A Fun and Full Week

I spent most of last week visiting Vancouver BC masterminding with Andrea J. Lee and my fabulous fellow participants of her Wealthy Thought Leader mentorship program. We spent all day Thursday and Friday brainstorming about our businesses, sharing ideas and resources, and challenging each other to stretch and be leaders in our field. It was fun getting to know everyone and all the amazing things they are up to.

On Friday, New World Library FedExed me a print out of my finalized book cover! Very exciting to see. Friday was also the day my book went to the printer. It was a treat to get to celebrate this milestone with my fellow Diamonds and a little bit of bubbly, thanks to the lovely Pamela!

On Tuesday I attended the TEDxYVR event and enjoyed watching past talks around the theme “Playing with Possibilities.” You can see a couple of my favorite videos from the night here.

I loved hanging out on Granville Island. It’s a funky, artsy area with lots of cool shops, an art and design school, and an amazing public market. I was obsessed by all of the cute stationary and notebooks at the store Paper-Ya.

And while we were holed up in the Executive Board Room of the hotel, Andrea and her team invited in play with these colorful pipecleaners. They’re such a fun and easy way to inspire creativity! You should’ve seen all of the great accessories people made.

I’m still digesting all that we covered during our intensive time together and I’m super excited about what’s in the works for next year. I’m very grateful to have the support and guidance of this mentoring group as I head into the exciting adventures that await in 2011!

Keeping the Gremlins at Bay

Isn’t it funny how the gremlins get louder the closer we move toward our big dreams? For weeks and weeks, I’ve been diligently plugging away at my manuscript, but now that I’m preparing to have colleagues review it and give feedback, the Inner Critic kicked into overdrive.

Productivity came to a halt. I dug my heels in. I started to stall on sending out certain e-mail requests, I avoided reading sections of my manuscript (let’s not even talk about looking at the whole thing in its entirety!), and I kept myself in the dark about what the timing of my next steps needed to be. These are a few of my gremlin’s many sneaky tactics to keeping things status quo.

Recognizing the gremlin’s grip, I began taking little steps forward. I drafted up the e-mails that I needed to send out. I printed out documents that I had not been wanting to deal with. I got more Post-it Notes and mapped out the dates of key milestones leading up to my deadline. I swear, it’s these tiniest of actions that get my mind off of the gremlin talk and on to the bigger vision. There is still plenty more to do and I’m still noticing resistance. But, I know if I keep making these micromovements I’ll maintain momentum. And it sure helps having awesome, supportive people in my life and an amazing book coach to keep me focused on the positive. So take that, gremlins!!

How does your Inner Critic try to sabotage your progress? What are the ways you keep your gremlins at bay?

Playing & Planning with Creative Entrepreneurs

right-brain business plan workshop

I had a blast on Sunday at my the Right-Brain Business Plan workshop. Here are Britt Bravo and Gretchen Wegner collaging up a storm! Throughout the day, we had fun shaking, howling, and twisting with our MuseCube moments. Gretchen’s MuseCubes are such a great way to connect back with the intuitive wisdom of your body.

In-person gatherings are great for building off of each other’s creative energy, getting fresh perspectives, developing relationships, brainstorming ideas, and knowing that you don’t have to go it alone as a solo-preneur.

right-brain business plan workshop

Each participant’s visual plan and business truly reflected their own values, vision, and special gifts. I loved seeing what amazing things these ladies are up to in their work.

right-brain business plan workshop

You can read a little bit more the day and see additional pictures on the Right-Brain Business Plan blog.  While you’re there, check out the latest featured business plan and interview with Sara Ortiz. Her colorful visual plan and business are bursting with creative goodness!

Creativity in Business Conference in D.C. 10/4

On Saturday, October 4th, I’ll be presenting at the groundbreaking Creativity in Business Conference in Washington D.C.  When conference founder Michelle James approached me to speak, I was beyond thrilled for the opportunity to be in community with fellow creative entrepreneurs who really get the value of creativity in the work world!  Not only am I excited to lead a break-out session on the Right-Brain Business Plan, I’m also looking forward to a full day of experiencing and learning innovative approaches focused on individual, group & organizational creativity in business.

Creativity is widely considered the new capital of 21st century business.  New ideas, new innovations, new systems and new structures depend on accessing novel levels of creativity — for everyone, not just the creatives or “artists.”  Everyone is creative and everyone could use an extra creative boost, especially in the world of business.  At this event, we’ll explore different facets of creativity as the key driver in navigating and thriving in the new work paradigm.

This event is for entrepreneurs, leaders, managers, learning/innovation officers, trainers, consultants, coaches and anyone who wants to be more innovative and adaptive in the changing world of work.  I bet that’s YOU!

I’m also excited that author Sam Horn will be a panelist.  I love her book POP! Stand Out in Any Crowd.

Here’s the lowdown:

CONFERENCE from 9:00AM-5:30PM: Lively, Content-rich, Experiential Break-out Sessions each with a different focus related to the theme of Applied Creativity in  Business; Engaging Thought Leader Panels explore the creativity-centered work paradigm through the lens’ of leadership, social media, adaptive strategy and creative thinking.

FESTIVAL from 5:30PM-7:30PM: Comedy, Music, Networking, Book Signings, Give-Aways and hors d’oeuvres from Mie N Yu  restaurant.

Register today! Early bird discount through August 31: $149 ~ Regular rate after August 31: $197

I can’t wait to be back in the D.C. area.  I was out there last year as a Circle Coach for CTI’s Quest program and had a blast making new friends on the East Coast.  This visit, I’m looking forward to doing yoga at Tranquil Space and connecting with my D.C. friends!

Expressive Arts Teacher Training


One of my intuitive painting rituals is to take a snapshot of my paint palette.  Each session, my color choices differ depending on my mood or what simply strikes my fancy while perusing the rainbow of tempera bottles.  The intuitive process begins even before paint ever touches paper.  It starts by selecting colors and brushes.  What size brush is your hand drawn to?  What paint is crying out, “Pick me!  Pick me!”  Do you listen? Or do you ignore these creative urges?  What a great reminder that it’s about the process, not the product!

How do you allow your intuition to guide you in selecting the tools, materials and resources for creating what you’re up to in your life?

I’m always amazed at what insights emerge in the creative process.  The other week I shared some images and learnings from my intuitive painting process so far and last month, I shared some intuitive painting life lessons in my Artizen Coaching newsletter.


I’m letting my intuition guide me by choosing this very important creative resource… starting in August, I’ll be participating in Chris Zydel’s Expressive Arts Teacher Training Program.  If you’re a coach, therapist, artist or creative soul who wants to use expressive arts to facilitate powerful change, then definitely check out this training.  It’s an intensive year-long experiential course where we’ll learn how to incorporate Expressive Arts approaches such as intuitive painting, movement, etc. into deep group process work.  Chris will also be sharing the nuts and bolts of how to open a studio, run the business side of things and more!

While I’ve learned a ton about leading groups through CTI’s leadership program and I feel pretty good about my business know-how, I know there is always so much more knowledge to soak up and embody.  What I love about this program is I’m going to get to blend together many of my loves – personal growth, creativity, expressive arts, leadership, coaching and group work.  For a few years now, I’ve been searching for an Expressive Arts program but none of them seemed to fit what I was looking for.  Many seemed too clinical or therapy-based or too academic.  None of them cried out “Pick me! Pick me!”  That is, until I met Chris.  Her warm heart and wise spirit invited me to play!  I’m really looking forward to continuing my personal and professional development in this way and I’m excited to see what will unfold from this experience.

What creative resource is calling your name today?  What would happen if you followed that creative urge?

Secret #12: Planning to Achieve Your Goals


The final chapter of The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women focuses on goal setting and action steps.  After three months of exploring the creative process with Jamie Ridler’s Next Chapter book blogging group, it’s important to also have a plan for making it all real.  Right now, my big goal is to have my book proposal completed by the end of May (which is now next month – yikes!).  I’ve been working with my book coach for quite some time and I feel like I’m starting to make some significant progress.  YAY!

I like to see my goals on one-sheet of paper and the anal part of me likes to check things off once I complete them!  So, I created a Quarterly Goals Sheet template that I fill out and post on my bulletin board above my desk.  It’s a great way for me to track how I’m doing against my vision.  For some tasks, I will also fill out a more detailed Action Plan template so that I can get really clear on the specific steps, resources needed and (since I’m a pressure-prompted worker) timing.

When I’m overwhelmed with a really big project, I often times will just put up tasks on post-it notes and organize the plan from there.  I love how visual and free-form this method is.  Other times, I’ll just write a letter to myself from the future to inspire me to take the steps needed to make my goal manifest. For other creative planning ideas, check out my Wishstudio Blogzine Musepreneur column on some right-brain approaches to business planning.

I’ve enjoyed re-reading the 12 Secrets in community with other women.  This process of exploring and sharing has helped to deepen my understanding and practices of the 12 secrets in new, exciting ways.   I’ve absolutely loved meeting so many inspiring, creative women through the Next Chapter book blogging group!  And I look forward to the next book selection which Jamie announced on today’s celebration call.  If you missed it, you can listen to the call here.

Also, on the celebration call, Jamie announced the launch of “Your Creative Spark: Inspiring Interviews with 12 Highly Creative Bloggers” (I’m one of the interviewees!).  I just downloaded my copy and am loving all the juicy creative goodness!  Click here for more details on Your Creative Spark.


Secret #8: Empowering Partnerships and Alliances


This week’s chapter of The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women is definitely my growing edge. Secret #8 is about selecting empowering partnerships and alliances.  This, to me, is quite different from tapping into the support and wisdom of my guides.  I love connecting and collaborating with others.  That inspires me and feeds my soul.  What I find scary is diving into an actual business partnership where we are truly co-creating something together, sharing profits, etc. Even if it’s with someone I align with, lots of stuff gets triggered in me like the need to “protect” myself and my “intellectual property.” Feelings of scarcity and comparison can start to surface.  I get that it’s all fear-based because it’s outside of my comfort zone and when there’s money involved that probably just eggs on my saboteurs even more!

I’m also independent, individualistic, introverted and, given that I’m a 4 on the Enneagram, I have a strong need to be unique and different and often feel like no one else understands me.  All of which can be challenges in a partnership!

One of the most empowering partnerships I’ve experienced, though, was with my friend Brighid during the two years that we co-led a leadership retreat together.  That’s us in the photo above on a high-ropes course.  This particular physical activity tends to reveal dynamics at play in a partnership.  The key to getting all the way to the other side is for each partner to lean in 100%.   I’m in the black and white and you might be able to tell that I’m witholding just a bit, which is a typical pattern for me.  What really helped us enrich our partnership overall was lots of open communication, checking out our assumptions early on before they snowballed into drama and knowing we could trust each other to each bring our natural gifts.  The other key was having a shared passion and focus for what we were creating.

While partnerships can take a lot of work, I also know that there is tremendous learning and growth for me and my business when I stretch outside my comfort zone and partner with the right people. And while it can be more vulnerable, it can also be quite fun and fulfilling!

If you’re considering entering into a partnership or alliance with others, it’s really helpful to have a good sense of who you are – your strengths, your idiosyncrasies, your expectations and what you bring to the table.  Gail McMeekin has a pretty in-depth self-assessment in this chapter to help you define your collaboration profile.

Also, here are some resources that I’ve found useful in creating more effective partnerships:

Secret #6: Conquering Saboteurs


We’re half-way through the Next Chapter book club! Secret #6 from Gail McMeekin’s “The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women” is all about our saboteurs, a.k.a. our inner critic, gremlins, and one of my favorites… the itty-bitty shitty committee (Pardon my French! Oh, yeah and sometimes that committee is not so itty-bitty!).

Gremlins are those voices in our head (or sometimes in real life!) that tell us “You can’t,” “You’re not good enough,” and all those other messages that hold us back. Gremlins like to keep things status quo, so it’s no wonder that they get louder when we’re going after our big dreams!

One of the ways that I find myself getting stuck is actually even more complex than just a singular gremlin. Many times it’s a whole cast of characters creating a cacophony of chaos in my head. These characters are neither good nor bad. They just each have their own particular agenda. Last year, I took a course called the Inside Team from one of my coaching mentors. This model opened up a whole new way of looking at what gets in my way. Most importantly, it gave me tools for helping myself and my clients tease apart the sometimes very subtle internal dynamics of the various voices or inside teamplayers.

For my specific situation, I wrote out all the different things I was hearing in my head. This is best to do when you catch yourself saying, “A part of me wants this but another part of me wants that.” For example, I had a player who was very impatient. When I gave him voice, he would pound his fist and say, “Why aren’t your projects done yet?” But another, more playful part of me just wanted to do work when she was inspired. There was also another part that really got on my case about doing my homework, getting the right research done and figuring out the numbers. Needless to say, none of them were getting along!

Before I got it all down on paper, I just replayed this dialogue in my head over and over again (without even realizing it). And I was left feeling pretty stuck and frustrated. However, once I became aware of how these different players were at odds with each other, I was able to redesign how they interacted with each other in a way that supported me and my goals. I tapped into the wiser part of me to lead my team and to call upon the skills and strengths of each member. For example, even though the impatient player was very loud, he had a talent for keeping this moving things forward, especially if he teamed up with my “project manager” who created more manageable milestones that the more playful part of me could get excited by.

What different voices (gremlin-like, allies or other) do you hear? Which ones are louder and which ones haven’t had much air-time? When you map out the dynamics of your inside team, what becomes clearer? And how can you have your team players work in better partnership with each other toward your goals?

P.S. – Make sure to listen to Andrea Scher’s interview with Jamie. She’s got some great tips on getting past gremlins.

What Do You Love?


Photo by Kate Prentiss, kissthepaper.com

On Tuesday, my friend Kate “love bombed” me.  She left a bundle of cheerful cherry blossom branches and a handmade Valentine’s card on my front porch.  You can see more of her “love bombs” like the one above on her Kiss the Paper post this week.  I love getting surprise handmade gifts like that (see #46 below)!

In my newsletter this month, I shared a story about creating a list of 100 things that you love.  This is a great way to look for the good in your life, to indulge in what brings you joy and to create positive change.  Your list can include what you love about you, the people and world around you, your favorite things to do or just simple pleasures that bring a smile to your face.

Here’s my list of what I love:

  1. My husband, Brian
  2. Snuggling with our dog Emmett
  3. Being creative
  4. My work – I am doing what I love
  5. My lifestyle – I get to do what I love in a way that I love!
  6. Ice cream
  7. Reading in my hammock in my backyard
  8. The homey feeling of my house
  9. My family
  10. My heritage
  11. Walks in nature
  12. My iPhone
  13. Getting awesome free apps for my iPhone
  14. Art and handmade things of beauty
  15. Getting lost in a good book
  16. The color green
  17. My dear friends
  18. Gelly roll pens (fine point)
  19. Martha Stewart
  20. That Obama is now our president
  21. Flipping through Anthropolgie catalogs
  22. Black boots
  23. Collaging
  24. Crafting
  25. Waking up without an alarm clock
  26. Vacationing in relaxing, tropical locations (I would love to go back to Tahiti where Brian and I honeymooned!)
  27. Visiting New York, Chicago and London
  28. Finding a great piece of clothing on sale!
  29. Inspirational stories
  30. My self-care day
  31. Learning, learning, learning
  32. Ashtanga Yoga
  33. Laughing so hard until I cry
  34. Connecting with my friends from Leadership
  35. When my house is clean (preferably cleaned by someone else!)
  36. Meaningful, deep conversations
  37. Going on dates with Brian
  38. The feeling of accomplishment when I finish a project
  39. Generosity
  40. Authenticity
  41. Expressive Arts
  42. Co-leading the Creative Artists Community with Kathy
  43. My blogging friends and the Nurture Huddle
  44. Hanging out with my mucha muchachas
  45. Sharing resources
  46. Giving and receiving handmade, thoughtful presents
  47. Beautiful views of the bay or the ocean
  48. Cala lilies, sunflowers, orchids and Gerbera daisies
  49. Taking naps
  50. Understanding myself better through different personality typing systems
  51. Books, bookstores, the smell of a new book
  52. Handwritten type
  53. Getting compliments
  54. Cute aprons
  55. Japanese calligraphy
  56. Quiet time
  57. That I trust my hairstylist enough to let her do whatever she wants with my hair
  58. Going to museums
  59. Taking workshops and classes (art, personal development, etc.)
  60. Tempura udon
  61. Feeling productive and checking things off my to-do list
  62. Visioning
  63. When things just flow
  64. Massages – hot stone and Thai, especially
  65. Having good laughs and good food with my good friends from book club
  66. Really flavorful and/or spicy food
  67. Discovering new, innovative ways to do something
  68. Feeling in shape and healthy
  69. My Butler Bag
  70. Going for a swim on a hot, sunny day
  71. Random acts of kindness
  72. My fingernails
  73. Facilitating groups and leading workshops
  74. Seeing people living their dreams
  75. My wedding and engagement rings (coming from someone who for many years didn’t believe in getting married!)
  76. Eating really delicious food made by someone else
  77. Herbal tea
  78. Hot cocoa – Spicy from Bittersweet
  79. Slumber parties
  80. Winning fast-paced board or card games
  81. Japanese paper
  82. Meeting friends for lunch in the middle of a weekday
  83. My determination
  84. Laughing at funny childhood stories with my cousins
  85. Smoothies
  86. Finding just the right dress to wear for a special occasion
  87. The smell of Hawaii
  88. Ethnic candy of all kinds
  89. Feeling organized
  90. Blue skies, white clouds and green grass
  91. Having freedom and flexibility
  92. My Inner Muse
  93. Being part of Kiss the Paper
  94. My patio furniture
  95. My Jade yoga mat
  96. Painting
  97. Eating a delicious raw food meal at Café Gratitude – complete with the I am Elated Enchilada and the I am Devoted Coconut Crème Pie (I also love their forward-thinking business philosophy)
  98. Beautiful sunsets
  99. Watching aerial acrobatics
  100. Wearing inspirational jewelry
  101. Knitting
  102. Anything sweet

What are the 100 things you love right now?  What themes do you notice?  And how can these be clues to what you’re wanting to create more of in your life?

Inner Muse Group Coaching starts January 26th

2009 is here!!!  Are you ready to go after your big dreams yet tired of going it alone? Yearning for connection and support from likeminded, creative women? Willing to take risks and be truly seen for the magnificent human being you naturally are?

Monday evenings from January 26th – March 2nd, I’ll be leading the Inner Muse Group Coaching Playground. Join me and up to six other amazing women for six weeks of intensive and inspiring group tele-coaching.

We meet over the phone and online so you can participate from anywhere!

Benefits to You

Through your active participation in this program you’ll:

  • Awaken your Inner Muse and access your own creative brilliance
  • Gain clarity on your core values and future vision
  • Develop an action plan for accomplishing your goals
  • Enjoy a fun and engaging structure to hold you accountable and support you along the way
  • Have a safe space to discuss obstacles, be challenged to your next level and to celebrate your success
  • Get the guidance and support of an experienced certified coach and the perspectives and collective wisdom from the circle

Through expressive arts, creative assignments, reading, self-reflection, journaling, connection and sharing discoveries, you’ll awaken your inner muse and craft a plan for your life vision.

What a past group coaching participant had to say:

“Having Jennifer as our group coach provided the support and guidance needed to maintain the momentum and focus of our quests. Jennifer holds creative space with clarity and curiosity which allowed us individually and collectively to move at our own pace and reach our goals. Partnering with Jennifer was a key factor in reaching my goals.”

— Cynthia Runberg B.S., Master Certified Coach (MCC)

Start 2009 off in full color by joining now!

Find out more and register here. Special pricing through January 16th and payment plans available. Give your Inner Muse the space and support to grow, play and move your dreams into action!