Women As Art

I am really proud of myself. Just writing those words comes with a sense of guilt; some sort of taboo hovers over the simple act of acknowledging myself. I know, right? It is totally messed up.

Seriously, when was the last time you acknowledged
yourself for something you did or accomplished
that makes you proud?

Yesterday, I graduated from The Mastery Program of Womanly Arts in New York.  I am proud because I chose to pursue this education out of curiosity, out of a secret self-interest.  It did not make fiscal sense. It was not conveniently timed. I had a variety pack of excuses to dissuade me from following my inner desires. That mom-maid- business-owner-cook-protector-nurturer-bill-paying -citizen inside my head whispered, "Save your money, stay home.”

You all know the self-talk that takes place: “You need to take care of the family, you have business to handle, you have responsibilities...” It is the advice of some unknown mother bear, beast that innately speaks to us women.

And no matter how condemning she can be, I believe this voice; I have been trained to believe it.  It reminds me that I am supposed to be content with my reality. “You have a good life. Why do you want to travel across country? You want to do more, have more? You greedy bitch.”

Despite those self-defeating comments, I finally managed to justify my adventure. It would be a tool to help my clients and others; it would benefit my ability to serve.  With this in mind, I allowed myself permission to partake in self-improvement.  It required traveling alone, adjusting agendas, making my family feel frustrated, and sometimes, painfully unpacking my shit only to repack it again.

The whole course was terrifying, scary, and absolutely new for me. But I worked my ass off, a naked one at that. Sitting in the classroom vulnerable and afraid, I wanted to run and hide in the bathroom during various challenging parts of the seminars. Yet I survived, and all without coping supplements. For this, I am proud. 

I should’ve hung a sign on my door at home, “Diner Closed: Greedy Bitch Gone for Self-Improvement.” My mom duties took a nose dive while I studied. When others were sleeping, I awkwardly attempted my training.  I said “NO” to more invitations than I can recall. I wept and laughed daily. All the while the voice in my head said, “This is ridiculous. You don’t get it.”  I practiced and proceeded anyway. For this, I am proud. 

Among 350 other epically brave women, who were once strangers and are now my Sisters, I became unhidden.  I don't have to come to the table with anything less than every truth of who I am.  I said yes to my curiosity, my desires, my health, my dreams, and my sadness. I said yes to the beautiful greedy, rule breaking, bitch with an incredible appetite. I said yes to the sensual side of my personality, my wrinkles, my wide-belly, and my deep-thinking, multi-faceted mind. I graduated knowing that when a woman invests in herself the whole world gets blessed.  For this, I am proud.

We don't have to work like militaristic dogs on a mission to access love, relationships, health, beauty, and money. Our deepest desires want to be birthed, and be cared for like precious babies. Our true power is within the very bodies that we have been taught to loathe, a woman’s body is a sacred altar and our sexuality is connected to every aspect of our lives.Women can receive more, be more, and do more because our capacity is endless.  Our individual pasts and personal pain is part of our stories, and it is in this shared truth that Sisters can be like medicine to each other.  Every single one of us is spiritual, brilliant, beautifully broken, and perfect.  

I am proud to say this is the study of womanly arts.  

Peace, love, and Room Service.

Yours truly,
Greedy Bitch

Brave Marketing: 10 Musts for Wedding Professionals

The wedding world would call this time of year the Engagement Season. As we, the wedding and hospitality professionals, dig in to marketing, sales, and bridal fair season, it’s important for us to remember that the service we offer is an extension of who we are. How do we offer what we do in the best way that represents us? In everything we do we have the opportunity to do it with exemplified love. Whether it’s when we’re in the trenches of conducting and growing a business, parenting, or even at the gym *insert heavy lifting and grunt here,* when we are focused on the desired outcome with clear intentions, we can use any opportunity to serve up a big platter of excellence, authenticity, and care. I call this your best self. We put our best self forward, we know what our intentions are, and we keep them at the absolute front of our marketing plan.

Being able to provide people with information and resources is a gift. I like giving. Personally I give by showing I care and I want to help. Essentially, this is marketing. We market by helping, serving, and developing relationships with people. Marketing is building relationships. As many of us pros are headed to fairs and expos to boldly share and offer our services and/or products, the most successful will prepare for these events with the following list of these 10 musts:

  1. Be confident. You are an expert and there to serve. Share your experiences and knowledge positively, with enthusiasm, and don’t be afraid to share why you love what you do. Be completely you. Don’t pretend to be something or someone you are not.
  2. Don’t overwhelm. Couples on the average have 160 things to do when planning a wedding and not to mention family and friends with opinions and a desire to help. Keep your message and service simple. Provide a unique, clean and simple (emphasis on simple!) way to show what you do.
  3. Stand Up. Passively sitting can make people feel like you are not interested in meeting them (use chairs for short breaks).
  4. Smile. As in most situations, it is best to smile, smile, smile, and keep smiling in order to be more approachable. Smiling exudes happiness. Be happy; no one wants a grumpy person at their wedding and they certainly won’t want to work with a vendor they view as grumpy.
  5. Make eye contact. When talking with someone, make eye contact to create a sincere connection. Scanning the room or looking at your phone or iPad are sure-fire ways to make the person you are speaking to feel less than important. Side note: also true in your love relationship.
  6. Listen. When meeting someone new, it’s best to really listen to what they’re saying and connect with him or her by acknowledging that you can relate to understand what they’re feeling. Listening and establishing a connection can create trust and trust creates a strong foundation for business development.
  7. Ask questions. Knowledge is power. The more you know, the better you can help. Be sure to ask people questions and learn from what they say. How can you help?
  8. Be a connector. You may not be able to help everyone but make it a practice to connect and introduce people to others who can. Your connections and resources are more valuable than you may realize.
  9. Don’t worry about the competition. My Dad always said, “don’t worry about the competition, let the competition worry about you.” Focus on being your best and don’t waste energy thinking negatively of others. Run your own race and be the best at what you do. Seek coaching, learning, and improvement opportunities if you find yourself obsessing about your competitors.
  10. Give them a reason to see you again. Invite and give clients (and their families) a reason to contact you again. Preferably at a different location within a couple weeks of meeting them. Invite them to your office or shop for a seminar, open house, or event. This will give you an opportunity to show them what you actually do and for them to experience you or your service without distraction.

All that we are and everything we do can be a display, expression, and opportunity to represent our best self. With our best selves, we can bravely love ourselves and others through our work, even when selling and marketing our wares.