I'd like you to meet Carole Ann Penney. For those of you who don't know Carole Ann, let me tell you, she is a woman worth knowing. Her wholesome Vermonter charm instantly makes you feel welcome when you're in her company. I first met Carole Ann when I sat in on her workshop at the PVD Lady Project Summit last April. She introduced me to the term "slasher," someone who when asked "what do you do?" cannot give one answer. She is responsible for helping me identify the thread that runs through all that I do as chief celebrator / communications specialist / lifestyle blogger / scrap booker / homemaker. That thread, you may of guessed, is celebration! I am incredibly grateful for Carole Ann's guidance and friendship. Read on to learn more about Carole Ann and what celebration means to her.
Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind Connect the Dots.
Connect the Dots was a business that chose me rather than me choosing it. As I completed my coaching certification and started taking on clients, I realized that every single person that came to me for coaching was a lady who had multiple gigs - sometimes more than one paying job, sometimes a side business or hobby, and sometimes meaningful volunteer service. My clients, like me, all express themselves and their values through more than a single-track career, and with that comes many opportunities and challenges - like staying balanced, feeling like a whole person rather than all divided up, and feeling a sense of direction in life.
Elevator pitch 1-2-3 go!
Connect the Dots is all about finding the thread - the you-ness - that connects everything that you do. It might feel like you have separate gigs that have nothing to do with each other, but the truth is that all of your interests come from you, and thus there must be a common thread. Through one-on-one coaching and group workshops, I help women uncover, articulate, and activate the thread that connects their separate identities - so that they can lead their lives from a place of purpose, balance, and wholeness. I have tools and skills that help ladies identify their values and sense of life purpose, and support them to intentionally create a life they love.
As you just shared, you are in the business of helping women celebrate everything that makes them who they are. How do you define "celebration"?
Celebrations can be big or small, formal or informal. It can be as big as a huge party, and as small as a happy dance in your office by yourself. Celebrating is a big part of the coaching process, because so many of us forget to pat ourselves on the back for all of the progress we’ve made - instead, we focus on how much further we need to go to get where we want to go. The ambitious, busy ladies that are my coaching clients are always striving towards the next great thing for themselves, so if they don’t take the time to stop and say “Wow, I’m killing it!” they’ll totally miss all of the amazing things that they’re achieving. And they deserve that happy dance!
You wrote recently about a new kind of New Year's resolution. Being that the new year begins next week, can you give us a few thoughts on how to approach goal setting in the new year?
There are a lot of strategies around New Year’s resolutions, but one key thing you can do is phrase your goals in the positive. In other words, make it about what you want rather than what you don’t want. Any goal can be phrased in the positive or negative - for example, “Stop spending so much money in coffee shops” can also be “Create a coffee station and practice at home that helps me save money for my dream vacation.” Phrasing it in the positive is a subtle difference, but it helps you tap into your sense of motivation and passion and lead with energy that pulls you toward your goal.
The mission of & celebrate is to inspire people to find something to celebrate every day. What little things in your business are you celebrating today?
This year, I realized my dream of hosting life coaching workshops for intimate groups of women around topics like creating a vision, choosing your guiding word for the year, and uncovering your inner compass. I’ve wanted to do it for a couple of years now, but was waiting for the perfect conditions: the perfect workshop site to make itself known to me and the ideas and plans for my full menu of workshop topics. Instead of waiting for perfection, one night I sent out an invitation for a workshop at my kitchen table. Since then, a menu of topics have unfolded and I’ve hosted workshops both at my kitchen table and the kitchen tables of amazing, inspiring ladies in Rhode Island. Earlier this month, Patsy and I announced a New Year’s workshop and it sold out within 48 hours! All this is to say: I’m celebrating the fact that I stopped waiting and put my passion out there, and that others are excited about the magic that happens when we gather together for these reflective and creative workshops.
Describe your favorite way to celebrate.
Lately, my favorite way is with cupcakes and tea or cocktails at the Duck & Bunny on Wickenden Street in Providence. It always feels festive and cute!