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.
Ernie and I flew to Oakland California last Friday. On Saturday we attended an Indian/Sikh wedding. When we received the elegant invitation in the mail a few months ago I told him, “Hon, I’ve never been to anything like this before.”
Ernie, who grew up in India and came to America at the age of 18 many years ago replied, “I’ve never been to anything like this either.”
Our connection to the couple is Ernie’s good friend, Ravi. They were co-workers together many years ago during his days working in the aerospace industry. The couple, both born and raised in the US chose this traditional Indian/Sikh way of getting married. The bride is an attorney. The groom is a pharmeceutical sales rep.
There were Sanskrit words on the ornate red and gold invitation, so I went about looking them up on Google so I’d understand what they were about. Quickly I discovered Indian weddings are a big deal. This one was a two-day affair filled with cultural depth and rituals passed down for centuries.
I have to say this straight up – when I met Ernie, I’d never even experienced Indian food let alone Indian culture or Indian people. All I “knew” was that Indian women were supposedly considered second class citizens and had to walk two steps behind their husbands. Back when we started dating I was terrified that within a few months he’d have me chained to a stove stirring curry. It never happened. We’ve been together 15 years now and he’s the most supportive, kind, thoughful, funny, caring man I’ve ever known.
The evening before the wedding there was a party put on by the bride’s family. Actually the siblings of the bride host the party – but the parents probably paid for it. It’s an Indian traditon. It was held at a Marriott hotel with a open bar featuring Margaritas, a Fajita buffet and a DJ playing Punjabi hip hop faves. Okay, some American hits by Usher and Katy Perry slipped in but it felt Indian.
One of the unique Indian fashion traditions is the bride usually has intricate henna (an herbal dye) tatoos traced on her hands and arms called “Mehndi.” They’re considered a beautiful adornment for the bride. At the party Friday evening a Mehndi tatoo artist was doing designs on any of the women who wanted them done on their hands and arms.
I have a detailed design on my left hand that looks like a heart with leaves trailing up my arm. It has a red/brown cast to it, and, I’m told it will last about 10-14 days. I’m surprised a few people have noticed it since the wedding and pointed it out saying, “Oh, you have a Mehndi.”
Of course the bride had her Mehndi designs done the day before the party and the photographer got pictures of the beautiful designs on her hands and arms a part of the memories of her wedding.
Towards the end of the party there was a ritual where different family members put bangles and charms on the brides arms as a symbol of happiness, prosperity and long life. The tradition is that the bride is supposed to wear the bangles for the first 40 days after her marriage.
On her wedding day, I asked the bride if she wore her bangles and charms to sleep the night before. She told me she kept the bangles on her arms but removed the charms so they wouldn’t wake her so she could get some sleep the night before her wedding.
The bangles were red, white and gold similar to the ones you see in this picture - which are the customary bridal colors of India.
The day of the wedding Ernie and I arrived at the Sikh temple called a “gurdwara” at about 8:00 am in the morning. After a lot of standing around wondering what to do the groom rode in on an ornately decorated horse surrounded by family members who are all dancing, whooping and hollering with joy for the soon-to-be husband and wife.
The bride chose pink as her color and the groom chose purple so there were lots of brilliantly hued pink and purple saris and other Indian apparel. Because both men and women have to cover their heads in a Sikh temple there were also a lot of men wearing pink or purple handerkerchiefs tied on their head to honor the bride and groom.
A light breakfast was served with Samosas, Pakoras and Indian sweets. Indian chai tea was offered along with orange juice. All the food was vegetarian. Volunteers at the temple traditionally cook and serve the food at this meal.
Then people started filing into the actual hall in the temple you see in the picture. Men sit on the left side of the gleaming marble aisle, and, women sit on the right side. It’s a very meditative space and you remove your shoes and sit on the heavily padded and carpeted floor.
In researching a little something about Sikhs, I discovered they broke off from the Hindu faith about 500 years ago. They are not Muslim. They are very peaceful people and most of the 700,000 Sikhs in America are in business, medicine and academia.
The most devout of Sikh men never cut their hair and wear it bound in tight, meticulously wrapped turbans. They are not Muslims – the only similarity with that faith is the turban. Another thing I learned about Sikhs is they believe in complete equality between men and women, husbands and wives. All the unfair treatment of women in the Middle East is not a part of the Sikh faith.
Finally the ceremony was about to start at 10:00 am and the groom came in. He was wearing the most incredible beaded and embroidered jacket that came down almost to his knees. He wore dark red pants beneath the jacket, bare feet, a red ascot and a red turban. The groom in this wedding is usually clean shaven guy with a conservative Western haircut. It’s common for Sikh grooms in America who cut their hair in a standard American way to grow a beard for about a month before his wedding day out of respect for the Sikh tradition among men.
At last the bride appeared from the back of the temple. She was slowly walked up the aisle by two friends – sort of handmaidens. They brought her up the aisle in her gorgeous red wedding dress resplendent with heavy gold embroidery and beading. Her mother and soon-to-be mother-in-law were also a part of the procession walking up the aisle with her to her waiting groom.
Both Hindi and Sikh weddings, very similar, are wordless affairs. No vows are spoken. There is much well wishing by family members as the wedding takes place but no “I do’s” are said.
The groom walks around the altar in the temple and the bride follows him around. They are connected by a sash or a ribbon of red fabric. Each time around the altar represents something – though I never found out exactly what. It’s all done very prayerfully and mindfully. If she follows him around all four laps they are finally husband and wife. Ernie told me that in a Hindu wedding there are seven laps around the altar so the wedding ceremony takes even longer
Once this ritual is completed there is handshaking all around and the ceremony is almost complete. Then, all the wedding guests get in line to give their good wishes to the new bride and groom. They also make a contribution to the gurdwara – I would imagine the money helps to pay for the food. Most people seemed to give about ten dollars each, so that’s what Ernie and I contributed to the kitty.
I’d say there were about 125-150 people at the temple so the line was a slow one. When we got to the front of the line there was a photo op to get your picture taken with them.
Now I said the wedding ceremony is a wordless one – but it’s not a silent one. These three bearded dudes played drums and sang traditional Punjabi wedding music – much like chanting throughout the entire wedding ceremony.
After the ceremony was over we left the main hall of the gurdwara. I removed the scarf from my head and put my stilettos back on. Felt like me again. Once again, volunteers prepared Indian food in a buffet for lunch. This time the food was served by some of the family members. The lunch was a little more hearty compared to breakfast. As much as I told myself “don’t eat any more” – it was just all so good. And there was more to come at the reception.
For a few hours Ernie and I went back to our hotel room before the reception which took place at a lovely venue for weddings and other big events owned by a winery. As we arrived appetizers were served and there was an open bar and lots of milling around. Lots of dancing, too. The music was booming. Ernie and I cut a rug and had a lot of fun, even if we didn’t understand the words to the music.
When the bride and groom made their entrance into the wedding reception room they looked very different. She was wearing a white dress, though Indian in style with a lot of gold embellishment. He was clean shaven and wearing a very modern suit. They both were beaming.
Dinner is served later in India. Same as in Europe. Ever been to Paris and the restaurants don’t even open up for dinner until 8:00 pm? At about 9:15 pm, six huge doors into a buffet area were opened and dinner was served. If this was a food blog I’d go into detail about the food. Suffice it to say everything was the most delicious Indian food I’ve ever had the opportunity to enjoy.
Unlike at the temple – it wasn’t vegetarian. Fish and two kinds of shrimp were served during the cocktail and appetizer hour. During dinner chicken and lamb curries were served. No beef or pork, of course.
Everyone we talked with and hung out with was lovely, gracious and full of fun. Old guys with salt and pepper beards were on the dance floor celebrating. Young women in saris and Indian dresses with the latest platform heels were getting their groove on to the music. It was a once in a lifetime experience I’ll remember with fondness the rest of my life.
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.
Meeting Ernie was like the end of a journey. After nothing but lousy relationships with men my entire life, I finally met the perfect man for me. If you’ve had challenges with love or are happily in love – you might enjoy my story.
It was Saturday August 2nd 1997 and I was excited. I’d just bought a computer and gotten online for the first time a few days ago. I’d heard there was a lot of information online about singles. It wasn’t fast or easy to access back in the dial-up days. But I was curious and so I surfed. I had no idea what I was doing – it was just a way of getting familiar with the new world of the Internet.
When I noticed an announcement for a singles beach picnic about an hour from where I lived in Vista CA, I decided to go. I figured it wasn’t a smoky bar, and, you never know what could happen. As I drove north along the I-5 close to the Pacific Ocean I felt a sense of anticipation and expectation. Something great and life changing was about to happen. I tried to calm myself, but it persisted the entire drive.
I found Dana Point State Park and walked and walked and walked for half an hour with a beach bag slung over one arm and a folding chair over the other. I was almost ready to turn around and walk back to my car when I finally found the sign for the picnic. The gathering was just getting started. Like many singles events, there were more women than men in attendance. If nothing else it would be a beautiful Saturday afternoon on the beach
After about an hour, I heard a male voice in an accent I didn’t recognize. I turned and saw a pair of nicely muscled, brown, male legs in shorts. All the women were saying, “Hi Ernie! How you doing, Ernie?”
He chirped back, “Helloooooo!” I later learned the event organizer practically begged him to come so there would be enough men in attendance.
I stood up and joined a cluster of women talking with him. He had deep brown skin, but hair like a Caucasian. I nudged the woman next to me and whispered, “Introduce me, would you?” She did and he smiled hello. His smile melted my heart. Our eyes locked. It was as if everyone else fell away, though I heard the gaggle of feminine conversation around us.
I thought how do I get him away from this crowd to talk with him alone? Without hesitating I said, “Who wants to go swimming?” I hoped he would say “yes” and the other women wouldn’t want to swim and get their hair wet.
“I’ll go swimming with you,” he said, not missing a beat. As if on cue the other women dropped away.
We walked down the sandy beach and into about knee deep water as the waves crashed into us. There was an instant attraction different from anything I’d ever felt. I don’t remember much about that first conversation – it was many years ago. I remember him asking questions about my education, my religious faith and my family. He said he was born in India and he came to America after high school. He told me he had two grown sons. I was 39, he was 51.
I knew nothing about Indian people. I’d never even tried Indian food back then. A million questions swirled through my mind. Wasn’t India a country where women were treated like second class citizens? Would he expect me to walk two steps behind? Would I be chained to the stove stirring curry for the rest of my life?
His sweetness, graciousness and sense of humor drew me in regardless of my fears.
I suggested we get out of the water and walk down the beach along the ocean’s edge. We walked a couple miles along the wet sand. On the way back he took my hand in his. I’d only known him a little over an hour, but already I felt a deep connection with this unusual man I still find difficult to explain all these years later. A lifetime of all the wrong men and the wrong relationships fell away. I was finally home.
When we returned to the group two hours later it was dusk. The guys built a bonfire to light the evening sky and cook hot dogs and marshmallows over the flames. Ernie never left my side that evening. Our knees touched lightly as we sat on a blanket.
We talked with others and enjoyed the laughter and joking all around as the night sky grew dark. But it was clear to everyone, in the two hours we spent away from the party we became completely connected as a couple.
I got up from the sand and walked down to the water’s edge. I wanted to etch this perfect moment in my mind forever. I knew he was the one for me for the rest our our lives. We hadn’t even kissed yet. In the indigo sky on a sultry August evening, a sliver of moon and a few stars hung in the sky. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude and just whispered a simple, “Thank you, God. He’s the one,” to the heavens.
We’ve been crazy in love together ever since. Through the years he’s been the kindest, funniest, most supportive wonderful man I’ve ever known. I’ve never had to walk behind him and he makes the curry. His smile still melts my heart every day.
In a couple hours I’m going for a massage. I have work to to do – yes, even on Saturday. But it’s a few days after a very successful “Occupy Your Life… NOW!” workshop, an intense experience. I haven’t had a few hours, let alone an entire day to just chill. So, I’m going to do that – at least for a few hours.
Yes, I stepped into a Brighton Memories store and bought a cool pair of sunglasses as an indulgence. Yes, I’m planning an extra night at the Hyatt Pinion Pointe in Sedona AZ on the way to Scottsdale for a speaking engagement next month. But I really haven’t slowed down yet.
The fact that I keep thinking about vacation in August and wanting to just go shopping with a girlfriend on a Saturday afternoon indicates that I need a breather. Some people might say I need to find a new passion. I disagree. I am passionate about what I do. I am incredibly passionate about the people I help. But I’m not always reasonable about what I do. Getting everything together for a workshop is serious work. Start at 5:00 am. Wrap up, turn off the laptop and fall in bed about 11:00 pm.
My partner, Stacey Hall, is all about getting smart with your energy. In her Amazon-bestselling book, “Chi-to-Be” she calls it “energy surges.” One of the things Stacey recommends when it all gets to be too much is “rest strops.” I think of rest stops as taking a siesta in the middle of the day. My husband Ernie is good at that. What I’m coming to learn is that a rest stop doesn’t have to be a nap. It can be just doing something different like:
- Going to the Farmer’s Market and buying veggies and flowers
- Getting a manicure, pedicure or a massage
- Hanging out at your favorite bookstore
- Buying a new pair of shoes – bright colored ones.
- Cooking something new – without rushing
- Watching an old movie or going to a matinee
- Meeting a friend for a Starbucks
As much as I’d like to catch up with all the work that cries for me to do it. I’m going to get my sense of normal back and take a shopping – massage rest stop today.
By Denise Michaels
What do reality star Kim Kardashian, investor mogul Warren Buffett, and super attorney Gloria Allred have in common (besides the fact all three are swimming in money)?
They are all media darlings. When they want the world to know what they are doing – people listen. When they have a new offering, or, they want you to know about something they are doing, the headlines flash, the video cameras roll and within hours we know what they want us to know about them.
Wouldn’t it be great having the ability to command headlines to tell people about your business without the paparazzi or the need for rehab a year later?
Knowing how to build your platform of fans and customers is an essential part of creating a business people will notice in 2012 and beyond. It’s how books become number one on the bestseller lists, how bloggers with a business drive sales into hyperspace, or how products like the Missoni line of designer fashions at Target are snapped up and sell out in a few hours. Below are seven secrets to help you get noticed and be seen as influential when you want to get the word out about your business.
- Your presence on social networking platforms like Facebook is essential. Connect with movers and shakers you want to know you. You can add comments, start a group of followers or develop a fan page. Don’t know what to say? Share what you’re doing in a compelling way. There’s only one degree of separation with social networking. Post daily and build a fan base.
- Conduct business with integrity and honesty – not for a quick buck. In this new era of citizen media, disgruntled customers can spin out of control and destroy your reputation faster than you can say “Twitter.” Trust is critical to your success in the post Bernie Madoff environment. Take care of customers and let them go online with a positive story about your business, not a negative one.
- Get comfortable with media including radio, television, print and online sources. Surprisingly radio is an unsung hero because you have an opportunity to tell listeners how to connect with you. Print can be powerful, too. Professional trade journals are usually crying out for fresh articles for their eager readers. If you’re uncomfortable with this strategy remember that every day you own a business is like the biggest kick-butt seminar you’ll ever attend. Be willing to stretch.
- Use public speaking in front of groups as a way to position yourself as an expert or an authority in your field. The minute you stand in front of a room full of people you’re automatically seen as an expert. Develop a sense of humor or at least memorize a few jokes. People are more open to new ideas right after a good chuckle. If speaking makes you uncomfortable consider joining a Toastmasters group for practice and constructive support.
- Discover ways to keep your energy level or “chi” up. You can work 24/7 and never get everything done. Learn to delegate things to others who are better suited and love to do the tasks you don’t have to do. Building up your success only to crash and burn a year or two later is no fun. Plus, in 2012 you never know when someone has a camera and captures you being you.
- Use short videos (no more than five minutes) to share helpful tips and ideas about your expertise and how you help customers. Or, tell people about exciting events coming up in your business or life. Don’t be afraid to share your successes when they happen. Let your enthusiasm and passion for what you love shine. Upload them to a platform like YouTube and share all over the Web.
- Share your story of success in a way that’s emotionally compelling and helps people relate to you and what you’re all about. If you’re a positive person, generally you want to forget the tough times. But that’s where your ideal customer is at right now, in need of your product or service. There’s a way to craft your story so you come across as a person who has overcome obstacles and who can relate to their concerns now.
These seven keys provide the broad brushstrokes to become an overnight sensation. Of course an “overnight sensation” is really a person who’s worked hard for years then it appears they suddenly burst upon the scene. When you harness and leverage these secrets you’ll be well on your way to commanding the influence and positive attention that will help your business grow successfully.
NOTE: A powerful way to gain the strategic skills and the confidence you need to pull it off is with the help of two bestselling authors, Stacey Hall and Denise Michaels. Both know the ins and outs of In two and a half days, in a workshop called “Occupy Your Life… NOW!” both teach business owners how to embrace the skills necessary to become influential and an “overnight sensation” in your own right. “Occupy Your Life… NOW!” is being sponsored by In-Touch Credit Union and PR/PR.
For more information about “Occupy Your Life… Become an Overnight Sensation and Sustain it!” and our next workshop June 2-4, 2012 please click here now.
Spring is the time of year for renewal. Sure, at the beginning of the year we all set new goals, but by spring we start realizing what is getting in the way of accomplishing those goals. It’s the perfect time to clear away the clutter. When you do, you reach a streamlined state of mind where you suddenly feel like you can take off with no more obstacles weighing you down.
Take a look around you and your working environment. Where did all the stuff come from? When you clear the clutter from your mental and physical world you suddenly achieve the freedom to transform your “someday” into now.
The last couple months I’ve been on a gradual clutter clearing mission. It’s amazing how many new clients and how much new income has dropped into my life as I’ve streamlining my working space, my life and my mindset. This mission has gone way beyond re-arranging bookcases. I’ve carted out garbage bags of stuff from filing cabinets. I’ve taken boxes of books to the Goodwill. There was a sewing machine tucked in a closet I hadn’t used in over a decade. I had a massive computer desk and office chair I never used crowding my office. I had Colleen’s Consignments pick up the furniture and I actually made a little money getting rid of them.
- Stuff that no longer brings you joy or a practical benefit.
- Whatever requires more time and attention than it’s worth.
- Items you keep out of obligation rather than because you love them.
- Thing you own that don’t enhance your life on a regular basis.
- Unfinished business that can weigh you down emotionally.
- Stuck energy that can drag you down or hold you back.
When you read through the points above what feelings do the ideas of clutter bring up for you? Does your working environment bring you feelings of peace, calm and positive energy for working? Or, do some areas feel chaotic? Some corners in our office we don’t even want to look at because they represent something unpleasant.
What causes clutter to appear in your office? Suddenly, there it is. Clutter represents all the tasks you haven’t completed yet. Your clutter could be about completing a proposal, reading a book, paying an invoice or any other myriad of unfinished tasks. Clutter actually represents indecision in our lives which is why it can take a lot of mental energy to get through it.
Can you delegate clutter to someone else? Of course. There are professional organizers in the Vegas Valley happy to help. Or, people who simply love to organize.
I recommend a co-creative approach. Work together with someone who can provide the moral support and extra hands to get it done, but you’re still in charge of the decisions. Maybe you have a friend or colleague who can help you. Then another day you help them.
Bill, a marketing mentoring client of mine, was feeling overwhelmed. He had ambitious goals he committed to at the beginning of each year, but he was confronted with clutter every time he walked in his office. It was impossible for him to stay on track. He had too many things to think about:
- Should he invest in a new home?
- Should he join a health club and lose those 10 pounds?
- Should he keep the new TV that was too expensive or return it?
Papers were piled up on his desk. What to do? As a result, Bill became immobilized and indecisive.
I suggested he stop all activity temporarily and take a little time reconnect with his goals. Then, it was time to eliminate everything from his office and his life that didn’t move him closer to his goals. He pitched out hundreds of papers and old files. He returned the expensive TV. He joined the health club. Gradually, Bill relaxed with new enthusiasm and positive energy and got back on track.
Now that the big desk I didn’t use, file piles and other distractions are gone, I actually feel more like working and accomplishing things in my office. I’m spending less time working with my laptop and free wifi at Starbucks or Barnes & Noble.
Consider your work environment. Does it support you or hold you back? Clearing clutter will transform your business and your life by releasing negative emotions of indecision and generating positive energy. This allows you to create space and time for what you really want to create in your business and life.
Denise Michaels is author of the business bestseller, “Testosterone-Free Marketing: the Yin and Yang of Marketing for Women. Along with bestselling author Stacey Hall, they have developed the “Occupy Your Life… NOW!” workshop happening June 2nd through 4th in Henderson, NV. It’s all about what works and what to release in 2012 in your business and your life. Click here for more information, videos and registration.
By Denise Michaels
The holidays are over and as a business owner you’ve probably ramped up to full speed again. Here’s a way to get your new year off to a great start. Light a few candles or start a fire in the fireplace. As the flames magically leap skyward, it’s a great time to gently review how you did in 2011.
It’s also a good time to chuck the “resolutions” you’ve already broken and get clear about some real goals you can live with and accomplish in 2012.
Every year, I take an afternoon to sit down someplace opulent to write. Usually its a gorgeous hotel lobby – after all, it’s a good idea to get comfortable with financial prosperity. I write my goals for the next year. I’ve been doing this ritual annually for decades. If you follow a few guidelines when setting your goals you’ll be more likely to succeed and enjoy your accomplishments.
1. Write Down Your Goals
There is a sense of commitment that happens when you write your goals. Use it to help you move forward in the right direction. By writing down your goals you take them seriously. They have a more important place in your life. If you decide a goal no longer suits you or isn’t right for you, you can always toss it out.
That stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Risky and Time-bound. S.M.A.R.T. goals let you know when you’ve arrived. Vague goals like, “I want to be a better person” can be fuzzy and unclear. How do you know when you’ve arrived? Set goals where there’s a point where you can say “Yes! I did it!” and celebrate your success
3. Have a Passion or Burning Desire
Experts say when you have a big enough “why” you’ll figure out the “how” to accomplish your goals. If you have a big goal, that “burning desire” Napoleon Hill talks about in “Think and Grow Rich” helps. Your passion will keep you motivated when others say, “no.” Discover your passion and get going!
4. Set Goals in Alignment with Your Core Values
If your goals are out of alignment with your core values either: a) you won’t achieve the goal, or, b) you won’t be very happy once you get there. This means know your core values. Think about why you get out of bed in the morning and who and what you love. Don’t set goals meant to satisfy or impress others. Satisfy yourself.
Most people don’t reward themselves when they meet their goal. They say the accomplishment is enough of a reward. Planning a reward makes the victory sweeter. A reward, big or small, gives you time to take a breather and acknowledge yourself. Even small rewards like a cup of your favorite fancy-schmancy coffee if you don’t usually splurge can be a nice way to acknowledge yourself.
6. Don’t be Attached to the Process. Be Open and Flexible.
John Lennon said, “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans. Our goals should be set in Jello® not in concrete. That doesn’t mean you should give up. It means sometimes solutions come to us in unexpected ways. Don’t be married to certain steps – better, faster, easier ones might be revealed. Be prepared for miracles.
7. Visualize Your Goals in Completed Form
Don’t just think OF your goals, but think FROM your goals. That means visualize your goals their completed state. Imagine how you will feel. Are you happy? Smiling? Who are you sharing it with? What do you see, taste, touch, smell, hear and feel? Make it so real it’s palpable. Visioning will help attract you towards your goals.
Another great way to start your 2012 is by attending “Occupy Your Life… NOW!” with Denise Michaels and Stacey Hall. It’s a transformational workshop to help you improve your business and your life. Let’s be honest. Constant change is “the new normal” and “Occupy Your Life… NOW!” will help you make the changes necessary to create success in this ever-changing world. It happens January 26-28th in Las Vegas, NV. Our Premiere Sponsor for the event is In-Touch Credit Union. For more information click here now.
Have you ever received little signs, little promptings that what you want is truly your life and business purpose? But maybe you hesitate to take big leaps because it means huge changes. Your passion runs deep so you want to get it right.
At the age of eight it was clear I was meant to be a writer. In third grade, I got a book report back with an A++ and two gold stars on it. I knew I loved writing, but it was a defining moment. Yes, even for a girl of eight.
As a nurse, my Mom wanted me to be a physical therapist. I’ll never forget what a good friend told me, “Physical therapy is fine, if that’s what you want. But when you talk about writing – your eyes light up.” I dropped physical therapy as a career choice like a hot potato.
I became an advertising copywriter out of college. I did Public Relations which required writing skills. Then, when I purchased my first business, I strayed from what I loved for quite a few years.
When I moved from Michigan to San Diego, I returned to those roots: I decided on purpose to occupy my life and found clients and did ad copywriting again, wrote business plans, articles and PR stuff. Still do. Writing helped me create leverage and pay some bills. Mentoring other business owners on how to promote their businesses took on new significance. Finally, a few years after moving to Las Vegas I wrote the business bestseller, “Testosterone-Free Marketing.”
Writing is now part of my daily activities to market my services as a marketing mentor, trainer and speaker. However, in 2012 I long to return to the writing that changes hearts and helps people change their lives in positive ways. After all, your business growth doesn’t happen any faster than your personal growth.
Think about what you want to create in 2012 with your business and your life. Consider what brings you passion and joy. Often there are surprising ways to monetize what you do with ease that’s a challenge for others. Or, you may need to make a few tweaks to the business you already have to make it far more satisfying and financially prosperous. You may have to get creative. Making a small investment in the resources to help you open up to new possibilities can be money well spent. What would it mean to occupy your own life?
Once you’ve thought about what you want to create in 2012, you’re ready to sit down and write your goals. Shake things up by going someplace opulent and full of possibilities. Three favorites of mine: the JW Marriott close to Boca Park, Leone Café at Tivoli Village, and, the Loews Lake Las Vegas. Buy a cuppa something you’ll enjoy sipping for a couple hours and sit someplace and write – on a tablet, in a journal, or, whatever suits you.
Chances are, you’ll increase your income this year and so will I. It’s important, but only to a point. People get infected with the disease of more, more, more when they are doing well financially. Money becomes a substitute that we believe we want more of when you honestly might be happier with the same amount of money and more freedom, more creativity and more balance. Money certainly solves problems, but it also can become a way to simply keep score without providing more contentment and joy because you haven’t built those qualitative improvements into your goals. Or, maybe you are doing what you love but the money hasn’t followed yet. Once you master the essentials financially, quality of life brings true wealth.
Writing makes me feel 100 percent prosperous and successful. I’ve never been a “starving artist.” My income allows me financial freedom while living my passion. My husband and I travel, save for the future, enjoy our home and buy a few indulgences along the way. It doesn’t matter that there are no Rolexes or Louis Vuitton matched luggage sets in my life.
Consider the possibility there is a way to make your passion into a successful business. Or, if you have already started the business – now may be time to make it successful. You can occupy your own life – and do it now.
So, set goals in all facets of your life. Yes, of course, set business and financial goals. But set goals in health and fitness, goals for your most important relationships, and, for your intellectual growth – read more books, take classes, or, attend a workshop. And if there’s a piece inside you that yearns for deeper meaning, setting spiritual goals may have value for you.
What are you aching to do that would make your life complete even if you didn’t become a millionaire? What steps can you take in 2012 to help make it your best year ever? Let’s be honest – the economy will keep going two steps up and one step down for most of the year. Put your energy and passion into efforts that will bring you more joy and more prosperity.
We’re proud our Premiere Sponsor for “Occupy Your Life… NOW!” is In-Touch Credit Union. A credit union is a great alternative to banks for small business owners. For more information about In-Touch Credit Union click here now. In-Touch will have a table at our Opening Ceremonies on Thursday January 26th. They are also graciously providing the refreshments for the event. Thank you, In-Touch.
Denise Michaels is author of the business bestseller, “Testosterone-free Marketing” and a Las Vegas-based marketing mentor to thousands of clients internationally over the last decade. January 26-28th Denise will be conducting “Occupy Your Life… NOW!” a workshop experience with author Stacey Hall to help business owners dump what no longer works and learn what does work in an age of ever-accelerating change. Discover more about “Occupy Your Life… NOW!” at http://www.DeniseMichaels.com/seminar/