• 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.

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"

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

– General Omar Bradley

Look at everything as though you were
seeing it either for the first or last time.
Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.”

– Betty Smith

There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

– Leonard Cohen

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

– Albert Einstein

Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.”

– E.B. White

Some things are destined to be—it just takes us a couple of tries
to get there.”

– J.R. Ward, Lover Mine

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.”

– Steve Jobs, Apple, Inc.

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

When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

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

– Madam C.J. Walker

Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.”

– Thomas Dunn

But all the while I was alone, the past was close behind, I seen a lot of women, but she never escaped my mind, and I just grew, tangled up in blue.”

– Bob Dylan

How do you stay resilient? It’s about momentum. Like riding a bicycle. If you stop you fall over. So I keep pedaling.”

– Diane Lane

My task is really not to change myself but to become familiar with who I am.”

– Maureen Cook

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

– Anais Nin

Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.”

– Thomas Carlyle

I always maintained that the greatest obstacle in life isn’t danger, it’s boredom. The battle against it is responsible for most of the events in the world — good or ill.”

– Dr. Evelyn Vogel, Dexter

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.”

– President Calvin Coolidge

Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams you never even knew you had.”

– Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

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

– Joseph Cambell

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

– Benjamin Disraeli

Do you believe it is important to give back some portion of your wealth to support charitable causes?”

– Steven Schussler

That man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.”

– Henry David Thoreau

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

– Leo Jozef Suenens

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.”

– Steve Jobs

A people who mean to be their Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

– James Madison

The dove descending breaks the air / With flame of inkandescent terror.”

– T.S. Eliott

I’m not afraid of storms,
for I’m learning to sail my ship.”

– Louisa May Alcott

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.”

– Abraham Lincoln

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”

– Robert Louis Stevenson

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

– Goldie Hawn

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

A truly forgiving person is someone who experiences all the anger merited by injustice and still acts with fairness and compassion.”

– Martha Beck

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

– Charles Dickens

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly,
 what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Anything not worth doing well is not worth doing.”

– Warren Buffett

Let us seize the day and the opportunity and strive for that greatness of spirit that measures life not by its disappointments but by its possibilities.”

– W.E.B. Du Bois

We are all of us born with a letter inside us, and that only if we are true to ourselves, may we be allowed to read it before we die.”

– Douglas Coupland

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

A warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge, and challenges cannot possibly be good or bad. Challenges are simply challenges.”

– Carlos Castaneda

Never cut what you can untie.”

– Joseph Joubert

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

– John Quincy Adams

If you do work that you love, and the work fulfills you, the rest will come.”

– Oprah Winfrey

Do not say, ‘why were the former days better than these,’ for it is not from wisdom that you ask this.”

– Ecclesiastes, 7:10

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

– T.S. Eliot

You take your life in your own hands, and what happens?
 A terrible thing: no one to blame.”

– Erica Jong

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

– Thomas Edison

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.”

– Henry Miller

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