Sunday, November 15, 2009

something from nothing

It's not unoften that someone walks out of my dance class. After all - it looks crazy hard, I am a bit intense and I don't settle for "I can't do that!" I've learned not to take it personally. I know in my heart that I am a great teacher and that my style and intensity and complexity are not for everyone - I teach in a fitness club after all, not a dance studio. And I am incredibly thankful for my "regulars" that light me up and inspire me to keep dancing. I walked into class yesterday - Where was everyone?!?! I literally didn't recognize one face. Uh Oh. Disaster.

The choreography I am teaching right now is not particularly easy, nor is it particularly mainstream. Quirky. I racked my brain for an "old one" that would be easier - more accessible. I searched through my music to see what I could do. Nothing came to mind. Oh well, I thought, let's just take it slow. Let's create something where there was nothing. Let's see if we can get these women to see that they can do this. Slowly. One step at a time.


And I taught them. And they rocked it. Was it perfect - HELL NO! Was it fun - OH YES! I left all tingly and sparkly - and took my tingly sparkly self over to the first ever iteration of Wise Time.

When I first started thinking about the concept and direction for Wise Workshops I knew that I wanted to create something that was bigger than a women's group. I wanted to start a women's movement. And part of that dream was to commit to the idea of service and giving back - Wise Time. That together - we could be more that the sum of our individual parts. Create something where there was nothing. So when I walked into the McConnell Center (already all tingly and sparkly) there it was. These Wise Women were doing a beautiful thing - raising money in memory of a sister lost.

An idea - fully realized and acted upon. A dance that I wasn't sure they would get. Love where there wasn't even friendship. Confidence where there was uncertainty. A sister honored.

Something where there was nothing.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

breathe. dream. imagine.

Breathe. Dream. Imagine.

I literally just finished filling out an application to join a high-level women’s entrepreneur coaching group. And one of the questions was “What is your long term vision – your dream – for your company and for you?” I thought I would share my answer, because I don’t think I’ve written it down before!

“We are an established, trusted brand that has had a positive impact on the women that have participated in our workshops and an even greater impact on the women who license and run our workshops. We are known for providing women with a purposeful, systematic business model and process that feeds their hearts, heads and wallets. We have provided tremendous community support and have developed the Wise Foundation which promotes the education of women around the world. I am a sought after speaker. I host regional retreats for Wise with superb content and ambitious community service projects. I might even be on Oprah!”

That’s it. Makes me smile. Who knows?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Money, Mindset, and my very own "Aha!"

As most of you know Julie and I are coaching our very first (the first of many!) group of Wise Women. I am so thankful for our "guinea pigs" that are helping us work out the kinks and bumps in our process. Their feedback has been invaluable already - and we're just three weeks in!

This week the goal was to REFLECT - to recognize the mindsets, patterns and negative thoughts that can really have an impact on our success when it comes to many aspects of lives - though, as it turned out - especially money. We started with what we thought would be a harmless quiz on Money and Mindset. It had questions like:

1) What was the predominant lesson you received as a girl about money?

a. Money doesn’t grow on trees.
b. You can’t take it with you… might as well enjoy it!
c. Save, save, save, and pinch your pennies.
d. Be grateful for what you have and stop fantasizing about having more.

And the floodgates were open. We spent the entire workshop on just this quiz – 15 questions! I hope it was meaningful to everyone. It sure was to me. See, I have this idea that just like in feng shui, where a bookshelf can be blocking a window in your home, our beliefs and patterns about money (and food, and goals, and lots of other stuff too) can become bookshelves that are blocking the windows to success in our lives.

I’ve been working with money for just about my entire professional career. I know money. And you know what I realized? I horde it. When I get a bill, even though I have the money to pay it – I wait until the last possible moment to pay. I like to look at my accounts – I jokingly say to “visit” my money. Sure, Michael and I donate to charities – and lovingly give gifts to our family and friends. I’m not a miser. But I am not fond of parting with my money. And if I don’t freely send my money out into the world then how can I expect it to freely come back to me? There is a bookcase in front of my window.

So new rule… I am going to pay my bills as soon as I get them. I am going to stop “visiting” my money – it is not an adorable neighbor! I am going to find a charity I believe and donate to it on a regular basis. I am going to move my bookcase! And I want you to move yours.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why should Bruce Hornsby have all the fun?

Last night was a girls night. I love girls nights. We started out the evening over margaritas and $2 Tuesday Taco's - and quite honestly - when it was time to leave the restaurant I was a little bit sad because I absolutely love sitting and talking to my friends. What to do with our kids and how to get our daughters to pick an outfit in the morning and how much exercise is enough or too much and travelling husbands and sales at J.Crew and laughing, lots of laughing.

We were off to hear Bruce Horsby play at The Music Hall. Now, I have to admit, live music has never been my thing. If I were to chose a performance event, I would much prefer to attend live theater or dance. And I'm a musical theater junkie. Concerts, bands, orchestras etc. - not so much. But my friend Lisa was really interested in going, and I love anything I see at The Music Hall - so - I withdrew myself from my pomegranate martini, and headed off - no expectations.

It was joyous. The way Bruce Hornsby plays the piano is like having the notes tickle you. And his voice resonates to your bones and the musicians were unbelievably talented. But that wasn't the best part.

The best part was watching this group of men -- some a little bald, some a little old, some a little paunchy, none of whom you would think "genius" as you passed on the street (well, with the exception of those of you who would recognize Bruce Hornsby - unlike me) -- LOVE LOVE LOVE what they were doing. And loving to get to do it with each other. And in their joy was humility in their genius. There was no arrogance. There was an inclusiveness created because we were all getting to experience their passion. They were having a blast.

That's how I want to be. I want to do what I love - joyously - and do it so well that it is inclusive because I love it so much. The genius? - perhaps with time, practice, lots of learning.  Genius seems less important than doing not just what you are good at - but what you love to do. Finding a way to profit from your passion.

A lesson definitely worth abandoning my pomagranate margarita for.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wise Workshops are here - for real life!

So I spent last night in the warm company of eight women. The space was (almost) ready - curtains coming soon! And we laughed, and talked and even though it was just our first workshop - I certainly found inspiration in that room, and hope everyone else did too. In so many ways it was just as I pictured it - and yet even better. Because what I couldn't have imagined was what each woman would bring into the work.  Julie, my business partner, and trainer extraordinaire is such a graceful and thoughtful facilitator. She is awesome at what she does.

And the participants - well, they're pretty Wise already - and I can't wait to see what they are going to achieve together. More to come on that...

As for me - I can not tell you the power of having an idea, seeing an outcome, imagining a different way - and then doing it. Gives me the warm and fuzzies - and sometimes makes the hair on my arms stand up.   The experience of creating Wise with Julie and with the great group of women that are giving us their time to test our wares - is, for lack of the right word - fun.

I feel I'm going to better for it. I hope they're going to be better for it. And I know Wise is going to be better for it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Heard any scary stories like this one? You need to know about your money!

Why is it vital that as a woman - I don't care if you're single, married, a stay-at-home mom, the CEO of your company and primary wage earner for your family, just out of college, going back to college, getting ready to retire, empty-nester - whatever! Why do you need to know about your money?

I have a friend who is an incredibly intelligent woman - but she never dabbled in the money stuff. After all, her husband was a STOCK BROKER. She figured he had it under control. She happily shopped at J. Crew and Pottery Barn, nothing crazy - but she was living a comfortable life.

Then she filed for divorce. And suddenly it became clear as a part of the full financial disclosure involved in the divorce proceedings - that their financial life was not so comfortable after all. They (SHE) had $80,000 in credit card debt ?!?!?!?! And she'd had NO IDEA. And you know, we could say - well shame on the husband for mismanaging things so amazingly badly - but unfortunately shame on her too for choosing to be ignorant.
Here's the scary stats -
 Almost 1 in 4 women are broke within two months of their husband's death.

 Over 75% of all women are widowed at an average age of 56.

 53% of women are not covered by a pension compared to only 22% of men.

 A staggering 87% of the poverty stricken elderly are women.

 On average, a woman’s standard of living decreases 27% after a divorce
Here's the thing. Get involved. Learn your stuff. It's about empowerment. It's about confidence. It's about RESPONSIBILITY.
There are millions of stories like my friend's. Many, I'm sure - far worse and far more devastating. As recently as 1972 women needed a spouse or father to co-sign a loan. Thankfully, that is no longer the world we live in. So let's get in the game. Let's get WISE.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Resisting the urge to become a workaholic

In Wise Workshops, we teach women to block their time - no multi-tasking. Do one thing until it's finished. And I need to heed my own advice. As a result of the amazing mention in Huffington Post (at the risk of shameless self promotion, here it is) my inbox was JAMMED over the weekend, and suddenly I find myself corresponding with women from all over the country. And our first workshops start next week, and I promised my dance class new choreography this week, and my son seems to have morphed into a wild monkey after four days back at school, and, and, and....

Breath. Stop. Think. Plan.

One thing at a time. Until it's finished.

O.K. - GO!