Zen and the Art of Reinvention

Karen Schwartz  |  Business Coach and Consultant  | Advocate for reinventing ourselves 

Karen Schwartz  |  Business Coach and Consultant  | Advocate for reinventing ourselves 

This month I would like to introduce you to Karen Schwartz-Clover. Karen is a business coach and consultant who asks her clients to feel their way through decision making processes instead of thinking...and thinking...and stalling on decisions. Her philosophy is simple and straightforward and has helped ...............


In an age where everyone is trying to “manifest” his/her reality, I think I have learned some key points that are worth sharing. Creating a life and business that are nourishing, congruent, and sustainable has everything to do with physically feeling your feelings and using them to clarify what feels good and then taking strategic action. Wishing for something is ineffective.

Many years ago I began an apparel brand and garment manufacturing business. It was successful and grueling for a time. I longed for a mountain house, a cabin on a lake in the woods, and a little country cottage. All of the homes I daydreamed about were peaceful and quite the contrast to the urban flat I chose to live in to afford transition time to figure out what was next for me.

Once the inspiration hit, I set up a little office in a corner of my small space and started getting clear about my new business. I worked diligently and executed each step.  When things became too hectic, I would venture out to a nearby bookstore and look through design and decor books about rustic modern homes just so my mind could breathe. There were many sleepless nights back then --worrying about deadlines, design details, cash flow, and dysfunctional relationships. Thankfully, I was able to move into a perfect little house on stilts on the water on the San Francisco Bay.

The view from Karen's living room window overlooking Mount Timpanogos in Utah. | Photo credit: Milano Liberi

The view from Karen's living room window overlooking Mount Timpanogos in Utah. | Photo credit: Milano Liberi

On my very impassioned journey following my business vision, I met a man who had been busy building his dream houses.  I remember the first time I saw this house that I now call home.  I was in awe standing on the porch looking out at the mountains. I thought how great is the Universe --bringing my heart to the builder of a house with a view of our business logo, a mountain that looked like a woman. And, there right in front of me, was a mountain that looked like a woman, Mt. Timpanogos.

Breathe and Purge
After two and a half years of dating we decided to merge our lives. My dear friend Nicole, whom I met when she helped me get our first business loan, accompanied me in a U haul packed with furniture, art, and lots of high-heels to the mountaintop in Utah.  When we arrived, we looked around and wondered what I had done! The vestiges of bachelorhood overwhelmed me. My future husband had built a bar on wheels that he had positioned right in front of the big picture window obscuring the view. Nicole and I quickly named it, “The Monstrosity.” There were four lumberous outdoor bar stools ponied up to it. Then, there was a whole other series of bar stools alongside the concrete countertops. The rest of the décor amounted to a couple of stained and ripped couches, tropical plants, deer antlers, and fish nets draped “decoratively”.  Goodbye eight ugly, enormous barstools and ripped couches!

Get rid of clutter. The energy must flow. Out with the unnecessary! Often times, in life and business this pruning can take the form of a partnership or friendship. When you are growing a beautiful garden, you weed!

The Monstrosity Theory:
We decided to move the “The Monstrosity” into a corner and ended up using it at our wedding. It seems less ominous now with smaller bar stools around it and is often the place we gravitate to at the end of a dinner party.

You don’t have to get rid of the big, ugly thing obstructing the view. Move it to its new purpose. The Monstrosity Theory may relate to the talent you hire, a marketing or a design idea.

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Clutch your Teacup
Keep in mind that this co-creation business happens at its own pace! If it is done right, it takes time and most importantly, it takes lots of cups of tea or bike rides or hikes or yoga classes while tuning into your thoughts and feelings.   In a culture that says “Do! Do! Do!”-- I find that the most productive way to make business and life decisions is by Being. This lesson was hard earned!!! If I had grasped the calm, centered and emotionally aligned feeling that is necessary before making good business decisions, I would not have spent many years with sleepless nights and a crazy-making life running myself ragged in the rag biz..  

Do yourself a biggie---Feel into your decisions and don’t rush knowing what you want. And, while you’re at it, make sure it’s not just your head that wants it. Your feelings know what is healthy for you!  Let your emotions be your compass.  Take the time to explore your motives behind your ambitions. Ask yourself if it is ego gratification or success-seeking that is hiding behind the curtain. Figure-out if what you want is something that will actually nourish you.

Pondering Couches:
I pondered couches. Should they be chocolate brown? No, they should be black. Should they be leather? Yes, leather. Modern lines, black leather with big grommets. Then, one day while I was running errands in town, Norm (my husband) found the perfect couches, exactly as I had imagined, at a consignment store.

Pondering Couches is how I recommend pondering business decisions and life choices. Should I go this way or that way? Remember, when you have a big vision of where you are going, your job is to figure-out your next step. Next-step analysis is your key to success. It is your best tool to keep from getting overwhelmed and giving-up.  In this small and focused place, The Universe can co-create with you because you are tuned-in and not scattered.

Waa-La
The very day I decided I needed a cow hide rug for our living room, my rep called and said, “I have a black and white cow hide rug in my garage that my husband really wants me to get rid of; I’ll send it to you.”

Time and again, I follow the process of taking the time to feel-into what is next, and the perfect item, person, or situation appears. I stopped being amazed years ago and am now just grateful each time it happens.

Take a chance on a scary dog.
One night during a blizzard four years ago, I was home alone and was startled by a black wolf-like dog staring at me intently through the glass door. She was wet and cold and nearly starved. I took a chance and let her in and named her Maggie.  She has been a wonderful addition to our lives. Maggie had spent years sitting in a hole in the ice, envisioning her perfect family and a comfy bed by a roaring fire.

Calculated risks can pay-off. Your job is to DISCERN a calculated risk versus a careless risk. Careless risks reek of wishful thinking. 

Next!
At this point, the lesson seems to be about knowing when the cycle is complete and understanding it’s not about perfection.  If we focus all our energy on pondering couches or the perfect rug so to speak, we will miss out on all the new adventures waiting for us.

The process of starting my new business and dreaming of a life in the mountains has come full circle.  I am grateful that we live in a place where we grow our green drinks and curious moose stop-by.

Lessons I’ve learned along the way:

1.  Feel into your decisions.

2.  Don’t rush knowing what you want.

3.  Get rid of clutter. The energy must flow. Out with the unnecessary!

4.  Clutch your teacup and ponder.

5.  Take a chance on a scary dog.

6.  You don’t have to get rid of the big, ugly thing obstructing the view. Move it to its new purpose.

7.  Know when the cycle is complete.

8.  Understand it’s not about perfection.

Karen Schwartz-Clover

Karen Schwartz-Clover is a business consultant and coach. She specializes in business strategy, crossroads decision making and next move analysis. 
For more information she can be reached at: karensc111@yahoo.com 

 

Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program | Move Forward. Give Back.​®

As many of you know I am a big supporter of Growing Bolder as I see the organization as one that encourages and inspires. Move Forward. Give Back.® is a celebration of individuals who see what is needed around them and contribute in their own way to making the world a better place. I wanted to take this opportunity to share the story below about a woman I know who has shown that one person can make a huge difference in the lives of others. 

As a member of the Team GB Elite blogging group, I've been given the opportunity to share an exciting discount with my readers, to celebrate Growing Bolder Magazine's 2016 expansion! This post is sponsored by Growing Bolder, but all opinions are my own. 

To receive 25% off your 2016 subscription to Growing Bolder Magazine, head to this link and use the code eliteblog at checkout. You'll also get free shipping for all six issues! Learn more at GrowingBolderMagazine.com.


Linda Myers & the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program

Last year I was invited to design fundraising and promotional materials for the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program and the Annual Navajo Rug Show in Deer Valley, Utah. It was my honor and privilege to contribute in a small way to such a meaningful and important organization. I knew from local fundraising efforts that truck loads of food and wood were collected and delivered to the Traditional Elders on the Navajo Reservation a couple of times each year. What I didn’t know at that time, and would soon find out, is that this internationally known organization, with volunteers coming from all over the world, was initially conceived by one woman who wanted to make a difference. Her name is Linda Myers of the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program and she is one of the most inspirational people I know.

We have all heard the story of the “Butterfly Effect." A butterfly flaps its wings and the conditions change to lead to a larger effect somewhere else. Linda is that butterfly. Decades ago she began gathering items from friends and family to donate to the Native Elders at the Navajo Reservation and grew her one woman campaign to help others into a broad reaching non-profit that serves over 500 elders each year.

Most of the elders do not speak english and have chosen to live in the "cultural and spiritual traditions of the Dine' People." They live in remote locations on the reservation choosing to live traditionally while raising sheep, with no plumbing, no electricity and often far away from medical help and water supply. The elders range in age from 75 to 105 years of age. They have spent their lives on the land and for that reason they prefer to "age in place." So Linda developed a much needed program that brings supplies to them so they may live their lives in the way they choose.

An organized team fills boxes that will be later transported to the Native Elders.

An organized team fills boxes that will be later transported to the Native Elders.

Linda Myers Founder of Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program

Linda Myers Founder of Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program

Annual Navajo Rug Show and Sale
One of the primary fundraising efforts on behalf of the Elders is the Annual Navajo Rug Show and Sale in Deer Valley, Utah. This year is the 26th annual show and it runs from November 6-8, 2015. The rugs range in sizes and you will also see jewelry and crafts. Each year there is a theme to the event and this year the theme is Weaving Ceremonial Blankets inspired by Pendleton designs. To read more click here.

Above: examples of just a few of the designs that will be shown at the rug show.

Above: examples of just a few of the designs that will be shown at the rug show.

I cannot tell you how excited I am about the work ANE is doing. I recently had a conversation with my kids about the importance of giving to others and they conveyed to me that one person cannot do all that much to bring about change. In that moment I was able to call upon what I know about Linda and her drive and determination to honor and help others. How she has been able to meet people where they are at and give. I find it completely inspiring and feel there is a lesson in there for all of us. Click on this link to watch this short video on ANE as Linda describes how meaningful this volunteer work is to everyone involved.

"While I was probably not a likely candidate to make a difference....I was a single mom.."
"I don't know if we ever know what we are doing in life but I think the real gift
in life is when spirit calls you to something and you answer the call."
~Linda Myers

Thank you to Linda and everyone at ANE for sharing their story with us. There are a number of ways to get involved with ANE from sponsoring an elder to donating time in the warehouse or donating food, wood and other necessities. To donate food, yarn, medical supplies, firewood and more to a Native Elder Please Click Here. For more information on ANE please click here.

Thank you for reading

Wendy Chioji: SAYING YES & LIVING FEARLESSLY

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At the summit of Mt. Fuji in August 2014 with my 75 year old dad

At the summit of Mt. Fuji in August 2014 with my 75 year old dad

At the summit of Kilimanjaro February 2014

At the summit of Kilimanjaro February 2014

photos above: clockwise from top right: Wendy in a slot canyon near the Amangiri Spa in Southern Utah, October 2014; At the end of an Ireland trip with family; Summit day on Mt. Kilimanjaro; At the Livestrong headquarters. 

Wendy and I met initially while indoor cycling at Athletic Republic. I knew her as an amazing athlete and was told by several of our mutual friends that in addition to that she was also a completely inspiring person. A few weeks ago we met at Starbucks for a cup of tea and within a few short minutes I learned exactly what they were talking about. Wendy has achieved so much—from her years in Florida as a news anchor, to her many adventures which include summiting Kilimanjaro and completing multiple Ironman Triathlons. But it isn't just what Wendy has accomplished that makes her so inspirational—it is also her message of Living Fearlessly that I find a breath of fresh air. You don't hear that too often from women 40 and over. Taking risks and saying "YES" to life is an important message for us all to remember. Thank you Wendy for sharing your time and your story with us! 


Wendy Chioji

"In 2001, I was the main news anchor at the NBC affiliate in Orlando. I had just run the Boston Marathon and was training to do a cross-Florida adventure race. Until my doctor told me I had stage ll breast cancer. I was 39 years old at the time. I went through multiple surgeries, chemo, and a clinical trial, and obviously made it through to the other side. Up until that point in my life, I had done a lot of running races, adventure races, and a few triathlons. I was also entrenched in the Orlando community, donating countless hours of volunteer work and public speaking for non-profits in the area. I redoubled efforts in both areas of my life. I started doing Ironman distance triathlons (I’ve now done 6) and half Iron distance triathlons (I’ve done 24). I started raising money and support for Livestrong (with the podium of a tv station and generous friends and family, I have raised well over a quarter-million dollars for the organization). I was making sure that my Second Chance wouldn’t be wasted on  inertia.

 'The name of my blog is “Live Fearlessly,” and I believe it to be the mantra of my life.
It’s how I make decisions and choose adventures, options, even friends.'

A few years later, I realized that keeping busy "doing good" didn’t necessarily mean I would feel fulfilled. I had become increasingly disillusioned with my job and profession. I decided it was time to walk away. So I did. It took some finagling, but I left my 20-year position at the tv station and followed some friends out to Park City, Utah, where I have now happily lived since 2008. Here, my life is my own. I have loved and still love every day, never failing to look around and consciously note how lucky I am to live in this outdoor paradise full of like-minded people. It probably should have felt risky and scary to leave a stable job, friends I’d had nearly my entire adult life, and a town I’d been a part of for two decades, but it never did. 

To me, Living Fearlessly is making big life-changing decisions like the move to Utah… and saying “YES” to smaller opportunities and adventures on a regular basis. If your first response to an invitation or opportunity is “no” or is coming up with reasons that it won’t work, you are limiting your possibilities before you even get out of the gate. Say “YES,” and if you have to amend your commitment later, go ahead and do it. What’s the worst that could happen? I suppose moving to Park City, only having been here once before, could have ended disastrously… But I said “YES,” and it may have been the best decision of my life. Giving in to fear (or inertia) will paralyze you. So will "make do" because things are FINE. I’ve seen it happen, and there’s not much that makes me sadder or more irritated. 

Because I am now facing cancer for a third time. Standard chemo and radiation won’t work for me anymore. My only chance is to say "YES" to a clinical trial, experimental treatments that no one knows will work. I have no time or patience for fear or inertia. I am in one clinical trial and have lined up another one—if and when this one doesn’t work anymore. And in the meantime, I am saying "YES" to trips to Ireland and Australia and powder cat skiing in the Uintas and having reunions with old friends and launching fundraising cycling projects with Livestrong and Pelotonia (a new one, now run by an old friend). None of us know how long we have on this earth, and I believe our charge is to grab adventure by the throat at every chance. Live big. Live fearlessly.

"And always choose pie for breakfast." 
~ Wendy

To learn more visit the links below:

Pelotonia 

Livestrong 

You can learn more about Wendy on her blog: 

http://www.wendychioji.com

P&H Interview for 1010 Park Place

Pamela + Marianne in Texas |   1010 Park Place  article | photo by  Jennifer Denton

Pamela + Marianne in Texas |  1010 Park Place article | photo by Jennifer Denton

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We are always on the lookout for style savvy blogs that are focused on women 40+ and love what 1010 Park Place is doing. So it goes without saying, that we were thrilled when this New York based shopping site and blog invited us to be featured in their style section. If you haven't had the chance yet we highly recommend you jump over and stroll through their: Style Inspiration, Brenda's Blog and see the fabulous finds in the 1010 Park Place Shop. Thank you to the 1010 Park Place team for featuring Patina & Hue, it was very fun!

To see the our interview click here.
All photos ©Jennifer Denton