• 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.

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

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.”

– Marcel Proust

It is possible to fail in many ways…while to succeed is possible only in one way.”

– Aristotle

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

– Jalaluddin Rumi

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

– Joseph Cambell

The best hobbies are the ones that take us furthest from our primary occupation.”

– Dr. Evelyn Vogel, Dexter

That man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Destiny is a name often given in retrospect to choices that had dramatic consequences.”

– J.K. Rowling

Part of your destiny is to live in the zone of maximum satisfaction.”

– Martha Beck

Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make Me Feel Important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.”

– Mary Kay Ash

There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…”

– John Lennon

No matter how difficult and painful it may be, nothing sounds as good to the soul as the truth.”

– Martha Beck, from "Leaving the Saints"

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

– Francesca Reigle

If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more.
 If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”

– Oprah Winfrey

Instead of loving your enemies, treat your friends a little better.”

– Edgar W. Howe

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

History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.”

– John F. Kennedy

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

– Henry Miller

The quality of your life is directly related to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with.”

– Tony Robbins

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

– Avenida Margarita

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

– Andrew Carnegie

The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”

– Buddha

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

– Groucho Marx

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

– Carlos Castaneda

There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.”

– Christopher Morley

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

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

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

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.”

– Robert Louis Stevenson

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

– T.S. Eliot

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

The fixity of a habit is generally in direct proportion to its absurdity.”

– Marcel Proust

The music is all around us. All you have to do is listen.”

– August Rush

An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.“


– Roy Ash, co-founder of Litton Industries

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

– Anita Roddick

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

– Mary Oliver

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

– Anais Nin

Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.”

– Gandi

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

– Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

– Eckhart Tolle

‎Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”

– Booker T. Washington

Whosoever knows how to fight well is not angry. Whosoever knows how to conquer enemies does not fight them.”

– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

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

No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it”

– 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

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

– Napoleon

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

– Barack Obama

A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind.”

– Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now.”

– Jack Kerouac

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

– President Calvin Coolidge

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