1853 days ago Affirmawraps made their debut in a fashion that set the tone for what Affirmagy is all about. It was February 14th 2005, Valentine's Day, and 120 Abundance blankets were given to ministers at a New Thought gathering in San Diego. One by one they were given as a gift to see if wrapping people in positive affirmations was a good idea. (Can you believe I ever wondered that?). Giving Abundance away, just to see people respond, was a powerful experience in itself. Choosing to build a company that would ultimately touch the lives of tens of thousands worldwide was when my life totally changed. (I still remember the knot in my stomach as I wrestled with stepping into this new venture)
Affirmagy came into the world BEING what it believes; the world is a better place with more Abundance, Joy, Love and Inspiration in it. Affirmagy believes that we are that which we speak, we attract that which resonates with us vibrationally, and that we are the creators of our lives.
It's funny to say "Affirmagy believes" like its an entity. In many ways is it.... and in many ways its simply a philosophy, a way of being in the world.
In reality, those things that Affirmagy believes are what I believe. Although I've never said it like that before. From day one it was vital to me that Affirmagy not espouse a certain viewpoint or dogma. This company - this philosophy - isn't about faith or religion or theology. It's very very simple. It get more of what we want, focus on what we want. Get it in our space, our language, our thoughts. Peace, Wholeness, Gratitude. Whatever it is for you. Simply choose.
That was what wrapping ourselves and those we adore in Affirmawraps has been all about this past 1853 days. What a journey.
Thanks for being on the ride. Thanks for supporting, watching and cheering us on all this time. And thanks for knowing that our lives are exponentially better for everyday that Affirmawraps were sold.
Now, Affirmagy lives in a new way, a new expression. But it's still the same. It's all about focusing on what we want. And going for it.
Last night I realized how powerful the idea of "Fitting It In" has been in my life. It's how I started Affirmagy..... just fitting it into the cracks and spaces in my life.
I heard once that if you cut out 1 hour of TV a day, you'll gain 365 hours a year to do other things. 365 hours divided by 8 = 45 work days... that's 9 weeks of 8 hour days! Imagine what you could create in over 2 months of worth of work days. Amazing!
By fitting Affirmagy into my life, my life has never been the same. Just taking those first few steps in having the courage to dream.... to think through how we could even produce a blanket with words on it was shift in thinking. How do you DO that? What would they say? How would we let people know about them? How would we write them? Is this doable?
Having a good idea is a wonderful thing. Making the time to explore, nurture and give it shape is something altogether different.
I am not sure what exactly compelled me to follow my heart and create Affirmagy. All I know is that by choosing to fit it in, we've touched tens of thousands of people. And brought more love, Joy, Gratitude and Compassion into the world.
Not bad for a little idea on a napkin.'
What idea do you have that's waiting to come into your life? Is it time to start finding the time to fit it in?
About three months ago I was introduced to a gentleman who has a really big idea. I left our meeting thinking three things:
NOW, listen. This is critical. There are things you need to know before proceeding! Offering "help" can be tricky. Here are the rules:
Now after months of helping, sharing, and supporting his big idea is becoming a big part of my life. And right now, that's workable for me. I am having fun. And the trick is this.... To make it work, I am "fitting it in".
"Fitting it in" is a very cool concept when understood. Fitting it in gets you the time to write your book, an hour a day, until it's done without turning your life upside down or putting you in financial jeopardy. Fitting it in gives you the freedom to explore other projects while staying true to the things that make your life work - like your family and your job. And fitting it in gets you connected to others who like to life in a big, bold way.
So, my good guy and I are just fitting it in... 6am calls on Sat and Sun mornings. Conference calls at 8pm. We're both fitting it into our very full lives. And it's working. Doors are opening. Opportunities are unfolding.
What is in your life that is wanting to emerge? What dream, project or goal that once realized would make a huge difference in your life? Can you start fitting it in?
When we found out that our US manufacturer had closed their doors, I paused for a moment, and said "Ok, well, something really great must be in the works!" By choosing to be joyous about the situation I took what can seem like a disaster as an opportunity to transform and move into another direction. I made it cause for celebration.
Choosing to be upset, worried, freaked up and an emotional wreck is certainly a viable choice when something of this magnitude happens. But why? What would upset and worry have gotten us? Well, more upset and worry.
Our emotions are incredibly magnetic. They have the power to instantly create a set of circumstances that get you more of what you are feeling.
More upset attracts more upset. More joy attracts more joy.
I remember the day we found out we literally had no way to produce our product any longer. And we could have chosen to let this event have a destructive impact on our lives.
Instead, we chose to be in joy, and receive this news as a gift. We got into the mindset that this was the beginning of a whole new wonderful journey, and that in releasing what we thought would be the pathway for Affirmagy, we stepped into a whole new realm of possibility.
Nearly a year later, I am here to tell you the view on this path is remarkable.
To all the friends and family of Affirmagy, we are grateful for the letters and emails you've shared about how this little company impacted your life. Nothing inspires me more. Thank you.
As I transform from being "the blanket lady" I am inspired to share some of the wisdom from my journey simply because the thing that made it possible for Affirmagy to live in the first place is the fact that I am an entrepreneur. And I believe that one of the greatest gifts I am here to give is to inspire others to listen to their heart, and follow their dreams.
I think entrepreneurs are visionaries who like to create things. And boy did I love creating Affirmagy. Every piece of it was a joy. I am proud of what we accomplished and the lives that we've touched. What I will take with me are the lessons I've learned.
Here are a few:
I've never not been successful at something before. I always make it work. I am an entrepreneur through and through. And prior to Affirmagy, I started Design Duo Inc, a graphic design and marketing studio. I've always made DD work. Through our start up years in the 90s, through the dot com bust in the early 2000s, through Graves' Disease that seriously set my butt down for the better part of 2004.
I've co-owned a seasonal consulting company.
I've helped starts up take off, and watched as they've stumbled.
I've run non-profit boards.
I've bought and sold investment real estate. All on my own. Little old me.
I set me sights on something and I make it work.
I always make it work. Until Affirmagy. And then I experienced what it's like to not have something work. To spend all your money, chasing your dream. To follow your gut, your passion, your vision up and down and in and out.
To step into the great unknown. To leap without a net. To put your own financial health and that of your business partner on the line. To be scared to death and in action anyway. To listen to that deep still voice, and follow it. To have the courage to set it all down and celebrate the journey.
And I've learned the true power of choosing how to define success.
Affirmagy was an idea on a napkin in late 2004. I didn't see it coming. I didn't see it enveloping my life for the better part of three years.
I didn't see selling my house (in totally committing to Affirmagy, I gave myself 2 years to make it work... having a house and a yard would slow me down, I thought. So the house went and I downsized. Turns out I sold at the height of the market in April 2006. Talk about unseen blessings)
I didn't see at the end of three years together, my man - who was in my life from 2005 to 2008 - would tell me he thought I didn't have a viable business and he didn't think I would be successful.
I didn't see not taking a paycheck for 2+ years, and that my business partner would come to work day after day, month after month, because she believes in me.
I didn't see the tens of thousands of lives we touched. The letters. The stories. The days I would read emails from our customers and I'd cry and cry moved by the compassion and love human beings are capable of expressing.
I didn't see getting partnering with Chicken Soup for the Soul, and Susan G Komen. I didn't see creating fundraisers for kids to go to church camp, and raise money to go to take care of elephants in Thailand, and build schools in Malawi (my thanks to Linda Reppond for reminding me). I didn't see articles in national newsstand magazines, and being considered by a senior producer for the most popular daytime talk show ever. O my! I didn't see the hundreds of people I've met and letters I've received. And the countless who told us our blankets helped them say the things they couldn't when their loved ones were transitioning.
I didn't see getting on QVC and the financial heartbreak that it was. And the blessing it became.
I didn't see grieving my identity as the owner of Design Duo after 10 years... and having to reconcile that it wasn't a step backwards coming back and being that again. (To my shock and delight our past clients we THRILLED we were back in the design/marketing/branding game. I had no idea we left a hole when we stopped taking new work in 2006).
I didn't see gaining such deep levels of strength, resolve, resiliency and fearlessness that were either a part of me already, or that I gained during this journey.
And I didn't see that an idea on a napkin would shape the rest of my life by not fully taking flight. You can call Affirmagy a failure. I call it one of my greatest creations and greatest successes to date.
In the coming days I'll being sharing the lessons I've learned and the incredible gift this company has been in my life.
I was having lunch with a good friend earlier this week, and she made an amazingly good point "Kristen, people want to know what you are doing. Tell them."
As I pondered that idea while enjoying my chicken Phad Thai, I realized she was right. I've been super quiet about what I am doing these days... mostly because, well, I am DOING things (you know, heads down, rocking and rolling)... and partly because I don't know what to say. OK...
"I never got Affirmagy profitable. It never fully took flight."
There, I said it.
The past couple of months have been filled with amazing things.... incredible things.... sadness, celebration, success and good old "some how, some way, we gotta make this work". I've started two blogs that I've never made live.... one celebrating 40; and the other about Design Duo, the other me. The "me" before Affirmagy. The me again, in a whole new, powerful, passionate way.
As I am writing this, I've made a decision. This is my blog. At least for now. I still believe - perhaps even more passionately than EVER - in designing a life you love. So, for the time being, this is my blog. My voice. A place for all the shades of Kristen Marie.
Affirmagy never fully took flight. At least not how I thought it would.
And I can't wait to tell you why it's been one of the best successes of my life!
You ever get exactly what you need, dropped right into the ol' inbox? I do. And today it happened in a BIG way. I was at a networking event listening to the "in this economy" conversation and preparing to tear my hair out. Then, after taking a deep breathe and driving back to the office, I opened an email from Andy. Oh, Andy. You made my day!
Yes, Andy Leiken of First Sound Bank is the fabulous man who shared this site with me that I am about to share it with you. PLEASE take a moment to read the "Scary Times" Success Manual, and pass it on to your friends and colleagues. Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach has hit a home run. Nice work Dan!
Here are the first three.....
1. Forget about yourself, focus on others.
Uncertainty can drive people into themselves, making them feel isolated and helpless. The best strategy here is to go in the opposite direction, expanding your connection with others — focusing on helping them transform their negatives into positives. The more you contribute in this fashion, the less you will need to worry about your own situation. You will become a source of confidence for everyone else.
2. Forget about your commodity, focus on your relationships.
In uncertain times, people become frightened about the viability of their “commodities” — the things they sell and the jobs they hold. A more strategic response here is to disregard your own commodity and focus on deepening the power and possibility of all your relationships — with family, friends, team members, suppliers, clients, customers, and prospects. Every time you strengthen a relationship, the viability of your commodity will increase.
3. Forget about the sale, focus on creating value.
Most people don’t like being sold at the best of times. When the future is less certain, they turn off, hang up, and slam shut. But what people want at all times is value creation — that is, solutions that help them eliminate their dangers, capture their opportunities, and reinforce their strengths. When you focus on providing these three solutions, the sales will naturally follow.
Go check out the rest of the Success Manual here.
To your success,
Today was quite a day! Have you ever felt like you aren't being heard? Like you have so much to offer and the dots aren't getting connected? That was my day today. And then I remembered Calvin Coolidge said...
"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb."
Clearly the Universe is serving up more content for my speaking career - because someday I'll have to tell the story that unfolded today. Let me just say this; if you are really passionate about where you are headed, just keep knocking on doors. They will open. I think Calvin would agree.
To your success - K