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Communicating in a Crisis: What to Say When Your Team Fears the Worst


Will the coronavirus and quarantining ever end?

Will there be (more) layoffs?

Why am I working 12-hour days from home?

Today’s reality combined with the daily flood of news is pretty grim. Those questions above… they’re on your team’s mind – even if they aren’t asking them out loud. The good news is that the coronavirus and quarantining will end eventually, our country will survive this, and you better not sell your stocks — they’re already beginning to bounce back.

Despite what you may know is an inevitable rebound, employees might not feel so optimistic right now. They may be hypervigilant: sucked into the news, pulled in like a magnet, googling updates and being caught up in the tidal wave of it all. It means they’re probably feeling a bit fearful at the moment. 

Here’s the problem with that: fear leads to stress, and stress leads to negative behaviors, which turn into negative outcomes in productivity, creativity and quality of work. 

Your words, energy and actions — whether positive or negative —  trickle down to your employees and give direction to their own thoughts and behaviors. 

So what do you say when your team fears the worst? Here are seven strategies to steady the team during a crisis. 

Embody Stability

Louder than words, our actions and the energy they give off create a powerful current. In fact, the University of Bielefeld concluded that energy is contagious, and that our mood changes as we interact with different people throughout the day.

What impact does your presence have? 

Leaders should routinely embody stability. You want team members to look at you, listen and think, “Everything is under control. We will be okay.” Be the credible, grounded authority they trust in times of chaos.

Leverage Past Successes for Reassurance

How am I so confident things will turn around? Review the past 20 years; we’ve lived through 9/11, the dot bomb, Bird Flu, the 2009 housing bubble burst. Not to mention a war in the Middle East, and multiplying natural disasters. We bounced back every time. 

To shine hope in your organization, review past facts. List hardships your team dealt with before and how they overcame obstacles. Remind everyone that they’ve prevailed through tough times before, and they will again.

Use Trust-Building Language

In times of stress, people look to those they can trust. Whether you’re talking with a team member one-on-one or sending out a company-wide email, use language that builds trust. Here are some common do’s and don’ts to pay attention to:

  • Avoid absolutes. For example, “always” and “never” are rarely accurate, so don’t use them to reinforce your message.
  • Speak clearly and to the point. Vague responses raise suspicion and confuse people, leaving them to make up their own stories – and that’s never good.   
  • Get comfortable saying, “I don’t know that answer yet.” “I don’t know” is a perfectly legitimate response to a tough question. Let people know when you might know important information and how it would be shared.

Build People’s Personal Confidence

Words of encouragement from leaders go a long way toward empowering people to believe that they will be victorious. It also helps in brightening up the mood around the virtual office; redirect everyone’s focus to what can be done to further the company’s objectives. 

Clarify Short-Term Goals and Refresh Priorities Weekly

The constant swirl of bad news and ambiguity can easily de-focus everyone and derail productivity. A leader’s job is to keep everyone on track. Your best approach in a crisis is to have a consistent communication cadence which gets people focused on small steps and near-term goals that are actionable and achievable. 

Create Open Dialogue

Plan time each week for a group huddle or “office hours” where you check-in with people less formally than a status meeting. See what others are up to and create an environment for people to share whatever is on their mind. You might be pleasantly surprised that people are doing well and want to talk about the positive things they are experiencing. 

What Matters Most 

As an executive or leader, what matters most is how you shepherd your people through the storm. When the crisis has passed, you want to have weathered this storm with the least possible wear and tear on your team and business. Exceptional communication from leaders will GREATLY reduce your team’s stress and help employees feel a sense of stability, focus and productivity. 

One final consideration: these are stressful times for everyone – including yourself. Take time to manage your own stress. Ground your thinking about how you want to navigate this situation. Then, create a strategic narrative that feels authentic, calming and empowering. 

People are looking to their leaders to shepherd them through this crisis and through intentional and productive words and interactions, we can do that.  If you are an executive struggling to lead from a distance, I am here to help. Contact me today to schedule a resiliency coaching session. 


ALERT! Working Parents … You Just Got Promoted to TEACHER!

working parents

When I found out that my three elementary-age kids would be off for three weeks due to the COVID-19 outbreak, I took the notice in stride. After all, what’s three weeks? It’s a blink of time. 

But when I read the news that California schools were to be closed for the remainder of the school year…I flashed back to Supernanny and chaotic visions of overwhelmed parents sitting at a computer in the middle of the family room, trying desperately to get work done while kids were running around screaming, creating a mess and making endless requests for help and attention. Always a nightmarish scene leaving the parents exhausted, hopeless and at the end of their rope.  

Now that Supernanny situation could become true for many working parents…and I’m not ready!

Or am I? YES. As I sit here three weeks in, I realize that this is totally doable…and that there are a lot of silver linings to be found if we just look for them. I also realized that I’m far more prepared for this moment that I thought I was…and you might be too.

To help you through this dynamic time as a family, I’ve created a free resource, Scheduling for Success. It’s a comprehensive guide for working parents seeking to create routines that eliminate chaos, reduce stress and optimize productivity. You can download it here

Even though the homeschooling bit is new, I’ve worked from a home office for more than a decade and what these past three weeks have reminded me is that I’ve got this. Having a schedule and implementing these techniques has helped my husband and I create a (mostly) harmonious and productive environment for our family, and kids who are independent and generally willing to do their part. There’s no perfection here, yet I’m happy to share my best strategies to help you organize your household and get everyone operating as happily and productively as possible.  

Click here to download the free resource and feel free to share it with anyone who has kids and needs to get work done. Plus, when you download this resource, you’ll get access to our FREE resource center that includes a variety of resources designed to help leaders during this COVID-19 crisis. Here’s that link again: https://bit.ly/2xTLhl0 

I hope it helps. These next several weeks are going to test us all. In the process, we’ll be gaining skills, building character and becoming stronger and more resilient versions of ourselves…and so will our kids. I am wishing you the best and I’m here for you if you need help!

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Is Your Presence Powerful or Powerless?

Powerful presence

It’s a fact that within the first seven (7) seconds of seeing you, people have formed a strong opinion of who you are, what you’re about and whether they want to pursue a relationship with you. Before you’ve even said a word, you have been assessed on several key factors including style, confidence, competence and friendliness. And when you do start to speak, according to a recent New York Times article, over 93% of what you communicate comes through body language. So while words matter, your presence is essential to your success. The question is: are you making a positive or a negative impact through the way you present yourself?

It’s even more important if you’re a leader in your organization. If you manage people or projects, the quality of your presence drives your ability to get this done effectively. In fact, a study conducted at MIT found that training in soft skills to boost executive presence issued a 250% return on investment. An additional study revealed that 62% of senior executives consider Presence or Gravitas the most important factor in hiring decisions. In a nutshell – a powerful presence is great for you and for the organization.

Now, if you’re thinking, “some people are just born with a powerful presence. There’s nothing I can do to change how other people perceive me.” You’re wrong. Presence is a combination of variables well within your own control. Your presence can be molded into almost anything you want it to be. A little effort spent improving your presence will make a HUGE difference in your first impression, and the result is a whole new world of possibilities. 

The million dollar question is, how do you create a powerful presence? Here are seven (7) techniques that will help you cultivate a truly impressive and powerful presence.

  1. Stand Up Straight.
    When you slouch, you start to communicate insecurity, indifference and a feeling of being powerless. Standing in a straight, upright position communicates self-confidence and builds trust among others. Practice doing so with your shoulders back and your head held high to project a powerful presence.
  2. Make Eye Contact.
    Direct eye contact is another sign of confidence and trust. When you look someone in the eye, you’re communicating poise, interest and calmness. If you tend to dart your eyes around or are constantly looking down, you’re communicating disinterest and insecurity. Neither one of those habits create a positive impression or inspire confidence. 
  3. Wear a Genuine Smile.
    When you smile, you’re able to raise your energy while also signaling confidence and approachability. This is trust-building behavior that helps magnetize opportunities your way. Frowning communicates displeasure, stress and worry, which tend to keep people away. Your smile doesn’t have to be super bright to have the desired effect; in fact, practicing “resting-smile-face,” can help shift perception about your general demeanor with very positive outcomes.
  4. Take Up Space.
    Whether you are sitting or standing, the more space you take up, the more powerful you appear. Refrain from crossing arms and legs, keep your feet shoulder width apart, keep your materials neat, yet also give them space in your area of the table. 
  5. Be Aware of Your Body Movement.
    When you move, take wider steps and keep your body positioned forward with your head neutral. Similar to the other suggestions, this communicates confidence and projects a powerful presence. If you walk with your shoulders and/or your head down, you’re showing others a lack of energy and confidence. It also helps to walk with your feet pointed forward and not inward or out to the side. Inward communicates insecurity while outward signals going in too many directions. 
  6. Dress the Part You Want to Play.
    How you dress and accessorize says a lot about your self-awareness and self-image. Your visual billboard is the first element people see and true to the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” your billboard tells people a ton about who you are and how you feel about yourself. To maximize your power, dress intentionally and pay attention to the details. Others will – even when you don’t.  
  7. Engage Others. 
    Approaching people with a welcoming expression and open gestures is a sure sign of poise and approachability. Even if you prefer introversion, it doesn’t take a ton of energy to smile and extend a hand. Yet these small gestures in the first few seconds of an encounter can make a big impact on creating positive, powerful and lasting impressions on people.

As you master these techniques, you’ll start to see a powerful presence reflected in the mirror and in the way others react to you and pull you in. The more competent and confident you are, the stronger and more talented your team will become, increasing the potential of the group. You’ll also feel more self-confident and as a result, your presence will become more magnetic and inspiring.

If you want to know more about improving your presence and optimizing your leadership effectiveness, I’d love to talk with you. I’ve opened up my schedule over the next couple of days to help motivated leaders discover their talents, understand their value, strengthen their skills and create a roadmap to executive success! 

Book a free strategy call with me and we’ll talk about your leadership and career goals, what you love to do and how we can help you accelerate your success. No strings attached! Click here to schedule your call today. I look forward to chatting soon! 

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The Luck of the Irish…or is it?

social capital

St. Patrick’s Day got me thinking about the Irish and what makes them so lovable. Is it their fun and easy-going nature? Their lively music and inviting hospitality? Maybe it’s the way they make others feel like family? While there are many facets to the Irish culture, it’s safe to say that these characteristics don’t hurt their friendly reputation.

If you think about it, the Irish are experts at building social capital. They know how to build trust and rapport with others. As a cultural norm, the Irish make people feel special and cared for, which lays the foundation for creating strong and impactful relationships.

Think this ability is just the luck of the Irish? It’s not! You don’t need a four-leaf clover to have the same impact on your professional and personal relationships. The Irish’s reputation is not luck at all, it’s culture, and you can build this culture within yourself. Here’s how:

  1. Always Make People Feel Welcome.
    Something that comes second nature to the Irish is making others feel like family. Locals take the time to ask others how they’re doing, they help each other out without expecting anything in return and they take outsiders under their wing and make them feel like Ireland is their home, too. All of these acts are also great ways to build social capital. Start by being approachable and engaging, be honest and show up when others really need you, and be loyal – have their back even when they’re not around. Doing so demonstrates that you care and are willing to go the extra mile for others. This builds trust that is like money in the bank. Soon enough, you’ll see that behavior reciprocated, creating a strong foundation for long-term social capital.

  2. Stay in touch with others.
    The Irish community is a pretty tight-knit group of people. Because of its small-town likeness, everyone makes an effort to keep in touch and checks in on how others in the community are doing. This helps create strong relationships within the community.

    You don’t have to be local to borrow this trait. There’s nothing like getting an unexpected call from an old friend who wants to check in and see how you’re doing. It makes you feel important and cared for, which is exactly why it’s a great way to build social capital.

    Wondering where to start? Reach out to former colleagues, clients, mentors and other professionals in your industry and let them know you appreciate them and are thinking about them. This will make a positive impression and lead to more opportunities for you. Whether it’s extending a congratulations for a job promotion, forwarding a newspaper clipping or simply checking in to say hello, these small gestures have an exponential positive impact.

  3. Be persistent.
    The country of Ireland is a story of persistence. With wars, famine and poverty coloring its history, the people of Ireland have built up a strong willpower. Whatever comes their way, they keep pushing forward with an outward optimism that is both charming and admirable. There are two great ways to learn from this bit of Irish culture – first, when your chips are down; keep your chin UP! Others are inspired by an optimistic and resilient person and they will remember your confidence and good character.

    Second, investing in social capital takes a little perseverance; it doesn’t happen overnight. There’s an investment in getting to know people and building authentic trust. With some people it’s organic, with others it takes more time. Don’t give up; as time goes by, you’ll see evidence of success in your ability to build positive and powerful relationships.

  4. Have Fun!
    Even though St. Patrick’s Day technically celebrates the death of a saint who reportedly removed all the snakes from Ireland during the fifth century, these days, people of other cultures all around the globe pause for a moment, put their “Irish on”  and celebrate what is festive, fun and heartwarming in life. The Irish are known for having a great sense of humor, being open to new adventures, storytelling and bringing life to any party, wherever they are and whoever they are with.

    This is a critical aspect to building social capital. You want to be the person everyone loves to spend time with. In order to do that, take a queue from the Irish and show off your fun-loving side. Display your true personality, take others on adventures and always be the life of the party wherever you go.  

Forget about a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Building Social Capital is better than gold, its money in the bank of life that will get you much further in your career. So, the next time you want to create a good impression, have some fun and make a friend for life — channel your inner Irishman and enjoy yourself.
For more tips on how to create the career of your dreams, click here to watch my master class on The Keys to Executive Success.

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Creating Confidence in Every Conversation


Think of a recent social or business gathering you attended. Who were the people that you were drawn to? I bet that they were the ones who exuded confidence. You probably remember them well because these people radiate a warmth and enthusiasm that magnetized others toward them. People with an authentic, confident approach are comfortable in many environments and see networking situations as expansion opportunities, while less confident people often hide in the background or stick closely to people they know.

If you are lacking authentic confidence and its showing up in your business interactions; you are not alone. We all yearn to have confidence; to feel empowered by simply being ourselves. Yet the truth is everyone can use a confidence boost every once and a while. Confidence is not something you achieve and then hold perfectly in place forever. Here are a few tips to help you cultivate and project confidence and master any conversation you’re in.

Cultivating Authentic Confidence

1. Nothing to Prove.
The moment you stop trying to prove yourself to others is the moment real confidence can begin to grow.  As people, we are all on equal footing and as you embrace the concept of nothing to prove, you will feel a release of pressure – the pressure that comes from trying to meet the expectations of others. As you embrace and build your own blend of talents, and pursue the things you love to do, others will marvel and want to know your secret.  

2. Do What You Love.
If you’re looking to build confidence, there is nothing better than doing the things that make you feel confident. Understanding and playing to your strengths is the best way to do so. Your body and your brain both LOVE IT when you indulge in the things you were designed to do. In return, they will reward you with magnetic energy and a level of competence that people can’t help but admire.

3. Have a Routine of Positive Self-Talk.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, positive affirmations can really change your presence. Give yourself positive messages that remind you of your strengths, talents and successes. Here are some simple positive self-talk tips to try.

Project Authentic Confidence

Cultivating real confidence is the goal, and yet it can be just as important to fake-it-while-you-make-it.  Here are a few easy-to-implement tips that will get you showing up with charm and poise.

1. Smile.
One trait of confident people is that they aren’t afraid to smile – with their mouth and their eyes. This act creates positive energy within you, so even when you feel nervous, it doesn’t show on your face. This, in turn, exudes confidence as you talk to others.

2. Show Interest.
People with confidence care about others. Take the focus off yourself and put it on others by asking thoughtful questions and listening with interest.

3. Be Still.
It’s common to fidget with your hands, especially when you’re nervous. However, that is a clear sign to others that you aren’t confident in what you’re saying and/or doing. To refrain from doing this, consider keeping your focus on your breathing, instead. This helps relax your overall nerves and limits any fidgeting.

New situations can make anyone feel a bit anxious and uncertain. By applying these simple tips, you will be on your way to feeling less nervous, more empowered, and more confident.

Over the years I’ve worked with thousands of leaders and have helped many to discover their unique talents and use them in their everyday work to elevate performance, improve relationships and eliminate stress. If you want to be more confident and more successful, I can help. Schedule a FREE strategy call with me and we’ll discuss the steps you need to take to show up confidently in every conversation. Click here to sign up for a time slot.

Stress, Be Gone! How to Manage the Daily Stressors


Do you ever get so overwhelmed in your personal or professional life that you feel like you’re just trying to stay afloat? When our minds are saturated with endless tasks, stress begins to kick in and we aren’t able to operate at our full potential. We start to work from the emotional parts of our brain instead of the logical, preventing us from making decisions that serve our best interests.

Simply put: too much stress negatively impacts your life and can prohibit success. Daily stressors will always exist, so the key is to learn how to eliminate the stress toxins that build up in the body. Below are some steps you can take to calm your nervous system whenever stress kicks into high gear.

  1. Stop Thinking.
    Even though you may be having a bad day or even a bad week, push the pause button for a second and reframe your thought patterns. Put things into perspective. Think about the many things you can be grateful for – starting with the positive people in your life. Focusing on those we love and what is good in our lives is a powerful way to control our body’s response to stress and keep things in check.

  2. Breathe Deeply.
    It might seem silly at first, yet oftentimes we forget to start with the basics and just BREATHE! This ancient practice instantly reduces stress and allows us to tap into our creative energy. And from our creative resources, we can find the solutions we need.

  3. Let Go.
    Make of list of the things that overwhelm you. Then, put a check next to the things you can control or influence. For the items that remain unchecked, take a minute to acknowledge that you cannot control them and let go of the idea of doing so.

    Then, with the items you checked off as being in your control, start going through that list and strategize how to tackle those items.

  4. Move It.
    To help reduce the stress hormones in your system, it’s time to get moving! Stretch, walk, bounce; move however you need to to get the stress toxins out of your body.

  5. Drink Water.
    We all know that water fuels your body, but did you know that it can reduce your stress levels as well? Studies have shown that dehydration can lead to an increase in the stress hormone, cortisol. So just by sipping your water, you will see a decrease in your stress levels and feel the effects of reduced stress.  

Work-related issues such as inter-office politics, constant deadlines, feeling overwhelmed, being stuck in dead-end roles are all frustrating and persistent problems that can exacerbate your stress levels and make life miserable. If you are dealing with work-related stress and you want to eliminate it – I can help. To find out more, schedule a free strategy call with me. Together, we’ll create a game plan on how to address your situation, relieve your stress and move forward with more success. Click here to sign up for a time slot.

Be ANYTHING But Boring

boring speaker

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a conversation with someone and you slowly see their attention fade away? The glaze in their eyes appears and your panic starts to set in. The last thing you can afford to do is bore your audience, especially if you’re trying to create a connection, gain buy-in or simply be seen as a competent, engaging professional. There is a definite art to creating authentic conversations that lead you to the right opportunities. Whether you’re in a high-profile meeting or simply chatting with one of your co-workers, using these tips outlined below will help you be ANYTHING but boring in your next conversation.

  1. Be brief, be bright and be gone.  
    When you’re telling a story or want to share some important information, think of your points in terms of soundbites. Soundbites are created to convey a point and be remembered. If you tend toward loquaciousness (being wordy) then practice saying sentences of 10 words or less. Do not talk about yourself unless answering a direct question, and even then stick to one or two soundbites.

  2. Volley the conversation.
    What makes sports so fun is the engagement between competitors and moving the ball around. Apply this principle to your conversations and you’ll come out a winner. Getting into a habit of volleying the conversation back and forth is simple – especially when you are talking in soundbites. Once you’ve shared your information, turn the conversation over to the other person. This graceful act shows that you are interested in really listening to and connecting with your audience. People will leave their conversations with you feeling heard and valued.

  3. Change up your repertoire.
    Roger was one of the most charming, confident and engaging executives I’ve ever met, yet he had a fatal flaw…he shared the same stories and anecdotes over and over. It was so bad that his staff could re-tell his stories verbatim. I don’t have to tell you that this hurt his credibility big time. The brain loves novelty, it’s hardwired to tune in and listen. So use this kernel of information to keep your audience mesmerized with new stories, metaphors, jokes, etc.  

    This also applies to the questions you ask others. It’s helpful to have a general list of questions to ask people you are just meeting. However, for people you see more often, dig deeper and challenge yourself to ask fresh questions each time you see someone.

Practicing these three communication techniques will bring the right connections your way. Instead of running away from you, they’ll be drawn to your side, eager to have a chat, hear your insights and share their own.  

Acing social conversations can accelerate your climb up the corporate ladder. For a lot of people, effortless connecting can be a challenge, yet it doesn’t have to be. If this is something you struggle with, I can help. I’m offering a free 30-minute call where together, we can develop a connection strategy that’s right for you.  Click here to reserve time with me today.

How to Be a Risk-Taker Even When You’re Scared

Everyone admires a risk-taker, right? There’s something exciting about someone who takes a chance; the person who has the courage to start a business in a down economy, a sports team that goes for the two-point shot to win the game or the sky-diver who jumps out of an airplane and isn’t afraid to fall. What do these people have in common? They’re willing to put everything on the line to get what they want. You can’t help but be in awe of those who act fearlessly.

How about you? What was the last risk you took? What opportunity did you back away from and why? Fear is one of the biggest culprits that holds us back from achieving our wildest (or not so wild) dreams. If this resonates with you, then you might need a healthier relationship with fear.

The term “fear” is often described by the acronym False-Evidence-Appearing-Real. Think of it this way – in our mind, we have conjured up some evidence that we label as real. We might believe that we will fail, be embarrassed, lose everything, be rejected, or worst of all, feel judged for our actions.

Dale Carnegie once said, “inaction breeds doubt and fear.” If that’s the case, then ACTION breeds confidence and courage.

If you’re struggling to overcome fear, digest these steps and start taking action:

  • Get real about what’s at stake.
    Ask yourself, “What’s the best that can happen?”, “What’s the worst that can happen?”, and “What is likely to happen?” If you go through these three scenarios, you’ll start to feel the fear slipping away and the confidence immerging. After all, our fears usually seem bigger than their reality of coming true.

  • Move forward, even if it’s a small step.
    No substantial change happens overnight. The same can be said about subsiding your fears. Start by researching your dream. Then, gather more information and start to make a plan. Soon enough, you’ll see that your fears don’t seem so scary if you bite them off a little bit at a time.

  • Tell yourself you are successful.
    As we discussed in a previous blog, positive affirmation is EVERYTHING. If you believe you can and keep telling yourself that, those fears start to fade away and success comes in to replace it.

Fear of failure is a natural reaction that can be reinforced from an early age. Through many well and not-so-well intended messages, we are taught to stay safe and this can lead to us holding back when we should lay full out. Just the other day I was talking to my 10-year-old daughter who was debating whether she should try out for a solo in an upcoming vocal performance. She was afraid that if she didn’t get a solo people would make fun of her – a very common fear. We talked through the same steps I outlined above and she was able to agree that even if she didn’t get a solo, it would be great practice for the next audition. When she came home the next day she proudly told me that she tried out and got a duet…and 2 speaking roles which she had not anticipated. That’s what often happens when we take risks; we get some or all of what we hope for and MORE.

When I think of the regrets I have in my own life, they are never about the things I did and failed to succeed at. I regret the things I failed to try. The bets I hedged. The things I didn’t say. The people I listened to who told me I was unrealistic. Where do you need to shine the light on false evidence that appears real in your life? What opportunity is calling you to push through the vapor of fear and TRY? When you own your fear and take the steps to break down what’s at stake, you will become more realistic about potential outcomes. Not only will you get a confidence-booster, you will also be more prepared to take risks.

Fear of failure is a career and business limiter of epic proportions. If you are seeking more information and techniques to master your fears and showcase the talented professional you know you can be, consider joining my free Facebook group, Power, Persuasion & Presence. This group is designed to help talented, ambitious professionals and motivated leaders develop the Presence, Power and Persuasion they need to make a positive impact, advance their careers and be successful in executive roles. Click here to request to join.

How to Wow Your Clients & Colleagues this Holiday!

Corporate gift-giving: it can be a tricky thing, right? During the holidays, we want to give gifts that our co-workers, bosses and clients truly want; something that they will value and that will leave them with a fond memory of you. So how do you do this?

I’ve found that some of the best corporate gifts are ones that result in a positive experience for the receiver. They can be jointly shared or given away, doesn’t matter, as long as the receiver has a great time. Not only will your colleague feel pampered, your social capital with that person will also expand. To have your colleagues, clients and co-workers feeling special this holiday season, consider these ideas:

  1. Sporting Events
    It doesn’t matter if it’s football, basketball, baseball or any other sport; offering tickets to a sporting event you know they enjoy is a classic gift experience that people love to receive. You can either attend the game with them or let them bring a spouse or a friend and enjoy the game. Either way, this gift experience is a surefire way to demonstrate thoughtfulness and extra effort.
  2. Music Concerts
    This is a great gift experience for colleagues and clients who love music. Because nobody wants to sit through an hour or two of music that they hate, it’s important that you get the genre just right.
  3. Theater, Symphony or Ballet
    For your sophisticates or thespian friends, tickets to a show, symphony or ballet is ideal, especially if it’s an in-demand show. Not sure what’s running on the local theatre scene? Seasonal favorites like the touring Rockettes or The Nutcracker are classy choices.
  4. Box Seating
    To treat multiple people, or ensure that you get to enjoy the experience together, box seats and any of the above type events sends a message of confidence, class and inclusion. If you haven’t done this before, consider renting out a box at a game, concert or play, and sharing it with your clients or corporate friends. This is a great way to mingle with multiple clients/colleagues at once while enjoying a fun gift experience at the same time.
  5. Dinner Invite
    Who doesn’t love a nice, delicious dinner? You can’t go wrong with a restaurant that has tasty food and beautiful ambiance during the holidays. If you’re short on time this holiday season, a gift card to your client’s favorite restaurant is always a great idea as well.
  6. Wine Tasting
    Spread some holiday cheer with a high-end wine tasting! Many wineries, restaurants and wine shops have holiday events that allow you to book a room so all your corporate friends can enjoy the experience together. It’s also a good idea to rent a bus or car service so that everyone gets home safely.
  7. Rent Out a Movie Theater
    Whether it’s Mary Poppins, Aquaman or a classic holiday movie, impress your clients and/or colleagues by renting out a movie theater this holiday season. These days you can serve appetizers outside your theatre and have popcorn and beverages served to your movie-going clients.
  8. Small-Group Cooking Class
    If you have clients or colleagues who love to cook, hosting up a small-group cooking class is a great idea. In the small group setting, you have the opportunity to talk, catch up with each other and learn a new recipe or two. This is a multi-sensory experience that will create wonderful memories and give you something to talk about for years.
  9. Golfing
    Some people can never have enough golf and for those individuals, consider booking a local trip to a golf resort or maybe buying tickets to a professional golf tournament. You’ll make a great impression…and maybe even get some business done.
  10. Paint & Wine Night
    Hosting an event at a paint/wine location is another great way to show thoughtfulness and creativity. With this gift-experience, an instructor guides participants through a painting while everyone sips on their favorite wine and enjoys one another’s company and artistry. Hosting tip…skip the painting and spend your time mingling with all of your guests. Take group and individual photos to commemorate the event.
  11. Weekend Getaway
    Splurge on your top clients and give them the gift of relaxation with a nice weekend getaway. You’ll want to choose a place that’s not too far away, just in case something comes up at home, but also far enough away, to make sure that it feels like a mini-vacation.


Whatever you decide to gift your colleagues and clients this holiday season, the most important aspect of your gift is to make sure it feels personal and specialized to that individual. And also – HAVE FUN! This time of year is about authentic giving and it’s also a great opportunity to build social capital with the people you work with. Be bold, extend some invitations and creatively enjoy the season with those you care about in ways that allow you to express yourself.


Happy Holidays!

Change Your Mind, Change Your Life: The Power of Positive Affirmations

positive affirmations

Do you remember Casey Junior, from Disney’s Dumbo? In the movie, the steam train takes Dumbo and the rest of the circus around the country, and during their travels, Casey has to hike up a steep hill. As he does it, he tells himself, “I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!” By telling himself what he thought was possible… he successfully completes his journey. While the “raw material” was always present, there was doubt about whether he could or couldn’t get the job done. Casey’s positive thoughts were the driving force behind him making it up the hill.

The same can be said about you and me.

What you say to yourself has a huge impact on your life. If you’re feeding your mind negative thoughts, those negative thoughts will turn into negative actions. And just like Casey Junior, the same can be said about positive thoughts turning into positive results.

Positive Affirmations vs. Negative Affirmations
An affirmation is whatever we tell ourselves and believe to be true. Affirm has a naturally positive connotation, however, affirmations can be quite negative and we have to be careful about what we allow ourselves to believe. Positive affirmations include phrases such as, “I am powerful,” “I have courage,” and “I attract positivity.” Negative affirmations sound like, “I don’t think I can,” “I’m not ________,” “I’ll probably blow it,” “Its soooo hard,” etc. Sadly, it’s much more common for people to drown themselves in negative affirmations such as, “I am not strong enough” or “I don’t deserve this,” than positive ones like, “I TOTALLY deserve this!” or “It’s going to happen.”

Now is the time to change that. Here’s why: the law of attraction says that we draw to us what we give out. In his book, “Think and Grow Rich,” Napoleon Hill says, “I realize that the dominating thoughts of my mind will eventually reproduce themselves in outward, physical action and gradually transform themselves into physical reality.” This means that positive thoughts attract positive experiences and negative thoughts attract negative experiences. So if you’re looking to attract the right opportunities, you have to start pumping yourself with the mantra that you are worthy of those opportunities and that you believe in yourself and your personal leadership brand.

Positive affirmations have also been proven to reduce stress and increase your creativity and problem-solving abilities. They make you happier! Personally, I use them all the time and have been amazed at the results. When I was unsure if I could complete a marathon, I practiced watching myself cross the finish line and on the day of my first one; even with a knee injury, I finished with no problem.  When I wanted to become a public speaker, I began visualizing myself on stage and letting others know that’s what I wanted to do and sure enough, a short period of time later, I began receiving invitations to speak. The point is that positive affirmations not only make you feel better, they also bring more positive things into your life.

Changing Negative Thoughts into Positive Ones
You might be thinking, “Changing my thoughts into positive ones isn’t so easy!” That can be true depending on how you go about it. If you tell yourself not to think a certain thought, chance are it’s going to show up constantly – negative affirmation. Instead, think of and even write down the thoughts you DO want running through your brain.

When the negative pattern starts (and it will) don’t try to avoid it. Simply change the direction of your thought and hit ‘play’ on the tape you INTEND to listen to. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. Here’s an example: if I tell you to NOT think about a yellow balloon, the first thing you’ll picture is a yellow balloon. If I tell you to think about a pink elephant, your mind just as easily goes to the pink elephant – shifting away from the yellow balloon you’re trying to – and now successfully – avoiding.

The same logic can be applied to thoughts about yourself. If you’re about to go in for a job review, tell yourself, “I am capable and make great decisions.” Instead of, “I wonder if I’m fully qualified for this job.”

You’re human so you’re going to have negative self-thoughts, guaranteed. That’s okay, healthy even! Observe yourself having the thought, acknowledge it then shift to a positive affirmation and keep repeating and visualizing that positive thought. Here’s a little bonus – we can only think of one thing at a time, so when you think of something positive, keep repeating that and soon enough, the negative thoughts lose their power.

If you find yourself struggling; be your own best friend. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend when you were trying to help them feel confident. Would you put down your best friend on a regular basis and tell them they’re not good enough? Probably not. So stop beating yourself up and start pumping yourself up.

Positive Affirmation Examples
To help get you started, below I’ve included positive affirmations you can apply to various areas of your life:

Building Confidence:

  1. I trust myself.
  2. I am valuable.
  3. I love my talents.
  4. I make great decisions.
  5. Solutions come easily to me.
  6. I am successful.
  7. I am a quick learner.


Eliminating Stress:

  1. I have nothing to prove.
  2. I am centered.
  3. Everything is as it should be.
  4. I have all the time I need to do what I need to do.
  5. I finish my projects with ease.
  6. I am focused and at peace.
  7. I feel the pressure leaving me.


Improving Your Health:

  1. I prioritize my health.
  2. I make good food and fitness choices
  3. I am healthy and strong.  
  4. I love my life.
  5. I love my body.
  6. I am grateful for my genetics.
  7. I am a role model of balance.


Ways to Integrate Positive Affirmation into Your Life

There are a variety of ways you can put positive affirmations to work. Depending on how you learn best, here are a few great practices:

  1. Visual Learners: Post your affirmations in places where you can see them. Post-it notes, dry erase boards, vision boards, mantra bands…there’s a million places to post your affirmations to keep them top of mind.
  2. Auditory Learners: Record your affirmations and listen to them when you’re driving, exercising, getting up and/or going to bed. This is a FABULOUS fast-track way to help yourself bring out the best in YOU!
  3. Kinesthetic Learners: Write your affirmations over and over again.
  4. Combination Learners: Practice two, or all three of these methods.

I encourage you to spend time on your affirmations for a few minutes every morning and evening. Just 5-10 minutes a day in a relaxed and positive state will bring about powerful shifts and a harvest of good results in your life. When you change the way you speak to yourself, you can change your entire world. And there’s no better time than the present to begin replacing negative affirmations with positive ones. The holidays are officially here and everyone will benefit from your good cheer.

If you want help focusing your affirmations or building up a strong habit, I’m here for you. Just click here to schedule a complimentary strategy session with me and we will work out a personal affirmation plan to help you achieve your goals for 2019 and beyond.