Monday, February 25, 2013

2 Things Ben Affleck Said Directly to Entrepreneurs

Ben Affleck Receiving Best Picture Oscar for Argo - Mario Anzouri/REUTERS

Last night, a very unlikely hero emerged from the ashes.

Hot shot actor, overexposed for many years quietly comes back and triumphs big. His film nominated in many categories but he himself snubbed for Best Director, Ben Affleck had a message for everyone in Hollywood.

He is back. (after getting a 1998 Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Good Will Hunting with his best bud, Matt Damon) He is good enough. He is talented. And now, you all know it.

His speech was worth my two hours of lost sleep alone giving us entrepreneurs two great nuggets in his rushed, nervous and downright exhilarating speech.

"You can't hold grudges."

"Doesn't matter how you get knocked down in life, all that matters is you gotta get up."

Not all of us work in the chasm that is Hollywood but Affleck's advice is sound and solid for those of us who work for ourselves in any industry.

Like Affleck, we will be faced with doubters. People you think will be supportive of your endeavors will ignore your calls and not answer your emails. People who will tell you to get them "your stuff" and no matter how much you follow up - they don't do anything. You have to let those folks go. Why? Because then you'll meet the folks who will help.

Doubters and folks who reject us are often the targets of our grudges. Affleck mentioned a specific group of people in his speech, those "who extended themselves to me when they had nothing to benefit from it in Hollywood." Guys, if we are chasing the doubters trying to convince them - we miss the people Ben acknowledged - the people WILLING to extend themselves to us. When we hold grudges, the energy we give off repels the people we need to meet and work with.

My favorite line from Affleck's speech was this one, "And it doesn't matter how you get knocked down in life because that's going to happen. All that matters is you gotta get up." As an entrepreneur, this spoke to me, big time.  I'm particularly moved by his word choice of "how you get knocked down." Knocked down is knocked down, right? Wrong. Some blows are way more significant than others. The client who signs a contract and does not pay is much different from the person who begs for a proposal and doesn't agree to work with you.

Affleck's use of how you get knocked down was intentional. Look at his own fall from Hollywood graces. 15 years ago, Hollywood was making fun of Bennifer, Gigli and Daredevil. Ben Affleck was the butt of late night jokes and generally dismissed as a pretty face with little talent. Yet, he quietly settled down, built a family and got really selective on which projects he chose to lend himself to and little by little -  an amazing filmmaker has emerged from the ashes of a hot shot handsome actor who burned out quickly.

As entrepreneurs, we must get back up. Again. Again.  And again. Regardless of what struck us down. We need look no further than Ben Affleck who made history being only the fourth director to win Best Picture without a Best Director Nomination.

Thanks Ben - I'm fired up all over again for my work today. Even on a lot less sleep.

Monday, February 18, 2013

True Love At Its Best

Yesterday, our family had the most incredible meeting. Exact details of the meeting are not necessary to disclose but the fact that we had it and how it played out is worth sharing.

Like most families on any given day, we had a rough morning yesterday. Several weird interactions coupled with a few overreactions and we had a pretty sour start to the new week. Then our lesson at church challenged us to simplify our lives and figure out what replenishes and depletes us.

So at our lunch table, with markers in hand, and hearts and minds open - we talked as a family about what drains us within our own family dynamic.  Two adults, an eleven year old and a seven year old laid it out there for each other.

Warts and all.

It was beautiful.

And I know we are all going to be better for it. You see as a unit, we all clearly understand now what replenishes each other and what depletes each other - individually. It was a tough and often emotional conversation but it was necessary. Necessary for our harmony as a family as well as our growth as individuals. I am so very proud of our family and what we did at the lunch table yesterday. The strength and courage it took for each of us to be 100% honest and vulnerable with the people we love is without measure. Plus, our commitment to be replenishers for each other was also amazing.

And that is what love is all about.

Not the red hearts and fancy dinners or even our Barreto family tradition of chocolate dipped strawberries every February 14.

We displayed true love at its best yesterday.

Can you and your family join us in this? February is a month that reminds us of love so why not take the time this month to love each other enough to stop and figure out how you can grow each other?

We'd love to hear what happens for you!

Monday, February 11, 2013

I Got A Theme Song, But What About The Others?

Recently saw a post on Facebook about the following songs for your life: A Theme Song, A Strut Song and Your Entrance Song. Being a person extremely touched and moved by music on so many levels, of course, I have a Theme Song. Have had one for the last 22 years or so. What shocked me upon reading the post was my ignorance to the concept of the Strut and Entrance song.


Why had I never given that any thought before now?

My theme song is Baby I'm A Star by Prince. Released in June 1984 with the Purple Rain album, this up tempo, mucho bravado and personal manifesto of a song became my theme song sometime during my sophomore year in college. Not sure exactly what the assignment was but I remember having to write about it and explain my choice.

Very simple. Have you ever listened to the words to that song? It starts with...

Hey. Look me over. Tell me do you like what you see. Hey, I ain't got no money, but honey, I'm rich on personality

And of course the chorus  - Baby I'm a (star). Might not know it now, but baby I are, I'm a (star).

For as long as I can remember, I saw those words as mine. Even now - when I play the song, my hearts perks up and my adrenaline starts flowing overtime. Prince wrote it as an ode to Pop Stardom that was finally setting in for him at his peak when Purple Rain, the album and movie were released. It has always been sort of an anthem to what was coming in my life as well. "Might not know it now, but baby... I'm a star!"

Now add the Strut song and Entrance song to the mix and I'm about stumped. I'm still thinking about the Strut song simply because - it seems more personal, less a song that others will hear, more of a song that plays in your mind as you strut. The Entrance song is a bit more doable at the moment simply because I do public speak. Many folks who speak have an entrance song, especially when they get to a certain level and their talks are held in certain types of venues. There are candidates for my Entrance song, oh are there candidates.

Being a political junkie and super fan of presidential politics - hearing the Entrance song concept reminds me of President Clinton's adoption of Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop Believing" for his campaigns in 1992 and 1996. Every time I hear those songs, I think of him entering an arena.

So I was thinking my entrance song could be one of two U2 songs, one INXS B side and the Whitney Houston cover of Chaka Khan's 70s classic. 

Four songs - four very different meanings, lyrics, three different artists.

Desire - U2
Even Better Than The Real Thing - U2
Shining Star - INXS
I'm Every Woman - Whitney Houston

Still can't decide. The good thing is, I'm not packing stadiums or running for federal office just yet so I am under no pressure to pick now. I'll continue to deliberate and use my "Baby, I'm Star" in all capacities.

What about YOU?

Do you have a theme song?

What would your Strut Song or Entrance Song be?

Monday, February 4, 2013

My Single Love of Winter

I love shoveling fluffy white snow. My relationship with winter is made on this very notion. It is the one reason I never resist winter.

Shoveling fluffy white snow.

For people who know me well, I'm certain this comes as a huge surprise. I'm not a big fan of the out of doors. Any opportunity NOT to go outside is a good one. Blame it on growing up in Chicagoland. Blame it on being forced to do yard work as child.

Doesn't matter what you blame it on - I am not a big outdoors girl. Until it snows and my driveway and corner lot needs to be cleared. Especially fluffy, light snow. You can't keep me from shoveling it. Here are the three reasons why:

Winter Exercise

Even though I don't like it outdoors, the last few years have found me running outside for about 9 months every year. I like running outside much better than doing it on a treadmill. So from March to November, you can find me running my neighborhood. Shoveling white fluffy snow is a chance for me to get in exercise at a time of year when I most likely am not running regularly. This is especially a treat now - two years post-radial tunnel release surgery in my right arm. There was a time when I did not think I'd shovel again so I am grateful to push my new ergonomic shovel.

Individual Sport

Shoveling alone in the early morning hours is bliss and reminds me of my days of playing tennis. I used to rise early and go over to the Kmart by my house and hit balls against the wall for hours at a time. Shoveling is very much an individual sport. You don't need anyone to do it. It plays to my strengths of relying only on myself for certain things. If I am "losing" the battle to falling snow, I am forced to recalibrate my work, my technique or even take a break and come back when it is done snowing.

Lovely Rhythm

When I shovel, the very sound of my action actually soothes me. You see, I lead a very, hectic and unpredictable life. Shoveling provides a rhythm that I rarely get as I don't like monotony very much. The repetitive moves and sounds make me be present and listen.  Listen to the movement. Pace my breathing to match it. Reminds me of running but from a whole different perspective. The sound echoing the neighborhood keeps me from wandering off to my next to do list or frantic motherly worry. It numbs me into being 100% present in the action of shoveling and I need that ever so often

I had to shovel TWICE in the last 72 hours and it was just what I needed at this time in my life. I am already wondering what I'm gonna do to replicate this in the near future when we split time between Spain and Chicago and I live in a fancy high rise downtown.

What activity should replace my annual snow shoveling ritual?