Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Good Idea!

Do you get anxious when you meet someone new? Does going to a party make you nervous?
Here’s a great way to change that. Ask a question. When you ask a question, it conveys that you want to get to know a person. Where did you get that tie? How did you make that recipe? Questions get people to REVEAL who they are. They are GREAT ice-breakers (and a great way to flirt)!

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Trust = Commitment

Trust equals commitment and if there is not trust, the relationship won’t evolve. Trust is a slow process that happens over time. When there’s a betrayal of trust, it threatens the relationship. Research shows that it takes up to five times to gain a new customer, then to sell an existing one.

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A "Youthful" Appearance

I believe we ALL have a voice and we can ALL make a difference. I was privy to this a couple of months ago when I saw the daughter of my Zumba teacher come up and lead the class to a song by Shakira. A brief history is needed.  My zumba teacher began as a student. She stayed in the back of the class. She was there BUT no one knew her because she was so shy. She didn’t talk to many people. That changed when the Zumba teacher we had, saw her potential and encouraged her to become certified. She did and just experienced her 4 yr. anniversary. This teacher recognized her shy and introverted limitations. She walked into her spotlight. She made her class, her OWN. She recognized the benefits she attained and wanted them for her daughter. Her daughter had potential but was the shy wallflower in the background. The mom wanted her daughter to “taste” the spotlight and encouraged her to come to class and dance.

Many times, the daughter came up and danced with her mom. One day, that changed. The mom played the Shakira song. The daughter stepped alongside of her and took (what she thought) was her rightful place. The mom danced and the girl followed. The mom stepped into the class and left the daughter alone in the spotlight.

The daughter recognized the moment and OWNED it. She danced and was TRANSFORMED. Her body took on a persona like I’ve never seen. She EXUDED confidence. She was in her EMPOWERMENT. I don’t think the daughter recognized the MAGNITUDE in how she commanded the audience. When the song was over, the ENTIRE class broke out in applause to support the girl and her efforts.

After class, I spoke with both of them. I told the daughter how she did something PHENOMENAL for herself and others. The mom revealed that she didn’t want her daughter to be in the background but to be a beacon of light (my words) for others to witness.
Sometimes, we HAVE to push someone into the spotlight because they have the potential. It’s just that no one has ever done anything about it. It’s one thing to speak and encourage. It’s another thing to create circumstances or situations where the person in question walks into an unknowing spotlight where the light is so bright, it BLINDS you.

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Focus: Potential, Inspiration, Empowerment

Question For You: 1) Are you manifesting your potential or are you content to watch the grass grow? 2) Where is your potential and/or gifts (i.e. art, music, etc.)? Are you using them? 3) What steps can you take to make your potential grow?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Communication is invisible and happens quickly. Whether you find your skills not working at the office (or in your personal life), it’s necessary to STOP and look at what’s happening between you and the people you’re with. It may be the way you’re communicating, then what you’re trying to say. Negative communication styles or poor communication skills for handling disagreements and attitude differences can be overcome.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Tell The Truth

Telling the truth/building trust is the “glue” to communication. “Little white lies” or telling “fibs” tears it apart. And, once you’re caught not being honest, it’s very hard for anyone to trust you (or your company).

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Visual Vs. Auditory Learner!

What type of learner are you – a visual or an auditory one? One type of learner understands information through the ears (auditory) or when they hear it. Another understands it through the eyes (visual) or when they see it. If you’re one of those visual learners, you might understand why “the eyes have it.”

The majority of your language is nonverbal. That’s right! You might say one thing with your words but your body language might be saying something else. And, in order for your message to be in sync,  and to come across clearly to others; both your verbal and nonverbal language have to work together. If they don’t, you’re not  communicating as well as you need to, and you’re wasting precious time.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

It's About Your Job (Plan B)!

Looking for a job is a job. Many of us pound the pavement and still no green light. You have a great resume, wardrobe, and you’re getting interviews, but still NO JOB! Your frustration is through the roof. You can’t take much more! STOP, breathe and create a PLAN B. Here are 4 easy steps.
1)    Be WIDE open: Gone are the days when you’d open the paper, find a job that interested you, send out a resume, interview, and be employed. It was easier then. Jobs are competitive especially with unemployment being so high. It’s time to push yourself and be creative. Use a number of strategies beyond the internet – network, create flyers and use social media tools like LinkedIn. All are professional and “politically correct” avenues to getting your foot in the door and gaining long-term employment.
2)    PRACTICE: O.K., so you feel good about a couple of your interviews. You weren’t nervous and you didn’t stumble or make a fool of yourself. But still, no call back. What gives? Well, you have to practice some more. Remember the phrase “Practice Makes Perfect?” Well, in this case “practice” makes you better. Use a mirror, see how you look. Use different vocabulary. Outline your approach for the next interview. How can you sell yourself BETTER? Many times, an employer looks for creativity. If you’re doing the “same ole, same ole” approach to the job hunt, you will not get many call backs. The idea is to Stand Out!
3)    Assess YOU: After your interview, it’s time for a YOU assessment. How did you do? Did you take steps to control and close the deal (and get to the next level of interviews) or fall flat as a pancake. Each interview can teach you comething about how you can do better – the next time.
4)    Repeat ‘til Employed: Until you’re gainfully employed, you have to keep moving forward. You need to maintain your positive self. The bottom line is repeat, repeat, repeat and add and subtract to your presentation. You’re constantly tweaking. It’s all about motivation and perspective!
*Try saying three (3) positive things to an employee before you offer constructive criticism.
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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Do You See Me?

I’ve gone to a Christian church for the last 8 years. One of the cool things about it,  is the use of male greeters in the parking lot. As you get closer to the entry ways, the greeters welcome you. There is one greeter (Kenneth) who’s gone out of his way to welcome me (weekly) to service.

It’s funny. I’ve been in the field of communication my whole career but only recently noticed Kenneth’s approach to me. Every time he greets me, his eye-contact is intense. Intense as in purposeful; not as in bad. When he looks at me and says “Welcome,” I know he means it. In addition, his handshake is firm. Out of all the people I’ve encountered, I’ve never met anyone like him. The last time he greeted me, his presence stayed with me. My instincts told me to bring this to his attention. The following week he sought me out and greeted me. Out interaction went like this:

Me: Hey, can I talk to you in private?

Him: Sure.

Me: I know you don’t know me but I have to thank you for seeing me!

Him: OK?

Me: My name is Bob.

Him: Hi Bob. My name is Kenneth.

Me: I’ve come here for over 7 years and every day you greet me. Your eye-contact is purposeful. It never wavers. Your eye-contact sees me for who I am. Thank you! In addition, your handshake is ALWAYS firm. It matches your eye-contact. I’m in communications. I’ve met thousands of people in my life but I’ve never met anyone as purposeful as you. Please keep it up.

Him: Welling up with tears.

Me: The last few years have been a challenge. There were many Sundays when I headed to church so depressed, it was unbelievable. Your presence ALWAYS gave me a jump-start to my week. Ya know how many people give lip service to their “welcome?” Well, you’ve never done that.

Him: Tears dropping. Thank you Bob. Ya know, I constantly pray to God to have him use me. We all have gifts. I pray all the time for me to be of use to Him.

Me: Well, let me tell you. You are! You know communication is an invisible medium and it happens so fast. You never know your impact until someone tells you. Last week, when I left church, God told me that the next time I saw you, that I should bring this up. As you’ve brought me up and validated me, you’ve brought me out of a deep depression and brought back my self-confidence. People might not be able to identify how different they feel after being greeted by you but I can tell you, it’s because you saw me with your eyes and validated me with your firm handshake. Thank you for coming my way Kenneth.

Him: Thank you for bringing this to my attention and for coming my way too!

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Focus: Validation, communication, spirit
Question for you: 1) Do you take time to validate others? 2) How do you feel when someone validates you?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Posture = Confidence

How do you enter a room? Is your head held high showing, “I’m gonna take you on,” or Is your head down with your shoulders slumped? Posture shows confidence and how you carry yourself is directly related to an impression of your ability.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Com Power: Tapping Into Creativity

Tapping into creativity . . .

All people have an imagination which leads to creativity. Sometimes, you don’t know how creative you can be unless you tap into it. Here’s a great way to a creative start.

With your dominant hand, write “Write do I start being creative?”

Now, answer the question with your non-dominant  hand.

See where the information takes you!

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Your Communication Style

Don’t put off til tomorrow what you can do today! If your communication style is not working for you, get on it! Don’t wait for the damage to be done. By then, it’s too late. It’s important to know how to “talk it through” so that personal and professional conflicts are handled.

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Saturday, July 8, 2017


Do you use gestures to your advantage? Once you observe body language, you’ll see that less is more. The fewer gestures you use, the more you’ll convey power, intelligence and credibility. Make a point of observing people in high positions – CEO’s or politicians.

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Four Facts About F.E.A.R.

FEAR = F(alse) E(vents) A(ppearing) R(eal)
That’s what FEAR boils down to. It will be a part of your life till the day you die. Here are four facts to help you manage it!

Fact 1: As long as you continue to grow, fear will be with you. Change is inevitable. If you have nothing to be afraid of, you’ll be stagnant. Nothing in life stays the same.

Fact 2: The only way to ease the fear of anything is to go out and do it. The “it” can be anything from buying a new home or starting a family.

Fact 3: You aren’t the only one to experience fear. As long as you’re challenging your comfort zone, you will have fear.

Fact 4: Moving through (or addressing) fear is less frightening than just remaining stuck and NOT doing anything about it. Remember, you HAVE choices!

Feel your fear(s) and do the things you need to . . . anyway!

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Trust And You!

Do people trust you? If they don’t; look where it leads – increases in cost of sales, a reduction in repeat business and high employee turn over. Maintaining a trusting relationship is a matter of good business and is an important part of creating value; because when someone doesn’t trust you, they won’t do business with you. And when that happens, your business fails – BIG time!

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Guardian Angels

Unless you’re agnostic and don’t believe in God, we all have something in common; namely guardian angels. One thing I’ve learned in church is that we need to tell our angels to work for your benefit. They need to be told (daily) that they need to do their job of guarding, guiding and bringing us our righteous blessings. Every day, I summon my angels to guard, guide and protect me.

By nature,  I’m a responsible person. I go to the doctor for my yearly check up and get my teeth cleaned 2x a year. I’m also good about monitoring the upkeep of my car. However, do to a lack of finances,  I’ve been amiss with maintaining it.

Last week, after church, my brake light came on.  I noticed the brake going down unusually LOW. It struck me as odd because “pre-church,” the brakes were fine. I did a slow round in the Wal-mart parking lot and noticed that the car didn’t stop immediately. It slowed down gradually. I thought Oh fuck, I’ll have to drive really slow on my way home. As I made my way into traffic, I realized how precarious my situation was. I couldn’t get close to other cars because I was unsure of my distance (proximity) to them. Attending to traffic lights was also a challenge. I couldn’t take a risk of a left turn into traffic, for fear of hitting an oncoming car. Driving down any street that had families with young children or pets, put me over the edge. I never thought of how much we take our safety for granted, when we get into the car, and drive.

I got to my apartment and thought about where I’d take it for service. There is a credible auto shop within walking distance. That would be a great choice but I hesitated on doing it in the early morning. There were too many cars and people to navigate. I decided to drive 15 mph to the auto shop (a mere 4 blocks away). I parked my car in the lot and was relieved. The car was in a safe place for the time being.  I’d be able to get it serviced in the morning.

I got to the shop 15 minutes early and checked it in. I contacted the service department 3 hours later. They were swamped and told me they’d get to it by 1:00. I called at 2:30 to ascertain the situation. The service rep told me that I needed a brake overload to the tune of $1400.00. My heart sped up with the price. It actually reacted too early. It should have sped up when the tech said, I’m surprised at how long you drove the car that way. You had no back brakes and about 10% of your front brakes. Everything in the brake system was cracked. When we took off the left rear tire, the actual brake pads etc. just fell off the axle and fell on the floor. You could’ve died or killed someone!

Auditorilly,  I suck!  If you give me info over the phone, I can’t process the complexity of as situation.  I’m a visual learner.  Always have been. You show me a picture of anything and I “get it!”

While I heard, You  could’ve died, I didn’t understand the severity of everything. I kept thinking, You could’ve died. The word “died” should have BLASTED in my brain. It didn’t!
The next day, I went to the auto shop and introduced myself to one of the technicians. He took me to the car and pointed out the damage. Once again, he mentioned “dying.” Then, it hit me! I grew quiet. I didn’t say anything. Then, I looked at him and said, Thank you for saving my life! I inquired as to why I didn’t have any previous warning about the brakes. He said that each car is different in alerting the driver about any hazard.

As I made my way home, I thought about my guardian angels. They had protected me all this time. It was when the brake light came on, that I had to do my part and make sure that I was safe. This situation had so many levels to it: 1) I didn’t crash the car. If I had crashed the car,  I’d be without transportation. That would have posed a serious problem. 2) I didn’t hurt myself or anyone else. If  I’d hurt someone permanently, I don’t think I’d be able to live with myself. 3) The brake light was my wake up call. It told me to address the situation IMMEDIATELY. If I ignored it, the situation would have had severe consequences. 4) I hadn’t died, which told me that God wasn’t done with me yet. He still had a good plan for me. Lastly, 5) This situation was so precarious. It showed me the importance of DIVINE protection and how we’re protected. We just don’t realize how our angels are doing it.
My counselor has told me not to obsess over things like this. If I stay in the Oh My God, that was awful! I’ll lose sight of living every day without fear. For the last 2 years, I’ve lived with Oh My God, that was awful! It affected me physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Not a good place to be. It’s wasted energy.

I’ve taken steps to not “chew” or revisit the negative. I  have to be conscious and conscientious about the positive. I hope I don’t forget this situation with the car. I want to be able to remember that despite the seriousness of it all, I walked away unscathed. I just have to remember to call upon my angels on a daily basis and to thank them every night for doing 
their part.

Focus: Gratitude, Spirit, Angels, DIVINE  protection, Well-Being

Questions for you: 1) Do you have any situations where an angel stepped forward to change your life (positively)? 2) Have you revisited it to remember the importance of DIVINE protection? 3) Do you talk to and thank your guardian angels on a daily basis? 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Your BODY LANGUAGE Speaks Loudly!

Studies show that people who show “less” are more relaxed, self-assured and credible. Remember this: it takes time to understand and interpret body language. Getting it right the first time won’t happen. It’s because it’s a tricky process and has many layers. It begins with you identifying patterns. And as you get better and you become more aware, you’ll understand what they’re saying.

Reading body language can help you tailor a message. Mirroring helps with communication. Let’s say you’re discussing something and the person you’re talking with leans against a wall. You can do the same thing. What does it “say?” – you’re solid with them! Let’s say you’re talking to someone and they sit down. Sit down next to them. It conveys harmony and a sense of being on their level.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Your Listening Style

Listening style reflects the attitude and behavior of the listener. It is how someone listens. Your listening style can be a bridge or a barrier to good communication. Listeners can avoid barriers of listening by being aware of what the pitfalls are, and knowing how to avoid them.

The most difficult person to communicate with is the daydreamer. You can tell a daydreamer by the faraway look in his eyes. This type of person is present, but not really there.  They are easily distracted and will change the subject without warning.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Active Listening

Active  listening is the bridge to good communication. It is committed listening based on good habits and self control. Good listening is purposeful and productive because it allows the listener and the speaker to reach an understanding.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Importance Of Validation

I met Diane at a seminar on downsizing. A number of us “seniors” were there to get a handle on downsizing our homes and all its clutter. After the presentation, the marketing director asked us if we wanted to see some of the properties in this senior residence. Diane and I were the only 2 who jumped in for a “look see!”

As we entered the elevator, Diane spoke about herself and her journey. She was 74. She had two grown children. Her husband had been gravely ill for most of their marriage. When her daughter married out of state, her dad couldn’t attend because of his health. In addition, Diane had lost two businesses as a result of the economy. In addition, she took a fall which warranted a rod in her spine to keep her upright. It took her over a year to heal.
I was humbled by her story. I turned 60 a couple of months before. It wasn’t an exciting birthday. I was trying to rebuild my life after an eviction, job (and friend) loss, and overcoming cataract surgery. I thought I had it bad UNTIL I heard her story.

Can I give you a compliment? I asked.

Sure! she said.

Thank you for being an inspiration to me and to others. Your story told me a lot about overcoming life’s speed bumps. You’ve done it in a very quiet and respectful way!

She burst into tears.

How can you say that? How am I an inspiration?

I told her that many times we silently go through things that have us feeling lost and overwhelmed. Without a “testimony” we think we’re the only one UNTIL we hear about the struggle/success of someone who’s had it worse. In addition, I told her that her story was a PRIME example of moving forward with a greater appreciation of what GOD has in store for ALL of us.  As I spoke, I cried too. That in turn made her, and the leasing agent also cry. I hadn’t really intended on throwing this lady a curve. It just happened.

Validation is important. It needs to be done consistently and purposely. You never know what someone is going through, until you hear their story. In my case, I needed to hear Diane’s story. Her story gave me momentum. I needed to move forward with my life. In hearing her story, I validated her by saying Thank you. You changed my life!
Validation = Changing someone’s life!

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Focus: Validation, spirit, life purpose, inspiration

Question for You: 1) How can your life story inspire others? 2) Who can you share it with?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

5 Ways To Stop Bad Listening Habits

Here are 5 ways to stop bad listening habits:

  1. Catch yourself in the act. By monitoring your listening behavior, you can catch yourself when you fall into an undesirable behavior.
  2. Fight the habit. Don't wait until tomorrow to change. Admit your behavior when you catch yourself.
  3. Substitute an old habit with a new one. Learn what isn't working for you. Learn the value of your new behavior and trust in yourself.
  4. Brag about your success. When you have done something well, celebrate it. Give yourself a pat on the back.
  5. Be patient. Give yourself a break. You will make mistakes. You will improve gradually.
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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Good Idea (About Blogs)

A Good Idea
A professional blog is a great way to show your expertise. What do you “know” better than anyone else? Put that knowledge to “work” for you. The blog doesn’t need to be extensive (just informative). It can be a weekly entry that informs people. Take it a step further by listing it through a search engine like Google or Yahoo (FREE ADVERTISING) > take advantage of an ADSENSE program by featuring ads on your blog. Every time someone visits your blog and clicks on a sponsored ad, you earn $$$$.
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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

5 Tips To Get Over Fear of Speaking in Public

Did you know that people would rather die, than to get up in front of people, and speak? That’s right. What many don’t know is that getting up in front of a group of people is not that hard. It just takes practice and patience.
Public peaking is more than just a large hall, a stage and a podium. Formal and informal events comprise public speaking. Remember this: Public speaking is your ability to inform or persuade an audience, even if it’s an audience of one!
Here are 5 tips to help you be successful:
1.    Have a purpose, make sure your audience knows why you are there and what you are going to talk about. Repeat your “purpose” as needed.
2.    Organize your topics. Your ideas have to stay connected and flow.Think of your presentation as an “hourglass.” Begin with something general and narrow it down with examples. End your presentation by restating your purpose or with a story that leaves your audience thinking and wanting more.
3.    Support your points with facts. Prove each of your points with examples. Use personal stories if necessary.
4.    Watch your voice. Your voice tells your story. Remember how you loved hearing stories from your parents? They used their voice to express the characters. Well, you need to do the same. You are on a stage and you are giving a performance! Monotonous or sloppy speech won’t express your passion. You can have perfect posture and a great wardrobe, but if your speaking voice is weak, your audience will notice. Professionals, and your friends, can advise you.
5.    Be interesting. Your audience will forgive almost anything, but BOREDOM. Your job is to be memorable. That is where you generate your credibility.

Every time you speak, you have a chance to practice, inform and persuade and shape how people perceive you. Every time you speak, you’ll gain confidence and that builds rapport with business contacts. Remember, your audience wants you to succeed. They are on your side! 
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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Good Idea!

Company jargon should stay in your company. Using it with callers or with people outside the office
causes mistakes and confusion. You are far more familiar with these terms than the people outside of “work.” You won’t impress anyone with knowledge that they don’t understand. In fact, you will annoy and frustrate them.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

ViewPoint: Breathwork

Breathwork can be soothing and enjoyable (once you understand its principles). An important part of breath work is letting it flow, rather than making it happen. The free flow of breath brings peace and tranquility. It prepares the mind to flow freely.
When you direct your attention to the breath, your mind may want to go elsewhere. Every time you focus on “breath,” you let go of your “mind chatter.” Concentrating on breathing enables your mind to gather its scattered energies so that you are more clear. When you focus on your breathing, you gradually enlarge the scope of your awareness.

The “breathing awareness” can help you with your day to day activities. Turning to your breath can keep you grounded. It can assist you in cutting down on unnecessary thinking that distracts you from the here and now.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Know Your Breath (End)

Know Your Breath
Part 3: Fatigue: Settle into your everyday breath. After it has slowed down, pause briefly after all exhalations. Rest in the stillness. Continue to explore lengthening your exhalations for 10-15 breaths. Then lengthen your inhalations. Watch your breath for 10-15 minutes.

Part 4: Depression: Working with depression can be more difficult that working with anxiety or fatigue. You don’t want to force your breath. It can increase your lousy mood. As with any breathwork, start by settling into a comfortable position and allow your breath to slow down and smooth out. For depression, the effect of the breath on your mood is the best indicator of how long you should continue this exercise. Start out with a time goal – say ten minutes. Work your way up as you need to.

How often do you need to practice? There’s no pat answer. It’s a practice like any other and the more you exercise your ability to watch your breath, the better you’ll become at doing it. If you can, schedule a breath awareness for 10 minutes a day. See how it is when you are anxious vs. relaxed. Pay attention to how long the positive feeling lasts. You may find that conscious breathing not only soothes your emotions and boosts your energy; it can also make your life richer and more fun!
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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The "F" Word

I can’t change my history. I wish I could. I’ve been the “token male” (minority) in my family, in academics, and in my career. I don’t have the sports gene. I don’t have any interest in it. I’ve tried. Alas, it’s a lost cause. During my high school years, I was bullied by jocks. The “f” word (rhymes with hag) was hurled on me, (and my friends), every day. We ALL had absent fathers who didn’t/couldn’t model masculinity. Back in the day, (maybe even now); being active in sports was the way boys bonded. If you excelled, you WERE a man. If you didn’t, something was wrong with you. It’s hard to navigate your life when you buy into what “society” says is the way you should be.
Recently, I read a book (What I Know For Sure) by the respected talk show host, Tavis Smiley. It’s about his experiences growing up poor and African American in the U.S. Due to some familial circumstances involving his aunt; he became a product of a 14+ family. His step father took on the responsibility of his, and his wife’s (sisters) children. The stress was unbelievable, and eventually caused his step father to lose his temper by calling Tavis  the “f” word. He beat him with an electrical cord. This action placed Tavis in foster care. His relationship with his step-dad was never the same.
I had forgotten my history with those high school taunts. After reading Smiley’s book, I thought about how parents use that word (toward their sons), when they want them to follow a societal map, vs. a personal map, of who they should be. You hear many parents say they love their child unconditionally, but I wonder how that unconditional love changes when there is even a hint, that their child goes off the path of ultra-masculinity. Maybe their interests are geared to the aesthetic or cultural areas. Anything that’s off the beaten path may “ignite” the word.
Many times, parents put their sons in sports to teach them skills and to place them in a “masculine” environment. The parents get angry at the coaches, and shout at them, when their kids sit out a game. These same parents demean their kids in public in an effort to measure up. In actuality, they’re dealing with an element of shame. These dads see that maybe their sons don’t like a sport (or sports in general), and constantly push them into an arena that doesn’t fit. The sons try to assimilate and learn the skills, because they want to please dad, and want his approval. But what is learned LOUDER is that they’re not masculine enough, and maybe dad is right. Once that message is in place, it grows like a nagging, stubborn weed. As many times as you try to uproot it, it grows back with a haunting message that the son isn’t good enough.
Many of the guys that went to my high school, didn’t have dads that spent time with them. These dads were the bread winners. Their established roles were to “make the babies” and leave the raising of them, to the “wife.” While this type of family dynamic was the “norm,” it didn’t have positive longevity. The son felt abandoned in that, their dad wasn’t there for them. In addition, the son felt ridiculed and shamed by the dad, who believed they’d change their son into “macho men,” only to realize that the damage was done. Calling them the “f” word (or even suggesting that they were gay or unmanly (by dad’s standards) already created a confusing path of “what is masculine and normal.” It only takes one moment to degrade a son. The seed is already planted. The son looks for validation from his father. If it’s not provided, the son continues to believe what the dad (and mom) believe in their spirit. The son’s spirit splinters because he wants to prove he’s worthy to his dad. He also wants to pursue those interests that he knows he’s good at.
Case in point. One of my childhood friend’s dad, enrolled him in many heavy-duty contact sports (football, hockey, baseball). While the son did well in these sports, he excelled at tennis, swimming and volleyball. The dad continued to push. The son established his own path. In addition, the son gravitated to theatre and music. The dad didn’t approve. In fact, the son’s seventh grade teacher degraded the son’s interest in theatre by saying, “only girls act.” These comments, and overt behaviors, crushed the son’s spirit. He put his interests on “hold” and never pursued them. He grew angry with his decision to not pursue his passions, because of what others might say/said about him.
All of these comments destroy a spirit, until one day the person is filled with such utter despair and feelings of worthlessness, that they commit suicide. For many, this seems a logical solution to what society says a boy/man “should be.”
All of this, as a result of a parent using the “f” word in order to move a boy into what they believe is “masculine.”
Focus: Masculinity, Parents, Spirit

Question for you:1) Are you a parent who’s pushed your son into a situation because you can’t handle/understand a softness/sense of empathy that goes against your model of masculinity? 2) Are you aware of your biases toward men who don’t meet your standard of masculinity?

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Culture And Communication

When you talk with someone who speaks English as a second language, it’s important to stay with
basic language to reduce the risk of poor communications. Follow these guidelines: 1) Avoid slang expressions (i.e. Close but no cigar.”) 2) Avoid jokes, they usually are misunderstood. 3) Be patient, language conversion takes time. Remember, foreign speakers convert what you said to their native language, and then respond back in English. 4) Be prepared to repeat yourself (and do it exactly). If you paraphrase something, you’ll throw off a foreign speaker, because you said something new. 5) Speak slowly. If the person has trouble understanding you, speak slower, not louder! 6) Check for “understanding.” Observe their body language because the majority of language is nonverbal. If you feel they didn’t understand you, make a point of going over points that are were unclear. 7) Throughout your conversation or presentation, show sensitivity. Remember that you’re talking with someone from a different culture who speaks English as a second language.
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Thursday, March 23, 2017

It Can Sting!

Anyone in leadership knows that criticism goes with the job. You constantly have to make decisions, and with every option you choose, there will be somebody waiting to tell you what a big mistake you’ve made. Can you smell the fear?
Once you learn a process of evaluating criticism, you take control of it, rather than allowing it to control you. You don’t waste your time and energy with things that are negative – you move forward and use the criticism to better yourself. Criticism can be good. Use it for your growth. When someone gives you positive or negative criticism, take a moment to think about it, and ask yourself what you can learn from it.
If it is not done well, criticism can sting. The person who is criticized can get hurt or angry. It’s good to understand the source of the criticism. Instead of getting defensive, get calm and ask for specific information.
The goal of constructive criticism is to steer clear of an “attack.” Use a “respect and collaboration” approach.

Just for today, think about how you criticize people. When you criticize, do you maintain the person’s integrity, or do you “go for blood?”
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Friday, March 17, 2017

Know Your Breath (Part 2)

Know Your Breath

Part 2: Anxiety: You can work with anxiety by focusing on your exhalations and lengthening them – deliberately and gradually. If your everyday exhalations last about 6 counts, draw each one out to seven for a few breathing cycles and so on, until you find a length that suits you. Once you’ve increased the length of your exhalations, pause briefly at the end of each of them. 
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Sunday, March 12, 2017

The "Art" Of A Network

Looking for a job is a “job.” If you’ve pounded the pavement for any length of time without any results, it’s time for a new approach.
A creative and effective way to get your foot in the door is to network. That means talking to your friends and acquaintances and telling them you’re available for work. In many situations, it’s not what you know, but who  you know, that will get noticed. An important aspect to networking is being pro-active. You have to get off your butt and put out “notice” that you need a job. Here are 2 ways to get you started!
1)    Get business cards! A business card is a “mini-resume.” Having as much pertinent information on it, will get people to remember what you “do.” The cards don’t have to be “whistles and bells,” just simple. Use both sides if necessary. Carry a stack of them in your wallet or purse. You never know when you’ll need them. How many times did someone ask, “Can I have your card?” only for you  to respond, “I don’t have any with me.” American Express says it best, “Don’t leave home without it!”
2)    Prepare your “elevator speech!” Elevator speech might be a new term for some of you but it is critical for networking. Think about what career skills make you a good hire. Where do you want to work and why? (This is the part where you have to BRAG about yourself because THAT is what will get people to notice you.) Here’s an example: “My name is Bob and I’m a speech consultant. I help foreign speakers reduce their accents. I am also a spiritual/executive coach for clergy and ministry students, and I write grants. I want you to remember me for accents, clergy and dollars!” See how concise that is? Think about how fast it takes an elevator to go up  (or down), a couple of floors. In order to have people remember you, you have to sell yourself! This takes practice but the more you do it, the easier it gets.

You are destined for a good job! Incorporate these 2 ways into your “job” bank and see what happens.

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Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Big Picture: Open Up!

Your experience(s) color or filter the way that you see, or hear things. You can be in a room of 20 people listening to a speaker and EACH person will hear something different. Why? Because each of us has an inborn filter which creates our perspective(s) on things. If you are stubborn, you will not be able to compromise or adapt to situations because your filters LIMIT you. The best way to change that, is to ask yourself, How am I seeing this situation? Am I open to learning something new or is my PAST the guiding force right now?

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Stories We Tell

I’ve been in counseling for 6 months now. I entered because I was anxious and depressed with losing my home and my job. It’s amazing how things we put on a shelf for “later,” gob-smack you in the face, with a message of do it NOW. One of the issues I’m dealing with is identifying what “love” is. Truth be told. I was never told those words for the first twenty years of my life. My parents grew up in the depression and they didn’t have that validation. It’s amazing how you long to hear the words “I love you,” and the actions that demonstrate that type of action. It’s also amazing that if those words/actions of love and respect were never shown to parents/grandparents; how they’d be able to demonstrate it to their kids.
When I began counseling, my therapist asked me about my goals. I need to understand what love is. I have no idea what those words mean.” Those words came seamlessly. Yeah, I was struggling (in secret) with this for a long time. I never thought I’d blurt it out so BOLDLY. I gotta think that my guardian angels had something to do with it.
So, my homework was to ask people how love was modeled in their home. Were the words, “I love you” ever spoken as they grew up? I picked 3 people who I trusted, give me their time and their perspective on love.
The first person I asked was a new friend. We were friends back in the day, but life took over and we lost touch with each other. He shed light on how he never heard it, or spoke it to his parents or siblings. I was moderately shocked with his story. I was MAJORLY shocked that his truth was so honest. It caught me off guard because I thought that due to his family dynamic (+5 in his family), that those words were a part of his everyday experience. His “truth” showed me that I wasn’t alone. There were others that didn’t model love.
The second person was from my Zumba class. She’s a very energetic gal. Her parents modeled love but weren’t as open with the words. When she married and had children, she recognized that her “I love you” needed to be consistent. Her and her husband agreed that their actions and words, would establish a strong foundation for her family. As we talked, she was adamant with speaking those words from her heart. They needed to be said in the moment – face to face. She revealed that her sister would consistently say “Love ya” every time they spoke on the phone. She knew her sister meant it. It didn’t have the same depth as if it were said, face to face. She brought this to her attention. Her sister couldn’t convey it that way. This girl recognized that although her sister meant it, it didn’t convey the seriousness and depth, as if it were said every day, face to face, heart to heart. This was the way she wanted to convey her feelings of love.
The third person was older. She’s been my friend for over 10 years. Her truth gob-smacked me. It was a “come to Jesus moment.” Like me, her parents grew up in the Depression. They didn’t have much; unless you consider that her parents’ actions were the guideposts to having her recognize that the sacrifices they made were their way of saying “I love you, you’re important. I’m glad I created you. I want you to know that you’re my legacy.” At one point, she revealed a final moment with her dad (who was dying in the hospital). She went to visit him. As she bid him goodbye, he said the words, “I love you.” As she said that, she wept. I did too. Her truth spoke volumes on how we reveal how we care for one another. Some of us are unable to say the words, ever. It doesn’t mean the caring isn’t present. In other instances, the words are a constant reminder that you’re important and valued. For some of us, that is what we need. In the final situation, the words were the “legacy” needed to reinforce that they were valued.
My friend went on to tell me that she hoped that although I was going through a rough patch (including turning 60), that I’d never lose my kind heart. It was the first thing she fell in love with. At that point, the flood gates opened. I excused myself from the table to compose myself and to process what she (and the others) revealed. When I returned, I told her that I loved her and that I was fortunate she came my way. It was the best present she could’ve given me. Why? Because I asked for her truth, her story. She (like the other two), told me the TRUTH. What I had to do was ask. Was it scary? No. It felt right. I had to risk asking all 3 of them to give me a perspective. They did.
I walked away from that exercise with a new found trust, that we can learn a lot from the people, and “the stories we tell!”

Focus: Intimacy, Friendship, Love, Spirit, Risk
Question for you: 1) What story(s) can you tell willingly? Why some, and not others? 2) Have you ever been gob-smacked with a story someone told you? What did you learn from it?