Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for the ‘The Idea’ Category

Seed Grants to Student Arts Entrepreneurs

In Art, Author: Linda Essig, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Music, Networking, The Idea, Theater/Film on November 13, 2009 at 1:40 am

Last week, I got to do the thing that I enjoy most in my job (I also got to do some things I enjoy least, but discussing those would be digressive). My colleagues and I made six seed grants to student arts entrepreneurs. If I ever feel down and out about the future, I can go back and read the 24 letters of intent and 8 full submissions to our p.a.v.e. program in arts entrepreneurship we received this October. Reading through these proposals makes me feel that the arts are relevant, vibrant, vital, and sustainable.

Students have some of the coolest ideas. With their permission, I’m sharing some information about the six awardees with you all. Yes, it’s a little bit of bragging, but it’s also sharing some of the interesting ideas that we’ll be mentoring and supporting in the months to come. (And, yes, there were a few proposals that just made you roll your eyes, but those were very few.) A lot of proposals were for projects that could be termed “social entrepreneurship” as much as “arts entrepreneurship,” a combination I find both interesting and hopeful.
With that, I bring you the Fall 2009 p.a.v.e. awardees:
join cast clipartJoin and Cast Ventures: Two Art (Intermedia) students, Jennifer C. and Catherine A., are producing a field guide to the downtown Phoenix arts scene that is itself a work of art.
radio healer clipart copyRadio Healer: Led by Arts, Media Engineering (AME) graduate student Christopher M., Radio Healer presents mediated performances that foster intercultural dialogue in Native communities.
daht clipartDance and Health Together Awards: Led by undergraduate Dance major Mary P., the DaHT Awards is a combination of dance recognition award and fundraising enterprise benefiting the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

coop films clipartCo-op Film Productions – Film and Media Production/Marketing student Chelsea R. and her team are creating a support infrastructure for student collaboration across arts and design disciplines.
different from what clip artDifferent from What? Film Festival – AME graduate student Lisa T. in collaboration with Education student Federico W. is producing a film festival focused on films by, for, and about adults with disabilities.

scrath theory clipartScratch Theory – Filmmaking Practices major Chris G. and his collaborators are developing a software/hardware interface that will first notate and then play back via synthesizer DJ scratching.

The Let it “B” Girl Clarinetist

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Marketing, Music, The Idea on October 29, 2009 at 6:53 am

I just LOVE this You tube video featuring one of my clarinet customers, Christy Banks. I just LOVE her informal commentary– it makes the video– and makes me not only want to listen to HER but learn MORE about classical music because of her delivery.

I Care, How Can I Get You To?

In Author: Lisa Canning, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, The Idea on October 26, 2009 at 4:07 pm

One of the challenges each of us faces when we contemplate the development of our ideas into a product or service, is just exactly “how do we generate interest from others in what each of us finds important”?

How do we know if what we see, believe, feel and think will “take root in the market”? What must we do so that others will care about and value our ideas, products and services as much as we do?

Well, if I knew the perfect answer to this, I would have an orchard filled with money trees in my backyard. But what I can share, based on personal experience, are three (less-than-reliable) assumptions about how to get people to care about our ideas and three rules-of-thumb for creating conditions that might actually get them to.

(Of course we never can be sure if people will care for sure– as we know, we all are free to choose….)

Assumption #1:
The House is Burning! Jump! FIRE!

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The idea of a burning platform is actually a metaphor based on supposedly a true story: In the North Sea an oil platform had caught fire and was burning fast. On it was a lone worker. He had a decision to make: Probable death if he jumped, certain death if he stayed.

What we are talking about here is creating a condition where we instill fear and apply pressure– a fear of being unable to turn back- pressure for fast, decisive action or else everything goes up in smoke.

When any of one us is presented with a “must act now” if “you want to live” strategy, most of us will support the strategy and will act. People, after all, do want to survive. However it is hard to predict how we will act. Some will get on board, others will panic and freeze, some will try and make themselves look good at the expense of others, while some will hide from the bad news.

Moral of the story: When faced with a burning platform, people will choose self-preservation over the common good.

Assumption #2: Create Buy-In
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Similar to the burning platform, “buy-in” is also a rich metaphor. Creating “buy-in” is an old sales term. When we create buy-in we:
Present a strong case convincingly
Create a motivational presentation
Make sure everyone understands what’s in it for them
Close the deal by asking for a commitment

The problem is that creating “buy-in” is set up for only one kind of answer. Style and technique take the place of substance and purpose leaving us, “the audience,” not sure if we like, let alone feel good about, what we are suppose to be “buying in” to…..

Moral of the assumption: People see through the art of subtle manipulation. Care cannot be packaged to be bought.

Assumption #3 Create the Perfect Incentives
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“If you want to teach a dog a new trick, give him a bone”… isn’t that how the saying goes? If you set up a scenario that rewards the behavior you seek, then you will get a treat.

The problem is that this system will only work if the rewards we are offering others are important to them. And while this system can certainly shape behavior, it does not produce care.

Take for example the customer service representative who is rewarded based on the number of completed orders they take in an hour. Predictably they will rush through each call and cut as many corners as possible so they can complete more orders and “earn” their treat. On one level the system is working because more calls are being handled per hour. On another, it is destroying the employees natural desire to provide quality service and show they care.

Moral of the story: Incentives don’t incent others to care.

Three Rules of Thumb
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Rule of Thumb #1:
Find Out What is Important to the Other Person and Act On It

We live in a world where, I don’t know about you, but I certainly walk around and wonder ” Does anyone really care about anyone anymore?” People are STARVED for attention- they crave being listened to and understood. starbucks cupWhen we ask questions and learn about others, we empower others through OUR listening and care. And when we ACT on their interests, concerns, wishes or hopes, and deliver something to them that they really care about, we find a much more receptive audience for our own ideas.

The days of mass marketing and appeal are over. We are in the age of “niching” to produce thriving. A grande skim latte with 2 equals, no foam, double cup it please, is the meal du jour and so we must learn to listen carefully to others needs to cater to those we wish most to serve.

Rule of Thumb #2: Support Others In Achieving Their Goals
How does your product or service help support others in achieving their goals? Products and services must offer real tangible benefits. Put the same time and energy into your clients to help them identify and achieve from your products and services something of real value to them. Designing (and redesign) your products and services to reach the right market where real benefit will be offered. By doing so you will find your clients really do care about what you have to deliver.

Rule of Thumb #3: Speak From Your Heart dreamstime_8018984
Stop telling people what you have to offer them. Start talking about what is important to you and speak from your heart when you do.

Story: Several recovering addicts were talking in an AA meeting about how to improve treatment services. The conversation began with the usual ideas– making the community a better place by helping people. And it wasn’t long before the conversation fell flat.

Then one person got up in the meeting and told his story– a story about how in his darkest hours as an addict, in his greatest need, people he did not know listened to him. Total strangers answered his plea for help and got him into treatment. They cared about him when there wasn’t much to care about.

Moral of the story: This recovering addicts goal was indeed simple and by sharing from his heart, the entire tone and energy of the meeting changed. While he really did want to “give back to the community and care for others”, the most important ingredient to getting others in the meeting to become more involved and care, came from his telling his story- his truth- from his heart.

So, tell us your story. (This is why I created the ETA competition by the way. And you still have time to enter or encourage others to do so.)

And if you’ve joined us here at ETA because you want to learn how to better lead “your tribe” forward, or begin to build a tribe of your very own– one that will come to care about what you find most important in life– then start by aligning your words and actions in a way that reflects your honesty and integrity. Even if you don’t know what products and services you would like to offer, this would be an excellent way to begin to figure out what you should offer.

After all consider this: If you are not willing to put your wholehearted-self behind what you care about and tell the truth to the world about what is in your heart, then why should anyone really care?

Having struggled to build, for over twenty years, profitable businesses, creating ETA (that is rising from nothing), written Build a Blue Bike, (a book that teaches how to develop entrepreneurial empathy and transform it into a creative venture), and now, embarking on the journey of launching The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™, I can tell you it is not for the faint of heart, the insecure or vulnerable. And this is also why we as artists need entrepreneurial training– so that every single one of us can learn how to wear our he(arts) on our sleeve and build our audiences for life from the ideas we care most about.

If there is only one thing in this post which I am certain is valuable to you–forgive me for it taking so much of your time to explain- it is this: Listening to others and speaking from your heart it is the only way to build a rock solid foundation of mutual trust in, and care for, the ideas you care most about. No Starving Artist 2010It also holds the key to opening the door to a sustainable artistic career: one that produces enough income for you to live happily-ever-after. Amen.

What Does Your Blue Bike Look Like?

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Bite-Size Arts Ensemble, The Idea on October 12, 2009 at 11:40 am

balloon_bike_transpBG_50%Bite-Size Arts Ensemble Member, Dharmesh Bhagat, built this blue bike out of balloons for me. Isn’t it cute? What does your blue bike look like? Do you know? And what does it mean to build a blue bike anyway?

To me, the journey of learning how to take the pain in your heart and transform it into an entrepreneurial vision that is so strong and robust it produces an economic engine in your life- financial transportation- is what I call building a blue bike. It is impossibly difficult to do alone and requires an undying amount of support from others to accomplish. And I want you each to know how grateful I am, that you have been here for me on my own blue bike building journey.

Ever since I wrote my book, Build a Blue Bike, the pain in my heart has only grown. While I was very lucky to land a big agent, Susan Schulman, who represented Economist, Richard Florida’s Rise of The Creative Class, my timing could not have been worse. As we entered into a Big Big Recession I was trying to sell this book…..

I still hold out hope that someday I will hear back from Tarcher- my dream publisher. Julia Cameron: Artist Way- continues to be a big hit for The Tarcher Publishing company. So currently my manuscript resides in the back of my sock drawer, while my deep desire to help artists transform from the inside-out continues to grow.

My pain comes from a lifetime of artistic experiences that one-by-one drove me to become incredibly cautious and careful around artists because of the dysfunction I experienced trying to share the music in my heart with them. It was the drama, self-destruction, withdrawal, denial, arrogance, insecurity, back stabbing and anger I saw in others that made me take the joyful music inside my heart and lock it away. This was not what tickled my funny bone and called my artistic name to the clarinet and it is not where artistic entrepreneurial vision comes from. As a child, it was a love for exploring my own artistry and sharing my creativity with others that seeded my entrepreneurial abilities.

And it broke my heart to pull away from my deepest desires to play the clarinet for my life’s work when I was at the top of my musical game, at the end of my days as a college student at Northwestern. I truly wanted then and still want to share my creativity intimately with others. And while I went on to build creative ventures over the past twenty- years, creatively finding a way to put my need to play my clarinet each time at the center of my ventures, my heart continued to feel pain.

So after twenty years of living with my pain it grew so strong and loud, I wrote Build A Blue Bike hoping if I did something positive about it- by writing a book to share with others what only my artistry and unique vision blended together can see- it would help others heal and the pain I felt would finally subside. But the pain did not stop. So when Build A Blue Bike did not sell to a major publisher, my dream and hope for it still, I created Entrepreneur The Arts®. But it was still not enough.

From there came The Bite-Size Arts Ensemble™ and somehow, as this ensemble has struggled to take flight, I realized that while the pain inside of me was duller and throbbed less, as my vision for what I could do with it was growing stronger and clearer, it was still inside of me. I know that our show What is Your Imagination Worth? A New Kind of ROI is going to really help those who experience it learn about how they can change, evolve and grow. But I need what my audiences learn about developing their imaginations, to become something real: something that nourish their hearts and others souls. Something made to last. Maybe even forever- or for at least a lifetime on this earth.

And now, finally, last night, at Flourish Studios, with Stanley Drucker in the house, The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™ has been born. Finally, after three and a half years of struggling, I feel like I have found the ignition key for my vision and a turning point for my heart to begin its work of healing.

You see, I want so badly to help you to discover your own vision, like I have. I want your deepest pain in life to become a vision of what you can positively change in the world that will help you create an artistic life filled with meaningful opportunities for you, and others, to learn from and endlessly grow. I know you will be happier and emotionally healthier the moment you decide to. I know when more of you are living a LIFE YOU DREAM that the dysfunction I see in the arts will slowly, but surely, change. I still so want to experience what our shared positive creativity and artistry can do for this world. Don’t you?

So what does it take to build your very own blue bike? One that will last forever, and ever, or as long as your vision can see, and until the pain in your heart has been nourished into health?

OK. If you are brave enough to consider trying to, here are a few things you have got to know:

#1 However long you think it is going to take to transform the pain in your heart into entrepreneurial vision– know that building a meaningful creative venture- one that is built to last- requires a large investment of time– at least a couple of years if not more.

#2 You need to be willing to set aside your need for clarity and perfection and be able to live with a tangled web of ideas at first- a mess- in the development stage of your personal transformation. Turning pain into vision is a process that is not neat and tidy. And you need excellent role models to help you navigate through so you find the most expeditious way. Nothing short will do. The bigger the pain the greater the vision can be and the longer it can take for your artistic vision to become clear and focused and financially able to take flight.

#3 You must be willing to continuously attempt to launch your ideas into the world knowing that you will need repeatedly to rebound from many failed attempts until you finally find some traction for them. You will be laughed at, ignored, disrespected, ridiculed, slighted and humbled by this process every single time it happens– until your vision is perfectly aligned with the pain in your heart and it ignites the transmission of your creative venture. And then… you will be celebrated like the hero everyone always knew you would become. (It is the hero’s journey we are talking about here. It is what has to happen for your artistry to take economic flight.)

#4 You need tenacity to fuel ideas. Consistent effort that is unwilling to stop–What is it that your heart needs most to not be in pain? Whatever that is, there lies the endless source of your tenacity.

#5 You need to be or become a great collaborative communicator. When we share our vision and receive feedback from others about it, we learn how we are being perceived. When we get it right, our vision will manifest itself into economic opportunities that seemingly will pop right up out of nowhere– and become our transportation into our future.

#6 And lastly, you need to have excellent ethical judgement. What goes around comes around. If you do what’s right every single time, eventually you will be rewarded. And if you do what is right and true for you, eventually your heart will feel whole and your ideas will roll and the money will flow…

#7 Remember–Where there is money, there is energy and where there is energy there is a lifetime of economic opportunity…

And politics aside- Isn’t this really what Obama keeps telling us? This IS our moment. WE are the future of history. OUR time has come. It is Now. Are you Ready?

The Future of Leadership in America

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, Intellectual Entrepreneurship, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea on October 5, 2009 at 8:49 pm

I received this email from Rick Cherwitz this morning and it stopped and made me think– What can all of us trained artists do about changing these statistics? Would love your suggestions and I bet Rick would too..
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Folks,

In the process of working on an article, as well as preparing for my interview for the national audio forum on diversity later this month (via Inside Higher Ed), I have pulled together some data with which you may be familiar.

These statistics should give us pause: (1) African Americans and Latinos comprise nearly 35% of all U.S. citizens in the age range of Ph.D. candidates. (2) 44% of the nation’s children come from underrepresented groups and this will grow to over 50% by 2023 and above 60% in 2050. (3) Yet these same groups constitute only 18% percent of bachelor’s degrees conferred, 12% of the total research doctorates awarded, and only about 21% of all graduate degrees. (4) While national data about first generation students is not available (or at least I have been unable to discover it), it is clear from my work locally with IE that the same issues/problems are faced by this population.

Unless substantial increases in each of these categories are made, our nation’s capacity to discover and disseminate knowledge–to be a world leader–will be seriously threatened, as will our ability to produce a well-trained workforce capable of keeping the U.S. competitive in the global economy.

Rick

________________________________________________________________
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
https://webspace.utexas.edu/cherwitz/www/ie/
Department of Communication Studies
The University of Texas 1 University Station A1105
Austin, Texas 78712
VOICE: (512) 471-1939 FAX: (512) 471-3504
https://webspace.utexas.edu/cherwitz/www/
spaj737@uts.cc.utexas.edu
________________________

The Institute For Arts Entrepreneurship- Opening Fall 2010!

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Marketing, Money, Music, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on August 21, 2009 at 11:07 pm

InstArtsEntrep_BoldIn the fall of 2010 The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship will open at 3020 N Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.

As an independent but collaborative effort with Jim Hart’s Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, IAE will be devoted to the development of the artist as entrepreneur.

Lead by my vision and passion, The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship will be seeking applicants from any artistic discipline. Requirements for enrollment will be a minimum of a 4 year degree–a bachelors degree– in an artistic discipline. The program will be a two year program that is focused on artistic venture creation and servant leadership. It will begin as a school in the fall of 2010 with full accreditation. Auditions will begin February/March of 2010 for all interested applicants.

For more information about enrollment or if you are interested in partnering with either Jim Hart or myself, in some way, please email me. Lisa@EntrepreneurTheArts.com

Batteries Included

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Music, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on August 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm

horse
bug
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While there are lots of ways to feel like your batteries are super charged in life, I think the only one that really works is following your heart.

Unlike your camera, computer, watch, or the clock you own that needs batteries to run, you are self-empowered and come with a life long battery included.

You see your heart never needs a new battery to super charge your life. Nor does it need the thrill of riding on a mechanical horse, or zooming around on the wings of a battery powered bug, or the jolt of a pill to get your juices flowing.

If you think you need any of those things to jump-start your life, your taking your one ever-lasting battery for granted. Don’t do that. It won’t stay super charged anyway for very long if you do, unless you give it the energy it really needs by fueling your life with passion.

Yeah, I know. We have talked about this a few times before: passionate pursuits are never easy. It sounds great to pursuit what you love, doesn’t it, until you find yourself riddled with moments that don’t seem passionate at all- times when you simply are grateful you do come with a battery included so you can just keep on running.

Sure we all have moments like these on the road to our adventure. But keep your eye on your vision, pursue your passions, sleigh your dragons anyway, beat back the bushes with your home made machete, and be the first to walk where only your dream can see.

After all, this is why you do come with batteries included…

Rodney Hatfield, Artist- His Story

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Leadership, Music, Risk, The Idea on August 20, 2009 at 3:05 am

"The Girl from Someplace Else"
I love Rodney Hatfield. I bought one of his paintings when I was in Santa Fe this past spring at my favorite gallery- Selby Fleetwood. His work, The Girl From Someplace Else, hangs over my desk and I just love her binocular view. She is my entrepreneurial gal- always looking for opportunity through the multi- lenses she sees through…

Here is a link to a video about Rodney’s story. Check it out. You’ll like it.

Lemonade Stands and Teaching Our Kids to be Entrepreneurial

In Author: Tommy Dawin, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea on August 18, 2009 at 6:16 am

Summertime is the season for lemonade stands, especially when it’s hot outside. In my neighborhood they sprout like pink and yellow flowers, advertise with markers on neon poster-board signs. Lately, they have even been diversifying their offerings. In addition to the usual varieties of lemonade, I’ve noticed one stand selling brownies and cookies, while another was selling dog biscuits (showing some astute marketing research since in our neighborhood there are a great number of people are out walking dogs).

Given my interest in how to cultivate and support entrepreneurs, I can’t help but wonder how these lemonade stands are seeds for the next generation of entrepreneurs. In an article in Inc. Magazine two years ago, George Gendron made the point that “kids with passion are our next great entrepreneurs.”* Lemonade stands are a great beginning for teaching our kids to be entrepreneurial, and for a great many reasons our kids will benefit. So, by teaching our kids to be entrepreneurial, what are we teaching them?

1) A habit of looking for and an ability to recognize opportunities, especially the ability to reframe challenges as opportunities. Opportunities emerge from the right people coming together in the right situation with enough resources to make something happen. In the process of learning how to do this, our kids will also learn to be more open minded and empathic, and will cultivate the habit of understanding others.

2) The know-how to do something with those opportunities when they are identified or created. Imagine the benefit to our kids if they learn how to use their knowledge to create solutions to problems that matter or bring meaning to peoples’ lives, pull together the necessary people and resources, and then build a plan for actually making it happen.

3) This third element is the most intangible and the most important—having the courage and willingness to act. What ultimately distinguishes an entrepreneur (in any realm) is that they are the ones who step up and say “I’ll do it.” This will teach our kids that taking on challenges doesn’t mean they should not be scared or act as if failure is not a possibility. It means that despite all this, they are willing to take the chance to start something and to see it through.

Whether our kids ever start businesses, they will start and sustain many ventures and undertakings during their lives. And, the willingness to squarely face a challenge which is at the heart of entrepreneurship will be ever more important as they inherit the world we have created.

*Gendron’s article is at http://www.inc.com/magazine/20071001/guest-speaker-the-real-world.html

Are You Relevant?

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Money, Music, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, WEBSITES & BLOGS, Writing on August 17, 2009 at 4:48 am

Are you relevant? Do you define your artistic work based on its practical, economic and social applicability to satisfy the needs of those who experience what you do? And if not, then I cannot help but ask the question, why not?

I realize that we all have a need to create and experiment in life. By doing so we are offered extraordinary opportunities to not only affirm who we are but get to know ourselves better. We learn from what works and, more often, learn the most from what does not work for us– which often allows us to find new more meaningful paths to explore.

But at what point in life do we need to become more practical, more disciplined? Is it ever to early (or late) in life to do this? And when you do, or find the help to, what are the benefits you receive for doing so?

The other day I had a young talented clarinetist– a sophomore in college- in the shop. We were discussing his future career aspirations and performing was right at the top of his list- like most of my clients. When I asked him what about performing was so motivating for him, his answer was ” Well, for a long time I was not sure I could rise to the occasion and play well enough to become an orchestral musician. It is only recently that I am starting to feel I can. Now the question I am asking myself is, do I want to do this?”

I realize that as a young adult- and even as an aging adult- coming to know who we are is a very important part of our educational journey. And alongside this process of growth and development routinely we must be challenged to answer questions like: “And if you do want to perform who specifically will want what you have to offer?”

I cannot help but wonder what we are really learning about the meaning of art, not to mention effectively reaching an audience who cares about what we have to offer from our chosen artistic field of study, if we are not challenged to explore questions like these. If you excel at Music Theory from the Middle Ages, even if you get a PHD in it and can teach it at the college level– who is it relevant to– besides you?

Take a look at my dear friend Gary Beckman- Arts Entrepreneurship Educator’s Network founder. His received his PHD in musicology in 2007 from The University of Texas at Austin. During his doctoral course work, Gary realized that his course of study was not really all that relevant and went on to pursue something that he felt was not only more relevant, but also deeply motivating for him– developing arts entrepreneurship curriculum. Now don’t get me wrong. I learned a lot from my musicology courses and loved my professors who taught them. I also think it is GREAT that Gary has vision for the growth and evolution of arts entrepreneurship curriculum, but think of what he could have accomplished, and how much happier and entrepreneurial he might have become sooner, if he had been challenged to think about how relevant his field of study was, to him and for others, at an earlier point in life?

Questioning and experimenting with our relevancy through action is at the heart of WHY the arts must become a field of entrepreneurial study in addition to traditional skill building. THE ONLY WAY artists can create sustainable happy career paths for themselves is to learn how to produce a product– relevancy.

As a young clarinetist I too asked myself the same questions my young client shared with me. I remember wondering if I could become good enough, play perfectly enough, musically enough and in tune enough to win an orchestral audition and be at the top of the heap. I challenged myself to get there with no other focus than to succeed. ( And of course, without a course or educational guidance to help me think about my goals differently.)

I started out almost last chair my freshman year at Northwestern. By my sophomore year I was at the top of my class– beating out all the masters and doctorate students, some of whom were finalists at regional orchestra auditions around the country. And when I reached that goal, all of a sudden I realize I had no idea what was next. It was not the feeling of eternal bliss I thought I would have, nor was anyone beating down my doors asking me to audition for any major orchestra. Instead it was in the middle of my senior year that I realized that I did not feel relevant. I did not feel that what skills I had developed really mattered to anyone significantly, except for me.

So it was then that I asked myself “how can I use the skills I do have to be relevant?” and from that thought I tested my ideas by putting my solution into action- by opening up a clarinet shop and helping others develop their career paths by helping them find the perfect instrument for their “relevant” music making. It was only then that I actually understood what truly it felt like to become relevant. It’s kind of funny to me, right now, that I am back where I started- after a 20 year adventure building a large business- but life is funny like that. I am being given a second chance to look at how I am relevant and I, again, am figuring it out.

But you see what I realized the first time, at 17, was that what I did have that was relevant was a gift to help and connect to others. I also had a gift to play the clarinet well. I also knew that artists needed to feel better about who they are and find their own confidence, through finding their own relevance, to become kinder to themselves and to others and strong enough to trust themselves that they could actually change the world.

Don’t ask me how exactly I knew this then– call it my God given vision- other than I did not then, and often still do not now, see the kind of inspirational collaboration or connectivity amongst others I crave in the world to see. Of all places- the arts should be outstanding examples for others of both.

Finding my relevancy at 17 gave me my first glimpse into what it meant to make a difference in life. Is it ever too early or too late to find your own? (It’s ok too, btw, if you need a school and a mentor to help you. You don’t have to find your relevancy, like I did, alone.)

Finding your relevancy will give you vision to lead. It will temper your being into a refined piece of artwork that the world wants and that you will be happy to share.

Finding your relevancy means you will feel at peace- because you are valued. You are payed- because you are needed. And that you will feel confident- because when we feel connected to ourselves and to others simultaneously, life does not get any better.

“Are you relevant,” I ask? If not– it is time to learn how you can be….

Music Entrepreneurship Helps Young Musicians Chart Careers in a Crowded Market

In Author: Lisa Canning, Leadership, Marketing, Music, Risk, The Idea on August 12, 2009 at 2:00 am

This article is about ETA blogger David Cutler and his new book, The Savvy Musician. It was written by Andrew Druckenbrod and ran in in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sunday August 9th, 2009. The picture was illustrated by Stacy Innerst/Post-Gazette. I highly recommend David’s book if you want to learn how to become a “savvy musician!”

20090809musicianmoney_si_160Overpopulation, poverty and stagnation: The way the classical music industry is described these days you’d think it’s a Third World country. The recession has made an already tough existence even tougher for music students and those already looking for jobs.

“It is an extraordinarily difficult time to compete for traditional full-time jobs, like those in academia and in orchestras,” says David Cutler, a music professor at Duquesne University. “The market is over-saturated with talent, people are keeping their jobs for longer and orchestras are cutting back, not adding.”

But have things really gotten so bad that a student should follow that classic parental advice and go to medical or law school instead?

Not according to a new movement called music entrepreneurship that is gaining ground at schools around the country. Cutler is among several professors at the forefront of this change in attitude; his book, “The Savvy Musician” (Helius Press, $19.99, due out in November) is a guide to navigating these uncertain waters, targeted to those facing the “real world.”

More information about “The Savvy Musician”
• Advance copies of “The Savvy Musician,” to be released widely in November, can be purchased at http://www.savvymusician.com.
• Have you ventured off the beaten path for your musical career? If so, we would like to hear about it. Go to ClassicalMusings to share your story.
Among the topics, the book discusses details of marketing, recording and grant writing, but it spends most of its time articulating bigger concepts of the “entrepreneurial mind-set.”

For years, conventional wisdom has been that leadership in the classical music industry should work to increase demand so that more young musicians can get jobs. Better funding, it is said, should be found to expand orchestras and develop audiences, and music should be cultivated at all levels. But for advocates of entrepreneurship such as Cutler, it is the musician who must adapt to the shrinking and changing marketplace.

“The days of being just a classical violinist or jazz saxophonist are over,” says Cutler. “The musician of the future considers the whole package. You should be a great player, but that is not the goal, but the minimum.”

Many feel that music education in America — slow to change in the past half century — has failed students in this regard. “We have created more extremely talented musicians than ever before,” says Cutler. “But in curriculum, we have completely ignored many other essential issues such as how to make a living or how to make an difference in society.”

Cutler and others see the new environment brimming with possibilities, even as it has shut down or backlogged traditional routes. “It is hard, but there are opportunities that weren’t there before,” he says. “If [your quartet] tries to get a gig at Carnegie Hall, you might be up against 300 quartets, but if you go to a smaller community you can make it work.”

One sterling example is the Ying String Quartet, which began its career in the 1990s as the resident quartet of Jesup, Iowa, a farm town of 2,000 people. It performed in homes, schools, churches and banks, with a philosophy that “concert music can also be a meaningful part of everyday life.”

The Ying Quartet’s off-the-beaten path garnered national interest and forged its musicality as a group so that today the quartet is considered one of the top in the world, playing more typical venues such as Carnegie Hall.

Another alternative route was taken by a group of Chicago musicians who created a split business model. They formed two companies, a nonprofit called Fifth House Ensemble that gives concerts and education and a for-profit called Amarante Ensembles that plays parties and gatherings. Having both puts the musicians on more even financial footing and spreads out risk.

Other examples of innovative thinking abound, from the genre-bending and branding-savvy Kronos Quartet to John Cimino, a baritone who uses music-making as a metaphor for creativity and leadership in presentations to Fortune 500 corporations.

So, the problem isn’t that there is a glut of musicians, Cutler and others argue, but that there are too many seeking traditional jobs without really considering the alternatives. Colleges and conservatories traditionally have not equipped students with the right tools to prosper in a shrinking marketplace.

Gary Beckman, founder of the Arts Entrepreneurship Educator’s Network, realized this deficiency firsthand long before the economy laid it bare for all to see.

“I went through undergrad and grad school, and I saw many musicians who were more than capable, but because they didn’t get training and information about economic reality they didn’t go on to play,” he says. “So many are lost each year.”

Beckman, Cutler and others at schools, such as the University of South Carolina, the Eastman School of Music and the University of Colorado, are on the cutting edge of entrepreneurship programs and courses emerging to train students to forge their own paths.

“We need students that have a broad view about their careers,” says Beckman, who is a visiting professor in South Carolina’s Institute for Leadership and Engagement in Music. He estimates that as many as 100 colleges offer at least one course in arts entrepreneurship. “In the context of 6,000 universities with arts departments, that it isn’t taking [academia] by storm, but steps are being made and the seeds are starting to germinate.”

“Entrepreneurship is gaining traction because it offers something significant to every student considering a career,” says Jeffrey Nytch, director of the University of Colorado’s Entrepreneurship Center for Music. It’s not just about sending musicians to the campus career center, he says, but totally rethinking their career.

“Deans and provosts are behind it,” says Beckman. “Everyone realizes there is a problem, but it is a very delicate negotiation between faculty, accreditation, community, students, funders, administration. About half a dozen colleges add a course every year, and I think there will be a explosion in the next three to five years.”

Duquesne University’s Mary Pappert School of Music will offer its first classes on entrepreneurship and leadership this fall, coordinated by Cutler, who joined the faculty in 2001. Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh do not offer entrepreneurship courses, but both bring in speakers on the subject and address the business of music on a one-on-one manner. “Many people have great ideas, but if you have the skills to make them a reality, then it is a success,” says Noel Zahler, head of CMU’s School of Music.

“We have an ethical responsibility to address these issues,” says Cutler, who also will re-configure Duquesne’s contemporary ensemble to be student-driven to “function like a chamber ensemble would in the real world.”

“This is about empowering students,” says Beck. He thinks Cutler’s book brings that same confidence to those in schools or already struggling to make a living as musicians. “What David has done has helped to outline how broad an education one needs to have a career in music.”

An Entrepreneurial Lesson and a Little Bit of Magic

In Author: Lisa Canning, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Leadership, Legal, Money, Networking, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea on July 30, 2009 at 9:03 am

Lisa 2009Today I drove into Chicago to meet two women who run and own a two-year-old-child- development center. For the purposes of this post, they and their business will remain nameless, but the jist of their story I will share because it holds a few really important entrepreneurial lessons…. and a little bit of magic.

First- a little bit of background: My meeting with these women was my first. I was referred to them by another client. They expressed interest in finding a business coach, so I made the trip to meet with them.

What I learned while I was there: These two women have created a center that over the past two years has grown from an idea, into a business plan, to a real physical location that now 100 families 3-5 times a week use weekly for their children to play and learn through arts based experiences.

These ladies are extremely intelligent, well educated, hold advanced degrees, and have had very successful careers. They were inspired to start a business together based of their common interests and past lives where they realized the importance of arts education and what it could bring to a child’s developmental learning through play. Childs Play Touring Theater, which I have written about before, has a similiar focus through theater- another extraordinary business in its own right.

But my point in sharing their story with you, is to reveal how close they are to failing in their business. While they bravely and fearlessly invested their time and money for the past two years, and risked their futures while passionately embracing their mission, they are finding themselves feeling uncertain about their future in business mostly because they did not plan for change in their business plan.

Every business plan changes. We start with one on paper and then need to keep revising it as we go. These women wrote their plan and then when it no longer made sense to follow it, stopped using it as a measuring stick.

What I mean by this is that a business plan is written with both intellectual mastery of your venture and emotional mastery of your understanding of what it will take to accomplish. It is written with a certain level of profitability to achieve, sales and specific offerings in mind. When any one of these elements is not being achieved, as a result of economic conditions, clients needs and desires or for any other reason, it is extremely important to revisit both your thinking and emotional understanding of what has changed and why.

This allows you to not only figure out how to get “back on track,” or find an equally new parallel track, but it also educates your “gut” –increasing your awareness– about what it looks and feels like when the sand under your feet is shifting and you need to zig or zag, right then. This awareness becomes critical as your venture grows, and remains critical through out the life of your entire venture.

So, as a result of having distanced themselves emotionally from their plan, and not continuing to revise their course, NOW they have a real problem- their business might not survive.

What created their problem? Where was the zig they missed acting on?

With an extraordinary economic downturn looming unannounced before they opened, plain and simply- their passion lead them to open in a large location and spend more on space than they now can afford. The business did not grow as quickly as they had projected. While they have retained customers through this downturn, they have not added them, as predicted in their plan. Having not taken a salary in two years, they are now weary, their planned savings has run out and their landlord wants his money for rent past due and frankly wants them evicted.

So what would you tell them to do? Pray? Close their doors and run?

Sometimes, in key moments in a venture- when everything can turn to dust ( and everyone has these moments) the chemistry is perfectly ripe for magic to happen. Let me explain.

You see when I was driving down to meet them, I was following the directions my GPS was giving me. As I left the expressway and turned on a major road that intersected with their street, I looked to my left and saw a business that sold kids furniture that had a name that was extremely similar to theirs. At first I thought maybe it was their location. But then I realized, while the name of this business complimented theirs nicely, it was an entirely different business.

Thinking nothing more about it I drove to my meeting. Well, as their stress filled tale unfolded before my eyes, and we began to brainstorm about how they could avoid bankruptcy and closing their doors, I remembered the building with the sign I saw around the corner from them. I quickly asked them if they knew the owner and the business and they said yes. In fact the owner of that business had made a point, on several occasions, of coming to visit and offering advice and encouragement. In turn, they had referred business to him.

It was right then it popped into my head that their business was an excellent marketing opportunity for the owner of this childrens furniture business. His store would benefit from having a play center inside of it. Why? Because nothing but parents walk in and out to pick up their kids. Parents could browse while they wait for classes to finish or as they come and go with their kids.

By pitching the idea of moving their business into his store- which by the way is a huge store with lots of extra space- not only could their synergy help each of them, but potentially these women could negotiate a free place, or almost free place, to run their business because of their ability to bring in clients to the furniture store daily and build traffic and interest for his products. Not to mention the fact that currently the owner is not open Monday through Friday- but only by appointment- and by allowing these woman to run their business in his space, he would have built in store hours and be open for business as these women easily could allow people to browse and set up the owners appointments.

It turns out that this owner is a furniture manufacturer first, and a retail store owner second. He also runs large print advertisement in major publications–the same ones that would help these two women and their business. By encouraging him to include in his advertising that he hosts a learning development/play center for children inside his store, it will only add to the communities positive impression of his business and interest in it.

Seems as though, magically, we might have stumbled into not only a clever marketing proposition for both businesses but also a way for these two women to not close their doors. And the most magical part about it was that for the most part, the idea that held the most promise and quickest fix for them was right there for the taking– if they could have been a little more able to zig and zag.

It just took them inviting a total stranger in to speak with them, with a good mind for out of the box ideas, and a lot of experience “zigging and zagging,” to let them see the connections they already had and could leverage.

Next week these two ladies have asked me to take the lead in negotiating this vision over lunch with the owner of the furniture store. I hope the cosmos keeps the fairy dust sprinkler on until then–when your parched enough to die, a little goes a long way to restoring you to life.

Austin, TX: New Arts Entrepreneurial Finishing School- Opening 2010

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Marketing, Money, Networking, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea, WEBSITES & BLOGS on July 23, 2009 at 12:55 am

When it comes to insisting that all artists becoming more entrepreneurial, James Hart and I are kindred spirits. I cannot agree more with James statement that “We need to teach our students how to have vision. Imagine the cultural implications.”

I met Jim last weekend at Columbia College’s Creative Entrepreneurship Conference. James Hart is living my dream! He and his family just returned to the United States this past year, after founding, building and finally selling a professional finishing school focused on entrepreneurship training for theater students in Norway called TITAN Teaterskole.

The International Theatre Academy Norway (TITAN Teaterskole), is truly one of a kind and its creation was, for Jim, a true labor of love. The school is now in its fifth year of operation and in the very capable hands of Brendan McCall, who left his teaching position in the acting program at the Yale School of Drama masters program to head, run and own TITAN.

Now, with that incredible experience under his belt, Jim plans on opening, in the fall of 2010, in Austin Texas The Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, just like the one he built in Norway. It will be founded in Jim’s educational programming and philosophy which he calls The Hart Technique.

What is the Hart Technique?
The Hart Technique is a two-pronged approach to theatrical training. It is equal part Artistic technique and Entrepreneurship. Artists studying the Hart Technique have a foundation of artistic thinking. They know how to think, as artists. They are sensitive to the impulses that move them and have vast imaginations. They also have a practical viewpoint which stems from market realities. This later viewpoint, which is unique in American theatre training, enables graduates to aide their communities, to be necessary as artists, to fill gaps in community cultural offerings. They are fiercely determined and committed to overcoming career obstacles and know how to both lead and follow. Because of this entrepreneurship skill set, graduates are more able to make a living via their creativity. IMAGINE THAT!!!

The best way to learn about The Hart Technique is to experience it and practice it yourself. Workshops are offered in a wide range of venues–in theatre companies, colleges, universities and privately.

What makes the Hart Technique different from other theatre training?
The majority of theatre training programs in America are offering all arts technique and no business skills. This typical path is usually comprised of a version of the Stanislavski technique and its normal support classes. However, we, as educators, know that this path leads to widespread unemployment. Each reader should ask themselves, if we know that this technique leads to under and unemployment, why is American theatre training still following this standard path? I believe the reason lies in the fact that schools must be marketable. They have found a system that generates student numbers, but not students with a number of jobs.

How is the Hart Technique of service to society?
One of the facets of The Hart Techniques is that students are guided to discover their “voice” or unique perspective or way of expression. Graduates have this unique expression, coupled with entrepreneurial skills. As entrepreneurs, they know how to study their markets and communities and find gaps. They can then fill these gaps, eventually creating niches.

Graduates who know how to create opportunities for themselves, inevitably create opportunities for others. As these entrepreneur artists create original enterprises for profit, they inevitably create jobs.

What skills do graduates of The Hart Technique have?
Graduates have entrepreneurial skills. They have a knowledge of creating and adhering to a budget, how to create a mission statement, how to lead themselves and others, how to market themselves (and generate press as they do), and a wide range of other business related skills. Artistically, they know how to have vision and build that vision into a concrete reality. They are masters of brainstorming and can follow their creative impulses without fear or judgement. They understand text analysis and how to effectively play a role. Not only can they play a role, but they can direct others in the playing of roles. Often times, our graduates direct others in roles they have personally written. In brief, our graduates have the skills to compete for existing work, but have the ability to create their own.

What jobs can a graduate expect to have?
Graduates of The Hart Technique have created artistic companies (theatre and production), have sponsored gallery showings, done standup, acted in and directed films and professional theatre. Many do go on to compete for commercial opportunities of a standard nature. Still more go on to create their own opportunities, profiting as they do.

Is The Hart Technique applicable ONLY for theatre artists?
Absolutely not. The Hart Technique is applicable towards any medium of artistry AND enables artists to hop from one medium to another.

What if I am not interested in starting my own business or being a leader?
None of us knows what five years down the road brings us, much less tomorrow. One constant in life is change. Why limit oneself? Leadership skill enables one to lead oneself in the most effective manner possible (in addition to others). The Hart Technique helps artists develop discipline–the sort of discipline of a marathon runner. That is a skill set that will serve one throughout their life.

Why are more schools NOT offering similar training?
Most theatre training programs in America copy what the big, successful graduate training programs are doing (There is some exception to this, of course). Knowing that this typical system (all arts and no business) leads towards widespread unemployment, one must ask, “is it ethical to continue teaching this typical curriculum”?

In time, more schools will begin to offer such entrepreneurial training in their curriculums, as it is a system that generates employment. American theatre training NEEDS to go in this direction. This sort of training stimulates new voices with perspective. These individuals have the tehcnique to build their ideas and the business technique to make a living.

Some schools believe changing their curriculums to be too risky, if they are generating enough student interest now. However, to those institutions and individuals, I say, “Post your graduate career success record. Make public how successful your curriculums are (or are not).

Curriculums such as The Hart Technique serve students and institutions alike. Graduates have a higher likelihood of working and schools can boast of all of the graduates who work almost immediately out of their programs.

Interested in enrolling in the new school? Questions about the program, tuition, referring a student?
Contact Jim at:jim@harttechnique.com
Phone: 512.410.9335
Fax: 512.380.0155

About Jim Hart
Jim Hart is an award-winning actor, director and producer. His work has been seen in America, Russia, Norway and Taiwan.

As a director, he has directed numerous Tony Award-winning and Hollywood actors, including Marian Seldes, Roger Rees, Dylan Baker, Kerry Butler, and others. He has directed classics of Shakespeare, Chekhov, Marivaux, Gogol, Miller and more, including a large number of world-premiere productions. He is currently directing “The Story of a Mother”, an animated tale, and “On Death and Dying”, a documentary on our culture’s many perspectives on death and dying. He serves as Producer and Artistic Director of Sleeping Hero Productions.

Hart is the founder and former Dean of TITAN Teaterskole (The International Theatre Academy Norway) in Oslo, Norway and former artistic director of TITAN Teatergruppe, a professional theatre company—both of which are located in Oslo, Norway.

As an actor, Hart has performed in a number of venues including Williamstown Theatre Festival, Yale Repertory Theatre, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Dallas Theatre Center, Shakespeare Festival of Dallas, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, (where he received the Judy Award for his performance of Puck), Theatre Alliance in D.C., and Internationally in St. Petersburg, Russia and Taichung, Taiwan.

Hart is a Fox Fellow, having received a grant to study ritualistic mask dancing in Bali and India. He spent nearly a year in Asia, studying ritualistic theatre in Nepal, India, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong, and is one of the founders of The World-wide Art Collective, the largest theatre festival in the history of Taiwan.

He served as founder and Artistic Director of the New York-based theatre company Etudes Workshops (2001 to 2003). Etudes explored multi-cultural theatre forms of the Fantastic (focusing on rhythm, physical aesthetics, and masks and puppets). This venue, drawing teachers from a multitude of disciplines and mediums within New York, exposed artists to varied artistic aesthetics and provided ground for new collaborations to occur.

Hart’s teaching credits include The International Theatre Academy Norway, Yale School of Drama (Graduate school), New York University, Yale University (undergraduate program), the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, Tufts University, Univ. of Alaska at Anchorage, Fu Ren Univ. in Taipei, Taiwan, Harlem School of the Arts, Capital Hill Arts Workshop in D.C, Classical Theatre of Harlem, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Utah State University, Rowan University, Peridance in NYC, Kirkenaer Ballettskole (Oslo), and others.

Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot on Creativity and Innovation after 50

In Author: Lisa Canning, BOOKS: Learn and Grow, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea on June 1, 2009 at 9:00 am

Bill Moyers interviewed Harvard educator Sarah Lawrence- Lightfoot on May 11th, 2009 on his show Bill Moyers Journal on PBS. Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot is an American sociologist who examines the culture of schools, the patterns and structures of classroom life, socialization within families and communities, and the relationships between culture and learning styles. She has been a full professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education since the 1970s.

Sarah recently wrote her ninth book called The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50. The book is about redefining your life, later in life, by learning how to take risks, be more creative and innovative and why it is becoming increasingly an important priority for many. Based on two years of research, the topics she shares in this 35 minute interview include the psychology behind what she describes as a new way of learning in this stage of life, the value of mentorship, artistic expression and how to learn from generation Y. This is a worthy investment of your time.

Thanks Anne Breeden from Arts At Large for passing this along.

The Arts and Creativity in Business

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Interesting Articles, The Idea, Writing on May 29, 2009 at 7:49 am

Fast Company just released their 100 most creative people in business list. What can we learn about the arts and creativity in business from this list? Here are a few things I learned:

Out of 100 individuals selected 22 artists ( or those from what is considered classic artistic disciplines) made the list– leaving the remaining 78 of the most creative people in business working very creatively without artistry. While the arts are often thought of as being highly creative, artists represent only 26% of Fast Company’s top 50 and 22% of the entire list. What does this say about the arts and its role in business? Are we not creative enough to impact business or are we not trained and skilled enough in the areas of business to make an impact?

Of the 26% in the top 50, all of these artists have developed a multi disciplinary approach to their art, using more than one artistic skill set, while intertwining business skill sets into the vision of what their art can produce.

Creative writing is the single most common unifying skill amongst the most creative artists in business and a couple of academics made the list!

Each of these artists have taken all of their passions in life and exploited them to their fullest in their careers.

The list includes 5 artists, 4 from fashion, film and music, 3 writers and 2 chefs.

5 Artists #22, 55, 70, 86 94
4 from Fashion #13, 24, 42, 92
4 from Film #14, 21, 31, 60
4 from Music #36, 47, 69, 83
3 Writers #10, 40 and 41
2 Chefs #44, 73

# 10, James Schamus, Chief executive officer, Focus Features
Perhaps the only person in Hollywood who can rival Meryl Streep’s versatility is James Schamus. In addition to being a CEO, he’s a veteran screenwriter, Columbia University film professor, producer, marketer, distributor, and sometime composer. “There’s nobody else like him in the entire industry,” says Bill Mechanic, former chairman of 20th Century Fox Filmed Entertainment. “For a writer of his caliber to choose to be an executive is completely abnormal.” Schamus, 49, cofounded Focus in 2002. Known for its sophisticated and daring film slate, Focus produced Oscar winners Milk and Lost in Translation. Coming soon: Taking Woodstock, Schamus’s latest screenplay for director Ang Lee. — by Chuck Salter

Website:http://www.filminfocus.com/focusfeatures/

#13, Stella McCartney, Fashion designer
According to her boss, PPR CEO François-Henri Pinault, fashion designer and Beatle progeny Stella McCartney is the new face of responsible luxury. “Stella has set the bar,” he told Britain’s Sunday Times. Across the pond, the Natural Resources Defense Council honored her this spring for her “outstanding environmental leadership.” McCartney, 38, a PETA pet, uses no leather or fur; her skin-care line and ready-to-wear collection are both organic. Lest this sound too hair shirt to be stylish, consider Women’s Wear Daily’s review of the designer’s latest fall collection: “McCartney’s biker jacket in ‘nonleather sheen cupro’ can vroom with the best of them, and her thigh-high boots, in silk knits and perforated faux, strut the killer instinct she can live with.” — by Linda Tischler

Website: http://www.stellamccartney.com/

#14, JJ Abrams, Founder, Bad Robot Productions
J.J. Abrams warps Time at will. Past, present, and future coexist as a kind of fluid that cannot be contained. The camera jumps back and forth in time. Characters age and grow younger again. Time itself accelerates, then slows. “It’s intriguing to play with exactly when you learn elements in a story,” says the Emmy-winning writer-director-producer, referring to Lost, his biggest hit on the small screen. “It engages audience members in a puzzle where they begin to question everything. It makes them look for clues in what they’re watching in a way traditional narrative doesn’t.”

Website: http://www.badrobot.com/

#21,Tyler Perry,Owner, Tyler Perry Studios
He writes, directs, produces, acts, and scores — Tyler Perry controls an entertainment empire and moneymaking machine that includes the hit show Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and movies featuring his alter-ego Madea, a jumbo, no-nonsense granny with a knack for physical comedy. Perry’s creative impulse was forged in the crucible of personal pain. Channeling years of abuse by his father into writing plays with beautifully rendered characters, Perry bested homelessness and despair to transform black urban theater (pejoratively called the “chitlin’ circuit”), and expanded his audience as quickly as he released hit movies. His seven films, which rarely cost more than $20 million, have grossed upward of $300 million combined — four of them opened at No. 1 — and sold 25 million DVDs. And last October, he made history, opening the first black-owned film studio in the United States. — by Ellen McGirt

Website: http://www.tylerperry.com/

#22, Damien Hirst, Artist
Hate him or loathe him, Damien Hirst is an artistic and business provocateur. Who else could render a photo of Bill Gates standing in front of his own famous work (The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living) and turn it into a painting that sells for more than half a million dollars? Bill With Shark is a shrewd bit of philosophical and capitalist commentary: the once-voracious, aging Gates catching his own reflection and contemplating the work’s title. Of course, the deeper reveal came to the art world when Hirst sold this and other works at Sotheby’s last September for nearly $200 million, cutting out the middleman and raising the real possibility of the death of the art dealer. — by Mark Borden

Website: http://www.damienhirst.com/

#24, Jil Sander, Designer, creative director, Uniqlo
The high-fashion/mass-marketing movement seems to be reaching a new phase with Jil Sander’s new project: The German designer, who became famous for her luxurious if minimalist couture, has signed on as the creative director for Japanese retailer Uniqlo. Sander, who sold her namesake label in 2004, took on the clothing chain as her first consulting client, and then agreed to oversee its fall and winter collections — possibly including one of her own design. — by Abha Bhattarai

Website:http://www.jilsander.com/

#31,Hayao Miyazaki, Cofounder, Studio Ghibli
When Pixar’s animators need inspiration, they watch Hayao Miyazaki’s movies. The giant of anime has been elevating cartoons into epic cinematic events for more than two decades, with fantastic, award-winning films such as My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away. The writer-director’s stories are mostly hand-drawn, with strong female characters and morally ambiguous plotlines that make his work a harder sell than, say, Shrek 10 would be. But this summer, Miyazaki may finally get his commercial due in the U.S. with Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. Disney/Pixar creative chief John Lasseter worked with megaproducers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy to build a stellar voice cast (Tina Fey, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson) and to secure Miyazaki his widest U.S.-theater release yet. — by Jennifer Vilaga

Website: http://www.studioghibli.net/

#36, Pharrell Williams, Musician
Pharrell Williams knows it all starts with a beat — he got his start on the snare drum in his high-school marching band back in Virginia Beach, Virginia. As half of the production duo known as the Neptunes, he has helped everyone from Britney Spears to Justin Timberlake to Madonna to the Hives find time on the charts. Williams also fronts the funk-rock band N.E.R.D., produces a clothing line called Billionaire Boys Club, hawks a line of shoes under the Ice Cream Footwear brand, and designed sunglasses and jewelry for Louis Vuitton. Most recently, Limelight, an updated version of Fame that he created with film director McG, was picked up by ABC. Tapping Williams’s own beat, the show is loosely based on his performing-arts experience in high school. — by Mark Borden

Website: http://bbcicecream.com/blog/

#40, Neil Gaiman, Author, screenwriter
“Writing is, like death, a lonely business,” according to Neil Gaiman. But the prolific wordsmith has made it a bit less so, building a global community of fans of all ages and in many media, including comic books (Sandman), novels (American Gods), TV (the BBC’s Neverwhere), and a children’s novella turned 3-D movie (Coraline). In January, Gaiman won the Newbery Medal, kiddie lit’s top honor, for The Graveyard Book, the enchanting, daringly dark tale of an orphan protected by the long-dead residents of a cemetery. Gaiman also blogs at neilgaiman.com, discussing everything from his computer setup to his success. “I liked the idea of a world in which I could feed my family by making things up and writing them down,” he wrote recently. “[But] I’m not quite sure how it happened.” — by Danielle Sacks

Website: http://www.neilgaiman.com/

#41, Maurice Sendak, Writer, illustrator, producer
The extraordinary Maurice Sendak has sold millions of copies of Where the Wild Things Are (1963) and In the Night Kitchen (1970); most recently, he collaborated with Tony Kushner on Brundibar (the book debuted in 2003, the play in 2006). Sendak, now 80, has designed operas, won myriad honors, spawned everything from stuffed monsters to lunch boxes, and inspired generations of dreamy kids. In October, the Wild Things feature film will premiere. An improbably hip, moodily gorgeous affair, it’s being brought to the screen by a formidable team: director Spike Jonze; screenwriter Dave Eggers; stars Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo, and James Gandolfini; and Arcade Fire and Karen O (of Yeah Yeah Yeahs), who are providing music. Let the wild rumpus begin! — Anya Kamenetz

Website: http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/HarperChildrens/Kids/A…

#42, Marc Jacobs, Fashion designer, LVMH
Marc Jacobs has “made fashion hip, but not inaccessibly hip,” says Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Accessibly hip enough for him to build a $5 billion empire within LVMH that delights both the moneyed elite and the allowance-driven economy (his junk-store concept — $11 flip-flops, $55 rubber totes — is still thriving in the retail slump). Jacobs’s knack for forecasting trends (this fall, neon and ’80s nostalgia), anointing muses (hola, Anne Hathaway), and playing the media keep him in the spotlight. But it’s his endless inspiration that drives sales. “It’s very organic. We say, ‘Let’s make this happen and see what the reaction is,’ ” Jacobs says. “It’s not like a creative person sits down with a mathematician. That’s a hard thing for a lot of businesspeople to understand.” — by Mark Borden

Website: http://www.marcjacobs.com/

#44, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Chef
In this era of celebrity chefs and haute cuisine gone less haute, Alsace-born Jean-Georges Vongerichten is the rare talent who has grown his empire without resorting to the indignity of slapping his face on a frying pan or frozen pizza. He already has 18 restaurants — eight of them in New York, including Vong and his flagship Jean Georges, which has three Michelin stars — and for a sense of the size of his plate, consider that Spice Market alone rakes in about $15 million a year in revenue. His unprecedented partnership with Starwood Hotels has given the cuisinier license to unleash his creativity — and trademark Asian flavors — in 50 new restaurants over the next five years. That’s still not enough for him: “If I could have my dream,” he has said, “I would open a new restaurant every month.” — by Kate Rockwood

Website: http://www.jean-georges.com/

#47, A.R. Rahman, Composer
You might know A.R. Rahman as the Oscar-winning composer behind Slumdog Millionaire’s “Jai Ho,” which has been downloaded more than 100,000 times on iTunes and was re-recorded as a hit collaboration with the Pussycat Dolls. But Rahman has been writing Bollywood hits since 1992. His soundtracks have reshaped Indian pop, adding influences from jazz, reggae, and Western classical music, and have sold more than 100 million copies. Rahman also created the musical Bombay Dreams and has been testing new forms of music distribution; through a tie-up with Nokia, he recently released an album just for the company’s music-phone users in India. — by Dan Macsai

Website: http://www.arrahman.com/

#55, Gregg Gillis, Mashup artist
Gregg Gillis, 27, is the first truly postmodern rock star. The ex-biomedical engineer layers unlicensed song samples and “performs” them live, with him and his laptop center stage. Last year, he released his fourth album, Feed the Animals, online, using Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want model. So artful are his mashups — Feed the Animals’ 300-plus samples include unlikely pairings such as Nine Inch Nails and Kelly Clarkson, and David Bowie and 2 Live Crew — that even the notoriously litigious record labels have offered their ultimate compliment: silence. — by Jennifer Vilaga

#60, Josh Schwartz,Television producer, writer
Josh Schwartz has made his name chronicling the young, pretty, and privileged on TV, first with The O.C., then with Gossip Girl. But after his Girl found unexpected success online — new episodes routinely top iTunes’ most-downloaded chart — Schwartz, 32, pitched his latest beautiful brainchild, “Rockville CA,” to TheWB.com as a series of five-minute Webisodes. “Kids are going to college with laptops, not TVs,” says the former USC frat boy. “I figured, Why not?” Not that he’s swearing off old media: His as-yet-untitled Gossip Girl spin-off debuts this fall on the CW, and he’s directing a new film version of Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City. — by Dan Macsai

#69,Dave Stewart, Musician and record producer
You may know Dave Stewart as the Eurythmics cofounder and a singer’s songwriter — he’s written hits for Tom Petty, Celine Dion, and No Doubt. But it’s the rest of his CV that’s unexpectedly impressive. He started the consulting company DeepStew with Deepak Chopra, acts as U.S. creative director for the Law Firm ad group, serves as president of entertainment for fashion designer Christian Audigier’s brand-management unit, and is an official Change Agent for Nokia. “I’m willing to receive a smaller percentage and relinquish control, as long as the idea goes into the minds of a brilliant company,” he says. “I’m not going to run out of creativity or ideas, so I don’t hang on to stuff for dear life. If you’re terrified to release control, nothing gets made!” — by Mark Borden

#70, Brian Donnelly (KAWS), Artist and Designer
Brian Donnelly has been compared to Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, both of whom straddled the divide between street and institutional art. But Donnelly has arguably surpassed them with his one-man empire. Business at his Tokyo-based company OriginalFake, created as an outlet for his art and related merchandise, is thriving. During his February L.A. gallery show — just his second solo exhibition ever — the line to enter snaked seven blocks; Lance Armstrong bought the biggest painting. The guy who just a few years ago was hiding in bushes to evade anti-graffiti officers is now being courted by megabrands that want his signature graphic treatment on their products. Mostly, he’d rather not. “I only like to work with companies that are part of my life already,” says Donnelly, who has said yes to Marc Jacobs, Nike, and Levi’s. — by Jana Meier

Website: http://www.davestewart.com/

#73, Dan Barber, Executive chef and co-owner, Blue Hill restaurants
“Manhattan’s answer to the Farmer in the Dell,” as Dan Barber was called by a New York Times restaurant critic, is more than the foodies’ latest locavore darling. The driving spirit behind the two Blue Hill restaurants, Barber, 39, is a passionate advocate for regional farm networks. They’re the answer, he says, to big agriculture’s economic and ecological abuses. A 2009 James Beard Award nominee for Outstanding Chef, he practices what he preaches on his own family’s farm and at the Stone Barns Center, a not-for-profit that promotes sustainable agri-culture. One of his trademark dishes is This Morning’s Farm Egg, with hen broth and root vegetables — tasty proof that the farm-to-table movement is not just high-end menuspeak. — by Linda Tischler

Website: http://www.bluehillfarm.com/

#83,Brian Eno, Musician
Brain Eno, the father of ambient music, is still in the vanguard. Take his recent collaboration with David Byrne. Byrne wrote lyrics in New York to the instrumental tracks Eno had sent from Lon-don. Then they prereleased the album, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, online. Now he’s curating a lights-and-music festival in Australia that includes his own light show projected on the Sydney Opera House. — by Genevieve Knapp

Website: http://www.enoshop.co.uk/

#86, Cai Guo-Qiang, Artist
When not drawing — and detonating — pictures made from gunpowder or staging massive outdoor “explosion events” like the fireworks at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Cai Guo-Qiang is busy breaking records. His 14 gunpowder pieces sold at Christie’s in Hong Kong in 2007 for $9.5 million, an all-time auction high for contemporary Chinese art. He’s the first Chinese artist to snag a Venice Biennale award and the first living artist to have a solo show in a state-operated Chinese museum. The seven white sedans he suspended from the ceiling at the Guggenheim in New York last year left the art world chattering about American car culture. — by Kate Rockwood

Website: http://www.caiguoqiang.com/

#92, Simon Collins, Dean of fashion, Parsons
After 20 years in the industry, Simon Collins is grooming the next wave of Tom Fords to be as prepared for the boardroom as they are for the run-way. In less than one year, he has devised a new model for his 1,300 students to collab-orate with companies such as Ellen Tracy, Henri Bendel, and Gap. Collins, 41, who began his career as a bespoke tailor in London, designed for Ralph Lauren, Ermenegildo Zegna, Reebok, and Nike, and spent a brief spell opening a New York design office for Wal-Mart. Now he aims to trans-form Parsons — which produces some 70% of the designers on Seventh Avenue — into the breeding ground for the first generation of sustainability-minded designers. “If we taught our students it’s all about red, they’d go into their careers thinking it’s all about red,” Collins says. “Hopefully we can do that with sustainability.” — by Danielle Sacks

Website: http://www.parsons.edu/faculty_and_staff/faculty_details.asp…

#94, Kevin Adams, Lighting designer
Kevin Adams is on the leading edge of the post-incandescent age on Broadway, exploiting the potential of CFL bulbs, fluorescent tubes, glass and flex neon, and the latest LED technology. His work for Spring Awakening — brilliant white light for the 19th-century play’s scenes and saturated color from what he calls “electric objects” for the songs — won him a Tony in 2007. He picked up a second Tony in 2008 for The 39 Steps. Another Adams hit: a fabulous wall of light for the musical Passing Strange. One admirer said it looked “like Mark Rothko meets Japanese pop.” Adams also lit the current revival of Hair. — by B. Martin

Website: http://www.ambermylar.com/

Is Creativity Really The Answer?

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, The Idea on May 16, 2009 at 1:35 pm

As much as I hate to admit it, I am not convinced that Creativity is The Answer. This is heresy, I know, but when you get right down to it just how useful is creativity anyway? Creativity is like gunpowder; incredibly powerful- and dangerous- stuff, but largely  useless without a structure to contain it, a system to measure it, and a culture that respects it.

Structure

I didn’t learn me no grammar in grammar school. There was a movement during my grammar school years in which creativity was emphasized over structure.  In essence, we were taught that it was more important for us to write creatively than it was for us to write well. I didn’t know what a participle was until high school when I elected to take college grammar. It wasn’t the most boring, tedious, mind-numbing class on the electives list and the books we used were so old they were out of print. (When the class was over we had the option to buy them. I did.) Of all the classes I took in high school, College Grammar was, without a exception, the most valuable.  I have always enjoyed creative writing but it wasn’t until I took a grammar class that I learned how much my writing sucked. No one cares what you have to say if you can’t structure a proper sentence. Creativity is all about content, but content needs to be contained. The rarest and most exquisitely complex wine in the world is useless without a glass.

Measurement

In the real world what we really care about is how much we produce, not how creatively we produce it. When it gets right down to it we care more about quantity than quality. Given $100 for food we’d rather eat three square meals a day of boring cafeteria food than eat one five star meal once a month. As a natural extension of this we measure our success by our productivity. We ask “what have I done with my life” much more than we ask “did I do it well”. What does Creativity produce? In itself, not much. Can we quantify it? Not really. How do we prove that Creativity is useful if we can’t quantify its usefulness? Creativity is useful when we apply it to how we work; a creative workspace can make a job easier, faster, or more pleasant  even though the product remains unchanged. A prime example is the assembly line: the model T that was produced on an assembly line was no different from the model T produced  by hand except that now it could be produced faster, more easily, and became so affordable that even the workers on the line could eventually buy one.

Culture

In the end, though, it isn’t about money, it’s about culture. Returning to the gunpowder analogy, where one culture sees it as a weapon another culture sees it as a tool and another sees it as festive entertainment. Largely, Americans tend to see creativity as festive entertainment; a luxury rather than a necessity. As an artist I have lamented that no one buys artwork unless it “matches the couch”. When I use my creativity to produce fine art (because production = key to success) I create a pretty commodity. Fine art, like entertainment, is not considered a necessity. So is all creativity doomed to uselessness? Not necessarily: even our western culture recognizes that creativity can be an effective tool when trying to communicate (ex: a commercial illustrator creates drawings to illustrate an art director’s concepts to a client) and is useful problem solving (ahem, Henry Ford).

In the end, the question remains: is Creativity “The Answer” to becoming successful? No. Not by itself. Creativity has the potential to make life easier, richer, and more successful but it is only a tool. Like all tools, the key is how you use it.

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.

maslows-hierarchy

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.

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…