California dreamin’ and thinkin’

If you look up, you might see me.

Right now I’m looking down at you and sending a hug — from 40,000 feet — as I zip across the country from California to Florida!

This past week I’ve been in Palo Alto and San Diego to attend two fascinating and inspiring conferences – both focusing on energizing, equipping and supporting women to go for their dreams.

I loved being in the company of so many talented and accomplished women and having the luxury of time to dream and think!

And I sneaked in some juicy fun with close friends, too.

There is so much to tell you about, and I know how busy you are.  So I’ll share my Top 5 favorite highlights and resources from the week that I hope you will find useful – or at least fun to know about!

But first…

While I was in California, Ohio Women on Fire Jan Allen and Kim Dettmer led the first-ever-in-Cleveland Women on Fire tea.  The joy and gratitude in the emails that I received from women attending told me you had an amazing time!

Women on Fire Tea in Cleveland! From left: Betsy O’Connell, Noelle Celeste, Mary Carran Webster, Sonya Pryor Jones, Nicole McGee, Charlotte Thomas, Jan Allen, Mardele Cohen, Victoria Kunkel, Anne Bloomberg, Emily Cole, Laura Opheim, Katia Scharz and Kim Dettmer.

Janette Barber, who has been coming to teas New York City since the very first one in 2004, frequently reminds us, “the tea party always works!”

When women get together and safely share their inspiration, strategies and support, we all can feel empowered, invigorated and reassured.

Thank you, Kim Dettmer, for writing a lovely blog post to further describe the Cleveland tea last week.

While in Palo Alto, I met with the amazingly talented Woman on Fire Betsy Dee (who attended the first-ever Women on Fire event in 2003).  Just have to brag here about the genius in our community. It was Betsy who gave Direct TV its name and Invisalign its tagline: Science in every smile!

And, in San Diego, I caught up with Women on Fire member Becky AdamsBetsy, Becky and I savored the kinds of girlfriend lunches that I live for!

I’m the one with the messy hair! Woman on Fire member Becky Adams and I had a pre-Paris lunch at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. She is one of the women going on our trip to Paris next month!

You know what I mean?  The kind of connection that brings tears, laughter, deep knowing, understanding and acceptance – all in only a few short hours!

And that reminds me…

When was your last girlfriend lunch? Is there a wonderful woman you might reach out to and schedule some time together? You’ll both walk away re-energized and re-invigorated. I just betcha!

The first program in California that I attended was Deborah Perry Piscione’s Alley To The Valley.

Deborah brings together women mostly from Silicon Valley to offer funding for businesses and projects and support for entrepreneurs looking for financing as well as help for women to find corporate board seats.

I met Deborah when she and I shared the page of More Magazine last November in a piece written by Linda Yellin.

The second conference was information marketer Lisa Sasevich’s powerful and dynamic program and focus on creating super successful businesses. I’ll be sharing more about Lisa in the future.

So, here are my top 5 favorite thoughts, ideas and recommendations from last week:

1) No matter your political affiliation, the movie Game Change with Julianne Moore portraying Sarah Palin is a must-see.  Being that this was California, the director himself Jay Roach spoke at the movie’s first public screening held at Stanford University’s Business School. (I got to go because my long-time friend and mentor Paul Costello took me!)

My favorite scene is Julianne as Sarah watching “herself” portrayed by Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live!

2) If you are struggling to move forward in your life, Lisa Sasevich recommends watching just the first 10 minutes of the Pixar movie UP.  In 10 minutes you see the passage of life and time.  And, if that doesn’t underscore that life is not a dress rehearsal then be sure to watch Steve Jobs’ Stanford University commencement address.

3) Looking for business financing? In general, I learned at Alley To the Valley if you have a great idea and are already funding it yourself, do everything possible to keep financing it.  Venture capital money and angel funding sound great, but women at the conference urged finding a strategic partner with complementary skills, abilities and resources is a much preferred way to see your business or project become successful.

Women on Fire members will remember ice cream maven Jeni Britton Bauer recommended staying in control by financing yourself, if possible, unless you want to have a “boss” (even an angel investor), which defeats the purpose of being your own!

4) What would happen if you stopped whining and complaining for 21 days? I know. I started to imagine the possibilities myself!

The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity by Edwene Gaines, a Unity minister, includes a life-changing, 21-day exercise to stop all complaining, gossiping, poisoning ourselves and our environment. If you find yourself speaking negatively to yourself or anyone during that time, you have to start over!  I bought the book to start the challenge tomorrow. You are welcome to join me.

5) Inspiration from being surrounded in beauty.  All week long — from the fog rolling over the foothills in Palo Alto to the sun sparkling off the water in Coronado Bay and the majestic rise of San Diego’s Point Loma — I marveled at the scenery in California. Being in nature there uplifted and inspired me to want to soar and to be my very best.

So, thank you for allowing me to serve you.  I am especially grateful for all of you who are new to the SPARK! and new to our membership program.

We have much to give this world — and I’ll do everything possible to make sure you have the inspiration, strategies and support to be your very best, too!