I’ve started following Martha’s advice. Her recipes so did me a solid on the first Thanksgiving my fiance and I hosted. She helped me make a pumpkin pie that my guy loved. If it weren’t for Martha Stewart, I don’t know if shallots would have ever made an appearance in our kitchen. And oh my gosh, shallots fried in a touch of olive oil on top of a steak…Mmmmmm!
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While shopping for her Homekeeping Handbook (amazon.com), I came across her book The Martha Rules: 10 Essentials for Achieving Success as You Start, Build, or Manage a Business (amazon.com). The book was written back in 2005 when the proper way to write website was Web site, so some aspects are perhaps dated. The wisdom and principles Martha shares are still true.
Since reading The Martha Rules, I’ve been thinking about the business endeavors I’ve considered and tried: writing, my blog, and selling JAFRA cosmetics.
Martha’s first rule is about Passion. “Build your business success around something that you love. Something that is inherently and endlessly interesting to you,” she advises. Rather than the flip and abstract encouragements to follow your passion, Martha makes passion tangible. She points out that being an entrepreneur takes, “constant learning; curiosity; unflagging energy…desire to put up with sleep deprivation and long hours of intense concentration.”
As I read that chapter I asked myself: What sparks my curiosity? What am I willing to be a constant learner about? What do I want to become an expert about?
Hmmm…Writing and sharing (what I hope are) great ideas and products that help others.
Martha cautions against confusing enthusiasm and impatience for passion. I think that I’ve often mixed the two up, in part, because of wanting to want what other people want for me to do. Do you ever do that?
I love that she shares, “…it is not uncommon to try a number of different things before your passion becomes clear. Experimentation is the only way to figure it out.” Martha knows this from first-hand experience. Did you know that she was once a real estate agent?
And now the rest of the rules…
Rule 2: Ask Yourself, What’s the Big Idea?
Rule 3: Get a Telescope, a Wide-Angle Lens and a Microscope
Rule 4: Teach so you can Learn
Rule 5: All Dressed up and Ready to Grow
Rule 6: Quality is Everyday
Rule 7: Build an A-Team
Rule 8: So the Pie Isn’t Perfect? Cut it into Wedges
Rule 9: Take Risks, not Chances
And is it any surprise that the 10th and final rule is: Make it Beautiful?
“Whatever you do, you had best make it beautiful.”
Some of my favorite gems of advice from The Martha Rules:
- Mise en Place, which is French for “to put in place.” According to Martha, the phrase comes from French chefs who make sure all of the ingredients for a recipe are laid out before they begin to bake or cook it. Makes sense, right? I have just started to do this when I cook and I must confess that it makes my life in the kitchen much easier. Now, imagine doing exactly this before beginning a project or taking on a new challenge…Okay, maybe you already do. As an ADHD’r, this is a new and exciting practice for me.
- Will this be useful and serve others? I’ve started asking myself this question more as I sit down to write anything.
- “…it does not pay just to be different. Bake the cake that most people want to eat.”
- Martha shares a story about a near disastrous pie incident. She saved the day by cutting the pie into wedges and serving the good parts. “Gather the good things in sight, abandon the bad, clear your mind, and move on.”
- “Create a frugal culture…It is not about being cheap but about being frugal.” I am working on this in our house. When it comes to food, I like to cook from quality ingredients. The other day, I bought organic strawberries. OMG. There is no turning back from the deliciousness of those now. What I love is that we are eating them, all of them. I’ve purchased strawberries on sale, when it seems like they’re a steal and they just sit in our fridge. Then, as I throw them away I comfort myself with the thought, at least they didn’t cost much. Ugh! I am working towards a waste not, want not balance in life.
- “When an opportunity presents itself, never assume it will be the last.” Are you guilty of this? I have been SO guilty of this one in the past. It’s lead me down some paths of distraction.
- “Invest in yourself. Invest in exploring all the details of your passion, then turn yourself into an expert.” I’ve started to do this. I recently, after much deliberation with myself, purchased a MasterClass All-Access Pass, so I could take Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing along with a long list of other classes that look interesting and should help me along my path.
- “Quality should be placed at the top of your list of priorities, and it should remain there. Quality is something you should strive for in every decision, every day.”
I found sound advice that I think will help me lead an even more stylish life in The Martha Rules, so it is now on my Fit N’ Stylish Reading List. I think it’s wonderful how everyone has their own a-ha moments and takeaways from the books they read. If you’ve read The Martha Rules, please share your favorites with me! You can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for more amazingly stylish reads? Check out these: Fit N’ Stylish Reading Recommendations.