Friday, July 09, 2010 

Is Your Life Working the Way You Want it to Be?

I love reading and sharing insightful, motivational articles. I think you will find this one extremely helpful in so many ways when it comes to you, your life and your music. Enjoy! -Madalyn

by Jack Canfield

Is your life working? When things happen in the world that seem so far beyond our individual control, it can feel unsettling.

But don’t give up on your goals and dreams just because “the time isn’t good”... you can still make 2010 the year you uncover a whole new you for the better!

Even in tough times, you get to decide how to respond to certain conditions, opportunities, and outcomes—both good and bad.

Life will always be a series of choices and YOU get to decide on what will move you closer to your goals, or farther away from them. External forces will always be part of the equation, even during the good times when the world is thriving.

When people ask me about the single most important ingredient to success, I always share the same response: realizing what’s making you achieve success, and then realizing what is stifling your success.

Sometimes recognizing the things that are NOT working in your life can be painful, yet VERY powerful to shaping the life you want.

Don’t try to rationalize them, make excuses for them, or hide them. This is when it’s even more critical to take personal inventory and evict those excuses, rationalizations, and hidden habits that don’t serve you. These things will keep you from the life you want to be living. Let me give you some examples. Ask yourself if you relate to any of these questions:

Do you want to be active, fit, and strong? Then you have to stop making excuses about your weight, diet choices, and lack of exercise.

Do you want to be in a loving relationship based on friendship and respect? Then you have to stop rationalizing why you and your partner are not communicating well.

Do you want to embrace Monday mornings and feel excited about going to work every day? Then you have to stop hiding your true passions and go after whatever it is you really want to be doing day in and day out.

Do you want to lose the debt forever? Then you have to stop ignoring your spending habits and get real about a creating budget that will pull you out of debt and allow you to reach financial freedom.

Do you want to feel more connected to the people in your life, such as your children, friends, and colleagues? Then you have to stop complaining about your poor relationships and figure out why you don’t feel as connected as you’d like to be.

These things can be painful to look at because the truth is that you have to do something about them in order to make it work in your life.

You’ll have to say no to the second helping of dinner and the dessert to follow and go through the action steps to get into shape... You’ll have to confront your partner about the areas that need work... You’ll have to get past fears about changing your job or professional path... You’ll have to cut back on your spending and be a bit more frugal... You’ll have to take a good hard look at your personal relationships and perhaps consider your own shortfalls and weaknesses in communicating your needs and concerns.

Plain and simple, you will have to do something uncomfortable.

Successful people don't waste time in denial (or complain or make excuses for that matter). They face situations like a warrior. They look for the warning signs, they find out why things aren’t working, and they go about fixing them- even when fixing requires problem solving, hard work, risk, and a level of uncertainty.

It’s okay to identify a problem even though you haven’t a clue about how to go about solving it right away.

The first step is just recognizing the issue, and then having faith that you’ll figure it out with careful attention to it. That’s how successful people live—in constant focus on goals, on results, on problem solving, and on the actions that get them to where they want to be.

Following are three things to do constantly in pursuit of your goals and dreams, however big or small:

* Awareness: Keep your awareness on the feedback you are getting from life and decide to address the situations immediately. Don’t bottle up feedback, cast it aside, and avoid it like you would a pile of dirty laundry or a stack of unopened bills. Life tells you things every day. Do this. Don’t do that. Think about this. Try me. Forget that. We live in a world that seemingly encourages us to live on autopilot. Successful people fly manually every day and so should you. When those feedback signals come in, listen to them and use them in planning your next step.

* Commitment: Commit to finding out why things aren’t working and learn what will fix them. Once you start the process it will be much easier to continue. Nothing fruitful stems from inaction.

* Trust: Trust that making changes to the situation will ultimately bring about the best results. Sure you might go through a bit of discomfort during the change, and some unlikely or unwanted outcomes, but in the end you will triumph!

So are you ready to admit the things that just are not working out?

Make a list of the things in your life that are working against your success and ask how the situation can be improved. Commit to tackling just one of those issues and be brave!

If you need help organizing those “things” in your life, try using the following list of categories. I recommend reflecting on each of the 7 areas and ask yourself, what’s not working here in each one and then brainstorm 3 potential solutions.

1.) Financial Goals, 2) Career/Business Goals, 3.) Free Time/Family Time, 4.) Health/Appearance Goals, 5.) Relationship Goals, 6.) Personal Growth 7.) Making a Difference

Remember, by facing what is not working, you can only improve your life!

© 2010 The Canfield Training Group
All Rights Reserved.

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at:

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Monday, July 05, 2010 

GoGirls Interview with Karen and Amy Jones

by Madalyn Sklar

What drives your music? When did you first know you had to do this thing called music or bust?

[Karen] We’ve both been involved in music since we can remember – we were in band and choir and did the whole drama club thing. We’re 6 years apart though, so Amy always did her own thing and I did mine. We both went to college for music and started playing guitar and writing songs there. I was in a few bands (one was called Dirtnugget – how awesome is that?) and totally dug it, but we never really considered becoming professional, performing musicians until after college, when we moved home and started playing and writing together in 2006.

[Amy] When Karen and I first started playing together, it was an interesting experience because we have two distinct writing styles. We actually listen to a lot of the same music, but when it comes to songwriting, we pull inspiration from very different places. That’s actually become a driving force for us, because we have a lot of diversity in our sound. Karen tends to write more radio-friendly songs while I like to throw in weird chord progressions and more abstract melodic lines. So it’s the best of both worlds. In the end though, it’s really all about the harmonies and vocals.

Describe your music style and name three musicians you have been inspired by and why.

[Amy] We hate to pigeon-hole ourselves into any one genre, because I think we have a unique sound that comes from the combination of our melodies, harmonies and songwriting styles.

[Karen] The best way to describe our sound is "harmony-driven acoustic rock." Our original songs definitely lean toward the mellow side of rock, but we are raging rocker chicks at heart.

Three Inspirations and Why:
Tori Amos – she doesn’t strive to write the perfect song, she just writes and performs from her gut and doesn’t give a sh*t what anybody else thinks about it.
Alice In Chains – the harmonies are crazy good and the songs simply rock (with Layne and after Layne).
A Perfect Circle –the way Maynard constructs his melodies and fits the lyrics in is mind-blowing.

What’s your ideal venue atmosphere?

[Karen] We love outdoor festivals and that kind of thing. You don’t have to worry about bringing 30 friends to meet a quota – hate that!

[Amy] We like any place where there are appreciative, music-loving people.

Describe how your music career has evolved since you first started performing.

[Karen] When we started performing together in 2006, we were playing open mics and had one or two shows scheduled the entire year. Which was fine, because we weren’t ready. The next year, we increased our booking to something like 30 gigs and in 2008 and 2009, we played over 200 shows and really started to increase our fan base and improve our live show.

[Amy] Our goal in the coming year is to concentrate on booking more quality venues and plan our first regional tour in the Northeast.

How would you describe the music scene in your area?

[Amy] It’s decent. We live 4 blocks away from where Musikfest is held, which is one of the largest annual music festivals in the country. Now if only we could get booked there…

[Karen] There’s a healthy amount of interest in the arts in general in eastern Pennsylvania. And we’re an hour from Philadelphia and New York City, so there are plenty of places to play.

What was the inspiration for your latest release?

[Karen] We released our debut album, Daphne in Winter, in July 2009. It’s a collection of 8 original songs and is a good introduction to our sound. It started off as an acoustic project, but once we got into the studio, we decided to add more instrumentation to the tracks. It’s awesome to hear our songs with bass and drums!

[Amy] The inspiration for the album title came from a Greek myth about a nymph who is pursued by Apollo. In order to escape him, she turns herself into a tree. I heard this story and got this picture in my mind of this lonely tree on a winter landscape being buried by snow and it made me sad. A lot of our songs deal with broken relationships and emotions, and on some level we just identified with Daphne, in winter.

What do you think is number one for a musician to think about before preparing for a CD project and do you have any tips on saving time in the studio?

The number one most important thing in our opinion is to know how you want your album or song to sound, and if you don’t have the experience or knowledge to create that sound, do some research and find a producer who will help you get there. Number two would be time management. We were naïve and thought we would just go in and start recording and come out with a radio-ready album in a few sessions. We quickly learned that it doesn’t quite work that way and wasted a lot of time figuring it out in the studio. The best advice we can give is to outline what you want to accomplish in advance, know which songs you want to record (and have a few backups just in case), and know those songs backwards and forwards.

What makes or breaks a musician just starting out in your opinion? What advice would you offer up and coming artists that get discouraged other than don’t give up?

It’s easy to get discouraged or lose motivation – this business is built around constant rejection. Just do what you do, do it well and don’t worry about what the band over there is doing.

Tell us something you want the music world to know about you.

We have strong vocals and interesting harmonies and can back up what we do in the studio in our live shows.

What have you gotten out of being a member of the GoGirls community?

We’ve been GoGirls Elite members since 2007. We were fortunate to be chosen for a spot on their 2008 compilation CD and have received some good performance opportunities through them. Madalyn really seems to care about her members and stays current on the latest trends and offers great social networking tips!

Learn more about Karen and Amy Jones at:
Official website:

Copyright © 2010 Madalyn Sklar/

Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach & consultant, blogger, social networks expert and author. She has spent over 14 years helping independent musicians and music business professionals achieve greater success in the biz. Her motto is: working smarter not harder. She also founded, the oldest + largest online community of indie women musicians.

You can reach Madalyn at or madalynsklar AT



    Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach & consultant, blogger, social networks expert and author. She has spent over 15 years helping independent musicians and music business professionals achieve greater success. Her motto is: working smarter not harder. She also founded, the oldest + largest online community of indie women musicians.

    Madalyn's Sites:
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    contact: madalynsklar(at)


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