Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for the ‘Emotional Intelligence’ Category

*606 attempts to make this work

In Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on May 24, 2009 at 10:47 pm

It took 606 attempts to make this work.  How many attempts are in you to make it work?  And do you know that there is going to be that one that does work?  There is!

Oh, by the way, this is not digitally enhanced.  It’s done the old fashioned way, one bump at a time.



What Does Authenticity Have To Do with Entrepreneurship Anyway?

In Author: Lisa Canning, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Health & Wellness, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea on May 15, 2009 at 7:41 pm

What does it mean to you to be authentic? Do you have days where you feel really connected to who you are and others where it feels like you cannot find the “switch” to flip on your authenticity? I know I certainly do!

Being authentic is what brings to center stage the Real You and Me, our true Self. By definition when we are authentic we are tapping into “those qualities that establish truth and correctness; Genuineness; originality, sincerity, and not a copy or forgery.” And it is our true self that is required to be fully present if we ever hope to begin to discover the entrepreneur within each of us. This is why our state of mind so quickly must become an integral part of evaluating our entrepreneurial readiness.

I know that it is only when I am in touch with the real me that I actually am able to truly be my creative best and expand my thinking and views of what my world can hold. In those moments where I am afraid, upset or withdrawn I have distanced myself from my authentic self and have lost sight of what it is that is really amazing about me. It is only when I am in touch with my uniqueness, and am myself experiencing it, that the highest level of ideas flow through my mind that begin to shape my entrepreneurial vision.

Do you know what those moments or hours of your authenticity looks like?

For me I know I am being authentic when I feel calm, clear headed, speak with authority and ease, feel playful yet curious all at the same time. When I am authentic my feelings and behaviors are consistent with one another and I feel the most content and at peace with life. This is when I usually am able to say ” Thank God I am alive” and “What a wonderful day today is” as well as ” I have a great idea!”

So, how do we reach this level of fulfilment and possibility? According to Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist whose theories have been influential in 20th century thought, we reach fulfilment, or the expression of our full potential, through reaching a state of self-actualization.

According to Abraham Maslow, we have a hierarchy of needs that must be fulfilled in the following order to be able to reach our own self-actualization, which we must reach to achieve to successfully begin an entrepreneurial venture.

These needs beginning with (I) basic needs for food, shelter, then (II) needs for safety and security, (III) needs for love and belonging, (IV) the need for self esteem, and (V) the need for self-actualisation. We cannot meet the higher-order needs until the lower ones are met.


How do we characterise Self-Actualised (SA) people?

SA people are realistically oriented with an efficient perception of reality extending into all areas of their life.

SA persons are unthreatened and unfrightened by the unknown. They usually have a superior ability to reason, to see the truth.

SA people accept themselves, others the way the are. They have rid themselves of crippling guilt or shame and enjoy themselves without regret or apology, and have no unnecessary inhibitions.

SA people are spontaneous in their inner life, thoughts and impulses and are motivated towards continual improvement.

SA individuals focus on problems outside themselves. SA people tend to have a mission in life requiring much energy, and their mission is their reason for existence. They are usually serene and worry-free as they pursue their mission with unshakeable determination.

SA individuals have a need for detachment, the need for privacy. Alone but not lonely. SA people are self starters, responsible for themselves, own their behaviour.

SA’s rely on inner self for satisfaction. Resilient and stable in the face of hard knocks, they are self contained, independent from love and respect of others.

SA’s have a fresh rather than stereotyped appreciation of people and things, living the present moment to the fullest. SA’s experience what Maslow described as peak experiences. “Feelings of limitless horizons opening up to the vision, the feeling of being simultaneously more powerful and also more helpless than one ever was before, the feeling of ecstasy and wonder and awe, the loss of placement in time and space with, finally, the conviction that something extremely important and valuable had happened, so that the subject was to some extent transformed and strengthened even in his daily life by such experiences.” Abraham Maslow.

Here are Eight Ways to Work Towards Self Actualization:

#1 Work towards meeting and satisfying the lower-order needs (food, shelter, then safety and security, then love and belonging, and then self esteem). Once you have done this, and I acknowledge that it may be difficult and time-consuming, you will be able to make progress with the following:

#2. Life is a moment-by-moment choice between safety (out of fear and need for defence) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth): Consciously make the growth choice many times a day.

#3. Let your true self emerge. Try to go beyond socially-defined modes of thinking and feeling, let your inner experience tell you what you truly feel.

#4. When in doubt, be honest. It may take some courage, but look honestly at yourself and take responsibility for who you are and what happens to you. Self-delusion or self avoidance is the enemy of self-actualisation.

#5. Listen to your own tastes. Be prepared to be unpopular if necessary.

#6. Use your intelligence, work to do well the things you want to do, no matter how insignificant they seem.
Make peak experiencing more likely: learn what you are good at and conversely what you are not good at.

#7. Know who you are, what you are and what is good and bad for you. Where you are going, what is your mission? Opening yourself up to yourself in this way means letting go of your judgement and accepting who you are as you are. Self love is true mastery of self!

#8 Step up to the opportunities that present themselves by embracing your courage to evolve and grow.

I hope this post has helped you better understand what needs must be met in your life to develop the level of emotional intelligence you need to thrive. Life can be an amazing adventure or a nightmare depending on how committed you are to reaching your own level of self-actualization. Adding Entrepreneurship into your self-actualized life will transform your 2D adventure into 3D! I could not live my life without this level of dimension.

I hope you come to feel the same way too.

On Apologies

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Risk on May 12, 2009 at 7:21 pm

The second most important thing that I have learned in life is how to apologize, and it’s the kind of thing that is so important that I wish they taught it in schools. Life is a risky business, and with all risk there is as much potential for mistakes as there is for success and sometimes more. The greater the possible success, the correspondingly huge the potential failure. So for this blog I am offering a quick “how to” on apologizing.

The first part to apologizing is recognizing when one is needed and being clear about what you are apologizing for. Sometimes this is easy, especially when I realize that I have done something wrong, and sometimes it is difficult, as when I can see that someone feels they have been wronged, but I am unable to take the steps to make that wrong right. To my mind, it is always appropriate to apologize to someone who feels they have been wronged, whether or not you agree with them. Now I’ve been told that a simple “how-to” isn’t effective unless I can show a personal example of how it actually applies, so by way of example: I once was working with a woman on a project when we had a misunderstanding about a contract and when payment was due. It turns out that she expected payment at the time we were working together instead of as a deferred payment which was written in the contract. She felt wronged because she wasn’t able to get money in hand and I felt badly, but couldn’t legally offer her payment sooner than was written in the contract. It was one of those times when an apology needed to be made even though I couldn’t make right what had gone wrong.

The second part to apologizing is to recognize the wronged party’s feelings without getting your own feelings involved. An apology is not the time to lash out or to point fingers. It is not the time to make excuses. It is not the time to make accusations. An apology is not about you it is all about them. An apology is a way of saying that even though things did not go well that you still respect and care about the other person and their feelings and that you are sacrificing a portion of your own pride to say so. So back to the story of my coworker and I and the contract misunderstanding; she felt she had been wronged because her expectations were broken. I could have written “Well, if you’d read the contract thoroughly then you’d know the payment was deferred”, but that would have been counter productive. The last thing I wanted to do was to add insult to injury. She’d made a mistake by not reading carefully and I’d made a mistake by not emphasizing that payment was deferred and while we were both upset, neither of us needed to hear that we were to blame.

The third part to apologizing is doing it. This is the hardest part because invariably it needs to happen during or after a moment of conflict, when the only thing that you want to do is to run away from the problem and to hope it will go away on its own. For myself, I find it is best to apologize as quickly and early and sincerely as possible. In the co-worker incident I sat down and wrote an email to her that very night. Conflict makes me agitated and anxious and the only thing that reliably calms me down is taking action even if that action is just typing an email to say what needs to be said.

The last part to apologizing is up to the recipient: whether or not to accept the apology and whether or not to forgive the person who is doing the apologizing. Some people accept apologies with supreme grace and move on quickly. Some people refuse to accept the apology until they feel they are “even” with the other person. Some people never accept the apology at all. This is up to the wronged party in the situation. When you are receiving an apology it is important to remember that someday you will be the one apologizing to someone else and it is important to respond in the way that you would want your own apology responded to. It turns out the episode with my coworker ended up with her leaving and us letting her go. It wasn’t an ideal situation but we both preferred to part company rather try to work with that kind of tension between us.

Once you’ve apologized, all you can do is wait, but you can wait knowing that you’ve done everything possible. The proverbial ball is now in their court and they will either accept the apology or they won’t. Apologizing is a humbling experience, but it is so for a reason: to remind both yourself and the person to whom you are apologizing that with risks comes mistakes and that no one is perfect. It is a way to recognize that other people are human beings even though you differ from them. And it is a way to work through differences in order to build a stronger whole.

Entrepreneurial Courage

In Author: Tommy Dawin, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Risk on May 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm

I find myself talking more and more these days to groups about social entrepreneurship, especially to non-profit and community organizations. This makes a lot of sense in these difficult times, because entrepreneurship as an idea and a practice is generative, pragmatic, and hopeful.
I also find myself revisiting Franklin Roosevelt’s canonical line from his first inaugural address that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. It’s only recently, though, that I went back and read the entire address and discovered that Roosevelt actually defines what fear is. In fact, his definition of fear is quite useful for thinking about entrepreneurship:
“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
Fear is to be feared, in other words, because it makes us hesitate (or even paralyzes us), doubt ourselves, stop taking care of each other, and stop thinking and creating. And, it has this power when we are unable (or unwilling) to name or fully think through tough situations that confront us.
In terms of entrepreneurship, fear stops us from being entrepreneurial or can set in when we stop being entrepreneurial. To engage our biggest challenges in an entrepreneurial way, what matters first is not funding, or infrastructure, or even good ideas. What matters first is mustering and sustaining the courage to come up with the good ideas, scratch for the resources, and build the infrastructure to make new ideas possible.
Indeed, in all my years teaching and consulting on entrepreneurship, I have found that my most important role has been to help my clients and students sustain their courage, and stay accountable to their own best ideas. All the rest, building a team, developing a venture plan, making an idea a reality, only happens because someone pushes through the fear and uncertainty that inevitably goes with new ventures or difficult moments.
So, what does entrepreneurial courage mean in practice?
First, it doesn’t mean lack of fear. We’ve all heard some version of the saying that bravery isn’t not being afraid; it’s being afraid and acting anyway. Same with entrepreneurial courage. Viewed positively, fear (of failure, of looking like an idiot, of running out of money) creates an opportunity for entrepreneurial courage.
Entrepreneurial courage requires us to manage the tensions that arise when we work with others who have different viewpoints and different ideas, as we must.
It requires us to become adept at experimenting with new ideas and being willing to fail so that we can learn quickly what doesn’t work and get to what will work.
It requires us to be unapologetically pragmatic and not let perfect be the enemy of the good and done.
It requires us to constantly fend off cynicism and skepticism about situations we face and the people we face them with.
It requires us to humbly seek and listen to the ideas of those who may not have official expertise or “power” to change things, but may simply have the authority of lived experience and the power of intimate connection to situations and people.
Finally, and this may be the most entrepreneurially courageous act of all, it requires us to identify and focus on what is good and workable in a situation and the personal and material resources we can bring to bear. This attitude is beautifully embodied in the character of Gene Kranz in the movie Apollo 13. Along with his famous line that “failure is not an option,” he continually refocuses his flight engineers from what is wrong with the spacecraft by asking, “what do we got on the spacecraft that’s good?” Or saying, “I don’t care about what anything was DESIGNED to do, I care about what it CAN do!” This is not false optimism. It is a recognition that precisely because a situation is dire, we must focus on what is positive and workable, and we must sustain the courage to act.
In my next post, I will take up the value of silos and boxes. Sometimes, before we try to think outside the box, we need to find new, imaginative ways to use the box.

You Can’t Say That!

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton, Creative Support, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Risk on April 25, 2009 at 4:57 am

Last week I was told to lose the screenplay format for my blogs. It turns out that they were “too different” and that no one was “getting” them. So much for writing in a distinctively film-related style. No one had told me that I was supposed to write prose. Frankly I felt (and still do) quite censored by the whole thing so for my first “normal” blog is on the subject of CENSORSHIP.

Censorship, like gravity, exists as a natural law and will eventually try to pull you down. It is fair to say that every single person will deal with censorship at some point in their life and that creatives will deal with it slightly more often than average because of the subjective nature of art. There are two conflicting facts about censorship which make it so tricky: on one hand, censorship is necessary for the maintenence of society and without it society would not exist. On the other hand, censorship at it’s most basic level prevents innovation, creativity, or variant thinking and prevents society from  evolving. As an Artist (used here to include anyone whose work is creative in nature) how does one find balance between thinking outside the box and respecting the needs of society?

It is easy, but incorrect, to say that censorship comes from external sources. Censorship takes place naturally and subconsciously in the part of the brain called the corpus striatum. When you get an impulse to do something it goes to the striatum which evaluates whether the impulse is  worth pursuing. If it is, then the striatum allows the impulse to travel through to be turned into motor function. This is called “executive function” and if too many impulses are allowed past the striatum a person may develop compulsive behaviors like  kleptomania. Censorship also plays a basic role in society when the individual censors his or her own needs or wants in an effort to conform to a societal norm and to be accepted as part of that society. This happens on the individual level (choosing not to swear in front of children) on the economical level ( forgoing a luxury vacation for themselves in favor of getting health insurance for the family) and on the moral level (choosing not to kill someone because it is “wrong”). Self censorship is the expression of an individual making an effort to be aware of and cater to the needs  of others. In a perfect society, all individuals would behave selflessly in order to meet the needs of all others.

Fortunately, we do not live in a perfect society. Perfection only exists when forces are in balance and when forces are in balance, there is nothing dynamic to cause change. The nature of creativity is to be dynamic- to express what has not already been expressed and to do it in a way that has never been done before. Very often, artists will find that their creativity is encouraged only so far as it fits within the existing status quo and that anything that genuinely breaks the norm is repressed. A good example of this might be the Impressionists- classically trained artists painting classically acceptable scenes but doing it in a wholly innovative way to express the fleeting “impression” of the moment. In their own time, the Impressionists were ridiculed and their paintings were considered “unfinished”, but they opened up the fine art world to the possibility of alternative styles of expression and touched off the expressionists, the futurists, the surrealists, and so on allowing art to evolve into unexplored areas of style.  In their own time, society did not know how to incorporate the Impressionists and so they were rejected in an effort to maintain the status quo but the very fact that the Impressionists did not succumb to this censorship allowed the modern art movement to evolve and forced society to find new ways to understand what “art” meant.

So how does the Artist know when it is best to stand tall in the face of censorship and when it is best to bend to the will of society? This is a question for the individual Artist, so I pose the question to you: If you were told that your work was being done “wrong” because it was different, that the style was ineffective and that “no one would get it”, what would you do? Where would you draw the line between accomodating the needs of others and staying true to your own beliefs?

I am an addict and a gambler

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Health & Wellness, The Idea on April 18, 2009 at 10:29 pm

I am an addict and a gambler. Addicted to my crazy world of creativity and ideas, I gamble every day trying to get what’s inside my head into the outside world to be seen.

I love to see ideas come alive. It is what I was put on this earth to help others do. Some days I am better at it than others.

I live for ideas to bring life enhancing progress, growth and evolutionary change. I live to innovate my life, and the lives of others, with my artistic gifts. What can our tomorrow bring?

You might be thinking, Who are you kidding? But to live this life– I will risk it all.

What about you?

From your friend, the addict and gambler…

Ready. Fire. Aim.

In Author: Lisa Canning, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Risk, The Idea on April 17, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Have you ever fired a gun before? How much time did you spend aiming at your target? Oh, and how many mind games did you play with yourself while you were trying to figure out if you would make that one shot?

I think regardless of if you will admit it or not, we all fantasize about hitting our own personal home run on the first swing right out of the park… Might it be a better fantasy to envision becoming “ready enough”- prepare enough- to simply take a chance and swing to see where you need to sharpen your focus to improve your precision and aim?

Yah, I know–I like the first fantasy better too– its more seductive and sexy. But seriously…

I think in life we spend a lot of time, first in our minds and then through our actions ( or lack thereof), aiming for outcomes that have no basis in our future reality. We spend countless hours “what if-ing” while what can be happening in our lives, to help us truly prepare to aim and hit our bullseye, is marching right on by.

What if you just pull the trigger today so you can see what you really need to do to sharpen your view ?

True failure in life is not one where your target was never hit, but one where you never fully experienced what happens when you repeatedly try to..

Besides–you might just discover you hit a different bullseye that, before, you would have been too busy aiming to ever have seen…

It’s not about you

In Author: Barbara Kite, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on April 16, 2009 at 2:55 am

How do you prepare yourself to tell the world about your gift as an artist, as an entrepreneur?


As an Acting Coach and Public Speaking Coach I deal with artists and presenters of all sorts who want to effectively communicate their gift.  What is your gift?  Can you put it in a sentence?  Are you passionate about it?  Do you realize that it can change people’s lives?  Do you focus on this when you speak, because it’s not about you, it’s about the gift you are giving.  If you have nothing to give to an audience, don’t speak. 


My gift is the ability to inspire and validate artists and speakers helping them realize that their gift makes a difference and teaching them acting skills and authenticity to deliver it effectively.

An inspiring video on validation


What stands in your way?  What stops you from becoming a dynamic speaker?



Fear of what?  There are many I have heard throughout the years.  Here are a few.


“I’ll make a fool of myself!” 


                        “What if I lose my place?”


       “I really don’t know that much.”


“I’m boring.”

                                                “What if I freeze up?”


What is your specific fear?  Become friends with your “doubter”.  Know it on an intimate basis.  And address it. 


Involvement is the enemy of tension. 


 Be involved in what your gift can do to help your audience and the attention will be on that, not yourself.


But how can you be involved if you are watching, judging, directing, and scaring yourself?  You can’t.


So let’s address it!


Let’s start at the very beginning – feeding that all important brain of yours.   Deep Breathing.  Have you heard it so much you’re sick of it?  I know I am.  And yet, over and over again it comes up.  Deep inhalation and exhalation – extremely important to relaxation, centering, feeding of the brain.  Eight slow breaths in, hold on four and out on seven breaths.  Do that three times.


Now imagine yourself in front of a large crowd giving a speech or better yet, remember the last bad experience speaking.  Now ask yourself what were the thoughts you had at that time?  Any of the ones mentioned above? 


Write them down and deal with them one at a time. Be specific.  And then ask yourself “Is this true?”  “Am I boring?”  “Do I not know enough about my subject?”  The answer is NO.  You must pay close attention to these “doubters” and stop them dead with a big resounding NO.  You see most of the time you don’t address them and they just build, getting stronger and stronger every time. You validate them every time you do not address them, letting them affect your self-worth.  So, first say NO.  Then tell the truth.  What is the truth?  Ask yourself. 


“I’ll make a fool of myself!”  You will, plan on it, so be prepared to acknowledge it when it happens.  Say it out loud to the audience.  “Well, I sure screwed up.”  They’ll love you for it.  They’ll appreciate your humanity.  They’ll feel you are just like them.  They will trust you.  Some professional speakers purposely screw up just so they can get the confidence of the audience.  And just think if you get that one fear out of the way, you can focus on your gift.


“What if I lose my place?”  I was speaking to the Portland Female Executives at a lovely Hotel in downtown Portland.  I’d sent out questionnaires ahead of time asking what they were most afraid of.  Many said they were afraid of forgetting their place in their speech.  So halfway through my presentation, I stopped, and said “Well, I’ve forgotten what’s next.”  I then walked over to the podium about 5 feet away, rifled through my notes, and finally came up with the next thing to say.  At this point I looked closely at everyone and said “Do you think less of me because I forgot my place?” “Do you think my information is less valuable then it was before I forgot my place?”  Everyone shook their head saying “oh no, no.”  “Then why do you think you will be judged if you lose your place in a speech?” I said.


 “I really don’t know that much.”  I have heard this one more often than any other.  What most people don’t realize is that they are an expert in their field.  They’ve spent years learning through experience, classes, books and conversation, their particular gift.  I remember when I first started Public Speaking Coaching.  I told one of my Acting Students, “People already know all this.”  She looked at me amazed.  “You’re crazy,” she said.  “You know this stuff because you’ve lived with it day in and day out for years.  It’s second nature to you.  But the general public doesn’t have a clue.”  I found out she was right with the first workshop I did.  I had such a tremendous response for the gift I’d given, that I never questioned whether I didn’t know my subject.  Write it down, right now.  I AM AN EXPERT IN MY FIELD and put it somewhere where you can see it daily.


“I’m boring.”  I coached a College professor who said that exact same thing.  I asked, “What makes you think that?”  He said “When I was in Grade 6 and gave a speech, three boys told me I was boring.”  “And you have held on to that and let it grow all these years letting it stand in the way, haven’t you?” I said.  “Yes,” he replied.  We worked on making friends with that “doubter” and never it letting pass by with stating NO.  He replaced it with “I’m amazing.”  I asked him what sort of experiences he had had lately with his speaking and his book.  He said, “Everyone tells me it’s interesting and stimulating.”  And then he wanted to tell me about a recent experience he had in Los Angeles.  “I was at a famous restaurant frequented by many movie stars.  The owner came out and told me that she was a fan of mine and would I autograph my book.” 


“What if I freeze up?”  I must admit that was my biggest fear on stage and it actually happened more than once and I just made something up. But I remember the feeling.  I wished the floor would open up and swallow me and I would never be heard from again.  I remember apologizing to my director at the American Academy of Dramatics after the show, “I’m sorry I went up on the lines.”  To which he replied, “You did?  I didn’t notice.”  That’s right people notice a lot less than you think.  My suggestion is to memorize something that gets you back into it. A mantra.   Usually is the central theme of your speech in one short sentence – Speakers with Acting Skills and Authenticity ALWAYS have the edge.  If I say that phrase,  a slew of acting skills flood my brain and I’m off.  What’s you mantra?


We hold on to what doesn’t work instead of what does.  What works about you?  What do people say is great about you?  Ask them.  Write these statements down.  Use them whenever the “doubter” shows up and soon the truth will be stronger than your negative thoughts.  And you’ll be focusing on your gift and how it can change people’s lives because IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.





Truth, Success, Etc.

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Theater/Film on April 3, 2009 at 6:43 pm


GWYDHAR, a young film director sits in a workshop at the Kent Independent Film Festival in Kent, CT. She is hoping to glean some tips on how to make contacts in the industry. Her notebook is blank except for the date. Slowly a quote bubbles up in her memory:


Never follow somebody elses path: it doesn’t work the same way twice for anyone… The path follows you and rolls up behind you as you walk forcing the next person to find their own way.

GWYDHAR makes note of this and tries to think of a way to incorporate it in the blog that she is supposed to write before Wednesday.


GWYDHAR and BLUE DAMEN, a manifestation of her conscience, walk side by side on the way to GWYDHAR’S day job.


So did you find what you were looking for?

Yes and No.

What do you mean?

I was looking for an answer about what the next step towards success should be and I didn’t get one, but maybe that was the answer after all: that trying to figure out what the next step should be isn’t a problem that you are ever supposed to solve.

Give me an example.

OK, So I submitted our film “Persephone” to the Kent Film Festival and it was accepted.

So that makes you a success.

But hardly anyone came to see it- I think maybe a total of 17 people in two showings. And 3 walked out.

So it was a bust.

But it did win an award for Best Experimental Short.

So it was a success.

But no one bought any copies so we didn’t make any money off of showing it.

So what are you trying to say?

I’m trying to say that as an artist there are two kinds of success: the kind that makes money and the kind that wins awards.

And you need both.

Everyone needs a little bit of both but the proportions are different from person to person. Some people need more financial success and some people need more artistic success. The thing about filmmaking that is so discouraging is that there is no “right” way to do it. There is no single path to success and the people who are successful at it are just as mystified about how they got there as the rest of us.

They arrive outside GWYDHAR’s day job and GWYDHAR fumbles for her keys hoping that she didn’t forget them, again.

No mystery how we got here- we walked. All 17 blocks.

Well, hard work is the first step…

And the first step is hard work. Yuk yuk yuk.

Transforming The Humanities, Arts and Sciences in Higher Education

In Emotional Intelligence, Interesting Articles, WEBSITES & BLOGS on February 26, 2009 at 9:47 am

I received this email today from my friend at University of Texas- Austin, Rick Cherewitz. Rick and I met when I spoke to UT students about a year ago about arts entrepreneurship. Rick and I immediately connected around his concepts of Ie- Intellectual Entrepreneurship. Ie offers higher education an opportunity to embed the kind of transformational, yet practical, thinking I blog about here at ETA almost daily…



The NYT article below may be of interest. For me, it speaks to the need to truly transform higher education–for example, to integrate Intellectual Entrepreneurship-type thinking into undergraduate education so that our students (in the humanities, arts and sciences) can begin to contemplate how to utilize their rich academic knowledge to solve problems, innovate, create new possibilities and make a real difference for themselves and society.

I am reminded of what a colleague of mine in classics wrote a few years ago:

“Intellectual entrepreneurship seeks to reclaim for the contemporary world the oldest strain in our common intellectual tradition: the need for thought and reflection in the midst of the world of action. As the experiment of the original Greek teachers of practical affairs demonstrated, and as Plato demonstrated through his reflections on these very themes, some of the deepest problems of thought emerge from the affairs of practical life. When one brings together the demands for action and the equally unrelenting demands for reflection characteristic of the new electronic and global marketplace, the term “intellectual entrepreneur” describes a new form of union between the academy and the world and between the academy and its own deepest traditions.”

Those of us dedicated to this cause shall persevere.

Richard A. Cherwitz, Ph.D.
Professor and Director, Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE)
A Cross-Disciplinary Consortium: “Educating Citizen-Scholars”
Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement

New York Times

February 25, 2009
In Tough Times, the Humanities Must Justify Their Worth

One idea that elite universities like Yale, sprawling public systems like Wisconsin and smaller private colleges like Lewis and Clark have shared for generations is that a traditional liberal arts education is, by definition, not intended to prepare students for a specific vocation. Rather, the critical thinking, civic and historical knowledge and ethical reasoning that the humanities develop have a different purpose: They are prerequisites for personal growth and participation in a free democracy, regardless of career choice.

But in this new era of lengthening unemployment lines and shrinking university endowments, questions about the importance of the humanities in a complex and technologically demanding world have taken on new urgency. Previous economic downturns have often led to decreased enrollment in the disciplines loosely grouped under the term humanities which generally include languages, literature, the arts, history, cultural studies, philosophy and religion. Many in the field worry that in this current crisis those areas will be hit hardest.

Already scholars point to troubling signs. A December survey of 200 higher education institutions by The Chronicle of Higher Education and Moodys Investors Services found that 5 percent have imposed a total hiring freeze, and an additional 43 percent have imposed a partial freeze.

In the last three months at least two dozen colleges have canceled or postponed faculty searches in religion and philosophy, according to a job postings page on The Modern Language Associations end-of-the-year job listings in English, literature and foreign languages dropped 21 percent for 2008-09 from the previous year, the biggest decline in 34 years.

Although people in humanities have always lamented the state of the field, they have never felt quite as much of a panic that their field is becoming irrelevant, said Andrew Delbanco, the director of American studies at Columbia University.

With additional painful cuts across the board a near certainty even as millions of federal stimulus dollars may be funneled to education, the humanities are under greater pressure than ever to justify their existence to administrators, policy makers, students and parents. Technology executives, researchers and business leaders argue that producing enough trained engineers and scientists is essential to Americas economic vitality, national defense and health care. Some of the staunchest humanities advocates, however, admit that they have failed to make their case effectively.

This crisis of confidence has prompted a reassessment of what has long been considered the humanities central and sacred mission: to explore, as one scholar put it, what it means to be a human being.

The study of the humanities evolved during the 20th century to focus almost entirely on personal intellectual development, said Richard M. Freeland, the Massachusetts commissioner of higher education. But what we haven’t paid a lot of attention to is how students can put those abilities effectively to use in the world. We’ve created a disjunction between the liberal arts and sciences and our role as citizens and professionals.

Mr. Freeland is part of what he calls a revolutionary movement to close the chasm in higher education between the liberal arts and sciences and professional programs. The Association of American Colleges and Universities recently issued a report arguing the humanities should abandon the old Ivory Tower view of liberal education and instead emphasize its practical and economic value.

Next month Mr. Freeland and the association are hosting a conference precisely on this subject at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. There is a lot of interest on the national leadership level in higher education, Mr. Freeland said, but the idea has not caught on among professors and department heads.

Baldly marketing the humanities makes some in the field uneasy.

Derek Bok, a former president of Harvard and the author of several books on higher education, argues, The humanities has a lot to contribute to the preparation of students for their vocational lives. He said he was referring not only to writing and analytical skills but also to the type of ethical issues raised by new technology like stem-cell research. But he added: Theres a lot more to a liberal education than improving the economy. I think that is one of the worst mistakes that policy makers often make not being able to see beyond that.

Anthony T. Kronman, a professor of law at Yale and the author of Educations End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life, goes further. Summing up the benefits of exploring whats called a life worth living in a consumable sound bite is not easy, Mr. Kronman said.

But the need for my older view of the humanities is, if anything, more urgent today, he added, referring to the widespread indictment of greed, irresponsibility and fraud that led to the financial meltdown. In his view this is the time to re-examine what we care about and what we value, a problem the humanities are extremely well-equipped to address.

To Mr. Delbanco of Columbia, the person who has done the best job of articulating the benefits is President Obama. He does something academic humanists have not been doing well in recent years, he said of a president who invokes Shakespeare and Faulkner, Lincoln and W. E. B. Du Bois. He makes people feel there is some kind of a common enterprise, that history, with its tragedies and travesties, belongs to all of us, that we have something in common as Americans.

During the second half of the 20th century, as more and more Americans went on to college, a smaller and smaller percentage of those students devoted themselves to the humanities. The humanities share of college degrees is less than half of what it was during the heyday in the mid- to late 60s, according to the Humanities Indicators Prototype, a new database recently released by a consortium headed by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Currently they account for about 8 percent (about 110,000 students), a figure that has remained pretty stable for more than a decade. The low point for humanities degrees occurred during the bitter recession of the early 1980s.

The humanities continue to thrive in elite liberal arts schools. But the divide between these private schools and others is widening. Some large state universities routinely turn away students who want to sign up for courses in the humanities, Francis C. Oakley, president emeritus and a professor of the history of ideas at Williams College, reported. At the University of Washington, for example, in recent years, as many as one-quarter of the students found they were unable to get into a humanities course.

As money tightens, the humanities may increasingly return to being what they were at the beginning of the last century, when only a minuscule portion of the population attended college: namely, the province of the wealthy.

That may be unfortunate but inevitable, Mr. Kronman said. The essence of a humanities education reading the great literary and philosophical works and coming to grips with the question of what living is for may become a great luxury that many cannot afford.


What Does the Cloud Taste?

In Emotional Intelligence on February 21, 2009 at 9:09 pm

This wonderfully imaginative poem was written by Jessie Citterman. Jessie is 12 and hopes to be a writer someday. I think she already is…


What Does the Cloud Taste?

What does the cloud taste when you see it in the sky?
Perhaps the cloud tastes a dove as it flaps on by.

What does the sun think when it sees our planet Earth?
Perhaps the sun thinks that to us it just gave birth.

What does the moon hear as it rises in the night?
Perhaps the moon hears a bat screech as it takes flight.

What do the stars smell when a comet races past?
Perhaps the stars smell magic that is here to last.

What does Mars feel when a spaceman lands on its crust?
Perhaps Mars feels this landing is wrong and unjust.

What do humans find when they look through others’ eyes?
Perhaps humans find things that they should not despise.

What would happen if everyone looked at things
from a different point of view?
Perhaps this world would appear to everyone
as if it’s completely new.

The Theater Rental Experience From Hell

In Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on February 18, 2009 at 10:17 am

About two weeks ago I made about a dozen calls to small theaters- seat 200 or less- around the Chicago land area seeking to rent space for several Bite-Size Arts Ensemble performances. Most of the theaters I called had answering machines on during the day, but a few answered the phone. I left messages and emailed all the theaters where a “live” person did not answer.

The one’s who did answer, I asked to speak to whoever was in charge of renting their space. Three out of four said they could help and took my information. One offered no information until I sent an email. Of course when I asked the three who would speak to me, some general questions about the space, their rental fees and possible dates to book their theater, each told me they had to talk to someone else and would get back to me.

Again, with the three who I actually spoke to, and the one who required an email first to speak to me, I did send follow up emails recapping potential dates, times and our needs list (which I already knew matched what each theater offered- I had done my homework.)

Well, I made all those calls and sent all those emails on February 4th. Today it will be 2 weeks since I did. Of the 12 theaters I called, last night I received, at 9:30 pm, a call from someone from one of the theaters who said she was “following up.”

When I inquired about why it took 2 weeks to return the call and asked her to call me tomorrow during the day, she said ” Well I guess you don’t need to rent the space” and hung up on me. This is an established theater! And what about the other 11 who never even bothered to “follow up?”

Now, I would REALLY love to give you the list of theaters I called, as well as which theater it was that hung up on me, but I am going to restrain myself. However, why does stuff like this happen so much in creative fields? What makes this behavior “acceptable” in any situation, let alone the arts? In what situation EVER is not being prompt, interested and communicative ever acceptable in a business situation? Why is it that artists think that “whenever they get around to it” because they have more important things to do- like their art projects- ever makes a good impression? Who taught them this??

I mean, it’s not like I am asking them for something they don’t claim to be wanting to sell! Each of these theaters claims to be seeking to rent their space on their websites. Each one goes out of their way to show you their space online and give you contact information. If they don’t really mean it, or it’s not available because its already booked, why are they bothering to frustrate the hell out of potential renters like me by not bothering to follow up? All it takes is a prompt phone call or email to say ” thanks but we are full” or ” when is a good time to connect to discuss your space needs?”

In some ways the behavior of these theaters deserves the action that follows. Why would anyone (me) WANT to rent space from any one of these theaters if they conduct their business like this? What’s going to happen when the lights don’t go on at the dress rehearsal or the heat isn’t turned on the evening of the performance?

But in fairness to the theaters, I am sure not everyone got the email I sent or the message, right? Email, after all, can be flaky and a bit unreliable and messages can be easily deleted. Ok, so that lets a couple of these theaters off the hook. Besides, who would need the business in this booming economy anyway?

As representatives of an important part of society- the arts- we need to learn to be prompt, communicative and professional if we ever expect to be taken seriously, let alone truly innovate and change the way we are perceived.

Just because your venue or business is small, does not mean you cannot be great. Just because you are an artist does not mean you cannot make whatever audience you sell your goods and services to feel valued and important. And if you are an artist and think serving the public and running a business is beneath you, I hope you win the lotto or marry rich. ‘Cause it’s folks like you who are giving the arts a bad name…

How do we change how we perceive the world?

In Author: Lisa Canning, Emotional Intelligence on January 28, 2009 at 12:33 am

dreamstime_2907801An important part of acting more entrepreneurial lies in our perceptions of ourselves and our world. To expand our thinking to include more “possibilites” requires that we find ways to break through the barriers we set up in our minds that do not allow for a world of new ideas to emerge.

You see our mind constructs perception “road maps” based on sensory information it receives. Those road maps materialize like stories, inside our heads, convincing us that we see the world correctly, know the right ” answer” and therefore know what we should or should not be doing or feeling.

dreamstime_6026115The way our minds build our perception ” road maps” begins through our five senses. Our brains takes whatever our senses experience and processes the information it receives and strings it together like a story, a pre-determined outcome, or “mapped” perception of how it interpreted what it sensed.

By realizing that in essence our mind is inventing our perceptions and the stories we tell ourselves, purely based on the way it interpreted sensory data, we immediately have a new opportunity to focus on inventing new experiences for our minds to first sense and then map through new stories that can be the foundation of new perceptions. While it might be a bit disconcerting to realize that your mind has simply “invented” its perception, it also offers up endless possibilities of what your future might hold by realizing how your mind is contributing to the limitations in your own thinking..

What would you do?

In Emotional Intelligence on January 22, 2009 at 8:25 am

We live in a world where we don’t know if we are safe anywhere anymore- after all people get shot these days in grocery stores, department stores, on college campuses and at work. I don’t know about you, but I can sort of understand why increasingly we don’t talk to our neighbors and keep to ourselves. Is there anywhere we really feel safe?

I bet the majority of us would say that we feel the safest at home.

So, this past Sunday my husband and I were up at our house on the lake watching on HBO the return of Big Love– you know that show about polygamy? It is rather soap opera-ish and losing quickly, in my opinion, any novelty it had- but none the less we were watching a really tense scene and all of a sudden what appeared to be literally a monster with a shot gun appeared pounding on our back door. He looked like he could have been a bag man, totally disheveled. It looked like dirt was all over his face.

But on closer inspection, as we both walked closer to the door, he was a horror in plain view- dried blood all over his neck, hands and clothes and fresh blood covering his entire face standing at our back door holding a gun.

My husband and I froze and stood there looking at each other and then at the door. Nothing was registering. We both starred at him and then at each other not knowing what to do? And this man kept pounding on our door and pounding.

What would you do in this situation?

It is hard to say isn’t it. Was this person going to hurt us? Was he hurt himself? Was he running from someone or something?

Really it’s harder than ever to naturally have empathy and compassion to help others these days. The world is need of it more than ever as evident by how many stories have we heard where someone was ignored who was hurt and was left for dead because others were frightened or could not be bothered or simply “didn’t notice”.

Well in this instance, my husband and I decided to act. Chuck walked out the front door and there the man stood, having walked towards him around the house, blood running down his face, gushing. This man had been in a snowmobile accident. He had his gun on the back of his sled because he had been out duck hunting and when he crashed into a duck blind ( where hunters hide to shoot ducks) it threw him and his gun 75 feet. And yes, he was drunk.

Needless to say the paramedics took 20 minutes- our house on the lake is way out in the middle of nowhere. The man had trouble breathing and wanted to go to sleep and kept weaving in and out of consciousness and he seemed to be spewing blood from everywhere. It was the most gruesome scene I had seen up close in quite some time. And yet, if we had simply ignored him and not come to his aide he might be dead.

We learned today he had a broken nose, 3 broken ribs, a broken collar bone, jaw and was internally hemorrhaging. I am so glad that we decided to stay home instead of go out for pizza, like we had planned.

Are Schools Killing Our Creativity?

In Emotional Intelligence on January 22, 2009 at 7:37 am

Check out this video presentation below given by creativiity expert, Sir Ken Robinson. It is 20 minutes long and WELL WORTH listening to.

Sir Ken Robinson is an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources. He has worked with governments in Europe, Asia and the USA, with international agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and some of the world’s leading cultural organizations. In 1998, he led a national commission on creativity, education and the economy for the UK Government. All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education (The Robinson Report) was published to wide acclaim in 1999. He was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, working with the ministers for training, education enterprise and culture. The resulting blueprint for change, Unlocking Creativity, was adopted by politicians of all parties and by business, education and cultural leaders across the Province. He was one of four international advisors to the Singapore Government for its strategy to become the creative hub of South East Asia.

Adam Shames on his new blog wrote about a conversation he had with Ken at a recent presentation he gave here in Chicago at Columbia College. The remainder of this post is from Adam Shames blog Innovation on my Mind.

As part of the Columbia College Chicago “Conversations in the Arts” in December, I talked to Sir Ken Robinson about the need for building creativity competencies in education and organizations. He shared with the audience two main points:

1. That we live in unprecedented times, revolutionary even, which have no historical precedent and that need creative approaches to address our challenges
2. That we have to think differently about our natural capacities—that we have a crisis of human resources and now is the time to tap our own resources more effectively.

According to Sir Ken “the great adventure of America” has thrived on its “multiplicity of talents” and that “like natural resources, human talents our buried deep” and must be uncovered. Too many of us are disconnected from what we are good at doing and love to do, and education’s challenge is to help each person access their great talents.

To do that, Sir Ken said we need more than reform: we need to transform education. U.S. education, like many systems around the world, is still stuck in an “industrial mindset,” sending students through a linear progression of subjects and skills, hoping they pop out at the end of the assembly line to be properly employed. But the world doesn’t work that way anymore. Even a college education is no assurance of a job, so the “economic ideology” behind education is no longer relevant.

Teachers should be hired to teach students, he says, not subjects, and our main goal should be to uncover and unleash the natural talents each of us has. I’m looking forward to reading his new book about talent, The Element, coming out this month.

Bridging the Ingenuity Gap with a Carrot?

In Art, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Leadership, Music on January 15, 2009 at 10:34 am

How could you inexpensively contribute to reducing the growing epidemic of childhood obesity while simultaneously offering low income children, who lead statistically in childhood obesity, an instrument to learn how to play music?

If your not sure of the answer then watch this You Tube video. For the price of a carrot, and the use of a drill, well known Australian musician, instrument maker , composer, musical director and community music facilitator Linsey Pollak has found a creative solution, to me, for both of these two problems simultaneously by using his entrepreneurial creativity.

His solution: turn the carrot into a musical instrument and then what the heck- you might as well eat the carrot for lunch don’t you think? Play Carrot Music- Eat Carrot, Yum-Repeat Often

How much easier it might become for artists to contribute to bridging the gap to some of our most challenging world problems, if only we would teach the development of an entrepreneurial mindset alongside of artistic excellence. Tomorrow I need another carrot. Do you have one?

What is the ingenuity gap?
Scholar Thomas Homer Dixon describes the “ingenuity gap” – the space between problems that arise and our ability to solve them – as growing today at an alarming rate (in business, scientific research, education, the environment and world affairs). Author Ken Robinson proclaims we are “Out of Our Minds” to have sidelined creativity and the arts when every layer of American society from elementary education to supply-side economics is starved for more imagination, more original thinking, and more creative intelligence.

Stop and reflect on YOU, for once….

In Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Evolution on January 11, 2009 at 7:47 am

This blog post was written by student entrepreneur Kelly Penick from Appalachian State, in Boone, NC
This is a MUST READ entrepreneurial-training 101 break-through-moment post! Congrats Kelly!!

Picture of: Kelly Penick, Student Entrepreneur
Owner of: All About Beauty by Kelly

Unfortunately I am not opening this entry to talk about an extensive and necessarily financially rewarding marketing campaign. My last post put forth some detail on my first marketing campaign for All About Beauty by Kelly, and how I, Kelly Penick, was to go about that process. I did have some responses to the $35 facials, and was able to make some extra money, but I found a richness of mind and experience far outweighing my experiences from the marketing campaign.

I am glad to say that I have experienced a very rich December by the fact that I was rewarded with deep reflection and personal awareness. I want to share with you what has personally occupied my feelings the last month, and how those emotions tended to govern my behavior and outlook. My behavior and thoughts about the spa were greatly impacted by feelings of anxiety and through these feelings I did learn a lot about myself, and what I was presently doing and feeling in the spa.

If I could take one word to describe December, I would claim the word “insecurity” as most appropriate. As I move forward with some of my career goals, I feel it is only natural to feel anxiety and uncertainty because the actual progression forward brings about new obstacles and the way you deal with these barriers is what defines where you are going and what you ultimately accomplish.

I have moved forward in many ways in the year 2008. I feel a huge hurtle was in getting my license to be an Esthetician in North Carolina. Once I had this certification, I sought out a spa facility in which to perform my services. There were many emotions associated with this search for a facility because my original hopes were to own a day spa and work in the spa as well as run it. Over the summer as I pursued this, I was faced with opposition from the present owner of this particular spa, and was emotionally upset at how she reacted to my proposing to buy the spa from her. It was concern on her part that I am too young to own a spa at this time because I am still in school full-time, the fact that I have not owned a spa before, and I just received my Esthetician’s license.

I didn’t look at this experience negatively though. While it certainly wasn’t fun to go through, it taught me more about myself, and what I am going to face as a young female trying to own a business and still be in school. I want to own a spa badly and have had this dream for four years now. The owner’s reaction only fueled the fire in terms of increasing my determination to pursue having a business of my own. I realized after that day I met her, that I was still going to embrace the value of my license and ability to fulfill my dreams even though I was pushed up against a barrier of bitterness when dealing with this owner.

Happily, I settled into a day spa where I could rent space to perform my services and still learn how to run my own business. This set-up allowed flexibility for me because I do still have a college major that I am fulfilling and my time needs desperately to be based between the commitments I have to Appalachian State University and the commitments I have to myself to support my business concerning the spa. Now, I find it very easy to type what I just did about balancing some of the significant priorities I have in my life right now, that being my education and the business, but 90% of the time it is easier said than done. I feel that this balance is of great importance to me now and will always be as I take on more responsibilities and initiatives to be a successful entrepreneur.

With this position where I rent a room from a day spa owner, I have the opportunity to bring in my own clients and choose the times in which I am available to work at the spa. I struggled once again to maintain balance as to when I could govern my time in the spa. This struggle was due to my expectations of how I initially thought I was going to be present in the spa just as I had planned it on my agenda, and the reality of my scheduling couldn’t be fulfilled as much as I had thought.

My commitments to Appalachian through the hours I spent in class, along with homework, proved to be challenging as well as my duty to lead a student organization. By missing more time in the spa then I had thought, I experienced performance anxiety when I was set to go into the spa for a treatment/treatments. In my mind, if I could not be present frequently and have several appointments in one week, I grew nervous about my ability to produce a quality treatment to a client because I wasn’t experiencing actually performing the services several times a week in order to keep my confidence level where I wanted it to be. It is not that I would have negative responses from clients because they were disappointed in the service or their experience, not the case at all, it was I who felt I was not performing to the best of my ability because I wasn’t fulfilling my original plan of being present and working in the spa as much as I had initially expected.

So, as this anxiety and uncertainty matured, I developed a negative opinion of myself and what I was attempting to do. I was aiming to be experienced as an Esthetician and business owner, and yet my work became less and less appealing and I started avoiding it. I had worked diligently this summer to receive my license as an Esthetician and persistently lined-up a place to operate in as an Esthetician so that I could start a business.

But, my natural response to these feelings was one of often times waking up on the mornings I was to go into the spa, and having a fear of functioning and performing my best as an Esthetician and business-woman. The repetition of this feeling quickly made me lose confidence in what I was doing and even wonder if I had approached obtaining my license and running a business appropriately at all. “Was I really too young to pull this off? Could I dedicate the necessary time I needed to, in order to grow this business and experience what I needed to so that I could move onto the spa resort and vineyard?”

What I mean is, had I not fully prepared myself for a productive lifestyle in which I could juggle a business, school, family, and a personal life? I couldn’t tell you how many times those questions went through my mind. I was very quickly convincing myself to be inadequately playing the role of the Esthetician and business owner. Well, this question doesn’t have a concrete answer I found out because I can’t predict the future and honestly you have to live your life and attempt to do your best as you face new barriers in anything new you attempt to accomplish or learn.

I had realized earlier in this entrepreneurial journey that this anxiety and insecurity was making its way quickly into my thoughts and feelings and yet I had no clue as to how to tackle it. Thankfully, I communicated my feelings of insecurity to my family and friends relatively soon, as a way to find advice and comfort in dealing with the unsettling emotions behind such insecurity. Their advice on what I was going through largely focused on my needing to realize an appreciation for uncertainty in facing new challenges, and yet also finding out how I could work with my feelings of anxiety to move forward and tone it down if and when it shows up again in my thoughts and feelings.

I did embrace what they were saying and what I value the most is how this anxiety and insecurities helped me discover more about Kelly. I now feel there is significant value behind self-awareness. Having that awareness allows you to do a thorough inspection of you as a person. This inspection includes insight into you mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. It is like doing a 180 on what you want, desire, think, and actually do.

Based on this experience and many I know to come, what I take away from all of this is that I will seek to always have a self-awareness about what I am doing, thinking, and feeling so that I extract more value from my every experience.

A Creative Leap at Catalyst Ranch

In Art, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Current Events, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Leadership, Marketing, Music, Networking, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on January 9, 2009 at 10:34 am

John Cimino, from Creative Leaps International, and I are pleased to announce that Catalyst Ranch, an incredible creativity-driven meeting space provider and progressive business-thought-leader, has offered us the opportunity to use their facility as our home until we are able to have our own space for a Chicago based Renaissance Center. (OMG. Chicago Arts Incubator? Any of you remember me sharing my dream about creating one? Well, my “lucky” day may just be around the corner, with my friend, John. But don’t get too excited for me just yet.-

Those dang last-stretch-to-home corners are not that lucky to actually get-off-easy, catch a break, and make a quick turn around. Most of the time.

Oh, and the other problem? You know the euphoria you feel followed by the inside-your-head part, that voice that says nice stuff to you, sometimes part, like “yah, this is really gonna happen?”

Well I got big news, there ain’t no stinkin’ guarantees! But really, once you get use to muscling-a-stomach for taking some calculated risks in life in the name of passionate-pursuits– it’s really not all that bad and maybe even a fun– most of the time- except for maybe all of last year but who’s counting)

SO, If you live in Chicago, please come. Or if you are passing through town, too, please, won’t you come? Or maybe you have a few friends who your sure would really be interested in knowing more about this and who might even consider coming to Chicago? It’s Wednesday January 28th from 6-8pm

Won’t you join us to learn more about the work of Creative Leaps and The Renaissance Center in Chicago? If you would like to reserve a seat please email me, The event is free but seating is limited to the first 75 who reply. ( And if you have never been to Catalyst Ranch- trust me- you’ll want to come.)


John Cimino, president of Creative Leaps International, is returning to Chicago for a third round presentation and discussion of his theme: “Bridging the Ingenuity Gap in the 21st Century”. For the benefit those who missed his sessions in September and October, John will provide a quick paced summary of his earlier presentation before moving on to a wider discussion of his vision for a Renaissance Center for Innovation, Learning and Leadership in the Chicago area.

In his initial sessions, John Cimino discussed the “habits of mind” linked to creativity, ingenuity and imaginative insights. He also reviewed recent findings in neuroscience revealing the brain’s unique experience of the arts and arts-based thinking. Alongside creativity, Cimino emphasized the need for connectivity, that is, thinking across boundaries, disciplines and cultures to address the complex issues of a globally inter-connected world. According to Cimino, designing “high tech, high touch” environments for creativity and connectivity is the central challenge of our institutions of higher education, research and professional development.

(from his introduction) Scholar Thomas Homer Dixon describes the “ingenuity gap” – the space between problems that arise and our ability to solve them – as growing today at an alarming rate (in business, scientific research, education, the environment and world affairs). Author Ken Robinson proclaims we are “Out of Our Minds” to have sidelined creativity and the arts when every layer of American society from elementary education to supply-side economics is starved for more imagination, more original thinking, and more creative intelligence.

In this latest session, John Cimino opens the doors to a deeper examination and wider discussion of his vision for a network of Renaissance Centers for Innovation, Learning and Leadership and their significance in bridging knowledge across disciplines. In particular, he will ask how can such a Renaissance Center best serve the needs of Chicago’s own institutions of higher education, business, commerce, leadership, creativity, the arts and arts-based education reforms in the schools? What kinds of partnerships among institutions, public and private, would be essential? Finally, in addition to addressing the needs of individual sectors, what global and overarching issues important to Chicago should the Renaissance Center address in its cross-disciplinary, transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary forums?

Come join John Cimino for an evening of spirited dialogue, creative collaboration and exploration of a new vision for interdisciplinary learning, creativity and leadership.

My 2009, and Yours?

In Art, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Marketing, Music, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on December 28, 2008 at 3:37 am

dreamstime_7322003Before every New Year, I find myself always hoping to be and do better than the year before. Don’t you? Yet, lately I have been feeling like my progress has seemed more like 2 steps backwards and 1/2 a step forward.

But if you’re anything like me, artistic, sensitive, self-critical and gushing with ideas, it’s hard to not want to let yourself flow with your creativity, even when you know progress can sometimes be painful. After all what do you have to lose- except for 2 1/2 steps one direction or the other, right?

The issue, of course, is when what once felt like a peaceful flow has now turned into a raging river. The kind of shift in your thinking or situation that makes you wonder what possessed you in the first place to ever think you could peacefully have your ideas flow into accomplishment- just the way you envisioned.

So now what?

I know how you feel, if you have ever felt this way. This whole past year for me, with my book, has felt like a roller coaster ride. My ride has had lots of unexpected twists and turns and the occasional jolt, just for good measure, when I least expected it. And all this adventure has me feeling a wee bit wobbly. (just like the Weeble Wobbles, remember them?)

Do I really want MORE adventure in 2009?

How about you? Are you ready to let your creativity spring like jack, out of-the-box, unconventionally? Are you ready for some bumps, twists and turns on your entrepreneurial creative adventure ride?

Not sure?

But remember, parts of the ride are GUARANTEED to be exhilarating- and it’s always those parts we most remember. Terror-filled-moments only last briefly, but when they occur how much more the rush of exhilaration mattered. Feeling creative freedom is worth a little terror, I think. Don’t you?

And so for me, wobbly legs and all, 2009 must include a number of new challenges and a few more new adventure rides.

My first, on both fronts, will be to self-publish Build a Blue Bike. My friend, composer and jazz pianist David Cutler, has just finished a book called The Savvy Musician. He and I have decided to release our books together sometime before June of 2009. Our books fit nicely together.

Of course this is not at all the road I expected to take, but it’s one that has just opened and I have to explore. I am over feeling stuck and wondering “so now what do I do with the manuscript?” It’s more fun to be looking forward to the anticipation of being on another creative adventure-filled-ride, really.

I have about 5 other projects, too, that I need to sit down to chart my course of action for in 2009. Of course, I already know that I will ultimately have to learn to let go of each of my plans, eventually, because each I plan will twist and turn and jolt in ways I cannot possibly right now even begin to imagine!

So why bother to plot my planning?

Because I believe luck favors the prepared mind. Hard work and perseverance in the end always win. Adding new hands, feet and heads as unexpected surprises into your adventure sometimes means rewritting the plan. And, as a result, that may mean the story may take longer to tell, but your determination and effort only make your story all that much more compelling when you reach your “lucky” happy ending. Our dreams, with preparation and perseverance, really can come true.

Welcome in 2009!

To ring in the New Year I am headed off to Santa Fe. It’s cold there but a good fire, a few unfinished books and a massage, and hot tub or two, at Ten Thousand Waves, are waiting for me there. I hope you too will spend some time before the New Year to plan your “luck.” I’m rooting for both of us in 2009!

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

In Accounting, Art, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Current Events, Customer Service, Emotional Intelligence, Employees, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Artist Contest Contestants, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Interesting Articles, Leadership, Legal, Marketing, Money, Music, Networking, Risk, The Clarinet Shop, The Entrepreneurial Artist Competition, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on December 23, 2008 at 3:04 am

f91ddde14399af3663324567dfa4My wish for you, ON CHRISTMAS DAY,
will be for you TOO, to keep the GRINCH at bay!

But if by chance, you simply cannot,
Band mighty together, as a great big Who-Ville lot!

WWHHYY????? Smarty-Arty, I hear you say?

BECAUSE, with all your JOY stirring together,
the grinch who came to visit, just might feel a WEE bit better.

Merry Christmas, my dears, what’s your ETA,
to ENTREPRENEUR The Arts, in a new innovative way.
PLEASE COME WITH ME, lets ride far, far and away!

signed your friend, an artistic missionIST, a student of Dr. Suess-a-visionIST, gliding, and sent with love.