Sunday, November 27, 2016


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, erecting the complex in five weeks and five days, welcoming over 100,000 visitors annually and providing 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 got the top tourism awards for all of Minnesota.
In Part Two of her book, Lorelei Kraft lists 19 “Life Lessons for Success,” lessons she learned from her early efforts to start her candle-making company and from the creation of The Village:

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, 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!”

Questions: What project might you start yourself or with others? Which of these lessons can you apply to your goals? Please join in the conversation.
Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a former Harvard science professor. He still publishes, and he helps others write and publish their books via his Douglas’s life's central theme has been his half-century romance with his wife, Tina Su Cooper, quadriplegic for over a decade due to multiple sclerosis, now receiving 24/7 nursing care at home, care discussed at their website here

Published in edited form at

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