I admit it. I’m Lazy.

Yeah, I said it.

Now, that's lazy. Source: mrwallpaper.com

Now, that’s lazy.
Source: mrwallpaper.com

I’m lazy.

It feels good to get that off my chest.

I’m a creative launch and development specialist for entrepreneurs who want to make a difference in the world. That means I’m up at 3 AM in the morning with flashes of genius for their next product, and I work late at night on projects that would frighten normal people.

Every year, I throw a huge party for an organization that supports children and families with almost no support just because I want to do something impactful.

I teach over 300 students under the age of 12 the principles of drama and film every week.

But when it comes to my own business development, I’M REALLY LAZY.

I used to think it was fear. Digging deep might reveal something I don’t want to tackle, I thought. But I love a good puzzle. Figuring myself out has been one of the best mysteries I’ve ever discovered.

It’s not what I will discover that alarms me. It’s what I’ll have to do with it.

Once you discover your hidden potential, you have to do something with it. I was telling my adult students the other day that the scripture says, “If you have faith as big as a mustard seed, you can say to the mountain, Move, and it will move.” Your faith isn’t just something to have. It’s something to use.

And like any muscle, to be effective, it must be exercised regularly. It requires strength and discipline.

Eww.

We are not kept back by outer circumstances, but by the lack of discipline required to change those circumstances. -@NerissaStreet (Like this? Click to tweet.)

I know, right? Ick.

I’m lazy. I admit it. The first step to getting help is admitting there’s a problem. My problem is my definition of discipline.

Discipline isn’t what they’ve told you it is. It isn’t the punishment inflicted by way of correction and training. It doesn’t have to be difficult and unpleasant.

Tweet: Discipline = Devotion Intended to Support Consistency and Inner Peace, Leaving the Ideal Nurturing Environment. – @NerissaStreet

It’s devotion to the best parts of me. Not building systems that support me prevents me from fully serving the entrepreneurs and organizations I love.

So, this summer, I’ll be researching and experimenting with support systems: technology, partners and apps that will give me the creative strength to develop more workshops, create more resources, and introduce you to more ways to #beyourownanswer.

I want to produce and curate video, connect with more people on a larger scale and provide classes and consultation to shift their paradigms powerfully.

If you think you can help, comment below, or share this blog with someone.

More importantly, become devoted to yourself too.

The Leadership Killer

I write on leadership because it’s my assertion that anyone can learn the skills to become a leader for a good cause. Not everyone is built for the task.

tombstone

Here lies leadership. Source: Columbia.edu

I design events and experiences for all kinds of audiences. I’ve spoken in front of and facilitated experiences for professionals, youth, government officials, private clients and the general public.

I have a sixth sense for group energy. I also have two certifications in adult and youth curriculum design and a degree in dramatic arts. So I can always sense the moment a speaker is losing the crowd, or leading them to a higher place.

Here is the thing killing your potential for leadership.

You’re not listening.

Really. I bet you think you’re listening.

You probably have a great cause. There’s something tremendously important that has to get done. You have a great vision and people have bought into it.

Now, some of those people are giving you feedback.

1) They have questions.

2) They disagree with you.

3) They may have been distracted and didn’t hear what you said.

All of that is feedback. If you push ahead and don’t address every one of those concerns, your leadership begins a slow death.

Or spirals down out of the sky like a kamikaze-driven plane.

People need to trust you. They need to know you’re paying attention to them. Even the dissenters. If you don’t address everyone, you’ll lose them ALL in some way or another.

How do you handle those three types of people giving you feedback?

I’ll discuss that in this post. For now, ask some questions. Tell me about the leaders you admire, and even the ones who you believe shouldn’t be leading. If you’re thinking of stepping into a new position, what’s your concern? Leave a comment, or share your insights.

 

5 tips to get your cause into print media (and why you’d want to)

They say getting into the media in a positive way is difficult. “If it bleeds, it leads.” Without a PR agent, I’ve been able to get at least one major feature for my events in print media every year consistently since 2005. (I took a break last year to produce a Broadway show for a local elementary school.)

Print media is still a very important media outlet, because more established sponsors and partners recognize it as unbiased media. Also, older patrons who are committed donors still look to newspapers for local news. Since advertising revenue determines paper space, a newspaper feature is a hot commodity. At the end of the day, no matter what other priorities exist for a newspaper, the newspaper is a storytelling outlet.

Knowing this, I always create “reporter bait”, which are press releases that fit what a newspaper needs. If I create the press release and it’s distributed as I recommend, the event will get press.

If you’ve got a worthy cause, you may not yet have the resources to pay someone like me. And as urgent as your work is to our community, the newspaper doesn’t need your story…unless you tell a story they need to write.

Here are some tips to get your very worthy cause some well-deserved press.

1. Know your newspaper.

It’s your local paper. Do you read it? Who is your favorite reporter? If you don’t know who is writing the stories, you won’t know who would be interested in your cause and your event. I was a featured story on WLRN’s ArtStreet because the producer and I communicated about their work. I mentioned the work I was doing with arts advocacy and it fit one of her upcoming shows. She worked with the newspaper– but also had a connection with a TV outlet.

Get to know the paper and its staff—and definitely honor their time tables.

2. Your press release should be a story, not just facts and names.

Yes, you know  the fundraiser will help needy kids. The community will look better because of that beautiful mural. But a title, event description and a location isn’t enough to warrant space in print. You can find that out on Google.  Tell them why did you get involved. I should know that you’re fundraising for the homeless shelter because of the little girl who walked into her own bedroom for the first time. Reporters and editors are storytellers too, and the best stories are the ones that remind us about the hope in the community.

You’re it—so tell the story we can’t wait to hear. This event and our cause struck home with the reporter, who had a personal affinity to the organization we were supporting.

Teach-a-Thon - My first foray into a public school classroom

Teach-a-Thon – My first foray into a public school classroom

3. Have high-quality photos.

Deadlines for news media are fast. They have to research the story quickly, and many times, run with the story within a day or two. Pictures are 90% more likely to catch a viewer’s attention than text alone. They can’t always come out to take pictures. Make their job easier. Provide pictures with at least 300 DPI—and forward it to your media contact in a separate email from the press release. The reporter thanked me for having photos ready for him for this spread.

Re:Vision (Art and Collaboration for the World)

Re:Vision (Art and Collaboration for the World)

4. Connect your event to a current event or a current issue.

What’s important in your community? Who are the major players or the major influences in your part of the world? Prior to the event featured in this article, there had been a lot of press about employment, career transition, and the need for companies in South Florida to retain their best talent.  My perspective was that our best talent needed to take ownership of their careers, and build their own creative businesses.

The Artist in Business - the first of a rising tide of new entrepreneurs

The Artist in Business – the first of a rising tide of new entrepreneurs

What a refreshing angle to take on a hot topic. What new angle does your cause bring to light? Make sure it’s in your media.

5. To keep the media coming back, have a quality event.

So, yeah, you can tell a great story and get press.  Eventually, the media will come out to see what you’ve got. I had spoken to the reporter for a few weeks prior to the event featured here, and she wouldn’t say whether or not they would cover the story. She came, introduced herself at the event, and she wasn’t disappointed. When I saw the spread, I celebrated with my collaborators.

Sharing the Word - Poetry in Spirit

Sharing the Word – Poetry in Spirit

Have a quality event that really serves the greater good. If you don’t deliver on what you promised in your press release, just burn your media contact list. In fact, don’t mention I gave you any advice either.

Try any one of these tips, and get yourself in the news. Feel free to let me know how it goes!

P.S. I hope I don’t need to say this. For the love of Pete, spell-check and grammar-verify your press release. Thanks!