Welcome to our Inspiration section. Inspiration comes in many forms, but it happens most frequently when our minds and hearts are open to receiving it. We hope you will find inspiration in the comments included in this section. The Success Stories starts out featuring the accomplishments of some of our colleagues as they have recently moved from an idea expressed in one of our venues to a completed goal. It is sort of a Gallery of Achievements, along with our blog, honoring their perseverance and talents. The second segment is comprised of testimonials from people who have taken our classes, or who have been involved in consultations, workshops, or events for our creative community. Take in a deep breath and allow yourself to be uplifted and encouraged by their stories.
Stephanie and Laura finally meet at a SchmoozeFest after months of communicating through emails. And Laura shares her amazing "The exotic journey of the heart" on her laurasmagicday blog.
Photographer Sal Ochoa presents his moving images in his photo narrative, "Suenos Migrantes: The Journey Home" chronicling the stories of migrants from Las Estacas, Michoacan, Mexico.
"I can't even put into words how influential the 'Crafting a Meaningful Career' class with Tony was for me. I had just left my career as a photojournalist with only a vague idea of what I was going to do next or even what my options were. I have to admit I felt a little irresponsible for leaving a perfectly viable career: It was so wonderful to be with a group of people who also 'wanted more', who not just understood, but supported the decision. Tony's constant talk of following what you love is not only a great mantra for a career, but for everything in life. Every class was energizing and inspiring. Through the class, I decided to enroll in the full Art Center photo day program. I am halfway through the program, and to say I love it would be an understatement. In Tony I found a friend and mentor. You will all love the class and gain so much, so congrats for signing up and enjoy!" - Diana Mulvihill, Photographer
"Dear Tony, Thank you for all your invaluable help you have provided me with! Always helpful, kind, funny, and a thousand more kind and positive attributes I could name. I really appreciate all your help, dedication, and time you have set aside to meet with me. - Sal Ochoa, Photographer
"Hey Tony: GREAT class! Thank you so much for being such an inspirational person in my life. Your classes have really given me the ability to remember what's important in business and in life. What a blessing it is to have you to bounce ideas off of and to help me think out-of-the-box. Without your direction and wisdom I would not be where I am today in my business. Thank you very much!" -Laura Elliott, Author, Travel Writer, Documentarian
(Editor's note: And now, several years later, here is another email from Laura and what she has accomplished...)
- “Dear Tony, I’m writing to you about a dream come true. There’s really no words to say how happy I am in my new career and I know I would never be here without you. As you know I was pretty deep in despair when I came to Art Center to help me find a way out. What would I do now? How would I support myself in my uncertain future?
Well, I’ll never forget the chart we did juxtaposing our professional careers and personal lives in order to see our patterns. At the end of class we determined that my path would marry my passions for writing, travel and missionary work. It was all really great information but I had no idea how to apply this information to real life and how I would support myself.
I guess my message to people who are where I was is to just take the first step and follow your passions and pray for the Lord’s guidance.
The obvious things like travel writer or screenwriter not only seemed like long shots but as almost everyone, even a professional coach I hired to help me progress, would point out they all paid poorly. But I didn’t listen.
I charged ahead taking aim at the dream and the unseen, trusting in the Lord to show me the way. I had lost everything. I had no money. I had no idea how I would make my life work. At one point while I was taking your class I had to pay for my rent by pawning my jewelry, so pie-in-the-sky ideas shouldn’t have really even been on my radar. But I chose to put my walk with the Lord first above anything I understood. And I listened to where he called me to go.
After selling everything I had and journeying around the world twice, to 24 countries on 6 continents I now have a dream career and have made my dream of doing missionary work, living on the beach and owning a yacht come true too! It’s a crazy story but a wonderful story. I am a ghost. And since I also write about spirituality I guess you could call me a holy ghost. I smirked when I realized this because I remembered your challenge to us to figure out a great title so at a cocktail party people will ask you questions. …My business card lists my business address in Singapore :)
Today I am a contributing writer at World Travel Magazine and have gone on media trips that are fully paid for, my next one is to South Africa to survey Cape Leopards for three weeks this October. I write luxury travel articles and interview profiles that focus on life-changing, planet-healing travel featuring self-discovery, pilgrimages, eco-travel and journeys of the heart." - Laura Elliot, Author, Travel Writer
"Your two classes taught me so much about what I wanted and needed out of a career. In part two you had a section that asked to describe your perfect day now and in five years, ten years and on. Working with my mom as a realtor enables me to have the flexibility to still be there for my kids. She was always there for me growing up and I now know that I will continue to be there for my kids even though I am working. Tony, thank you for everything!!!" and then, "...You really got me through a turning point in my life!!!" - Suzanne Weinstock, Graphic Designer and Real Estate Consultant
"Tony! We just released a new short film at Spiritclips. Last month we had our best month ever!! We got Hallmark on our site and are getting more inspirational content. I NEVER would be doing this if I hadn't taken your amazing classes. Now I'm not commuting 4 hrs a day... Please let everyone know one of your students is working for a BIG Hollywood producer :) ha ha, which knowing me, is really hilarious...I want everyone to know how great you are...I never thought I would work in Hollywood but opportunities can come from unexpected places and it's good to be prepared. The only reason I'm working at Spiritclips is because we do inspirational content. That was my main objective in your class, remember? To do something meaningful. I like that my work is now tied to inspiration in general and is not specific... one subject. Also, most of my team is young adults. So that fits great w/ what you said about me teaching. I don't want to teach in (a) school but I love working with these younger folks and learning so much from them too. My next project is building (an) iPad (TM) app for our site. I'm having so much fun. Many times a week I think about things I learned in your class and it really helps me. I learned from you how to explain myself to others and understand them better as well. This was from the chart you use showing the skills and talents in 4 quadrants. Smiles, keep smiling,” :) Ellen- Ellen Perry- Graphic Artist and Producer of inspirational content at Spiritclips.com
"Tony, Thanks so much for passing along the Kickstarter link on your blog. I think about you every day. Because you inspired me, way back at that first Photo Expo seminar I took with you, I find myself pursuing my dreams and they are becoming realities. Best, Gail" - Photographer, Film Documentarian, and Humanitarian, Gail Mooney, Director of "Opening Our Eyes" an extraordinary documentary film about individuals around the world who make a difference.
"Just wanted to let you know that one of your fledglings is about to fly the nest and begin 'living the dream!' On April 20th I am beginning a new position at the University of Oxford, as the communications and marketing manager for their department of continuing education. I'm terrifically excited at the opportunity to broaden beyond web communications, and to utilize not only my graphic design skills but also do some writing and strategizing. It's a brand new position, and I will be the first holder of it. It makes me remember all the wonderful work we all did in your 'Crafting a Meaningful Career' class. That was a few years ago now, but it was definitely the starting point for the discussions, dreams and actions that led to the desired outcome! So hats off to you for being one heck of an inspiring friend and teacher." - Gail Anderson, Communications and Marketing Manager, Oxford University, Department of Continuing Education
"...I am wondering if everyone understands the value of taking this amazing class (Crafting a Meaningful Career-Part 2-formerly Living the Dream). Those who have taken Crafting a Meaningful Career and even those of us who have taken Living the Dream once but are still working on the dream and could use it to be in a collective that is the 'dream' class. I think of the class more like a creative health club where instead of going to achieve a specific goal (weight loss, muscle gain, etc.) and go away, or you join up to work consistently and have that extra support, opportunity to gain knowledge about ho to do something now that you're at a new level. All with the goal toward making your dream or getting more traction...on having the life on a day in and day out basis that you want. If you need anyone to come speak to your current 'craft' for a few minutes as to the benefit I received by 'dream' I'd be happy to. ...(It's) an ongoing workshop/collaborative of fabulous peers like bloomsbury group/Algonquin round table and a rock star at the helm." - Alena St. James, Creative Director
"Thanks to Tony Luna's class I came to the realization that the only thing between me and my aspirations was my lack of taking initiative. Tony's class opened my eyes to what might be possible and what was once a dream has now become a reality“ – Maureen Thurston-Chartraw, Founder/Principal, Access International; Second Road Pty, Ltd., Sydney, Australia, Design Leverage Consultant
“Seems the class ('Living the Dream') itself is living, breathing testimony to your 'Living the Dream.' You’re like the pitch man for the Hair Club for Men –‘I’m not only its president, I’m a client too.’ (Editor's note: Part of Randall's objective was to move to a more creatively conducive place.) We bought a place last week...downriver of Portland. Our place is 5444 square feet–lots of room for me to work!” – Randall Jahnson, Screenwriter
“Tony, I have another update for the year. First I set my website as my first goal and reached that in January. Then I set a goal to have a showing of my work. I have been involved in two small shows a already this year. The next goal was to be accepted into a juried show. Saturday I submitted three pieces to be considered… All three of my pieces have been accepted. Just thought you would like to know what you encouraged.”
"Tony is a great mentor. Through his guidance I was able to realize where my gifts were the strongest. Opportunities opened up, and as long as I stay focused on my passion, I create successfully. Tony helped me take the first step and I will be forever grateful." – Robin Neudorfer, Artist