This is our 10th Client Spotlight, where we share interesting facts and stories about our entrepreneurial clients. Be sure to check out our previous spotlight and learn about Sherry Boyer, founder of Petcare Business Owners and Your Amazing Soul, who shares a courageous personal story, some light stories, and the business book that helped her achieve success.
It has been a pleasure to support our client Marta Abel with the legal aspects of her new Fulfillment Coaching practice Marta Abel. Marta shares her insight into what it takes to be an entrepreneur, a tool for identifying personal strengths, favorite books, and the evocative smell of basil!
Were you born an entrepreneur?
Yes, and I didn’t know it at first! I sold my own drawings as a little kid, and as I got to be a little older, I did things like create a recycling program in my high school. I even wrote a letter to the administrators at my 2000-student secondary school outlining all of the research I’d done to make our building more energy efficient and environmentally resourceful. That led to meeting with a principal to discuss how to implement more of these ideas. In that case, even though I wasn’t making a business, I was taking the initiative to create something new, and creating a position for myself out of thin air. That, to my mind, is a defining characteristic of being an entrepreneur – real-world creativity.
In college I petitioned the dean to create my own major. During summers I worked on farms, where I relished finding new markets for our produce and even sold myself (and my mom!) as caterers to offload a ton of zucchini. Even when I held salaried positions, I created new kinds of programming for my organization.
How have you found knowing your personality type to be helpful in your business?
Of all the personality tests and assessments, the one I’ve appreciated most recently is the Strengthsfinder. Its approach is very clear and powerful – to understand your strengths, focus your efforts in ways that play to them, and get support in other areas where you are less strong. In a practical sense, it’s helped me to focus on further developing my strengths – ideation, empathy, learning, activation, command. These attributes all help to make me be a great coach for my clients. In addition, knowing what I’m not as strong at has helped me to be more strategic about what support I need and when to enlist it. For instance, while risk management is very important to me, it is not my strength, so I hired Elizabeth and her team to dial in the details for me.
What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
When I studied at Rutgers, I got a job that started as a project for a plant pathology class and turned into helping a PhD student complete his research project – breeding a strand of basil that is chill-resistant. He was from Brazil and passionate about finding a way to make year-round basil production a reality for his compatriots. Every time I get a whiff of basil, I’m transported back to that lab, and the robust aroma of fresh basil as far as the eye could see.
What is your favorite business book, and why?
Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence compiles a ton of research and argues forcefully the case for emotional awareness, emotional self-management, empathy and more in his groundbreaking book from the ’90s. There’s a bit on the neurology of emotions, but the anecdotes are so compelling and paint a clear picture that the difference between mediocre and great leadership has so much to do with how emotionally intelligent we are. Fortunately, EQ/EI can be developed! I love this book, because – while so many clients come to me to help with very practical changes they want to make – this stresses the importance and necessity of working with our inner worlds to truly influence our outer worlds, in practical, proven ways.
And, for anyone for whom organization is an acquired trait, I recommend David Allen’s Getting Things Done. He breaks down an effective organizational system and has simple tips that blew my continually evolving organizational mind – like, organize all of your files alphabetically!
If you could have coffee with any business person (dead or alive), whom would you pick?
Dale Carnegie. His work in a way was a precursor to the whole Emotional Intelligence field. And I’d be interested to see if he could win me as a friend 😉
About Marta: Marta Abel is a fulfillment coach – helping intelligent, resourceful people own their strengths, align with their values and navigate their inner worlds so that they can create what they most deeply desire. She comes to coaching naturally, after several years in healing professions – as a certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner and yoga teacher – and a career helping ground-breaking social enterprises enhance their reach through innovative events and communications. Find her at martaabel.com and connect on Instagram @marta.the.abel.