Happy December!

Happy December, everyone! I always feel so inspired at the beginning of the holiday season. My holiday planning begins on September 1 of every year. On this day, I make a four month work plan that covers all the things I have to do every single day until the end of the year. This kind of stay-ahead planning has helped my business to receive the most potential from the holiday season.you 

Here’s a quick holiday checklist questions to probe your good-will for the season:

–What will you be doing to thank your loyal customers?

–What will you you be doing to appreciate your employees?

–What will you be doing to help your business increase sales?

–What is one thing you will do to give back to your community?

–How will you decorate your environment and package your gifts?

Holiday season inspires me to new arts and crafts project or something that inspires my creatively. 

I can always tell Christmas is coming when I get my creative energies going. I’ve been staying up nights drawing, painting and glazing these beautiful ornaments to sell at our 12th annual Angels for the Animals fundraising month. When bought in my salon, proceeds will be donated to Pasado’s Safe Haven, Old Dog Haven, Ginger’s Pet Rescue and Precious Life Animal Sanctuary/

These ornaments are limited and now loaded up on my Artful Giving Shop You can click the SHOP tab above to view the creativity I’ve loaded for you.

I will be donating 10% of the proceeds to one of the four animal welfare organizations I support. I would love to hear what you’re planning on making this month – perhaps something for the holidays or a gift for a loved one?

PS- I will be unveiling an exciting new product in January that will get your creative juices going to step into a fulfilling and productive 2019!

Announcing the Opening of the Artful Giving Shop!

Beautiful Handmade Artwork Represents a Childhood Dream Come True.

 

 

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of sharing my art with the world. Today, I’m excited to announce that my dream has come true with the launch of my online gift store, the Artful Giving Shop. Browse the handmade cards, original artwork, and prints to see what sparks joy in your soul. Each piece arose from a place in my heart where those sparks were truly needed.

Handmade art restores creators, givers, and receivers. 
Happy days were scarce while growing up in Japan during the bleak days following the end of World War II. My fondest memories, were making colorful hand-made items using paper, yarn and scraps of Japanese fabrics. I sold them to the neighborhood kids in exchange for play money. I still remember the expressions of joy on their faces as they carefully picked out their choices from the handmade tags, cloth bean bags and origami folded candy wrappers while visiting my make-believe store. It made me feel special when Mother marveled at the array of artwork and craft items I created and exclaimed, “Keiko, wait and see. When you grow up, you will have your own gift store!”

At the age of 11, when my mother brought me to America, I began the arduous task of learning English and acclimating to the American school system. It was often difficult and humiliating, but when things got a little bit too hard for me to take, I always brought out my watercolor set and painted. Art was the one thing that uplifted my spirit, no matter how bad things were.

Artful Giving Shop was created to bring some of those magical moments that I have experienced. I’d love to have you visit my new on-line store, click on the SHOP tab above or go to www.artfulgivingshop.com. While browsing, I hope you find the perfect something that will bring you the same joy that I experienced while creating it.

When you buy my art, you are giving a helping hand to abused animals.

A 10% of proceeds from every sale will be donated  to rescue and rehabilitate abused farm and domestic animals.

 

www.pasadosafehaven.org    www.olddoghaven.org

 

Embracing Diversity in the Workplace

MANY CULTURES, ONE TEAM
Embracing Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity is essential for your small business because it increases productivity, promotes creativity, and develops a tight-knit culture within the workplace. As an advocate for workplace diversity, you are signaling to your employees and customers that you are open to a work environment that celebrates different perspectives and personalities that help to create a positive, open, and welcoming company based on mutual respect and understanding.

In my small business, our operations book, called the “Book of Kaizen,” dedicates an entire page to the slogan, “Many Cultures, One Team.” I am convinced that my business is richer because we’ve succeeded in combining the talents of many different people: persons of color, a diverse mix of cultural backgrounds, ex-military personnel, people with disabilities, millennials to retired seniors, gays, and lesbians. Applying and supporting this belief system and staying committed to hiring this culturally-rich group of employees has made my business what it is today – a business that is embraced and supported by the surrounding community.

Here are three tips that I have found are useful in promoting diversity in small businesses:

1. Stop and Suspend Judgement

Business owners sometimes hate to admit it, but most have built-in biases and stereotypes that are triggered when they venture into unfamiliar territory. They immediately shut down and pass judgement on people who are different. It is time to remove those filters and start entering into relationships with an open mind.

2. Listen and Learn

When you initially meet, take the time to earnestly converse with potential employees by asking pertinent questions. By this, I mean peeling back the onion into deeper layers versus just staying with the top layers of shallow conversation. Ask them about their life, cultural beliefs, and what’s important to them. You will be surprised how much you learn about their different perspectives.

3. Invite Employee Contributions

I believe that everyone has the capability of making positive contributions to our society. As a business owner, one of your responsibilities is to help everyone uncover the unique gifts that your employees didn’t realize they had. Help them to raise their self-esteem and watch how their personal lives blossom!

The people who ultimately grow through this process are you and the employees in your business. Diversity in the workplace can translate into diversity in your customer base. Our society is a melting pot of people with different backgrounds, so why not make all people feel comfortable doing business for you and with you?

Next Steps…
Now that I have provided some of my thoughts about diversity, what are the kinds of things that you can do? Take a few moments and write down some steps that you can take to move towards cultural diversity in both your life and business:

1.___________________________________________________________________
2.___________________________________________________________________
3.___________________________________________________________________
4.___________________________________________________________________
5.___________________________________________________________________

I’m Doing a Happy Dance!

Have you ever had the desire to get yourself out of the mundane and push yourself into the next step in your life, learning something new?

Well, I made a leap and enrolled in a Master Mind Group. In this group, I met eight fearless women from across the United States and Europe. We met every week (on-line) and shared our thoughts and ideas in how we can find our authentic voices to share our experiences and wisdom to facilitate you having the best life possible and to achieve your dreams and goals.

Today, I’m doing the happy dance because I can’t wait to share with you the results of our hard work. I’m so excited to tell you about the Transform Your Life Giveaway. Eight of us have created gifts to inspire, encourage, and support our community. I really think you will love these gifts!

You can go here to download my free gift for you, Five Steps in Creating a Business You Love, The Kaizen Way.

I’d love to hear back from you with any thoughts or ideas you may have!

PS- Don’t forget to share this post with others who may be looking for a bit of inspiration in their lives.

 

How Dog Training Improves Your Leadership Skills

                             

Dog Training 101

                                Max and his friends at the Dogs Works Ranch.

This article was published in the North American Post on March 10, 2016. If you haven’t seen it, please enjoy reading it here.

During the time I was growing up in Japan, I had a dog named Shiro. She was given to me by an American soldier who was returning to his homeland. I had a difficult time training Shiro because I knew absolutely nothing about the responsibilities of owning a pet. After a lot of trial and error and hours of commitment, however, she eventually became a trusted companion whom I enjoyed spending time with. We had the most loving relationship that anyone could have ever asked for.

After Shiro passed away, I longed for another dog who could bring me as much joy. My prayers were soon answered and in stepped Yumi. She was just as special to me as Shiro, but in a different way. Yumi provided me with so much wisdom in dealing with everyday life that I was prompted to author a book about my key learnings. After several years of cherished companionship, I lost Yumi. Again, I felt like there could never be another dog to replace her and what she meant to me. Read more

Images in This Book Trailer Will Make You Emotional

When people ask, “What is your book about?” or “Is your book any good?” I get tongue tied. How can I explain the depth and emotion of my own story in just a sentence or two? How can I explain the sorrows and tragedies that my Mother suffered? Read more