• December 2015

Kevin Costner Takes Us on an Epic Adventure: Let's Join Him!

We celebrate the final month of 2015 by going on a literary adventure with Kevin Costner. The award-winning actor and director has turned his talents to co-authoring The Explorers Guild: Volume One: A Passage to Shambhala.

“This globe-trotting tale harks back to the storytelling style of Kipling,” Costner explained when he and his fellow authors, Jon Baird and illustrator Rick Ross, stopped by the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on the first leg of their book launch tour.

Sure, it’s only natural for the star of “The Guardian,” “The Bodyguard,” and “Dances With Wolves” to pen an adventure story. But how did he come to connect with Baird and Ross? Why did it take eight years filled with trials and tribulations to bring the book to fruition? And how much magical power does it take for an A-list celebrity to turn a children’s book into a best-seller? Scroll down for our article on the authors.

This issue is also jam-packed with additional delicious adventure stories:

  • Are you ready to have a culinary adventure with your kids? Edible Education’s chefs Ann Butler and Whitney Trent share their kid-tested-and-approved recipes that are perfect for making real food for the 12 Days of Christmas. Anyone up for Two Turtle Doves — Chocolate Pecan Turtles? “It’s easier to make than you think!” insists Chef Ann.
  • This one is for the grown-ups in the house. Pour yourself a lovely glass of Burgundy or Bordeaux, and sit back and relax as you listen to this Grateful American™ podcast starring Gabriele Rausse, who has been dubbed “The Father of the Modern Virginia Wine Industry.” Listen to our podcast interview.
  • A daunting thing happened to Olympic athlete Tara Sheahan when she was 35. Trained as an elite athlete in cross-country skiing, she found her dream job as a VP in sports marketing and television. She left the corporate world to become “Super Mom.” Then she contracted Lyme disease. Read how she got her life back.
  • Financial adviser Carmen Wu helps women 65+ prepare for the financial adventure of their lives in this month’s Retirement column.
  • And, we invite you to take our 12th adventure of the year with Gretchen Rubin as we share her final words of inspiration from her best-selling book, The Happiness Project.
  • Finally, we visit Kevin Costner as a kid. What was his favorite book when he was in elementary school? Find out — and also learn which children’s books inspired the imagination of his co-authors — in this issue’s Book of the Month.

We end the year with this parting thought from Kevin Costner: “I haven’t lived a perfect life. I have regrets. But that’s from a lifetime of taking chances, making decisions, and trying not to be frozen. The only thing that I can do with my regrets is understand them.”

Here’s to the next great adventure of your life. — Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, Be Inkandescent magazine

The Golden Age of Adventure Returns

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE MONTH: DECEMBER 2015

Kevin Costner, Jon Baird, and Rick Ross offer a splendidly designed, action-packed, globe-trotting adventure in “The Explorers Guild.”

By Hope Katz Gibbs, Publisher
Be Inkandescent Magazine

Behind the staid, public rooms of an old-world gentlemen’s club operates a more mysterious organization: The Explorers Guild, a clandestine group of adventurers who bravely journey to places in which light gives way to shadow and reason is usurped by myth.

The secrets they seek are hidden in mountain ranges and lost in deserts, buried in the ocean floor, and lodged deep in polar ice. The aim of The Explorers Guild: to discover the mysteries that lie beyond the boundaries of the known world.

Set against the backdrop of World War I, with Western civilization on the edge of calamity, the first installment in “The Explorers Guild” series, “A Passage to Shambhala,” concerns the Guild’s quest to find the golden city of Buddhist myth.

The search will take them from the Polar North to the Mongolian deserts, through the underground canals of Asia to deep inside the Himalayas, before the fabled city finally divulges its secrets and the globe-spanning journey plays out to its startling conclusion.

What inspired Kevin Costner, and co-author Jon Baird and illustrator Rick Ross, to write this 784-page epic tale that they describe as “graphic fiction” — a marriage of text and images?

On the East Coast leg of their book tour, Costner, Baird, and Ross sat before a packed room at the National Press Club last month, explaining how the journey of the book began eight years ago.

While the story was originally conceived as an animated movie, after the big studios turned down their 22-minute clip, Baird went to Plan B and began turning the tale into a book.

Initially, Costner acted as his guide in the adventurous project, but “at a certain point, it ceased to be something that was mine,” Baird said. It was something that “he was giving input on and it became something we were working on together.”

A masterful storyteller himself, Costner explained: “It was very important to me that this be what it wanted to be. It wanted to be a novel. Let’s let it exist as that and I’ll go carve the movie out of it someday” if Hollywood decides that it now likes the idea.

Adding the graphic illustrations to the book was Baird’s idea, because he had written books using this engaging technique to hook readers and advance the story. So he went hunting for an illustrator on Craigslist of all places.

It didn’t take long for artist and filmmaker Rick Ross to see the ad and respond. The gig was right up his alley.

As the publisher of the online, graphic fiction anthology Agitainment Comics, Ross was the lead artist for the graphic novelization of Spike TV’s “1000 Ways to Die,” and he created artwork for numerous animated-motion comics, including for the Cinemax television series “Femme Fatales.”

Together, the three-man team gives us a wonderful way to end 2015. Here’s their message to us: Gentle Reader — It is the boast of modernity that Man has mapped and measured, claimed and contested this Earth down to its last inch. He has tamed its moods and subdued its monsters, and lit it from end to end with the fires of his ingenuity. So we are assured. Yet we who have been canvassing this same Earth through the centuries — who have been every place in it that you would care to go, and many more that you would not — we incline to a different view.”

What is Costner’s big dream for this giant adventure story? “My lofty goal is that 150 years from now, ‘The Explorers Guild’ will be held in the same regard as the novels penned by Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad,” he says. “And my greatest hope is that it could be an heirloom. Thank God for storytelling. It helped me find my place in the world.”

Do you have the spirit of an adventurer? Click here to find out.

The Adventurous Spirit of the Entrepreneur: Do You Have It? Do You Need It?

Do you eat chaos for breakfast? Are you hell-bent on making your company the biggest and best it can be? For generations, that’s what it reportedly took to be a successful entrepreneur — grit, determination, and an adventurous spirit.

But according to The Hartford’s 2015 Small Business Success Study, released on Sept. 29, fewer small-business owners are focused on growing their business now than in 2012 — yet more of them are feeling successful about how their business is operating and say they are optimistic about the economy strengthening this year.

The fifth annual study shows:

  • In 2015, 33 percent of small-business owners — down from 41 percent in 2012 — said their primary goal is to grow their business significantly, which means a large increase in sales, revenue, and staff.
  • Fifty-five percent of owners say they are looking to maintain their business at its current size, a proportion that has been largely consistent over the past few years.
  • Even though more than half of owners have a maintenance mindset, 73 percent feel successful about how their business is operating now, up from 69 percent in 2011.
  • And, the proportion of small-business owners who are optimistic that the national economy will improve this year has increased from 33 percent in 2012 to 52 percent in 2015.

“It is encouraging to see better overall sentiment among small-business owners; however, the decline in owners focused on growth is something all of us need to pay attention to,” said Christopher J. Swift, CEO of The Hartford, a more than 200-year-old insurance company based in Connecticut.

“There is no better place to be an entrepreneur than in the US, so it is imperative that we work to create an environment that better fosters small-business formation, success, and growth.”

So what are the top characteristics of today’s highly successful business owners?

1. It depends on how successful they are.

Based on an analysis of data over the past few years, The Hartford’s study found that owners who take more risks and feel optimistic about the national economy tend to be more inclined to say their business is extremely or very successful.

  • In addition, the highly successful business owners are not as conservative as those who feel slightly or not at all successful.
  • In the 2015 study, one-quarter (27 percent) of owners who feel extremely/very successful about how their business is operating right now rate their overall level of risk as “risky” rather than “conservative,” compared to just 14 percent of those who feel they are slightly/not at all successful.

2. Talented employees matter.

The analysis also found that owners who feel their business is operating highly successfully are relying on better qualified talent, better guidance from other professionals, and even bank loans. In contrast, owners who feel less successful seem to be taking on the load and stress of running a small business more on their own.

  • Those who feel their business is operating less successfully and have not hired or not hired as much as they would have liked this past year are more likely to say this is because they are taking on additional responsibilities themselves compared to those who feel highly successful (38 percent vs. 21 percent).
  • Highly successful owners who have not hired or not hired as much as they would have liked in the past year are less likely to say the reason for not hiring is that their business is not growing, compared to those who feel less successful and have not hired (20 percent vs. 59 percent).

3. Optimism rules.

When asked which theme song would be their small-business anthem, respondents said:

  • 35 percent: “My Way” by Frank Sinatra, reflecting those who are determined and hardworking.
  • 21 percent: “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey, because they are hopeful and optimistic about achieving their goals.
  • 14 percent: “We Are the Champions” by Queen, because they have persevered and overcome.

For more information on these survey results, visit thehartford.com/successstudy.

Small-Business Success Study Methodology: Braun Research conducted a telephone survey among small-business owners across the United States on behalf of The Hartford. A total of 2,003 interviews were completed with small-business owners of for-profit businesses with fewer than 100 full-time employees who have been in business for at least one year. The study included a nationally representative sample of businesses in the United States. One owner, co-owner, principle owner, or sole owner per business was interviewed. The interviews were conducted between July 7-16, 2015. The margin of error is ± 2.1 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

About The Hartford: With more than 200 years of expertise, The Hartford (NYSE:HIG) is a leader in property and casualty insurance, group benefits, and mutual funds. More information on the company and its financial performance is available at www.thehartford.com.

Some of the statements in this release may be considered forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We caution investors that these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results may differ materially. Investors should consider the important risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ. These important risks and uncertainties include those discussed in The Hartford’s 2014 Annual Report on Form 10-K, subsequent Quarterly Reports on Forms 10-Q, and the other filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Hartford assumes no obligation to update this release, which speaks as of the date issued.

The gem cannot be polished without friction; nor man perfected without trials.”

– Chinese proverb

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

– T.S. Eliot

There are children playing in the street who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago.”

– J. Robert Oppenheimer

Things don’t change. You change your way of looking, that’s all.”

– Carlos Castaneda

When I was younger I thought success was being a star, driving nice cars, having groupies. But today I think the most important thing is to live your life with integrity.

– Ellen DeGeneres

Friendship is the only cement that will hold the world together.”

– Woodrow Wilson

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

– Louisa May Alcott

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing.”

– Maya Angelou

When I dare to be powerful—to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”

– Audre Lorde

As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.”

– Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

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

– Oprah Winfrey

4oz tequila + 1oz TripleSec + 2oz lime juice + 1oz simple syrup (sugar=water), 1 cup crushed ice. Shake + dance around the kitchen.

– Avenida Margarita

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

– Mary Oliver

Never never never never give up.”

– Winston Churchill

Success is about finding a livelihood that brings joy, self-sufficiency, and a sense of contributing.”

– Anita Roddick

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

– John Quincy Adams

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

– Carl Rogers

You only live once. But if you do it right, once is enough.”

– Mae West

Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

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

– Albert Einstein

Your own words are the bricks and mortar
of the dreams you want to realize.
 The words you choose and their use establish the life you experience.”

– Sonia Croquette

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

With ordinary talents and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.”

– Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton

The good ideas are all hammered out in agony by individuals, not spewed out by groups.”

– Charles Brower, Advertising Hall of Fame

Many people prefer to play it safe when it comes to business matters. Are you willing to take risks in the pursuit of entrepreneurial success?”

– Steven Schussler

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

– John Quincy Adams

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

Find somebody to be successful for. Raise their hopes. Think of their needs.”

– Barack Obama

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

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

– Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

Anything not worth doing well is not worth doing.”

– Warren Buffett

Entrepreneurs willingly assume responsibility for the success or failure of a venture and are answerable for all its facets.”

– Victor Kiam

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

– T.S. Eliott

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

They who give have all things. They who withhold have nothing.”

– Hindu Proverb

That which grows fast withers as rapidly; that which grows slowly endures.”

– J.G. Holland, novelist

Tolerance and patience should not be read as signs of weakness. They are signs of strength.”

– The Dalai Lama

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

Remember that it’s okay to ask for help when you’re stumped, because sometimes you really can’t be expected to handle everything alone.”

– Martha Beck

That man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.”

– Henry David Thoreau

It is to no purpose to turn away from the real nature of the affair because the honor of its elements excites repugnance.

– Carl von Clausewitz, On War

A lot of people have ideas, but few decide to do something about them now. Not next week. But today.”

– Nolan Bushnell, founder, Atari

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

– Leonard Cohen

There is little success where there is little laughter.”

– Andrew Carnegie

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

Persist and persevere, and you will find most things that are attainable, possible.”

– Lord Chesterfield

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

– Albert Einstein

If it isn’t good, let it die. If it doesn’t die, make it good.”

– Ajahn Chah

The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. The greatest failure is to not try.”

– Debbi Fields, Mrs. Fields Cookies

The journey is the reward.”

– Greg Norman

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