Express Your Creative Gifts and Life Purpose
"I've come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as
a fingerprint—and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and
then find a way to offer it to others in the form of a service, working hard,
and allowing the energy of the universe to lead you."
Over the past ten years, I received notes from thousands of women (and men)
worldwide who said that my first book, The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women:
A Portable Mentor, changed their lives, gave them inspiration and hope, and
allowed them to embrace their creativity again and run with it. In contrast, I
have run into many women (and men) in my travels who react to the title of that
book by saying "Oh, that's not for me, I'm not creative at all."
My heart aches when I hear those words, as we are all creative in our lives, not
just writers, artists, and actresses. Watch a healthy two-year-old child at play
while they gleefully try out new projects, like throwing sand to see what
happens, running after a butterfly to see if they can catch it, discovering the
wonders of glue, and sticking together everything they can find.
As we know, the definition of creativity is "to make or invent something new"—to
make connections. Children allowed to engage in free play (as opposed to being
perched in front of a DVD) invent and make all kinds of original creations
without intimidation or self-consciousness.
But something happens to many of us as we grow up—we freeze up creatively or
disown our gifts. Then we get bad advice and often get on the wrong path. Thus,
creativity goes underground. Or we follow a creative path but we don't treat our
work as a profession and end up living on the margin, and we don't get the
recognition or financial rewards that we deserve. Other people have a creative
outlet that they consider a hobby, like knitting, and choose to have a different
day job. But both the job and the knitting can be creative outlets, too. Part of
our creative process is to craft the life and the business that we want.
Then there are women who actively choose to pursue their creative interest (or
interests, very often), and become highly creative women. But even then, they
may fall prey to bad advice, low self-esteem, not marketing themselves actively,
and the terror of being seen. This book will help each of you, regardless of
which category you are in.
You are creative—own it!
You have the potential to become highly successful.
Your creativity is an essential ingredient to building a successful career,
business, and personal life.
You can learn to be successful creatively by following the advice in this book.
You can potentially change your entire life and lifestyle to honor your creative
gifts and finally feel free, fulfilled, and prosperous.
You have an inner brilliance that allows you to solve problems with novel and
innovative solutions, help others, and profit from it.
This book is your ticket to becoming the highly creative and successful woman
you long to be. But first, you have to do some healing work, learn new
professional development and lifestyle strategies, and empower yourself as an
entrepreneur or as a key contributor to an ethical, quality organization where
you enjoy working. Even if you choose to spend some time working for someone
else, you need to keep your eye on the door, your skills and your About Page
updated, and a strong network going. Your best security is to grow yourself. You
need to follow a special path for creative success. It will reawaken that
creative little girl who either got squelched or silenced or went out on the
creative path with the wrong guidance and has been stumbling along. If you are
already operating as a highly creative woman, this book will propel you to the
next level of growth, stretching your comfort zone and pushing you to step fully
into a CEO mindset.
THE MAGIC OF TWELVE
Many of you may be wondering why I am writing another book with the title "12
Secrets" in it. In doing a little research, I discovered that 12 is the number
of a whole and perfect harmonious unit. There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs
on the zodiac, 12 inches in a foot, 12 face cards in a card deck, and 12 basic
hues in a color wheel. And of course we have 12-Step Recovery Programs that are
very powerful and teach a complete outline of what works. So my intent with this
book is to share with you my model for the 12 secrets of highly successful
women, compiled from my own life journey, the myriad of clients I have coached
over thirty years in my business, now called Creative Success LLC, and the
wisdom of the thirty women who I interviewed for this book, some of whom have
been powerful mentors to me. Some of these women are multimillionaires and on
television, while others value their lifestyle more than just money, and make
business and lifestyle choices around those desires. Many of the women are
trying to have balanced lives and be wealthy at the same time, or have already
achieved that balance. They all work hard, feel strongly connected to their
work, and feel called to express it in the world as a gift to others. Their
stories are meant to illustrate the 12 ingredients that I outline that are
essential to the soup of success for you.
DEFINING HEARTFELT PERSONAL SUCCESS
In my thirty-plus years of experience helping people to heal and create a life
of fulfillment, I have been struck repeatedly with how essential it is for each
of us to do the necessary soul searching to design and live by our own
definition of our success. In this celebrity- and media-crazed culture we live
in, it is easy to get confused about what composes a high quality and successful
life for ourselves. Defining heartfelt success is a very personal and unique
I have worked with thousands of clients who have been tortured by the agony and
confusion of living according to someone else's values, misconceptions, scripts,
or formulas. Just because your mother thought you were overly dramatic doesn't
mean you are or that being so is even a liability. While the media or your
family might worship fame, money, entrepreneurship, or corporate ladder-climbing,
none of these pathways guarantee happiness for you unless you freely
choose them. We all deserve prosperity. The starving artist syndrome serves no
one. Yet fulfillment in life means knowing what we want while appreciating what
we already have and having the self-worth to think independently and create a
life that's original.
Webster defines success simply as "a favorable or satisfactory outcome or
result." I like to add the adjectives "heartfelt" and "personal" so that you can
visualize results that express your true self. Whether you are twenty-four or
eighty-four, it's time to stop the lies. For example, I have a client now who
keeps brainstorming with me about ideas for this elaborate international
consulting business. But if you look at her overall life goals, she really wants
to only work twenty-five hours a week. That means that her business plan has to
be carefully designed to target the work that can be done quickly for the most
fulfillment for her in terms of either impact or financial reward. It may take
her several years to achieve this model. The best time management strategy in
the world is letting go of fantasies and working within your own desired
paradigm. Successful people focus on the outcomes that resonate for them—creating
viable businesses that service their customers and clients—and so they
can revel in the joy of that heartfelt, personal set of goals.
The best time management strategy in the world is letting go of fantasies and
working within your own desired paradigm.
I interviewed many successful women for this book. Here are some of the unique
elements of their definition of success.
Ali Brown, millionaire entrepreneur, mentor, CEO of Ali International llc,
member of the Inc. "500 in 2009," and leader of the Millionaire Protégé Club and
the Shine Conference:
Success for me, in the beginning, and this may be true for everyone, was liking
the stuff. I wanted the house and the car and I love my creature comforts and I
love beautiful things. But once I reached these goals, I looked around and said,
"Okay, now what?" I've got this gorgeous house on the beach and I have a
wonderful life; what is this all about? And I realized that success is truly
being just true to myself and that whatever I define success to be, that's what
it is. And I think women need to give themselves permission that success can
look like exactly what they want it to look like. I'm here in a big way and
building a global business to empower women entrepreneurs internationally, but
not every woman wants to make some of the sacrifices I have made.
Gillian Drake, serial entrepreneur, editor, writer, and publisher of many books
and the Cape Arts Review, real estate designer and developer, and now a medical
To me, success is living on your own terms, being who you truly are, being your
authentic self. I know that the standard definition of success means a high
paying, prestigious job, the perfect marriage, a beautiful home—the American
Dream, I guess. But that's not for me. I need freedom, independence, and a
series of creative projects to work on in order to be happy.
(You should see her villa in Italy that she redesigned and built.)
Lisa Sasevich, known as "The Queen of Sales Conversion," author of The Invisible
Close, and leader of large workshops like Speak to Sell Bootcamp:
... The reason I feel successful the most is really that I feel blessed to
have healthy children, a loving husband, and work that is meaningful that makes
a difference. As I discovered a few years ago, my blessing is to help experts
who are making a difference to get their message out—people who love what they
do but hate the sales part—and last year my business took a quantum leap from
$130K in sales to 2.2 million in sales. I also feel successful because I can be
an inspiration to other women who also have a busy life, to be able to really
create the lifestyle of their dreams and make a huge contribution at the same
Victoria Moran, author of ten books, including Living a Charmed Life, spiritual-life
and holistic health coach:
I see my success as moving forward each day as a spiritual being having an
earthly experience. I believe that this life is extremely important. I don't
have the idea of "Oh well, you know, work and the body and things like that are
physical so they don't matter." They matter tremendously. But when I think of
success it has to be both—the here and now and the forever after.
Sheri McConnell, CEO of Smart Women's Institute of Entrepreneurial Learning and
author of several books, including Smart Women Know Their Why:
Western entrepreneurial women will save the world and our mission is to create
positive change in the world—making the world a better place.
Caroll Michels, career coach, artist advocate, author of the classic book, How
to Survive and Prosper as an Artist, and creator of the ArtistHelpNetwork
I'm happy. I mean it is just as simple as that. I'm happier than I have ever
been in my whole life and I just wake up happy.
Chellie Campbell, creator of the Financial Stress Reduction® Workshop and author
of The Wealthy Spirit and Zero to Zillionaire:
The number one thing I want is a business that I run, not one that runs me. I
want work to get me to a life, not be my life. I want my life to be beautiful. I
want to have a lot of time off for fun, to enjoy the ride of it.
Brenda Michaels, co-host of Conscious Talk Radio, emotional and spiritual coach,
and author of an upcoming book called The Gift of Cancer: Awakening the Healer
First and foremost, I define success through relationship with myself, and how
well I take care of myself. How well I nurture myself and how well I allow
myself to honor my feelings and my needs, and my willingness to bring balance
and harmony into my life. I believe this is important because we can't truly
give to others what we withhold from ourselves. Living this way allows me to
give love in such a way that there is peace and integrity in my personal
relationships, as well as in my professional relationships.
Jeanne Carbonetti, watercolor painter and teacher, owner of Crow Hill Gallery,
and author of many books, including The Heart of Creativity:
Yes, I do feel successful and for me, success is doing what I love and being
able to make a living at it and I am able to do that. It also means feeling like
I am fulfilling my purpose in life. I have a strong sense that everything in my
life was guiding me to be devoted to teaching the power of beauty and that's
what I spend my time doing.
Dr. Elizabeth Stewart, MD, physician in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Mayo
Clinic in Minnesota and researcher on fibroid treatments:
I do feel successful. For me it means being able to do work that is interesting
and challenging and to have some element of creative fulfillment as well, and
also being able to balance that with life outside of work.
Deborah George Tsakoumakis, founder/owner of Wire a Cake/HB Bakery Connections®,
a company that sends cakes all over the world, including to many of our troops
Yes, I feel successful. And as far as success, we have to define success as not
exactly measured in dollars, but rather success in knowing that I have
accomplished something that has had a positive effect these past twenty-three
years when I started the cake business. I see the effects that my cakes have had
with respect to the families that receive them, especially my military families.
I send families a picture of the cakes I ship and I'll get emails back from an
army wife, for example, and she will say, "I'm in tears right now, looking at
this cake, and knowing that I can send a cake to my husband who is deployed, has
made all the difference in the world.
FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOUR WORK
A few years ago, I planned a wonderful Mediterranean cruise for my husband and
me. It had been a lifelong dream and it was time for us to have the experience.
I was charmed by the cliffs on the island of Capri, the beauty of the French
Riviera, and the periwinkle blue and white buildings on Santorini. It was an
amazing adventure to places of staggering beauty. It was an investment in the
joy of travel.
On the cruise ship, I met an incredible pianist, Pearl Kaufman. Since the
publication of The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, a number of people have
said that they wish I had interviewed more musicians, so I took the opportunity
to interview Pearl. Pearl performed on the ship three times, and each
performance sparked a standing ovation with cheering. People fell all over each
other in the line to buy her CDs. She was adored, and she plays on cruises all
over the world to enthusiastic audiences (talk about a great job!). As Pearl
said to me, "everyone should experience the joy of being cheered——there's
nothing like it." Pearl decided to become a pianist while watching a movie at
age eight, and thankfully, no one tried to talk her out of it.
She received a music and scholastic scholarship to college, played for Igor
Stravinsky, and is known for her famous movie performances with Henry Mancini
and John Williams, among others. She loves all kinds of music, and believes
strongly in its inspirational qualities. I asked her if she had any special
favorites and she had an intriguing answer: "I'm like Elizabeth Taylor—I fall in
love with everything I play." Pearl says she does not get blocked or bored and
never plans to retire—just slow down a bit to enjoy her grandchildren. Her
advice for aspiring creatives: "Go where the action is. You can't stay home and
expect your work to be seen or heard. You have to make the effort."
Love is an essential success strategy for any endeavor. Doing work you love
captivates your life force and enthusiasm. If you are settling for doing work
you hate, you are missing this joy of full engagement. Falling in love with our
work, over and over again, fulfills us like a great marriage. Our work is a
potent relationship, and love is an essential lubricant. Pearl's love affair
with her piano and its possibilities reminds us all that expressing love through
our creative work is a peak experience of life.