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3 Keys to Control Your Brand

Okay, there are many reasons why I love British Actor Colin Firth. I won’t bore you with most of them (wink), but a recent quote of his on a TV interview got me thinking. He said, “You get a brand attached to you sometimes whether you invite it or not.” He was referring to how he will probably always be thought of in terms of the iconic role he played, Mr. Darcy, in BBC’s “Pride and Prejudice.” It haunted him in his earlier career. It got me thinking that, even if we’re not aware of it, even if we never utter the words, we all have a brand of one sort of another. So, what’s all this talk about personal brand? Brand shmand. It’s definitely a big buzz word out there in the ether, and arguably an overused one. But, since you already have one, you might as well know... Read more →


One event that never fails to happen when visiting my parents, naturally happened again over the holidays. It’s an event that causes chuckles and shushes from the backseat of the car as Mom and Dad yet again try and conquer the map directions in the front seat, with Dad driving and Mom navigating. And, I use both verbs loosely because no matter who is behind the wheel, they both “drive” and they both “navigate,” equally and at the same time. And, to add hilarity to the situation, last year they bought a GPS navigation system, named her Gertrude and figured “she” would bring peace and harmony to their journeys because Gertrude would carry the navigation burden. But, no! Somehow they found a way to second guess Gertrude as they settled back into their tug of war bliss. I say bliss because my parents have been happily married for 50 years... Read more →


Trivial Pursuit, Guesstures, Taboo, Texas Hold 'Em, Pictionary. You name them, my family and friends have played them. Our past family gatherings have included competitions between the girls and guys, between the age groups, between the siblings, etc. And, it gets competitive, sometimes insanely so! Some of us are more competitive than others, and after knowing each other all or most of our lives, we know those competitive buttons to push and those to stay a mile away from. Does any of this sound familiar? It got me thinking about competition in other areas of our lives, when it shows up and when we go looking for it. When is it healthy and positive and when is it not? When is it limiting and when does it help us soar? I believe in our careers and work environments the healthiest way to address competition is to research and learn about... Read more →


“Good leaders know when to follow and when to lead." ~ Bob Proctor, Author & Business Coach Recently I spent time in Las Vegas with nearly 200 amazing entrepreneurs and business leaders at a conference led by powerful business coach David Neagle. And, throughout his teaching he quoted Bob Proctor several times, crediting Proctor as his own mentor and teacher. “It’s lonely at the top.” I heard a former boss utter that one day and it left me cold. But, it got me thinking recently about where that sentiment came from and if it is indeed true. Was the person who first coined that phrase a good leader? Does someone with that frame of mind create a moat around themselves, isolating themselves from further growth and therefore from creating a greater impact as a leader? In today’s most effective business language, that of being transparent and partner-minded, the second you... Read more →


I got an email from a woman who said the message from last week’s ezine hit her inbox at just the right time because she was going through some of the same issues I addressed in the article. I get similar emails each week, which is beyond gratifying because it’s reason I started sending them in the first place! But, it really got me thinking about common grounds. Finding common ground with people is the impetus for creating valuable relationships. Our commonalities are what make us accessible and relatable. The common ground is the equalizer. It tethers a connection with a person or people for the moment, the meeting, the present, or perhaps the future. “The longer we listen to one another - with real attention - the more commonality we will find in all our lives. That is, if we are careful to exchange with one another life stories... Read more →


Fashion icon and Harper's Bazaar editor Diana Vreeland once said, "The only real elegance is in the mind; if you've got that, the rest really comes from it." It got me thinking about how much power we have or don't have over our own states of mind. If elegance is indeed a state of mind, then can leadership be an acquired mindset as well? I would posit that it is. Some appear to be born leaders, and it's true that some people do have an innate sense of their leadership qualities and how to put them into practice no matter what field they're in or whatever endeavor they embark on. But, there are ways to recognize and adopt a leadership state of mind. One way to do this is to examine the differences between a "manager mindset" and a "leader mindset". Both roles are necessary, but it's when you truly... Read more →


I recently took an on-line quiz that tells what color crayon you would be – if you were a crayon. I was yellow. Okay, it’s a silly quiz but it got me thinking about a person’s true colors. Are you showing your true colors to the world or are you a chameleon, changing colors depending on the perso n you’re meeting with, or because of a certain image you’re trying to project in business or at work? The expression, “showing true colors”, stems from the time of the fighting sail when ship captains would fly the enemy’s flag in order to infiltrate their territory. Then, before attacking, the offensive ship would change its flag to the true colors of the ship’s country. In today’s social terms it means showing your true self and in some connotations where your loyalties lie. The same principle applies when it comes to your personal... Read more →


WYSIWYG, or What You See Is What You Get, is most commonly an acronym referring to web content displayed during editing that appears very similar to the final output (as defined in Wikipedia). I like "WYSIWYG" kind of people. The personal attribute that comes closest to this acronym is TRANSPARENCY. I've been thinking a lot about this quality lately. Transparency, I believe, is one of the most prevalent characteristics in great leaders, yesterday and today. It sprung to mind again this weekend with the passing of Walter Cronkite. His iconic "That's the way it was..." nightly sign-off embodied an entire day, or a human story, or an experience in one simple sentence. Mr. Cronkite was known and loved for being the real thing. He took his job as a reporter seriously in his straight up, this-is-what-you-need-to-know style of imparting the world's news. But, it was his most human, uncensored, and... Read more →


STOP THE SHOW WITH YOUR PITCH

HOW TO MAKE SHOW-STOPPING PRESENTATIONS Here's a piece of news that may surprise you. Some of our best and most Award-winning actors are indeed methodical planners, contrary to wide-spread belief, and the way they get to the performance is through a careful, tried and true method of breaking down a script and peeling back the layers of their character. They break it apart scientifically and then put it together in a way that is unique to them and them alone. Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Day Lewis & Meryl Streep are three brilliant examples of analytical actors who dissect their roles like a med student to a cadaver. And, their performances are renowned. Who can forget Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lector's chilling persona in "Silence of the Lambs?" That came from studied analysis and rehearsal. Thinking like an actor will enable you to make bolder, more interesting and enticing presentations or pitches. This... Read more →


3 R ’s for Being Successful

The memory of the original 3 R’s takes me back to grade school, when “Reading, ‘Riting, and ‘Rithmatic”, meant the basics in education. The idea was if you nailed the 3 R’s you had a good foundation for learning. And, undeniably, you couldn’t effectively learn other subjects if you couldn’t read or write. Wish it were still so simple today! Now, in an ever-changing era of career re-invention and diversifying industries, the following 3 R’s describe essential qualities you must possess to stay current in your career. § Resilient – bouncing back from a layoff, or watching an industry transform before your very eyes, means you must be ready and willing for the change. Resilience involves building your coping skills, including stress management and a willingness to look at change as opportunity. Robert Brooks and Sam Goldstein in their book, The Power of Resilience, call it a “resilient mindset” because... Read more →