(NOTE: I'm just about finished with the Creative Freedom entrepreneur type quiz. If you're not already on my mailing list, subscribe [in that handy box above] and be the first to get access!)
This summer, I've been channeling my inner crafty woman. I'm a pretty good singer and speaker, but I never really thought of myself as creative - as in making things - until I married a guy who decorates our Christmas tree with origami cranes.
I fiddled around with drawing as a kid - but my cousin was a much better artist. In fact, I could pretty much guarantee that someone I knew was better at any crafty thing than I was.
Turns out, that's part of my Creative Freedom type. I'm a Fusion, which means that I can always find someone more creative, more strategic, and more "better" than me if I look hard enough - but that's because my life is filled with a mix of awesome Chaotic and Linear Creatives, who will always be further along on the spectrum than I am. Fusions, on the other hand, sit right in the middle of the spectrum, which means we can do lots of things other people can't. It's why our analytical friends call us "the creative one" and our creative friends call us "the smart one."
This is just part of what I've been exploring in preparation for the launch of my new book "Creative Freedom." Once I learned I was a Fusion type, it gave me permission to embrace ALL the ways I'm crafty and creative. Finally, a place where I don't have to choose, I can just enjoy being me!
And I made an origami daffodil to prove it! It's my first attempt, and I used a plain sheet of paper instead of origami paper, so it's a little wonky, and I'm proud of it!
There's another reason I'm sharing this daffodil with you, and it has to do with a story that goes back about 20 years. You may have heard of it. It's called "The Daffodil Principle" by the late Jaroldeen Edwards.
But before I get there, let me tell you why I'm sharing this story.
I got an email from a reader who has been struggling with building her Noble Empire because of some stuff she's been dealing with in life: health, money, family... you know.. life stuff. She's a little frustrated and overwhelmed about wanting to be further along on her dream, but also stuck in the reality of where she's at.
Which brings me to the Daffodil story.
Jaroldeen's story is actually about a real garden in Running Springs, CA, designed and planted by Gene Bauer - a lifetime effort spanning more than 50 years. Every fall, at her vacation cabin, Gene would plan and plant each bulb by hand. When she started, she didn't even know which end was up.
Can you relate?
As creative entrepreneurs, sometimes we don't know what direction we're going - let alone if it's the right one or not. But Gene's an example of just showing up, year in and year out, and letting the creation unfold into a life's work. Most people don't know Gene was actually a teacher, and planting daffodils was just an interest, that became a hobby, that became a passion.
This week's video tells the rest of the story - the part that happened after Jaroldeen wrote her story - and I think it's probably even more powerful than the original, because of how the Bauers had to overcome adversity when fires besieged the property. Oh, and if you watch really closely, you'll get a quick glimpse of New Kids on The Block and a young Marky Mark Wahlberg before he got all grown up.
The more I researched the story, the more fascinated I became. That's part of why I learned to make an origami daffodil - since they're out of season right now (you can also make a stem if you'd like). Gene and Dale even compiled a history of the Running Springs property to give people some background on how the 5 acre plot of land came to be in their hands, and ultimately covered with so many varieties of daffodils.
THAT, to me, is what it means to build a Noble Empire.
What small step are you making? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments and be part of the Rising Tide. Have a question you'd like to see featured? Hit me up! I love requests!
A couple of weeks ago we started the studio/office rearrange when the new lighting came. I still haven't been able to fit everything in, but this new video gives you an idea of where we're heading.
It's also the start of a new format for the weekly songs. I wanted to do something that was a little more inspirational AND educational, so that they didn't just come across as a bunch of cover tunes for no apparent reason. When I started the 300 songs project, it was about getting practice and learning how to operate the equipment in the studio. Over time, however, I've been blessed to have built a cozy following of people who actually enjoy watching the videos, not just listening to the rehearsal concepts.
We've even done a couple of virtual concerts featuring some of those tunes. During those shows, I always try to tie the songs back to an important moment in my journey or a "teachable moment" of some sort, because I believe that music can be educational as well as inspirational (remind me to tell you how the music of Billy Joel helped me win the city quiz bowl tournament in high school).
To that end, I'm launching this new format featuring the song "Hide" made popular by Joy Williams. Whenever I feel "not enough" in any respect, this song kicks my butt and reminds me I'm awesome. I hope it does the same for you. If nothing else, you'll get to see a rare moment of me wearing makeup!
You don't have to hide!
It's time for you to shine and show the world how awesome YOU really are. (Click to tweet)
This weekend, I was invited to do a short set for a local non-profit holiday party. So Des and I dusted off the road gear and delighted the ladies with a few Christmas favorites. Here's one I've not shared previously: Irving Berlin's 1940's classic "White Christmas."
It's fitting, since last week I did "Rudolph" and those two songs are the biggest selling Christmas songs of all time (White Christmas is #1).
It's still green here in Michigan, albeit cold - hanging in the mid
Wherever you are in the world, I hope your December is full of warmth and good cheer.
It's not every day one of your heroes gives you a public acknowledgement. Perhaps that will change one day, but for now, I'll keep savoring the occasional tweets, nods, and virtual hi-fives that come from people I admire in the world.
Sometimes we forget that competition isn't always about "winning" in the traditional sense. In truth, there's often a slew of other lessons and gifts that come when we show up and do our best, regardless of whether or not we actually win.
Here's a story and a song that I hope inspires you to keep showing up and doing your best, even if you don't think you're winning.
It took Bart Howard well over 20 years.
Bart was a piano player in the Blue Angel cabaret, working on his own music, in the hopes of one day working with his idol, Cole Porter.
Most musicians know the name Cole Porter. Very few know the name Bart Howard. But this one song is his legacy.
Bart wrote dozens of tunes, but none were as popular as "Fly Me To The Moon".
Bart was asked by a publisher for something simple, and in 20 minutes he cranked out this cabaret waltz. The publisher asked him to change the lyrics, but Bart refused - a move that could have jeopardized his opportunity to have this song produced. But Bart held his ground on his song. Since then, "Fly Me To The Moon" has been covered, re-arranged, and even had the time signature changed when Quincy Jones arranged a version for Frank Sinatra.
Originally titled "In Other Words," Peggy Lee recorded and later performed the song on national television. As it grew in popularity, Peggy convinced Bart to change the name to it's well known opening line.
For Bart, it was this song. The success of "Fly Me To The Moon" was such that he continued to live off the residuals of that one song for the rest of his life. It's considered a "Towering Song" in the history of contemporary popular music. In 2004, 50 years from when he wrote that tune, Bart died.
This week's song is a request from @PattyKogutek on Twitter. Thanks, Patty! It was a joy to learn this story and be able to share it with everyone.
Just one step. Just one song. Just one moment. That's all it takes to make history. What will you do?
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It was a business trip. 8 days in sunny Vegas, while my family was snowbound, just HAD to have some kind of a story, right?
SPOILER: this one begins with guilt, shame, and resentment, and ends up with me feeling like a princess, and six lessons you can use in the pursuit of your dreams.
Let me break it down for ya...
It began as most business trips do: with lots to do and not much time to get it all done. Between flights, a showroom rearrange before the annual January Gift Market, and training for the sales reps - not to mention the Gift Show itself, I really didn't expect to have any time to "enjoy" Vegas. I was, after all, there for work. An earlier version of myself would have holed up in my hotel room during all off hours and either slept (to make up for the time zone shift) or worked (because, well, I'm an overachiever like that).
Not this time. (more…)
Shocking, but true: back in 1994, an unknown, unsigned artist had a number one hit. Lisa Loeb's "Stay (I Missed You)" became the spring board for an enduring career for the bespectacled artist - one that took a more traditional turn when she signed with Geffen Records.
Back then, it was almost unthinkable for a musical artist to go the independent route. In fact, had Loeb not lived across the street from Ethan Hawke, it's possible her song would never have made it into "Reality Bites" (and on to make history). "The industry" pretty much controlled airplay, exposure, income and identity for anyone that wanted to be a successful, profitable musical act. So it made good sense back then to get signed as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, that could also mean a lot of "compromise" - from your sound, to your look, and all points in between. IF you wanted to be "successful" you had to be willing to relinquish your identity as an artist (just ask (more…)
[Note: This is Day 17 in the Be Your Own Guru series. Today is also the re-launch of Dr. Eldon Taylor's book "I Believe: When What You Believe Matters". This post contains excerpts from his book. It's also an exploration of our brain's "efficiency trap" that keeps us mired in self-limiting beliefs.]
When I was a kid, I looked up to my grandmother.
Grandma was a looker as a young lass. She even sang in a local nightclub with her sister. The story goes that one night, when her boyfriend couldn't come to pick her up from work at the club, he sent his brother to bring her home. That "brother" went on to be my grandfather. That's their wedding picture on the left.
Even though she was "old" by kid standards, Grandma was cool and refined. She knew how to put on makeup and wear a dress (something my mom NEVER did), after a day of working in the yard, getting her hands dirty... and it always looked effortless and matter-of-fact with Grandma.
Okay, I still aspire to (more…)
You can see all the songs I've been working on for my #300songs project here. I've got a goal of 200 subscribers to my YouTube channel by the end of March. Can you help? Subscribe and help spread the word!
Far too many of us walk around regurgitating what others have said, doing what others have done, that we forget about our own "you-nique-ness", as I've called it before. We want "blueprints" and insider help from a so-called "guru". We want the answers when we don't even always know the questions yet.
Yet, we see and understand truths we don't always articulate. We hear the voices in the heads of those around us not yet courageous enough to say what they're thinking. Sometimes we're one of them, and sometimes we speak up, step out, and shine a little - even if only for a moment.
One woman I know said it was like a big target was on her back. To her, being visible meant people were poised to attack her the minute she began to shine.
I hope I'm not the only one here who relates to that idea.(more…)