Florence and Santuario della Madonna del Divino Amore (Rome)

I spent Thanksgiving in Florence, Italy, with my friend Debra McElhaney, who just upped and moved there a year ago from North Dakota! (Rock on, Debra!)

We longed for a good ‘ole turkey dinner and had arrangements at a Florentine cooking school to have just that. But the dinner was canceled at the last minute, so we went instead to the Four Seasons. Let’s just say, I’d rather have pumpkin pie with whipped cream than a flying saucer custard and pumpkin-tinged gelato with pumpkin-flavored “sauce drops.”

florence_divinoamoreThe column of photos is from Florence, including the famous “Ponte Vecchio” and the amazing-looking Duomo. I know it’s a beloved city by many, and it is certainly picturesque. But I’ve been here three times now, and for some reason, I just don’t connect with the city. Who knows…

The top right photo is probably the best “train photo” I’ve ever gotten. Usually they are mucked up by window reflections, but this one! Wow! No color correction or anything on this.

Below that is heading up to the Santuario della Madonna del Divino Amore (Shrine of Our Lady of Diving Love) in the countryside on the outskirts of Rome. The placards you see on the wall on your left are called “Grazia Ricevuta,” or “grace received.” When parishioners have had prayers answered, they may buy one of these marble placards inscribing their gratitude. Below that is the older of two churches on the property (this one built in 1745).

“To beauty”

Ciao from Italy!italy_retreat5

One of my favorite things about Italians — and a big reason I am drawn to this country — is their insistence on the value of beauty in all aspects of life. Two examples:

1) At a dinner party I attended, a woman (not Italian) and man (Italian) were toasting. They weren’t romantically connected or flirting or anything. The woman said, “To the future.” The man responded, “To beauty.”

2) Walking past a gorgeous hilltop villa, complete with its own chapel, my friends and I stopped to talk to the owner. Upon learning that I’m from California, near San Francisco, he blurted out, “Eh, San Francisco, FINALLY a beautiful city in America.”

We all know about the beautiful art and architecture that draws tourists to Italy, but when you live like a local here, you see the thousands of details of daily life that demonstrate how lodged in the Italian soul is this value around beauty. I love that. I believe it enriches life. And that’s also why I prize good design in business. It adds value to the experience of your clients.

The participants at my “Portable, Profitable & Playful” retreat last week certainly experienced a lot of beauty! The 11th-century castle we stayed at, the display of appetizers before dinner, the peacocks that roam the grounds. We also experienced AMAZING customer service! I mean truly amazing.

Make sure you inform yourself about the live, virtual workshop I’m hosting from Italy THIS THURSDAY. Details can be found here, but in short, you should know that it’s not like any event I’ve ever done and it’s one-time-only. If you can’t be there, it will be recorded; but you’ll need to register to receive it.

And it’s not in Italian! (My head would seriously hurt trying to pull THAT off!)

Ciao for now!

3 Reasons to “Go Global” (Even if You Don’t Travel)

going global with your businessNever before in the history of the world has it been so easy to take your business and run it from anywhere in the world you want.

To me, a lifelong lover of travel, that’s fantastic! Before laptops and when the Internet was still pretty new, I remember renting a computer at a Home Depot in Maine so that I could stay on vacation longer!

But here’s the thing: you don’t have to be interested in traveling to other countries to benefit from—and take advantage of—the amazing opportunities to “go global!”

Consider this: it is now possible (EASILY) to:

  • Talk to clients from other countries, as if it were just any other phone call.
  • Build a list of prospective clients from 100+ countries.
  • Meet with and guide staff and team members who themselves live around the globe.
  • Give classes and workshops—free and paid—from anywhere in the world.

Don’t get me wrong. “Traveling the world” is a super-fun and attractive reason to go global with your business. But this is about the OTHER things that going global with your business makes possible for you, such as:

#1: To Spend Important Time with Loved Ones Who Don’t Live Near You

Oftentimes, when I’m making a presentation about the value of a global business, I’ll use the example of being able to spend a few months every summer with your grandkids in Ohio. I had just made that up as an example. I don’t have grandkids and I haven’t even been to Ohio.

But a couple of months ago, I received an email after one of those presentations from a woman named Yvonne, who said this: “Oh my God. You nailed it. Freedom IS spending summers with the grandkids in Ohio. Thank you. That is just what I need!”

going global with your business#2: To Care for Family Members Dealing with Health Issues

My mother has had both knees replaced, and, on both occasions, I was able to be her “nurse” for 3 weeks while she recuperated at her home. The rest of my siblings had jobs—places and hours they had to show up.

If I hadn’t been able to come, we would’ve had to hire home health workers to stay round the clock with her, or one of my siblings would’ve had to take time off without pay. But I was able to keep making money and keep the business going WHILE caring for Mom.

My friend Kathleen had a more serious issue with her mother, but she was able to spend the last 6 months of her mom’s life with her—in the hospital—and keep her business going.

#3: To Grow Your Business

Even if you’re the homebodiest of all homebodies, going global means you’ll have more people on your list and, ultimately, more clients—because you have the WORLD to draw from, not just your own community, region or country.

So get going…and go global!


The Ebb & Flow of Life & Biz Abroad


The ocean view from my Miami hotel reminds me of the importance of establishing a work-play rhythm when you’re working abroad—wherever that is.

Set work hours that allow you to keep your business humming and the income flowing AND make sure you have dedicated adventure hours to expand yourself.

BOTH are needed. One without the other results in worry (“I’m working too much and not getting to enjoy where I am!” or “The money’s drying up…I’m not getting any work done!”

Making sure you book time for BOTH is like sprinkling pixie dust over your life!

Getting Stuck in a Rut Can Be GOOD for You

boxIt might seem crazy that something so uncomfortable and confining as being stuck in a rut could actually be good for you.

But hear me out…

What IS it to be stuck in a rut?

It’s experiencing the same-old-same-old, every day pretty much the same as the one before it. It’s not necessarily bad…just the SAME.

Same house, same office, same phone number, same things for dinner, same four office walls. Same streets, same restaurants, same movie theaters, same car, same routine.

It’s experiencing the years ticking by without being fully aware of it, except for the occasional shock of seing someone’s kid suddenly graduating from high school (and you were still thinking of her as 6 years old).

It’s doing the same activities in your business with little to no variation. And, consequently, making the same income, month after month, year after year.

Being stuck in a rut is also about having the same beliefs. Not in a passionate “THIS is what I believe!” kind of way, but in a dull, limited “This is just the way it is” kind of way, unchallenged, unenlivened.

So what could possibly be good about being stuck in a rut?

In a word: CONTRAST.

Contrast is what precedes movement. It precedes change. It’s a necessary component of any kind of big shift.

There are plenty of ways to get OUT of being stuck in a rut — my hands-down favorite being traveling and living in other places, other countries.

However, until you’re AWARE that you’re in a rut — and KNOW the contrast, KNOW what you want instead — it won’t happen.

But, oh, the joy when it DOES happen!! Excitement, revitalized energy, explosions of creativity, thrill, contentment.

So what’s your rut? And what’s the contrast you want…your route to freedom?

Beauty and Your Business

colorful_tiesLet’s be honest: running and growing a business takes effort. And sometimes lots of it.

One thing that has always been a motivator for me — something to keep me going when I get tired — is something you can find in abundance ANYWHERE!

It’s beauty.

Sometimes, all it takes is for you to put your head up from your work and notice (the way the light plays on your dog’s ear, the graceful arch of the plant in the corner, etc.).

And sometimes you have to go in search of it. That’s one of the reasons I travel…I’m in search of beauty because it inspires me so.

If you can’t travel at the moment, take your laptop to a beautiful hotel lobby and work there.

Wherever and whenever, let beauty work its magic. You’ll be amazed by the possibilities when you align yourself with it.

Why She Made the Sale and the Others Didn’t

post 2I spent one of my last few days in Ecuador at a well-known indigenous market known worldwide for its bright, colorful hand-made and hand-woven goods.

My mission: two hammocks.

I wanted one for my upstairs porch that overlooks the pond/meadow in the back, and the other for my now-grown son who I used to rock to sleep in a hammock.

I arrived on a Monday, and it was clearly much less crowded than the weekends. In fact, it seemed downright sleepy.

The hammocks didn’t vary much from stall to stall, and after looking through them all, I finally chose my two.

Guess who got the sale?

This lovely woman (here with her cute daughter) did.

And do you know WHY she got the sale?

post 3Because she showed up.

The rest of the stalls were empty but for the hammocks and even though I waited at each one, no one came up to help me. Maybe they were at siesta, I don’t know. But this woman showed up. And she made the sale.

So here’s my question for you: are you showing up in YOUR business?

Are you showing up and having sales conversations with potential clients?

Are you sending a regular newsletter, showing up in your community’s inboxes and filled with relevant, valuable info?

Are you going to conferences where your ideal clients gather, and do you follow up after you meet potential prospects? By phone?

Are you creating videos? Talking to potential referral partners? Speaking publicly?

ARE you really showing up?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you have to be the perfect business owner/marketer, who does ALL the right marketing things ALL the time or you’ll fail. We all have places we could show up more fully.

But I am suggesting that you ask yourself this: “Where am I not showing up for myself, for my business?” Now list 3 or 4 of the biggest areas where you may be hiding or simply absent. And then take 1 action in each area — however small — and start showing up.

You never know who will show up for YOU, money in hand, ready to buy!

A surprising lesson from surprising Mom in Texas!

I jumped on a plane and flew to Texas to surprise my mom for Mother’s Day. Pretending to be her waiter, I asked for her drink order. Watch what happens when she looks straight at me, orders coffee and water and still doesn’t recognize me! It’s called “perceptual blindness.” Essentially, if you don’t believe something is possible, you don’t even SEE it when it’s right in front of your eyes! What solutions, what opportunities might you be missing in your business that are actually right in front of you?


Create an International Audience

post 1I had the most exciting conversation with my sister a couple of days ago, and what we talked about could be VERY applicable to you.

My sister, Cindy, has a degree in special education, has worked in various school districts and private situations for years in that field AND, perhaps most importantly, has raised a son with severe cerebral palsy for nearly 17 years.

Cindy’s ready to put her expertise to work in a business of her own, and she called me about an idea that she had to do local, private, in-home consultations for parents of special needs kids.

That’s when my mind exploded!

Cindy doesn’t just have a local or regional business doing consultations. If she wants it, she can have an international audience and clientele and a full-on Internet business, with ebooks and teleseminars and home-study courses and 1:1 consulting and, and, and. I could see it all in an instant.

And there’s a good chance YOU have an international audience for your business, your gifts.