Today my son turns 16. Last week my niece left the nest and was dropped off, 9 hours from home, for her freshman year at college.  On September 10th, my other niece turns 1.  She’s now walking.

Isn’t it interesting how all 3 of my parents grandkids hit some pretty significant milestones within a 2 week period?  It has certainly made me take a moment to pause and reflect.

I still clearly remember turning 16. My friends put construction paper cars on my locker and streamers inside.  It was so exciting!  Something you look forward to for years before you hit that age.  Then you look to turning 18.  Getting out of high school.  Maybe going to college…

How did my son get so tall (and where did he get his big feet?!?) when I can still remember him at 3 – so excited to see trains go by when we were driving to my brother’s house in Hood River.  (We did just that yesterday although this time he was sleeping with his iPod on so the train went by un-noticed.)  Kids make it so clear that we often spend our time looking towards the next milestone.  As adults it might be a little less obvious.

Call me sentimental… and then call me the queen of analogies because you know that eventually my brain takes this ‘the kids are growing up!’ concept and applies it to business…

Do you spend your days looking forward to the day you make a certain amount of money? Have a certain amount of name recognition? Have achieved (you fill in the blank)?

While it is important to have dreams, goals and aspirations, it is equally important to enjoy the NOW. Don’t get so caught up looking to the future or living in the past that you miss all the fun of TODAY.

Some might argue that they aren’t so fond of today.  Maybe the economy has them down. They aren’t happy with some situation at home. They want a bigger business that brings in more income.  Again, fill in the blank.  But I’m sure there are some great things about your life and your business today – right now – this very second.

I challenge you to make a list, or paint a picture or create a collage – whatever – about what you are thankful about this very minute.  You might be amazed at what you come up with when you just sit and think for a few minutes.

Sure, I’d like to be further along with my licensing business than I am.  And yes, I will admit that I think I would be further along if the economy hadn’t gone sideways. But it did so I’m not going to dwell on it.  I’m going to focus on what is going right and how I can continue to make contacts, build relationships and create great art.  In the current economy.  It’s turning around – I’m starting to see, read and hear that things are slowly improving.  But TODAY, I still have lots to be thankful for!

I’ll share the beginning of my list to really encourage you to write one of your own, ok?  I’m a ‘do as I do, not just as I say’ kind of person.  🙂  (I’m just going to type them as they come to mind – there will be no particular order.)

On this, the 16th anniversary of my giving birth, I am thankful for…

  1. The wonderful son my precious baby boy has become. The man he is turning into.  I am so proud and blessed to have Kyle in my life.
  2. The internet. Without the internet and my love of figuring out new technology, I’d never be able to connect with so many wonderful artists.  Before starting ArtLicensingInfo.com a little over a year ago, I felt quite alone and isolated in my little art world.  I knew a few artists to chat with at trade shows but that was only a few days a year.  Now I feel like there is a great community of artists supporting each other in our efforts to learn and grow about licensing.
  3. Deciding to go for it and start my own business – even when I was at a low point in my life.  As you may know, when I was taking the plunge to really pursue a business in art licensing, I was also getting divorced.  With my background in sales and marketing, it would have been so easy to go out and get a sales job – keeping the art dream to the side.  I am so glad I was able (financially and courageously) to go for it.  It would have been one of my big regrets in life if I hadn’t…
  4. My support system. My ‘significant other’ (yes Craig, that’s you!), my friends, family and network of artists that are optimistic, helpful, cheerleaders and there to pick me up if my confidence fails me.
  5. Opportunity.  I’m thankful to live in this day and age, where the internet has made doing business quicker and easier.  Where personal and professional choices are available to women that were just a dream for women even a decade or so ago.
  6. Mobility.  My iPhone – I love it!  It gives me the ability to move around and still be in touch with my son, my life and my business.  I’m not tied to my studio waiting for a call or email – I can get both on my phone.  How awesome is that?

I think you get the idea… so go forth and think about all the great things in your life today.  I’ll leave you with a link to a song that has brought tears to the eyes of many mother’s that I’ve sent to watch it… and probably a few dads too but they have yet to fess up!  CLICK HERE (You’re Gonna Miss This by Trace Adkins)

Here’s to today and here’s to you…

– Tara