Monthly Archives: July 2011

Level Five Spin Ninja

Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

One of my favorite comics is called “Non Sequitur”. It has an interesting little girl who makes some wild pronouncements about the world. Recently, she said,

“The Spin Ninja code states that luck favors the prepared
My goal is to become a level 5 Spin Ninja”.

That has gotten me thinking about the link of the Law of Atrraction and the Law of Action. Really, “Spin” is just a way of thinking about a thing – your life, an event, a job, whatever. We think of “Spin” in terms of attempting to convince someone else about something. President Regan was said to be able to turn anything even failures into a victory with his suave spin savvy. Unfortunately, it is also said that President Carter wasn’t able to use spin to turn a victory into a victory. Spin is another word for the Law of Attraction, whether you’re using spin to define your own world or attempting to lead others to define the world according to you.

How about you, are you able to find the victory in your own events, and to use spin (in your thinking) to support yourself to create positive outcomes from your daily events?

And what about the “luck-favors-the-prepared”?  How prepared are you to receive those things that you are trying to create?  If you’re looking to bring a spouse into your life, is there room in your garage and your bathroom for another person?  If you’re looking to grow your business, is your current calendar filled completely with no room for those new clients or customers, even if they came?  If not, consider some preparation might be in order, and that is using the Law of Action with your intention.

I’m aiming to be a Level Five Spin Ninja, how about you?

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Marketing Lessons from the Garden

By Gail Z. Martin

Does your marketing have blossom end rot?  My tomatoes did.  And I tried to fix them the same way I see business owners tackle marketing that isn’t working.  I tried to figure it out on my own, while throwing out tomatoes that got a gray, yucky fungus on the bottom.  I guessed at what was wrong, but it took me far too long to research my situation and find an expert to help.  I often run into business owners who put up with marketing that isn’t getting results, but they resist researching their options, finding an expert, and investing a little money in a solution.  Instead, they keep limping along on their own, still disappointed in their results.

Or is your marketing wilting?  Some people are natural gardeners.  I’m not one of them.  My garden reminds me of the benefits of consistency, because when I forget to water my plants for a day or two (or three), they wilt.  I know a lot of business owners in the same boat when it comes to marketing.  They get enthusiastic and invest money, time and energy into their marketing—for a while.  Then they get busy and the marketing goes on the back burner.  It begins to wilt.  When the business owner notices it again, the marketing is just a shadow of itself—and not producing nearly the results it could if well cared for.

If you’re marketing isn’t fulfilling expectations, take a cue from my garden experience and see if expert advice, investing in the right solution and making a consistent effort won’t turn your marketing around and make it bloom!

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Evolution of an Art Calendar

by Violette Clark

Hooray!!!  The sample copies of my “Bliss” calendar have arrived!  I never get tired of seeing my art on products.  It’s such a thrill i tell you!


I’ll be ordering a bunch of calendars so you’ll be able to buy them directly from me!  Yippee!

I don’t know about you but I always wonder where artist’s get their ideas and inspiration from.  I’m assuming some of you are interested so I’ll tell you the story of how the Bliss calendar came to be.

A few years ago my nephew was paralysed in a tragic rugby accident. Naturally the entire family was distraught.  We tried to think of things to give my nephew Adam to buoy his spirits.  So i decided to create a series of inspirational cards which i printed off and laminated.  Every time i visited Adam I would tape an inspiration card on the wall behind his bed.  Adam liked the cards and so did his caregivers who would come to his room to check out his latest miniature missives of hope.

By the end of Adam’s stay at the Rehabilitation center his wall was full of colourful, glittery cards.

A while later I was on twitter and looked at the twitter feed – much to my surprise Brush Dance was looking for artists. I thought “Surely they won’t want my illustrations?”  but then again another thought was “What do you have to lose?  You have those lovely cards you created for Adam – they are different and inspirational in nature. Why not give it a try. You have nothing to lose!”  So I did and Brush Dance accepted my designs!

Now I’ve already illustrated a calendar for 2013 and was asked to submit designs for 2014 if you can believe it!  It all started with the desire to inspire my nephew to heal and feel hopeful.  As you can see you just never know where things might lead to.

That whimsical mixed media illustration you just created might morph into a line of greeting cards or a new rubberstamp design. Sometimes you don’t know where the Muse is leading you until later on.  Your job is to be a conduit for the creativity within you.  Show up and Create and leave a trail of glitter in your wake!

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Evaporated Dreams

Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

There are many theories about the sources and causes of stress and/or burnout. I propose that underneath all those ideas is a systemic disconnect between one’s strengths and ones dreams. Any combination other than being connected and acting from strengths as well as keeping a conscious focus on dreams can create the symptoms of stress and lead to burnout. The most disastrous is the state of being out of touch with one’s dreams and working from ones’ weaknesses.

When I talk about being out of touch with dreams, I’m looking at the place in your life, often appearing at mid-life when your dreams of having a beautiful home, perfect children, loving and attentive spouse or of six figure income and international fame and instead you find yourself cleaning dirty toilets, drudging through boring projects at work, and dragging yourself to the movies because you just can’t think of anything else to do.

When one is also out of touch with operating from one’s strengths, the stress doubles or triples exponentially. When you find yourself working with people in, say a sales or customer service job, and your greatest strength is introspection and left-brain mathematical concepts, you may be working from weakness. On the other hand, if you’re highly social and love being with and interacting with people, and, you are in a cubicle all day updating spreadsheets or programming computers, you haven’t connected your purpose to your inherent strengths.

When one is off purpose with both dreams and strengths, stress burnout is inevitable. If stress is keeping you from your Big Dreams, here are a few tips for treating those symptoms and getting back on track:

  1. Add something beautiful to your life on a daily basis, such as flowers or music.
  2. Do some enjoyable activities whenever possible.
  3. Walk, work, and eat at a relaxed pace.
  4.  Take a short break after meals to relax.
  5.  If possible, go outside at least once per day and notice the simple things such as the weather or scenery.
  6. During the day, whenever you remember, notice any tension in your body (jaw, neck, shoulders). Breathe deeply and gently stretch and relax any tense areas.
  7. If you notice your mind racing or worrying about the past or future, take a minute to breathe deeply. Gently focus on something in the moment such as the feel of your breathing, the visual scenery, the sound of birds.
  8. Take breaks during the workday to relax.
    Wear comfortable and loose clothing when possible. Take off your shoes when you can.
  9. Avoid holding in feelings day after day. Instead, find a safe place to feel, express, and embrace them.

May the third quarter of the year find you focused on those dreams, living from your strengths, and dancing.

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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Turning Family Research into a Novel

by Carla Rieger

If you spent years doing amazing family research, what do you finally do with it all? A compilation of facts about your family history may be interesting to you, a few close family members, and maybe other family historians, but what about the rest of the world? This article is about using your genealogical research as the starting point to create a compelling novel or short story. There is plenty of information available about how to turn your genealogical research into a nonfiction book as a legacy for your family but almost nothing about writing a fiction inspired by true events discovered in your research. What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing this kind of a project?


1. Making your story more readable

People tend to be drawn into a story if there is a certain structure to the story, or what myth expert, Joseph Campbell, might call The Monomyth. This is a basic pattern of stories found all over world and from all times in history that seems to have a powerful psychological effect on readers. Real lives are generally complicated and full of tangents and mundane aspects of life that are either confusing or generally un-interesting to the typical reader. Because of this, many so-called true stories are often just inspired by true events; meaning several characters or events have been collapsed into one, or timelines have been shortened, new events and characters have been added in, names and dates changed, and so on. Another reason to employ the Monomyth pattern is because people often do family research because they want to understand themselves more fully. Using this pattern will force you to uncover the universal truths in their journeys which in turn will help you and your readers learn some of life’s greatest lessons.

2. Protecting people’s privacy and avoiding legal hassles

Some people don’t want their life stories made public to others especially if there is controversial information included. Even those who agreed to be identified in a story have been known to later try to sue the author once it is on the market and they read the final version.  Even if you change their name, some family members have objected because the surrounding facts still point directly to them. Also you may feel free to talk about a relative that has passed away but later discover their descendants are unhappy about it and want to sue. As long as you are maintaining the truth in the essence of the story, changing gender, relationships, professions, geography or time periods can be a great way to protect yourself and others.

3. Missing information

It may be that you can’t find all the details of what happened to family due to records either not existing or being lost. Rather than leave parts of the story blank you may choose to invent them, or draw conclusions based on existing facts.


1. You might lose some purists

Some people will only read a book if they think it’s a totally true story rather than semi-biographical. This is a valid concern and so you will need to decide who you are writing down these stories for. If keeping things totally factual is important to you and your readers, and won’t create legal problems, then it may be worth trying to do that.

2. Your ancestors’ stories are already in a readable story form

The actual story of your ancestors may be already a strong narrative and therefore embellishing it may actually ruin the story.  It is unusual but you can find compact stories full of intrigue, dramatic tension and foreshadowing without much help from you as a writer. This is usually the case if you take just one incident in a person’s life such as surviving a shipwreck or winning an important audition that led to huge career success.

Feel free to comment below on what you think may be the advantages or disadvantages of turning your family research into a story or novel.


Carla Rieger is the author of the award winning book and now the screenplay The Change Artist. After her father died, she discovered a hidden box of mementos suggesting he had changed his identity a couple of times in his life. Her journey of uncovering the truth completely changed her life. She used a novel format instead of a memoir or biography because of the advantages listed above. For more information about Carla and the book go to:

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The Butler Did It!

by Irene Butler

The Butler Did It!  That is… Rick and Irene Butler Did It!  Be ready for this old cliché to take on new meaning when you read my book!

What did we do? We circumnavigated this beautiful big blue ball for the same cost as being couch potatoes. “Trekking the Globe with Mostly Gentle Footsteps: Twelve Countries in Twelve Months” is about our encounters, from the enlightening to the bazaar and the lessons we learned along the way.

Embedded travel tips tell how you too can succeed in meeting a budget, while still adhering to our travel motto “we are not here to suffer”, and how to not let the 24/7 “togetherness” end in divorce. Plus a sharing of the most valuable lesson of all “expect the unexpected”.

Learn more about Trekking the Globe at and also check out the many other countries we have trekked through and the experiences that have “wowed” us – such as this year’s adventures in the oil-rich United Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, where excesses are astonishing; then the mysterious allure of Syria, the seaside rhythms of Jordan and Sinai coasts, the intensity of Israel, and our path through Technicolor Vietnam.

Safe Travels Always,
Irene Butler
Author/Travel Writer/Photographer

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Title: The Simple Truth About Branding

by Isabelle Mercier Turcotte


Every entrepreneur wants to have their company’s brand “WELL KNOWN, TRUSTED & DESIRED” …but not all brands are worthy of that privilege.

What is branding? Well, let me start by clarifying what branding is not:

  • Branding is NOT marketing and branding is NOT a logo either. A logo means absolutely NOTHING, unless of course, the company behind it does.

The truth is that successful branding is not represented by a cool logo, it’s much more than that. Successful branding is a combination of an authentic promise with a clear, aligned and consistent delivery. These elements are crucial because the promise and delivery are what build trust in your company and increase customer loyalty.

Here are 5 tips to help you build a successful brand:

A purpose is the big WHY behind the WHAT you and your company are truly meant to be doing and it’s what gets you and your team out of bed in the morning. Know and share that purpose and learn to “Stay On Purpose” with everyone you work with and everything you do. A brand is not a brand without a strong cause.

Not all clients are ideal clients – far from it. Know who you truly want to work with and who you are best suited to help. Know what companies inspire you and why. The why is important as it is usually closely linked to fulfilling your purpose and aligning with your core values. (Core values are what you stand for, your decision makers).

It is important to be very CLEAR (internally with your team and externally with your communication tools) on what you are selling. If you are not clear, how can you expect your prospects to be! Here’s an example:

What does Nike sell? They don’t sell sneakers, socks or sports apparel.
Nike sells athleticism and victory.

If you watch any Nike commercial, you will find that they don’t talk about how they manufacture the soles of their shoes, and they never mention the durability of the leather.

So what DO they do? They tap into the emotional connection with inner drive, our profound desire to push past our limits and achieve something great. What you will see in Nike commercials is a basketball player hitting a three point shot on the buzzer to win the championship; or the look of determination on the early morning runner’s face as she blazes through her town.

The tangible product or service we all sell is the catalyst that addresses the deeper, emotional need.

Don’t try to be everything to all people. Be clear about what you are BEST AT SOLVING in this world and offer that to those who get it, need it and want it. The more you define and focus your brand on the one thing that you do better than anyone else, the more clients will recognize you and respect you for it, therefore contributing to building a stronger brand.

Margarita and I built our previous business’ reputation solely on great relationships and ideal referrals. I truly believe that if you take care of your clients, and understand and deliver on their needs, other great people and other great brands will want to be a part of that.

Building a successful brand is building trust; it takes time and needs constant attention. It is a mixture of attracting new ideal business, hiring the best people and delivering on your promise day in and day out.

And that is the simple truth about branding!

Leap of the Week:
Take a few minutes to think about what you are really selling, beyond your product or service. How is your product or service making life better?

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