Setting Yourself Up for Success and Leveraging Failure

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

Hand painted shoes before and after

A perhaps failed attempt to paint a new pair of shoes, made me consider how we can have better experiences when launching a product/project/service. I bought these shoes in Brazil. They didn’t have the color I wanted, and I thought it was a good idea to buy the white one and make it into a painting project. First, I imagined drawing a bunch of flowers on each of them. Then, I started thinking that it would be too difficult and got a new idea to paint the sun on one shoe and the moon on the other. I went to the arts and crafts store and bought fabric ink as per an artist friend’s advice. They only had one option, a box with blue, red, yellow and black colors, and I bought it. On my way home I realized that I needed white to draw the moon. Instead of having to wait until I found another store that had it, or ordering it online and having to wait for shipment, I decided to change the original plan a bit. I kept the idea to paint the sun on one shoe, and decided to draw a flower on the other. (more…)

Commitment to Achieve a Goal or Master a Skill

Friday, August 7th, 2015

IMG_7004Last year I had the opportunity to teach one of my nephews how to tie his shoes. He understood the mechanics of it quickly, but got frustrated when he couldn’t get it done right away. I told him there was no need to get frustrated, he needed to try it 100 times to become good at it, and if he still didn’t get it, fine, he could feel the frustration then. He looked at me in disbelief and asked “one hundred times?”, and I said yes. When I saw him again the next day, he was already a pro. I don’t know if he kept practicing it, 100 times could have been an exaggeration on my part.

Since then, I’ve been thinking about the things I gave up trying, sure I would never get it. A simple example is making rice. In my lifetime, I think I’ve tried to cook rice about five times, and failed miserably every time. Since the experience with my nephew, I told myself that I couldn’t give up on making rice forever, though my latest attempt also failed.

The same can be applied to business skills, to marketing, and to mastering any craft, or anything that you want to accomplish. You may have have heard about the 10,000 hours rule of dedication to become the master in one’s craft, which was mentioned in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers. Are you willing to invest your time, dedication, commitment, into whatever it is you wish you already knew, you wish you could do with ease and grace?

How about committing yourself to a 100-day challenge, of practicing your craft, your marketing muscles, your networking strategies, your meditation efforts, your passion, your joy? What is it that you desire the most? What in you needs the daily dedication? Feel free to share in the comments below, and I invite you to commit yourself to taking one action, one lesson, one step a day to achieving it, starting on August 20th. That’s when I start my own.

How We Value Each Other in the Social Media Era

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

ValueIn the past few months I have been thinking a lot about value: self-value, and how we value others.

It started when someone was very happy to find me in one of the Facebook groups I’m a part of. She was looking for speakers in a topic I’m an expert in, and I immediately volunteered to speak. At first she was very grateful to have me at her event. Then, she asked about my “Klout” score (if you are not familiar with it, it is a type of social media ranking), and mine is not great, but it’s not that bad either. I checked and the average score is 40, and mine was 55 the last time I checked. Unfortunately or maybe very fortunately, that was not enough for her, she never even responded to my email after I sent her the score.

A few weeks later, someone else contacted me to be a guest on her tele-summit, which would cover a specific topic on self-love. I also said yes, until she asked how many subscribers I had on my email list. It wasn’t the number they were looking for, so no deal. Although I understand the need to bring more subscribers to everyone’s lists, I would rather build a summit on the quality of the speakers than on the size of their lists. I have found that at times having a huge list may or may not represent the actual quality and value of one’s work. (more…)

Following One’s True Calling – inspired by artist Lygia Clark

Monday, August 18th, 2014

“I think my walking is wonderful, because now I do not know what came before, whether it’s art in the form of propositions or life that suddenly collapses within me by bringing this state of sensibility!” Lygia Clark, 22.1.1970

My sister and I went to the artist LyLygia Clarkgia Clark’s exhibition at MoMA, and it was very inspiring. Lygia Clark (1920-1988) was born in my hometown, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and lived in Rio de Janeiro and Paris. The exhibition will be shown through August 24th, and I recommend it.

It was very interesting to learn more about her journey as an artist, her creative process, and how she moved from working on wood, to rubber, and how she then moved into creating art to explore the body. She didn’t stop at one art modality that she was known for and great at; she kept studying, learning, and evolving. Over the years, Lygia Clark’s interest in making interactive pieces grew, and she also explored ways in which her art could be therapeutic. She developed a type of psychoanalytic therapy, helping clients connect to their bodies through her art objects. (more…)

Visualize Blue Skies for Your Business and Life

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014


A friend of mine called me out of the blue and invited me to spend the following weekend with her, and her dog, at her beach house in Rhode Island. I had been hoping for an opportunity to get out of the city, and it was easy to say yes. The day before my trip, I checked and learned that it was going to rain on Friday, Saturday and possibly Sunday. It didn’t bother me, as I was happy to spend the weekend with my friend. I also went prepared – I took work with me, a story to edit, a book to read, classes to prepare, and I packed an umbrella just in case. On my way there, I asked the universe for sunny weather, I visualized the clouds moving away, and I let it go by setting an intention to have a good time, regardless of the weather. (more…)

What is self-love and why does it matter?

Friday, February 14th, 2014

affirmationI’m often asked that question, and during a call Catherine Storing, Chief Style Coach hosted about The Love conversation, she asked me what I considered self-love.

I think that each of us have our own versions of what self-love is, and feel free to post yours on the comments below. In my experience and opinion, it includes honoring and valuing who we truly are, respecting ourselves and therefore claiming respect from others, accepting who we are, expressing our needs, understanding and knowing our value, being brave and willing to show up authentically, setting boundaries, appreciating all parts of ourselves, allowing ourselves to be creative and vulnerable, letting go of perfectionism, and the list can go on. It is a mouthful, and it can probably be summed up into loving ourselves unconditionally and fully. (more…)

Beyond Stuck

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

stuck1The reason I’m calling this article and the webinar I’m hosting on February 6th Beyond Stuck is because I was so stuck last month, that I was feeling beyond stuck! We will be addressing how to identify why you might be stuck, how to identify the distractions you use to keep yourself stuck, and how to move forward.

Here are some examples of how you can justify the stuckness:

  • Buzyness – You keep yourself busy all the time, so that you either have no chance to pursue something really important, or you do not have the mental clarity to do it.
  • Lack of Money – There is no extra money left to take any steps other than being in survival mode.
  • No Time – There is always something to be taken care of before the dream can become a priority.

Here are some of the reasons why you could be stuck: (more…)

Vicious Cycle – Showing Up, Hiding, Showing Up, Hiding

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

vicious cycleLet me know if you can relate. You put yourself out there, you promote your products/services, you write articles, you are a guest blogger, and you post your ideas on social media. Your close friends are excited for you and post comments, participate in the conversation. However, all the effort and attempts to build an audience, does not translate into business, at least not right away. You start to question your own abilities and your worth. Now that your confidence and even self-worth is hurt, you decide not to put yourself out there anymore. What’s the point?

So you hide. Then, when nobody is responding to the few posts you write here and there (your friends feel like they supported you enough, or they don’t even see your posts), you feel reaffirmed. All your suspicions that nobody cared, nobody was interested in what you had to say, nobody really showed you that you mattered, are true. Of course, how often are you posting now? How in touch with the world are you? How often are you commenting on other people’s blogs? How often are you participating, engaging, sharing, giving, acknowledging others? (more…)

Elisa’s Social Media Best Practice Tips:

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

rules1I’m constantly asked about best practices on Twitter and Facebook, and here are some of the questions I have heard: What are the rules? How to get more followers? How to get more likes? Why isn’t anybody engaging with me? How come people don’t see my posts?

There are great articles on the web about social media best practices, and for example has great tips.

Since I have my own unwritten rules, I’ve decided to write them down. I know, from now on I can’t call them unwritten anymore.

Please note that every time I say friends, it could be a business contact, a Twitter follower, or a Facebook “friend”.

  1. Have a Higher Purpose: Don’t write content or share information for likes. Write it and share it because it means something to you and it will mean something to your friends. (more…)

Taking Inventory of Your Career Changes by Elisa Balabram

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013


I’ve changed careers many times and it is possible that I’m not done. I invite you to take an inventory of your career transitions, from childhood dreams to adolescence creative ideas to today. Here is a brief sample of my journey; it was fun to write about it. It turns out that each transformation could build from the previous career: (more…)