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.
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.
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.
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.
Especially when they say it cannot be done.
Where there’s a will, often there’s a way.
Look forward and laugh.
Rejection is information. Being ready is crucial to using that information.
Be a “yes – I can change that” person.
Find a way to keep your principles while being practical.
Don’t get surprised. Stay alert.
A nurturing attitude got the best from those who were helping out.
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.”
Your distinguishing characteristics can be features, not flaws.
Be humble enough to ask for and to take advice. Ask for directions.
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.
Why not? Thinking small limits your future and generates less enthusiasm. Big dreams power big accomlishments.
Make time your servant: do the most important 20% of tasks that will return 80% of the value. Prioritize and stay disciplined.
Fried chicken: KFC. Hamburgers: McDonalds. Coffee: Starbucks.
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.