imaginary bully/mean girl rolling her eyes, crossing her arms, and plotting ways to sabotage your confidence and efforts to be happy, to find confidence within yourself and your abilities, to finish what you start…the negative voices in your mind who love to talk talk talk about everything you can’t do? Yeah, I think you know that character.
Well…just a day after successfully launching my brand new book ‘CONVIVIAL’ and exciting sales starting to come in like WOW,
Here’s what my inner critic, looking ever so small and sitting on the sidelines, is saying today:
“She did it. The bitch did it. She wrote that damn thing and it now exists for the world to read and enjoy. Shit. I need a new game plan.”
So! What dreams have you put on the back burner? What changes are you ready to see take shape in your world? It all starts from within and my book can serve as a guiding light to help you make headway.
Get your peek inside and read a few pages right now!
Today is my first day in “class” for B-School and I’m taking a quick break to share this blog with you!
I’m possibly working out some discomfort and feelings of uncertainty as I write you-I was feeling it as I worked through the material I’m learning.
The community of women entrepreneurs who are involved, approximately 1500, are all so amazing and inspiring. That is the true benefit of this experience and I am so grateful to be part of it. However…
That alone can bring up tons of emotions and feelings of uncertainty. You may start asking yourself,
Do I belong here?
Is this the right place for me?
Do I have what it takes?
How can I compare to all the amazing things that these other women are doing?
Will this really be worth the money I spent on it?
Will I get through all the assignments and apply all the knowledge in one peace?
When in uncharted environments and around new people who bring on the challenge, I’d like you to remember this quote to justify and validate your state of uncertainty and occasional insecurity (forgive me I can’t remember who said it!):
“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you need to find another room.”
Simply put, smart people surround themselves with even smarter people. And the smarter you want to get, the more uncomfortable positions you’re willing to put yourself in.
Personal investment in yourself is a huge deal and embarking on a new path can feel like stepping onto a tight rope with all eyes on you. There will be bumps in the road, especially at the inception, and the path will appear unpaved, seemingly treacherous, but this is to test your will and determination to get to where you are going.
Here’s what I want to recommend you do ever so often, starting today, to combat weak thoughts:
Treat yourself to unforgettable, inspiring, personal reminders and words that come straight from you.
A kind of love note to self and place them in unexpected places for you to find later, where you can easily forget, and then find when you least expect to.
When that time comes for it to reappear, you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised and trying to remember
“Hey! When did I write this?”
It’ll be a guaranteed moment of personal warmth and wonder.
I bet you’ll even have a bounce in your step the rest of the day, because you took the time to treat yourself to words of your own that inspire and uplift. It’ll be a great way to be reminded of how special, smart and vulnerable you are.
Here are two unexpected discoveries I recently found…
When I first set up my website, it was called Convivial Society and I was using FotoMoto to print postcards and share my photography. I wanted to test out the quality of the card stock, so I sent myself a postcard and wrote this message on the back. I’ve kept it since.
I started reading Aleph by my beloved author, Paulo Coehlo, then put it down to probably read three other books that I didn’t finish either (creative, scatterbrain minds!), then I picked up Aleph again and found this message written on back.
A closer look at what I wrote
It was a sweet surprise and I’ll be surely including it in my notes for The Art of Convivial Living book I’m working on. Material! Material! Our lives are what make up the material in everything we create.
Alright, I’ve gotta run now. It was great to spend this moment with you! Let me know in the comments or on Facebook / Twitter how you plan to take loving action into your own hands. Perhaps you can even do it for the ones you love…that never fails. Secret post it notes under the toilet seat? Nah…do even go there!
Just acknowledge that you are on this earth to learn, create and contribute in your own way and to touch numerous lives because of it.
Your presence is like no other,Tweet
I was able to steal this morning time to share with you all I was up to late last night.
After a few phone calls, some research, and two weeks of tapping into my feelings about where I want to go with The Convivial Woman and how I want to feel as a result of my efforts here, I took one swift action toward investing in myself by enrolling in…
Marie Forleo’s Rich Happy & Hot B-School.
I’m thrilled, jittery and absolutely giddy because I pushed through my fear and every possible excuse that could keep me where I’m at versus getting me to where I need to be!
I spoke to two friends who happen to be women I admire and entrepreneurs themselves and when I told them I would be joining B-School, this is what they said:
“Yay!! We’ll rock it out together”
“Yaaaaaaayyyy!!! It’s gonna be awesome.”
After a decent night’s sleep, I also woke up to this message on Facebook from yet another friend who was aware of my recent choice:
“We are best friends…always remember that if you fall, I will pick you up–after I finish laughing at you.” (ahh the truest of friends)
With every risk comes major rewards. Sometimes it’s money, love, moving to a new city or country, a new house, but even better, it’s a more clearer, confident, unstoppable YOU.
When you show the courage to go for it, life responds accordingly and instantly, even if the response is subtle.
It was scary for me to push this button
but I took a deep breath, knew I’d done my homework, and thought to myself, I know what I need to get better at what I’m already good at. And so I did it.
It’s hard to know what to do sometimes, but you still must do that one thing to get to the next thing. Your future depends on you to make a decision, any decision.
I went through the process of signing up for B-School, from an expert I trust and know is the real deal, and when it was time to click “Pay”, I took yet another deep breath, heard the click, and upon exhaling, this appeared before my eyes:
I felt nervous about what was ahead, yet I was proud of myself for demonstrating the courage to give in to my deep-rooted needs.
When you’re a working professional, you show up to work and put your trust in that company to train you to do the job. As you get to know people, you find mentors and people who want to help guide you on your way. Bless those people who take the intiative to get involved in shaping your future. We desperately need more people to step up and reach out.
On the flipside, when you’re an entrepreneur and creating worlds of your own imagination, there is no road map. Everyone is figuring out their way through the road less traveled, yet there are many travelers.
When you choose to tread a path that isn’t as smoothly paved, that’s constantly changing, doesn’t have any clear cut signs for you to follow, then you must seek out mentors in your industry who have had the courage the venture down that same road to help guide and mentor you.
The more mistakes they’ve made, the more knowledge and wisdom they can impart. Athletes aren’t the only ones who need coaches.
Their experience won’t be your exact experience, but it will be worth finding out with them at your side.
So that’s what Marie Forleo and the community of B-Schoolers are going to be for me.
Our parents were our first teachers and that is one world of knowledge we begin our lives with, but there are myriad worlds of knowledge and wonder that await you. It’s up to you to discover them, to trust in them, to invest your time (and yes, your money) in them.
No action taken toward accomplishing your dreams is ever wasted.
Get your education on!
P.S. If you’re looking to be part of Marie Forleo’s B-School class of 2012, today’s your last chance to get on board. Enrollment closes at 3pm EST today 2012 May 25.Tweet
The last two weeks have been fun for me. First, I got away to Vegas with my luvuh (aka hubby) and a couple friends for some much needed unwinding.
We enjoyed a night out as the participating audience for the show, Zumanity- the sensual and naughty side of Cirque de Soleil.
This show is definitely not for the conservative in you. You’ll walk away feeling naked and exposed for the sexual being that you naturally are, but if you’re all about exploring your inhibitions, then join the audience!
I loved the show, but the best part of my experience was seeing my husband laugh out loud as much as he did. It warmed my heart to see his joy and I found myself leaning even closer to him and squeezing his arm a couple of times. Hmm…the effects of the show or a simple moment of endearment? Maybe both!
We stayed at The Venetian and had some convivial times with our friends while dining at such places as Public House, Emeril’s Delmonico, and we couldn’t pass up good old dessert on the Vegas strip at my fave P.F. Chang’s.
Leisure brings about inner calm which fuels your creativity
I’ve come to appreciate the importance of giving in to leisure, to relaxation, to living your life in order to spark your creativity. The last few months have been transitional for my family and I with the whole move to Austin and when I’ve wanted to get to work on an idea, my family’s needs have proved to be paramount and so ideas sit pretty, waiting on me to give them life. But many things haven’t been possible lately, but I know that doesn’t mean they will never be possible.
Within the last year, I’ve learned a lot about patience, acceptance and balancing my ambitions with certain things being out of my control.
What keeps me going are the dreams-turned-reality that I’ve witnessed firsthand by the benchmarks, mentors, and convivial company I’ve carefully selected. They are the folks who inspire, lead, and show me all that is possible..
One such benchmark I want to especially mention today is the visionary author, Danielle LaPorte.
I made it to the bookstore for an early writing date with myself and to pick up a copy of Danielle LaPorte’s newest book, The Firestarter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on your own terms. Today’s the official release date and I’m flipping through my copy and can say its a beauty.
If you’re at a crossroads in your life, this would be a great book to grab.
In case you aren’t familiar with her, she is the creator of the site www.WhiteHotTruth.com. I discovered her blog in 2009, have met up with her twice- in Austin and New York- and have felt her vibe and demeanor to be similar to my own. She’s a cheerleader without the exclamation points and high pitched voice. Her words are deep and intense just as my own sense of being can be. She also happens to be an introvert.
I’m a true fan of her work, because her work affirms within me that my own dreams are real and possible. She’s simple yet hits the mark. Maybe she can do the same for you and the dreams you are holding onto…
Dreams are all around us. Yours included!
Surround yourself with convivial company-
the fearless and crazy kind.
Pick up their books,
hop on a plane to visit them,
dial their numbers regularly, or…
choose to be one yourself.
It warms my heart to see all of the entrepreneurs out there spreading their message of hope and perseverance through their very example of living it. I know it inspires me every day.
I sit at a cafe and just outside the window, I see a van parked with decals that advertise catering and entertainment services. There’s nothing fancy about the van- in fact, I can see a few scrapes and dings in it.
The letters from the decal are starting to peel off, but the person driving this vehicle, and perhaps running this business is obviously not concerned with the condition of his van…his priority is on having reliable transportation for the chairs, tables, and bounce houses he’s offering in exchange for the cash that goes straight to his bank account. Ah…I see him driving away and silently, I wish him well in his endeavors.
What he is concerned about is paying his bills with the income he has created for himself, about how he’s going to get the next customer, and secure their business.
He’s not sitting in some office, whether it be leased or at home, waiting for the phone to ring. No, he’s hustling to get that business. How he goes about his hustle is what sets him apart from his competition.
Everyday that he is in business for himself, he makes the choice to wake up and face potential risk and rejection, one after another, because he believes he can achieve a sale, and provide a service derived from his own imagining, and deliver happiness.
He believes in himself, even when he doesn’t have all the answers. And believe me, as an entrepreneur, a visionary, an artist, you won’t ever have all the answers. (more…)Tweet
The Interactive conference part of SXSW is over, but the film and music festival are only beginning.
I plan to take my kids to a family event on Thursday and perhaps to some free music shows (before their bedtime, of course!) so they can get properly introduced to the SXSW scene in their new hometown. It makes me so happy to know they will grow up in Austin!
I have these mementos to take home with me along with some new connections made.
Thank you SXSWi peeps.
See you next year.
Who wants to come with me?Tweet
My second day at South By Southwest Interactive Conference (SXSWi) was a combination of talks on the state of the ever-changing music industry, and the business climate in general, pissed off artists trying to figure out new ways to put their art out into the world and be appreciated and rightly compensated for their self-expression, and fashion blogs and their links to big company advertising.
It was all very interesting and went down like this…
Before going into my first talk, I stood in line for “The Original Grilled Cheese” and met Myra who recently moved to Austin. She worked in the Gaming industry and was thinking about becoming a mother. We talked about the tough choices women have to make when the time comes for us to sacrifice in the utmost way that we are put on earth to do.
I told her the same thing I’ve said to other woman contemplating motherhood- “There will always be a reason to put it off, so just jump the cliff and join the club, girlfriend.”
I recommended that she read the book, Creating A Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children. Before I had children, I never thought about anything passed the labor experience (you know…like who would take care of my kids and how I would fit work into that equation) and this book gave me reason to think beyond that.
Soon after, I was sitting in the third row, waiting for Brian Solis, one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media and lead singer of the Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Corgan to begin talking about The End of Business as Usual (the same title for Brian Solis’ book which I will read once I finish the stack of books currently staring at me from the top of my kitchen bar).
As Billy Corgan sat on stage, I instantly thought of my dear friend, Cecilia. When I was 12 years old, she was the one I danced and twirled around with when Smashing Pumpkins’ sang Today. All I have left to do is meet Johnny Depp, Larry David, Julia Roberts, and Laura Pausini. Then I can go to heaven.
Billy Corgan is cool. He not only drops plenty of F-bombs, but is a man of strong convictions and personal integrity. He won’t be exploited; and that manner of being is why we as fans have such wonderful memories with his music, because it was pure heart/art.
I headed back to the Blogger’s Lounge and grabbed some food and to my heart’s content, got this picture and autographed book by author, Hugh MacLeod.
This was a serendipitous moment for me, because it was only two weeks ago that I was at BookPeople doing some writing when I came across a book called Ignore Everyone by this very man. I spent the rest of my time at the bookstore devouring his book and became an instant fan of this writer who now lives in Alpine, Texas.
This gal offered me a ride to my next presentation and was as friendly as any Austinite can be. She’d just spent the past year living in Ecuador and was back home and back to work.
The girls were sweet and my takeaway was this: big companies are looking to work with bloggers to reach audiences and potential customers on multiple platforms. If they see a good fit, they’re willing to work with individual bloggers and pay them. Proof? Folks from Victoria’s Secret and Tide sat in the crowd.
I am convinced this is the conference to attend every year. And lucky me that I now live in Austin!
Next on my agenda: convert my husband, Martin from Sunday football watching to Seth Godin reading. Then hopefully, he can be eager to attend SXSWi with me next year and we can make it a couple’s affair.
Today is the first day of Austin’s South By Southwest Interactive Conference (SXSWi), a much anticipated event that draws entrepreneurs, innovators, and creative folk of all sorts from all over the country and world each year.
I’m grateful to be attending this year. There are myriad speakers and events to pop in on and I’ll be sure to share my takeaways from the events and give you a glimpse into some of the notes I take right here.
For now, I leave you with this reminder as always…
You are a Masterpiece. Live accordingly.Tweet