One Thing Always Leads to Another With Mary Beth Flynn

In this refreshing, upbeat interview, I talk with Mary Beth Flynn, an exceptionally gifted watercolor and pen & ink artist and founder of Artfully Aging, a national, watercolor art program for senior living communities and clients at all levels of skill and care. We talk about her inspiring journey as an artist and entrepreneur, which began in early childhood, and the many ways she has turned enormous obstacles and challenges into business opportunities through her passion for art, compassion for others, and remarkable skills as an entrepreneur. With grace and generosity of spirit, Mary Beth offers us a master class in innovation and the incredible art of the pivot.

If you’re looking for inspiration and thoughtful, practical advice for following your own passion or dream, click the <play> button above and enjoy this captivating conversation.

The Backstory

It’s funny how people come into our lives long after we first hear their names. Such was the case with Mary Beth Flynn. Through friends, I had heard about Mary Beth for a couple of years as a talented artist and entrepreneur. And it’s possible we had been introduced socially before the first mastermind meeting she and I joined with three of our favorite women. However, once I got to know Mary Beth through the mastermind group, I knew she would be perfect for TSBF. She’s bright, kind, warm, and engaging. She’s also passionate about her work.

So, I did what many of us do when we’re building our confidence with any endeavor. I picked up my bat, stepped up to the plate, and hinted at my interest in her joining me for the podcast—on more than one occasion. In the process, I learned two valuable lessons. Lesson #1: I’m terrible at hinting. Lesson #2: Asking for what we want is exceedingly more effective, efficient, and gratifying than hinting, especially when the answer is, “Yes!”

In fact, when I asked Mary Beth to join me for the podcast—and referenced my failed, ninja-like hinting attempts, she was genuinely surprised. Flash forward to Season 3, and I couldn’t be more delighted that Mary Beth Flynn joined me for this delightful interview.

The Interview

During this lovely conversation, Mary Beth and I talk about her story as an artist and entrepreneur and the incredible ways she has learned to balance these two roles. We also explore the ways she has morphed from being an artist and married, stay-at-home mom of three to a single mother with a national house portrait business to the innovative founder and owner of the rapidly growing Artfully Aging. In the process, we discuss the many pivots she has made over the past 30+ years, first in response to the unexpected change in her marital status, then to the 2008-2009 economic recession, and more recently to the Covid-19 pandemic.

With every challenge she has faced, Mary Beth has persevered with grit and determination, an open mind and heart, a willingness to face her fears and step into the unknown, and a keen ability to ‘see around corners’ to the next, best way to serve her customers and clients. You’re going to love hearing about the delightful way she launched her budding art business in grade school, the tiny steps (and big leaps) she has taken across the past 30+ years, the lessons she has learned the hard way, and the powerful advice she would offer to both her 18-year-old self and anyone who wants to follow a passion or dream.

Fun Facts

  • Spent a year in Chile as an exchange student her junior year of high school
  • Throughout grade school and high school, took dance and still loves to dance
  • In grade school, made art and sold it door to door in her Kirkwood neighborhood.
  • Has produced and sold more than 2,000 house portraits from across the U.S.
  • Is married to an artist, and they love living in the woods
  • Loves to facilitate soulful art sessions for older adults

Cool Links

Mary Beth’s Artfully Aging Website
House Portraits and House Paintings by Mary Beth
Senior Living Foresight: A Valuable Resource for Industry Leaders
Father Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations
Prevent + Ed: Leading the Conversation on Alcohol and Other Drugs
Family Forward: Safer, Healthier Relationships for Children and Families

Quotes by Mary Beth

“In the big picture of life, when life gives you lemons, you’ve got to make lemonade. And one thing always leads to another.”

“You just have to really be open-minded and hopeful and not just focus on what didn’t work. With every door that closes, a new one opens. You have to look for them and be open to them.”

“Don’t let fear get in your driver’s seat. You know, a courageous person is not without fear. Being fearful is normal, and that’s OK…. Just embrace it and then move on and say, “OK, fear, you’re going to sit in the back seat now, and we’re going on.”

“If I fail, that doesn’t mean my self-worth is diminished in any way. My self-worth isn’t dependent on my business success. In fact, because I feel a sense of self-worth, my business success can come out of it.”


Deb Gaut

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