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The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women: A Portable Life Coach for Creative Women

The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women: A Portable Life Coach for Creative Women

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by Gail McMeekin

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Take the measure of women's success!

Popular creative coach Gail McMeekin, author of the bestselling The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, offers a wealth of advice for the specific challenges creative women face today: thinking too small, underestimating the need for change, fearing the future, and lacking self-confidence.

McMeekin combines


Take the measure of women's success!

Popular creative coach Gail McMeekin, author of the bestselling The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, offers a wealth of advice for the specific challenges creative women face today: thinking too small, underestimating the need for change, fearing the future, and lacking self-confidence.

McMeekin combines interviews with some of today's most successful women and her own proven success strategies to help readers transcend their "blocks" and achieve success. Women will discover how to:

  • Dismantle limiting beliefs
  • Take positive, calculated risks
  • Make career changes fueled by passion and purpose
  • "Filter and Focus" to give their creative ideas time and space to evolve

As in her previous book, The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women offers hundreds of examples of how creative women entrepreneurs and business leaders have used these strategies for success. This is an inspiring book for women that shows what's possible when you follow your heart and honor your gifts.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
McMeekin (The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women) challenges women to be confident, think big, and embrace the future. She draws on interviews with successful female entrepreneurs, abundant research, and personal coaching experience with clients to help women get in touch with their inner muses, write business plans that mesh with their passions, and manage stress. While McMeekin's basic business strategies are sound, the book is oriented toward the creative woman starting her own company. Better choices with broader coverage are Mika Brzezinski's Knowing Your Value or Selena Rezvani's The Next Generation of Women Leaders.

Product Details

Red Wheel/Weiser
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Barnes & Noble
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The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women

A Portable Life Coach for Creative Women

By Gail McMeekin

Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC

Copyright © 2011 Gail McMeekin
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60925-373-8


Express Your Creative Gifts and Life Purpose

"I've come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as a fingerprint—and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of a service, working hard, and allowing the energy of the universe to lead you."

—Oprah Winfrey

Over the past ten years, I received notes from thousands of women (and men) worldwide who said that my first book, The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women: A Portable Mentor, changed their lives, gave them inspiration and hope, and allowed them to embrace their creativity again and run with it. In contrast, I have run into many women (and men) in my travels who react to the title of that book by saying "Oh, that's not for me, I'm not creative at all."

My heart aches when I hear those words, as we are all creative in our lives, not just writers, artists, and actresses. Watch a healthy two-year-old child at play while they gleefully try out new projects, like throwing sand to see what happens, running after a butterfly to see if they can catch it, discovering the wonders of glue, and sticking together everything they can find.

As we know, the definition of creativity is "to make or invent something new"—to make connections. Children allowed to engage in free play (as opposed to being perched in front of a DVD) invent and make all kinds of original creations without intimidation or self-consciousness.

But something happens to many of us as we grow up—we freeze up creatively or disown our gifts. Then we get bad advice and often get on the wrong path. Thus, creativity goes underground. Or we follow a creative path but we don't treat our work as a profession and end up living on the margin, and we don't get the recognition or financial rewards that we deserve. Other people have a creative outlet that they consider a hobby, like knitting, and choose to have a different day job. But both the job and the knitting can be creative outlets, too. Part of our creative process is to craft the life and the business that we want.

Then there are women who actively choose to pursue their creative interest (or interests, very often), and become highly creative women. But even then, they may fall prey to bad advice, low self-esteem, not marketing themselves actively, and the terror of being seen. This book will help each of you, regardless of which category you are in.

• You are creative—own it!

• You have the potential to become highly successful.

• Your creativity is an essential ingredient to building a successful career, business, and personal life.

• You can learn to be successful creatively by following the advice in this book.

• You can potentially change your entire life and lifestyle to honor your creative gifts and finally feel free, fulfilled, and prosperous.

• You have an inner brilliance that allows you to solve problems with novel and innovative solutions, help others, and profit from it.

This book is your ticket to becoming the highly creative and successful woman you long to be. But first, you have to do some healing work, learn new professional development and lifestyle strategies, and empower yourself as an entrepreneur or as a key contributor to an ethical, quality organization where you enjoy working. Even if you choose to spend some time working for someone else, you need to keep your eye on the door, your skills and your About Page updated, and a strong network going. Your best security is to grow yourself. You need to follow a special path for creative success. It will reawaken that creative little girl who either got squelched or silenced or went out on the creative path with the wrong guidance and has been stumbling along. If you are already operating as a highly creative woman, this book will propel you to the next level of growth, stretching your comfort zone and pushing you to step fully into a CEO mindset.


Many of you may be wondering why I am writing another book with the title "12 Secrets" in it. In doing a little research, I discovered that 12 is the number of a whole and perfect harmonious unit. There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs on the zodiac, 12 inches in a foot, 12 face cards in a card deck, and 12 basic hues in a color wheel. And of course we have 12-Step Recovery Programs that are very powerful and teach a complete outline of what works. So my intent with this book is to share with you my model for the 12 secrets of highly successful women, compiled from my own life journey, the myriad of clients I have coached over thirty years in my business, now called Creative Success LLC, and the wisdom of the thirty women who I interviewed for this book, some of whom have been powerful mentors to me. Some of these women are multimillionaires and on television, while others value their lifestyle more than just money, and make business and lifestyle choices around those desires. Many of the women are trying to have balanced lives and be wealthy at the same time, or have already achieved that balance. They all work hard, feel strongly connected to their work, and feel called to express it in the world as a gift to others. Their stories are meant to illustrate the 12 ingredients that I outline that are essential to the soup of success for you.


In my thirty-plus years of experience helping people to heal and create a life of fulfillment, I have been struck repeatedly with how essential it is for each of us to do the necessary soul searching to design and live by our own definition of our success. In this celebrity- and media-crazed culture we live in, it is easy to get confused about what composes a high quality and successful life for ourselves. Defining heartfelt success is a very personal and unique endeavor.

I have worked with thousands of clients who have been tortured by the agony and confusion of living according to someone else's values, misconceptions, scripts, or formulas. Just because your mother thought you were overly dramatic doesn't mean you are or that being so is even a liability. While the media or your family might worship fame, money, entrepreneurship, or corporate ladder-climbing, none of these pathways guarantee happiness for you unless you freely choose them. We all deserve prosperity. The starving artist syndrome serves no one. Yet fulfillment in life means knowing what we want while appreciating what we already have and having the self-worth to think independently and create a life that's original.

Webster defines success simply as "a favorable or satisfactory outcome or result." I like to add the adjectives "heartfelt" and "personal" so that you can visualize results that express your true self. Whether you are twenty-four or eighty-four, it's time to stop the lies. For example, I have a client now who keeps brainstorming with me about ideas for this elaborate international consulting business. But if you look at her overall life goals, she really wants to only work twenty-five hours a week. That means that her business plan has to be carefully designed to target the work that can be done quickly for the most fulfillment for her in terms of either impact or financial reward. It may take her several years to achieve this model. The best time management strategy in the world is letting go of fantasies and working within your own desired paradigm. Successful people focus on the outcomes that resonate for them—creating viable businesses that service their customers and clients—and so they can revel in the joy of that heartfelt, personal set of goals.

The best time management strategy in the world is letting go of fantasies and working within your own desired paradigm.

I interviewed many successful women for this book. Here are some of the unique elements of their definition of success.

Ali Brown, millionaire entrepreneur, mentor, CEO of Ali International llc, member of the Inc. "500 in 2009," and leader of the Millionaire Protégé Club and the Shine Conference:

Success for me, in the beginning, and this may be true for everyone, was liking the stuff. I wanted the house and the car and I love my creature comforts and I love beautiful things. But once I reached these goals, I looked around and said, "Okay, now what?" I've got this gorgeous house on the beach and I have a wonderful life; what is this all about? And I realized that success is truly being just true to myself and that whatever I define success to be, that's what it is. And I think women need to give themselves permission that success can look like exactly what they want it to look like. I'm here in a big way and building a global business to empower women entrepreneurs internationally, but not every woman wants to make some of the sacrifices I have made.

Gillian Drake, serial entrepreneur, editor, writer, and publisher of many books and the Cape Arts Review, real estate designer and developer, and now a medical intuitive:

To me, success is living on your own terms, being who you truly are, being your authentic self. I know that the standard definition of success means a high paying, prestigious job, the perfect marriage, a beautiful home—the American Dream, I guess. But that's not for me. I need freedom, independence, and a series of creative projects to work on in order to be happy.

(You should see her villa in Italy that she redesigned and built.)

Lisa Sasevich, known as "The Queen of Sales Conversion," author of The Invisible Close, and leader of large workshops like Speak to Sell Bootcamp:

... The reason I feel successful the most is really that I feel blessed to have healthy children, a loving husband, and work that is meaningful that makes a difference. As I discovered a few years ago, my blessing is to help experts who are making a difference to get their message out—people who love what they do but hate the sales part—and last year my business took a quantum leap from $130K in sales to 2.2 million in sales. I also feel successful because I can be an inspiration to other women who also have a busy life, to be able to really create the lifestyle of their dreams and make a huge contribution at the same time.

Victoria Moran, author of ten books, including Living a Charmed Life, spiritual-life and holistic health coach:

I see my success as moving forward each day as a spiritual being having an earthly experience. I believe that this life is extremely important. I don't have the idea of "Oh well, you know, work and the body and things like that are physical so they don't matter." They matter tremendously. But when I think of success it has to be both—the here and now and the forever after.

Sheri McConnell, CEO of Smart Women's Institute of Entrepreneurial Learning and author of several books, including Smart Women Know Their Why:

Western entrepreneurial women will save the world and our mission is to create positive change in the world—making the world a better place.

Caroll Michels, career coach, artist advocate, author of the classic book, How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist, and creator of the ArtistHelpNetwork website:

I'm happy. I mean it is just as simple as that. I'm happier than I have ever been in my whole life and I just wake up happy.

Chellie Campbell, creator of the Financial Stress Reduction® Workshop and author of The Wealthy Spirit and Zero to Zillionaire:

The number one thing I want is a business that I run, not one that runs me. I want work to get me to a life, not be my life. I want my life to be beautiful. I want to have a lot of time off for fun, to enjoy the ride of it.

Brenda Michaels, co-host of Conscious Talk Radio, emotional and spiritual coach, and author of an upcoming book called The Gift of Cancer: Awakening the Healer Within:

First and foremost, I define success through relationship with myself, and how well I take care of myself. How well I nurture myself and how well I allow myself to honor my feelings and my needs, and my willingness to bring balance and harmony into my life. I believe this is important because we can't truly give to others what we withhold from ourselves. Living this way allows me to give love in such a way that there is peace and integrity in my personal relationships, as well as in my professional relationships.

Jeanne Carbonetti, watercolor painter and teacher, owner of Crow Hill Gallery, and author of many books, including The Heart of Creativity:

Yes, I do feel successful and for me, success is doing what I love and being able to make a living at it and I am able to do that. It also means feeling like I am fulfilling my purpose in life. I have a strong sense that everything in my life was guiding me to be devoted to teaching the power of beauty and that's what I spend my time doing.

Dr. Elizabeth Stewart, MD, physician in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and researcher on fibroid treatments:

I do feel successful. For me it means being able to do work that is interesting and challenging and to have some element of creative fulfillment as well, and also being able to balance that with life outside of work.

Deborah George Tsakoumakis, founder/owner of Wire a Cake/HB Bakery Connections®, a company that sends cakes all over the world, including to many of our troops overseas:

Yes, I feel successful. And as far as success, we have to define success as not exactly measured in dollars, but rather success in knowing that I have accomplished something that has had a positive effect these past twenty-three years when I started the cake business. I see the effects that my cakes have had with respect to the families that receive them, especially my military families. I send families a picture of the cakes I ship and I'll get emails back from an army wife, for example, and she will say, "I'm in tears right now, looking at this cake, and knowing that I can send a cake to my husband who is deployed, has made all the difference in the world.


A few years ago, I planned a wonderful Mediterranean cruise for my husband and me. It had been a lifelong dream and it was time for us to have the experience. I was charmed by the cliffs on the island of Capri, the beauty of the French Riviera, and the periwinkle blue and white buildings on Santorini. It was an amazing adventure to places of staggering beauty. It was an investment in the joy of travel.

On the cruise ship, I met an incredible pianist, Pearl Kaufman. Since the publication of The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, a number of people have said that they wish I had interviewed more musicians, so I took the opportunity to interview Pearl. Pearl performed on the ship three times, and each performance sparked a standing ovation with cheering. People fell all over each other in the line to buy her CDs. She was adored, and she plays on cruises all over the world to enthusiastic audiences (talk about a great job!). As Pearl said to me, "everyone should experience the joy of being cheered——there's nothing like it." Pearl decided to become a pianist while watching a movie at age eight, and thankfully, no one tried to talk her out of it.

She received a music and scholastic scholarship to college, played for Igor Stravinsky, and is known for her famous movie performances with Henry Mancini and John Williams, among others. She loves all kinds of music, and believes strongly in its inspirational qualities. I asked her if she had any special favorites and she had an intriguing answer: "I'm like Elizabeth Taylor—I fall in love with everything I play." Pearl says she does not get blocked or bored and never plans to retire—just slow down a bit to enjoy her grandchildren. Her advice for aspiring creatives: "Go where the action is. You can't stay home and expect your work to be seen or heard. You have to make the effort."

Love is an essential success strategy for any endeavor. Doing work you love captivates your life force and enthusiasm. If you are settling for doing work you hate, you are missing this joy of full engagement. Falling in love with our work, over and over again, fulfills us like a great marriage. Our work is a potent relationship, and love is an essential lubricant. Pearl's love affair with her piano and its possibilities reminds us all that expressing love through our creative work is a peak experience of life.

Excerpted from The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women by Gail McMeekin. Copyright © 2011 Gail McMeekin. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Gail McMeekin is the founder and president of Creative Success, LLC, and the author of The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women and The Power of Positive Choices. Her work has been featured in Redbook, The Boston Globe, Health, Investor's Business Daily and other national publications, and she is a frequent guest on radio and television. McMeekin holds an MSW from Boston University and a certificate in Human Resource Management from Bentley College and completed the coursework for the Coaches Training Institute. She lives in the Boston area.

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The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women: A Portable Life Coach for Creative Women 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
thedevourcoach More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this book. When I was starting my life coaching practice I read this book and it helped me tremendously. I also recommend this book to my clients as they start their own business and pursue their passion and purpose. It is a must have for any women looking to dig deep and re-create areas of your life and gain success