jen spencer coaches

Space + Chaos
03 18 13, 5:04 pm
Filed under: Creativity, General, Growth + Development, How-To's

The world is full and fast. Technology, trends, fads, taste, people, planets… everything changes. You’re either struggling to keep up or keep your head down while it all moves by you.

I don’t know any (I mean any) creative executives that have too little to do or not enough on their plate. The reactive world of getting shit done can take us down. And that can get messy. Really messy. Just when we have it figured out, controlled, and organized something changes.

How do you manage to flow with it all and not get too far under it?
How do you carve out space in the chaos to be present to what feeds your greatness?
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The Regroup

CeeLo Green recently opened up about taking a year off from NBC’s hit show, The Voice. He explained that it all comes down to time.

His career endeavors – TV, music, production, life – have made him busier than ever. While he’s enjoyed being on TV, he’s a musician at his core and wants to spend time immersing himself in his true creative passion.

It got me thinking about choices and multi-tasking. Creative Executives are rarely at a loss for ideas or passions. We can start something that seems like an incredible idea, but our involvement and focus in that endeavor can be so great that really important parts of who we are get neglected.
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Your Year-End Review

As we approached 2009, people loved this Year
End Review article, so let’s not reinvent the wheel. Wishing you your best year yet!


As the end of 2010 approaches and 2011 peeks around the corner, I’d like to share an exercise and resource to help bring growth and focus to the transition of the upcoming year – Your Year-End Review.
This exercise can be done alone or in groups,
dealing with business or personal aspects of you. 

You need 1-2 hours of time, a comfy spot, a cup of tea or glass of wine, and pen and paper. Most of us are at computers or on PDA’s much of our day, and when you take it back to basics, you use different parts of your brain. You can make different connections.

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Reverse the Fallout

I was spending time with an old friend last week who is experiencing a separation from his wife.
“That’s going around.” I said. “You know it’s been a really tough few years for people.”

Kind of an obvious statement. But then this man, who is intimately tapped into his community in many ways, said, “Until recently, I thought it was just me. Once you start sharing and opening up with people, the floodgates open.”

The truth is, everyone is experiencing the Fallout of the last few years in different ways. And it’s happening everywhere.

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Have you laughed enough today?

No living creature can laugh, except man. 
-Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman in the World

Thats some pretty amazing power, isn’t it? When was the last time you had a great laugh? I mean the kind where you were crying, barely breathing and holding your stomach because you were frozen in hilarity?
I have a rule in working with clients. We must have laughter. Even in the face of great change, the result of laughter’s presence can greatly improve one’s experience of transition and growth.

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Words of Wisdom from Ron Howard
11 10 09, 5:14 pm
Filed under: Business Related, Creativity, General, Resources, Thought-Provoking

It is not often you get the opportunity to listen to a creative titan like Ron Howard speak. So when I heard he was receiving the 2009 Extraordinary Contribution to Filmmaking Award at this year’s Austin Film Festival, I was eager to hear his advice to up-and-coming talent.

Howard’s keynote was a nod to the learning and collaboration taking place at this year’s conference. And as I suspected, everything he shared could be translated among all industries in business and across life.

Here are a few of Howard’s thoughts, paraphrased by me.  As you read this, may you be reminded of the possibilities that creativity lends to presence, collaboration and experience.

You have to prep when creating.

Howard explained it’s essential to talk about the story you are creating in the beginning stages of a film, getting everyone on board with the vision from the start. Aside from inspiring collaboration, you further everyone towards a unified vision when you integrate all parts into the bigger idea.

It’s not about the end result, it’s about the journey.

An audience member asked him how to keep the audience engaged in a story, especially when they know what happens, like in Apollo 13

Howard’s response was clear:  It’s not so much about getting the audience to be invested in the ending. The trick is to get them invested in the character’s journey, engaged in how their life works and intrigued as to how the story will progress.  

Then when asked if he could only experience one, choosing between a successful premiere and the struggle and adventures of making a film, he answered he would will always pick the process and richness of filmmaking.

Utilize your resources to the best of your ability and fulfill the creative possibilities of a project.

Resources = money, time and talent.  Your resources are never the same. Each person works differently, especially in regards to talent.  A canned approach doesn’t leverage the possibility of the story. 

No one is perfect.  Continue to dream forward.

Ron Howard admitted that if you asked him to forecast the results of a movie, he would have about a 50% success rate in his prediction. In other words:  you can’t always guess what’s going to "win." 

Inherent in his message is that big rewards take risk. Do your job, fulfill your role, trust your team and lead. Do it knowing that every time you take a step forward in to the unknown, it is a risk. But every time you step, you continue to dream forward.

Each film is special, just as each project and initiative has its own chemistry. Continuing to dream forward and think about creative possibility with your current project or one in the near future takes some of the pressure off "right now" being all you’ve got. 

Thank you, Mr. Howard, for the reminder that we can all be championed to great possibility in work, life, and creativity. 

Your Wing Woman

Additional Resources
Elizabeth Gilbert "Nurturing Creativity"


The Austin Film Festival is one of the top screenwriting festivals in the world.  It’s a week filled with learning and making connections – one big cornucopia of tips on getting your work produced and how to hone your craft. With direct access to Hollywood giants, development executives and producers, writers are given an opportunity to pitch, collaborate, absorb and be among their peers and mentors.

Your Bridge to Access

This Austin City Limits Festival graced us with the presence of a close friend in the music business. Despite the fact that she travels with an expense account, we invited her to stay with us, and she took us up on the offer. 

She returned the favor in the form of a couple of Artist passes, and my music festival experience was forever transformed. We had chairs to sit on, free drinks and snacks to indulge in, and celebrities to admire. And let’s not forget the up-close performances.

We had arrived. We had access in the highest form.

It came unexpectedly: a simple invitation led to a stellar experience. It got me thinking about access, and what it grants us.

And, how often are we given ‘permission’ to enter, and we miss the opportunity?

Defined literally, access is the “right to enter.” And it’s more than just that,  access is power. Where and what you want to enter may look different, but just like success, access is something we all want and aspire to.

Access gets you conversations, meetings, relationships and experiences that would not have been possible without being invited or given the right to enter. And, the invitation to “enter” can come in many forms…

– a meeting request with a new group of people in your department leads to a new business idea

– a look from a stranger encouraging you to strike up a conversation leads to a new client or friend

– bad press about your business leads you to an opportunity to make a more accurate name for yourself

Once you learn how to look for it, access is everywhere.  In the coming weeks, I want to challenge you to:

  1. Notice the opportunities and invitations that you choose and those that you pass up over the next week.
  2. Be clear about where you need or want more access.
  3. Let the clarity behind answer #2 guide your decisions, participation and engagement.  

Who knows? You may determine that a project you previously deemed a ‘pain in the ass’ has the potential to create access for you to leadership on the team.  Dealing with an unresolved conflict might be the exact access to attaining a better working relationship and developing a part of your leadership.

As Deepak Chopra says, “You and I are essentially infinite choice-makers. In every moment of our existence, we are in that field of all possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices.”

I believe in you.

Your Wing Woman,


Do you want more access? Jen Spencer Coaches partners with individuals and companies to help them identify access opportunities to get closer to their vision, goals, and dreams!


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