How to Prepare for Meetings (and Rehearsals!) that Matter 

Do you hate meetings?  If that was a "yes" before the pandemic, I'm guessing it's an "absolutely yes, OMG so much yes" now.  Overwhelm and burnout have become a fact of life for many.

But what if you're in charge of meetings? It can be challenging to keep everyone's attention, much less inspire your team to follow through with what needs to be done.

Preparing for a meeting can be just as important as actually running one.  

Here are three things that you can do ahead of time to make meetings pain free:


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Building Respect in Professional Relationships 

Attending ClarinetFest, the International Clarinet Association's annual conference, this year was extraordinary.  To be around like-minded people who are excited about what they're creating and performing is an inspirational boost, not to mention hearing all of the absolutely amazing music.  This year had the added bonus of being the first live convention since the pandemic, and we jokingly refer to it at ClarinetLoveFest because it filled that ache in our hearts left by not being able to share with, create…

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Four Ways to Lead Through Action 

Actions speak louder than words, or so the saying goes.  While the truth of this may depend more on the listener, the power of actions will undoubtedly be influential on those who are more aware, pay attention to details, and see the big picture.  These are the type of people you need around you, so you want to make sure to attract them to your team.

Here are four ways to lead through action:

  1. Follow through on what you say you'll do.
    Being true to your words by acting on them shows people that…
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Procrastinating Your Way to Productivity 

I like getting things done.  I love the feeling of accomplishment and crossing things off my to-do list.  As a child, no one needed to remind me to practice or do my homework.  Granted, I was an OVER-achiever with some issues, but even now, as an adult who's addressed those overwork mindsets and habits in order to overcome overwhelm and burnout, I just like to work.

So when I feel a pull to procrastinate, I know there's something that needs my attention.  Allowing myself to procrastinate the thing I think I

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Redefining Resilience 

When I ran track in school, the team was divided into distance runners and sprinters.  A study recently came out suggesting that we have a default individual speed, and it's at the point at which we "burn the most energy without burning excess calories."  That would mean that pushing ourselves past a certain speed is counter-intuitive to our bodies' welfare.

This lesson, if true, may transfer well to the general human condition of the past few pandemic years.  You should only go as fast as is productive to…

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Strategies to Encourage Inspiration and Creativity 

Writing my dissertation was a constant push and pull of energy, inspiration, anxiety, and overwhelm.  "A certain amount of anxiety is natural and to be expected," said one of my dissertation guide books.  The sheer amount of work to be done was the culprit, and there was a timeline to consider.  The pressure was on to just get it done (one of my professors had told me that the best dissertation is a finished dissertation).  Sometimes my determination and discipline failed me, so I discovered ways to…

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Getting Back to Busy - How to Manage Post-Pandemic Overwhelm 

For my creative colleagues, the ease in restrictions is glorious, but now calendars are filling up.  I imagine it's not just the arts industry that's experiencing a sudden boom.  

Add to that the family and friends who are making summer plans to see you and the exhilaration of the season making you want to say yes to everyone and everything, and you may be finding yourself pretty exhausted.

You're brain just isn't used to that much stimulus anymore.  It's like a small-town girl's first day in the city.  Even…

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How the Arts Take DEI to the Next Level 

This past weekend, I attended a statewide arts conference. Like most creatives, I spent the majority of the past two years in professional isolation, trying to make the best of the situation but ultimately falling short because the arts are collaborative. We collaborate with each other, we make music with each other, and we share that creative energy with the audience during performances.

Needless to say, being a part of the conference was cathartic and meaningful for many, including myself. That feeling of…

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When Tension Gets Out of Control - 3 Ways to DeStress 

When personalities collide or the latest disaster hits the news-cycle, 
the physical tension can be almost unbearable. 

All the self care in the world can't seem to stop the emotional response of some trauma.  It doesn't mean you're not taking care of yourself.  It doesn't mean you're crazy.  These times are intense.

Here are my favorite go-to ways to ground myself and manage the tension:
  1. Breathe.
    Slow, deep breaths calm the Vagus nerve and stop the fight-or-flight symptoms of your parasympathetic…
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Accepting Feedback - 4 Ways to Make the Most Out of Criticism 

We've all been there...our egos get bruised from feedback (solicited or unsolicited) and we feel the need to either defend ourselves or hide away and lick our wounds.  In fact, a recent study by Tasha Eurich showed that even those of use who are great at learning from feedback still feel the same emotional pain initially. 

That emotional pain lights up the same areas of the brain as physical pain, according to neurological studies, so of course we don't like the immediate, and apparently universally human…

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I would definitely recommend working with Nancy to help anyone feeling stuck and unable to move forward in their goals.


Working with Nancy helped me overcome a significant block in my career concerning success.


I felt a shift in my thinking from a limited mindset, always focusing on what things I had to be before considering myself a success, to a new space of accepting my successes as they appear and feeling more grateful for those.


Elissa Nesheim

Elissa Sue Watercolors

Are you an overachiever who hates to say no?
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