That is all there is to write, it would seem. Women from diverse backgrounds came together to hear Ann-Marie’s story about how she took the entrepreneurial plunge in 1997 and went from social worker to internet maven to business owner. Yeah, it took guts, and listening to her instincts telling her that this was the right thing to do. Ann-Marie bared it all, including her current challenge to unplug herself from the business to “just be”. She started with her story, and quickly went into the challenges and the position that mattered to get the business to the next level. If there ever was “self-less” ambition (see Robyn Frye) this was it: it was all about what made Embolden Design grow…and Ann-Marie grew too.
The question I had to ask was, “what is your next challenge, you Ann-Marie, not the company?” The raw response: “Working less hours on the work that kills me…” the work, I would call “do-do” work. (Moms and dog owners you know what I mean) Sometimes the work you love shifts. You get older, you take on responsibilities and well…it is just another euphemism for a “distraction” as those heavy duty obligations take over. So what do you love? And how can you get more of it and play in your work? That theme - return on value and doing what you love - became a clear thread in our conversation.
Oh yeah, did I mention conversation? Yes, really listening, coming up with our own words that matter to what we long for and want to create. Some of the women, even wondered what is a “hobby”, anyway? Clearly, doing what you love leaves no time…except playtime that matter to you. Miscellaneous, time-passing “past-times” didn’t work for these women. Read on about the key themes we honored in our conversation…convening…connecting:
Many of us stayed until well into the night, Michelle Girasole of The Sassy Ladies, Karen Of Pinnacle Peformance, Elizabeth of Pan Zhai Chinese Antiques and I shut New Commons down at 11:00 pm…wow! Lots of conversation about work, people, kids, companies and well, China! I’ll post more as soon as I get the notes, but from memory this is what I took home:
- Growing to the next stage is more than an evolution - it is listening to what matters: being an “instinct listener” and acting on it.
- How to make “work” work was about discipline and trust in the process, and creating the conditions, and place, for ownership for all. It is more than a “piece of the finances” but an ethos of accountability in the work.
- Being a “socialist-capitalist” - it isn’t an “either/or”, but an ”and-both”. Who the heck made these definitions as opposing? Ann-Marie showed how her focus on adding value and listening to her social consciousness lead to a more robust bottom line. And guess what, this isn’t “corporate philanthropy” or “responsibility”. Her practice was honest, to paraphrase, “What do I care about? Let me and my company act on it…Why? Because it matters…and guess what? I am still going to analyze my revenue, project goals out for the year and say no to potential customers that may not meet the company’s social values.”
- A suggestion to Ann-Marie’s challenge of trying to work more “life” into her life as a business owner: how about just aspiring for one minute or one hour to do nothing. That is right, nothing! Cool.
Okay, I am a bit tired at 12:45am, but did I capture the essence? Did I tell you the fun we had?? Whew, If you were at the cafe, what else did I miss? Comment, tell us what you learned from the cafe, what were your a-ha moments, and what else are you going to take away and how will you apply it to your leader-ful practice?
- Read “Write it down, make it happen” by Henriette Anne Klauser and well, believe in it “god damn it”.
- Listen to the virtual book tour and pod cast with Wendy Hanson of The Sassy Ladies and at 4:00 pm on Thursday, June 5 with Jeanna and Eva, co-authors of the “Mastering the Law of Attraction” in the Chicken Soup for the Soul “Life Lessons” series. Do check it out.
- Aperion Institutes’s Bekhah reminded us of the up coming Sustainable Living Fest 2008 on Saturday June 7 and 8th. If you are in RI you’ve got to go!! Check it out here
Of course, there’s lots more, so please add to this and tell me what you thought of Soul at Work with Ann-Marie!
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