• November 2015

The Resilience Issue

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain,” writes artist and author Vivian Greene.

That quote is one of the little inspirational plaques that adorns my office in Richmond, VA, which is filled with similar sayings to remind me of what I know at the core of my being: Resilience rules.

I believe actress Diane Lane said it best when asked how she’s stayed resilient through the ups and downs of her decades-long career: “It’s about momentum. Like riding a bicycle. If you stop you fall over. So I keep pedaling. The key is having an appetite for going toward the light. When the light is harder to find, you have to pedal even faster.”

In this month of giving thanks, we feature 16 columns on the art of bouncing — back from adversity, forward to the next big business opportunity, and sometimes in place when you just don’t know what to do.

To guide you in the process, we turn to beloved children’s book author Sandra Boynton (pictured here). In this month’s interview, we focus on “Frog Trouble,” a CD-songbook that hit the New York Times best-seller list just weeks after it was released. Scroll down to find out what keeps her creative juices flowing, how a chicken helped her convince a handful of country music stars to play with her, and how she deals with “Frog Trouble.”

Also in this issue:

  • We welcome our new client, chef and premier cooking teacher Ann Butler, and learn more about how she is helping America’s kids to cook real food with her company, Edible Education.
  • And, if you find yourself sitting in traffic — again — you may not be feeling so resilient. In fact, you may be fantasizing about where you will live once you retire. Egan, Berger & Weiner CFP® Howard Pressman suggests not rushing into your decision. “The notion of a true paradise may be misleading, so be sure to identify what’s most important to you in your idyllic locale.” Click here for key factors to consider.

We leave you with this parting thought from one of our favorite characters from the Hundred Acre Wood:

The wonderful thing about Tiggers is Tiggers are wonderful things! Their tops are made out of rubber, their bottoms are made out of springs! They’re bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy, Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun! Images of Tigger, public-domain

Happy Thanksgiving! — Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, Be Inkandescent magazine • founder, Inkandescent PR

Got Business Troubles? Sandra Boynton Teaches Us to Sing Away the Blues

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE MONTH: NOVEMBER 2015

Hang on to yer hat, cowpoke. One listen-to and read-through of Sandra Boynton’s illustrated country-music songbook/CD combo “Frog Trouble,” and you’ll be humming your way through the day.

By Hope Katz Gibbs Publisher, Be Inkandescent magazine

When it comes to embracing the art of resilience, it’s wonderful to look to successful people who continuously reinvent themselves. Such is the case for illustrator, author — and now songwriter — Sandra Boynton.

Created for children ages 1 to “older than dirt,” the fun yet poignant title “Frog Trouble” is Boynton’s fifth foray into merging music, words, and art. Like the others she’s created with keyboard player Michael Ford, it’s likely to become a certified Gold, and an award-winning New York Times best-seller.

This collection of ditties is packed with star-power — including musical performances from Linda Eder, Brad Paisley, and Dwight Yoakam — and the message of the book is as charming and iconic as the lyrics and illustrations by Boynton herself. From “I’ve Got a Dog,” to “Deepest Blue,” and “More Frog Trouble,” this 64-pager is filled with wit and wisdom — as well as lyrics and sheet music so readers can sing and play along.

We wouldn’t expect anything less from the successful artist and author, who has been writing books and drawing charming animal illustrations since the 1970s. “I love illustrated books, and I’ve always been smitten with records, so I guess it was inevitable that I’d eventually want to put the two together,” Boynton tells us from her home office in Connecticut. “I think I’m happiest in a recording studio, working with great singers and musicians. Making a record is pretty much the most fun a person can have. Though drawing confused hippos is way up there, too.”

How did the native of Orange, NJ, make her way to the recording studios of Nashville? “If you love recording, sooner or later you’re going to find yourself in Nashville,” she believes. “And y’all might even start saying ‘y’all’ without even realizing it.”

Boynton admits that snagging stellar singers as Eder, Paisley, and Yoakam for “Frog Trouble” wasn’t easy. “It took foolish optimism on my part. But they all said they really loved the songs, so that helped.” To seal the deal, Boynton sent each country star a gift of a stuffed animal (Mr. Chicken, to be precise). “Surely there’s nothing so persuasive as receiving an unexplained stuffed chicken,” she says.

Being clever about accomplishing her goals has long been Boynton’s style.

As an undergrad at Yale, she started designing gift cards and Christmas cards, which her Uncle Bill, a printer, made copies of. She then trudged around to various East Coast stores selling them. The cards took off — and so had her love life.

“Jamie McEwan was a tall, swarthy, and cheerfully subversive Yale wrestling captain/1972 Olympic bronze medalist when we met,” shares Boynton, who married and moved with him to a farm in the foothills of the Berkshires. “Then we collaborated on four perfect children and two quirky books.”

Those stories were “The Story of Grump and Pout,” and “The Heart of Cool.” Dozens of books by Boynton followed. Then, in 1996, she met her professional partner, Michael Ford. “We’re a very lean team,” she explains of her collaboration with the Pennsylvania-based music man. “I write all the lyrics and most of the melody, and from there, Mike and I create each song together in our own small New England music production studio, with Mike playing scratch instrumental tracks on keyboard and helping with all the technical stuff, which he’s masterful at. I call him The Computer Whisperer.”

What is Boynton working on next? She’s reinventing an old classic. “I re-researched, rewrote, and re-illustrated my 1982 seminal work Chocolate: The Consuming Passion, which Workman Publishing just released last month.” And, she has started working on a new album of infectious-beat dance songs, which is tentatively titled, “Hog Wild!”

How can you stay as clever and as buoyant as Boynton? Here are six tips to keep the bounce in your flounce.

Resilience Training: 6 Ways to Improve Your Ability to Bounce Back

If you’d like to become more resilient, consider these tips, courtesy of mayoclinic.org.

1. Get connected. Building strong, positive relationships with loved ones and friends can provide you with needed support and acceptance in both good times and bad. Establish other important connections by volunteering or joining a faith or spiritual community.

2. Make every day meaningful. Do something that gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose every day. Set goals to help you look toward the future with meaning.

3. Learn from experience. Think of how you’ve coped with hardships in the past. Consider the skills and strategies that helped you through rough times. You might even write about past experiences in a journal to help you identify positive and negative behavior patterns — and guide your future behavior.

4. Remain hopeful. You can’t change the past, but you can always look toward the future. Accepting and even anticipating change makes it easier to adapt and view new challenges with less anxiety.

5. Take care of yourself. Tend to your own needs and feelings. Participate in activities and hobbies you enjoy. Include physical activity in your daily routine. Get plenty of sleep. Eat a healthy diet. Practice stress management and relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, guided imagery, deep breathing, or prayer.

6. Be proactive. Don’t ignore your problems. Instead, figure out what needs to be done, make a plan, and take action. Although it can take time to recover from a major setback, traumatic event, or loss, know that your situation can improve if you work at it.

Click here to learn more.

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

– Winston Churchill

The goal of Life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with nature.”

– Joseph Cambell

There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”

– JFK

Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.”

– Francesca Reigle

The great use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.”

– William James

‎The biggest flaw in our existing theory of capitalism lies in its misrepresentation of human nature.”

– Muhammad Yunus

To find what you seek in the road of life, leave no stone unturned.”

– Edward Bulwer Lytton

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

– Thomas Edison

When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.”

– Audre Lorde

This is the age when magical technologies make more and more radically fun ideas plausible, even easy. You’re only limited by your creativity.”

– Martha Beck

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

– Anais Nin

Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.”

– Albert Einstein

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

– Seneca

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

– Carl Rogers

We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.”

– General Omar Bradley

Don’t follow, lead. Don’t copy, create. Don’t start, finish. Don’t sit still, move. Don’t fit in, stand out. Don’t sit quietly, speak up. (Not all the time, sure, but more often.)”

– Seth Godin

As each woman realizes her power, she transforms the world.”

– Patrice Wynne, WomanSpirit Sourcebook

Do one thing every day that scares you.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.”

– Leo Jozef Suenens

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which obstacles vanish.”

– John Quincy Adams

Don’t follow your dreams. Chase them.”

– Richard Dumb

We are perfectionists. We are hungry to work all the time. We are entertained by every aspect of business and we never want to stop working.”

– Suzy Welch

Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!”

– Andrew Carnegie

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”

– Charles R. Swindoll

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams, for when dreams go, life is a barren field frozen with snow.”

– Langston Hughes

The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.”

– Bruce Lee

We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”

– Winston Churchill

Remove those ‘I want you to like me’ stickers from your forehead
and, instead, place them where they truly will do the most good—on your mirror.”

– Susan Jeffers

You may ask me for anything you like except time.”

– Napoleon

Success is the necessary misfortune of life, but it is only to the very unfortunate that it comes early.”

– Anthony Trollope

The only way to compel men to speak good of us is to do it.”

– Voltaire

My goal was to tell the life side of the story. We have become a nation of voyeurs that expect sensationalism, and that offends me.”

– Kathleen Jo Ryan

Everyone is a mirror image of yourself—your own thinking coming back at you.”

– Byron Katie

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.”

– Jalaluddin Rumi

If it really was a no-brainer to make it on your own in business there’d be millions of no-brained, harebrained individuals quitting their day jobs.”

– Bill Rancic, "The Apprentice"

You often meet your fate on the road you take to avoid it.”

– Goldie Hawn

Never cut what you can untie.”

– Joseph Joubert

Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”

– Basil King

Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

– Christopher Robin to Pooh

The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something.”

– Nolan Bushnell, founder, Chuck E. Cheese's

If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.”

– Jesse Jackson

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

– Mary Oliver

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”

– Lao Tzu

Do you have the desire to create something new; the strength of conviction to believe your creation will be successful, and the reservoir of energy necessary to thrust it into the marketplace?”

– Steven Schussler

The man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.”

– Andrew Carnegie

Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes.”

– Benjamin Disraeli

It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.”

– Alfred Adler

‎No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.”

– Charles Dickens

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

– Dalai Lama

Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them!”

– Madam C.J. Walker

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