Lisa Sonora talks to think about creativity and play

Lisa Sonora author The Creative EntrepreneurLisa Sonora :: Author of The Creative Entrepreneur

I have learned to pay attention to signs, synchronicity.

Gorgeous Genius Retreat 2018 in Mexico (l-r Lisa Sonora, Joy Agcongay, Emily Cline, me, Suzy Foy)



I had an inspiration to reach out to Lisa Sonora a couple days ago.  Lisa is someone who’s been an inspiration to me since 2009…  We’ve kept in sporadic touch and I’ve watched her growth and journey…  Yesterday she responded, we set a time to talk.  This morning this photo popped up in facebook.  Then Lisa called!

OK! I hear you, Universe!!

Lisa and I had an amazing conversation – she, from her cottage in Mexico (warm and sunny) me from  Minnesota (freezing  with wind chill warnings but cozy in my loft).

We’re both on a mission to serve women who have gifts to share and are ready to DO IT!

Lisa Sonora’s Oxaca Mexico Retreat

Lisa Sonora, one of the coolest people I know,  is an American artist and creative entrepreneur living in Mexico, her dream is to live in a world where following your heart’s desire is considered practical, and making a living from your gifts is a no-brainer.

So, do it! Salons Photo by Jen Frieden

Loving Where You Live

I Love Where I Live.

And it’s so great to be noticed for making a difference… I love where I live – From the City of Saint Paul MN to the West 7th/Fort Road neighborhood of to the artist community of the Schmidt Artists Lofts… So I was really please when Jerry Rothstein wanted to write something about what we’re doing in the So, do it! Salons and Society this month…

And you can come join us for an open house at the Schmidt Artist Lofts on January 19th to find out more… In fact, one of the women we’re  shining a spotlight on at the Women Who Make sh!t Happen – So, Do it! Society Showcase that night, Joan Mathison, is all about LOVING WHERE YOU LIVE...   click here to find out more… see you on the 19th! 

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West End Artist Profile: Kelly Pratt — So, do it!

by Jerry Rothstein

Kelly Pratt describes herself as a “serial entrepreneur” She has launched many enterprises, with a common So, do it! Salons Photo by Jen Friedenelement of somehow supporting creative effort. But the path was not always clear. Kelly started dance in fourth grade and continued to learn and perform for four years. Somehow, her dancing was set aside, until in one of her college courses she was asked to look at her life through the lens of psychological ideas.

At that point, she realized that she had stopped dancing — remembered the loss — regretted it. When she shared this with her professor, he said, simply, “So, do it!” She immediately joined a dance class, changed her major from business to dance, and a dancer in a dance company.

Over the next years, she had many jobs, all involving her creativity and supporting that of others. She was a theater director, a creative designer for a construction company, and director of production at the Minnesota Film and TV Board, and many more.

With more recent involvement in on-line publishing, Kelly realized that she had missed being part of a team. While studying to become a Life Coach, she began to think about how to create teams and groups that would combine individual work toward personal goals with the values of being part of a working community.

Thus was born her concept of the Salon. Salons in 17th and 18th century France and Italy were the first places that women could join or lead (as the “salonnière) in the discussion of ideas. Kelly’s Salon would bring women together for a common purpose, captured partly by the motto, “Creative Women Crave Connection.”

The first Salon was launched in February 2017, gathering with an inspiring salonnière for conversation and connection and allowing the time needed to fulfill these goals.

Kelly hoped for groups that would span a range of ages and interests, and her first three Salons now have done so. With a meeting every two weeks, she also wondered whether there was any way to stay connected electronically in the interims. Not expecting that the common social media sites would meet her criteria, she looked further and discovered the Mighty Network, an emerging and powerful tool or high-quality connection among people with shared interests (mightynetworks.com). The Might Networks offers online “membership communities” with tools for creating live meetings, and online communication. Kelly feels this is a service that allows her to use the internet in the spirit of its original idea — supporting real connection.

So, with the Salons and the connecting network, Kelly as Salonnière has created safe spaces for members to explore their key purpose — what they have been yearning to accomplish. The face-to-face meetings are primary, opening with each participant bringing the group up to date on their process and progress since the last meeting. Each meeting will also have a topic proposed by Kelly to focus discussion. A creative rhythm emerges as each member offers her perspective, and the topic is explored more and more deeply.

The meetings also often serve as “accountability” groups, where personal goals can be assessed, and support for individual progress is happily offered.

 for information on Salons and related events 


Summer Salons

It’s the end of July and you suddenly think…

“…OMG! Summer is almost over and I really wanted to _______ this summer!”

A summer salon is the answer. Just enough time to pay attention to something important.  You’ll get to the end of your summer having accomplished what you wanted to get done.

And you have enough time left to play and to get ready for fall.

You set aside 2 hours every week.  Your Salon meets every other Thursday. The in-between weeks are yours to use in a way that best suits you and you “it” –  work in community (co-working) or however you want to.

Your Choices:

Morning Salon 7:30 – 9:30 am

Noon Salon 11:30 – 1:30 pm

(Focus Time 1:30 – 3:30 pm)

Focus Time: Stay after your Salon for additional FOCUS TIME.

Plus the Thursday in between is set aside as an additional focused work day – either virtual, through the online Society,  or in-person.

This Trimester’s Salon dates are:

  • May 10
  • May 24
  • Jun 21
  • Jun 7
  • Jul 5
  • Jul 19
  • Aug 2 – Beyond the Salon Celebration with the other Salon Members (time tbd)

Click here for more details.

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Before “it” – Start With Why.

Simon Sinek’s TED Talk

Your “it” – That’s the question.  A perfect place to begin is to start with WHY!

A couple of things to start with:

  1. Read the blog post below: about Thinking Differently and about my “why.”
    • The concept of the Golden Circle and starting and acting from the “inside out” has changed how I move through the world.  And how we’ll be conducting our salons!
  2. Next, watch Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk at the bottom of this page.  And, if that inspires you
  3. Pick up START WITH WHY  by Simon Sinek.  Lots of food for thought — about business and life in general.

Simon Sinek discusses the principal behind every successful person and business. A simple but powerful model for how leaders inspire action, starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?”


What’s Your Creative Rhythm? or Your M.O.?

When I talk about “creative Rhythm” I’m talking about the way you do your best work. How you honor your own natural instincts, your own rhythm, your Modus Operandi.

Your M.O. is your Modus Operandi.

Modus Operandi is a Latin phrase, approximately translated as method or mode of operation. Habits of working, particularly in the context of business, but also more generally.

Are you honoring your Creative Rhythms? Your MOs?

At my First Grade conference my mom was told

“We love Kelly. She’s always happy and involved in a lot of things. We always know where to find her because of the mess surrounding her.”

Guess what. Nothing has changed. My MO was an “active girl.” Now I’m an “active woman.”  Not in the sense of being caught in the “cult of busy” but in that “I have so many fun things going on I don’t know what to do next!”

But knowing what my M.O. is doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. Society doesn’t always see my style as positive.

I might be seen as

…impulsive, flighty, can’t seem to settle on one thing. She has too many projects going at once and doesn’t have a steady job history. She tends to procrastinate and wait ’til the last minute.

OR as:

…spontaneous, interested in what’s going on around her. She’s creative, an idea factory, and always has lots of irons in the fire. As a result her career and experience is rich and varied.

She doesn’t dive in immediately, but works in her head, in her journal, in her sleep, and in the shower, and then, when time is of the essence, SHE GETS IT DONE! Edits the work, and voilà! Job well done.

I’ve struggled with this issue. Bosses can’t see that you’re “working in your head.” I’ve had conflicts with a business partner because she didn’t understand my “work style.” And don’t get me started on cleaning house!

Then in 2008 during Martha Beck Coach Training I was introduced to the Kolbe Action Modes. And it allowed me to, for the first time, know how to DO MY BEST WORK!

“The Kolbe A™* Index/Instinct Test is a graphical representation of an individual’s instinctive method of operation, or modus operandi (M.O.). The numbers in each Action Mode represent different points on a continuum, rather than relative values. Each point on the continuum indicates a positive trait. There is no such thing as a negative or “bad” Kolbe Index result.”

Four Action Modes®*

  • Fact Finder – the instinctive way we gather and share information.
  • Follow Thru – the instinctive way we arrange and design.
  • Quick Start – the instinctive way we deal with risk and uncertainty.
  • Implementor – the instinctive way we handle space and tangibles.

Turns out I’m a 5-4-8-3: 5 (Fact Finder), 4 (Follow Thru), 8 (Quick Start), 3 (Implementer)

Here’s some of the advice it gave me in the report:

  • Communicating requires conative action

  • Ad lib. Improvise. Do presentations with only bottomline notes. Over preparing takes you out of your stride. Say it rather than write it.
  • Don’t get caught up in the mechanics of a presentation. You are able to read audiences well, but following a script or getting locked into an audio-visual format limits your ability to go with the flow.
  • Communicate your goals to others so that they may buy in; they need to know where you are heading.
  • Recognize that others need to put your brainstorms into context: those with more Fact Finder need details and those with Follow Thru intensity need to put your brainstorms into context.
  • Your forte isn’t in doing Implementor demonstrations, though you may enjoy using props to show a craftsperson what you want.
  • Humor goes a long way in bridging conative gaps. Communicate the commitment you are willing to make and the talent you offer without placing a value judgment on either yours or others’ forms of contribution.

It told me that I do my best work – that my MO – was to let ideas simmer, to percolate, and to do them when the time is right. (Notice I didn’t say “at the last minute”) Now I enjoy the extreme focus I get when I’m in “flow” on a project, not the built up stress of “shoulds” I used to put on myself…

This is what I mean when I talk about your CREATIVE RYTHM. What’s yours? What is your MO??

* Click this link to find out more about the Kolbe A™ Index and explore all the other “Science of Human Actions, Reactions & Interactions” at Kolbe.

Note for our So, do it! Salon members:  This is our topic this week.

Those of you who have the PLUS, or PLUS PLUS Salon Packages should have already gotten your Kolbe A Index. If you haven’t let me or Melanie know in a direct message here or by emailing hello@sodoitsalons.com

The rest of you are always welcome to to upgrade to either the PLUS or PLUS PLUS packages at any time. They both include the Kolbe A assessment and one-on-one time to work on your project.

Again, contact Melanie at hello@sodoitsalons.com and she’ll make it happen!


Creative Rhythm Planning

Design your live with intentional “Creative Rhythm Planning” Practices

There are two things we know for sure:

1. Energy flows where your attention goes.
2. If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real. (thank you Marie Forleo!)

By using the concept of “planning with intention” we are making a conscious decision where our attention goes. By doing this, we’ll will reach our goals and have more time for our creative pursuits. Here are a few ideas. Identify what will work for you.

Commit to “Creative Rhythm”  intentional planning sessions


Pick a consistent day/time to look at the week ahead.

  • Sunday evenings work well… or Monday mornings. How about end of the day on Friday? The important thing is to make it a habit by finding a time that works for you.
  • Put it in your calendar.

Plan tomorrow at the end of today.

  • Increase your success by ending each day with a short time to look – with intention – ahead to the next day.
  • Schedule it. Again, write it on your calendar

“The Intentional Planning workshop was great.  I wished we would’ve had more time or that there would be a part 2!  I really like Kelly’s approach to planning.  I’m enjoying the planner. And I’m excited about journaling.  I call it my “5 Minute Journal.”  I set a timer for 5 minutes (at least 1x day) and just write.  When the timer stops, I stop.  ”
– Shelley Gilbertson

Long term.

In addition to short-term planning, long-term planning is key to staying on track.

Start with an Annual plan, a Manifesto or a Vision Board.

Identify you areas of focus for your year. I used to do 10 – but I’ve narrowed my focus to 6!. The 3 areas you want to focus on in your PERSONAL life and the 3 focus areas in your WORK life.

“If I can’t picture it, I can’t understand it.”  — Einstein

Write your areas of focus somewhere prominent – like in the beginning of your paper planner – and then “picture it” – create a visual representation of your focus areas. Again, do this right in your planner so you can review it every day.

These appointments are as important as any other.Put all of your INTENTIONAL PLANNING sessions in your calendar as appointments with yourself.



Each week, start by re-visiting your personal manifesto – written and visual. Are you limiting yourself to your chosen 6 areas? Peter Bregman, Author of 18 Minutes, says to make sure that 95% of your time is on what I’m calling your “manifesto.” Let the remaining 5% be for the stuff that comes up in life.

By keeping your own personal manifesto in the front of your mind, you will more easily stay track.

Get your own Creative Rhythm undated Planner download a sample and try it for yourself! CreativeRhythmPlanner Pages