It might have been 8 or 9 years ago when I held my first book by the German author and coach Sabine Asgodom in my hands. And I felt lost.
How can she dare! Tell me to live a "wild and desirous" life?! In my situation? I have to somehow manage my daily life without drowning! Don't let anyone see how I really feel. How bad it is for me. Because that's what I wanted, right?! Initiated the separation and divorce, being a single mom now. There is no freedom going with that package. And my demand for appreciation or meaning in my work? I wiped that away with my tears every day because it wasn't part of the package either.
And then she seeded doubts.
With every sentence.
What if there is another way?
May I admit that I want more?
May I even want more?
It was the thing that got me started.
Fast forward to the year 2017. August 2nd.
On my bookshelf there are now at least 12 books by Sabine Asgodom. And I met her and thanked her in person - for the right questions, for essential impulses and inspiration, for life-changing prompts for thinking and acting.
Because it worked :-)
I think the first and most important step was to give myself persmission to dream again. And the second was to not only dream.
Next week I'll have a dream coming true!
Working with my inspiration herself as part of Sabine's team in her Summer Camp in the Luneburg Heath from August 10th to 13th : "Die Kunst des geglückten Lebens - Wie Sie Ziele und Träume verwirklichen" ("the art of a thriving live - how you realize goals and dreams"). In an exclusive additional workshop I'll help the participants to create their symbol jewelry which will then accompany and encourage them on their way to achieve their goals and dreams.
When we prepared the workshop, Sabine interviewed me about my life dream and how I help people to fulfill theirs. It's in German and you can read my answers here.
I'm not there yet. I'm right in the middle of fulfilling my dreams.
Yet, compared to 2008 I'm definitely living a more "wild and desirous" life, meaning more fulfilled with my own concept of my own freedom.
And I'm forever thankful for all the help I've received in direct and indirect ways.
Where are you on your way of realizing your dreams? What helped you the most, what do you need?
What is the thing that got you started?
Leave a comment, I'm always happy to learn more!
A couple of weeks ago at the public reading "Thesen-Lesen" with Udo Erdmann:
Pleasant atmosphere in a warm ambience, easy chatting with the neighbors, friendly greeting of the acquantainces and mutual presentation of the yet unknown. I'm sitting there in a row curiously waiting, looking forward to the reading, and taking in everything around me.
Suddenly, I hear this one sentence. It came from the lady in front of me. She is talking to a young man next to her. I have no idea what it is about. Admittedly, I'm now starting to eavesdrop, but I can't really understand what they're saying. Just this one sentence. Distinctly it keeps resonating in my ear:
"I'm not using the word work-life-balance anymore, I'm talking about work-life-romance now".
Ha. Brilliant. For a dreamer and romanticist like myself, these words fall on fertile soil. I find it hard to separate between work and life anyway (because of all the black and white, good-bad, fulfilling-exhausting, inner-outer associations). And that's why the conscious (and loving) connection of work and life is all the more encouraging to me.
No, I don't separate. My work is part of my life and I love it. Sure, we are not always in agreement, and sometimes I find it exhausting. But love affairs don't mean there is always sunshine and rainbows, right?!
And a romance in general is not a lifetime bondage. It is regarded as something that is exciting for a shorter period of time.
In other words, we are talking about specific periods in which work plays a particularly important role in our lives. And then it changes with other "activities" which also have a special significance for us.
Hearing this sentence made me think again more intensely about my relationship of work (I translate with: "all activities for earning my living") and non-work (eg. cooking, doing homework with my daughter, family meetings, watching television, listening to music ...).
Today, in the midst of my professional life, when I measure my investment in my work and non-work purely from a time perspective, than there is definitely no balance in it at all.
And if you ask my daughter, she would tell you, that I'm working ALL the time...
Is she right?
Even if I am not designing, creating, writing, teaching, or consulting, my synapses tango and dazzling idea-butterflies swirl around my head pollinizing all the different projects.
Then, "I just have to note this idea down," "just need to finish this thought" ...
And, you might find this true for yourself too, I always get the best ideas when I'm not dealing with work or a specific project on the consious level. When I concsiously refrain from work. So, while reading the newspapers, taking a walk etc ...
Isn't this working too?
I bet it is! After all, these new ideas are always evolving into the best solutions for my clients.
Does my life consist only of work then?
For the opposite of a romance is forced marriage.
So what do I need to keep the love young and alive?
Distance. And focus on the other end of the life's scale.
That means balance, right?!
Well...., a clear Yes! And No.
Balance in myself, yes. Balance in what is important to me. What is important for my life.
However, if I'd put all that really counts onto the scale, I would tilt and fall. There is no real balance. How can one ever measure the nagging worries about your family well-being, the warm feeling of coming home, the annoying window cleaning, the relaxing chillouts with your friends, the tingling anticipation before handing over a surprise present and the long-term non-importance of a single school score?
But if this is so much more important, can't I go to every family party, attend every event? Even though it is closer to my heart at the moment than the jewelry I am working on?
If you ask me if I want to, I'd say, "Immediately!"
But then the work is more important in specific periods of time. For I have committed myself. I'm committed to another person. And this responsibility is important. (Apart from the fact that I enjoy making something special for someone else!)
I have to weigh. Maintain what is important in balance. Short term and long term. Remorse and feelings of guilt are waiting on both ends anyway.
I believe that it's actually not about work-life balance or work-life romance. But more about the balance of freedom and constraint in all areas of life. It is about the "how" we experience something that is an inevitable part of life anyway.
Being able to do what you want and to want what you have to do, is a blessing!
What are your thoughts on this matter? What ideas, comments and suggestions to you have?
I would love to hear your opinion.
What would it look like, what would it feel like, if you achieved the success that you have always wanted: in your business, in your career, and in your life? This is the question we recently posed to two groups of international business professionals in the Rhein-Neckar region.
Some of the workshop participants had specific ideas of what their ideal success would be. Others were blocked, and only knew that they wanted a change, but were not sure what that change looked like.
Living and working in today’s demanding global environment is such a challenge, it can be almost impossible to know how, where and when to start. Very often, it’s not easy to assess our situation and find the way forward on our own.
You might work for a multinational corporation or you might have your own business. Perhaps you are dreaming of making the leap from employee to entrepreneur? Or are you a leader in that multinational corporation, with dozens of employees looking to you for guidance, stability, innovation and inspiration?
The way forward
The answer to ‘when’ is easy: Start now! You’ll never regret taking action today. If you don’t, in a year from now, you’ll wish you had.
Now the tough question: How to get started…
Get clear on your vision
Begin by creating a clear vision for your career, your business and for yourself. What do you want to BE, DO and HAVE? And how would this make a difference in your life?
The mind strives to align outside and inside perceptions, so having a precise image of the where, the how, and the what, is like having hologram that the mind wants to materialise. The clearer you are about the results you want to achieve, the easier it will be to accomplish them.
Think about managing a specific project, building a prototype, or cooking dinner. Without clarity of a) what you want, b) what you need to accomplish, and c) what steps to take, you might end up with a dish you don't actually want to eat. The same is true for your career or business life.
To get clarity, we can use various strategies depending on the need and the importance of the underlying question. The more vague the image in our heads is, the more creative we need to be to uncover it. Creating vision boards, using improv theatre or core value modeling, working with action painting or going on mental journeys - these are only some of the more creative techniques you can use.
If you already have a more specific idea of where your journey should go, using tools like a business model canvas or guided journaling are helpful to get to the bottom of it.
Answering questions that have an essential influence on the quality of your life is an “inside job”, yet even more effective when you have someone beside you to clear the fog and then to plan the next steps with you.
Whether it is a clear image of a result in your mind, a concept you want to present, or a tangible result you want to share with the world, the next step would be to focus on how you communicate your vision.
Enhance your communication competence
Today we have no choice but to be communication experts. It’s the foundation we use to communicate our vision, and it’s the foundation for building the strong, trustful relationships we need to be successful. And that is how we build a successful career or business.
After all, “people buy from people they know, like and trust”. This sales phrase is more relevant today than ever before. People not only buy from people they know, like and trust. They also champion, support, mentor, take action, promote and recommend people they know like and trust. When we can persuade others, we move towards fulfilling our vision.
Understanding a bit of communication theory helps to identify where the challenges and possible miscommunications can arise from. Mehrabian’s research indicates that meaning is derived 55% from body language, 38% from voice, and only 7% from words. Experience indicates that this idea is relatively true, but less so for non-native speakers of English. It is far easier to communicate your key messages when you are face-to-face with your business partner (or boss, client, etc.) than by email.
It’s imperative then to identify your own communication skill gaps and focus your efforts on improving them. Whether it’s asking effective questions, honing your listening skills, writing stakeholder-oriented documents or presenting to internal or external groups – communicating clearly, concisely and persuasively is a valuable skill that can be learned. And you can have fun while learning it!
The keys to success
Clarity of vision and effective communication skills are critical to ensuring your success. Without excellent communication skills, it’s simply not possible to bring your vision to life. That’s why we focus on strategies, techniques and actions you can implement immediately.
The combination of teaching and implementing vision and communication strategies is what we found to be very powerful and practical at the same time.
In both recent dream.believe.achieve workshops, we worked with participants to:
We worked through various exercises together, exchanging ideas and expertise, and really dove into each participant’s individual situations. Each participant left the workshop with their own customized, individual plan for success.
The final stage of any workshop or coaching results in a commitment to action. Taking action is the ONLY way to move forward. We ask our participants to commit to actions and outcomes. We also ask them to assess their own commitment on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being 100% committed. If their answer is a 7 or above, we feel confident they are on their way to making change and creating a career or business by design, not default.
Innovation and leadership
For entrepreneurs, this is an excellent way to find your unique selling proposition, to define or refine your service, and to learn how to connect with your perfect customer.
For employers, it’s an skilful opportunity to bring your team together in a workshop environment, and create a culture of innovation within the team.
Leadership comes from within. It can be nurtured. It can be learned. It can be coached. But it should not be left to chance.
Find the next dream.believe.achieve workshop here. (link to workshop or Xing event) https://www.xing.com/events/dream-achieve-1775957
Tracie Marquardt, Quality Assurance Communication, www.qacommunication.com
Gisela Backe, Evolving You Art Design, www.evolvingyouartdesign.com
Could it be that simple? Is this the answer I've been waiting for so long?!
My hands are shaking, my mouth is dry, my heart is pounding. I'm starring at my screen as if hypnotized. That couldn't be possible!
Create precious jewelry without having to invest in the equipment of a goldsmith or even to get through a long lasting training?! It's saying it right there. This website I'm looking at is promising that you can knead individual jewelry from real silver and with the simplest means.
I got to know more! Where can I get it? How much is it? When can I start?
When I remember how I discovered ArtClay® Silver "by chance", I get this feeling again of shivery excitement in each and every cell, of this disbelieving enthusiasm and tense hope to have finally found "it".
My entire body was pure adrenalin and never before have I walked for 2 hours, almost ran to reduce this tension. One image after the other build before my inner eye. Visions what I could do with it: Designing pieces of jewelry myself! Give workshops! Build a creative center! And so much more...
The next steps were as easy as logical as quick to implement.
I booked my first course on the same day being lucky because I found one in Karlsruhe. Just a 45minute drive, easy to organize and with one space left for me. Before I was ready to get engaged with this new love for 100% I wanted to test it. Probe if that what I've found in the virtual world would stand up to the reality.
What can I say. I was hooked. After having successfully fired my first piece and holding it all shiny in my hands I knew: this love is for life.
Since this first sight, some years have passed and the love is stronger than ever. My own designs have found their lovers and the custom designs for my clients always make my heart beat fast.
Could it be as easy to share this love not only through the pieces of jewelry but also through more than just a few workshops? Play "cupid" and shoot some "silver arrows"?... There it is again, the thought of the creative center.
Already in 2014 I've founded the German facebook group for the exchange amongst metal clayers https://www.facebook.com/groups/257535161064325/
And now follows a network page with an attached shop : www.metalclay.de
Intended for beginners who get an easy entry with a limited selection of products. For whom "how to" descriptions and instructions are already in the making.
Intended for metal clay professionals who can present themselves and can tell about their favourite pieces, about their passion.
Yes. It's as simple as that.
And if you need help on your "first date" with ArtClay®, let me know! :-)
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Yes, here they are again. My workshops in which my participants and I can induldge in the fascinating world of ArtClay®, where beautifully designed pieces are created in just a couple of hours. I should correct, because offering "again" is a slight understatement. I should say "here is an extended and advanced offer of multiple workshop concepts combined with different topics".
So, what exactly do I offer?
First of all, workshops for individuals who wish to create their treasure according to their vision and ideas. In a small group, very exclusive, very personal.
Secondly, workshops for teams and companies. In these workshops, we see the creative process as an invitation to observe "how we do, what we do" and to ask ourselves "how can I use these insights and results for myself and for my business/ my company?" I'm offering this concept specially designed for entrepreneurs and manager also at the campus of the Business Design People in Mannheim as one of their partners and speakers. Save the date: November 8th 2016, will be the next one: From Design to Business.
My third offer has evolved from my work experience and is for coaches, mentors, consultants and their clients. I know that the treasures that are created by me or the participants can hold a hughe 'anchoring power'. This potential should be also available to those who are looking for the final "icing on the cake" for their clients. In these Potential-Workshops, the participants (i.e. clients of coaches) can create their own sustaining treasures, which help them to visualize and anchor what they've worked on in the preceeding (coaching)process.
One great example of this kind of work is my cooperation with the psychologist Dr. Johanna Bertram. We've initiated the 'Project Key Values' PROJEKT SCHLÜSSELWERTE, to support our clients to identify their key values and then anchor those as their tangible strengthening power: www.projektschluesselwerte.de
I'm really happy to be able to accompany even more people on very different levels who can create unique treasures and learn new things in an unusual and exciting way.
Some pieces I'm working on are quite simple. Straight forward without bells and whistles yet with a clear message. Thus without any difficulties in the creation process itself.
However, I've got to say that working on some pieces is not easy at all.
Like for instance with the inscription "I've got Alzheimer's disease". The making of this piece of jewelry was inspired by the movie "Still Alice" with Julianne Moore where she as the affected person got herself an identity bracelet to be able to remember and get help in situations like getting lost etc. My friend saw this as a valuable option and we quickly decided to realize this for her husband. Although I know the family I can only remotely guess what it means to have to deal with this disease. Especially since my friend commented on the movie that it shows only a fraction of the reality.
It moves me that I can contribute at least a small part to keep some dignity in the helplessness, to give some support in difficult situations.
To me it is very brave to make a weakness, a disease visible which is usually not noticable from the outside and which is very difficult to deal with. I wish it was, especially for the affected people, but this time my creation, the bracelet is not a sign of hope nor a source of power. Yet still, hopefully it gives a sense of assurance and possibly orientation in a simple and dignified way.
The design was determined by all people involved, the wearer, the family and me. After finishing it we were all unanimously happy with it and the plain piece of jewelry brought some shine and joy. Although it was und still is not easy.
Outside: "I've got Alzheimer" and phone number of the contact person
Inside: Name and address
Special thanks to my friend and her family for your trust.
Hand-made and 3D-software? one-of-a-kind and jewelry creator? exclusivity and order form? How does this all fit together and what 'on earth' have I been plotting all summer long?
Here is the answer in the video below - (in German):
To make a long story short, it's a about a dream coming true! A way of giving you the option to take one of my best designs and make it YOURS!
To wear YOUR bracelet with YOUR magic words. To literally get a statement piece with a statement. To carry your note to yourself, helping you remember to remember...
And how does it work?
It's sooo easy! Just go to the Custom Bracelet Creator on my website. Above the picture you type in the words you'd like to wear, choose the bracelet size you need and the material you prefer. And then you proceed to 'checkout'. It's that simple!
Your individual bracelet will be cast, handpolished and shipped to you in a nice jewelry box.
And the what about the 3D-software? It's working behind the scenes to visualize your choice and preferences. Where words fail to describe the outcome, the pictures take over. The programming is done by the software company ELASPIX in Mannheim.
Now I'm curious! What do you think? Do you like it? What would be the words you'd enter? Would you choose names, places or words that have a special meaning for you? Like your values or something you wish to accomplish?
Let me know! If you have any questions, just send me a message.
And definitely check out the new tool! Christmas is just around the corner and I know for sure it would be a very, very special present you can give (to yourself).
With love and a smile for you,
There it was again. The huge threshold, which I longed to pass and did not now how.
Shiny, promising, golden.
Yes. The threshold was literally golden. It's been 2 years since I've worked with leaf gold for the last time and although I LOVE this material, I didn't dare to work with it since then. I built too many "but" and "what if" and a perfected procastrination into an almost impregnable barrier.
What would be helpful in such a situation?
Listen to encouraging talks, to motivational speeches? Remind myself that I've learned in once and it will be easy again? Noticing that others can do it too?
No. Not helpful at all!
Go back to zero and start learning again. So I did. With a wonderful help by my side who walked me through the different steps and showed me how to do it again.
And today? Do I consider the threshold to be smaller?
Definitely! After completing some the very successful samples I would even claim that the threshold shrinked to a normal "working height". Because with each gold plated piece of jewelry, the anxiety changed into joy and the knowledge came back into my hands. And finally, I can answer the request for offering gold plated jewelry with a clear "YES"!
Now I'm curious! What is your threshold you could use some practical and tangible help with?
Let me know! I'm looking foward to your comment you can enter below!
For the holiday seasons, birthdays or other festivities during a year's cycle, there are those "mandatory pieces" which have to find their spot like every year. I think every family has some of those heirlooms and decorations which are stored in boxes and then displayed with pride and joy when their time has come.
With jewelry it's similar. Some pieces just have to be worn at certain events. For instance, I wear my grandma's silver bangle at every family celebration. The pendant I recently made from a broken porcelain plate of my parent's coffee service now adds to the "family outfit"...
Jewelry which is connected with family members, with family events has a priceless value for its owner. The childhood picture framed as a silver medallion, the name bracelet on the occasion of a baptism, the couples' rings, the pendant for a "to-be-mom" - this is family history eternalized in silver. Consequently, those pieces are more than just silver jewelry. With their unique meaning they hold a special place and are cherished more than other pieces ...
What would you like to immortalize? Do you have memories which you would like to have in a "tangible" form? Fragments or finds which are waiting to be framed in silver? Occasions or events that need to be "anchored"?
Leave me a comment and let me know what you would capture for your (family) jewelry!
I'm certainly not exaggerating when I claim that custom jewelry is surprisingly different than a practical kitchen utensil or the newest high-tech gadget you can give as a present to your nearest and dearest... You can show your emotions, touch a person's heart and create instant and lasting joy.
Wouldn't it be great to find a present that is shining for you? Made uniquely according to your wishes, lasting forever and showing your affection? A present that your loved one is excited about and stands out like you?
While many female customers say to me, "Yes, I know what I want, but what do I give HIM?", men are wondering "what's in it for me?"
Well, mens' jewelry is not too obvious for some and often it's even dismissed with statements like "my husband/ boyfriend/ the men in our family/ I don't wear jewelry"...
But, would this be the case if it had something on it, a theme that he is passionate about? Something that has to do with his ambition, his traits or dreams? Symbols from sports, an animal, a "secret" reference to his success? An accessory that accompanies him without being too flashy?
There are no boundaries to the options. The most typical kinds of mens' jewelry are cufflings or tie pins. But also pendants, rings, earrings, keyring pendants often in combination with leather are frequently chosen. They can all be as powerful, amazing and unique as he is. Some of those treasures have made my male customers very happy and they look good in it!!. Because those pieces were uniquely made for HIM.
In the comments to the post, let me know how the intangible should become tangible for HIM!
From Mannheim, Germany to New York City, USA
With the founding of Evolving You Art Design in 2014, I have fulfilled my dream of creating something meaningful and valuable – for others, for myself. Since I’m working to translate personal milestones and stories of my customers into silver treasures, my life feels so much more valuable and even more precious than before.
While I feel the passion and the happiness I need to be the best I can, I also ask myself ‘Where do I want to go from here?’. ‘Is there a way, to multiply the value I create with one piece for one customer at the time?’, ‘How can I surpass the boundaries of my business and life?’
Coming from an entirely different professional background, I often lack the confidence to go out there and present myself as a designer, as a brand. Although I bring a lot of experience from other paths I’ve walked before my new career, I’m hesitant to take the next step. I feel how my mindset that I’m ‘just’ a one-woman-show and a single mom keeps me playing small. How could I ever compare myself with the famous designers and big brands!
Though, to create my own collection which is sold worldwide is one of my biggest dreams. Being connected, sending energy through real treasures would be awesome! The ‘how’ is still very foggy and at the moment, I don’t know where to start and to whom I can turn to for professional advice in the jewelry industry.
Everything I do as a jewelry designer grows from the interaction with people, with my customers, friends and peers. The professional collaboration is very limited though and I would love to work more with like minded experts to grow, work and walk confidently in my ‘designer shoes’.
Lately, I’ve been inspired by Tracy and Robin from the Flourish & Thrive Academy in New York with their great video tutorials, blog entries and educational writings. With the chance opening for a spot in their Laying the Foundation course I see the fantastic opportunity to get the knowledge and insights I need to establish my brand in a sustainable way and to grow successfully beyond any border! I see the blessing in the online course because I could even attend from Germany. For this, I’m applying for the scholarship to lay the foundation of working internationally from now on.
You can learn more about this course and the scholarship contest here: www.flourishthriveacademy.com/2015/01/16/win-scholarship-ftas-laying-foundation-course-2015/
Not too long ago, a client of mine asked me if I could make her a pendant in the form of a sea-gull and her question if I knew "Jonathan" the sea-gull aimed right at my heart. This picture and the music are directly connected with wonderful childhood memories of us kids spending time with my grandmother.
For my client though, the sea-gull with its flight, its cry means freedom. She wished for a symbol she could touch when her longing for the sea was almost unbearable and she couldn't fulfill it as she wanted to. Touching her new little pendant brought her to the sea and she could smell the fresh air and hear the birds cry. When she picked up her new pendant she was as happy as I was honored to make her heart a little lighter.
Many of my 'animal' works are directly related to very emotional stories. They are meant to keep the memory of loved ones alive ("it was his favorite animal") or even of the dear pet itself. They are a way of saying 'thank you' or giving encouragement. For reminding of a promise one has given him or herself ("feeling as light as a butterfly in the sun")... I've brought cats, butterflies, dophins, elephants, budgies, frogs, meerkats, sheep, fish, turtles and birds to life.
Some background stories are unknown to me and I can only take a wild guess at the meaning the animal holds for my client. However, what I do see and what I'm certain of is that there is a strong tie between this kind of jewelry and the one wearing it, that the silver animal has a certain power and holds it for its owner.
What would your power animal be? Which strength, trait or power would you like to feel, when touching your silver pendant, ring or sculpture? Where would it take you to?
I would love to hear your story!
Curious, what's next?
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