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

Want a secret weapon to reduce your stress?

Want a secret weapon for relieving stress? Get organized.

It’s pretty much common knowledge that clutter can drain your energy. A cluttered home – a cluttered mind. But clutter also drains your finances and schedule, which we refer to as the hidden cost of clutter. Not only does it affect your energy and pocketbook, it ultimately creates a chaotic life.

Putting in the effort to get organized by establishing healthy habits, (especially if the disorganization and clutter extends to multiple areas of your life) can help reduce stress tremendously. Just think how stressful it is when you’re scrambling at the last-minute looking for your things or you show up late for a meeting because you lost track of time.

Being organized on the other hand, can leave you feeling empowered. Facing the day prepared can actually minimize the strength and duration of your stress. The key is to reduce your triggers in the first place.

Getting organized doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are a few habits you can learn right away, such as:

• Everything in its place and a place for everything. (And that place should make sense.)
• Keep like with like.
• Dedicate 20 minutes to a task each day.

To reduce your stress, consider how organized you need to be. While you may not need your books alphabetized or have every minute scheduled in your calendar, adopting a few good habits could go a long way.

Patricia Diesel is an International Keynote Speaker, Professional Organizing Expert, and Best-selling Author. She shares her expertise on how to create simplicity and balance in these ever changing times. Patricia is known as the most sought after Organizing Expert in today’s world. She is the creator of THE KEEP IT SIMPLE NOW SYSTEM™ the Most Elite and Complete Step-by-Step Program That Will Help You Get Organized Without The Stress, Procrastination and Overwhelm, So You Can Finally Live A Clutter-Free, Healthy Life! Book Patricia today! https://bit.ly/2Y1p1in

Leaders Must learn to BOP! – Be Open to Progress

These are trying times to say the least. Much has changed. Here is something that has not… Each of has unbelievable potential, which, for the most part, is only limited by our minds. Our mind-set is the first thing we have to empower if we’re going to create progress in world of change.  It may be uncomfortable and even painful, but we must shift our focus to the possible if we are to harness our potential. 

This is especially true in this ever-changing, always challenging marketplace.  While any number of actions and initiatives may be employed to progress, our minds must first be willing.  When the going gets tough, the mind has to get tough to get going. 

It takes guts to confront an uncertain future.  But that future, though unpredictable, also brings the possibility of progress.  Even unwanted “change” can present opportunities, but we’ve got to be in the right mental state to identify and pounce on them.  Turbulence and problems are life forces that may be seen as opportunities for growth and advancement.  Be open to change as an opportunity to create progress. 

As Albert Einstein said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”  Acceptance evokes our personal power to navigate change and create progress.  Some transitions are welcomed and some are not.  Either way, recognize that we are engaged in a transition, and our attention is needed. 

Learning to BOP (Be Open to Progress) helps.  In bop music of the 1940s, musical interaction between the soloist and the drummer was referred to as “dropping bombs.”  When the world “drops bombs” and sends its jazzy licks our way, we need to feel we have bombs to drop as well that will put us back in the groove (or at least know where we can find shelter). 

Be ready, willing, and able to improvise.  We create our future with our responses to change.  Interact with the change, get intimate with it.  We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control our reaction to what happens to us.  When we open up to new experiences, we discover potential in ourselves we never knew we had.  Often, it takes more effort not to do something than to do it.  It helps to be flexible in how we view problems.  We need to quit burning up our energy in shooting down ideas.  Latch on to a couple of ideas and go for it.  Think “Yes, I’ll do it”instead of“No, Not me,” or “This will not work.”

Invent your future by committing to lifelong learning.  Knowing that change is coming and even why we must change is not enough; it helps to know how to progress.  Be ready for the world and its endless opportunities for progress.  Learn what you need to learn, and more. 

Action steps often need time to work. It’s important to give them that time.  However, we must also be open-minded enough to know when to use alternate approaches and strategies to move forward. 

Commit to progress, not to a plan.  Commit to action.  Keep your eyes, ears, mind, and heart open for ways to progress. 

Award-winning business author Dean Lindsay is a powerful keynote speaker  with a humorous and engaging approach. He has been hailed as ‘America’s Progress Agent’ by The Strategic HR Forum as well as an ‘Outstanding Thought Leader on Building Priceless Business Relationships’ by Sales and Marketing Executives International. All of Dean’s presentations – Onstage or Virtually Online,  are fully customized and designed to reach each client’s desired outcomes.  Book Dean Lindsay today: https://bit.ly/34L4wt7

Kindness + Creativity = Balance

Unprecedented. I predict that will be the most used word in 2020, the year an unseen enemy affected change across the globe.

By mid-March, live speaking and comedy events began being postponed or cancelled. What was shaping up to be my busiest year yet had quickly morphed into a year with no events in the immediate future. I had two choices: 1. Sit back and wait, or 2. Do something.

I chose to do something. 

Or several somethings.

I knew, as days of stay-at-home orders turned into weeks, the uncertainty would give way to stress. My first “something” was the decision to be kind to myself and keep my life, mind-body-soul, balanced.

Although I was relegated to spending more time at home, I chose to stick closely to a schedule, keeping the same hours for meals, sleep and work. Gym time became challenging.

Fortunately, we live in this virtual age where every exercise that can be done in one’s home is readily available. My only dilemma was in choosing which one. My biggest challenge: staying motivated to work out. Boring was out of the question; fun was required. It would require creativity.

My home gym offered virtual workouts as did my Zumba instructor. I continued to walk daily. During work breaks, I chose a playlist and danced in the living room. (Thankfully, no one saw that spectacle!) The schedule, coupled with regular exercise, helped decrease the stress and increase balance in my life. And, it was fun!

My next “something” came from a desire to do… something. You know how, when you see people hurting or in need, your heart produces an altruistic feeling of helpfulness? And, if you don’t find a way to help, that feeling turns to helplessness.

First, I had found balance for myself; now, I needed to help others. Sheltering at home, my options were limited. This would require creativity. Just as I’d been kind to myself, I also wanted to be kind to others. I brainstormed: What were the needs of those around me?

Today I’ll share with you 3 simple actions I took that helped others, enabling me to balance, more completely, my own life and may help you:

  1. Supported small businesses at least once a week. 
  2. Checked in on elderly neighbors, via text, and left groceries on their porch.
  3. Sent cards and postcards to staff and residents in a local nursing home that had offered unprecedented care for my mother in her last days. (There’s that unprecedented word again; and it fits!)

As time passed, I drew on the creativity and kindness ideas of others. We were all in this together. Sharing and implementing each other’s ideas gave us a sense of community. We realized that kindness plus creativity equals balance in our lives and, in during these uncertain times, helped us ease the suffering in others. 

Jim Kwik, author of Limitless, says, “Difficult times can define us, develop us, or diminish us.”

When change comes your way and you’re faced with choices, what will you choose? Never sit back and wait. Always do something. 

Jean Bailey Robor, professional speaker and award-winning author is the “No Buts About It” expert. With 20+ years’ experience in the corporate world, she offers fun and educational keynotes and workshops to help you succeed in living your best life, starting now.
Book Jean Bailey Robor Onstage or Online today: https://bit.ly/3bqf17J

“Say it Straight, Simple and With a Smile!”

One of my favorite LOIS-isms (Lessons, Opportunities, Insights and Solutions) is: “Life is Always Talking, Make Sure You’re Listening.”

Recently, I was nursing a cold and dowsing myself with Breathe Deep, Yogi Tea. Of course, being a motivational speaker, I would buy tea where each bag has its own motivational quote! Sometimes, you just can’t leave the business, even when you’re under the weather!

This one really popped out for me: “Say it Straight, Simple and with a Smile,” which inspired this post.

Nice on paper. Not always so easy to do!

Maybe you were like me, who was one of those see something say something, “she’s 5 going on 50,” kind of kids. You got tons of laughs, accolades, and attention for your quick wit and insightful observations. But then scolded when your “blurts” revealed the shadows of the family secrets or made adults look at something they’d prefer to avoid. If you were like me, you may have been told, “I think you’re imagining things. Maybe you’re being “super sensitive.”  Funny how one does a slice and dice when faced with uncomfortable “truths.”

With each “super sensitive,” “imagining things” comment I shrunk just a little smaller and my brazen, confident self started to get buried. I started to hide my SPARKLE.

I know I’m not alone. I hear it from the thousands of people I’ve spoken to. We get the message, loud and clear: don’t be “too” (strong, smart, aggressive, out spoken, opinionated, independent — the list goes on). Most of us contract, in the backdrop of these messages, and start living in the shadows of our true self.

The challenge is that years, often decades, later, the “too much” conversation is rattling around in our heads. Without realizing it, we are literally “tap dancing around our power,” as opposed to owning it. I love helping people, use language to own their power, ask for what they want, and advocate for themselves. A big part of that is to eliminate what are called “qualifiers,” (maybe, perhaps, could, etc.) that undermine their authority, intelligence, and expertise, and can hurt them both personally and professionally. I feel so passionate about this topic that I created a video, called “Don’t Tap Dance Around Your Power…Own it!

So, in the spirit of Yogi Tea wisdom, and my own LOIS-IZED version of how to “Say it Straight, Simple and with a Smile,” here’s a four-step process to do just that. This process can be used in any situation, from having a difficult conversation, asking for a raise, requesting a favor, or just having a heart to heart.

  1. Write out what you want to communicate– You may say, “I shouldn’t have to write out a script,” well sorry, I disagree. An actor who is playing a role has a script and you need one too. Why? Because you are stepping into a new role, building a new skill, or developing a new aspect of yourself and writing down what you want to say, is a great tool, to start doing that. Writing out what you want to say, gives you clarity. Better to see it on the page, then have it come out of your mouth and have the person’s eyes glaze or worst, get defensive.
  2. Practice saying it a few times– You will have a better idea how it lands and how you feel saying it if you allow yourself to say the words out loud. You can even call a friend and say, ‘Hey can we do a mock conversation?’ The more you do it, the more your system will become acclimated, so when you do have the talk it will feel less daunting.
  3. Keep simplifying the language– The more conversational it is, the more the other person can take it in. Trade in your two-dollar words (which is difficult; I know I LOVE mine) for real human speak, from your heart and your truth, while still knowing your audience.
  4. It’s all about delivery– We’ve all heard, “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Is that ever true! Say it Straight, Simple, and with a Smile.

Where in your life, or your organization could you use some support to communicate more effectively and powerfully to empower yourself while serving the people in your life?

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

Greg Schwem: A VIRTUAL COMEDIAN CAN STILL HEAR YOU LAUGHING

This column originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune syndicate and Medium.

For 30 years I’ve made my living as a standup comedian. I’ve stood on iconic stages including the Grand Ole Opry and the Chicago Theatre. I’ve gazed out at crowds as large as 10,000 and as small as six. We won’t talk about the six.

My moods following my performances have run the gamut from elation to despair. From feeling like I’m the first person to set foot on an uncharted planet to wanting to jump into a recently dug grave and instructing the backhoe operator to “just bury me now.”

The one commonality to all these shows was a live audience. The coronavirus has, for the immediate future, taken away my ability to perform.

Or has it?

Enter the concept of virtual entertainment, an idea that has never really taken off considering that, despite the available technology, most people ultimately think it’s weird to watch a hologram of Prince or another deceased rock star “playing” live on stage. The connection a performer feels to an audience works in reverse too; the audience must feel that same connection.

So when a show I was scheduled to perform for 1,200 members of the dairy industry in Madison, Wisconsin, joined the scrap heap of cancellations on my calendar, I was not hesitant, rather overjoyed, when the organizers said they wanted to me to perform virtually.

Of course, that would mean performing standup comedy to a camera, without a crowd. The audience, I was told, would watch from bedrooms, hotel rooms and home offices, surrounded, most likely, by nobody.

Not exactly the ideal audience for a comedian. Still, the show must go on.

At 8 p.m., I entered a conference room that looked as if preparations were in place for some sort of invasion. A half-eaten takeout pizza sat on a round table big enough to seat 10. Snacks, drinks and sandwiches purchased from an attached hotel represented lunch for the staff tasked with running the virtual operation. Dinner too.

A few IT personnel stared intently at laptops as another virtual presenter, speaking from God only knows where, gave a speech entitled “Practical Proven Systems for More Profitable Innovation.” I heard his voice and saw the PowerPoint slides he had assembled for his talk, but I didn’t see him.

Instead I saw an empty stage and a single camera pointed at it.

“That’s where you’ll be,” the conference organizer told me.

When the previous speaker had concluded, another member of the organizational team grabbed a mic and said, “We have some questions.” These questions, I assume, were submitted by attendees watching virtually. Of the 10 people in the conference room, nobody raised a hand.

The unseen presenter answered several questions and then it was time for me. Like a normal show, a tech clipped a lavalier microphone to my shirt; like a normal show I stood slightly offstage awaiting my introduction. And, like a normal show, I bounded onstage when I heard my name.

The next 45 minutes were left to my imagination.

The conference room participants — seven staff members and three techs — did their best to laugh at my jokes, which, naturally, included a few references to the massive elephant in the room.

“I’m staying in a very nice hotel here in Madison,” I said. “I only live two hours from here, so I don’t really need a hotel. But I was out of toilet paper and the hotel had some.”

Strangely, the longer I performed, the more confident I was that somebody was laughing somewhere. A few laughs from the 10 people in the room were all I needed to keep going. Yes, there were some uncomfortable moments, but it’s also uncomfortable doing standup at a party in the hull of a Catamaran. OK, I brought up the audience of six. Sorry.

I hope there will be no more virtual shows in my career. I hope to be back on stage soon, where I can see and converse with real audience members.

But COVID-19 has taught me one thing: Laughter cannot be quarantined.

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