* Lessons learned from people I’ve met-Part 3


oil wellIn November, 1946, Imperial Oil sent Vern “Dry Hole” Hunter to Leduc, Alberta to set up a drilling rig on Mike Turta’s farm. For 10 weeks of freezing weather, his crew drilled to the depth of 1,544 metres – with no success. The men wanted “to give up, but Hunter had them drill just one more metre.”  On Friday, February 13th, they hit the gusher that began Alberta’s post-war oil boom. *

What does this true story have to do with my own experience? It’s all about that extra step. I have a very small story about someone I met a couple of months ago that illustrates the point.

On February 14th,  my husband and I leisurely drove around Lake Muskoka, arriving in Bracebridge, Ontario in late afternoon, both of us a bit cranky with hunger – we hadn’t yet had lunch.

On the outskirts of town, he suggested we stop at the local Harvey’s/Swiss Chalet for a quick bite. I refused.


Click on design by NJ

“Look,” I said, “it’s Valentine’s Day, we tried to book a dinner at our two favourite restaurants. We were disappointed that they were each closed for the season.  So, I’m happy to prepare a dinner at home; but, the last thing I want now is a quick bite of fast food even though I’m really, really hungry. Let’s make this a bit more romantic and pleasurable.”

He agreed. We parked on the main street and walked down its hill and and then back up looking for an imaginary little shop, quaint in decor, clean, inviting, with loving home-cooked meals and decent, caring staff. We found stores closed (a sign of the times) and cafes that promised good food but didn’t deliver it. 

Colder, much more tired and much crabbier, we ended standing next to the car, ready to get in and drive home. “Let’s just go up the hill a bit and see if there’s something new there,” I suggested. To his credit, my husband again agreed.

Fine Thymes restaurant window. Bracebridge, Ontario

Fine Thymes restaurant window. Bracebridge, Ontario

Just one shop further up the hill we found it! Hestitatingly, we opened its door, stepped into the warmth and  the delicious aromas of home-cooked soups and baked goods of the Fine Thymes Restaurant and Tea-Room.

Proprietor Elizabeth welcomed us and waved us to a table next to  the picture window overlooking the street. There was obvious attention to detail in every corner. Tables and walls were even decorated with red hearts, honouring the day. As soon as we sat down, the proprietor welcomed us with complimentary hot, pink drinks served in small glasses.

We ordered freshly made soups, sandwiches, and salads. Elizabeth used unusal ingredients and herbs. Food was delicious. Since it was late in the afternoon, we chatted until closing time with her and her partner Claude about their backgrounds, business, fishing, and travelling. It was such a delightful time to spend with lovely people – and we made a newfound discovery to recommend to all our friends!

 Lessons Learned

1. To achieve any goal, identify what you want, and why.

2. Persevere to find/get what you’re looking for.

(To read about and listen to Episode 4 about Perseverance, the creative theme of my talk radio interview with Neil Doctorow, turn on your speakers and click here)

3. Often, getting to your goal means taking just one more step.

Creatively Yours,



LINKS:Website: http://www.ignitingimagination.com

Internet Radio Show: http://blogtalkradio.com/igniting-imagination

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nelliejacobs

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/nelliejacobs

Twitter: http://twitter.com/nelliejacobs


* From the National Post newspaper, Friday, February 13, 2009.

* Lessons learned from people I met this past week …Part 2

Wednesday: Experience # 2

coffee-2Before I’d  left on this walk, before the rain, my daughter-in-law had suggested I might drop into a Starbucks for a warm drink and order water in a cup with a lid and straw for her toddler son. Her idea appealed to me now: the rain was picking up – and so was the wind.

And I knew the din indoors would wake up my grandson; it was way too early for him to be napping. Lord knows I didn’t want to upset his schedule.

Lesson Learned #1. Sometimes, the doors to friendship and new experiences open unexpectedly; we just have to be aware and receptive.

Looking through the window, I could see a crowd. Where would the stroller fit? How would I manage? A woman who had been standing nearby reached forward to open the door for me. I hesitated, however. She looked down at the sleeping child and said, “I’m a bubie [grandmother], too.” And then she bent forward to look closer. “He’s cute!” So, naturally,  I walked in and she followed me.


We struck up a conversation. She was waiting for a friend who was late. I got drinks for me and my grandson, who had indeed woken up,  and we sat together on a stool facing the street, next to my new acquaintance. She proudly showed me pictures of her own grandson and daughter and told me their names.

Lesson Learned #2. As in talk radio show interviews, if you show real interest, people like to share their stories.*

We began talking. Within moments, I learned she

  • was interested in creativity, innovation and technology;
  • had just returned from attending the recent TED** conference in California;
  • was a founding board member of  Save A Child’s Heart (SACH)***
  • was a photographer whose photos were part of Sach’s exhibition “Art to Heart“;
  • was trained as a clown; and
  • was a writer and entrepreneur.

After twenty minutes of spirited conversation, it was nearing my granson’s lunchtime. I had to go. My new friend Debra Silver and I exchanged cards.

Her friend never arrived. Neither of us had been to that coffee shop before.

Lesson Learned #3. Rather than six degrees of separation between us – as I have already written in an article – there is ‘Just One Degree to Connection‘ with anyone. We just have to explore what it might be.

That evening I e-mailed Debra saying how much I enjoyed our conversation. She immediately replied with an invitation to join her the next day for casual dinner with female friends and family at her loft home downtown. I went, and experienced a marvellous evening with lovely people.

Evening at the home of Debra Silver

A pleasant evening with a new friend. Photo: Debra Silver

At the end of the visit, I thanked her for opening the door to the coffee shop and  then to her life. (I like metaphors.)

Creatively Yours,

Nellie Jacobs


Through her Igniting Imagination programs and services, creativity consultant Nellie Jacobs stimulates creative-thinking, providing tools to individuals, organizations and companies to help ‘mine’ hidden or latent human resources for the personal and professional betterment of all.

All Igniting Imagination with Nellie Jacobs talk radio episodes are numbered and archived for your listening pleasure, inspiration and convenience at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Igniting-Imagination.

Seasons 1 and 2 guest photos, profiles, topics and links to their episodes are posted on at www.ignitingimagination.com. Just follow the links.

Twitter:@nelliejacobs                                                                                                                    Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/nelliejacobs


** TED’s goal is to foster the spread of great ideas. From it’s website: “TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader…”

***  From it’s website: “An Israeli-based international humanitarian project, whose mission is to improve the quality of pediatric cardiac care for children from developing countries who suffer from heart disease and to create centers of competence in these countries. SACH is totally dedicated to the idea that every child deserves the best medical treatment available, regardless of the child’s nationality, religion, color, gender or financial situation.” 

* International Appreciation and Acknowledgement Day (IAAD) – November 1

igniting-imagination-logo3In several of our radio interviews, guests have repeatedly emphasized the need to show appreciation to and acknowledge the people we meet who are kind, supportive or impact posivitively upon us. In fact, a couple of years ago I wrote an article about doing this every day or actually setting aside a specific day to show our appreciation. Here is a repeat of that article:

– November 1 – International  Appreciation & Acknowledgement  Day (IAAD)

Those who do not appreciate or acknowledge the value of family, friends and colleagues cannot achieve their fullest potential. – Nellie Jacobs

Much too often, we tend not to truly acknowledge or show our appreciation to the people who are kind, contribute or matter the most to us. If we all would take the time to do it, the world would be a much, much better place. If you made a list of all those people, how long might that be? Think about the last time you said thanks to:

• The steadfast friend who keeps your secrets
• The volunteers who work so diligently towards the success of your cause
• The parent or siblings who provide unwavering commitment
• The caring uncles and aunts who keep in touch
• The devoted friends and relatives who celebrate your joys and successes as well as share your sorrows and disappointments
• The grandparents who delight in your every achievement
• The loving step-parent to your child
• The co-worker who shows you the way
• The attendants or colleagues who step beyond the call of duty
• The teachers who share their knowledge, passions and interests
• The strangers who offer a lending hand
• The in-laws who open their home and hearts to you and yours

Incorporate acknowledgement and appreciation into your daily life. Sending an email to your list, especially forwarding a chain letter composed by someone else, isn’t very personal. Much more meaningful is specific expression of your thanks to the individual in person, by phone, card or letter.

Say what you mean and mean what you say. For example, “I just want to tell you that I appreciate what you have done.” Acknowledge specifically what that might be. Thank them for adding so much to your life, for helping out, for being so supportive, for introducing you to your partner, their friends, their network or your job.

Say it simply.

Nine words such as “Thank you for being a part of my life,” can have powerful ramifications for both giver and receiver. So, too, can small gestures of appreciation. My friend Barbara regularly brings flowers to her mother. “I’d rather see her joy when I hand them to her in person rather than afterwards place them at her graveside.” She’s treated a neighbour to lunch in thanks for the introduction to a new group of friends. Every now and then, any member of B.K.’s family wins a coveted family “Award” for special achievement. With no monetary value or trophy, it is more valued than any other award received.

Set aside a time this day, week, month or year to offer your appreciation. From that moment on, make a point to offer thanks immediately. For those of you who need reminding, annually mark November 1 on your calendar as IAAD.

Nellie Jacobs
Founding Chair, International Acknowledgement & Appreciation Day Committee.
Author. Artist. Creativity Consultant. Member, Creative Coaching Association.

Website: www.nelliejacobs.com

Radio talk show: www.blogtalkradio.com/igniting-imagination

*Announcing the Launch of “Igniting Imagination with Nellie Jacobs” Internet BlogTalkRadio show


Live Broadcast: Thursdays, 10-11 am EST/7-8 am PST


Nellie Jacobs

Nellie Jacobs

On October 13, 2008 I  joined the burgeoning front ranks of Internet radio hosts with the launch of my weekly Internet talk radio show “Igniting Imagination with Nellie Jacobs,” broadcast live on Thursdays at 10-11 am EST, 7-8 am PST.

 Why take on such a vast new project at a stage in life when most people are either retiring or winding down?

I believe I offer an essential service to people. In these tough times, most everyone needs to look at new opportunities, possibilities and solutions in very creative ways. 


My intention was to provide a forum for interaction and communication of creative ideas, resources and personal experiences. This was all researched, planned and in place well before the current devastating economic downturn.


My expectation was to feature creativity academics and specialists as well as creative business people and ‘extra’ordinary individuals. Each program would focus on a creative topic of the week. The show would entertain, educate, inspire and creatively stimulate listeners worldwide.


Power of the Internet

I quickly realized that the best way reach a wide, international audience was through the Internet. The promotion material of Voice America states that Internet radio listeners are estimated to total 90 million Americans, a number that is growing quickly (having quadrupled in 3 years) and account for 42% of online spending.


Research and Choices

When I decided to take my message online, I spent months researching the Internet radio marketplace and found dozens of networks such as Alltalkradio and syndicate Talkzone offering various packages to potential hosts.


The ‘catch’ of course is that hosts must  buy airtime in exchange for some training, a show producer, support systems and framework for promotion – depending on the package. The concept is somewhat similar to vanity publishing except that networks and each host partner share their show’s revenue – according to a sliding scale, depending on who is the initiator of advertisers.


Networks package prices are wide-ranging, starting from LA Talk Radio‘s $69 (US) per episode. Voice America’s basic program begins at $6700 (US) for a 13 week pilot series with additional options which include streaming video and E-commerce. Networks such as WS Radio also require hosts to buy their audio equipment.


Committed to the idea, I waivered about the quality of sound, the true support I’d get and, most definitely I worried about making a very costly commitment to something I didn’t know would work. And then, just  about to take a chance with one network at high cost, I surfed the web one last time and discovered BlogTalkRadio.


Similar to written blogs which are available to anyone who signs up, BlogTalkRadio offers virtually free access to broadcasting online. The site’s features compare very favourably with networks that charge fees. Co-founded in 2006 by CEO Alan Levy and COO Bob Charish, it has grown by leaps and bounds. Thousands of BlogTalkRadio hosts broadcast their shows daily, weekly or monthly. Hosts can also opt into a program offering shared revenue of advertising.



What I like about this system is that we hosts are in control. During our shows both switchboard and chat line pop up on our computer screens. We can click on icons to open lines for callers and mute them when necessary.


Although there are inevitable technical glitches, especially with a new system, for me it’s worth the effort.



In fact, I tend to spend hours preparing guests for their show, pre-interviewing them, making notes, writing up a press release and developing a three to four page script used as a guideline.


I see this enterprise as a partnership. Each step of the way is discussed and everything I write about the upcoming interview and in the script is shared with the guest beforehand. I want listeners to get the most possible for tuning in. What’s amazing is that each guest more than buys into the concept. That’s what makes this whole, labour-intensive process so exciting. 



Each hour-long episode is divided into four parts:


Part 1: Guests reveal relevant tidbits about their background; the road they took to get to this point in their lives; their reasoning, influences, support systems, mentors, heroes; and how this all relates to creative topic of the day.


Part 2: Guests discuss in more detail their specialty, their objectives/purpose, what they offer or have available for listeners.


Part 3: Guests expand on a ten point list of ‘hints, suggestions and lessons learned’ they develop exclusively for their episode.


 Part 4: Phone and chat lines are open for questions and discussion.


I chose the time of day specifically so it can be accessed live by virtually anyone, anywhere. Statistics indicate that listening is highest during work hours when terrestrial listening is reduced. 41% listen for 3 hours or more. Listeners can phone in, chat and email to live shows.



Immediately after airing, each show is archived. Listeners can tune into archived shows at their leisure anytime. Archived episodes can be converted to podcasts, sent to ITunes, and uploaded to desktops, websites and blogs. Most of my followers listen to archived shows.



In addition to BlogTalkRadio technical staff, a support network of its hosts help each other find solutions to problems they encounter. I’ve learned to edit episodes using Audacity, a free program downloaded after finding out about it through the host listserv.


Every step of the way has been an enormous learning curve; however, I creative-x-spot-toolboxlove the challenge. You have to really like figuring things out and being in charge. This system is perfect for me. 


This show is another device in the Creative X-Spot® Toolbox I’ve developed to stimulate people’s creative thinking and doing.



To market the show, I write a weekly e-newsletter detailing that week’s episode, its guest and upcoming events. I send it to my list, media and organizations. My guests also forward it to their networks. I also created this weblog in which I write about issues related to the interviews and  include links, In addition, I post show announcements on a myriad of online social networks.


Guest Profiles

Guests are vibrant, imaginative personalities who share their knowledge, passions, experience and expertise in exciting ways. This show provides a wonderful opportunity to spotlight incredibly talented, multi-faceted individuals who have so much to offer. Many of them might otherwise not have had the platform to share so many aspects of what they know with so vast an audience.  These are ordinary ‘real’ people – very much like you and me – who work diligently, often overcoming  considerable challenges, roadblocks and economic downturns to follow their passions and achieve their dreams. 


I’m proud to say that every single one of my guests is more than willing to share his/her life stories and reveal their creative secrets. Each one generously offers loads of stimulating practical advice, ideas, suggestions and lessons learned. Anyone can identify with the issues discussed during these shows. Everyone who listens is sure to be inspired in one way or another.


For the roster of past and upcoming dynamic guests and topics, visit either my BlogTalk Radio site or my own website.


Each episode is truly a fantastic free seminar to ignite the imagination of audiences worldwide.


Still Life with Candles

Still Life with Candles


Creativity Consultant Nellie Jacobs is an award-winning artist and best-selling author whose programs and books stimulate creative thinking and doing.





For more information about Nellie’s radio show, criteria for guests, programs and to sign up for Igniting Imagination with Nellie Jacobs weekly e-newsletter, visit www.ignitingimagination.com.

* Poll: Wall of Fear

So many of us are stopped from achieving projects, goals and potential because of what I depict as bricks making up our personal Wall of Fear. Your fears are not unique to you. Which fears are most common? Please contribute to my survey: you are welcome to fill in the ‘bricks’ that relate to you in the poll below.

Wall of Fear

Thank you.