Thursday, March 24, 2005


This week I coached a wonderfully lovely woman I’ll call Jill. She’s a bright woman, very compassionate and sweet. She’s at one of the corporations where I am an outside consultant/coach. This was our first meeting but within seconds I could tell she had a lot on her mind.. and her plate.

She basically has to work 12 hour days 6 days a week to be able to keep up with her job. She’s highly in demand and is spread a LOT too thin. She’s in management and so her opinion counts, but she often does the work of three people because she doesn’t want to appear to be a complainer, so she doesn’t say anything.

She’s got a few bosses over her who are very appreciative of the work she puts forth. And then there are a few who continue to heap more work on her already back breaking load.

Today in coaching she told me that she envy’s others who have been able to be aggressive to lesson their work load. But she explained to me, that she was the TYPE WHO ALWAYS FOLLOWED RULES.

Ooops! Red flag for sure!!

• (What if it’s 5:00 in the morning and you’re sitting at a red light that isn’t changing.. do you run the red light or sit and wait until it changes?
• How about, what if you are on the high way and there are no cars in sight and the speed limit says 65, do you go 75?
• Or what if there is a late fee of $25 if you write a check to the county by a certain date and you back date a check to look like the mail’s fault? You do it because you are trying to be fiscally responsible…
• What if an employee has to take extra sick days from work because they’ve got sick children?
• What if you or your child has terrible mosquito bites and can’t stop itching and the drug store is closing. Would you ask them to stay open a few minutes late for you? )

Come on! Everyone breaks rules every once in a while!! Rules are made to keep people monitored and in line but are broken all the time with good cause.

Anyway, she continued to share with me her frustration over no one noticing her crazy schedule and her continued quiet suffering.

So I asked her: “Jill, when did you learn this lesson that you always had to follow the rules? “ She replied that her dad was in the military and that she learned that you never talk back to superiors, and whether you have a great opinion or not, you keep it to yourself if it differs from authority.

Hmmmm. “And Jill, how old were you when you learned this lesson from your dad?” Jill told me that she was about 3-5 years old, and grew up that way.

So I replied: “so you are living with the decision of a THREE year old. You made this decision at age THREE or age FIVE and you are STILL living with it!” “ Do you want to continue living as a THREE year old in business.. or do you want to learn some NEW skills that are a bit more up to date?”

I could see her take a gulp at the realization that she is running around acting like a child when she is in her mid 40’s. She IMMEDIATELY said that she wanted to learn some new rules to live by.. and gain some new business tools.

As a matter of fact, I think I saw her pound her fist on the table when she said it! Now THAT Is a woman who is ready to claim her power!

I was thrilled. It made my day. What the heck, it made my week! I felt alive and so rewarded that I could make a positive impact in the way this woman conducts her life.

So ask yourself, what is holding YOU back? Do you keep repeating something over and over that isn’t helping you anymore or it’s actually prohibiting you from getting ahead? Have you asked yourself WHY?

A great exercise is to sit down with pen and paper and answer the question of why. If you have a reason that stems from childhood, whether it was your parents or what you were taught, then it’s time to get some new teachers and time to learn new skills.

It’s a great revelation when we see how we gain our limiting beliefs. But its even a better feeling to know that they’ll soon be past history.

Don't Hate Them Because They're Beautiful

Tonight I’m going out with two extremely impressive ladies who I am introducing to one another. They are both GORGEOUS, in their mid 20s and both incredibly intelligent. One is divorced with kids and is probably one of the most flawless and incredibly beautiful women I’ve ever met, the other is single and possibly one of the most fashionable and forward thinking women I’ve ever met.

One of these ladies I’ve been coaching for over a year, the other is a new client. I thought that they would really enjoy each other because they are both serious about their work, both make a lot of money, are very smart and they have another few things in common.


Okay, let me get one thing straight. Neither of them HAS to flirt. Men would fall all over either of them just because of their beauty alone. But they both have very outgoing personalities and are charming in addition to being smart. They also have ANOTHER thing in common.


I know! Can you believe it!? Women hate both of these ladies because of their beauty and their talent. Not only do women despise them but they are torturous to them! They talk behind their backs, they spread rumors and they treat them mean.

CAT FIGHT, CAT FIGHT.. I can just hear all of you guys now! Oh PLEASE! I know enough about you guys to know that you have envy too, but you just handle it differently.. like try to injure each other on the basketball court, or kill each other on the golf course. Okay, maybe not as much, but men are naturally competitive and it drives you harder. You often feel you have control over your destiny since you are often judging yourself on your income.

Women? We get judged on our looks first, and THEN everything else.

The thing about both of these women is that they are some of the nicest people I know. They are fun and lively and smart. They are ambitious and they are interesting to talk to. I have enjoyed getting to know both of them very much and I just know that if women would take some time to get to know them, they’d enjoy their company. But instead, the women demean themselves by displaying raging jealousy and use up all of their energy in a negative way… instead of being productive.

Okay, let me address the fact that they flirt. What I’ve counseled at least one of the ladies to do is to be personable and friendly when work isn’t the primary focus, but when presenting to an audience, especially in a mixed group, professionalism is the best bet.

One rule of thumb: Don’t flirt at the office. Okay, if you do flirt, then just don’t flirt in front of other women. That brings up insecurity in other women. And DON”T flirt with another woman’s man when she’s there. That is the ULTIMATE “no no”!

So I have two challenges here for ladies. If you are beautiful and in business A) Be better than everyone else at your job. Come early, stay late and be committed to your company. If people are going to be talking about you (and they will) at least they won’t be able to say that you don’t work hard. You know that they’ll be saying things like that you “slept your way to the top” and that can be damaging to your reputation. So be the #1 employee in your department and do whatever you can do education wise to stay on top.

Next, be a supporter to other women. You are a target for hatred, jealousy and other women’s insecurity. Whatever you can do to pull women together or serving them will help women get over your major issue of beauty. If you are a mom and don’t have time to throw networking get “togethers”, then at least make sure you have a few female friends in your back pocket to commiserate with. I’ve encouraged these women to get on a sports team so they aren’t seen as the “pretty and successful” ones there. They can be sweating it out looking gross like everyone else.

“Although I bet these two women don’t sweat. They’re too perfect. You should see them, I bet they never have ANY problems.. I have had to work SO much harder than them and I never had anyone coaching me when I was THEIR age. Hmmmmph!”

Ooopss!! I guess I even have to catch myself at times. I remind myself that we are all on our own paths and that while beauty and money may make life a bit easier, they can make it a bit more challenging too.

And you know I LLLLLLOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVE a challenge!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


I got yelled at tonight. Not the type of yelling that someone does when you’ve done something to tick someone off, but the kind of yelling that was a swift kick in the pants about something that I'm NOT doing.

I probably deserved it. I needed to hear it. But it made me edgy and I tried to make excuses.

Nope! That didn’t work. I continued to get the lecture.

Now I know you are all dying to know what I did that wasn’t exactly right. Mary? Got yelled at? How DARE they?

Here’s what happened. Tonight my husband and I met out a friend from swimming and a woman I set him up with on a blind date. Lets call him Bill. If you read the entry that he dances to his own tune, then you’ve met Bill.

In my book, he’s a consistent and dedicated swimmer. The lecture was about the fact that: I’M NOT.

I miss practice. I get there a tad late. And, I miss practice.

I told him I HAVE A LIFE. I have a child! I need my sleep!

He reminded me that I have a goal. I want to make nationals. I want to lower my time. I’m pretty close to doing it too.

So, here I am at 3 in the morning writing about the fact that I got yelled at. And I think it worked. I know he’s right and I’m going to change my schedule around a bit so I can make the practices more often. I was going to about 3 a week instead of 4.

Earlier this week I dropped a note to friend who is an entrepreneur. He and his partner had a yelling match on the phone. I know them both well and they’re both working hard at building their business. They had a disagreement and I tried to help smooth over the conflict.

I got this email from my friend that I liked:

Mary: Thank you for your insight….Every tree that yields fruit must be shaken to get the best from the top.

So, I thought about it for a while and realized that the conflict did shake things up. It got them both out of their comfort zone. It made them think about what really was the answer to their problem. Because they didn’t dance around the problem and play nice they were able to solve the issues more quickly.

I’m always the type that wants to avoid conflict. I think that a lot of people are like me. Its easier to talk things out than yell and get to the bottom line. But I see how that works.

Now I’m not proposing that anyone else should go out and confront anyone just to be able to yell at someone, but I do think that honest confronting can be exactly the thing to make someone step up to the plate, take ownership and pull their weight or change some sort of negative behavior. It’s sometimes quicker than having discussion after discussion. It’s certainly more memorable. And sometimes, it can get you up at 3 in the morning to blog about it!

But lets just SEE if it'll get me out of bed for 5:30am swim practice more times a week! I'm betting on YES.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


I was coaching a woman recently that came to coaching full of energy. Energy for life, energy for her job, energy for her relationships, energy for issues to tackle and energy to be the best at everything she does!!!!!

This woman is very attractive and very bubbly!!!! She’s at the top of her game, smart as a whip and was thrilled to be able to be in coaching. She’s always looking to achieve more and more and improve in whatever areas she can!!!!!

She talked and talked and talked. She was happy and enthusiastic and eager to share with me her life experiences. She shared everything I wanted to know about her. She told me she loved challenges and she loved to be competitive!!!!!!!

She explained her need to drive herself hard. She grew up an athlete and with brothers and didn’t back down from men. She knew that she overwhelmed people upon meeting them and that her friends just laughed because they knew that this woman’s energy level was high.

Are you getting the point?

I quickly became exhausted.

I couldn’t keep up. I didn’t try.

Me, the coach, a super energetic personality, was completely run over by this strong and competitive woman.

I let her talk. I was happy for her results. I complimented her on her choices.

And then, I asked her if she exercised? She explained that due to a fairly recent injury that her exercise had been put on hold. She told me about her surgery, etc..

I asked her if she had ADD? She said probably yes.

As someone who has suffered from a bit of both of these symptoms of overwhelming people with my energy and also the exhaustion of having symptoms of ADD, I offered her some advice.

I explained to her that being so strong doesn’t always make a good employee or counter part. It’s good to lose some of that energy or to refocus it in some other competitive ventures as not to put all of your eggs in one basket. You’ll chase off the people and scare them to death when they first meet you.

If a person who is strong like this doesn’t exercise to release this energy, they’re going to find their life in a bit of turmoil at times. They are also being talked about at the water cooler and people are avoiding working with them.

It’s happened to me! Especially in the south where people sometimes take their time to get things done. I’ve made decisions that ultimately effected other people and not always so positively. It was a hard lesson to learn but I did learn it.

If I don’t get my “fix” of exercise on a daily basis, I’m anxious. What’s even better though is to have a physical fitness goal. This drives this competitiveness in the right direction and doesn’t have to come out in the work place where it is often an unattractive personality trait.

Many of the people I coach are high energy and exciting people. They’re entrepreneurs who have a million things going on . They’d be bored with a desk job and doing the same thing all day long.

In the same breath, I must say, that they probably all suffer a bit from the Type A personality traits and some ADD mixed in. I’m quite comfortable addressing this issue as a person who is working with these issues myself.

So if you are a Strong personality, someone who easily overwhelms others with your energy, your opinions, or your forceful work habits, consider that you are a bit too much. Consider that you can lose clients and friends over this. Consider that even though that is “JUST THE WAY YOU ARE” that there are things you can do to help yourself mellow out a bit.

• TRY:
• Turning off the TV
• Taking some quiet time each morning to pray and think and relax.
• Spend some time alone each day.
• Exercise DAILY and if at all possible, join a team.
• Compete in your sport.
• Take vacations to get away from it all.
• Regularly connect with other people who you can share LIFE with.. it doesn’t have to be ALL about your goals and achievement.
• Help others in some capacity. Work as a volunteer in something that has meaning for you.
• Take classes in things that you don’t dominate in.
• Learn and don’t teach.
• Put yourself in situations where you aren’t the boss.
• Read some good fiction to get your brain doing something else.
• Take up knitting or some other calming activity
• Drink Green, white or black tea – decaff
• Don’t put 100 things on your “to do” list. Put 3-6 max.

If you can manage yourself better, its more than likely you’ll be a more comfortable person to be around. With people feeling more comfortable, they are more than likely going to enjoy you more. If they enjoy you more, they’ll want to work with you more. You won’t have to try as hard and you’ll be better friends with those you work with.

It’s worth it if you give it a shot. Let me know if some of these things work for you.. I’d love to hear your thoughts..

If you can find the time!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

My Dream Client is a Jerk!

What do you do if your top dream client is really not the nicest person on the planet? What if they have their needs met in every way and there isn’t anything that they want to buy from you? They don’t have the time of day for you but you still know that you are the best person for the job?

This week I coached a financial executive in this area. His dream client is a type A professional, who is a multimillionaire, and has no need, or so he seems, to be nice to people. My client has been trying to sell him some financial products and he’s gotten through to him. But the traditional ways of my client’s charm isn’t working on this guy. Number one, my client, a big golfer, can’t get the guy interested in the game at all. Next, the potential client has NO hobbies except work. He does have kids but he never seems to talk about anything. He’s not a friendly sort of person and is pretty much all business.

My client finally realized that he was being intimidated and then realized that there was no reason for that. First of all, this is a very successful and wealthy individual, who happens to not be SMART enough to have any life insurance. If something happened to him, his family would have no income whatsoever and would lose everything they had. Also, he had done no protection of his assets, had no living will or anything that should be in order.

Basically, my client realized, that this man NEEDED him. He realized that as smart as he was about MAKING money, he had no sense at all about KEEPING his money.

We discussed that the unfriendliness could be masking insecurity, from his lack of comfort in this area. The best strategy is to provide the information on a continual basis, be of the best help he can, and get out of his way.

The best way to communicate with a JERK of a client is to say Hi. Then present the information. Then say you have to run. Don’t try to initiate any small talk or niceties with the person. After this person realizes that you are ALL business then more than likely he’ll start to like your style and HE’ll be the one to chat once in a while.

I remember one client I had who was on the phone and her voice was very deep and slow. I knew that she probably dressed like a man and acted like a man. I could just tell. I imagined she had long gray hair and wore no make up, dressed in jeans and men’s shoes, just to be comfortable. Style wasn’t a part of her world, only comfort.

I was a young upbeat sales person and when I’d talk with her, she was always annoyed. I finally learned to model HER behavior and by slowing down and by lowering my voice, she related to me much better. I created a comfort level for her.

Slowly, she warmed up to me. I became her favorite representative and we ended up doing business for several years.

Little did she know that I completely changed my tone and my natural style to meet her at where she was. I wasn’t manipulating her, I was making her comfortable. It worked. And I had several commission checks to prove it!!

So if your client is a jerk. Don’t’ try to put them in a good mood. That’ll just put you in a bad mood because you’ll be rejected. Instead, try to model their behavior a bit. Be too busy to talk with them at length. Be a total pro but have somewhere to go or have a client to meet so you won’t be able to chat. Do this over and over until the client is itching to get to know where you are going and how you are so successful.

Before long, the jerk will warm up and the best part is.. so will your wallet!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Closing the Gap Between Information Technology professionals and Sales Pros

IT’s Impossible. Never before have I seen such friction and misunderstandings in the communications between two departments…

The sales person over promises.

Yells at the technology person to cough up the work and to hurry up.

The technology person explains how much work that is, how complicated it is and asks what is the priority.

The sales person says: DON”T GIVE ME DETAILS.. DON’T COMPLAIN.. just do the work.

The sales person complains about the IT person.

The IT person has a breakdown.. And calls Me.

I have to explain to the IT person how NOT to get TOO detailed. I explain how the sales person can be pushy, and barge in and expect the world to stop because he/she has a client or a sale or an emergency, and that the sales person does NOT want to know everything the techie has to do to get the job done.

Just tell the sales person the date of expected arrival or when the problem will be fixed completely.

Let the sales person call and talk to the voice mail or send an email.

Don’t’ drop everything the second the sales person calls. Handle several of the calls together to save time.

I then talk with the sales person. I explain that the techie is handling thousands of things. I explain that the techie isn’t able to handle so many requests out of turn. The sales person must weigh the importance of each call, and preferably lump the questions together in order of priority.

After calming both sides down, there is usually an agreement to talk things out. Both parties have to listen without jumping in and getting frustrated.

I’ve had two identical situations occur this week. Two separate clients. Same situation. Techie upset that he doesn’t get the level of respect he deserves. The sales pro is upset at the slow turn around time of the techie.

I am so glad I understand this. I’m a sales person and think in big picture and my husband is a techie so I know how to talk with him and have educated him on how to talk with me.
At one point, I told him to get some new friends because I couldn’t be his “technical soulmate” too. He understood this and now he has an employee who he enjoys talking technical stuff with.

I’m glad. It stretches my brain in ways that I don’t enjoy. It stresses me out. It causes me to have friction within the conversation. Oh no, we are right back where we started!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

He Dances to his Own Tune

I was asked recently by one of my clients who was the most charismatic man that I currently know and why. I said besides my husband, who always has a twinkle in his eye and enthusiasm for life, there is one gentleman I currently know who would claim that title. He asked me to describe what it was about this person that was so magnetic and special.

I started laughing at the thought of my friend Bill who is one of the swimmers that I see on a regular basis. I met him the first day that I started which happened to be his first day too. I’ve seen him develop into a very strong swimmer over the course of the last few months. He works hard every day and is one of the top swimmers on our team.

First of all, his dedication to his goal of swimming is unmatched. There isn’t any other person besides one woman, Nikki, (who happens to have 4 kids!) who can claim at being at as many practices. I’m not exactly sure what he does professionally, but I do know that he is very successful. That is no surprise because of his strong work ethic.

What is so impressive about him is his attitude. He’s serious when he needs to be and works hard at becoming the best. Because he pushes himself, he automatically pushes others. Then when the hard sets are done, he congratulates others and jokes around a bit.

One day I was walking with him after practice to the locker rooms. It was around 7am. We were in the middle of a discussion and all of the sudden, the music of Gloria Estefan captured his attention and he started dancing to the beat of the music. He got so caught up in the moment of his own private dance that he completely knocked me off my feet and I erupted into an uncontrollable belly laugh.

I’ve remembered and laughed at that dance since then more than once. It may have not been so funny, but at 7 o’clock in the morning, and watching a 35+ year old man dance in his Speedo in the middle of a hallway by himself, now THAT’S funny! What I liked and admired about that was his ability to be playful and to not be intimidated by the situation around him. He felt like dancing so he danced. He didn’t mind who may have been watching, he just wanted to celebrate the music in his own way.

I don’t know many people who could actually carry that off and be so entertaining instead of looking ridiculous. But Bill is the type of guy that gains his respect first so he can act any ol’ way he wants to and it’s fine.

So take a minute and think about someone you know? What is it that makes them charismatic? It doesn’t have to be their intelligence, their good looks or their money or power that makes them this way. It can be one silly moment, of someone dancing to their own tune.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Finding your Dream Date.. Sometimes takes Guts!

Article from the Archives!

My husband and I took our dog for a walk last night. We live in NYC and there is never any way to know what excitement that you will wander upon. Last night we heard some deep gospel sounds coming from a park near Lincoln Center so we wandered over to check out the event.

As we stood in the back with the other dog owners, a gray terrier and another brown dog came over to greet our dog Mallory. In New York, people always ask what the name of the dog is, but rarely take the time to meet and greet the person. Meanwhile, the owners politely wait as the dogs check each other out, and usually move on. This time however, the owner of the terrier, struck up a conversation with us. He told us that his other dog passed away over a month ago and was starting to look for a second dog as a companion for his 4-½ year old terrier. He asked how Mallory was to train, and how smart she was and whether or not she made a good pet. We of course loved talking about our dog and told him everything he wanted to know.

Meanwhile, this guy had a friend who was walking his dog too. The other guy never took the time to come over and say hi or comment on our dog. David, the man we were chatting with explained to Sway and me that the two of them come to NYC from New Jersey with their dogs to meet women. They say that dogs are magnets to women and that they had met quite a lot of people this way. Simultaneously, our neighbors walked by and were surprised to see us talking to David. They had just spoken with him moments before so we all laughed at the coincidence of that.

David told us that he had been married for 11 years and that he was 48 years old. His buddy, Bob, was 49 and had never been married. They both said that by the strike of midnight on the millennium, they would have the one at their side that they loved, and they vowed that each other would be no where in sight! It was apparent that both men were good guys, they were both successful, but only David took the time to strike up a conversation with others around him.

Next, David asked how Sway and I met. He was shocked to discover that we met 5 years ago on line. We met in a chat room on America On Line, and he seemed genuinely enthusiastic as we told him our story of meeting for the first time. I told him that in order to be as successful with women as he was with us, to be exactly who he was with us. He was interested in WHO we were and WHAT we were about. I explained that because men are visual, their first question on line to women is usually the typical, “what do you look like” and What are your stats?” I told him how frustrating it is to a woman to have to explain WHAT she looks like in order to have an interesting conversation. I told him that women would prefer to have a guy want to get to know her as a person first and then later, even 10 minutes later, looks can be discussed. I also told David that I tell guys on line who ask me what I look like and if I want to trade pictures even before we said hi, that I usually tell the men something that scares them . I tell men that if they have a woman to respond to their proposition, then they are probably REALLY dealing with a man posing as a woman and don’t realize it. That usually does quiet them down… and I get a laugh out of it.

When I met Sway on line, one of the most incredible things about him was his concern for me as a person. I was going through a separation at the time and he spent more time asking me my opinion of life and of my situation than of my physical attributes. He could see from my profile that I enjoyed working out and kept fit. That may have kept him involved with the conversation but I chose to think that he had depth and that was why I fell for him.

It was about that time that I noticed my husband Sway, fading fast. He had been up since 5am, just drove 2 ½ hours from Philadelphia and had nothing to eat, and had survived the Lincoln tunnel without having road rage! I quickly told David that we had to go. We traded numbers and cards and promised to call if we had an eligible friend in mind for him.

After we left Sway and I talked about how lucky we were that we found one another. WE knew it could be us walking around the streets in NY late at night hoping to bump into the love of our lifetime. But we encouraged David to upgrade his limited typing skills and then bring his social skills to the Internet. I have no doubt that David WILL meet the perfect one. He is more interested in others than sharing about himself, yet he was also very willing to share his experiences with us and to help us however he could. He was polite and friendly and enthusiastic about everything we discussed.

Meeting David was a bonus that night. We talked, we laughed and we shared tips on life. If I have a friend who is looking, for a relationship I’ll definitely keep David in mind. And so will our neighbors who met him too. And Bob? Bob had a dog, which was the first step, but he never risked anything of himself to meet anyone that night. It was my guess that Bob was hoping that people would come up to him to talk about his dog, instead of using the dog to strike up conversations. But most people would be perfectly content to just listen to the music or just watch the people. If Bob wants to meet others, he’ll HAVE to learn how to initiate. He may have been afraid of rejection which is part of life, or maybe he didn’t see the perfect woman to speak to. Meanwhile, David at least met 4 people, who have 2 friends, who have 2 friends…..

I wonder which one will find their soulmate before New Years Eve? I wonder which one will be dancing under the stars with a woman who is searching the world for him too? I wonder which one will try different ways to meet people who may set him up with women they think would be a good match? Sorry Bob, I’m putting my money on David.

Building Unshakeable Self Confidence!

One of things that Charismatic people share is an unshakeable self confidence. It comes from deep within and it’s the knowing that everything will be okay. It’s a faith that their life is going somewhere and it has purpose. These people often are the ones that everyone notices when they walk in the room. They magically attract people to them in a social environment and everyone stops to listen to them in a business meeting. Everyone knows they mean business and what they have to say is going to be important.

I’d like to share my belief about where this self confidence can come from. I believe that we live in a changing world that is unstable and stressful. It seems that we have to be up on top of everything these days. Gone are the days that you can let your kids roam the neighborhood unattended, for fear of someone picking them up. Gone are the days when mom could sew all of your clothes and you could still be cool. Gone are the days that the parents would be home every afternoon and spend time outdoors with their kids or chatting with neighbors.

Who has time anymore? Because of the mounting bills and financial crisis that so many face, and the competitive environment that all of us face in our work and our lives, if people don’t have something solid to build their life around, they might waver and be crushed under the stress.

Women gain their esteem from the close relationships that they form. It’s important for women to have other women to share with. Even if they are happily married, it’s healthy to have friends to share their burdens or their triumphs. Men also need to have guy friends. So often men find themselves so goal oriented they wake up one day grumpy and unsatisfied. I often coach my clients to start a mastermind group of others to share their work issues with or to join an athletic team so they can meet up with these people daily, or even weekly and have someone to compare their progress to.

I also encouage my clients to get involved with a church community. While I don't preach at them, I often point out that the most successful individuals in history often held a great faith in God. I often just plant the thought there and they can take it or leave it.

Also, being on a team, whether its in the martial arts, swimming, or running, gives each individual the feeling of “I BELONG”. Seeing the same people over and over gives a sense of security and comfort. The BEST thing about it I believe is that no one cares WHAT you do professionally or even IF You are a professional. You like each other based on your mutual passion for the sport and as you work out, your body and mind are getting wonderful side effects.

As you know by now, I’ve joined the masters swim team. I was on a swim team as a kid and I know that being on that team gave me a sense of achievement. I excelled at swimming and was respected for my accomplishments. It also gave me a sense of adventure because we had to go to meets that were far away and we’d get to go out as a team and explore different parts of the state or country.

Being on a team as an adult has done wonders for my self esteem. I have goals now that I want to achieve that are pushing me to perform better in every area of my life. I’m more focused at home and in work as a result. I’ve developed new friends that I enjoy and who I push and they push me in our workouts.

I’ve learned from many of them about how they keep motivated. My favorite one is from Shawn, who recently shared his formula of his love of making himself “Suffer”. I have used this in my workouts now and asked myself: “am I suffering yet?” If the answer is no, then I can sincerely push myself harder.

I recently coached a beautiful 23 year old successful financial executive to get on a running team. She makes a lot of money, works a lot of hours and enjoys the time she spends alone on the treadmill. She also confided that she’s a bit lonely and doesn’t have anyone to share her career with or her trials of her life. I encouraged her to join a running team at least on the weekends so people would see her working hard there and then support her ambition outside of the running team. When they see her now, they see her as an ambitious person who might be a bit self serving. This is a trap that anyone can fall in when they are building their career. You have to stay focused on growing and staying on top, and many others see it as self serving. I encouraged her to spread her ambitions out to also include her sport and passion of running.

I’m now a HUGE proponent of first, taking up a sport to gain self confidence. Second, to join a TEAM so you’ll be a part of something greater than yourself and they’ll keep you engaged, either by motivating you or “guilting” you into it! Either way can work of course!

I also believe that by pushing your body, you gain a sense of power from your body being able to achieve things that it normally didn’t to. It’s such a lift mentally to survive a strenuous workout and to feel the soreness that comes afterwards. Then to feel yourself getting stronger and stronger is such a great accomplishment. There is no way that you won’t feel good about yourself.

Mentally, the endorphins in your brain are released during strenuous exercise and experts have compared this to taking the drug opium. Its what they call the “runners high” and that is why so many people get addicted to exercise. Exercise has proven to have the ability to knock out depression and improve health. In this day and age, with this knowledge, it should be a requirement in life to have a daily exercise regime.

My favorite quote about exercise that I coined for my clients is this: EXERCISE IS NOT AN OPTION. It’s a REQUIREMENT.

How about you? Could you use a little lift during your day? If so, then grab a buddy and get your body MOVIN’. Then join a team, meet some friends, and find yourself as a new unshakable confident and charismatic person! You deserve it!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Are you a Living Bobble Head Doll?

I had a woman in one of my Charisma classes a few weeks ago who is a very intelligent well rounded southern woman. She is a high level manager that is in the technology field and works with numerous men. She’s been stumped by the fact that while she’s one of the smartest people in the field, she continually runs into the problem of being ignored in many social and work situations. She has the power in her position, yet people just run over her in conversation or completely pay no attention to her.

She asked me for individual help with the issue.

When I asked her to describe the exact situations of when she was ignored, she tilted her head at a fairly severe angle and as I spoke, she bobbed her head up and down in agreement as if she knew exactly the information that she needed to deliver to me to make me happy.

As soon as she did that, I said to her, Michelle, you are sweet. You are sincere. And you are very agreeable and likeable. “You are like a puppy.. lick, lick, lick. I like you…… love you.. and I want you to love me back” I said, “ you are lovable, but you aren’t powerful”.

You are a living Bobble Head doll.

Oh my gosh. I knew it right then that I sounded like Simon Cowell from American Idol. I felt the blood rush to my face because I was just going on instinct and with my gut and that’s what came out. Sometimes I have learned that going with the gut can hurt a person, so I immediately tempered what I said by adding, “but, with one change, you’ll be able to get a completely different response from people.. and you’ll like it.”

I explained to her that men would never be as agreeable as she was being with people. So, I forced her to look at me straight on with no tilt to her head. I practiced with her in polite conversation where she was not allowed to move her head. I had her practice SLOW movements that were controlled.

Low and behold, Michelle came back to class the next week with an unbelievable report! She told us she conducted a meeting with another senior manager in the room who NEVER pays attention. During the meeting, when he was looking down, not paying attention and doodling, she stopped and waited for his attention. She never wavered. She never looked too agreeable. And she never bobbled.

She got the attention. Not only of that manager who never pays attention, but she got the attention of everyone in the room who asked her afterwards what she did to get HIS attention. Now they were ALL curious!

She never did confide in them about the tiny little change that she made. But when she shared that success with the class I literally screamed for joy. I knew that she had a major breakthrough and that she’d never again be rolled over by people accepting her friendliness as weakness.

For me, the coach, I felt like a proud mama who saw her child win a race for the first time. And that’s why I do this job. It’s the little things like that, that can make the difference!

Laughter is a Great Workout!

Today is Friday and last night I decided to send out a message to all of the Masters Swimmers to see if anyone wanted to go grab breakfast after swim practice today. We got out a bit early because of a major swim meet happening at the aquatic club so everyone was happy about having a light practice.

We had about 10 people show up for breakfast. We went to the Waffle House and were crammed in the booths with cups of coffee, pancakes, eggs, toast, bacon and hash brown side dishes every where the eye could see.

One of the couples, SR and Christa got there early and were about done by the time several of us arrived. SR is a very intense sort of guy. He works out 3 times a day either with swimming, running, weights or biking. He’s in great shape and at a young age, runs a very large organization as a top manager and executive. He’s one of those types who literally likes to “suffer” so he pushes himself beyond belief.

Today, he was pushing the staff at the Waffle House. He was done so he wanted to get to work. He had been given the bill earlier and now couldn’t find it. He looked everywhere.. on the floor, in the kitchen on the other side of our booth and it was no where to be found. Soon he had several of the staff running around trying to find it while the others were trying to rewrite a ticket. The staff was all yelling across the room in Spanish trying to locate the lost ticket or to decide who served him and could they verify what should be on the ticket.

Not only were the staff running around like mice all over looking for this ticket but our two tables got into the action of trying to help him. Finally, he sat up, and felt something. YEP.. it was the TICKET! He had been sitting on it the whole time.

Our whole table erupted in laughter. SR’s face turned a deep purple, then pink which is highly exaggerated against his blondish red hair. He felt a tad foolish for getting everyone to jump through hoops and he was the one who had it all along. But the rest of us laughed so hard we felt we got an amazing workout in those few minutes alone.

One of the guys is a pharmaceutical sales rep announced some healthy statistics about laughter. He said that if you laugh just 15 minutes a day you can lower your risk of heart disease by 10%. Those are pretty amazing statistics. And not to be outdone, I had to come home and do a little research myself on those statistics.

For one thing, many researchers considered laughter as the best aerobic exercise. According to William Fry, a professor at Stanford University, California, a good belly laugh works muscles all over the body and improves blood circulation. Fry agrees that one minute of laughter equals ten minutes on the rowing machine. In other words, laughter stimulates the heart and blood circulation equivalent to any other standard aerobic exercise (qtd. in Kataria). Moreover, laughter is a powerful tool to increase lung capacity. Dr Kataria agrees that laughter can be beneficial for singers and actors. It helps them gain a better control over speech. Another benefit for them would be the improvement of self-confidence and the reduction of panic. Furthermore, experts say that laughter makes people look younger. When we are walking or running, all the muscles of the body are exercising. However, there is no regular exercise designated for facial muscles. Sometimes, when we laugh, our faces become red because of the augmentation in blood supply, which feeds the facial skin and makes it radiant. Laughing people are more likely to look attractive and happy (2-3). Finally, laughter provides an excellent source for cardiac exercise according to McGhee. He suggests the next time we are having a good bout laugh to put the hand over the heart when we stop laughing. We will notice that the heart is racing even after 20 seconds. He compares laughter to internal jogging and concludes that an individual is able to give his heart many good calisthenics every day by laughing (5). All in all, the physical benefits of laughter are powerful tools to exercise the body. (

So, according to the experts, I got at least an extra half an hour of aerobic exercise today. I think that I held a belly laugh for about 3-4 minutes so that would be approx. 30 min on the row machine.

I’d say it was the most fun work out I’ve had in ages. Now if I can just figure out how to get the belly laugh workout to equal a swim practice, I’d be in shape AND happy!

Thursday, March 10, 2005


Now that I live in the South, I see how different the social environment is here. It's friendly and relationships definitely come first when doing business. When I lived in NYC, it was enough to say who you were and who you worked with or for and you'd be accepted on your own merit.

So, culturally, the North and South have its differences. Since the south has been a bit behind in a lot of ways, I find myself teaching some of the women here techniques to be noticed more, and how to assert them more. Additionally, I find that the younger men here view their age as a detriment as opposed to an asset. They want to appear older, or have the confidence of an older person. Again, that wasn’t' anything I dealt with in NY. People there are judged on their results, not their age or sex. It seemed to me anyway.

For myself, I find that I'm not as well received here in the South. When I come to a company, I bring a lot of experience to the table. I have been coaching and training for over 10 years! But when I am seen upon first impression here, the feeling (I've been told) is "who does she think she is?" My son's preschool teacher told me this. She said that she didn't think we'd ever have anything in common with me. I dropped him off at school dressed for work, and walk and talk fast. This was overwhelming to her at first. When she took time to get to know me she said: "I had NO ideeeaaaa you were SOOOO. niiiiiice" .. in her southern, charming way.

My clothes say that I like trends. I do have a lot of classics in my wardrobe, but I add accessories that are fun. This area is very conservative. The best outfit to wear is a dark suit. The best personality to show off at first is a reserved, under toned and one that brings no attention to you. Conservative is the best word to describe the south. The Bible Belt is alive and well!

Women here are very sweet. I've also noticed that many of them want to come off as more powerful to get the respect they deserve. There are a few of those "good ol' boys" around. Their attitude is "don't worry your pretty little head about anything; I'll take care of it". Meanwhile, they are calling the woman's clients and trying to scam on them, they are making golf plans when the woman goes to the ladies room with the client and they are doodling when the woman is conducting a meeting.

I've coached several of the women here to fight like the men! One of my clients was actually told recently not to get her (get ready!) "panties in a ... bind". I coached her to not only get her PANTIES in a bind, but to get all of those men in a room, stand before them as they sat down, stare them down and stand up for what she knew to be right! She did and she woke them up to the fact that they had a JUDAS in their midst. It’s an ongoing saga, but she took the reins and confronted an ugly situation.

Women have to take themselves seriously before others are going to take them seriously too. Half the time, it's the other women who are posing problems for the go getters in the office. Women here have some sort of clique thing going. At one company I coached for, they called themselves "the beautiful people". Well, in my mind, beauty is more in the actions than their looks. And if that’s at all the case, this group was the ugliest group of women anywhere. They were awful to the other women in the company. As a result they are hurting the environment of the whole company. They are protective of their turf, and they severely punish the other women who are outside of their clique by gossiping or spreading rumors. I'm sad to say, that the ringleader of this group could be found daily reading her bible in the women's lobby. I just wonder if she really paid attention to what she was reading?

Okay, I know that northerners have politics. I've maneuvered enough people thru their company politics to know that you have to be smart about it. But in the north, you know right up front where you stand. You know when you mess up and you know what you have to do to achieve more status or more money. (Unless you are in a corporate environment... where anything can happen!) Here in the south, they'll do all of the nice things to your face, and they'll ruin you behind your back.

Since I'm not employed full time in any organization, I've seen the same thing happen over and over with different clients. I've coached the women to refrain from making friends if they are shut out of a clique. If they are being treated with dirty politics, sometimes you just have to be smarter. Being friends with the boss' wife is a good one, or landing the biggest client is another way to secure your position with the company. One of the women I am coaching was so hated for her beauty, that she threw caution to the wind and got HAIR extensions! It made the women rage, but they ended up copying her look.

The people who do the best in organizations tend to stay OUT of company politics. They don't gossip and they have one or two friends in the company but they don't rely on their co-workers for their emotional support. Work is work and it's best to put your best foot forward every day.

The people who gain respect are those who are consistent. They come prepared for meetings and bring value to the team every day. They go out of their way to help each of the team members and work late often if they have to.

There are many things to take away that are great about the south. It's slower and it's more manageable. You don't have to wear tennis shoes to the office because you are commuting from an hour away and walking 2 miles from your car to work. The traffic is bad but mostly people are polite. People don't usually cut in front of you and they wave you in.

When you walk in an office, people say hi. They're always friendly and willing to talk and share. It's easy to make friends here. People don't look at you suspiciously if you ask them to get together for lunch or dinner. They actually thank you for taking the initiative.

The people you meet in everyday life are nice and talk. Sure it takes time, but it’s probably more enjoyable. And, it's not as competitive. The northerners who come here have to SLOW down in the work place. Often times, people can't physically keep up with the work load that the Northerners generate.

Charlotte has become a melting pot. There are people from everywhere, but it still has the social mores from the south. It's best to WATCH first and LEARN before diving in and taking it for granted that you'll be successful here.

I've learned that the ol' line from Frank Sinatra's song "if you can make it in NY, you can make it anywhere" is NOT TRUE. It's far from the truth. I say, if you make it in NY, you'll have to change your ways to be successful elsewhere.

You have to watch.
You have to listen.
And you have to network. But don't forget to get introduced... That's how its done here... iiiiinn the SOOOOOUUUUUUTH.

Charisma Coach Personal Profile

Good Morning All!
My name is Mary Gardner and I'm so excited to be starting a blog. I've been keeping a journal for about 30 years.. since I was a little kid, and I've always loved to write.

I'm going to keep a blog for a few reasons. First, since I coach on a regular basis I have so many stories that come up during the sessions that will be helpful to my other clients. I have to write them down ANYWAY.. so why not share them with a larger audience? Besides, then you'll be able to write me and tell me about YOUR experiences.. and hopefully your stories are so awesome that they'll end up in my book on CHARISMA !!!

For instance, yesterday one of my clients called me. He's a techie who works in the health care environment. He has a habit of always wanting to follow "standard operating procedures". I carefully explained to him that YES.. you have procedures but FIRST you are dealing with a PERSON. We talked about the fact that his "team mate" who was causing him FRUSTRATION was actually his INTERNAL CUSTOMER. That gave it a different slant. I helped him rewrite his somewhat stern and formal email into a friendly email that got the point across to email him instead of calling him. We rephrased it so it didnt' make him sound harsh and like a dictator. It merely came off sounding like a BETTER IDEA for everyone. I'm proud of him that he is COACHABLE and willing to learn.

So, let me just tell you a little about me so you get an idea of where I'm coming from. I grew up in Winter Park FL, one of 4 kids.. the middle! I have been an athlete all of my life. I went to Auburn University in AL, and then worked on Capital Hill for Senator Paul Laxalt. I worked on the Subcommittee of Criminal Law. Then I became a lecture agent at Keppler Associates in DC where I sold and booked professional speakers and celebrities. I loved that job but knew I wanted to push myself further. I conquered sales and felt I wanted to TEACH what I knew. THAT has taken a long time to get right but I still love learning about it. I LOVE coaching and am thrilled to see the profession growing and growing.

Over the next few years, I had a PR firm, and coached people in their speaking, marketing, ideas for books, lectures, or political campaigns. I also started the firstEast Coast based in person coach training company called the Coaches Certification Institute. We were in NYC, Princeton, and the Philly area. We were very successful but after 9/11 we folded. I was the founder and I partnered with Deb Giffen and Michael Stratford, both excellent master coaches.

During that time, I did a lot of speaking, to the college market, I did GUERILLA DATING. I loved talking with the students and having fun with them. My male beauty contest was always a hit with the students and we even danced on stage. The gimmicks were a blast, but it was all a motivational talk about getting to know yourself, and grow yourself so you'll make an excellent partner in dating and in life.

I also did a lot of workshops in the area of communication and public speaking or professional speaking. I did them at The Learning Annex, The Seminar Center in NYC, and at The Learning Studio in PA. I also coached at Computer Associates, Goldman Sachs, The MONY Group and worked with a lot of other individuals in NYC, CT and PA and NJ. I did training for these companies too.

On Sept. 10, 2001, my husband and I almost bought a place in NYC. Then Sept. 11 happened. The world came to a halt. Our lives changed on that day. I thank God that we didn't lose any friends, but NY changed in a way that will never recover. The innocence was shaken to the core and many lives were completely altered. THe woman I was selling CCI to lost everything in the WTC and moved to FL immediately. Ultimately, we decided to fold CCI, and I moved to NC with my family. Michael moved to CA with his new wife, and Deb continued to work harder and harder at Wharton.

My husband and I decided to relocate.. to raise our son in a more affordable, less stressful environment so we selected Charlotte, NC. Talk about CULTURE SHOCK!! Even though I had lived in Charlotte before, and in the south before, I wasn't prepared for the different change of pace, the GOOD ol' boy mentality and the different ways of doing business. I'll be writing on these as we go along.

Finally, three years later, I have a handle on it. I seek out people who are like ME.. and I remain close to the vest on those who I probably am a bit much for. I'm opinionated, I'm strong, and I'm confident. That sometimes doesn't fare well with some people when they are used to their comfort zone. By my very nature, I'm a goal oriented person. I like to achieve things, and I like to push myself.. and challenge others.

I'm not overly competitve either. Mostly with myself. Like this past weekend! I was in my first competitive swim meet in over 20 years! I was a pretty decent swimmer in high school and have been on the Mecklenberg Acquatic Club Masters Team for the past few months. I did happen to win all of my events... 50 Breaststroke, 100 Breaststoke, and 200 Breaststroke . I actually got first AND last place in my age group. WHY? Because I was the only swimmer IN my age group swimming those events! ha ha.. But.. I also beat out several 19 and 20 year old women in all of these events. Overall, against the whole group, meaning every age woman from 19-up, I won the 100 Breaststroke in a 1:23. ( My high school time was a 1:11). I got 4th in the 50 Br. 38. ( My high school time was a 33.) and in the 200 I got 3rd with a 3:04. (High school time was a 2:40)

YES.. I'm slower.. but I've had a baby, knee surgery and I haven't been pounding the weights and running. I'm adding those to my workout now. I'm dropping the extra 10lbs I've added since high school and I'm going to to get my workouts up to where I'm really competitive. I want to get the STATE RECORD for my age group in the state of NC. I think it's a reachable goal. The record time is a 1:17.

I am really excited to be a part of a team again, and to have a goal worth pursuing. We swim 4 mornings a week in Huntersville at 5:30-7am. Its not easy getting up that early, but you feel GREAT once you are done. I've really begun loving my schedule and feel so much more mentally and physically healthy since I've began swimming with the Masters Team.

Personally, I''m married to a great husband, Sway and have a little boy Jeremy, almost 5. I was married before to a very nice guy, but we had nothing in common. I did learn a lot from him though. Sway and I are very compatible and very happy together. He pushes himself a lot and is a big support to me. I think sometimes he lets me be lazy. So, I feel it is important to have a coach and other friends who push me to excell.

Jeremy, my little boy, was a preemie. My water broke at 24 weeks and thanks to all of the many prayers from people around the world.. literally, he was born by natural birth, (NO DRUGS!!! ) at 28 weeks. Lets just say.. I now know why women talk about their childbirth experience for the REST of their life! I used to be one of those who would smirk under my breath and say: "Get over it.. it's been 15 years since you had the kid!" NOW? I'm right there in the middle of ANY group of women who are sharing their dramatic stories. Guys.. you just CAN"T imagine what it is like to have your body taken over by some foreign object like that. And the TORTURE of childbirth!!! Okay, sorry for getting overly dramatic but seriously, it's a miracle and it also hurts!

I did have a difficult time.. was laid up for 6 weeks in bed. I spent a month in the hospital laying in a bed that was inverted.. my feet up/head down. That keeps the fluid in. Anyway.. my son is now almost 5 and is ALL boy! He's quite the athlete himself. He loves to swim, and is starting Tak Won Do this week. He loves the super heros and has quite the outgoing personality. I'd say he's a bit like his mom and dad. He isnt' the easiest child in the world. He's VERY stubburn, slow to listen and wants to do things HIS way.

Now I see what a difficult personality that I"VE been. But.. I now know my strengths, my weaknesses (focus on your strenghts and get help with your weaknesses is my motto!) I also know that he needs structure in his life, and he needs goals and he needs strong coaches. Just like me. My husband is a bit more self motivated.

Well, that's me in a nutshell. I"m LOVING this writing as you can see. It's definitely who I am and I would welcome your thoughts, comments and your emails. I want to learn and grow and meet other people who really want to to BIG Things in the world. I sure do. I want my life to COUNT.. and count BIG. I do believe that God has a plan for all of us, and that we have to get ourselves READY to work with our purpose. I believe that we are here to share with people, to help people and to use our talents to help others.

I will write about my clients, and about my life.. here and there. OH.. I forgot to say that I also do quite a bit of TV and radio. I'll be updating you about my upcoming TV tour soon.

Thanks for stopping by.. and lets do it again soon!!! All the best, Mary

Mary Gardner
The Charisma Coach