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!

The Ebb & Flow of Life & Biz Abroad

ocean

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!

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!

Fallen soldiers, fallen dreams

daddy

Today is Memorial Day here in the United States, a day when we remember fallen soldiers.

My father died in the month of May, and he was a military man. My ex-husband, the father of my son, also died this time of year, and he had been a soldier earlier in his life.

So I’m remembering them both. And if you’re remembering someone from your life today, my thoughts are with you.

The day also has me thinking about fallen dreams.

The ones that “life” got in the way of…

Like those “travel freedom dreams” — living in Paris for 6 months, wintering in Costa Rica, etc.

You know what I mean, right?

Those places that still call you, that have a strange claim on your heart, that whisper to you when you’re still and quiet.

I remember my first time back to Europe after a 21-year hiatus. “Life” had gotten in the way and I didn’t know if I’d ever get back.

My son’s father had died without a cent of life insurance, leaving me the sole parent and the sole provider for our son. So for years, I didn’t think I could afford the kind of BIG travel I craved…the kind where you go and stay a while.

Finally, one summer I couldn’t stand it any more. I HAD to revive that dream or something in me would wither away.

To get good wifi, we had to carefully lean the laptop out this window, which went straight down to a canal on the gondola route.

To get good wifi, we had to carefully lean the laptop out this window my son is standing in, which went straight down to a canal on the gondola route.

So I rented out my house, grabbed my son and my laptop and headed “across the pond” for the whole summer.

I would do my work while I traveled, I decided.

And back then, Internet was not as readily available as it is now, so I had to do things like carefully hold my laptop out the window over a canal in Venice to get a good wifi signal!

It was a trip my son and I will remember FOREVER.

And it cemented what is now a life filled as much travel as I crave — BIG travel!

If there’s a travel freedom dream still residing in your heart, still calling to you…

If you want to create a business that’s both PORTABLE and PROFITABLE…

If you want to create memories that will last a lifetime…

Then you’ll want to join my Portable Profits Club…today, not someday. We start June 11.

It’s YOUR turn.

Meet me in Italy?

Linda-88_500

We’re just about ready to enroll a new group of Portable Profits Club members that will start June 11, so stay tuned for more info on that.

And I am super-excited to announce that our fall retreat for active Portable Profits Club members will be in Italy!!

Save the last week of October to join us. I can’t wait to have club members experience the Italy that I know and love!

 More to come in the next few weeks…