Halloween is over so we can’t be overly annoyed with the Christmas merchandise that’s been in stores for a month now, and, the holiday tunes starting to come from the Muzak speakers on elevators.
I don’t need to look at a calendar to know the holidays are coming fast - I can feel it in the air. My Circadian rhythyms are playing red and green. My instincts are telling me it’s time to start making lists.
This week I’ve gone on Epicurious and started comparing recipes for Cranberry Sauce and healthy sweet potatoes. I’m wondering if I want to do anything different with my holiday decorations.
I generally ponder these holiday questions because from mid-November to January its always the slowest time of the year for me.
Prospective clients say, “Oh Denise, I’d love to start working with you – after the holidays.” That’s the pattern I’ve seen all the years since I started marketing mentoring. I’ve learned to set aside money so I can enjoy the holidays without dipping into credit cards or real savings. After all it’s the most expensive time of the year and the time when clients say, “I want to take a break until after the holidays.”
This year is different. Back in April when I started my first Group Book Mentoring program I had no idea how much life would change. I didn’t know how many people I’d help by guiding and supporting them in writing their how-to or personal growth book.
Oh, I live in the same home and drive the same car. I’m married to the same man. But I’m busy right now – in a good way - and I didn’t expect that. I figured I’d have the typical holiday season slowdown. Take a break, enjoy the holidays and start another group in January.
Not this time around. Within the last 36 hours I’ve had three people say they want to get started working with me before December. Yowsers!! That means just a few people more (I only accept 6-8 people per group) and it’ll be a full group. All three said they want to wait until after the holidays before actually writing. They want to align with me right away and get going in some way. Does that sound like you?
So, this group will be a little different. Sign up by December 1st and you’ll get a private mentoring session with me before starting into the six month, group book mentoring program in January.
It’s not exclusively about writing a book - it’s also about sorting through and developing a vision, a business model and a plan that will sustain both your book and your business. We can talk over a cuppa something warm to keep the winter chill away and talk about what you want to create. That’s what we can do together before you write word one so it all comes together and makes sense. That’s what synergy is all about.
When you create your strategy and build leverage by aligning your how-to or personal growth book with your business - the book succeeds and your business succeeds. That’s how I made my book a business bestseller sold in 15 countries.
The actual program is six months long and takes you through all the steps of writing your book. Step by step and word by word your book grows. You also learn about editors, publishing options, promoting your book and more.
As mentioned, I had no intention of doing any marketing or selling appointments during November and December. I figured that would be my ”kick back for the holidays” and “hunker down and write my goals” time of year. That’s the way it’s been for so long.
Surprise, surprise! I had three of these appointments this week and all three aspiring book authors said “yes” to working with me.
In fact, I have a meeting Monday morning with a woman referred to me by another happy client. She’s a life coach who lives in New York City. Yes, the same NYC ripped to shreds by Hurricane Sandy and the flood surge that happened Monday night this week. Now that’s dedication and passion.
One big lesson I’ve gotten in 2012 is that flexibility and a willingness to adapt to changing conditions (changing for the better!) is a good thing. Not that I was inflexible before – but I’m really discovering that things go best for me when I check in with how certain decisions feel in my body and then follow my heart. It’s working for me – and I’ll bet it’ll work for you, too.
So if the idea of finally getting your how-to or personal growth book makes sense to you and feels right in your body, you’ll know it. You’ll just sense a little imperceptible shift or that small still voice inside urging you forward. That’s what 2012 has been like for me – and it’s been a very good year. If that sounds like you, we’re in alignment. Connect with me and let’s talk about it. I’ll give you all the details so you can decide if it’s right for you.
Denise Michaels is C.E.O. and founder of the “International Book Writing Guild.” Contact Denise via email at email@example.com on Facebook or text her at 702-401-6313 to set up a time to connect and discover more.
Many people in my Group Book Mentoring program start the journey of writing their book with excitement and a spirit of discovery. Sooner or later they hit that wall famously known as “writer’s block.”
(Which is why we do a Bonus Call once a month that provides an opportunity for writers to talk about writer’s block, obstacles, time management issues and more. But I digress.)
What I believe truly stops a lot of writers of how-to or personal growth books cold, is at some point it suddenly dawns upon them: Wow, positioning myself as an expert or authority really means taking on the mantle of being just that – an expert or authority.
Self-doubt comes rushing in like a lava flow off the side of a volcano. All the, “Who am I to say I’m an expert?” questions start crowding the mind. The book writing process stops dead in it’s tracks. Often, its the end of many aspiring book authors quest to become the author of a how-to or personal growth book. Like the lava flow those self-doubts about their expertise destroys everything in it’s path.
So, this begs the question, “What makes you an expert?”
If you’re a scientist – the bar is pretty high. I once knew a woman who was a Chiropractor. She has tons of post-doctoral training, fifteen years of experience and has developed and championed techniques used in her profession that have gained widespread acceptance in per profession as beneficial to patients. Yet she revealed to me, she didn’t feel like an expert.
When you write your how-to or personal growth book, your experience is your expertise. If you’re writing a book about how to raise successful, happy kids and your experience is your six successful, happy kids – say so. Don’t shy away from the fact that you don’t have a degree in Child Development or Child Psychology, say it clearly. Don’t skirt around the issue. State your credentials based on your experience with pride.
If you don’t have a bunch of initials based on advanced degrees after your name, don’t worry about it. Most how-to or personal growth books don’t reqire educational requirements. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to have a college degree. My book, “Testosterone-Free Marketing” is about Marketing for women, small and micro business owners and I do have a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing. But I don’t have a Masters degree. I’ve never run the marketing department for a Fortune 500 company. I’ve only run my own small businesses – for over two decades.
- Your grandma’s best pie recipes without being a Master Chef
- Growing amazing vintage tomatoes without being a Horticulturist
- Increasing your confidence without a Ph.D. in Psychology
- Developing a closer connection with your faith without a Theology degree
- Opening a coffee shop without a degree in Hospitality and Restaurant Management
- Losing weight and keeping it off without being an Exercise Physiologist and Nutritionist
- . . . and many more
Remember, if book readers want a book written by someone with a bunch of initials after their name they will find that book and bypass your book. They’re simply not your ideal book reader. They’re not going to hunt you down and shout in your face, “Hey, who do you THINK you are?!? You can’t write this book?” That might happen in your mind – it doesn’t happen in reality. I believe with all my heart there are just as many people who would rather avoid that kind of ivory-tower expertise and look for someone who can relate to them in a down-to-earth way based on personal experience.
So if your heart is set on writing a how-to or personal growth book, get writing. If you know being the author of your book will help people see you as an expert they they will want to work with, leveraging your income - don’t delay. When you say you’re an expert or authority, and, you’re proud of the credentials you DO have people will sit up, take notice and buy your book.
Denise Michaels is Founder of the International Book Writing Guild which provides aspiring, enterprising book authors of how-to and personal growth books with the support, knowledge, strategies and tips to successfully write a book. Michaels is also author of the Business Bestseller, “Testosterone-Free Marketing” which became a business bestseller and sold in fifteen countries.
Twice a month on Mondays I conduct three of my Group Book Mentoring program live sessions. We talk about my clients books in a small group setting (6-8 people) and I help them tweak what’s working to make it even better and sometimes I help them adjust and put together what’s not working to transform it into something far, far better. Other times I’m helping my International Book Writing Guild Members of my group book mentoring program to get beyond their doubts and fears about their book, their writing style, their expertise. It takes dedication - and I love it.
Yesterday on all three calls there was someone who acknowledged that as they were thinking about their book these nasty, negative thoughts kept popping up. Thoughts about a little crisis in confidence, “Who am I to write a book?” And, “Who am I to write as if I REALLY know what I’m talking about? After all, I’m just a regular person.”
Authors of how-to or personal growth books are people who believe deep in their heart they have something of value to share with others – and they want to share it. I didn’t say that they have something perfect to share. They have something of value. You don’t have to be a perfect example.
You don’t have to be a millionaire who looks perfect and rides in limousines and wears a Rolex. I don’t. I wrote a very successful book on marketing a few years ago – and I’m still learning all the time. I’m attending two seminars in the month of October to become even better in my business.
Authors don’t start off as these larger than life people – and then they write a book. They start off as regular people who have some good ideas and then after going back and forth about whether they should write a book or not – for months – sometimes years, they finally write a book. And then they work on building the brand and the image of a book author. That’s what my six month program helps you to do. Write the book and then figure out how to leverage it to make it and your business more successful.
We talk about all the steps to write your book. We talk about publishing options. And, we talk about the best ways to get out and promote your book today. The latest strategies. And then we tie it all together so that you are seen as the expert and it brings greater credibility and authority to your business and what you do. The result? You not only make money selling books, you make a lot more income doing what you already do. Demand goes up, if you want your fees can go up. The financial goals you set for your business when you originally started finally start coming true.
My next Group Book Mentoring program is starting on Tuesday October 16th at 10:00 am pacific time. I’d love to have you join me if you have a how-to or personal growth book in your heart that will help position you as someone who knows your stuff.
The next step? Let’s have a conversation on the phone or on Skype. I’ll answer all your questions and share my fees with you at that time. You can do this. If you have a book inside you – I can help you get it out where it can help so many other people – and help you.
I believe when it comes to doing something as outrageous as writing a book – we’re waiting for someone to say, “It’s okay, you can do it. You have my permission.” But the is truth no one gives us permission. There’s no Queen Elizabeth who’s going to tap you on both shoulders and say, “I now proclaim you expert of _____________.” and then you’re magically it and everyone automatically accepts you as as the expert of ______________.”
Life doesn’t work that way. We have to claim it for ourselves. A leader is someone who goes first. What that means is that when you claim it, when you say that, “I am an expert” or “I deserve this” then other people begin to say, “Oh, okay.” It doesn’t start with you hoping and wishing they they will come up with the idea that you’re an expert or you deserve a certain amount of money for your expertise. It starts with you.
This leads in perfectly to the Paradox of Learning…
Let’s say you decide you want to learn something new – how to buy and own a restaurant, for example. But you don’t really know much about the restaurant business yet. Let’s say everything you know about restaurant ownership is about the size of grape. And everything you don’t know about restaurant ownership is touching the outside of the grape.
So you read a book on what it takes to own a restaurant. And now everything you know about restaurant management is about the size of a lemon.
But you still don’t feel like you know quite enough so you go and read two more books on restaurant ownership. Now everything you know about restaurant ownership is about the size of an orange. And everything you don’t know about restaurant ownership is touching the outside of the orange. However, you still don’t feel like you’re ready to sign on the dotted line and buy a restaurant yet.
So you do more to learn about this subject. Now you take a seminar on restaurant ownership. What happens? Well everything you now know about restaurant ownership is about the size of a grapefruit. And, that means everything you don’t know about restaurant management has expanded too – because it’s the size of a grapefruit, too.
Next you get a job bussing tables at a restaurant. And everything you know about restaurant ownership expands to the size of a coconut. However, everything you don’t know about restaurant ownership has expanded too – because it’s touching the outside of the coconut, remember?
You know enough when you know that you don’t know everything – but you’re willing to step out courageously and take action anyway – despite your fear that you probably still don’t know enough.
That’s courage and confidence in action. That’s true leadership.
I’m typing this post to you from a lovely two-bedroom suite at the Hyatt Pinion Point in Sedona Arizona. It’s beautiful, elegant, natural, relaxing and great Feng Shui around here. Tomorrow we’re going to shoot some video in the morning and we’ll probably go hang out in the vortexes. It’ll be interesting to see if I feel anything while I’m there.
It was about five hour drive down here through quite a bit of rain but it looks like it’ll be a gorgeous day tomorrow.
As I’m sitting here on the terrace with sultry summer breezes, overlooking an inky dark sky filled with stars I’m reflecting on what it took to get to this spot. This is actually our celebration and reward for a successful “Occupy Your Life… NOW!” workshop last month.
If I’m going to be honest – there was some galloping chutzpah involved. I always tell people at my workshops, my webinars and my private mentoring clients that it takes getting out of your comfort zone to get to where you want to be. After all, if the way you are right now was exactly what you need to have your defininition of success – you’d be there by now, right?
I’ve discovered is you can’t hide out if you want to be successful. There is a notion in some circles that “I don’t have to sell to get sales.” There’s a belief among some people that, “I can keep being quiet and stay in my comfort zone and charge top dollar for what I do because people will be attracted to me according to law of attraction principles.”
I believe those principles. In fact my business partner and friend Stacey Hall who wrote the bestselling, “Attracting Perfect Customer: the Power of Strategic Synchronicity” is here with me. We believe in attracting what you want – but please don’t cotton to lovely however false idea that you can skip everything about marketing and business strategy and still get there. The Universe works in amazing ways – but not quite like that.
Many people find this hard to believe because I’m known as a speaker, a trainer and a motivator – but at my core I really am an introvert. That means I re-charge my batteries when I’m alone. I’m most comfortable in my own skin when I’m writing or doing something either solitary of with just one other special person – probably Ernie, my husband, or a close friend.
To manifest where I’m at right now I had to speak into my greatness. I had to be willing to claim it. I had to be willing to say in a bold way that I’m capable of helping people make some pretty incredible positive transformations in their lives and in their business. That means knowing me and really seeing who I am as a magnificent person with powerful gifts to share with the people who want to receive them.
I know I’m good at what I do. You probably know you’re good at what you do, too. But there’s a very good chance you’re waiting for others to discover it with out you saying a word.
Many years ago Woody Allen famously said, “Eighty percent of life is just showing up.”
Are you showing up for you?
There’s so much noise, confusion and caccaphony out there – showing up in a way so the right people notice and start paying attention (that’s what marketing is all about) is a challenging job for any small business owner. I’ll be honest – its not the most comfortable easy thing that I do. However, when I step outside my comfort zone and into “the puke zone” and say what needs to be said and speak my truth loud and strong – I always get positive results.
Take an honest assessment of yourself and your true desire to achieve your definition of success. Are you willing? Or, is your intention to keep visualizing and meditating on what you want without taking the action steps required to get there. If you’re not willing to get out of your comfort zone – it certainly doesn’t make you a bad person. But maybe it’s time to stop kidding yourself about how you’re going to create what you say you want.
Can you get there by just giving to others? I’m sorry, nope. There must be a fair exchange of value. Money is an exchange of value. Barter is an exchange of value – but you must see value in what another person is offering to agree to it.
Norman Vincent Peale said, “Help enough other people to get what they want and you’ll get what you want.” I do believe in Karma and that what goes around comes around. But if you don’t clearly state what it is that you want - you won’t get it. People will give back but it may not be what you need and want to create the success you’ve been visualizing for so long.
Every now and then I’ll see an award given. Someone is given a plaque of appreciation for tireless, selfless work on behalf of others. These never seem to be bold people. People will whisper, “She’s the nicest person. Always giving and never asks for anything in return.” Nice. That’s like telling the Universe, “No, please, stop. I don’t want anything.” The Universe says yes to our most dominant desire. Giving, giving, giving is a great way to receive appreciation and a moment onstage – but will it give you the success and the life you want?
Be honest now. *smile*
By Denise Michaels
For over a decade now, women have been inching toward creating a new kind of success – business success. Most aren’t interested in building the next General Motors or MicroSoft. Does this sound like you?
You want to provide a service your passionate about and genuinely enjoy. You want to live a nice life doing what you love. You don’t want to be consumed by work and business on a 24/7 basis. You want success – on your own terms.
Chances are you started your business excited about helping clients AND making money. However, in the recesses of your mind you may have believed you wouldn’t make much money right away.
So you started: full of hope, working hard, getting your ducks in a row. You’re building a good reputation with your services at a rock bottom price. The strategy? “As my reputation and my brand grows – I’ll gradually increase my fees.”
Click here now for my upcoming webinar program, “Get Paid What You’re Worth – for Women!!”
Oh, the best laid plans of mice and men…
Reality often shows a picture that’s quite different.
As a marketing mentor for over a decade now, here’s what I see – a woman a few years later who is still passionate about helping people with what she does. Only now she’s a little discouraged and living month to month on less money then she did back when she had a job. Struggling to pay her bills. Wondering when it will get better. Does this sound like you?
- A web designer – client of mine – was dangerously undercharging. She thought she was taking her business seriously – but she really didn’t know how. People weren’t seeing her value even at her rock bottom prices. I got her to triple her prices. Not all at once – but she did it. She actually gets MORE web design clients than she used to, she has a part-time helper at her home who also does dishes and vacuums. And now her husband is no longer bugging her about going out and getting a “regular job.”
There’s a silent code which says there’s something unseemly, unattractive or not “nice” about women who have the nerve to CARE about making money. Society sees that woman as strident, cold and calculating. We don’t like her one bit.
For some inexplicable reason you may quietly judge women who show clear, focused ambition. “She’s okay,” we might sniff. “I just don’t happen to like her. I don’t know what it is about her.”
Click here now for my upcoming webinar program, “Get Paid What You’re Worth – for Women!!”
After all, in our Mom’s generation (maybe Grandma) a woman’s job was to make a home – not make an income. It was a husband’s job to bring home the bacon. Women were not allowed in that arena. Ever.
Money was rarely talked about in in mixed company. And, it sure as heck was NEVER talked about in the quilting circle, the garden club or the coffee get-together. In my groundbreaking book, “Testosterone-Free Marketing” I say that 40 years of feminism doesn’t wipe out 40,000 years of human conditioning.
- Met an attorney and mom of three at a summer barbeque two years ago. She told me she charges half what other attornies charge to be nice. She was stunned how her clients didn’t seem to respect her. I suggested she double her fees. She balked. Six months ago I bumped into her and she had the same lament. I gave the same advice and told her how to do it. Two weeks ago she called and said, “It worked!” She’s making enough income now to hire a part-time assistant AND a housekeeper one day a week. Plus, she STILL has 25% more income after paying her new helpers, but less stress, more time for family, and, more respect from clients and peers.
“She only cares about the money!” is one of the worst insults. It implies a woman who’s dishonest, lacks integrity, doesn’t care what she does to get money, and, who might even gladly sell her kids down the river for a few extra bucks. Okay, I’m only joking about that last part. *smile*
Some men are still threatened by a wife who makes as much or more money as he does. A few knuckle-dragging Neanderthals still exist. Just as many men don’t give a darn one way or another. It won’t change his love for her. But she’s still wired to the unspoken belief he might be bent out of shape if she’s successful.
A fascinating study I read about a year ago said man’s greatest fear is that if he’s not successful he’ll lose everything that matters to him. He’ll lose love and his family.
Conversely the study also said a woman’s greatest fear is if she’s successful she’ll lose everything that matters to her. She’ll lose love and her family.
Click here now for my upcoming webinar program, “Get Paid What You’re Worth – for Women!!”
These are extremes – but our subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference. We have put in place a glass ceiling of our own making. Now, it isn’t some mean-spirited male boss trying to keep us in our place. It’s us doing it to ourselves. Most women who are struggling to succeed as business owners are stopping themselves from creating and enjoying success.
- A copywriter in one of my webinars was approached by a highly successful man about writing his web copy. Then he dropped a bomb and tried to dicker her prices down. She replied, “Sir, with all due respect, I can’t afford to work with people who can’t afford my fees.” Not exactly what I taught her – but she stood up for herself. He replied, “I can afford you. I just wanted to see if you’d go lower.” She said, “I’ve already given you an excellent price.” Within 24 hours she had the largest check she’d ever received on her desk via FedEx. Within three months she quadrupled her income. In less than a year she moved out of her crappy little apartment and into a luxurious condo overlooking a golf course.
Isn’t it time to stop condemning ourselves and judging other women for caring about money and our financial future? Why do we assume making money, passion and integrity cannot happily co-exist? Why do we assume the people we love the most will suddenly turn on us when we’re successful?
- Working harder and harder to make up for not clearly, politely asking for what you want in your business.
- Allowing clients to dicker down your fees, as they moan about “the economy and then silently resenting them later
- Spending tons of your valuable time doing “research” instead of spending that time creating more income
- Living the little ”white lie” that everything is fine to keep up appearancesyou’re making more money then you are
- Secretly worrying about the fact that you’re not saving money for your future needs as you probably should.
- Smiling at clients and not even telling them when you give away hours of time you should rightfully get paid for
- Spouting silly excuses about ”giving back” as a reason for undercharging when your own cup is almost empty
Click here now for my upcoming webinar program, “Get Paid What You’re Worth – for Women!!”
Women are starting businesses faster than men, and have been for almost a decade now. Isn’t it time we stop acting like we don’t care about money? That’s the purpose of having a business – to make money. If along the way you get to express your passion and do what you love that’s a wonderful thing. But the purpose of enterprise is to create income.
Get honest with yourself. When you do – you may discover you’re finally ready to release yourself from The shackles of what you thought was being “nice” and go for it, free from the bondage of limiting thoughts that have held you back until now.
On Tuesday October 30th, 2012 I’ll start, “Get Paid What You’re Worth!!” a five-session webinar series for women business owners of service-oriented businesses. If you provide a service in your business whether you’re a graphic designer, a life coach, a massage therapist, an attorney, a bookkeeper or something check it out. If you relate to the article above and know you undercharge, I’m confident it will be perfect for you. For more information, a 3-minute video and to get registered, go ahead and click here now.
Even as we are all hurtling toward the holidays at breakneck speed, in the back of your mind you are probably thinking about the goals you want to set for 2012. For many small business owners the holiday season is a slowing down time. A good opportunity to hunker down and think about what you want next year.
I consider goals differently now because the world is changing so fast. In a post Arab Spring world, you must be flexible and adaptable. Goals must be set in Jello® not in concrete.
- Will achieve your goals faster than anticipated because of a new technology that didn’t exist before. This is the good news.
- Won’t achieve goals because you underestimated the one-two punch this economy packs. Offers that formerly resulted in a feeding frenzy of sales can result in thundering silence today.
- May set a goal that becomes obsolete. New discoveries can result in a quantum leap to something better. More good news if you’re nimble and quick like Ol’ Saint Nick.
The economic foundation and constancy most Americans always took for granted has changed. Thousands of Americans are scrambling to create financial abundance, good health, reduced stress and balance in the midst of accelerating changes.
The seismic shifts the last three years may have changed where you work, live, your relationships, and/or, your health. Truth is, few people have been unscathed by the spiral that resulted from the credit crunch and the housing bubble that went, “Pop!”
If you’re striving to return to the way it was – save yourself time. Instead, embrace a new way of working with change and you will create an unprecedented opportunity to build what you always wanted in the first place but perhaps never believed was possible.
Insisting others must change seems simple, but it’s a path to nowhere. Assigning blame is what we see in the media, however it doesn’t solve how to move forward in “the new normal.” Only swimming with the flow of change rather than against it will help you create the abundance you’ve always wanted, financially, emotionally, spiritually, in your relationships and in your health.
Whether you agree or disagree with the “Occupy” protesters fanning out across the country and around the globe, the only thing we truly have power over changing is ourselves. If you’re open to discovering how to make essential strategic moves now, life can improve in an instant.
Working harder may look like the solution. That’s our tradition: the “American work ethic.” Working smart and focusing on the highest and best use of your time is key. Also, working with the eleven energy surges discussed by Stacey Hall in her groundbreaking book, “Chi-to-Be: Achieving Your Ultimate B’All” is the secret to feeling an elevated level of prosperity and increased hope in every facet of your life.
Hall says, “There are times when it makes sense to take a rest stop and re-charge your batteries. Or, it may be time to surge ahead and get things done even if the result is not the picture of perfection you envisioned.”
Many Americans never considered owning a business a few years ago. Yet as the Fortune 500 and large businesses continue to morph and re-shape, sending jobs overseas, the lure of becoming an entrepreneur is undeniable. Benefits include increased flexibility, family time, time for health and personal pursuits, and, an opportunity to create greater financial success. Increased wellness and quality of life on every level.
The trade-off is less of what we used to call “security.” Twenty years ago I met a woman who worked for a Fortune 100 manufacturer. She was laid off for the third time in five years.
I asked, “Why not consider a different career?”
She replied, “And leave behind all that job security?”
As a business owner it’s impossible to get laid off – which is pretty cool. There are no barriers to entry, but there are indeed barriers to success. Many new business owners jump in with enthusiasm, but they possess few business skills. The skills to creating income in your business are marketing and selling. They are essential.
Its time to embrace these skills. Ignore new marketing and selling strategies and you don’t have a business – you have an expensive hobby. You can be yourself and have customers happily say ‘yes.’ Stretching outside your comfort zone isn’t about becoming a “pushy” salesperson. Old-school approaches fail in a sea of smart consumers. Align with your customer’s values and goals and they will rightfully see you as trustworthy and helpful.
We live in a new environment that requires different skills than ever before. Dump the old. Instead, open up and apply the skills and strategies that work in “the new normal.” That’s when you can finally create the fun and abundance you missed all those long, boring years sitting in a cubicle.
Stacey Hall and Denise Michaels are conducting their breakthrough workshop, “Occupy Your Life… NOW!” in Las Vegas, January 26-28th,2012. They will provide essential tools and strategies to make your life and business work in “the new normal” For more information and to register click here now.
The trip I took recently to San Francisco meeting up with my sister Cherie (she lives in Denver and I live in Las Vegas) was almost a miracle in a lot of ways. In fact, just a couple years ago it would’ve been inconceivable for us to spend three days together.
We didn’t see each other for years. The only exchange we had with each other was a Christmas card with a few handwritten words.
Cherie and I have taken very different paths through life. No bad or good here – just different. She’s about to celebrate her 34th wedding anniversary next week. Ray was her high school sweetheart and they married young, ages 20 and 21. I went through a plethora of lousy relationships and finally met Ernie at age 39. By the time we tied the knot I was 48 and he was 60.
Cherie wanted children more than anything in the world. I saw kids as “the world’s biggest job – and a job I didn’t want.” I wanted to write and be in business. When she was unable to have kids, it was a great sadness to her. Eventually they adopted, and now those two children are grown and on their own. In October 2010, she finally became a Grandma at long last. Her little grandson Conrad (nine months old now) brings her incredible joy.
Because my husband is a few years older than me, I became a step-grandma seven years ago when Angelica was born. I now have three step-grandkids. My husband’s former wife (she was always very nice to me) passed away shortly before the first grandchild was born – I’m “Grandma Denise” to them. I love reading stories, taking the girls to the store to pick out a lip gloss or a story book
from the bookstore. When they come to visit they help me water my herb garden, make pancakes for Sunday morning breakfast and set the table. Even though Cherie is two and a half years older, I know she has so much to look forward to in that department. Being a Grandma, even a “Step” is a blast and something we now share as sisters.
We gingerly opened the lines of communication about a year and a half ago. Many Facebook messages and emails later we finally saw each other again a year ago when our Dad passed away. I think we both realized we didn’t want to be the kind of sisters who one day said, “Woulda, coulda, shoulda,” after it’s too late. After flying back home after Dad’s funeral we kept the conversation going. Again, lots of Facebook and emailing.
Cherie doesn’t work outside the home right now, however, for many years she worked in Optics. For a time she had her own gig managing optics stores and offices when the Optician or Office Manager was on vacation or off for illness. Then, a decade ago Cherie started a non-profit in Denver that provides eye exams and glasses for the homeless. She has 65-70 Optometrists who donate time, glasses frames and lenses to help the homeless of Denver have good vision again. She says, “For a child it can make a huge difference because they can read and do better in school, so maybe they will be that child who breaks the cycle of poverty and homelessness.” Pretty impressive.
We spent time shopping and sightseeing. We also spent time talking in our hotel room. We both wanted to get back to the connection we had as sisters 45 years ago when we played school and she taught me to read. Or Barbies. Or bike riding.
Although now we both have a great deal more wisdom and the wrinkles to prove it. She walked with a cane all weekend due to a knee injury. I totally tore up my quads (thighs) walking down Nob Hill in three-inch wedges, wishing I could borrow her cane, go barefoot or sumpthin’.
Cherie and I will never be the same. She’ll never understand the joy I experience in writing. Or, the headaches and triumphs of owning a business, moving energy and creating financial abundance. I’ll never totally connect with her compassion for the homeless that leads her to give so much time away selflessly. She and her husband are reasonable Republicans. Ernie and I are independent-leaning Democrats.
But we can come together, have fun and appreciate we’re adding to the world in our own small ways. We can finally appreciate our differences and love each other for what we do share – an unbreakable bond as sisters.
Those were the words Howie Mandel, judge on “America’s Got Talent” said to contestant Laudau Eugene Murphy, Jr. last night as he belted out a number that brought the house to it’s feet in wild applause.
The 36-year old Murphy, a car washer from West Virginia, looks sort of like a cross between Bob Marley or Milli with a head full of dreads, jeans, finely chiseled features, soulful eyes, a dazzling smile and milk chocolate complexion. An unassuming guy with a nervous, “Oh, gee, shucks,” vibe.
But when the crooner sang he channeled Frank Sinatra. The Rat Pack is back. No joke. It was the essence of Swanky Franky – powerful, throaty and raw, perfect syncopation and silken smooth. The New York City audience roared their approval.
Go ahead and click here now to listen. (And, if you like talent shows, keep watching AGT. I have a strong feeling this dude will go to the top. I predicted country singer Kevin Skinner’s win from his first performance last year.)
Sometimes we have a gift we keep inside us. It can’t bless the world there. Until last night on national television Murphy kept his gift inside acknowledging this was the first time he ever auditioned for anything. He never blessed the world with his talent before. He put it all on the line – in a one minute performance – a one minute excellent adventure. And it paid off. Keep watching Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. because this guy’s got talent.
Overcome with emotion and the adulation of the crowd, Landau wiped away tears afterward. He knew that in that one minute he totally stepped up to his greatness. Judge Piers Morgan said, “You’re emotional because you didn’t know how good you are – and now you do!”
What are you keeping inside?
Are you making the moment excellent right now?
Are you feeling relaxed and fulfilled with your direction?
Answering those questions is about making an assumption you KNOW what makes you happy. You KNOW what makes a moment excellent and fulfilling.
Some people feel there is no greater joy in life than helping others. Later on down the pike some of those same people reach a pivotal moment when they decide, “The hell with this! These people don’t appreciate my hard work and efforts.” So a life that’s been based on providing service and kindness to others results in burn out and feelings of disappointment and resentment.
So, first it’s about struggling to figure out what change they need. What will make them feel happy and fulfilled. Challenging when your entire adult life has been about service to others and not about even tuning in to what you want.
When I work with my marketing mentoring clients one of the first things I do is help them really understand at a deep level who their ideal clients are for their home-based business. In doing this I ask them a series of questions to help ‘em gain more clarity. The second bunch of questions fall under the category of, “What makes your ideal customer tick?”
Under that category I ask five specific questions including:
- * Why does your customer get out of bed in the morning?
- * Who is the most important person to him/her in the world?
- * What is most important to him/her in the world?
- * What do they want to accomplish before leaving this world?
- * What does he/she really love about their life?
As a result of that – I keep asking these questions of myself over and over again.