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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

You Never Because....When there are no excuses left....

Obsession is the single most wasteful human activity, because with an obsession you keep coming back and back and back to the same question and never get an answer.
Norman Mailer 

It has been so long since I've made a blog post that I can't even figure out how to change my job title in the admin settings, which leads me to my disclaimer, ahem:

This blog is in no way affiliated with ActionCOACH or ActionCOACH Spokane or any of its subsidiaries, monasteries, or any other word ending in "ies."

I'm only writing this blog post because I ran out of excuses.

Let me explain.

First, let me insert disclaimer number two, ahem:

I'm rusty at writing. My literary tendons are tight.

Moving on.

As I was saying, I'm only writing this because I ran out of excuses. I actually looked my therapist in the eye and said tonight, "I'm too depressed to write."

He countered back with "Ernest Hemingway committed suicide."


Saying I'm too depressed to write is like saying I'm too sad to be a poet or I'm too thin to be a ballerina...or too fat to be a sumo wrestler. You insert your own witty little line. Point being, I have no excuse not to write, even if I don't exactly have a point at the moment.

You could say that I'm writing to hear myself type. (get it? do you?)

This blog started out as a motivational communication tool. Turns out I'm not that motivated and my recent life experiences haven't been all that positive. This last year, my life has felt like a house of cards and all I've been doing is playing 52-card pick up.

I'm at ground zero folks. Time to rebuild.

Time to get inspired. Time to live a little. So, this blog post is me, peeking around the corner from obscurity after a second nervous breakdown. Literary physical therapy. Trying to get back in the game.

This was step one. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A little honesty, some gratitude, and a bite of privilege pie

The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That's the day we truly grow up.
John C. Maxwell

Dear Readers...

It's been quite awhile since I've written a post. Or, at least a post with some substance and depth. Sometimes I get lost in the fluff. It's a nice hiding place now and then.

I haven't written because of the same reason I freak out every time I try and speak about my art. I'm afraid I'll reveal too much about myself. I have spent the majority of my life trying my hardest to present to everyone around me, a disinfected version of my life. Granted, I'm not much of a neat-freak any way you look at it, and trying to maintain this sanitized sense of self now seems ridiculous.

It's been a bumpy road full of pot holes, dragons, zombies, asteroids, death rays. All of which, I must say, I have dodged with grace, dignity, and have never lost a limb. I have teetered on the edge of rock bottom. I have stood on the edge of it's rock wall and stared down it's throat like a bottomless well. I have swayed but never slipped.

Until last November. Spokane is a small town. (duh). And it's not like I don't talk....all the time. And let's face it, I don't exactly walk the line well of "T.M.I" when it comes Facebook. I am brave on the internet. It's not the real world. Facebook is fiction. I don't walk around all glossy and Photoshopped in real life. (Yet...I'm waiting for that awesome invention though!) I'm pretty shy....(stop laughing). Out here, (Spo-town) I stand out. I talk a little louder. I use my hands. I worship Liza Minnelli. I'm a New Yorker by blood. But, back east? I get lost in the crowd.

I'm sure that, at this point, I'm the only one who still thinks my nervous breakdown last year is a big secret.

So here it is folks:

I had a complete psychotic break last November, lost custody of my two amazing beautiful girls, and spent two weeks in Sacred Heart.


Phew. Glad I don't have to keep hiding that one anymore.

There are a lot of people to which I owe a lot of gratitude. I won't reenact a Grammy speech here (I'd like to thank my record poodle and the man upstairs...) But my life has changed.

I have never worked for more supportive people in my life. Their positive reinforcement, patience, and wisdom has enabled me to understand that here are different ways of viewing the world. I am 37 years old (I know I know...I don't look a day over 28). The first time I ever heard anybody say to me "your better then that" was when I showed up to work after maybe two hours of sleep, still possibly intoxicated from the night before. Jim looked at me and said, "your better then that." He said that to me once after that when he basically told me I have three weeks to get my act together at work. That was three weeks ago. I'm entering my fourth week....(so good...but it's only Tuesday)

What I'm saying, here, now, is that motherhood is not a right. It's a privilege. Having a job isn't a right. It's a privilege.

Happiness is not a privilege.

It's a choice.

Privilege lies in abundance at your feet. All you have to do is free yourself from the fluff and the rest will follow. 

That, I promise. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

TRAPPED IN SWEATPANTS: Erase these two words from your vocabulary.....

Medical Lake's Next Top Model: Only models five feet and under need apply!

This post is dedicated to those guys and gals in the fashion "scene" who keep Spokane looking good. It was so much fun to experience an actual photo shoot. If you're a mom, you should get to experience this at least once in your life. But I will WARN YOU: This is harder then it looks. I hate to say it, but....I always thought models just stood there and looked pretty. WRONG. I really thought just anyone could do it. WRONG. I also thought I was in pretty good shape. WRONG. There are muscles that are still sore I didn't even know existed anymore! I still can hardly move from this photo below. AND it was freezing! (I'm wearing two pairs of nylons underneath the knee highs) I think I seriously pulled a muscle and may need a hip replacement. I gave up my chocolate chip cookies for 7 days in preparation. MMMM cookies!

Photo by:

By Joy Mizzoni
Team Support Specialist at ActionCOACH Spokane

I have strong feelings about the fashion industry, society's standard of beauty and the ceaseless self-deprecation women endure to attain that never attainable pie in the sky called perfection.

Few people know that I am a classically trained ballet dancer. I studied in Saratoga Springs with Madame Phyllis Latin ( Although these years spent with Madame deserve much more then a brief cameo, I'll save that novella for another day. Point being, I understand perfection. I understand hiding extreme physical pain behind the illusion of graceful fingertips and elongated necks.

I don't care who you are, what you do, or how strong you profess to be both mentally and physically. I DARE you to spend a week with Phylis Latin. Go ahead. I DOUBLE DARE YOU.

They say youth is wasted on the young. How quickly we forget our inner strength and outer beauty. Motherhood, marriage, and mortgages alone are enough to make most women forget the dazzling joys of celebrating our beauty. We are so quick to replace glitter and sparkles with the muted colors of the professional world. When once we admired and emulated the seductive power of beauty, we now judge, disparage and condemn.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not pointing fingers...what happens when you point a finger at someone else? That's right boys and girls...there are those silly three fingers pointing right back at moi'.

Every woman wants to feel beautiful and I suspect most women really do, indeed, care that others think they are beautiful as well; but we limit ourselves. We become too sensible. Suddenly there is an "us" and a "them". We become too short, too old, too chubby, too this and too that. "Someday" and "When I..." have become our mantras.

But what about now?  It's not like you're suddenly going to wake up looking like Giselle. I hate to tell you, tomorrow, and the next day, and, the day after are going to wake up with the same gray hairs, stretch marks, wrinkles, and c-section scars. You're going to look in the same mirror and see the same face.

So what are you going to do with it? Do you intend to keep ignoring  your very own daydreams and fanciful wishes?

There are TWO WORDS that you MUST erase from your vocabulary. Ready? Here it is...


Want to kill you dreams?

Want to pass up opportunity after opportunity to have a little fun in your life?


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Large, naked, raw carrots are acceptable as food only to those who live in hutches eagerly awaiting Easter" Fran Lebowitz

Team Support Specialist, ActionCOACH Spokane 

I can’t remember the last time I rushed to work because I was so inspired to write. Actually, come to think of it, I can’t remember the last time I actually felt inspired. I throw that word around a lot. Inspiration. What does it mean? Perhaps it means something different to each person. For me, personally, I use inspiration synonymously with the word hope.  But then again, I love making up my own rules. Grammar is no exception.

It is impossible for me to write if I’m constantly on guard. Although I’m a huge fan of fiction, the words refuse to flow if, in the back of my mind, I’m worried about revealing too much. Too much of what you may ask? Well, too much of “me.” 

I keep thinking that I have successfully pulled off this public persona that has little to do with my past and present. The truth of the matter is that I have none of you fooled. Take one look at my paintings and there you go. I lie to myself constantly and think that my paintings reveal nothing. That every person who has purchased my art, or has kindly and generously supported me at my shows, see only pretty colors. Talk about denial, right?

Case and point. Tell me this isn’t a shrink’s ultimate fantasy?

Where am I going with this? Good question. Just keep following me and I promise we will arrive at a destination soon…maybe…but then again….

Here is a little tip for those of you dealing with writer’s block: Stop second guessing yourself.
The sad truth of the matter is that great writers, thespians (not to be confused with lesbians), artists, community leaders, all put their heart and soul on the line. They spill their guts. Whether it’s a myriad of mayhem on canvas or a splattering of words spilled across paper, they are true to themselves. 

Not everyone is that brave. I’m not that brave yet, but I’m working on it. This blog posting is evidence.

See exhibit A, your honor.

Moving on….

I want to share with you an event that happened to me this morning.
There is a McDonalds on my way to work that I usually stop by for a coffee in the mornings. This morning there was a huge line that wasn’t moving very fast.  Now, I really, really, really, (REALLY) want my coffee, but I also don’t want to be late for work. So, reluctantly I looked in my rear-view mirror, then back at the line and decided just to back on up out of there.  I put my car (my NEW car still with dealer plates mind you!) in reverse and start to back up. All of a sudden I hear a blaring horn! I look up and see a car behind me!

The woman throws her hands up and looks at me in disbelief! I jump out of the car (thankfully I put it in park first!) and survey the disaster. By the grace of the goddesses I stopped just in time! There was no damage.  Almost in tears, hair still dripping wet, I apologize profusely. Phew. That was close!

So I pull forward, order my coffee (somehow I still made it to work on time….you can rest easy!) and proceed cautiously to the window to pay. I debate for a moment about paying for the woman behind me. Payday isn’t until Friday and in all honesty, dear reader, I have maybe one tank of gas to my name until then. I decided that I’ll figure it out somehow and that it was the right thing to do to pay for her breakfast. (In the back of my mind, I’m thinking, please don’t have ordered $20 dollars worth of McMuffins!)

So I tell the cashier, “I’d like to pay for the woman behind me since I just backed into her.” And he looks at me and hands me my coffee and says, “The gentleman in front of you paid for your coffee.”  He then explains to me that I was like the sixth car in the line that paid for the person behind me!

Okay…where the hell are the hidden cameras?

I couldn’t make this stuff up folks! I was moved to tears. I had no idea someone paid for my coffee! I felt so thankful that I decided to pay for her breakfast because it was the right thing to do; not because someone had done it for me. That’s the mind-blowing point here. 

Stop and think about this for a moment. 

Ponder. Wonder.

We’ve all seen those commercials for some stupid product where they show how kindness is contagious.

Who knew that it was actually true?

Think about this for a moment.

If this event never happened, I would not be sitting here writing this blog.

Kindness and generosity is not only contagious it is INPSIRING.  It FUELS CREATIVITY.

The words you are reading right now are a direct result of this experience.

Pretty powerful huh? 

I challenge each of you to do something unexpectedly kind for someone else and see what happens. You just might be pleasantly surprised to the point of astonishment.

(Oh, and if you’d like to contribute the Joy Gas Fund Foundation we accept cash or check!)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dispelling the Artist Stereotype

Letter from your Humble Blog Hostess…

This blog posting is dedicated to every crazy artist who finds themselves disorganized, discouraged, and lacking hope.  To all creative souls stuck in artistic purgatory; somewhere between amateur and entrepreneur…remember….

“Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.” — Stella Adler.

Dispelling the Artist Stereotype: Kathleen Cavender mixes business with color

By Joy Mizzoni
Team Support Specialist

“Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” Andy Warhol
Artists get away with a lot of crazy stuff. They lock themselves in glass boxes and dangle precariously naked above metropolitan streets. They have been known to slice off an ear or two.   They lament. They explore. Moralistic and determined, we artists continually battle a milieu of stereotypes.

Thus begs the question, how important is balance?

Monetary success is an essential ingredient to independence.  You can’t help others if you won’t help yourself.  Try making the world a better place with an empty tank of gas, an overdrawn bank account, and no electricity.  

If your art makes money, you can create more art. 

It’s pretty simple. 

The more time you create, the more art you produce
Most artists have day jobs.  We like our day jobs. We need our day jobs. 

We hope it’s only temporary. 

For some of us, our art careers may never bloom larger than a colorful hobby. Others have harnessed their creative energy and intertwined it with solidly, proven business strategies.

One such artist is Kathleen Cavender. 

Kathleen is kind of a big deal. Not just because she was recently voted best artist in Spokane by readers of Spokane Coeur d'Alene Living magazine and not only because her art sometimes fetches as much as $6,000.
It’s because she is smart.  
She answers to no one.
She keeps rock n’ roll hours.
She’s confident, proud, arrogant, delightful; stunning. 
Kathleen Cavender has never really had a ‘day job.’ Conformity has never been an option. 
She makes her living by singing jazz, painting, giving vocal lessons, teaching art classes, and conducting business and creativity workshops. 

Kathleen, who, in the midst of her crazy but phenomenally organized life; took the time to share with me some advice imperative to those seeking to grow their artistic endeavors into a dependable and profitable business venture.

Below, Kathleen provides an insightful look into how she turned her creative passions into reliable streams of income. She also speaks to some of the most common self-saboteurs preventing success.

Q:  What are the top 5 things you would tell a young Kathleen Cavender if you could travel back in time?

  • Art making is 90% hard work and 10% talent
  • Being an artist is not a big deal…you just are one
  • Don’t be influenced by what others think of your work (good or bad). Just keep painting what you want to paint.
  • Be professional ; take some business classes

Q: You sing, give voice lessons, teach classes, do art shows; what else? How do you find time for ALL THAT?

I’m also a poet and a writer. I paint during the weekdays; teach voice on Saturdays. Tuesday and Thursday evenings I teach painting classes. I gig with my band occasionally on the weekends…it works out okay.

Q: What are your “MUST HAVES” for staying organized?

My laptop, a day planner, a black Uniball fine pen, my phone, my camera.

Q: Tell me more about your business philosophy and your workshops.  

It’s all about having a vision and knowing what it is you have to work with. This workshop is 12 hours spread over three Sundays. It's pretty involved and can be life changing if applied. The business workshop is 6 hours and takes place over the weekend. It covers how to be professional, how to approach galleries, how to get your support materials together (resume, biography, artist’s statement etc.) and how to keep good record. This is just a brief overview; we cover many other important areas as well. 

Q. How do you keep yourself “out of your own way”? 

Focus only on the work itself and not where it’s going to hang or what anyone will think about it. I never entertain those thoughts. THOSE THOUGHTS ARE SABOTEURS! 

Q. Are all artists crazy?

Well, I personally think everyone I have ever met is a little bit crazy. I guess some people might think I am their Queen!

Q. What is the meanest thing anyone has ever said to you about your art?

It wasn’t really “mean”, but it did make my head spin for a little bit. Another artist commented that I had painted a certain kind of fruit that she had also painted and said people were going to think I was copying her. It was a ridiculous statement. She has also painted people, animals, flowers…so I can’t paint people, animals, flowers?  “Why did this get to me?” That’s the real question. It shouldn’t have. People have been painting fruit, people, animals, flowers, etc., since the beginning of time. Ridiculous.  

Q. Why should someone buy your art? 

I am always humbled and amazed when anyone spends money on my art. Especially in this economy. The most expensive painting I’ve sold to date was $6,000. I work hard to make good art and I’m committed to continue to grow as an artist for the rest of my life. I feel a responsibility to those who have invested in me and my work. If they find that much value in it, then I must too and continue to produce and grow as an artist. It’s that simple.

Q. Everyone says be confident….what’s the difference between arrogance and confidence?

Arrogance is from taking your work too personal. I can be arrogant. I hate it when it happens, but it has happened. You can’t hide it. It’s the smell of a skunk. There is no mistaking it. Confidence is knowing that you’ve done your best, you know you have a long way to go yet, but you are always working on it. It’s not personal.

Q. In your experience, what same mistakes do you see people making over and over again? 

ASSUMING THAT ART MAKING INVOLVES MAGIC:  People in general make the assumption that something magical happens when you make art. There are “moments” that feel magical…like someone/thing “other than” yourself is involved with what you are doing…but mostly it is just a lot of …W O R K!! The more you work, the better you get. Harold Balazs said, “People are often intimidated by art because they have confused it with something else.” I totally agree.
DON’T TAKE IT SO PERSONAL: I didn’t say “make” it so personal. But TAKE it so personal. When your work becomes so personal and so important to you that you can’t let go of it, you can’t hear opinions about it or criticism, chances are you will not do your best work or even your own work. You will not be productive. You might even quit. You need to detach and just keep creating. If I let every negative word said about my work stop me, I would have quit in the third grade.  Fear of failure or fear of success = thinking too much about where it’s going to go and what people will think. Just go to your studio and make something! People ask me which is my favorite painting. I always say the same thing: the one I’m working on at the time. But even so, I am ready to let go of it and move on to the next one in short order. I rarely regret selling a piece. Once in a very blue moon.
AN ART CAREER IS A BUSINESS: I began offering workshops on the business side of art making because so many local artists who want to have an actual career have no clue as to how to manage the business side of it. There is a right way and a whole lot of wrong ways of approaching galleries, getting your work into museums, managing your finances, keeping good records, writing a resume, biography, artist’s statement, framing properly, promoting your work….
MAKE YOUR ART A PRIORITY: Do you have a space that is only used for art making? I began in the corner of a room on a TV tray. Now I have a fabulous studio. Whatever…I have always made a space for myself. You need to as well. If you work on an art project, painting or whatever, just one hour a day, six days a week, you would be amazed at how much you can accomplish. And the beauty of it is that you will want to work longer than just the one hour. “Work begets work.” What is sucking up your time? Make a list and log the time you spend (internet, tv, talking on the phone, email, text, social media, mundane things you can cut out of your schedule). Then begin editing those things out of your life and replace them with working on your art. If it really matters to you, you will make it happen. If it doesn’t, you will make excuses. 

Some tips…..

  • Set a goal of how many pieces of art you want to have produced by a certain time. Be realistic, but don’t give yourself too much time. Too much time is also a saboteur.  You lose motivation.
  • Don’t talk about your work. Just do it. Thinking about it is one thing; talking about your artwork releases the steam…deflates the passion. Sabotage!
  • Don’t show your work before it is completed for the same reason as talking about it. It deflates the passion. It also sets you up for outside opinions that might influence you in a direction you may not want to go…causing you to think too much about what people think. (An exception would be when you are giving a demonstration.) *note: for those who have painted for many years like myself, this is not often an issue. Even so, I am careful to not display too much too soon to too many people.

Q. Name one time you regretted selling a piece of art and why? 

It was a painting I did of some cabbages about 20 years ago. I think it was the process of seeing and painting it that I loved just as much as the result. The way the light filtered through the leaves. It still makes me smile whenever I seen an image of it on my computer.

Kathleen Cavender is a fourth generation professional artist. Her great grandfather supported a family of twelve on his art in London during the late 1800s. His sketchbook became Kathleen's inspiration throughout her childhood. She recently visited London and stood exactly where he created many of  the sketches that have strongly influenced her life.

Kathleen's obvious love for light and color has caught the eye of many private and corporate collectors. Among them, Boeing Corporation, British Petroleum and the SAFECO® Insurance Company of America have added her work to their collections. A Washington State native, Kathleen Cavender's work has been exhibited in many Northwest galleries and art museums as well as in Chicago, Washington D.C. Los Angeles and Florence, Italy.

Weekly classes in the studio:

Pastel Painting: Every Tuesday 6:30-8:30pm
Any & All Media Painting: Every Thursday 6:30-8:30pm
Vocal Coaching: Every Saturday (45 min sessions available)


Date: Sun Nov 4, 11 & 18
Time: 1 – 4pm
Cost: $160
Learn how to fuel your creativity with fine artist and jazz singer, Kathleen Cavender in the comfort of her fabulous art studio. This course has helped many people learn to understand their creative nature as well as how to keep it fueled and running smoothly. Seating is limited.

Date: Sat Jan 12 & Sun 13
Time: 3 – 6pm
Cost: $100
This valuable course will help you get your art career up and moving in no time. Learn how to approach galleries, how to enter competitions, write a resume and an artist’s statement, promote your work, keep records and more!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Spokane Women Who Inspire Me

By Joy Mizzoni
Team Support Specialist
ActionCOACH Spokane

When I think of strong, inspiring, women, I often think of Operah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill. I am in awe of Billie Holiday and Etta James.

These women embody soulful determination and artful endurance. As role-models for every-day women like myself, their iconic stature is both a blessing and a curse.

They are larger-than-life.

My life isn't as large. My stage is not renowned. I live the simple life; but here, amidst the humble and reserved streets of Spokane, I've noticed, live some very larger-than-life women in their own right.

They own their own businesses. They inspire others. They kick ass and take names.

They are polite, warm, friendly. They are not elitists, snobs, or bitches. They earned their success through sweat, tears, determination and good ole' fashioned hard work.

Their beauty is stunning and their business acumen fierce. They are just like you and me...they too are mothers, sisters, daughters, and neighbors.

Inspiring women are, indeed, everywhere in Spokane.....

Deena Caruso - Owner of Finders Keepers:

I first met Deena when her daughter Sophia was taking ballet with my oldest daughter Marlena. Our two girls became close friends, and because of Deena's encouragement, my daughter became involved with the Civic Theater. Her daughter was Annie and my daughter was Molly. It's impossible to list all of Deena's AND Sophia's accomplishments without producing an unauthorized biography of these two! I would also be remiss if I didn't give kudos to Steve Caruso, father and husband and former golf pro dedicated to supporting his wife and daughter. Quiet, soft-spoken, yet bearing a commanding presence, this woman does it all. Not only does she run a very successful business, she is one of the most dedicated mothers I have ever met. All-in-all, she is a force to be reckoned with....all five feet of her!! Ladies, take my advice...don't hate...take notes instead!!

Finders Keepers Boutiques on Facebook:

Brooke Holloman - Owner of Chrome Personal Training Center: 

Okay, I've never met her in person; I have only been following her on Facebook but think Zena Princess Warrior with business sense! Don't believe me? See for yourself....Need I say more?

"When the going gets tough WORK HARDER!!!"  Check out this video..

Find Chrome Personal Training Centre on Facebook:


I challenge you to look for inspiration and wisdom in ALL your interactions....below is a list of other sassy and successful women you should know! Take a moment visit the associated links; read their bios and share in their accomplishments....GET INSPIRED!!!!

Jennifer LaRue, Art Correspondent:  Jennifer wrote a story on me last year and our friendship slowly evolved into something unique, sturdy, and safe. I used to worry people would think I was just "name dropping" when I mention her, but now, she is such an integral part of my life, it's impossible for her name not to enter into a conversation. We both share interesting paths and she is very quiet about her star-studded upbringing in the hills of California. Her journalistic integrity is unwavering and her opinions unedited. Careful to never cross the boundaries of our friendship, I recently asked her for a "journalistic" favor in regards to my art. Her response was that perhaps she would make an a year...if I pushed myself out of my artistic comfort zone! Gee thanks pal...she holds herself to very high standards and expects the same of her friends. Read some of her stories below....

Yvonne A.K. Johnson, Executive Artistic Director, Spokane Civic Theater:

Laura Bracken, owner of Design Spike:

Mary Eberle, owner of Anemone:

Kathleen Cavendar, Professional artist, jazz singer, vocal coach, teacher:

Who has inspired YOU? 

Do YOU know an extraordinary business in Spokane or North Idaho with 1-500 employees? Tell Coach Jim NOW! We are seeking nominees for the 2013 Business Excellence Awards! Coach Jim will co-sponsor (out-of-pocket) for six winners to take the stage in LAS VEGAS!  CLICK HERE NOW!

 your business could be one of six to represent the Inland Northwest THIS YEAR!
The Business Excellence Awards:
The premier awards for small to medium businesses... IN THE WORLD!  
The Business Excellence Awards, sponsored by ActionCOACH Business Coaching, the world’s #1 business coaching firm, is recognized as the premier awards competition for small to medium businesses (1-500 employees).

Any company that offers a product or service is eligible for the award, provided their results were outstanding and measurable.

Entries can be submitted in 18 different award categories, ranging from Best Overall Company to Most Community Impact.

Awards recognizing Best Overall Company and Fastest Growing Company are segmented into company size, so a business with fewer than 10 team members can compete equally with larger businesses having a few hundred employees.

Award Categories:
Best Overall Company
Best Runaround Company
Most Innovative Company
Fastest Growing Company
Best Customer Service Results
Best Start-Up
Young Entrepreneur 35 and younger
Entrepreneur of the Year
Best Retailer
Best Service-Based
Best Manufactured/Wholesaler
Community Impact

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Stress and Bees: My mortal enemies

By Joy Mizzoni


There are numerous ways to deal with stress. You can drink it away, sleep it away or indulge in a myriad of activities designed to provide momentary relief from matters at hand.

Personally, I like the "ostrich" approach. I like to ignore little problems until they divide and multiply like amoebas. (Yes I had to double check if amoeba's actually do multiply before I used that simile...which they do. So there.)

How much stress do we create in our lives?

Let me rephrase that, how much stress do we CHOOSE to create in our lives by making no choice at all?

Recently, I've been questioning my sanity. Being a geographically-displaced New Yorker, I accept the fact I'm slightly more outspoken and passionate than some; but I'm basically sane. I'm kind, giving, and open minded. I accept others' advice and try to be accountable for my mistakes.

That qualifies as sanity, right?

But take one teaspoon of my so-called "passion" and mix in one-half cup "stress" plus add a few table spoons of "daily life" and then stand back...the lid's gonna blow!

Last week, I had two flat tires and some other unexpected expenses. Then there were my ex-in laws, you know, the Hatfields to my McCoys?  It was a recipe for the perfect storm and I am still cleaning up the aftermath.

In the midst of emotional exhaustion, I realized the potential health hazards such continued levels of stress could cause. It was then, realizing the hard cold truth that I'm almost 40, that I truly became aware that conflict, at this sort of level, could potentially result in, well, death. No, not my ex mother-in law's death (shame on you!) ....but my own.

I never thought about a heart attack before.

Or a nervous breakdown.

How many straws does it take to break the camels back?

No one knows.

Until it's too late.

That's some serious stuff right there.

I'm a mother of two young girls. I try to eat right, exercise, and I quit smoking cigarettes years ago. I'm also allergic to bees and yellow jackets. I always thought it was absurd that a small little stinging bug could take out this tough Sicilian gal. I scoff at you bee! (unless you get too close...then I will run away really really fast).

Stress? Ha. I laugh in the face of stress! Stress and me -- we go way back. If anyone can deal with stress, it's your humble blog hostess.

No wait. "Deal" is the wrong word. What I really mean is, "ignore."  I ignore stress. I laugh it off. I crack wise ass jokes. I smile. I giggle. I bat my eyelashes like a carefree debutante.

At least I did. Now, I'm not so sure I want to keep poking the proverbial beehive. It was an eye-opening week. I felt my mortality. It has stymied my creativity and, honestly, has scared the freaking bejeezus out of me.

Mid life crisis? Maybe. Maybe not.

A wake-up call? Definitely.

Stress IS dangerous. I don't care how strong you are, how much you've been through or whatever other super powers you "think" you possess. Trust me...stress floats like a butterfly...but stings like a bee.


Friday, August 24, 2012

I've Been a Bad Blog Hostess...

By Joy Mizzoni
Team Support Specialist at ActionCOACH Spokane

I'll just come out and say it. No frills. No fanciful fluffy excuses. No frosting. No sprinkles. No sugar- coated, below-the-line babbling:

I have ignored this blog.

There. I said it.

And I'm sorry.

Sorry because, I've ignored you, dear reader. I pretended your existence is unimportant. I've wondered off the beaten path of this journey and left you stranded in literary silence.

And guess who convinced me to humbly ask your forgiveness?  Yep. I'm just going to start calling him my mentor because, essentially, that's what Coach Jim Munro has become. This person, not only hired me but he also deems this blog worthy, even valuable!

All the days I've spent daydreaming about having a "creative" job and, here I am, actually BEING PAID TO BLOG! I love writing!

But that's the problem. I love it. So how on earth can this be a priority during my work day?

In a society that deems euphoria as a "side effect", it can be difficult for some people to accept the validity of their talents.  Notice, I said SOME people. What I really mean is, ME.  And if you are still reading this with intrigue, I'm guessing that MAYBE you too?

Why? Why is that? Being fearful of success is ridiculous. Right?  It's completely illogical! Or is it?

Let's explore this bothersome phenomenon together. Right now. Let's put all our cards on the table, shall we. Let's wipe off our lipstick (or Chap Stick, guys) and stop caring if "Sue in Accounting's" handbag is really a Coach knock-off or not; right now, we are just people.

I am scared of success because I am afraid I can't maintain. I can't take it to the "next level." I'm scared I'll wake up tomorrow with complete writer's block.

I worry incessantly about creative droughts.

I worry the novelty will wear off.

I live in "fear of the fluke."

To me, success is not sustainable. Eventually, someone will convince someone else that I can't write or that my graphic design skills are sub par, or my fine art endeavors are mediocre at best.

And what evidence is there of these fears? Why dear reader...self fulfilling evidence.

So I just stop. Everything.

And then it's everyone else's fault. Life is too hard. I'm too unlucky....I grab my trombone and lead my own self-pity parade.

Except this time.

This time I'm facing the music. I'm taking a risk.

Not every blog post will be Pulitzer-prize winning prophecy; but I know little sparkles of wisdom and growth shine into my life frequently, and in the name of abundance (or karma), my hope is that, somehow, some way, through this blog, we can become slightly more comfortable sharing our real selves, our real challenges, and, our real fears.

I hope you'll continue to stay for the ride.....

In peace and gratitude,



Friday, July 20, 2012

Expect the unexpected, especially when the going gets good

By Joy Mizzoni
AcitonCOACH Spokane

I listen to Dr. Tom Curran during my morning commute to work. Although I don’t necessarily agree with all the theological doctrine, his positivity and real-world application of the wisdom behind his religious philosophies are pure gold. Even when he is discussing a controversial topic that goes against my artsy liberal good senses, the way in which he puts forth his argument is amazingly compassionate. Never once have I heard him speak negatively about any human being. There are actions and decisions that he disagrees with, but I have never heard him speak unkindly about the person or group of people who are performing those actions.  

I don’t know Dr. Curran personally; having said that, I base my opinion solely on what I hear during his program.  I would like to think he doesn’t live his life in raving hypocrisy, but you never know.  Consider this my disclaimer that I am in no way endorsing him, his religious views, political stances, etcetera , etcetera, etcetera.  Moving on….

Today’s discussion was about the unforeseen challenges that ensue when one commits to incorporate faith into their daily lives.  Although he spoke of demonic forces awakening to thwart your godly intensions, one could also apply this to broader terms: committing to a goal, a dream, or a decisive way to live your life according to your personal values. 

He explained that once you make a commitment, you should expect trials and tests. 

In other words, life’s a bitch. 

And that got me thinking…..

It’s the truth. 

One thing I have struggled with consistently is maintaining course when life starts throwing daggers through my dreams. I always say that sunny days make for easy focus.  It’s all the other days in between that throw me off track.  

Think about that. How many annual days of sunshine does Spokane actually have? How many of your days are problem-free? 

I’m not a scientist or a sociologist, or any type of “ist”, but I am confident in guessing most of your days may start off with rainbows and butterflies only to end in tornadoes and tsunamis. 

The reason I get blown off track so easily is that I never expect someone to rain on my parade. I never expect the unexpected.  I have consistently remained the opposite of steadfast. For example, once I catch up on my bills and commit to a budget, I never expect something to break on my Jeep or have an overdue bill to suddenly rear its ugly head.   The same with goals associated with exercise, work, art and social commitments.  I don’t expect pulled muscles, sore throats, sick kids, mental fatigue, or just plain laziness.  I set goals with the intention of perfection. I make commitments without regard to reality. 

Why, before this morning, did it never dawn on me to expect trials and tests? Distractions, disasters, deterrents. 

Dr. Currans used the demon analogy. For you atheists and agnostics, good old Murphy and his crappy laws will suffice. If something can go wrong, it will. And it usually does.  Please don’t label me as a naysayer or petulant pessimist. That isn’t true.  I am frequently blinded by optimism.  So much, I can’t see reality. Or at the very least, I don’t prepare for reality.  

What keeps knocking you off balance? What overwhelms you?  What tests do you keep failing? What demons keep popping up like mad rodeo clowns? How many times have you shared a shot of whiskey with that no-good Murphy? 

I am well aware that everybody has challenges in their life. Heck, life is hard even for the rich and famous! But, I wasn’t aware that it’s just a given. Just expect it.  Stuff happens. Constantly.  Consistently. Sometimes congruently.  

It’s just like those signs on the side of the road that say ‘watch for falling rocks’.  It’s advice to be taken literally.

Links about Dr. Tom Curran:


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