BEE-ing Attraction

What Does Love Have to Do With It?


BEE-ing Attraction:
What Love Has to Do With Business and Marketing

When my coaches, Jan Stringer and Alan Hickman of Perfect Customers, invited me to write a review of their book, BEE-ing Attraction: What Love Has to Do with Business and Marketing, I was thrilled to do it. I’m a professional, published reviewer after all. (My reviews regularly appear in ForeWord Magazine’s review section, a trade journal serving book publishing and libraries.)


It’s been a few months since that initial request. So what happened? In the interim, I recognized that I had gotten far closer to this book (and its authors) than I do in my professional capacity as reviewer. I had been using the essential (and brilliant) 4-part “BEE-ing Attraction” Plan process for so long that the “usual model” for reviewing simply would not be adequate. (I have also gone through their program and have been certified to offer this planning process.)


Let me tell you a story.


It’s been nearly a decade since I first came across the 4-part Attraction Planning Process pioneered by Jan Stringer. It was no coincidence. I connected with her first book, Attracting Perfect Customers: The Power of Strategic Synchronicity with lovely synchronicity through her first publisher, Berrett-Koehler, a client of mine. She had co-authored (as Jan Brogniez) and developed this 4-part process that brought the seeming magic of attraction to a business audience, and it was launched out of Houston. Texas.


This 4-part Strategic Attraction Process, along with the fundamental idea that the very best marketing grew out of building great relationships, became part of the air I breathed.


As the years unfolded, I came into Jan’s orbit, signed up for classes and learned more about this 4-part planning process through my own practice of it and with regular reminder classes that the “Biz Goddess,” Jan, offered with her sweetheart, then husband, Alan Hickman, a brilliant cheerleader of a coach in his own right.


In 2009, Jan and Alan published a new, deepened message, BEE-ing Attraction: What Love Has to Do with Business and Marketing. Its cover includes the tagline, “A Guidebook for Developing a Heart-Centered Business and Life.” It’s a process that works (like magic) for all manner of relationships.


With their new book and my deepening understanding in applying the 4-part plan, now sometimes called a “BEE-ing Attraction Plan,” the planning process that had been a traveling companion became an intimate friend.


Illuminating the expansion of the concepts, the authors build from the idea that marketing is all about relationships (in the first book)  to its new iteration, “Building relationships which are heart-centered and feel good to you.”


The varied stories in this book, shared through the voices of clients, create a level of specificity, spaciousness, and hope for all manner of sizes, shapes, and intents of plans — whether around growing a business, renting a dream house, or connecting with a soul mate.


What Makes YOU Tick?

At the heart of their process, and Part 2 of the 4-part plan, is a deep-inner-connection process called, “What Makes You Tick?” The “tick” as it’s called for short, is the ultimate foundation on which your relationships stand. What makes you “tick” is like water to a fish — you may not recognize or realize that’s what it is. It’s what you bring to every encounter in your life, whether you know it or not. Its power grows from the idea that “like attracts like,” so what makes you tick is also what makes your most perfect client tick.


Say the authors, “The Bee-ing Attraction Planning Process is about shifting paradigms. You must first become what you want to attract.” This whole new paradigm is unfolding under the nose of the crumbling infrastructure of the old way of business as usual. In this all-new business model, collaboration and cooperation take the lead over competition. It’s about bringing your heart to work and knowing that what Tim Sanders said is really true: Love really is the killer Ap. It’s about Being, Presence, Attraction, and Manifestation in their highest and best incarnations.


For me, one of the most memorable take-aways, among many, “The qualities that impressed me in others were in reality resonating within me,” reports one client. This is a ray of hope for me and so many people like me who have second guessed ourselves for ages!


For recovering perfectionists, you may wonder why your results don’t look like the ones in the book. Yes, I did too. “What am I doing wrong?” you may, like me, be asking. When you are sitting on the aisle of a 737 jet at 35,000 feet, you don’t realize you’re moving at several hundred miles per hour.  So too, in delving deeply into playing with this Strategic Attraction Plan, it helps to surround yourself with what Julia Cameron calls “believing mirrors.” Only then will you realize the progress you are making. Far from sitting still, you may suddenly discover you are getting off the plane in another country, far from where you started.


That is the power of putting the 4-part Strategic Attraction plan to work for you. Simple. But not easy. The plan calls on its users to go deep and bring forth the answers to the questions with radical honesty. And in so doing, miracles and magic do happen.


With its success stories and practical guidance, plus detailed explanations of putting the plan to work, templates, samples, and inspiration for creating your own 4-part plan, this is a visionary and refreshing (woo-woo-free) approach to creating a heart-centered business that really fits.


For those ready to step into, as client Doug Upchurch shares, “a different passion…[operating] from a different sense of ownership and power…” Bee-ing Attraction: What Love Has to Do with Business and Marketing is the perfect accompaniment.


Disclosure: Over the past year, I have gone deeply into this process, both through the Strategic Attraction certification training (so I’m certified to offer you this 4-part planning process) and during extensive coaching with Jan and Alan to build my sales muscles and refocus on what exactly IS my heart-centered business. If you would like to taste this 4-part planning process with me, send me an email at bjmiddendorf (at)gmail(dot)com, and we can open the discussion.

Daybook for a Conscious Creator

As creators, especially conscious creators, it’s important to get out and feed the imagination regularly.  Julia Cameron calls this taking yourself out on an Artist Date.  So tonight, I took myself out and reconnected with my past — those years ago when I was an Interdisciplinary Arts student at Columbia College.

Tonight was the opening of the Retrospective exhibit of paper and book artist, Marilyn Sward at the Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts.  I went down to 11th Street @ Wabash in Chicago to see the opening and reconnect with some old friends, including the brilliant and ever-delightful artist/educator/curator Suzanne Cohan-Lange. Bestselling author Audrey Niffenegger was there, also a former colleague of Marilyn’s.

The late Marilyn Sward was one of my teachers when I was getting my grad degree at Columbia. She was utterly passionate about hand-made paper and the book arts.  Jeff Abell, another of my Columbia teachers, is putting together the catalog, coming out later this summer.

From her early sketchbooks to her late aerial photographs, with paper installations, hand-made books, and everything in between, Marilyn was profoundly engaged as both artist and teacher. It is good to be reminded that creations come in many shapes and sizes, and that artists contribute in many ways.

As I stood on the Roosevelt Road elevated platform in the early evening sunset, to the West, the towers of St. Ignatius reared up, at least a mile away. Closer by, the glass high rises along South Michigan Ave. glittered in the waning sunlight. Away to the East, across Lake Shore Drive, I was looking right in the front door of the Shedd Aquarium. Chicago stood awash in its most gorgeous light.

In a different vein, as I write this, the firecrackers are still popping all around me and horns still blare periodically, as Chicago celebrates the Stanley Cup win for Chicago’s own Blackhawks.

Jeanne Kolenda wrote this evening about the seeming inability of people to notice beauty even when it’s right there in the subway, playing a Stradivarius. So this is a sort of time-out post to acknowledge, appreciate, and be conscious of the complex fabric  of life fully lived all around me — at least today.

There will be time enough for more bridge-building tomorrow.

Focus on what is mine to do

“Focus on what is mine to do.”Tomar Levine

Your Time to Bloom: Tomar Levine has a gracious online home at this link. Her voice is gentle and her toolbox is extensive. It’s especially yummy for those with creative yearnings who feel they haven’t lived into their fullness — yet.

Tomar and I have been in online classes together here and there over the years. We share a passion for learning and maybe a bit of reticence in “putting ourselves out there.”

In an email note that followed up a recent phone conversation the other day, she said this. “Focus on what is mine to do.” How timely. That’s exactly where I am too.  Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity talks about “just showing up on the page.” That, I realize, is part of what is mine to do.  (Hence how good for me is this blog challenge!)

I’ve latched onto Tomar’s simple phrase that is so rich in reverberations. It sounds more grounded and less grandiose than “Owning Your Greatness.” But it tills much the same ground.

Both frame a way of Being that taps into life purpose, into the reason why we are here. They speak to the ongoing process of giving our gifts, of manifesting and embodying the service we are here to do with the people we are meant to help, the contribution that our creation is meant to make.

Whether you approach it in a matter-of-fact way (“Focus on what is mine to do.”) or in an expansive and out-there “Owning Your Greatness” sort of way, the bottom line is to  generate from the root of our Being the tasks of Doing in the world. Being comes first, the foundation. Then the doing, the action.

By doing the doing, by taking the action, even imperfect action, we create shifts. We make things happen. It’s time to pull back the curtain of reticence. The proponents who advise listening to the still small voice speak perhaps more softly than some others. That doesn’t mean the message is any less important than the ones who “shout.”

In fact, you might consider that the opposite is true. I acknowledge Tomar for the inspiration that started this post.  And thanks also for this 30 Day Blog Challenge. It  is helping me show up, take action, be on the page, as I  build the bridge for myself and my tribe.

7 Steps to Own Your Gifts and Greatness– Blog Challenge Post 16

7 Steps to Owning Your Greatness and Gifts and the Contribution You Came Here to Make!

What is it about touching on that sweet pulsing center of who we really are, what we came here to do, and stepping up into our magnificence that turns us into shy and retiring wallflowers? Why do we back pedal — fast — away from our heart’s desire and what we say or think or feel we most want? Why do we retreat double time when a little sliver of a spotlight heads in our direction?  “No, I couldn’t possibly put even a little finger into that limelight,” we resolutely claim.

Some say it’s fear of failure. We are reticent about taking our deepest and most precious dreams and passions and art and creations out there into a tough, cold, cruel, and harsh world. We don’t want our hearts broken — yet again — when our creations and messages don’t find a place in the marketplace of ideas and messages screaming for attention.

Others say it’s fear of success. We fear shining the very light that we came here to shine. We fear our brilliance because it might mean a shift in the status quo. Suddenly we are more visible than we ever have been before. And what if there’s positive response? What then? Do we  fear success and shining our light because of old programming and shame? Do we have a familiar comfort in the smallness?

No matter the cause, whether fear of success or fear of failure, we so often fail to act on our own behalf. Some advise big steps, giant strides, quantum leaps.  Such approaches are seductive and tempting — just make the leap. Such a process may work for some. For others, the very bigness of the endeavor becomes a recipe for staying frozen, for blocking, for sheer terror at the cliff’s edge.

Baby steps are what Julia Cameron advises in this classic collection of her three books, The Complete Artist’s Way: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice. Baby steps can create new habits, literally new neural pathways that can create vast and positive internal shifts. But we have to take the time to put the new habits into practice. Over millennia, the Grand Canyon was cut through by the patient waters of the Colorado River. There’s visible power in that river channel. We are stunned by the breathtaking results. But in our lifetime, we don’t have the kind of time it took to carve out the Grand Canyon.

Perhaps there is a third way. Living on the “third coast” of the Great Lakes and their freshwater foam, in Chicago, roughly the middle of our country, I’m especially fond of alternatives, third ways, the golden mean of Greek philosophy, (and similar notions from Confucius and the Middle Way of Buddhism).  Mapping a confident path through the the impatience of taking baby steps and along the cliff edge of quantum leaps, I have developed a seven-step process for owning your gifts and greatness.

The Write Synergies Path to Owning Your Greatness requires a series of back and forths, alternating inner work, then outer work; inner, then outer. The inner journey work builds the foundation. But we live in the physical world. Without action in the outer spheres, little happens and our visions and gifts do not come to fruition. So consider the following seven steps (and the eighth, the bonus and result of following this path). And, although these are process steps, there are sweet results and outcomes by incorporating each one, so stay tuned.

Over the next few days, I will expand on these seven steps.

  1. Awaken Awareness
  2. Add Accountability
  3. Build Momentum
  4. Create and Implement
  5. Delight your People–your tribe/circle/audience/community/
  6. Embrace the heart and soul of your project, creation, and message
  7. Embody Excellence

Following the path through this process, one piece of the Write Synergies Vision Quest, you’ll arrive at the 8th step–your result, the bonus, outcome, and reason you are here: Living Your Legacy.  (I’ve talked about this before a bit. See related post at the link. And watch for more to come.)

Thanks once again to all the wonderful colleagues and conversations at #blog3o.