People told these women it couldn’t be done. They did it anyway.

Lorelei Kraft’s inspiring story, Anything is Possible!, tells of the successful efforts of 12 Founding Mothers to create a multi-building crafts-selling venue, The Village of the Smoky Hills in the north country of Minnesota.

They erected the complex in five weeks and five days, and now welcome over 100,000 visitors annually and provide work for hundreds of people in this relatively poor backwoods area.

Life Lessons Can Change Lives

The 12 Founding mothers ranged in age from 32 to 57, with most in their 40s. They included teachers, community volunteers, a nurse, an accountant, a candle-maker, wives, mothers and grandmothers. They applied for a loan in January, got it in February, bought the land in March, broke ground in April, and opened The Villages in May. In its first year, the Village won the top tourism awards for all of Minnesota.

In Part Two of her book, Lorelei Kraft lists the 19 “Life Lessons for Success,” she learned from her early efforts to start her candle-making company and from the creation of The Village. Here are the life lessons that helped them to get started.

Don’t Let Reality Get in Your Way

Ms. Kraft says she never lets the “reality” of not having particular training get in the way of accomplishing her goals. She writes that determination and faith in yourself plus the wisdom to seek out knowledge is more important than training. Over time, she started several businesses and even became an accomplished painter… without formal training.

What If I Had Quit One Store Too Soon?

Hoping to sell wedding candles, she went from one store in Milwaukee to another to another, hundreds of miles from her home. She received one rejection after another. About to quit, she tried one more store, and she got her first order, which started a business that now sells candles to 6000 stores in the U.S.

Experts (and Critics) Are Often Wrong

Especially when they say it cannot be done.

Don’t Laugh – There Has Got to Be a Way to Get It Done!

Where there’s a will, often there’s a way.

Don’t Look Back and Whine

Look forward and laugh.

“Luck” Is Being Ready When the Universe Opens a Door

Rejection is information. Being ready is crucial to using that information.

Don’t Take Your Eyes off the Goal

Ignore distractions.

Don’t Be a “Yes – But” Person

Be a “yes – I can change that” person.

Be Flexible While Staying True to Your Values

Find a way to keep your principles while being practical.

Successful People Think Ahead

Don’t get surprised. Stay alert.

Women Have a Different Way of Doing Things

A nurturing attitude got the best from those who were helping out.

Combining the Best of Female and Male Leadership Techniques

Planning and delegating are important, Kraft notes, but so are flexibility and consideration, “I set up the candle factory to have the working conditions I would like if I worked for someone else.”

Capitalize on What Makes You Stand Out From the Crowd

Your distinguishing characteristics can be features, not flaws.

Know When to Pick Other People’s Brains

Be humble enough to ask for and to take advice. Ask for directions.

Always Play “The Game” Well

Know the playing field and “the rules.” When the Founding Mothers sought bank funding, they made sure to have a first-class proposal to present. It worked.

It’s Just as Easy to Think Big as to Think Small

Why not? Thinking small limits your future and generates less enthusiasm. Big dreams power big accomlishments.

Harness the Power of Time

Make time your servant: do the most important 20% of tasks that will return 80% of the value. Prioritize and stay disciplined.

Extraordinary Businesses Can Come from Ordinary Things

Fried chicken: KFC. Hamburgers: McDonalds. Coffee: Starbucks.

We All Have Immense Power to Change Our Corner of the World

As Kraft demonstrates, “The Founding Mothers built a village and changed the face of tourism in their corner of Minnesota.”

Don’t take “no” for an answer. Get to “yes!”

What project might you start yourself or with others? Which of these lessons can you apply to your goals? Which life lessons did you find particularly useful? Please join in the conversation.

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