THE PANDEMIC, MEASURED IN COFFEE CUPS AND COSTCO RUNS

The now infamous Quarantine of 2020 never had an official start date. Unlike Dec. 25, July 4, Feb. 14 and other calendar days synonymous with celebratory events, the world didn’t simultaneously lock its doors on one particular day and fire up Netflix.

Was it March 16? March 27? Did you hold out until early April before realizing that, because your favorite sports team was canceling its season and your beloved restaurant was locking its doors, maybe you should take this Anthony Fauci guy seriously?

For me, the quarantine began the day my wife returned from Costco, presented me with a 45-ounce container of Dunkin Donuts Medium Roast Original Blend coffee and said, “That ought to hold you.”

Her shopping run also contained the items Americans were grabbing as if the doors to a Brink’s truck had just flung open at 65 miles per hour, scattering $100 bills on the interstate. Toilet paper, sanitizing wipes and gargantuan containers of condiments vied for space inside her SUV. Should an asteroid smash into our home anytime soon, what’s left of my body will be coated in salsa.

How much Costco coffee is too much?

The label on the Dunkin Donuts java monstrosity stated I should be able to brew 150 cups. As someone who limits his caffeine intake to one cup of coffee per day, and occasionally skips the beverage altogether in favor of tea or water, I calculated that I should be set for five months.

“Where will I be in five months?” I remember asking myself as I opened the container and scooped the first grounds into my office coffee maker. Surely, I’ll be traveling again, spending nights in myriad hotels as I’ve been doing for the last 25 years due to my profession as a corporate comedian and keynote speaker. With so much time away from my home office, it might be upward of a year before I needed to replenish my coffee supply, I estimated.

Yesterday, while preparing my lone cup, the coffee measuring scoop touched plastic. That’s right, I was approaching the bottom. And, as the coffee brewed, I realized how little had changed from the day I opened the container.

Costco has replaced hotels

There have been no plane trips or hotel stays. The only change to my morning routine was that I replaced the coffee maker’s charcoal filter after about the 60th cup. Five months after the country shut down, give or take a week, our routines have become so singular that we struggle to remember what they were like pre-pandemic.

Many of us can’t remember the last time we packed a suitcase. Bellied up to a bar. Visited a hair salon. Went to our closet and picked out a suit and tie or a cocktail dress. Hell, I can’t remember the last time I wore pants. Chalk that up to an inordinately warm Chicago summer and the fact that Zoom meetings and Skype video chats only require me to look presentable from the shoulders up.

And yet, I now consistently remember tasks that slipped my mind pre-quarantine. Watering flowers for instance. In previous summers, I would sometimes arrive home to dried up geraniums, as I erroneously assumed they could tough it out for 48 or 72 hours. Not so this year. Each day, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. they receive a drenching and have never looked better.

I walk the dog more, change the bed sheets more often and scrub my bathroom sink more frequently. I cook more, exercise more and watch more television.

Were COVID-19 to be eradicated from the earth tomorrow, I wonder how much of my new routine would remain. Would I return to neglecting the dog and the flowers? Or would I figure out some way to merge my pre- and post-pandemic lives?

Like the rest of the world, I am anxiously awaiting that day. In the meantime, I had better replenish my coffee supply.

Being an optimist, I’m going to stay away from Costco.

Greg Schwem’s comedic take on the 21st century workplace and work/life balance has landed him on SIRIUS RadioFOX News, Comedy Central,pages of Parents Magazine, and as a Keynote Speaker for many business audiences. More than just a business humorist, Greg is also an author and nationally syndicated humor columnist. Whether Onstage or Online: Book Greg Schwem today: https://bit.ly/3dQ1BDL

Your Claim to Fame Isn’t About being Norm or Normal? It’s about being YOU!

My best friend Marty has created quite the “Norm from Cheers” ritual. Four to five mornings a week, he goes to this local deli where he orders the same thing, “Lox, cream cheese, one slice of tomato on an untoasted everything bagel.” Every time.

Like a fly on the wall, he sits on the outer benches of their outside “dining” (if you could call it that) and absorbs all of the local gossip while hunkering down with his yellow legal pad reviewing the behemoth day he has ahead.

By the second week, he smiled a bit when as soon as he walked through the front door, the owner would say, “Usual,” and Marty would nod.

Unlike Norm from Cheers, “nobody knew his name,” (he eventually did formally introduce himself) but they knew what he had. Within walking steps inside the deli, the guy would just look over at him, Marty would nod back, and the shorthand “Usual” order was in the process of being made.

Week after week the same ritual ensued, it was a quiet comfort, but then Marty became slightly restless and needed to “shake things up,” and told me the big news.

Today he was going to order scrambled eggs on an English muffin and see if the guy reacted. Just to shake things up!

He walked in, the guy gave him the “nod,” and Marty said, “No today I’d like scrambled eggs on an English muffin. The guy looked shell shocked like Marty had suggested they do a group Macarena dance in the parking lot followed by a communal sing-a-long of Kumbaya.

Even when he went to pay, the same owner was about to ring up the “usual.”

Marty and I had a little chuckle when he shared the story.

Yet a few minutes later I saw that this simple anecdote housed within it a great metaphor for what we do every day in our lives and quite frankly we do to others.

As humans we are often in a dance between feeling both soothed by the familiar, and by having our own “Hey Norm” moments where people “know us,” it’s somehow comforting.

But that comfort can also box us in when people around us become taken aback by us doing things differently. When we are not being “Norm” or “Normal,” to how they perceive us! We can leave the most interesting compelling aspects of ourselves behind closed doors!

Your claim to fame isn’t about being Norm or Normal? It’s about being YOU! Every Day is Different and We are Different Every Day! May yours today be wonderful!

Lois Barth is a Sparkling Funny Motivation Keynote Speaker, Human Development Expert, Coach, and Best-selling Author. She delivers powerful solutions in a playful way!  “Where there is laughter, there is learning”, therefore Lois’s principles and tools for what she calls “trans-fun-mation,” are delivered in a very playful yet powerful way, mixing in thought provoking Lois-isms to enhance learning and retention. Book Lois today. Whether Onstage or Online (Virtual) she is still In Person! https://bit.ly/2K4ljhx

You Owe It To Yourself!

Yes, you owe it to yourself to express your uniqueness.  When you do this on a consistent basis, you will feel more complete.  There’s no one else exactly like you. You are one very special individual who was created to be who you are…doing the best you can each day to get the best results life has to offer.  When you can accept yourself and love yourself with all your strengths and all your weaknesses, you will be more able to express your uniqueness.

Remember, weaknesses provide you with opportunities for growth  When you accept and respect yourself, you will be better able to express your uniqueness.  You have so much more to offer the world than just a shadow of yourself.  Give up your old hurts and scars.  Know that whatever caused them was in your life to help you grow.  Give up negative thinking.  Focus on a positive future.  Keep forgiving yourself for any mistakes you may have made.  If you could have done better at the time, you would have.  Congratulate yourself for becoming who you are.

Many of us undermine our confidence by trying to earn the approval of others.  For some reason, we think if we can get the approval of those around us, things will be better. The truth is..you are the only one who can make your life better.  Until you learn how to believe in yourself, rely on yourself, and be who you truly are, you will have to rely on your ability to influence others to fulfill your needs.

You owe it to yourself to meet your own wants, needs, and expectations.  This doesn’t mean you have to be alone.  It means that whether you are alone or with others, you can be yourself….the wonderful one-of-a-kind unique individual you were created to be.

What are you doing today to express your uniqueness?

Judi Moreo is an International Award-winning Motivational Speaker, Best-selling Author, Corporate Trainer and Executive Coach. Known as “The Charismatic Communicator” Judi is one of the most in-demand speakers on motivation, communication skills, and personal development in the world. She is the author of newly revised You Are More Than Enough and is the publisher of both the Life Choices book series and Choices magazine as well as the host of the popular Life Choices with Judi Moreo  on the Golden Network on ROKU! To book Judi Moreo click here: https://bit.ly/2Orosec

Are You Adaptable? Ask These Five Questions and Find Out!

The need for adaptability has never been greater than it is now. The ability for people, teams, and organizations to adapt to changes in their environments, has been called the new competitive edge. The same is true for individuals: employers increasingly want workers who can adapt to an ever-changing workplace.

Someone who is adaptable is open to new ideas, and doesn’t need to do things just because “that’s how they’ve always been done.” They’re able to anticipate changes and don’t panic when things don’t go according to plan.

To stay relevant as an organization you need to think and act in an adaptable manner. As a leader or senior manager, you play an important role in leading your team through periods of change, whether that be new workplace procedures, new goals or new technology. An adaptable mindset empowers you to support your team more effectively and better manage the impact of new challenges.

Adaptability also tends to improve your level of resilience, meaning that periods of uncertainty are less likely to impact on your overall personal wellbeing. Adaptable people tend to be happier and more content as they’re not struggling against the tide or trying to resist when things change.

Being adaptable also has a direct impact on your personal sense of happiness. Being adaptable means not feeling hopeless and helpless in the face of change. If you can tell yourself that you have the skills and ability to change yourself, even if you can’t change the situation, you have figured out the key to being happy regardless of your circumstances.

If you are adaptable, you will also bounce back from adversity more quickly. This is because you would change yourself to accommodate your circumstances.  This means less time trying to change your circumstances, which may or may not work, and more time adjusting your own attitude and expectations.

So, are you adaptable? Here are five questions to ask yourself in order to find out:

1.    Can you handle failure?

To adapt means to grow and change what you consider to be right to something new (sort of- the new right) in your life and career. If you are not able to do that, you stagnate. This is something that individuals and organizations alike struggle with- habits that have led to success in the past are now being questioned or need to be replaced. This is confusing at times and creates much anxiety for many. Can they actually implement those new habits? Will those new habits actually lead to success? With new habits comes the unknown, with trials, errors and a high potential for things not working out the way we hope they will. Our old formulas for success can no longer be applied.

Coming up with new ones does not guarantee that we hot it right. We all have different levels of tolerance to the idea of potential failure. If you cannot stomach the idea of potential failure, your anxiety will cause you (or your team, or your organization) to cling back to the old, seemingly (yet not so much anymore) ‘safe’ way of doing things. Ask yourself this: can I, actually, stomach a potential failure?

2. Are you proactive?

Adaptable people and organizations tend to be proactive. This means that when problems arise (and problems always arise), instead of blaming, accusing, or freezing- they are forward-looking in their approach to resolving situations. This means that the underlying question is always: how do I/we make sure that THIS doesn’t happen again? What can I/ improve as a result? The benefits of a proactive approach are that it creates improvement rather than despair, and growth rather than anxiety and negativity.

3. Do you keep yourself accountable?

Accountability is the mother of all change. When we hold ourselves accountable for our share and responsibility in every situation rather than blaming and accusing others, we have the power to create real change. I oftentimes find that people who feel stuck, and as a result very frustrated, are actually people who refuse to see their share in the situation, and as a result, cannot see their potential to change things on their end. Think of it this way: if you have potential responsibility of 50% to every situation that you are struggling with, specifically if it involves other people, you also have a 50% change capability.

4. How positive and optimistic are you?

A positive self-attitude relies on our inner belief in our own power, or in the power of the team or the organization, to succeed and grow. Without positivity and optimism, there is no wind in the person, the team or the organization’s sails. Optimistic people tend to be much more adaptable compared with people who are negative and pessimistic. Most people are somewhat in the middle. Caught yourself talking negatively to yourself in your own head? Noticed that you are being negative when you talk to others? Catch yourself and change your language. Replace phrases of doubt with phrases of optimism, words of negativity with words of positive encouragement. It is a conscious choice that you can make every day, every minute.

5. Are you able to see the big picture?

Resistance to change is often borne out of a lack of understanding of why it’s necessary or the potential benefits it will bring. An awareness of the wider context and an understanding of how things work and connect empowers you to see beyond potential challenges to the wider goal and motivates you to find solutions. If you are a leader, make sure to communicate the big picture to your team, and make sure that it is clear to you first. If this involves your personal life, make sure the big picture is clear. Why is change needed? What impact will it have? Read the articles. Get the tools. Gain knowledge. Understanding the bigger picture will answer your ‘why’ and give you a sense of purpose and determination.

Whether you are more or less adaptable, it is a skill to work on. Adaptability is one of the most sought-after traits for leaders. It is also one of the most important parameters for success in every dimension of life- both personally and professionally.

As Tracy Chapman sings in her song ‘The Times They Are-a- changin’:

If your time to you

Is worth savin’

Then you better start swimmin’

Or you’ll sink like a stone

For the times they are a-changin’

Yes, the times are changing. Work on your own tolerance to change. Improve your adaptability. As a leader, work on creating a culture of adaptability. Tracy Chapman is right. Times are a-changin’.

Dr. Michelle Rozen, International Keynote Speaker, Change Expert and Author, is a highly influential Social Media Expert, and featured on NBC, ABC, CNN, FOX News and many other media outlets discussing change, motivation and how the human mind works to become exceptional in every area of our lives, professionally and personally. Dr. Michelle Rozen is one of the most sought after International and National Keynote Speakers!  Book Dr. Michelle today: https://bit.ly/34QbHPv

Do You Want Less Stress and Higher Prices?

If you are a small business owner, independent contractor, or have any career in which you predominantly work for yourself, you’ve probably experienced a time when you’ve been without clients or otherwise out of work.

This is always incredibly stressful; even if you’ve got money in the bank, at some point you can’t help but worry that you’ll never work again. You wonder how you’re going to pay your bills, and what will happen if you’re out of work for more than a couple weeks. Then the minute you get a new job, client, or contract, you most likely throw yourself right into the work. You get excited, devote all your time to it, and get everything accomplished quickly and efficiently. After all, getting the job done with speed and thoroughness is the best way to serve yourself, isn’t it?

If you’ve answered yes, you unfortunately are at least partially responsible for those dry spells when you’re completely without work. Even though it seems like a good idea to do your job both well and quickly, focusing solely on that means you aren’t spending any time on building new business.

If you get too involved in the project at hand, your sales and marketing will lapse and there won’t be anything in the pipeline for when the project is over. Building a successful business, whether you’re a business owner or contractor, is a process.

To rely on that process, you must work on building new sales and doing the necessary marketing. Doing a great job for one client is valuable and can certainly get you more work if they hire you again or exalt your skills to friends and colleagues. However, setting a slightly later deadline to complete the task and using the extra time to ensure you have new projects lined up will serve you far better.

So what is the magical balance between sales, marketing and delivery that is the secret to having consistent work and driving up your prices?

The answer is simple: 80 percent delivery, 20 percent sales and marketing. You’re probably familiar with the Pareto principle – the idea that 80 percent of your results are derived from roughly 20 percent of your focus.

Here, my version of the rule is a bit different; it dictates that in order to ensure that 80 percent of your efforts are delivering on paid work, 20 percent of your time weekly should be spent on marketing and sales activities.

When I tell this to clients, they often ask: why weekly, rather than just 20 percent of my total work time? The answer is simple; technically if a job took 16 days then you dedicating four days to marketing that would be 20 percent. However, the unfortunate thing about sales is that it isn’t that simple. When considering sales, you must consider the time it takes:

  • to get a meeting with the prospective client
  • allow potential clients to make their decision
  • And, if they hire you, to prepare for you to start.

If you wait until the end of your current job to do this work, you’ll end up sitting at home with nothing to do. You will start to feel desperate for work and in many cases, instead of driving your price up; you will negotiate your price and possibly lower it just to pick up work. Ensuring that the phone call you make this week becomes a meeting next week and a full-fledged job on week three requires you to set aside that marketing and sales time this week, and do so every week hereafter.

So what if you are busy with a project and spend five full days on it? Well then you should be spending a sixth work day on sales and marketing. Working a full week on a project doesn’t give you a pass to stop; it is necessary to the health of your business. People always tell me,”I only want to work 40 hours a week.” If this is the case and you want a successful business, then only commit to 32 hours of paid work and spend the other 8 on sales and marketing activities.

It really is that easy. As a result of following this extremely basic idea, you will run far less risk of being out of work for periods of time. This is especially true because clients will see you have constant work and they will perceive you as busy, talented and in demand. If the standard rule for a restaurant applies to your business, we know that customers will pay more for in demand talent.

To give you a real-life example, last year I coached a contractor who, when she was booked, worked 60 hours per week. If she believed a job would take 120 hours, she worked two full weeks without stopping, investing no time into marketing or sales. Then, after the two weeks were over, she had no work. She would panic; we would have a coaching call where I helped her reduce her stress by reminding her that the only reason she didn’t have work was due to the fact that she hadn’t called anyone.

I motivated her to reach out to her contacts, suggesting she act as though she had a space coming up, but then became fully booked- that way, she introduced a sense of urgency while seeming like the most desirable candidate for a job. Finally, I reminded her that once she got work, she needed to commit to a delivery date that allowed her to spend only 80 percent of her working time on the project itself. She repeated this cycle of neglecting her sales marketing, and therefore her own well being, numerous times; however, eventually the idea stuck. Since that time she has reaped the rewards of higher pay rates, consistent work, and reduced stress from having more reliable and profitable work.

I have also worked with a client in a more corporate position; he supplies organizations with gift hampers. He hated marketing and sales, so every time he had an order to prepare for, he completely let that aspect go.

Then, when an event was over, he was without work and forced to layoff staff, only to hire all new personnel the next time he got a job. Hiring and training the new staff would eat up a great deal of time and effort when he was already busy with event prep.

I suggested to him that if he devoted time to marketing and sales on a weekly basis, he might be able to afford keeping seasoned staff on permanently. Initially, he responded with hundreds of reasons why that wouldn’t work, including the customers’ expectations of a swift delivery date; however, once he agreed to submit to the process it resulted in far less fluctuation in the amount of work at any given time, and a steadily growing business rather than one that continuously fluctuated between growth and shrinkage.

If you only concentrate on the job at hand, you do yourself a disservice; you’ll have to experience the fear and stress of looking for work without a safety net, and you’ll never be able to increase your rate. If you always have business, you’ll be able to raise the price you charge, because you won’t fear being out of work, and because people naturally desire the services of a busy person.

After all, the general consensus is that such a person must be the best at their job; it’s the reason they’re always fully booked. On the other hand, if you don’t have work, you’ll get desperate and your rate will stay the same or may even lower. So, begin blocking out a day once a week for sales and marketing. Invest that 20 percent of your time in your healthy, sane, and busy future.

Matthew Pollard is an International Award-winning Top Keynote Sales Expert Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Best-selling Author. If you’re looking for a keynote speaker with an edge, who provides absolute return on investment, who will assist your organization in achieving unprecedented results, Matthew Pollard is your Rapid Growth® Guy!  Book Matthew Pollard today https://bit.ly/345Gz1r

Learning the ABCs of Leadership at 16

Whether you’re heading up a team of 100 or just a team of one, the more you step into a leadership role, the more you’ll excel, and the more you’ll provide value for those around you. The term “leader” gets thrown around a lot, and often gets bogged down with so many details, that we overlook the most foundational A, B, C’s of leadership; AwarenessBeing Flexible, and Connection

Who would’ve guessed where I would have witnessed the power of a true leader and the impact they could have both on team engagement and customer service. This life lesson happened at the tender age of 16, while working in a local ice cream parlor chain, in my hometown of Elmont, Long Island; a gazillion years ago.

 Scene opens. It’s my first job with working papers, curfews, and all. While I was “good enough” at the basic operational aspects of the job, my real strength was my people skills. I definitely got the schmoozer gene from my Mom, Edie. And you could bet your bottom dollop that when combined with my two favorite things in the world; conversations with strangers and ice cream, not necessarily in that order, my shmoozer gene went into full tilt.

In a matter of moments after taking customer’s orders, I managed to hear their life stories, dietary needs and aspirations (yes you can go low cal/low fat and still engage in the festivities) while joking with the kids, making up silly voices and play games with them. Who says you can’t multi-task and Sparkle at the same time!

Since we pooled the tips, the other workers weren’t thrilled with me even though I definitely pulled my weight. Ironically, there was not a lot of room for fun in this joint. They were very strict across the board from very specific protocols on how to address customers, wipe the counters and memorize the exact initials for all 55 flavors. Mint Chocolate Chip was MCC! No periods no commas, nothing else but MCC. And if you wrote down anything else, you’d be written up. Lots of rules; lots of chores; and two hours of clean up every shift. Ice cream became not fun, very quickly! How is that possible?

The manager was a lovely guy who, while appearing laid-back, had a deep emotional intelligence and understanding of efficiency.

One Easter everyone poured in after church. There were lines out the door and lots of crying children. We were short-staffed and sweating it. I’ll never forget what he did. Amidst the mayhem, he gave me a few plastic hand puppets that were freebies, he moved all the families with young screaming kids into the same section, and told me to put on a puppet show.  The other employees started to whine. “Why does Lois get to have fun while we’re working so hard? We shouldn’t have to split the tips with her?”

He shook his head and said, “You don’t understand. Lois is working just as hard—even harder, in fact, because she’s under more pressure. Her work just looks different. If we don’t quiet the kids down, three-quarters of the customers will leave and you’ll be twiddling your thumbs for the rest of the day. Do you want that?” Of course, they all shook their heads, “No.” “But if she quiets down the kids and entertains them, then everyone will be happy. They’ll stay longer, order more, tip generously, and we can accommodate the rush. Reluctantly, everyone agreed.

Step-by-step, he threw away the official manual and broke all the rules. He moved everyone around into positions that highlighted their strengths. One girl, who knew the cashier keys by heart, was put on the register. He utilized the big guy who could carry eight sundaes on a tray by leveraging his sweat equity. He moved the other girl, who could recite the acronym of all 55 flavors in her sleep, to the role of the head ice cream scooper.

An entire third of the restaurant with families of screaming kids was moved over to my section and was transfixed by the puppet show. Instead of crying, they were literally squealing with delight. Their parents were beyond grateful for the reprieve. Other people came by to listen. They kept ordering more food. The rest of the team was on fire because they were utilizing their best skills and what they enjoyed doing most. We felt like superstars. We were like this fast-food fireworks show that was lighting up the sky.

Customers felt our energy and focus. That day, I learned the magic of what is possible when, like Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, says, when you put the right people in the right seat on the right bus: the bus moves on its own. 

While it may be important for employees to expand their skill sets and stretch themselves, it’s a far more effective strategy to celebrate and utilize each team’s strengths and be willing to change. Put your team members in positions where their natural talents shine. By doing that, they get to celebrate their unique contribution and everyone wins!

As a leader, how often do you apply the A, B, C’s of leadership: Awareness of your team’s strength, Being flexible to move things around, and Connection with your team. 

Lois Barth is a Sparkling Funny Motivation Keynote Speaker, Human Development Expert, Coach, and Best-selling Author. She delivers powerful solutions in a playful way!  “Where there is laughter, there is learning”, therefore Lois’s principles and tools for what she calls “trans-fun-mation,” are delivered in a very playful yet powerful way, mixing in thought provoking Lois-isms to enhance learning and retention. Book Lois today. Whether Onstage or Online (Virtual) she is still In Person! https://bit.ly/2K4ljhx

Own Your Power…Own Your Life…Here’s How

I work with so many bright, hard-working, successful women who are consistently hitting “ceilings,” both internally and externally. When the cause is not addressed, these limiting beliefs often stop them from realizing their full potential.

The great news is that when they implement these powerful strategies, my clients consistently project their SPARKLE 2.0 version; confident and present. They can then effectively advocate for themselves and other women. This consistently happens when I’ve introduced these concepts to thousands of women, including those in male-dominated professions, such as the energy, legal, financial, transportation and advertising industries.

I’ve identified Six Sassy Steps to Shatter Your Inner and Outer Glass Ceiling and help you own your power, your passion, your voice in a way you’ve always desired but never dreamed possible.

Shatter Your Inner Glass Ceiling

1) You’ve Got To Name It To Claim It

Unless you can identify the limiting beliefs/behaviors that prevent you from reaching the level of success you crave, you can’t do anything about it. One of mine, hands down, is second-guessing myself. Do you second-guess yourself? Yes? No? Aren’t sure?

It’s important to be an investigator in your own life and look at the origins of where your beliefs come from. For me, it was crystal clear. One day my Dad said, “Girlfriend you’re being a little too strong.” Yikes! He could’ve used a dozen different adjectives that wouldn’t have affected me at all. But as a little girl being told that being strong was bad, it slayed me.

I started to beige myself out. That’s when I began to distrust myself. Because I thought I was too much, second-guessing became my default mode. This is not about vilifying anyone. My Dad was an extraordinary role model for me. Rather it’s an example of why it’s so important to identify the origin of our beliefs. It wasn’t until years later that I made the connection between second-guessing myself and my desire not to upset those around me.

2) Address Your Triggers Or They Will Control You

I have a client that when she says, “That’s a fee I feel comfortable with,” I mimic an EMS siren and say, “Emergency approaching!” We laugh because it means she’s about to give away her services for much less than the market will bear. Her statement goes on her trigger list because it’s an indicator she’s in danger of self-sabotaging her success. Our new goal is for her to feel deliciously uncomfortable in service of what makes her SPARKLE.

I have clients create an Owner’s Manual that list their top 10 triggers. This works because when they can identify their mental, emotional and physical Achilles heel they have a better chance of slowing down the film, and advocating for themselves.

Here are a few examples:

•   A potential client saying, “You’re the only I can turn to right now.”

•   Being given conflicting messages from your boss regarding your performance.

•   Your stomach feels like it’s having a heart attack.

Want to learn how Untrigger Your Stress in Five Minutes or Less? Click Here.

3) Practice Makes Progress

Perfection is an illusion that will keep you binging on Haagen Dazs, beating yourself up and lolling in your nightgown until 5pm. Give it up. It’s been said it takes 21 days to create a new habit and 90 days for the habit to become second nature. Expect and accept some setbacks before implementing new thoughts and behaviors. Celebrate each victory, big and small.

Shatter Your Outer Glass Ceiling

4) Move From Criticism To Curiosity

My relationship with food and my body transformed 30 years ago – not overnight and not perfectly. I still participate in recreational eating and chocolate therapy. However, this all changed in the middle of an attack from my Itty-Bitty-Committee (IBC), the inner critic in my head I call Slash. Yup, I gave her a name, outfit, and accessories to match. Instead, I heard a kind voice, beckoning me to be curious and ask why. This shift from criticism to curiosity changed my life and it can change yours. When you hit an Ouch! moment when your Slash starts yammering away, you have an extraordinary opportunity. You can stop, breathe, and send love to the part of you that is hurting and say, “Sweetheart what can I learn? What can I get curious about? How can I grow?” It won’t be an overnight process, but if you commit to learning, to be curious and to be kind to yourself, this practice will transform your life.

5) Make Sure Your Overall Presentation Is In Alignment With What You Want

This is a big one. The bottom line is how you present yourself in terms of word choices, tone, body language and physical presentation is everything. If one is incongruent, there will be a disconnect in how you’re perceived. This isn’t about checking your true self at the door but about making sure all aspects of your presentation align with your goals.

A senior-level client was frustrated she wasn’t getting the respect she deserved. We discussed many of her sentences ended with an upward inflection, sending a message that she questioned her own expertise. Also, her appearance didn’t reflect her stature. The solution?

We worked on speaking in statements rather than questions and revamped her wardrobe to one that was feminine, upscale and professional. People took notice very quickly. Her male boss, who genuinely believed in her, but in the wake of the “#MeToo movement,” had felt uneasy discussing these issues. It turns out that nothing keeping her back had anything to do with her competence, but it had everything to do with not properly representing her organization’s brand along with her own authority. Once we corrected these two areas, she felt a new confidence.

6) Actively Advocate For Yourself And For Other Women

The more women support each other, the quicker we can shatter both the inner and outer glass ceiling that is ever-present.

It’s simple; help each other. Help others to help you. Make requests, not demands. Don’t apologize. Be specific with what you desire, whether it’s a board invitation, being included in a meeting, or working on a project. Don’t make it a fortress of females, include men – they want to help you too.

We must commit to shifting our mindset as well as our methodology. When we do that, we change the conversations and prevailing perceptions. The more women own their voice and power the greater impact we’ll have in the world. And everyone wins!

How about you? Looking to energize, engage and elevate the women on your team or organization to shatter their inner and outer glass ceiling? Lois knows these Six Sassy steps really work!

Looking for a speaker who will instill in your audience the “Courage to Sparkle” and  “create a life that lights you up” in this ever changing world?Lois uses humor, energy and science to support companies and individuals to outwit their obstacles, live lusciously and thrive professionally. Lois Barth Delivers Powerful Solutions in a Playful Way! Book Lois today: https://bit.ly/2K4ljhx

Getting Publicity in The Age of Coronavirus

“What Can You Niche Down To Help People In This Age Of Coronavirus?”

Watch the full YouTube video >> HERE

I have been giving tips and ideas for many years on how people can get in front of the media. It may be scary at times, but it’s an opportunity to show the world the value that you can offer. Take a moment to pause and think about what you’re most good at when it comes to things happening inside your industry.

“Pitch Good Quality Stories to The Media About What is Happening Right Now and Provide Value.” – Christina Daves

We may be currently stuck in an unprecedented time, but you should be taking advantage of the situation rather than let it make you feel fearful. Nowadays, we have our phones and computers to connect with other people. Pitch your expertise and use that as a platform or stepping stone to help with whatever is going on.

Several prominent people in the business world have been hammered by the latest happenings. So, if you have any expertise that can help others, do it without any heartbeat of hesitation. The news about the coronavirus will go away at some point. These stories will eventually go away. But by pitching good quality stories to the media about what’s happening right now and providing value to have them remember your product, you will reap all the benefits of it afterward.

“Get Creative! This is a HUGE Opportunity for You to Stand Out!” – Christina Daves

Since your goal is to provide value to a massive online audience, you must know their demographic, so you have an idea who’s watching. Do your best to get creative because this is an enormous opportunity for you to stand out. Sometimes it’s not just about the profit but building a tribe in times like this. We are called to create something of value, help others, and to change the world somehow. 

With millions of consumers facing so many choices who to do business with, are you ready to provide an unparalleled value?

How to Get Involved! In only 10 days of following the simple steps of this challenge, you will gain MASSIVE visibility for your business.

So, what’s holding you back? Are you up for this FREE challenge? Join me here: http://www.yourprchallenge.com/

High Energy Speaker, Serial Entrepreneur, Award-Winning Inventor, Best-selling Author, and DIY-PR Strategist, Christina Daves helps her audiences “Get Visible!” Christina offers real stories on how to reach your goals using simple, yet proven, tactics that have catapulted her businesses, and helped a host of others achieve success.  Christina’s energy is infectious and her passion and perseverance ignite the audience with actionable lessons they can incorporate into their businesses the very next day. Book Christina Daves today: https://bit.ly/33P0dMW

Working from Home: Not as Easy as It Looks

Remember when you were a kid and you saw others riding their bikes up and down the street? Like most kids, you probably thought, “That doesn’t look so hard. I can do that!” And what followed were likely some hard lessons about perseverance and training wheels and maybe even a skinned knee or elbow.

Hundreds of thousands of workers now are being asked to hop on a bike and get moving. “Social distancing” is an important part of slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but there’s a lot more involved in working from home that just taking a laptop from the office and plugging it in at your kitchen table. Just like riding a bike, workers need to learn balance and other skills in order to move ahead.

Let’s face the hard truth; companies are going to take a productivity hit with a dispersed workforce, even if those employees are at their most effective. If they are not proficient with remote work skills, that hit could be a major blow. Here are some of the areas where workers may need help in adjusting.

Communications

When working with others, communications is key. When working remotely, you can’t just stick your head in the next cube and ask for clarification. As a result, you need to communicate effectively yet efficiently using the appropriate channel.

For example, be sure that you’re answering the right question. If you get a long question by email, chances are that “Yes” is not a sufficient answer. Why is the person asking the question?

He or she likely wants to understand the reasons behind your answer. A one-word response is certain to result in another round of emails, asking for a more thorough answer. Save time and frustration by trying to answer the question behind the question the first time.

On the other hand, avoid asking more than one question in an email, especially if there are multiple recipients. You run the risk of someone just answering the first question and ignoring the others.

And even if you do get answers to all the questions, it then becomes complex to follow the different threads of the discussion. (If you receive an email with multiple questions, consider answering each one in a separate email to help keep things straightforward and organized.)

Have reasonable expectations for how quickly you expect a response. Texts, emails, and other messages are interruptions, and it can detract from the recipient’s productivity to have the daily workflow constantly broken up.

If you can indicate how soon you need an answer, that will be helpful all around. This is just the tip of the iceberg. You will likely use a combination of text, email, phone, video chat and conference calls, and workgroup services such as Slack.

Each has its own etiquette that varies from one company culture to another, and you need to know what sort of message or discussion is appropriate for each channel. You also need to know when you should shift from one channel to another.

Technology

You need to have the right tools to work from home. The people in charge of IT for your company should plan how you are supposed to access the information you need in order to get your work done. If you are dealing with sensitive information, you will need security measures such as a virtual private network (VPN) that will encode your transmissions with the mother ship.

You will need adequate Internet access. Just accessing the company customer relationship management (CRM) system probably won’t be particularly demanding but participating in video conferences is a nightmare if your service is too slow or unreliable.

Always use a wired connection to your network whenever possible; lots of other people in your neighborhood will be using their WiFi networks which can cause interference that will degrade your system’s performance.

Get a decent microphone and webcam. Nothing tires out conference participants more than straining to decipher poor audio or video. Your laptop may have a camera that works well enough, but make sure that the camera is at least at your eye level or higher.

This means that you will need a stand or other device to raise your computer up off your desk. If you use a separate webcam, make sure to mount it as close to the screen where you will be looking as possible. It is important to make virtual eye contact in order to engage with the other participants.

And pay attention to what is in the background when you’re on camera. Empty beer cans and dirty laundry are not recommended. You don’t have to go overboard with a green screen backdrop for a chromakey virtual background (like I have) but be mindful of what your visitors will see when they come calling over the Internet.

Transitions

One important aspect of working from home that is rarely discussed is the commute. Some people joke that they have to cross from the kitchen to their desk in the living room, but there’s an issue behind this.

The average commute time for adult workers in the U.S. was almost 30 minutes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For many, this is an important time to make the transition of thinking about home issues and start getting in a mind-frame to tackle challenges at work.

People who stroll from the kitchen to heir workspace in their pajamas don’t get the benefits of this transition, which can mean that it takes longer for them to focus and start being productive.

When I started working from home nearly 30 years ago, I would always put on a dress shirt. After breakfast, I would put on a coat and tie and start my “commute” down a flight of stairs to the family room that I had taken over for my office. This would give me the signal that I was at work. At the end of the day, I would take off the coat and tie and then I’d be home.

Some people have difficulty dealing with “always being at work” when they work at home.
The temptation is great to check email just once more, or to put in an hour or two after dinner to catch up on things.

Now, this can certainly be valuable when you’re being flexible in your work hours and have used some of “business hours” to take care of personal items. It can be a problem, however, if you don’t have a clear balance between work and home life.

I once helped someone who had this problem; his workspace was in a corner of the living room in his small apartment and he couldn’t stay away. I had him take a piece of yarn and string it between two pieces of furniture so that it blocked the path to his desk. This “virtual door” would make him think twice about entering or leaving “work” and helped him keep it under control.

Connections

You also need to maintain connections with other people, both inside and outside of work.
I am fortunate in that I have been a part of virtual communities for more than 30 years; I have many good friends that I know well but whom I have never seen IRL (“in real life”).

This means that you must leave space for conversation outside of work topics. Sharing projects and interests with others inside and outside of your work community is an important part of creating the bonds that people need in order to feel that they belong. People must connect in order to remain engaged with their work and their shared goals for their company.

When working from home, you must find ways to connect and remain in touch with others to avoid the emotional isolation that can come with physical isolation. Join online groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, Nextdoor, and other sites.

It is helpful to exchange with your professional peers, but also look for areas of interest outside your work. If you haven’t already experienced this, you may find these outlets to be an excellent source of engagement, support, and friendship.

Learning to Ride

Nobody expects a child to ride a bike on the first try. If you’re new to working from home, don’t be surprised if you have new skills to learn. The good news is that you can pick this up quickly if you remain open to improving. You can both seek and provide support with your colleagues, and together you can make this work from home thing work.

Alfred Poor is an International full-time technology speaker and author with more than 35 years’ experience with working from home (#WFH). In addition to his presentations on health tech topics, he also provides virtual presentations to help individuals and companies build the work-from-home skills needed to have workers be most productive. Book Alfred Poor today! https://bit.ly/3esRNQ1

The 3 Key Strategic Mindsets for Moving Forward!

All of us are in a different place in the workplace and life at this critical time, aren’t we? To connect the dots and see where we are going in our career and personal life moving forward, I have 3 Key Strategic Mindsets for you to consider and incorporate.

One of the latest business buzzwords today is Resiliency, isn’t it? When you hear that word what does it mean to you? Did you know the word resilience comes from the Latin word meaning: “to rebound?” 

Being a resilient person is your ability to be a happy, successful person and rebound again after something difficult or bad has happened! Having resilience is shown to others as how quickly you can recover from difficulties and tough situations that you face everyday.

Resilience means knowing how to cope in spite of setbacks, or barriers, or limited resources. Resilience is a measure of how much you want something and how much you are willing, and able, to overcome anything to get it. It has to do with your emotional strength. 

Being resilient doesn’t mean that you won’t experience difficulty or distress. People who have suffered major adversity or trauma in their lives commonly experience emotional pain and stress. In fact, the road to resilience is likely to involve considerable emotional distress.

While certain factors might make some of you more resilient than others, resilience isn’t necessarily a personality trait that only some people possess. On the contrary, resilience involves behaviors, thoughts and actions that any of you can learn, develop and build on. The ability to learn resilience is one reason research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary. 

 A great example is the response of many Americans to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and each person’s efforts to rebuild their lives after tragedy. I am sure we will hear many back stories of people’s lives through our covid-19 experience too! 

Like building a muscle, increasing your resilience takes time and is intentional. What do you think builds your resilience the most? 

Here are some suggestions that have worked in my life and the lives of many others! 

Get connected. Building strong, positive relationships with loved ones and friends can provide you with needed support and acceptance in good and bad times. Establish other important connections by volunteering or joining a faith or spiritual community.

Make every day meaningful. Do something that gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose every day. Set goals to help you look toward the future with meaning.

Learn from experience. Think of how you’ve coped with hardships in the past. Consider the skills and strategies that helped you through difficult times. You might even write about past experiences in a journal to help you identify positive and negative behavior patterns — and guide your future behavior. I have been journaling for a long time and in looking back I can see how it helped me to where I am today!

Remain hopeful. You can’t change the past, but you can always look toward the future. Accepting and even anticipating change makes it easier to adapt and view new challenges with less anxiety.

Take care of yourself. It is true you have to take good care of yourself before you can help others. Here are some ways to do that: participate in activities and hobbies you enjoy, include physical activity in your daily routine, get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet, practice stress management and relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, guided imagery, deep breathing or prayer.

Be proactive. Don’t ignore your problems. Instead, figure out what needs to be done, make a plan, and take action. Although it can take time to recover from a major setback, traumatic event or loss, know that your situation can improve if you work at it.

Do you see how important being resilient is to your future?  It’s key to how you begin to move forward. These are great personal insights, but how does being resilient help us in our workplace? Did you know that 80% of hiring managers are now including in their interviews not only questions about your detailed measurable skills on your resume but are also including questions to determine your level of resilience? 

Want to know what some of those questions are? You may not need to know now, but we never know what lies ahead do we? 

 Here are the top five questions being asked:

  • Describe the last time you got really stressed at work.
  • Describe a time when someone else put pressure on you.
  • What has been your greatest failure?
  • What’s your biggest pet peeve at work?
  • How do you ensure your team doesn’t get overwhelmed?

I represent a resilience expert speaker, Courtney Clark, and she says:  “Resilient people manage organizational change better, close more sales, enjoy higher employee engagement, deliver better customer service, and provide decreased turnover.”  She is a great expert sharing to many companies and audiences now either Onstage or Virtual Online.  More about Courtney: https://bit.ly/2B401zc

How is your resilience level today? Is it different since we have had more time to focus on it during Covid-19?  Will it be different after realizing it is being measured in the workplace? 

Resilience really goes hand in hand with our next key mindset strategy, which is Choices or some view as decisions! Recently I have heard so many share that in facing their current situations they have no choice! I have found we always have a choice!  Choice is the one of the most powerful tools we all have!     

We think it’s powerful because of the rewards it avails us, but really what is powerful is the fact that we can make a choice – any choice, good or bad.

What is a choice? It is defined as: “simply the act of picking or deciding between two or more possibilities or options!” 

Do you make choices every day? I believe the most important skill we can develop is the capacity to make good choices. What do you think? 

John C. Maxwell says: 

“Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” 

Making your own choices about the things you do is very important because it gives your life meaning. Making choices about what is important to you helps you be more independent and in charge of your life.

The key is to make good choices isn’t it? Our choices can become our decisions for life! We don’t always make good ones do we?

Did you know we make roughly 35,000 choices a day, 227 of them on food alone, according to researchers at Cornell University. Our brains make decisions up to 10 seconds before we consciously realize it. Some choices are automatic, aren’t they? What are some of your automatic ones? 

I like to keep things simple with no drama and less stress in my life, how about you? In looking at how to make good choices and decisions I have found these 3 Easy Simple Steps work!  

  1. Trust your instincts- they are better than you think
  2. Define the choice, the outcome, and the options-quickly
  3. Don’t take a long time

Once you have made your choice stick with it. Don’t give yourself the option of having back-up plans. That can get you stuck and you end up not making the good choice. Also delays you actually making the decision to choose and take action!

Since this is an important skill do you think hiring managers recognize it as important in a job interview? They certainly do, and here are The Top Three Questions they ask:

  • How do you make decisions? Be able to explain to yourself and others how you make them.
  • Describe the process you typically follow to make a decision about a plan of action.
  • How will you decide whether to accept a job offer should I offer you a job that you think is a good match for your skills and preferred workplace?

Making good choices and decisions brings value. Good decision making is an essential skill. There is a tremendous need for good decision makers in today’s world. How do you rate yourself? 

I saved the most important key mindset strategy till last! It is Positivity. Have you taken the “Strengths Finder 2.0” assessment? You can find the book online, and there is an access code contained in it so you can do it online.

Once you complete the assessment a printout of your top 5 strengths will be available for you. Many recruiters, hiring managers, and companies are requiring you to take it, and also many people are including their strengths on their LinkedIn profiles. 

I am glad this has become more important than ever. I know focusing on our strengths first versus dwelling on our weaknesses helps us to stay positive. 

A positive mindset is an attitude someone has who “expects” good and desired results. The power of positivity is immense, and it can help you convert that energy into reality.

Being positive is how all these three key strategic mindsets work together! Allowing negative thoughts to dominate your mind, will certainly be a barrier to developing a strong resilience and being able to rebound from any adversity you face. You will not be able to see the great choices and decisions you can make without having a positive mindset in place.

Positive thinking doesn’t mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life’s tragic and bad situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach them in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.

Don’t you like being around positive people? Great leaders are always positive because they know that it helps them, and their teams, be more productive and reach their goals. Managers (at every level) who want to excel choose to adopt a positive attitude. 

In today’s world many people ask how can you stay positive? It goes back to choices! We can decide to be positive or negative, can’t we? 

One of my speakers, Will Bowen is a top proponent in being positive, and even shows us how to be complaint free! He shares:
“Your thoughts create your life and your words indicate what you are thinking!”
More about Will see https://bit.ly/2YCBF7R

So what does it take to have a Positive Mindset, and can or should everyone have one?

One of the biggest advantages to having a positive mindset is how much it affects our health! John Hopkins University of Medicine shares that a positive mindset can give you:

  • Longer life span
  • Less stress
  • Improved immune system
  • Faster recovery from surgery
  • Increased resistance to the common cold
  • Better resiliency in coping with life
  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Increased physical well-being
  • Better psychological health

WOW, isn’t that something we all need and want?  So if that is true how do we develop and maintain a positive mindset and will it help us at work?

Since one of my top strengths is Positivity, I have found these 5 Tips for Achieving and Maintaining a Positive Mindset by Kevin Leyes in Thrive Global inspired me to share my thoughts:  https://bit.ly/2zvYUI6

  1. Surround Yourself With Positive People- both in person and on Social Media.
  2. Get Close To Nature- get out and enjoy our beautiful world. 
  3. Strive To Improve And Maintain A Positive Attitude- it takes work and you have to be intentional. 
  4. Go On- no matter what! There is life after every experience we go through!
  5. Focus On Your Dreams And Goals- never lose sight of them no matter your age or stage! 

These will take work! But the benefits are so worth it! Question for you- are you a positive person? Why or Why Not?Is being positive really something hiring managers are looking at in an interview, or do you need it in running your company? 

Yes, they are, and today we need it more than ever! Here are the Top 3 Questions you may encounter the next time you are job interviewing!

  1. There is a half glass of water in front of you. Is it half-empty or half-full?
  2. If you dine at some cafe and the waiter pour a cup of hot coffee on you. How will you react?
  3. If you need some assistance from your coworker but she/he refuses on the spot. What will be your response?

I hope you have a Remarkable Journey learning about the power you have in being a  resilient person, one who makes good choices, and being positive even when it looks like a negative world all around you! These mindsets will led us to move forward at a faster pace that we ever thought possible!

Sue Falcone is the Founder and CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau. She believes in using her expertise to help others as well as serving her clients and the speakers and music artists she represents. She has been honored by the Triad Business Journal as an “Outstanding Women in Business,” Volunter of the Year from Guilford Merchants Association and Business High Point Chamber of Commerce, and was recently nominated as Small Business of the Year of Business High Point Chamber of Commerce. She is involved in mentoring others and is the Director of her Nonprofit, Lifetree Cafe. See more about Sue: https://bit.ly/2BbWRt2