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Archive for the ‘Goals’ Category

Creative Arts Inspiration: When a Person Really Desires…

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspired to help that person realize his dream.” ~Paul Coelho





Are You Waiting for Permission?

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015


Girl in green sweater and glasses asking a questionWay back when we were kids, we learned to ask for permission. It was perfectly normal, and we were good at following instructions for the most part. This continued through school and likely in our corporate jobs, if that’s where our path led us.


Before I really began coaching creative entrepreneurs on a formal basis, I can remember a conversation I had with my friend Barbara. Barbara wanted to leave her corporate job and turn her passion at art into a business, only she was waiting for someone to affirm her decision that it was OK. She asked me what I thought. She asked our circle of friends. She asked her sister. She asked her mom. She asked her husband.


She wanted someone else to say that she was ready, that her work was good enough, that she would be successful. In other words, she was looking for permission outside of herself to take a chance on herself, to invest in her own skills and talents.


When did it become necessary to get permission from someone else to live our own lives? Sure, Barbara did need to talk with her spouse to make sure their family needs were met. Ultimately the decision was really Barbara’s.


What happens when you wait for permission? Ultimately I think it cheats both you and others. You because you are putting off being extraordinary at being yourself. And others because you are denying them your gifts.


If you are someone who recognized you are waiting for permission, here are a few tips:


  1. Begin to visualize the beginning and the end. Where are you now and where do you want to end up? This will lead to clarity. Do not worry about the journey in the middle.


  1. Start the journey. State what you are doing. Take the first step, then the second step. The other steps will show up when you are ready for them.


  1. Don’t apologize for missteps along the way. We all have them, and we all learn from them.

It’s hard to visualize someone as a leader if she is always waiting to be told what to do.”
Cheryl Sandburg, Facebook


Please share a time that you didn’t wait for permission and what happened as a result.


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Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at



See the ICAP blog at



Calendarize Your Priorities

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015


Caribbean Beach - Calendarize Your Priorities

When was the last time you took a vacation? I know it can sometimes be hard for those of us who are entrepreneurs to let go. After all, will our business run without us? Can we trust being partially or totally unplugged? When can we possibly find the time to go on vacation with all we have to do?


Truthfully, we all need time to relax and recharge. If we don’t allow time for that, I believe in the end, we are not as effective at our businesses, and it is ultimately detrimental to our overall health and well-being.


For me, the best way to insure a vacation is to schedule it. Calendarize it, even pay for it ahead of time, so it becomes a non-negotiable.


While I believe that any getaway to recharge and refocus should be a priority, we have lots of other priorities in our lives that don’t always get on the calendar.


Have you thought about what you say are the priorities in your life? That can be watching your kids or grandkids play soccer, yet when the game comes up, you’ve got something else to do. It can be spending quality time with your spouse by having a healthy dinner together, yet you continue to work well past dinner time. It can be your own self-care, that swim class that renews you, yet you miss it continually. It can be something as simple as setting aside 10 minutes a day to meditate, only again you can’t find the 10 minutes.


Yes, we all have “things” that come up, but do we focus on our priorities? In order to get back on track, here are four steps:


  1. Make a list of your priorities. Consider them your non-negotiables.

  3. Go back and look at your calendar and see how you are actually spending your time.

  5. Look to see if there is a disconnect.

    • Calendarize time for those priorities first and stick to it.

    The first time did this exercise, I was surprised by what I said was important and how it wasn’t reflected in the time in my day. When I start to feel disconnected, I will go back and do this again.


    Please share what you discovered in the process.


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    Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:


    Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at




    See the ICAP blog at



    Words, Resolutions and Intentions

    Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

    2015Some of you know that I pick a word to guide and inspire me through the year, to serve as a focus or intention as I face each day. I started this practice back in 2005 or 2006 and have shared this story before. At that time, I was actively practicing yoga and in a class, Kathy, the owner of our studio, passed a basket with words. I chose one, openness, and I didn’t really like it. After all, the woman next to me picked love, which I thought was so much better. I asked to draw a new word and Kathy told me the word had picked me and I was to go with it. I put the paper with the word “Openness” on the computer where I could see it every day. I was not sure what would happen, but I just started seeing all kinds of things around me. I guess I was “open.”

    Since that time I have had lots of different words to guide me through the year, including abundance, challenge, joy, consciousness and last year’s word “Trust.” I wanted to trust that I would make the right decisions, that I would not second-guess my decisions, that the chances I took would work out. And, yes, I could see a difference in how my choices played out.

    For me, this was a better idea than making a New Year’s Resolution. So, why did I make the switch from resolutions to an intention? It came down to the kind of person I wanted to be, not all the stuff I wanted to do or have. Sure, I could have the same resolutions everyone else made: lose weight, get organized, exercise more, the list goes on. But that did not work because I was still “being” the same person. I had to make a choice to “be” a different person. That is what has made the difference, focusing on being.

    So here we are, a week into 2015, and I have been thinking of my “word.” I started by listing a group of words I found appealing: bounty, mindfulness, connections, persistence, gratitude, harmony, possibilities, thrive, awareness, exploration. And, while they resonated, they did not resonate enough. Next, what I did was think about what it is I wanted in my life and my business, and the answer I kept coming back to was to fully experience what was in front of me, whether that was a person, an experience, an activity, a challenge. It was about being present; it was about being connected; it was about being committed; and it was much more. So I just ruminated on “fully experience.” Actually, you could say I slept on it. When I awoke on Monday morning, the word “engaged” just came to me. That was it. I wanted to be or feel engaged. I went to the dictionary and found the following definition: “to establish a meaningful contact or connection with.” Meaning and connection.

    Have you picked a word to guide you for the year? If you have not, give it a chance. You just need to think of the quality or direction that you want your year to take. Need some help getting started. Think about what you might have resolved to do and ask yourself what quality is necessary for that? Or try a search online for character qualities and go from there. Lots of people immediately come up with a word that resonates with them. Others need a bit more time. My best advice is think of a word, mull it over, and if it keeps showing up, that’s the one.

    Once you come up with your word or intention, what do you do with it? Here are three tips:

    1. Write it down where you can see it. I put mine on a sticky note and attach it to my computer where I’ll see it every day.
    2. Share it with someone else, especially if the person will hold you accountable. Over the years I have shared mine with some of my mastermind partners or family members, and we talked about why we chose the words we did.
    3. Do something that lets you take action on your intention.

    What word did you end with? And, if you picked a word last year, how did that make a difference? Share your word below to make that commitment and see what you can create in 2015!


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    Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

    Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at


    See the ICAP blog at


    How Cool is That?

    Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

    Young woman thinking with question marks over headThe trade show season brings with it a lot of opportunities. Your work is being seen by more people than you can imagine, and they are people who can help raise your profile in the industry. I know several of my clients came back from Quilt Market with new opportunities to consider, including a sales job offer from a thread company, the chance to create quilts for fabric company booths, a potential distributor connection, interest in fabric design, and the opportunity to write a book.

    Pretty cool, right? That is what we all think right away — all these opportunities that could lead to fame and fortune. That is, if they actually pan out how we think.

    The problem is that all those opportunities do sound cool, and they are for the person making the offer. The opportunity fits their business agenda.

    But, the real question is, does it fit your business agenda?

    I know how easy it is to get caught up in possible potential and forget to take a look at how the opportunity really fits with your business goals. I have had my turn at this.

    So, how do you decide what to do with the multiple opportunities? I think that you ask a series of questions for each opportunity?

    1. Is this something that you want to do, be or have in your life? Sometimes just thinking about the opportunity in that light allows you to realize that perhaps it sounded really cool on the surface, but it is really not something that interests you long-term enough to work at.
    2. Is this something that will move you closer to your goal? Again, lots of opportunities are exciting, only they do not always move you towards the goal you want.
    3. Is this a one-time opportunity or will it be available at a future date? Perhaps this is something that will be an option at a later date when it fits more in line with your long-term goals.
    4. Can you afford to put the time and energy into this opportunity at the present time? And, what will you give up to make room for it?

    If you have really looked at the opportunities and decide that any are right for you, then go for it and make a plan to fit them in to your schedule.

    What questions do you ask when you get a cool opportunity that you don’t want to miss? Let me know below or leave a comment on the Facebook page.

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    Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

    Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at

    What Tolerations?

    Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

    medium_8112842140Recently I have been talking with several of my clients about what seemingly little things they put up with. Yes, and some of the big things, too. We all have what could be called “tolerations,” those situations, problems or things that are really solvable, but that we let stay unattended. What happens? They bug us on occasion, and, more importantly, they zap our energy. Sure, we can put up with a few items, but most of us let the list grow. And, we start to compromise on those items. You know, maybe it is not really that bad. The problem is that you start to desensitize yourself to all the good around you.


    So, how do you get control on those tolerations? First, admit you do actually have some! For starters, make a list of what you are tolerating. I do not think it will be hard to come up with 20, and I am sure you will get more if you get started listing them. So set aside 15 minutes and start your list. You might even do this walking through your house or office. I wlil admit I have one set of curtains that circle the floor. (No, they are longer than what is fashionable.) Every time I look at them, I think I should just take them down, run a quick seam and be done with them. It is such a simple, little thing, yet it takes energy from me every time I go through the room. So start that list and keep at it. It might be the dead plant you leave thinking it will suddenly grow shoots. It might be the clutter you live with. It might be your kids’ socks that never seem to leave the family room floor. It might be the stack of library books you have got in the car you are meaning to take back. It might be something your spouse always says that you that you live with rather than create waves. Look at all areas of your life: your business, your home, your car, your environment, your habits and behavior, and the habits and behavior of those you interact with.


    Next, ask yourself for each of these tolerations what you are getting from it. While it may seem odd, you have some benefit for not addressing the toleration. You also have costs for each of the tolerations, so identify those. Once you realize what the benefits and costs are, it becomes easier to take action.


    Decide that you are ready to take action on the tolerations and start at the top of your list. At some point, it really will hit you that you do not want to tolerate any longer. Just tackle one toleration each day. If I can decide today to hem those curtains, you can pick something on your list. And, watch what happens: you will build momentum towards eliminating the tolerations and you will find more energy.


    What are you tolerating that you commit to eliminating?

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    photo credit: Tanja FÖHR via photopin cc

    Chasing Rainbows

    Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

    rainbowLast week was such a storm-filled one that I found myself searching for rainbows each time the rain stopped. And, I found a real beauty just across the street. I started thinking about the fact that rainbows are dependent on the storm and started comparing that to our business life.

    My first thought was that we all have storms in our business, whether that is feeling overwhelmed by our work or not being able to get done what’s on our list because a “crisis” or storm brews. Times we are not in control. We also have financial storms, weeks or more with dismal sales.

    The thing is all the storms pass, and we hopefully have rainbows: turning those to-dos into ta-das or developing better sales the next week. Is it possible to get to the rainbows without the heavy storms? Maybe yes, maybe no. Here are just a few ideas to consider:

    1. Chart your business activity, specifically your financials. All businesses have sales cycles, times when sales are up and times when sales are down. And, it is often a pattern. If you do not look at what is happening in your business on a regular basis, you can not expect to make adjustments and get to those rainbows. It is about creating a history so that you know that the first two weeks of September are always slow and you can develop a plan of action to combat that.
    1. Using that same history, you can predict when you will need to add some additional help. If history shows that you are always busy and overwhelmed during December, then plan ahead for help. Also give thought to whether the new hire should start at the beginning of the busy time, where she is thrown into the fire, or whether you need to be available for training, in which case a slower time might be better.
    1. Understand how you work. Are any of those storms because you are not paying specific attention to your needs? For example, do you allow interruptions during the times when you should be working in your brilliance? Or do you do all the “it only takes five minutes” items allowing a storm to brew rather than working on the important tasks, which will take longer?
    1. Do you have a Plan B or contingency plan for unexpected storms? Thinking ahead about the potential storms and having a plan will make a difference.
    1. If you find that the rainbows continue to elude you, spend time journaling about the situation or talk it out with a trusted advisor. If you do this, you will probably come to a better understanding and possibly a good solution.

    Do you ever look for rainbows in your business? What is your tip to find more rainbows?


    Frog for Breakfast, Anyone?

    Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

    medium_4148152756Mark Twain has been quoted as saying,


    “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day,” and

    “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” (In actuality, the original quote goes back to Nicolas Chamfort, who lived in the 1700s.)


    So why do I suggest starting your day, your breakfast, with a frog? We all have lots on our “to do” list, and I am sure I am not the only one who will look for the easy project first.

    The idea with starting with the frog is to get the big item done first, the one that might scare you, the one that you would usually put off, the one that probably has the biggest impact in your business. I think we keenly know this as procrastination!

    I’m putting out a challenge right now. Look for the frog and do that first.

    Look at it as the start of a new habit. Let me know what your frog is and how eating the frog first works for you.


    photo credit: pattoise via photopin cc


    Lessons From My Favorite High School Graduate

    Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

    haileyLast week my eldest niece graduated from high school. An honor student, she plans to attend the University of Wisconsin in the fall. I am crushed that she will be so far from home; yet I know she will flourish there. As I was taking part in all the festivities over the weekend, I thought about some of what I learned from her.

    1. Set goals and work to achieve them. She is a very goal-focused young woman and persevered to accomplish those goals, whether that was achieving high marks or working to improve her times on the cross country team or completing a quilt to hang in my guild’s show.
    2. Keep balance in your life. She wasn’t an all-school and no-fun kind of girl. I saw plenty of videos she created with her friends and cousins to know that she found something outside school that challenged her and brought joy into her life. And, as required for graduation in our county, she took part in community service activities.
    3. Celebrate your achievements. She had a list of ways to celebrate the diploma – an afternoon in DC after graduation, a graduation night dinner, another celebration dinner on Saturday, and joining her mom on an overseas business trip later in June.
    4. Be grateful. First thing Sunday morning, she sent us all a text thanking her family  for being there to help her celebrate this achievement and for supporting her along the way.
    5. Keep a sense of humor. In the text she thanked us for being in the first 17.667 years of her life and wishing we will be there for the next 17.667, which would bring her to 35.334.

    I know lots of you have family graduations around this time. What did you learn from your graduate? Leave a reply below, or log onto to Facebook and leave a comment.

    What’s Your Value?

    Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

    Value - Business SignThis past Friday I gave the keynote at the Studio Art Quilt Associates Conference. I had a great time connecting — and reconnecting — with so many talented artists. My talk was titled “Starving Artist No More: 7 Steps to a Profitable Creative Arts Career.”As the title suggests, I spent a lot of time talking about your mindset. One of my slides included a favorite quote from Mika Brezinski on knowing your value, which I will share below. From my experience working with creative entrepreneurs, I often find they struggle with determining a value for their work and then charging for it. Here are some tips for dealing with worth.

    1. Know exactly what you are charging. Many creative arts entrepreneurs often are challenged by what to charge for their services. Many tend to undercharge because they don’t know what to charge. They look at what others are charging and figure it must be right. Ever wonder how that person came up with her price? She probably did what you did: looked around at what others were charging and figured it was right. Take the time to go back and determine how long it takes you to accomplish your work. Consider what your expenses are – overhead, taxes, materials, etc. Then determine what you need to make on an hourly basis to meet your expenses and make a profit.
    2. Build confidence in your work and value. In Knowing Your Value Mika Brzezinski said, “Knowing your value means owning your successes. Owning your success means acknowledging your achievements. By acknowledging achievements you build confidence.” One way to do this is to have what I call a Weekly Success and Strategy Session. This is where you set aside time to review your accomplishments for the week and celebrate them. Then strategize for the week to come. Seeing what you accomplish does build your confidence. With increased confidence you will be better able to see your value and express it.
    3. Be visible and promote yourself. Once you see your accomplishments, don’t be shy about sharing them with everyone you know – and even those you don’t. Women, in particular, are not bold about this. Remember, if you don’t toot your own horn, who will? If you need ideas on promoting yourself, listen to our the call in the ICAP Library with Tara Reed on “How to be a Pres-Friendly Agent.”
    4. Look for a mentor. It can be useful to have someone else help you objectively look at what you have to offer and your value. It’s easy to stay in our own shell and others often see things we don’t.
    5. Step out in faith. Once you know and believe your value, don’t second-guess yourself. Own your value and move forward. There’s an African proverb – When you pray, move Your feet – that says it all.

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