Michelle Micalizzi, Artist
All Rights Reserved
My muse this week is freelance editor Margaret Quinn. She has been a technical writer and copy editor her entire career working for companies such as First Data, eCornell, CommerceHub, Documentation Strategies, Janus Financials, and CORESense. She specializes in documentation creation/editing/management; training, and communications. Margaret (a.k.a. Peg) lives and works in Saratoga Springs, NY with her adorable fat kitty, Daisy! She is part of a large, uber-smart Irish family that loves to laugh and is predominately compromised of redheads.
Peg and I met in 1986 when we both answered an advertisement for a room available to rent at 592 Madison Avenue in Albany, New York. We had both just transferred to the State University of New York at Albany as sophomores, and had consciously decided to not to live on campus. Previously, I had shared a room with two roommates outside of Boston while at Bridgewater State College the first semester of my freshman year. The second semester, I lived with my folks who had just moved to Poughkeepsie from Vermont while I attended Poughkeepsie Community College so I could establish residency in New York State. Peg had lived at home her freshman year while attending Orange County Community College. Both of us were without a doubt ready for a room of our own where we could spread our wings.
I remember meeting Peg thirty-two years ago this month with photographic recall. I always have a vivid memory of the moments I have locked eyes with my life changers. I do not think either Peg or I would have been able to say that more than three decades later that we would still be best friends. We certainly could not have possibly known all the pivotal moments of our lives that we would stand by one another, or just how hard we would laugh together. However, we both knew that there was something very special about our friendship from the beginning.
My father always told me that if you are blessed with one truly good friend you are lucky. I am doubly lucky because I have been blessed with two best friends. Those of you who have two besties know I can’t worship one bestie without mentioning the other, if ever so briefly. Misty Grassley and I met eighteen years ago last June. I have a similar photo recall memory of our meeting for coffee in the summer of 2000. Peg and Misty are not just my best friends; they are soul family. As a single, only child with no children of my own – soul family is bar none the absolutely most important thing in my life.
Almost five years ago I got off the plane from NYC to Arizona with the idea for the Art of Fearlessly Doing Business. Once I landed, my first call was to Peg to share with her my idea. During the call, she intelligently and completely listened to every detail of my idea while interjecting thoughtful questions and commentary. Previous similar conversations have gone on for hours and hours. I have had a lot of ideas over the course of our friendship; some were great ideas, some not so much, while others were absolutely disastrous. Usually, I just go about the implementation of the idea but this time I asked Peg, “Would you mind reading the blogs I write and give me some feedback?” Peg quickly said, “OF COURSE!!”
EIGHTY blogs and five years later…. Peg has not only read but she has also edited every word I have written. That in and of itself would be just amazing… but what is even more amazing is that Peg has spent countless hours on the phone with me brainstorming, offering encouragement and reassurance, while being the voice of reason and comic relief. She has literally cheered me on every step of the way. I mean EVERY step of the way. Never could I EVER repay her for the service she has done for me. Not just as my editor but as the best friend a girl could ever ask for.
At every opening, Peg has sent either a vase of flowers or a spa gift certificate. Really? How did I get so dang lucky!? Everyone gets a couple great breaks in life, and hands down, Peg has been one of my biggest great breaks! She will have to suck it up and listen to me love her out loud for all to hear and see even for THIS, our EIGHTY FIRST blog.
By the way, all the blogs will eventually become a series of books that we are working on re-editing for book format. We have our work cut out for us with an amazing five books in the gate ready to be re-worked. Peg will receive a percentage of profits from all books and print on demand sales. So, I hope you all buy the books and prints once they become available, mostly so I can write this incredible woman and the Fearless charities checks! I love to send checks!
Personally, Peg and I have been through all the highs and lows of our lives together. She has literally stood by my side, as I have hers, through all the big moments of our lives. We know what each other’s triggers are, and we know the soft underbelly parts of one another completely. I never fear that Peg will intentionally hurt me and she feels the same way about me. I do not think the English language could ever do justice with how I feel about Peg. I am just so incredibly blessed to have her in my life; she is priceless to me. I cannot imagine a world without her in it.
I know that the two of us will be sitting on a porch as old ladies one day and I will thank her once again that I lived a life worth living because she has encouraged me to become my very best self. Peg has always believed in me completely. Her generosity of spirit has repeatedly saved my life as well as my faith in human nature. When I have been at my lowest or in my darkest places, she has been there to hold up my head when I cannot hold it up for myself. One of the reasons I am capable of being “Fearless” is because Peg has my back no matter what.
There really are just not enough words to express how much I love and respect this special woman that I am so blessed to be loved by so completely. For those of you who have a person in your life like Peg… you know what I mean. We are the lucky ones.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM MARGARET ABOUT BEING FEARLESS?
Peg was the English major. I was the Art major. One of the biggest things that initially struck me about Peg is how much she loved to read. As an English major, she had a ton more reading than I had to do, and she loved every bit of it. The more we read the better we write. It is just a fact. READ as much as you can and expand your mind and your vocabulary.
2. Be Detail Driven
Peg is a detail girl. She looks at the details and deeply considers them. Whether she is making a decision for herself, me, her siblings, or her other buddies; she seriously considers the specifics. This is an invaluable asset for me as I initiate each project. With her editor hat on; I have had the confidence that she will not only be detail driven – she is detail driven about MY details. Peg has never changed my message or my tone in any of the work she has done for me or my Fearless clients who I have referred her to. I can count on Peg to clean up MY message, not turn my words into her message. This skill is an invaluable resource for a creative such as myself. She catches the things I miss and supports the message I am trying to convey while keeping her agenda off my page. It is truly extraordinary how she does that!
3. Take the Hit
Peg has had to walk away from some stuff too. After exhaustive research, she has had to put her hands down by her sides, stop fighting and just take the hit. This very act is what makes us truly fearless. We know from having done the work and taken the hits of life that we can take a hit again. As the saying goes “Life becomes limitless when once becomes fearless!” For the record, surrendering to the rollercoaster ride is not for wimps!
4. Hold Others Up
As an overall good human, daughter, sister, friend, employee, and editor; Peg is an expert at holding others up to their own light. She has been my biggest fan, my most trusted resource, my most impartial advisor, and a steadfast advocate for more than half of my life. I see her behave this way in every area of her life. She is a blessing to all those she loves and works with. When we keep the focus on how we can serve we are able to be brave!
5. Love Has Your Back
The biggest thing that Peg has taught me by how she loves me is that one CAN be fearless when REAL love has your back. At the end of the day it is not the things we learn in school, it is not the strength we earn from being on the battlefield of life, it is not the balance in our bank accounts – it is the unconditional, no matter what people in our lives who we know ALWAYS have our back that make us truly fearless. Everything can be lost but when we are loved like Peg loves me and like I love her – we know we still got this!
Thank you so much Peg for being the woman you are, for helping me to be the woman I am always becoming. THANK YOU for every second you have spent making me look good in this blog and for every moment you have listened to every good, bad and ugly idea I have ever had; and witnessing every life event I have ever gone through. It is my honor that you are one of the Fearless 7 for this series. I did not expect you to make the trip from Saratoga here but if you can – that would be super cool!!!
I made a different painting for Peggy this week…… and the more I worked on it the more I knew it was not the right image.
I thought a painting of our first apartment together was the image. I spent a week making the work….. and on Friday night I looked atit and knew….. shoot…. that is not “it”. I stepped back and looked at what I had come up with and said out loud. “Shit! This piece looks forced and it’s not genuine….. I have to start again….. “
I then just tried to get a good night’s sleep. So, I could crank out something else in the morning. I tossed and turned for hours and woke up not rested. Sigh…..
On Saturday morning, I dragged my feet…. And then I knew…. I’d already made the painting in my last series.
The below story perfectly describes how Peggy and I have worked on this project. The reason I cannot feel comfortable about the image I painted this week is because I already made Peggy’s piece, when she and I brainstormed together for the piece that was inspired by my interview with Chuck Trautman. (See below.)
When I reread the illustrations story while I had coffee…. I laughed and we all know that when I laugh I have the right image.
Peggy loves this piece so I know she’ll be thrilled to have it!
Thank you Chuck Trautman,CEO & Founder of the Arizona Marketing Association for giving Peg and I excellent material to work with!
CHUCK’S ILLUSTRATION’S STORY | Originally Posted on
How I arrived at the magnetic compass, as a symbol is another perfect example of how the mastermind model works.
I have to share that this week has been a stressful one for me as a result I have been feeling substantially drained. It is hard to come up with the next idea when I am in that drained state.
When I am drained with a deadline and stuck, I pick up the phone and I start to call the members of my Mastermind group. My best friend Peggy, who is also my editor, is always first on my list. Peggy has been my best friend for thirty-two years. She knows my heart and I know hers. We are one another’s biggest fans and when life gets nutty, we have one another’s back. She is one of my biggest assets and I am beyond blessed to love and be loved by her.
As I paced around my backyard with Peggy on the phone, like I have so many times before, she sat in her living room in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. watching yet more snow falling. (Enough already mother nature!) She listened to where my brainstorm had gotten me so far with Chuck’s image. I had spent a day with the panel ready to be painted and still had no clue of what to put on it.
I knew the idea for this illustration came from magnets and the concept of repelling versus attracting. I was learning a lot about magnets but realized that magnets were not the full solution, only part of the solution. I mentioned to Peggy that it’s interesting that every magnet has a North and South Pole. If you put the like poles together (N+N or S+S) they repel one another. If you put opposite poles together (N+S) they attract. I continued in stating that I imagine that is where the phrase “opposites attract” comes from. However, in Chuck’s opinion we are looking for the right people or like-minded people. Ultimately, as entrepreneurs, we are not looking for love; we are looking for business.
Peggy made the suggestion of leveraging the idea and concept of having a “true north.” I liked what she had to say right away because Peggy and I often tell one another we are each other’s true north. When either of us starts to forget what we are really all about, the other redirects us back to our “True North” – our truest self. Then Peggy reminded me that a compass is magnetic. I don’t think I ever really thought about it but of course a compass is magnetic. When she said that I laughed and those of you who have been following this series know that when I laugh, I know I have the idea.
Then I started to research compasses and got excited. As it turns out, there are a few norths: The North Magnetic Pole, the Geographic North Pole and the North Geomagnetic Pole. What’s even more interesting is that these norths actually change over time, and depending on where you are on the globe. The resulting fact is that compasses have magnetic declination or variation. Isn’t this just like life. We get ourselves locked into a direction and then something changes that requires us to shift our direction sometimes mildly and at other times more dramatically. Our clients are changing, we are changing, the world is changing, which means that in order for us to get our clients and associates to take the action we want them to take, we have to be paying attention.
Chuck states that we have to know who we are and where we are going in order to stand behind our business. In other words, we have to have a true north in order to succeed. However, our north is not static, it is ever moving which demands that we stay on our toes, and never stop monitoring our progress and educating ourselves. In order to find the right clients and associates, we have to tenaciously stay on our own path. A compass is the perfect symbol for Chuck because it is the device that helps us stay moving in the right direction by using the science of magnetism where we repel the wrong people and attract the right ones!
Thank you, Peggy, for always without question being my True North.
AoFDB IV – The Gratitude Series
November 15, 2018
7077 Main St., #5
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
CHARITY: The Phoenix Art Museum
In this gratitude series, the paintings are gifts to the featured business owners
and the sketches are for sale to the public and online at the Fearless Art Works eGallery.
Both the original work and the sketches will be on view for the opening.
25% of the proceeds from the sketches & 10% of profit
from print, retail & illustrated book sales
will benefit the Phoenix Art Museum.
Entrepreneurs and inspiring stories of all kinds are FEARLESSLY DELIVER’s muse and focus. As an artist, a business woman and a visual journalist Michelle Micalizzi paints with a purpose. The FEARLESS ART PROJECTS are collaborative social practice art engagements that connect art + business + community.
THE ART OF FEARLESSLY DOING BUSINESS (AoFDB) is an unprecedented and unique social practice project that celebrates the fearless entrepreneurial spirit by highlighting the stories of unique and fearless business leaders.Ten percent of all retails sales are donated to an art or business related charity every.
AoFDB IV features seven fearless entrepreneurs that have gone over and beyond their call of duty partnering with me on past four fearless art projects in one form or another.