Michelle Micalizzi, Artists
(All Rights Reserved)
10% of the proceeds from the sale of this work benefits:
Conscious Capitalism, The Arizona Science Center Girls in STEAM, PT Day of Service, Support My Club,
Desert Labrador Retriever Rescue & United Blood Services of Arizona.
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
~ Mother Theresa
I love this quote by Mother Theresa. It was spoken by a woman who had to make the choice to “Do Good Anyway” many times in her life. It also speaks to something deep inside of me that has always said, “Michelle – to whom much is given much is expected.” I truly feel that doing good is a combination of gifting time, talent and treasure. The Art of Fearlessly Giving Back is a project that was constructed out of my desire to use all three in a way that demonstrates how art, business and community can cooperate to do good for all stakeholders involved.
I am aware that the work I devote myself to in these projects is esoteric, out of the box thinking. This idea is a creative morphing of my experience and education in social services, community development, business and the arts, as well as a commitment to be socially and spiritually responsible. With this work comes an opportunity for me to observe my own human nature and the nature of all those that I and my projects touch. I have learned a multitude about human nature (both my own and others) in the course of doing this particular project. I have found that where there is work there are lessons learned, ongoing ways to improve, and opportunities that present themselves to consider for the next time.
I also know there are also multiple occasions to step back and say “atta girl” and “atta boy.” I have written sixteen blogs in this series that praise the good and hold up positive effort to the light. I am proud of the work I have done on this project and I am SUPER proud of the seven organizations I have been blessed to feature in this project. All of us are doing GREAT work on so many levels.
This project is about being the example of how a successful art business gives back. The word success is a powerful word though. What is success? I measure my success in more ways than one way. In fact, you guessed it; I measure my success in five ways.
MICHELLE’S FIVE FEARLESS MEASURES OF SUCCESS
1. Did I “give the world my best” throughout the course of this project?
The answer for me is always YES.
2. Did I shout the good news of the organizations and businesses who I honored in this series to the best of my ability, and does at least one person who did now know about these entities now know of them because of my work?
This project happens in real time through my Fearless email list and on social media (Facebook personal and business pages as well as on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn). As of this evening, just my posts on my Facebook business page since January 2018 have reached roughly 33,400 people. The posts championing the Arizona Science Center and WebPT’s Health & Wellness: Live Better have reached 4.7K. I would guess that my personal Facebook profile receives at least double those views but since there are no stats on one’s personal page that would be a guess. I do know that some of my live videos have had more than 1,000 views. My Fearless News email has an average open rate of 38.8% which blows the industry standard rate of 16.1% out of the water. I have not yet measured the traffic on my website but I will in the future. First, we do and then we find a way to measure it all! Just this limited statistical info leads me to think that it is safe to say that a few people read, heard or saw something that may have helped them, inspired them or gave them pause.
Thankfully, I have some evidence that I have effected people from the comments on my social media page and from some direct comments I have received. This morning I got an email asking for a contact that could help an organization do more blood drives as a result of the United Blood Services of Arizona piece that I just wrote that focuses on how important it is that we all step up to give lifesaving blood. Last week I was working in a café wearing my other hat as the Chief Marketing Officer of APEX Medical Reimbursement solutions when a woman I had only met briefly at my gallery last summer introduced herself to me again. She told me that she watches all my live videos and that I inspire her to keep writing. She looked me straight in the eye and sincerely said, “Thank you.” As far as I am concerned, that email and the moment that woman and I locked eyes is conclusive proof that this project has been an overwhelming success and we have not yet shown the work all together in one room for all the world to see.
3. Did I partner with others to the best of my ability for the good of all?
“Do the best you can until you know better.
Then when you know better, do better.
My goal is always to collaborate and build relationships with people that lead to good of all kinds. Every day I do my best to reach that goal. I have learned so much from this project that I will take with me moving forward with the next projects.
My observations have lead me to see that in the future, I will be creating an intensive on boarding process that includes social media, guerilla cause marketing, collaboration tool and time management training, and a stronger introduction to the collaborative nature of this social art project. I am also looking into setting up a Fearlessly Deliver Foundation that will enable me to do more direct and dynamic philanthropic work.
4. Did I get myself and my ego out of the way so that I could be an example of what it really looks like to be fearless in real time?
Back to the first paragraph of this blog… one of the misconceptions that people have of “gifted” or “strong” people is that somehow our gifts and our strengths make things somehow easier. I have found that my gifts and my strengths makes things POSSIBLE but not necessarily easier. Candidly, I have had some of the very toughest and most painful experiences of my life both professionally and personally during the course of these projects.
I have shot Facebook live videos in the middle of the night when I am still painting when I have had only three hours of sleep a night for three weeks because I have made a commitment to share my work in real time. I have wiped my tears and have not been overly emotional on Facebook live but still shared some of the emotion allowing you to see that I am putting my big girl panties on. I have given up on looking good and have allowed you to see me with no makeup and dark circles down to my cheek bones looking every bit of my fifty years. Why do this?? Because there is someone who is about to give up watching me and I am hoping that if they witness my effort and my emotions they will feel less alone and keep going. I also feel that one of the best gifts you can give is the gift of being genuine.
On top of the reality of reality, these projects are not easy. My deadlines are aggressive and I am still working to make a living while I work on these projects. I self-fund these projects with elbow grease and every ounce of my effort because I do not want to make decisions about what I paint and who I champion in order to support myself. This feeling may change over time but as of now, I always have a client or a job and other additional revenue streams. This reality gives me a lot to juggle but I feel this juggling makes me stronger and keeps me truly motivated by entrepreneurism at all times.
5. Did I become a better person and learn something that will make me a better business woman, philanthropist and artist in the future?
YES – all day long, every day without question I am becoming a better me.
The afterthought is SALES
So, you see, even before I get to the sales part at the opening I am already a success. This reality is what truly keeps me out of the weeds in regard to giving others my score card about how “good” my art work is or not. If the paintings sell – AWESOME. I get to be the example of an artist who makes money at her craft. (Can I get an AMEN?) An added bonus in this series is that if the paintings sell for much more than the asking bid then Fearlessly Deliver gets to write a big check to the charities – AWESOME. If I get to hear about the amazing stuff the charities did with the money that is even more AWESOME.
All that being said, for me the success of the project is based upon genuine and positive responses to questions 1 – 5. Bottom line, if I can’t say YES to all the above then I have missed my whole point!
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say… “I used everything you gave me.”
~ Erma Bombeck
I have written and deleted three paragraphs with my understanding about each line of Mother Theresa’s poem. When I get to the last line – I delete the paragraph I just wrote. Ultimately, all the work I do in my life is between me and my God. I know that when I get to the pearly gates I will be able to say “I used everything you gave me God!”
I also know from all the interviews that I have done with the twenty-four souls who sat down to speak to me with this project that I am not alone in my quest for excellence based upon both benevolence and achievement. Water seeks its own level and I have definitely been in great company on this project.
The opening on May 18thwill be a year in the making since I made the commitment do make this project happen after my last Art of Fearlessly Doing Business opening on May 5thof 2017. When I step back and watch the people interact on May 18th– I will be in awe as I have been three years in a row of how wonderful people are and how lucky I am to get to be part of these folks lives for even a short amount of time. I will also step back while my big girl self says to my child self – #attagirl, you did it AGAIN.
THANK YOU to every single soul who worked with me on this first AoFGB. THANK YOU most of all for DOING GOOD ANYWAY because the work you do makes this world a far better place.
The first fearless blog I posted was a rendering of a drawing I have been drawing for more than three decades. Inside her pregnant belly is a brief case with a light bulb in it. The lightbulb signifies entrepreneurs.
It seemed appropriate to have a heart in this pregnant belly signifying charitable organizations and businesses using profits for good.
My legacy has not been children – it has been my work and how I live my life. I have been drawing a brief case in my belly since I was a little girl. I guess somehow I knew I would one day choose to not have children of my own.
The hands are always the people.
The mountains are a reference back to the opening piece that signifies that we are all our own mountains on a common higher ground.
The reason she is purple is because of a story that one of my heroines Oprah tells about how she came to love and act in the film the Color Purple. Do yourself a favor, take a peak at this story on YouTube: Oprah Winfrey and How She Got a Part in The Colour Purple. Inspiring, Motivational and Encouraging.
The reason she is in the lotus position is a reference back five years ago when I tore my right LCL getting into this position followed by rupturing my left Achilles tendon a few days later. My leg injuries lead me back to painting and this project. It took me literally having my legs taken out from under me in order for me to get my feet back under me so I could come to create Fearlessly Deliver and this project.
Entrepreneurs and inspiring stories of all kinds are Fearlessly Deliver’s muse and focus. As an artist, a business woman and a visual journalist Michelle Micalizzi paints with a purpose. The Fearless Art Projects are collaborative social practice art engagements that connect art + business + community.
The ART OF FEARLESSLY GIVING BACK (AoFGB) is a community awareness series that focuses on the mission of select charitable organizations and the social responsible companies and philanthropic individuals that support them.