Sunday, May 29, 2005

Sometimes, it just takes ONE conversation to change your life!

I was thinking this morning about the importance of the profession that I am in. Besides doing various trainings, workshops and consulting, I also coach people. Coaching is a profession that continues to develop but it originally came out of the self help industry. Many of the first coaches were publicists, consultants, sales professionals, and financial advisors. Much of what these people loved about what they did was helping people figure out how to achieve their best.

My own career was in full swing when I was a celebrity lecture agent. Without knowing it, and calling it mentoring, I was coaching college students all over the country in their future careers, their dating lives, or what to do for their summer break. I got really great at asking questions and giving accurate feedback about what I was hearing. I enjoyed pushing people to the next level and enjoyed helping them see that they already HAD the talent they needed to achieve their goals. Now, they just needed a plan.

Years later I see how it sometimes just takes ONE conversation to really turn a person’s life around. And I truly believe that everyone should take the time to find someone to engage with in this conversation.

This is a typical conversation that I have with a first time client. “I’m not satisfied with my job. There’s no creativity or I’m just not that into it. I want to try something new but I don’t know what.” Or, “there are so many things I like to do that I can’t just seem to focus on one”.

Here is how two of the conversations went recently:

I went to lunch with a young woman who has one child who is about to go to school. She had a successful corporate career but has no desire to go back to corporate America. She has so many things she enjoyed so I asked her to make a list of the things she really loved to do:

The list included:
Working with teenagers
Administrative work
Promotional work

So, I went through the list and crossed off the ones that weren’t going to bring her the income she needed and that she can do for fun at church. (Singing and working with teens). Next, I combined the rest of them and asked if she had ever considered running a professional organizers business?

The look in her eyes was definitely worth gold! She lit up like a Christmas tree because she had never thought of that before. And all we did was combine her talents into one job title.

Now, a few weeks later, she’s busy reading everything she can get her hands on and starting to make plans to promote her business. She’s told me that she’ll be doing lots of free organizing jobs to get referrals in the beginning so she agreed to put me on that list! Its’ not going to happen overnight, but with baby steps every day, she’ll gain experience, confidence, and hopefully, clients!

Another conversation that took place recently was a life changing one for a guy who lived on my street. Steve has two kids and a wife who had been at home with their kids since they were born. His wife, Anne, was a nurse and he was a computer programer. Over time, the type of programming he did was phased out. Somehow, he didn’t see that coming and never got trained on anything else.

When I last saw him at the pool, I knew he had just lost his job. He was trying to decide what else to do. So, I asked him the all important question:

“If you could do anything else in the world, what would it be?”

Steve admitted that he would love to be creative on the computer by doing graphic art but he had no idea where to start and besides he felt it was too late to build a career on a dream. We brainstormed about how to get started from taking classes to doing some volunteer or freebie projects on the side to learn the basics.

I knew also that his wife had “Had it up to Here” with his lack of motivation and knew that she was facing going back to work full time as a nurse. As it turned out, that is exactly what she did, until Steve realized that he could in fact, plan for his dream.

Recently, a For Sale Sign went up and they moved to Florida. Steve is going back to school to learn Graphic Design, and Anne is going to work until he gets his degree.

I know of no better way to make someone’s day than to push them in the directions of their dreams. Even when someone’s dreams are out of the ordinary or so far fetched that you can’t imagine it yourself, it’s still a wonderful gift to help someone figure out HOW to do it, or at least encourage them to try.

Everyone has dreams. But not everyone is pursuing them. If you are one of the lucky ones who is, then what are you doing to help other people pursue their dreams? And if you AREN’T pursuing your dreams, then realize that you won’t be really content until you are moving in that direction.

I have a bracelet that has a wonderful quote on it. I wear it when I need some extra motivation. It says:
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.Thoreau, Henry David

Who knew that life could be made more simple, with only one conversation!

My advice? GET TALKING!

Hi Mary------that was the best blog I have ever read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You do absolutely have a very unique gift-of helping people to find their gift and the how to,s of setting people on the path towards that goal. E. M, Florida

Keep em coming. I appreciate the free coaching......Have a great week. JR, MN

Saturday, May 28, 2005

He Can Make the Most Mundane Things Sound Fun!!!

I just spent about a half an hour on the phone with my husband’s close friend Geoff from NYC. Sway and Geoff catch up every week and I hear tid bits of their life through the grapevine but today he called and got me on the phone. Geoff is the perfect example of a charismatic personality, a great conversationalist, and who brilliantly uses many of the skills I teach.

From the second I heard his voice he sounded so excited to talk with me. He started off by congratulating me on my recent TV tour and told me how happy he was for me. Then he launched into a conversation about a few specific things that I did on the air that he really liked. I was impressed he gave it such careful thought, not to mention that he took the time to explain it to me! This is what a person who endorses others does, they give their conversation partner specific thought. They don't use flattery, they endorse.

Then Geoff asked me what the top 3 memories were from the road. I told him about almost being hit by a bus in Denver. At that point, he used empathy to the ninth degree when he imagined how I must have felt afterwards when I learned I could have been hit by the bus. When I told him about meeting and hanging out with Joe Thiesman, he mentioned that he saw him speak and how articulate, smart and bright he is. Then he said that “everyone was talking about me meeting Joe Thiesman” and I laughed. I knew that he was embellishing a bit when he said ‘everyone” because I knew it meant my husband and his wife, but STILL, it made me feel good. Geoff displayed how he made his audience, me, feel special. He didn't just ask how WAS the trip overall, he asked for THREE specific stories. That is a great example of someone who is curious and cares versus someone just trying to pass the time making polite conversation.

Then Geoff shared a story about his 11 year old niece who is a competitive swimmer. He said, “Mary, this is a new connection you and I have” when he told me why he was telling me about her. He explained how he shared with her how to psych out her competitors before she gets on the blocks to compete. He outlined what a swimmer with attitude should look like: they don’t look at anyone else. They look at the water and the electric timer. They shake their arms, whirl them around to stretch out, and they give a little shake to their legs. We both had a laugh over this because we both know the “mental game” that superior athletes use on their competitors. Geoff told me that story because he knows that I swim competitively and that I'd enjoy that he is now getting into the sport. Again, he brought up conversation that would be relavant to me.

Then I asked about him, the baby, his wife, and what we were all going to do this summer together! He went into a great description of his wives' company and how well she is doing and how she’s getting recruited right and left. He showed his enthusiasm for his wife and how proud he is of her. He admitted helping her on occasion but gave her so much credit for working so much and so hard and doing so well. I liked this about him talking so well about his wife. She truly is a very special lady so it's easy to talk well about her, but it is such an admirable quality when a husband talks so positively about his mate.

He then shared about his job and career and explained in detail what he does. I have to admit, I didn’t understand everything he does, but he made it so incredibly interesting. He also made references to how he networked and connected a lot of people in his industry whether or not he’d profit from it, and then he’d add, “in the Mary Gardner way”. (As if I had anything to do with his superior networking skills!) I was thinking in the middle of the conversation “I’ve never known that making and distributing LABELS could be so much FUN” . Geoff’s passion for his job would make ANYONE buy labels from him. His voice was filled with energy and enthusiasm for the people he knows and for his industry. He’s just so engaged with everything he does in life. He also had an unusual and uncanny way of weaving ME, his audience, in to his story! Brilliant! He’s absolutely magnetic!

To finish the conversation we made a plan to get together over the summer. We brainstormed together on what, where and when.

Then he said how great it was to catch up and asked if his “good buddy” was there to chat for a moment. I passed the phone over to my husband and when I got off, I noticed how good I felt about him, and about our conversation. I had just had an incredibly exciting conversation and we didn’t even talk about anything other than the mundane details of life.

THAT is the secret of a brilliant conversationalist! He showed enthusiasm for me, for what I was doing, he gave specific thought to what I did well and he congratulated me. When he talked about others, he was uplifting and positive and didn’t criticize. He brought up the good points, while even sharing the problem areas, he sounded realistic. He wasn’t a Pollyanna type.

It was very much a SHARED conversation and one that was entertaining. He’s colorful, and uses great vocal variety and excitement to keep his listener engaged. He asked great questions and he gave excellent feedback.

Now, if I could just bottle Geoff and his personality… we’d be in business! Oh, wait, I already AM in business, and these are exactly some of the skills I teach to my students and/or clients.

Great conversation skills are teachable. They are learnable. And they are a necessity if you want to be noticed in our fast paced world. All is takes is a little practice, and the willingness to make the mundane, a whole lot of fun!

Hi Mary------just finished reading your blog---couldn,t help but think of how much it reminded me of listening to Joel Osteen last night. He talked about giving people compliments, only he called it “making deposits”, and then such a time may come up and we might need input or favor from some of these people we have been making deposits with, and they are pretty willing to hear you out. His point was not to use people but to get in the habit of living that way. It was/is pretty refreshing. In other words we are are always to building people up. He gave examples of how to do it with our children. Start off by telling them how good they are at “such and “such” –then telling them “now here is an area that still needs a little attention” etcetc..It all sounded so great. What a gift-and to be sincere too, not so over the top that it sounds phony.

Remember, It takes two people to dance the conversational tango.
A little backdrop on the topic: For those who believe charismatic conversationalists are born are missing the mark. Babies would learn to bark if dogs brought them up. It's a learned skill and even those with severe learning disabilities, such as my dyslexia, can build the necessary conversational skills to enjoy social interactions. A mix of emotional intelligence, basic skill sets and practice can have anyone improving their conversational engagements, while getting more out of their relationships.


Friday, May 27, 2005

Does Your Social Life Need a Lift?

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend. That means, no more school for many of the kids, pools are open, beaches are the goal and vacations are on the brain.

For me? I’m brainstorming about WHAT TO DO ALL SUMMER. I’m panic stricken thinking of my little red head 5 year old at the pool every day this summer dodging that HOT summer sun!!! Furthermore, without many close friends in the neighborhood, I’m on the lookout for social opportunities for my family.

My husband and I have decided that our social life needs a lift. We have friends all over the US but so many of our friends here locally have a lot of family in town. Every time we try to get together with them, they are having a cookout with their parents or having someone over. We have felt less and less connected to some of these people over time because they are never available. As a matter of fact, I told a friend today that I was OVER trying to get together with her. I'm the one that always plans everything. When we get together, it's a great time. She’s fun! She’s lively! She’s funny! She loves to laugh!!! And she has great kids! Sounds perfect to me as someone fun to hang out with. The problem? She knows so many people that she's always being invited somewhere so she's always busy!!!

So what about you? Is your social life up to standard? Are your friends excited when you call or are they hum drum about it, “oh, it’s you again.” Gosh.. what a great welcome!!!

So, I decided to today: TAKE CHARGE! I made a list. I made a list of all of the friends in town who have kids who are my son’s age. I wrote to several of them, called them on the phone, bumped into them at the store or have a plan to be in touch with them.

I called a bunch of friends that we haven’t seen in a while. I called some friends from out of town and asked if they wanted to get together at their place or ours this weekend. I offered to host a Memorial Day cookout at our house on Monday.

I also decided to put my son in a summer camp. And I’ll volunteer so I can meet and get to know the parents. Suburb living has advantages, but you're not usually running into people that much. In NYC, we had 800+ people in our building, so it was no problem to get a group of 7 women who all had kids the exact same age and that absolutely loved each other and that will be lifelong friends.

But in the suburbs, we have about 30 houses on our street with exactly NO families that have a five or six year old boy. And as a working mom, I don’t have everything in the world in common with stay at home moms and as a part time working mom, I have time every afternoon to hang out with my son. Other friends who work full time are arriving home when we are winding down our day.

Because I have met so many people in my classes that I teach who are always trying to meet sharp or fun people, I have a few things I want to run by you first before I start dishing out advice that I’m going to follow myself.

First of all, let me ask you:

1. Are you a good friend? Do you call people back in a timely manner? Do you initiate any of the times that you get together with friends? Do you host any of the events or do you wait for other people to initiate everything?

2. Are you fun? I mean, let me say this another way: Do you LIKE to have fun? Or, do you ever laugh? Can you have an enjoyable conversation with a stranger? Do you initiate conversations with others? Are you an optimist or do are you a complainer? Do you ever try to BRING THE FUN WITH you wherever you go?

In my experience, everyone likes to have fun. But there are not that many FUN people! Fun people are those who can get excited for other people’s achievements or activities. Fun people ASK you about you. FUN people say things like “WOW, that sounds like FUN” So many people like to talk all about what’s on THEIR mind and how THEIR lives are, and rarely ask about yours. That’s what I call an “ex friend” or “well known acquaintance” .

“Fun” people aren’t overly competitive. They aren’t selfish, and they aren’t overly opinionated about how YOU should live your life. They also don’t compare children and they they’ll admit when either they or their kids aren’t perfect.

3. Do you have a home that people feel welcomed in? Or do they have to check their personalities and their shoes at the door because you are so uptight that you’d rather have everything LOOK perfect than make your guests FEEL comfortable. YIKES!. I’d rather stay home!

4. Have you done everything in your power to become a good friend, neighbor or co-worker to the people that you already know? There might be people in your network who are also interested in becoming better friends. You’ll never know until you ask them to spend time together.

5. And lastly, do you ever have TIME for a social life? Or, every time your friends call, you go on and on about how much you have going on in your life.. and are just SOOOO busy. . They’re content. They’re happy! They have tons of close friends! That’s GREAT. I’m happy for them.

I think for myself, I’m seeking to get better acquainted with a few of the friends I already have. I think they are great, but we just have busy schedules and haven’t planned well enough. I think with these friends, I’m going to plan a weekly get together happy hour that will be for my friends and their families at the pool in our neighborhood. This way, they can all get to know each other and it’ll be a reliable thing we can look forward to every week.

Next, I think I’m going to test the waters with a few people whose company we really enjoy, but don’t know very well. There is one lady at the school who I think is just great. We saw each other in the halls but didn’t have our kids in the same classes. But she is someone who I think has a lot of enthusiasm for life and likes people with a good attitude. That's what I enjoy too! So, although I don't know her well, I think we'd have a lot to talk about and our kids are roughly the same age, so that's easy!

I’m also going to continue meeting with a new friend who is also a writer. She’s incredibly interesting even though our kids aren’t similar in age. She’s the one who will keep my brain challenged and my outlook fresh. We have been meeting every week for the past month and I’m going to do whatever I can to continue our meetings. I need adult friends too!

Finally, I’m branching out! I’m ready to meet and get to know some really fun and interesting people. I’m going to seek them out. I’m going to start showing up for classes at the YMCA. I’m going to take come Continuing Ed classes this summer. I’m going to get involved with training for a triathlon. I’m going to get out there and meet people who are DOING interesting things!!! I’m basically going to take this on as a project.

This morning I went to breakfast with a guy I swim with every morning. He beats me in freestyle and I beat him in breaststroke. He’s married and has 2 kids. He lives in a big and beautiful house. That’s about all I know about him. But this morning, at breakfast, I felt that I had met a new friend. We talked about our lives, our kids, jobs and our goals. I had no idea that this quiet and mature fellow I swim with is so interesting. I just had no idea!

So branch out and take on a new project this summer! It’s MEMORIAL DAY. It is the perfect time to resurrect old friends or make a plan to attract new ones. So, go to TARGET, and buy some colorful things for your house, and your wardrobe and CALL ME for coaching if you want to add color to your personality or your life!!! :)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Do You Use Sarcasm? DON”T! It’s DEADLY… and the user? He’s an ADULT BULLY!

“Ouch, those words hurt. I know you were joking, but what you said isn’t funny.”

“WHAT are you saying? Would you please be quiet? You are embarrassing me in front of all of these people!!!!”

“Oh my gosh.. I can’t believe she said that to that person. Doesn’t she know that SHE is the one who looks bad?”

Have you ever mumbled these words to yourself after someone used their razor sharp tongue to slice you or someone you know? Have you ever felt your temperature rising and meanwhile you had a smile plastered on your face?? Someone just zinged you and it was couched as a joke, but it really stung like a bee?

These are some of the internal things that are going on in the midst of a person who doesn’t have control over their tongue. They use sarcasm and they think it’s funny. They think that they’re the big shot, because they’re constantly on top. They can get out of any situation without hurting. They can survive any where because no one is going to take advantage of them!

I know. I used to be a user of sarcasm. I used to be the one who would unintentionally hurt people.

I’m not any more. I’ve learned that it was a defense mechanism for the hurt I felt inside. And now, I want others to know, there is HELP for you.. and the other side? IT:’S BETTER!!!

I experienced a person who was throwing zingers every chance she got. If you’d ask her to hand you a pen, she’d make you beg. If you said, “How is your day, she’d say, “it was good until I saw you”. People laugh. They smile. But really, what is happening inside is they are screaming, ‘GET ME AWAY FROM THIS PERSON!!!”

It’s hard to look back at myself and realize that I was a repeat offender. I was the young and cocky one. I was the one making a lot of money so I could shoot down anyone and win. My bank account told me that I was as cool as they come. I was successful on the world’s eyes and nothing I could say or do could hold me back. I knew how to play the “Nice” game. I had clients who knew me as a loving and fun agent, and I knew that I worked hard and could make them happy. What else did I need? Who else did I need? I had money and a close friend or two, and my mom and dad always loved me… so everyone else could just kiss off!

In reality? I was hurting. I knew that I didn’t have the ability to be vulnerable. I knew that I was covering up a lot of sensitivity that was hurting. I didn’t ever MEAN to be mean, or a bully, but I couldn’t seem to help it. Every time I’d get close to someone, I’d end up saying something mean, sarcastic or cocky that would turn them off to me. I hated it, yet I didn’t know how to stop it.

I was an adult bully. And if you use sarcasm? You are too!!!

Let me tell you how it starts. You were bullied yourself. You had to pretend to be bigger and tougher than you really were so you wouldn’t be hurt all the time. Your verbal finesse got good because you were defending yourself. It probably happened to you when you were a kid. You were probably defending yourself from an older sibling who picked on you all of the time or even a parent who thought that teasing was funny. Maybe it was common place in your family to tease one another. Maybe the others enjoyed the back and forth joking, but you? You were a more sensitive person who took it to heart. You had no other way to survive but put up your dukes.. and strike back.

At the world!!!

I keep thinking about that song that my son is learning in preschool, “Hit me with your best shot. Come on and hit me with your best shot.. fire away” It’s a Pat Benetar song and it’s a classic. You can see how the victim of bullying can BECOME the BULLY!!!

How do you get over it? Well, it’s not always easy!! But it is possible!!! Start by STOPPING ANY SORT of SARCASM. You’ll catch yourself over and over, but find an alternative way to express yourself. Put a rubber band around your wrist and snap it every time you are sarcastic, but just STOP DOING IT.

Next, everyone who is around you knows that it is a defense mechanism. We’ve all watched Dr. Phil or Oprah enough to know that you are truly hurting inside. It’s NO SECRET. You are a BLATENT ADVERTISEMENT for what it feels like to be hurting inside. TRUST me… the SECOND you say something sarcastic, people know that you are on the defense. You aren’t fooling ANYONE!!!

Myself included. When I go back to those old habits, which I occasionally do when I’m challenged, I know that the person is just ruffling my feathers and that I can back down and still have my self esteem in tact. It sometimes takes a minute, but I usually get there.

The ULTIMATE thing you can do is to find someone to discuss how you were so hurt as a child. You can go back and relive those things so you can find it in yourself to forgive those people and be able to move on as a healthy person. Yes, THERAPY is a great place to do that. And don’t give me that , “DON”T TELL ME TO GO TO THERAPY CRAP” or say, “that’ s too touchy feely for me”.

I know. I used to say the same thing. But trust me, when you really have courage, you’ll face yourself. Sometimes that is the hardest thing to do. And when you really have courage, you’ll be able to discuss yourself with another person. And in the context of therapy, it’s confidential. You might even shed a tear or two. “OH NO.. HORRORS!!! SHEDDING A TEAR!!! “

Ooooops.. there I go again!!! Sorry.

I just want to tell you, that a healthy man or woman has all sorts of feelings. Good, bad, indifferent. They are all apart of the human psyche. We are supposed to be able to express anger. And you should express anger if you were bullied as a child. And if you don’t address this bad habit that you endured, you’ll possibly pass it on to your family and that will continue the hurt at a deep level.

Words are the best things that you can give a person. They are also the most painful thing that you can ever inflict upon another person if they are filled with venom. It’s hurtful and it’s nasty. And if you inflict horrible, mean jokes on other people and pass them off as funny, then you need help. You need to change. And if you don’t, you’ll hurt and be lonely for a very long time.

I’m happier now as a person. I’m able to laugh and cry and express every emotion that I’m capable of having. I know I’m an extremely sensitive person now, but that is what helps me in sales, and it’s what I use as a coach. I can feel for others and know how they feel. I don’t have an emotional void anymore. I feel free to love and be loved.

So please pass this on to anyone you know who uses sarcasm. I don’t care if it’s the priest or pastor of your church. If they use it, they can get over it. And they need to know, that they are being a BULLY!!!

Life on the other side can be great. But get to work guys.. and let me know what happens! I can’t wait to hear what this blog stirs up. I’m sure it will..

But I’m ready. Give me your best shot! Fire away!!! I can handle it. But the question is.. CAN YOU?


Hi Mary------just finished reading y our blog. I have noticed or did you touch on this. That some people will say something to you that is kind of offensive—but they kind of laugh, if you say anything , they say you are too sensitive-that it was only a joke.. The fact of the matter is that it has given them a chance to vent, or dump on you , and given you no chance for a discussion about the matter.
Another thing I,ve noticed , some people will lash out, another tactic where they get to vent, and they will walk off in a huff. Never mind that they never can find the grace to apologize for their behavior. (E.M. Florida)

Mary, this is a FABULOUS story! It really spoke to me this morning. In fact, I've had quite a bit of trouble lately, not so much with sarcasm, but with a contentious spirit. I have become very quick to anger when things aren't going perfectly for me. I'm glad that I recognize it and can work on it. I have prayed that God will keep me mindful of my tongue and that I will say only things that will praise Him and edify others. Read the following scripture that I was focusing on this morning...Proverbs 21:9 & 19 and James 3 (the entire chapter). It's no coincidence that God led me there.

See you soon,
JT (Raliegh, NC)

Hi there! I loved this essay - it was so helpful - right now I am really struggling with family issues (abusive in laws - my own mom's verbal abuse, etc) all of which has affected my marriage so husband and I got into a Marriage Course at church so we are finally looking at how we's great and I am hopeful and I know God is still in charge of even this difficult time for me....
BUT just this morning at breakfast I prayed in front of the kids that God would from THIS MOMENT on make the words that come out of my mouth be spoken KINDLY. I have been convicted that although so much has changed in my heart -what is comiing out of my mouth often doesn't reflect it....
So - your blog helped! (I don't even know what a BLOG really is - yours is first I've ever tried but this was good)

Your talents are going to good use, girl....

(A friend from Europe)

Dear Mary,
Your article on sarcasm and adults bullys was amazing! What you are saying is completely true. My current boss consistantly uses sarcasm to make points and everyone says he is like a bully. After reading this artical I can confirm my boss is a bully. In fact just last week he came up with a one liner to make a "joke" as you say which was not funny at all. So un-funny was this joke that a small feeling of insult was left behind. Great article, I enjoyed reading it very much. If you have any more articles, send them I would love to read them, keep on writing.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I’m Looking for Mr. or Ms. Right. Am I too Picky?

Many of my clients that I coach are single and looking for that one perfect mate that is going to understand and love them. Most of these clients are in their 20’s 30’s or early 40’s. Because I work as a business consultant and coach, the people I come into contact with are usually people who are open to self growth. This causes a whole new level of understanding that the clients must acknowledge.

First of all, a few of them are using the traditional dating services. Since none of them are arrogant, they can’t seem to get their Ideal Mate qualities across in a way that doesn’t make them sound better than others. So, I’m helping my clients to “package” themselves in a way that is factual and fun. It’s what good attorneys do when they are trying to win a case. It’s what agents do when they are trying to sell an entertainer to the public. It’s what a publicist does when their company is in trouble.

Pitch the best and most qualities first. Quick, fast and easy.

Example: Claire is a 34 year old stylish, single mom, due to the death of her spouse 3 years ago. She’s lived all (or traveled) over the country and is a successful entrepreneur who sells her services to top notch corporate types. She’s interested in connecting with an individual who is competent in the area of finances, relationships and travel. She’s not out to save anyone, but wants to enjoy the finer things of life along with the simple pleasures of life.

Okay, this knocks out anyone who is not ambitious about life. It pretty much takes out the old fashioned man who wants his wife to stay at home to cook, clean and take care of the kids. It also makes a requirement of their finances.. that they are successful.

Why is this important? My clients have found so many “wonderful and nice” people in dating pool. And yet they wonder why they aren’t falling in love with these “super nice” people. They beat themselves up because they are passing through the many people like water that are presented to them.

I have explained to the majority of my clients that if they are the type of person who does self development, therapy, goes to classes, is a continual learner, reads to grow or learn, (not just romance novels), updates their skills on a regular basis, gets involved with causes or charity, works out their bodies, nurtures their relationship with God, has good relationships with their friends and family, THEN THEY ARE A 5%er. THEY ARE DIFFERENT. THEY ARE SPECIAL. AND THEY WON’T BE SATISFIED WITH JUST THE AVERAGE OL’ JOE.

Most people just don’t have the time OR WANT to grow themselves. They are content with who they are. They are content with what they’ve been given in life. They’re in the same job that they’ll have forever. They don’t need to stretch. They don’t need to learn. They are fine how they are.

We all know people like this! They make nice friends. They are predictable. They are usually reliable. They’re usually available. Nothing changes. Not their tastes, not their attitudes (for better or for worse) and not their circumstances.

Is it my clients? NO! The people I coach or who come to my workshops and seminars are people of ACTION. They are people who seek growth opportunity and ways to stretch. That’s why they won’t be satisfied with just a “nice guy. Or a super nice gal.” It won’t CHALLENGE them. They won’t look up to them. They won’t have the respect that one desires in a committed relationship.

If you are a 5 %er or a 1%er. … then give yourself a break! You probably AREN’T going to find your perfect mate in your own back yard. You MIGHT of course, and I would love to hear from you if you have. But feel free to look more on a national basis. Ask your friends in other cities who they know. When you travel, be open to meeting people on the planes or in airports. Sit in first class when ever you can so you get to meet others who are flying first class.

Be open to adventure! Go on vacation with friends and see who is there. Go on a cause oriented work vacation to see who you can meet. Take a bicycle trip across the country or Europe to meet others who don’t only seek friends in their own back yard.

Many of my friends married men or women from other countries. Many are married to people they met when moving to a larger city. While there are sometimes cultural differences, and traditional issues that they deal with, they also are exposed to a whole new way of life. New customs, new attitudes and new places. These can be exciting things for a person who likes to learn new things.

I met my own husband on the internet in a chat room about 10 years ago. He’s Cuban-Italian and grew up in NYC. His customs have been fun to learn about and we’ve combined our hunger for learning to many new adventures, especially raising our son! We are both independent, yet we share many things in common. And if I had only looked in my own back yard, I would have stopped so many years ago and still been in Florida. While I may go back to Florida one day and settle in, I’ve experienced a whole world of new people, ideas, and places since I’ve lived there.

My challenge to you if you are single is “Please don’t give up”!. Don’t think that just because you are picky that you are destined to be single forever. But be willing to look outside your own community of friends. Be willing to the possibility that your perfect mate is in another town, city or country, anxiously waiting the opportunity to meet that person who also has dreams and goals of their own, who loves the city, the country, home and abroad. Consider that this person has a zest for life, just like you do, but their path hasn’t led them to you yet.

Get out there! Make your quest for that mate a quest for life. Enjoy it! Live it! Experience it and share it! You’ll never know until you try and when you try, you’ll have no ideas the adventures that await!

Good luck… go for it and let me know where you land. For now anyway…. And next year? That’ll be a whole new story I’m sure! Safe Travels!


"This is awesome! You are truly a gifted and insightful writer! I am signing up for a cruise to see the glaciers ....or something like that.............".(single female, Charlotte, NC)

She's off the market !!! “I got married in September 2003 to a great guy. We met on the internet and he was living in Florida at the time. The crazy part is that the reason he emailed me is because my profile said something about my being a life coach. He had worked with a life coach and had a great experience so he was interested in my profile. Neither of us expected anything to come of it but surprise....
Clearly being a coach has enhanced my life in MANY ways!

Hope you and the family are doing well!
All the best,

Michele (NYC)”

Congratulations Michelle!!!

"I feel so special knowing that you would include me as a 1%er!! Thanks! ;-)"
Great post." (Single 20 something Male- Charlotte, NC)

"cute blog!" (Single 20 something male- Charlotte, NC)

"Cool, thanks for the inspiration. Keep it coming. Have a great weekend." (Forty something single guy, Minneapolis)

"This was such a brilliant and insightful and ABSOLUTELY TRUE blog, I just had to respond. My marriage had broken up and I was shaken up by it - and I am what you call a 1% er. I fit the exact description you illustrated - only have the highest goal in mind, insatiable appetite for reading and knowledge, only want to spend time with the most worthy and intelligent people.

I did not understand how someone as intelligent and successful as me could orchstrate such a dismal failure of the one and only thing I truly cared about - but it went spectacularly wrong.

And to make a long story short guess what - I met the absolute love of my life - a successful and wealthy software entrepreneur - you cannot get more my type than this man is, he fits every criteria I could think of, and even some I didn't know I could think of- and all I did was move to San Diego.

Truer words were never spoken - change your outlook and change your home base - and your life just falls into place. I could not have even imagined how perfect this turned out.

Never ever settle for less than exactly what you want!!!!! Listen to what Mary Gardner has to say."
(Single 30 something female, San Diego, CA)

"That was great, I am going to pass on to all my single friends!!!!" (single 30 something- Charlotte)

Anyway, it was kind of a "message" because this morning I woke up extremely sad about my relationship. I opened your blog right up to the part about Mr. and Mrs. Right and Am I being too picky. LOL. It didn't really (make me-sic) happy since I'm not looking, but perhaps it somewhere in there is a message I'm supposed to take to heart.? (Brandie, 20something, midwest)

I read your article on looking for Mr. Right. I thought it was great! Finding Pete was certainly a miracle. We are so well matched for each other. (40 something female, married, Charlotte, NC)


Ok 2 emails in one morning! Wow, I kept reading after that article…The I’m Looking for Mr. or Ms. Right… it’s funny b/c as I read it I was thinking, well sure, I think anyone might consider themselves to be among the top (or the minority…however you choose to look at it J), but then I remembered something I read in one of my psych related to taking those personality tests. “They” can [usually] tell when someone is lying about those little questions like “is smoking marijuana ok?”…someone who thinks it is might first think they should check no….but then, they think that realistically everyone is like them (I guess it’s more an ego-centric view) so they put yes, thinking it puts them in the status-quo. My point being, maybe we are special!

But anyway, back to your article, I really enjoyed reading that one too…it gave me some hope, because I feel the same way!! There are so many things to do and see in the world, why limit yourself!! (20 something female, , NC)

LOVE LOVE LOVE the article on singles. You are RIGHT ON - I think you should do tv interviews on this topic. I really do b/c you tapped into the pulse of many of Gen X & Y! NO ONE HAS SAID IT BETTER, MORE CONCISELY and with HUMOR and better observation than your article.

I have forwarded the link to my friends (married and single) and they agreed with you! I just last week had my postman AND my hairstylist ask me point blank about my "love life" and when was I going to get married b/c "it's such a shame that you're still single when you're so pretty and smart. It's almost a waste"!!! I was a bit shocked but still managed to say I haven't found the right man yet and I refuse to settle. This has also happened to my other girlfriends too. Mary you're really onto something...Plus it's THE WAY you write/talk about ANY subject - it's so fun to read.

Michelle, Jersy girl! :)

HELP! I’m Working with a Baby!!

Did you know that more than half of our adult population has an anger problem? Have you experienced them? They act all flustered and pitch a fit. Can you believe it that some of them actually throw things when they get mad? And not only that, they cuss up a storm, rant and rave, and carry on like they are a child.

We all have probably experienced people like this on occasion. But what about the people who do this on a regular basis? How do we manage them? How can we confront them in the office space? What if this person is our boss or our partner? We know that they need anger management or counseling, but babies don’t have the ability to see that about themselves. Perhaps passing them this article will help you along!

Okay you people who have an anger issue.. listen up!!! You can’t physically lash out at every person or object that irritates or annoys you; laws, social norms and common sense place limits on how far our anger can take all of us us.
According to my research, “People use a variety of both conscious and unconscious processes to deal with their angry feelings. The three main approaches are expressing, suppressing and calming.
Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive - not aggressive - manner is the healthiest way to express anger. To do this, you have to learn how to make clear what your needs are, and how to get them met, without hurting others. Being assertive doesn't mean being pushy or demanding; it means being respectful of yourself and others.
Anger can be suppressed, and then converted or redirected. This happens when you hold in your anger, stop thinking about it and focus on something positive. The aim is to inhibit or suppress your anger and convert it into more constructive behaviour. The danger in this type of response is that if the anger isn't allowed an outward expression, it can turn inward - on yourself. This may cause hypertension (high blood pressure) or depression.
Unexpressed anger can create other problems. It can lead to pathological expressions of anger, such as passive-aggressive behaviour (getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting them head-on) or a personality that seems perpetually cynical and hostile. People who are constantly putting others down, criticising everything and making cynical comments haven't learned how to constructively express their anger. Not surprisingly, they aren't likely to have many successful relationships.
Finally, you can calm yourself down inside. This means not just controlling your outward behaviour but also controlling your internal responses, taking steps to lower your heart rate, calm yourself down and let the feelings subside.” (resource – internet)
If you are a person who is working with a BABY, perhaps you’ll start by having a short conversation just explaining that sometimes he/she is somewhat difficult to talk with because they get so frustrated and act out. Sometimes just calmly stating a fact can be less intimidating than a formal “lets talk about something” kind of meeting.
One client recently was asked by his partner why one of the associates didn’t call her directly. He explained to her that she had a tendency to go overboard with stress and neither had the time to deal with her drama at the moment so she was bypassed in the decision making moment.
Because the conversation took on a sort of apologetic tone, yet, was also explaining the situation, the partner seemed to GET it, that her outbursts had caused more stress on others and not just herself. For the next week, my client has noticed that his partner hasn’t stressed openly and has seemed to get a hold on her anger.
Since my client is on a friendly basis with his partner, I’ve given him some exercises to help his partner get to the root of her anger. While I’m not a therapist, and neither is my client, there are a few exercises that aren’t so intimidating to a person who is willing to explore the original source of their anger.
When the person is obviously upset, ask them to calm down and sit down and agree to talk about it. You can say, “You’re obviously upset. Let’s sit down and discuss what our options are, and just tell me everything”.
Don’t argue. Don’t talk back. Don’t disagree. Just listen. Take notes if you can and just listen intently with your eyes. Try to understand. This is what the person needs, to be understood.
When they are through, ask questions. Ask specific questions to get clarity on the situation. Let them talk until they are through.
Take a minute before you answer. Think about what you are going to say. Start by acknowledging their feelings such as, “I understand why you are so upset. I’m sorry that you are upset. Let me see if I understand how you feel.” Now, read back what you wrote down so they know you understand.
Now, go through your side of the story. (Hopefully without interruptions). Don’t yell or be confrontational. Just explain the other side of the story.
Be careful to pause between listening and talking. Pausing is a great indicator of being thoughtful about what you are listening to and saying. It is a great communication tool!
Regardless of the outcome, you’ve now coached your partner through being able to explain their side of the story without completely exploding. Practice makes perfect. Tell them that they did a good job. Endorse good behavior and encourage them.
Working with a baby is a hardship on many. If you have the guts or the power to tell the person to go get THERAPY, then do it. If that isn’t a possibility, then learning to coach them through dealing with their own emotions may be a logical next step. It’s going to take some energy on your part, but it might save your work environment in the long run.

Having difficult conversations are somewhat stressful, so having a coach to help you through it might be a good next step for you. We can work together to help your partner mature into a thriving adult who expresses his/her feelings in a healthy way.
I don’t know about you, but I think it sounds fun! So don’t cry about it! Just give me a call!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Have you Planned Your Own Funeral?

Have you ever given any thought to that big day when you meet the man upstairs who gets to sit with you to go over your whole life? Can you imagine getting to see and hang out with people who are no longer living on earth but are partying in the great beyond?

The one thing that IS inevitable. You are going to die. I mean, one day, we’ll ALL die. And what happens to the people who are left here on earth?

Usually, there is complete shock at the whole thing. Either your death will be slow, or it’ll be quick with no warning. Heck, I think God every day that I could have met my maker last week when I stepped in front of a bus’s path without knowing. I could have been HISTORY that day. But I guess it wasn’t my time yet... Thank heavens! I still have a lot of living to do.

What got me thinking was me meeting two individuals on my trip who are in the funeral business. One of them sells vaults for funeral homes, and the other is a funeral director. So, it was one conversation that I’d never entered into before, but it made me think a lot.

What kind of funeral do I want? Who is going to show up? How are they all going to hear about it? Where will it be? Will I be buried in a casket or will I be cremated? Where do I want a tombstone to mark my grave? What do I want written on the tombstone?

I’d like to think that I’m going to have a massive party. I know that my life has touched others in a deep and positive way along the road, but I don’t want people to grieve over my passing when it happens. No, I want them to party, just like I want them to do when I’m around. I want them to laugh, have fun, and celebrate my life in style.

Think about it. If you write all of this down in advance, the people who are left behind who are grieving won’t have to think about the details. How are they going to know that you want the BEACH BOYS music playing or Earth Wind and Fire so that people will be in a GOOD mood at the funeral instead of the usual somber mood that usually takes precedence?

What poems will be read? What about what you want to give to whom? Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry you want to pass on or even a pet to give to someone in your family? You wouldn’t want your pets to end up in the pound would you?

These are the types of questions that the living has to answer when the dead depart us. It’s a lot of thinking that goes in, and so it just makes sense to answer these questions before you go on to meet your maker.

Bill, the General Manager of the Resthaven Park Cemetery in Glendale, AZ, who I met in an airport on my travels, was kind enough to send me the Personal Planning Guide by Dignity Memorial ( This is a beautifully laid out workbook that organizes all of your personal documents such as your will, your banking, credit cards, bills and other financial or estate matters. Then it has detailed pages for your medical history, social security information and who to contact in the event of your death. It’s got space to fill out about your own funeral such as if you want to have an open casket or be cremated. You get to chose where to spread your assets or rather to keep the remains in a keepsake memorial.

Seriously... have you ever given this any thought whatsoever?

You get to choose which jewelry you’ll be buried with and even what you want to wear. (Gosh, what WILL I wear???) Then you get to pick your Pallbearers and Honorary Pallbearers.

It is a complete view of your whole life so this workbook can be passed on through the generations as a library on your life. It covers all of the basis and no stone is left unturned.

With all of the stress that we have in our lives these days, why force others to do the seemingly unthinkable planning for us? Why not face the inevitable and acknowledge that our lives on this earth will one day end and start with the end in mind. That way it’ll be easy to do the “Rocking Chair” test on yourself.

When you are 99 years old, and sitting on your rocking chair on your front porch, what do you want to say that your life was about? What were you committed to? Who were you committed to? Did you love fully? Did you give of yourself to others? Did you waste time? What other things would you have wanted to accomplish in your life?

If you can do this test and you haven’t accomplished all that you set out to do, then what is holding you back?

It’ll be helpful for you to take some time to write all of these things down on paper. Statistics show that by writing your goals down on paper you are more likely to achieve them. Perhaps you can then start checking your lifetime goals off one by one!

This is a great way to keep you invested and growing in your life. And there is absolutely NOTHING to get you more motivated then actually planning your own funeral!!

Mary – glad to hear you are OK!!

And, just to be provocative…

Is life about accomplishing things in life…is it about doing…or being? I’m finding out that it’s more important who I’m being, than what I’m doing.

Love you, Leslie (NY)

Funeral? I'm going with Rodney Dangerfield: "Give my body to science, or science, fiction, whoever will have me!" (Brendan, NJ)

I already planned mine—just dig a hole and throw me in—don’t spend a lot of cash—then go have a beer—no need to be sad, I had fun while I was here. Give my stuff (surfboard, bike, etc) to someone who will use it.

(S.R- Charlotte)

Thursday, May 05, 2005

How Well do You Know your Clients?

Today I am negotiating with a client. I am negotiating a contract for my coaching services. This has been an ongoing client that I have worked with for quite some time.

I realized that we have become friends through the process of business. I know how many kids he has, about his divorce and about his previous marriage. I know what his wife does professionally, and I know what his own parents do professionally. I know his buttons and his hot points and I know that he is slow to negotiate and that he also has a lot of tricks up his sleeve.

I know that the best way to work with this client is to be as friendly as possible, but as firm as possible. Give a little but not so much that I am backed into a corner. I know that he has a soft side as well as a very deliberate business side, and that he often uses silence to get his way. He makes his opponents wait for the answer so they’ll break.. or back down.

Today I’ve realized how valuable that it is so really KNOW your client. It’s not enough to know what they do in their jobs or profession, but to really KNOW them as people. For instance, how does he/she deal with conflict? Do they have a mate at home? Does he value her or does he take advantage of her? Is he there for his kids or is he merely a figure head? Knowing these things may tell you how attached he might get to be with his clients and customers. The better relationships he is able to develop at home, the more he’s learned about business, that’s for sure. Keeping a long term marriage and having kids makes a person much more malleable. It requires endurance over the long haul and the ability to be flexible because you won’t always get your way.

What about his hobbies? Does he have them? Is he overly meticulous about them or is it more for fun? Is he talented at something that is unusual? How much dedication did it take to learn or accomplish it? What about his alma matter? Did he go to a college that he is proud of? Was it nearly impossible to get into the university or did he go to the local state university that was convenient? How did he or she pick their profession? Were they talked into it by their parents for the practicality of it or did they experience it during an internship?

These things can all be important to you as the account executive, sales person or executive. Knowing your client as a PERSON is probably the greatest asset that you can develop over your competition. They might be selling their product or their service, but if you know the client, their likes and dislikes, their moods and their work habits, you’ll know when to call, when not to call, when to push a little harder and when to back off. You’ll know when to endorse your client’s strengths and when to give him information that he needs to make a decision. In the beginning it takes time to read the moods, habits and the personality of your client, but after time, the relationship becomes established and many times the bond can’t be broken without someone making a serious blunder.

I’m also coaching a consulting/recruiting company whose job is to book people within other organizations. One of the most important things that they’ve done is to study up on the cultures of each organization. What sorts of people do well there? Do they value individuality and creativity or more of the corporate type? Do they want out of the box thinkers and dressers versus the person who will fit into a new organization with no problem.

Sometimes, taking one look at a person, you’ll know if they are a leader or a follower. You’ll know if they can deal with corporate politics or if they’d prefer to mesh within the organization and not create waves. Other times, it takes time to find this out.. but it’s always good to know before you place a client in the wrong culture.

Another sales organization I’m working with books people with people! They are a dating organization! Their job is to figure out who actually might be a compatible mate for one another. I’ve discovered while that much of this goes on instinct, its up to the account executive to do a complete job of getting to know the candidates before they set up two people. Just the fact that two people are nice does NOT equal chemistry. There always needs to be that respect factor figured in. Respect for their individual choices they’ve made in life and for their accomplishments. When people are looking for that perfect “someone” they don’t want to settle. They want the cream of the crop. So pairing up people who are equally as accomplished is harder to do. Philosophy on life is another place to review well. Do they take charge and go after life? Do they take risks? Have they followed their dreams or a very safe path of employment and life? There are benefits to both, but often times, one won’t mesh with the other.

My friend Elisa has used their service a few times. She’s an electric and motivating personality. She’s accomplished a lot as an entrepreneur and has traveled a lot nationally and internationally. She’s been matched with some very nice people, but they didn’t have the worldliness or the culture that she’s become accustomed to. She didn’t know how to put her finger on it, so I told her how she could better position herself so they’d know how to “pitch” her. (An old agent’s/publicist’s trick! )

Tell them: “Elisa is an accomplished, world class traveler and professional. She is cultured and sophisticated but her down to earth style puts people at ease. She’ll be most comfortable with a man who has been married before, has children, and who is successful himself. He should have financial stability and like to travel, know the time and commitment kids take, and to meet new people and have fun.”

Taking the time to know the person is the most important thing that any sales person can do. The upfront time that it takes to do this can be extended if the relationship is conducted over the phone. If you are lucky enough to get to meet the potential client in person or at a conference, see if there is anyway to spend time out of the office at lunch or at a conference together. Building that bond in the beginning can create lots of money in your pocket in the end. And while it’s nice to get new business of course, it’s also great to do business with people you’ve gotten to know, like and enjoy.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Day 10 Sacramento - A Day in the Life of a Trend Reporter

Waking up in California has a different effect over a person than say waking up in Indianapolis. Maybe it’s just the anticipation of being in California, like something wonderful and exciting is about to happen.

I woke up to a somewhat hazy California. I had gotten into Sacramento really late so didn’t know what my hotel looked like. When I ventured out the next morning before my show, I realized I was in a Spanish style resort. It was one floor and the hotel rooms wrapped around a pool.

I realized that I still had too many clothes so I ran to the guest services stand and found two hysterical guys who were the bell hops. Josh and Jack have been friends since high school and were like Frick and Frack. They were a joke a second and even though I was groggy from the late night travel I found myself laughing hysterically at these guys.

I packed up some clothes, boxed them, ordered room service, got ready and the guys drove me to the station which was shot from a live remote at the Arden Mall. It was a beautiful mall with anchor stores like Nordstroms. I met the producer, Tyler, who informed me that after I set up, I was free to roam around for the next hour shopping. I felt freedom from lugging the huge bags around and had a great hour browsing around.

I told Tyler about the two bellhops and recommended that she book them for some sort of segment at the station. She was open to the idea and gave me a couple of her cards so they could contact her.

The news hour started at noon and I watched along with tons of patrons of the mall. There were so many mommies and their babies and young families strolling through the mall. I chatted with several curious onlookers who were attracted to all of the baby gifts that I had set up on the display table.

The camera guy, Mike, originally from the Midwest was probably the most stylin’ camera man I’ve ever seen. I grilled him about where he shopped for his jeans and shoes so I could shop there for Sway. He said that he liked Nordstroms. I love that store too!

The segment was well done and they gave me a bit of extra time to explain my gift selection. I felt like I had a lot of support from Patty, the anchor. She lived and worked in Florida for a long time and is also an athlete so we had plenty to talk about within the 2-3 minutes before the segment.

Afterwards, I packed up and hung out for a bit with the floor producer, Rubin, Walt, the other lead anchor and Tyler, the producer. It was a fun place to do a segment and they all seem to love their jobs.

After I was done, Jack and Josh picked me up in the van and we headed back to the hotel. We said our goodbyes and I gave them the nudge to stay in touch with the producer and that they could have some fun pursuing a reality TV show together. Casting agents are always looking for big, fun personalities.

I got to the airport and was completely exhausted. My tour was complete and my body was ready to crash. I boarded the plane and told the flight attendant that I was buckled up and going to sleep. I faded in and out of consciousness and got an extra hour of zzzzz’s because we were having mechanical difficulties and so I was grateful for the extra time. I had snatched up 3 pillows and a blanket and was quite content while most of the other passengers were frustrated with the delay.

I’ve heard that some people have a complete let down at the end of a tour. There is a world wind of activity, people, parties, hotels and complete attention on you, the talent. I have to say, that I am looking forward to going home. I want to be with my husband and child in my own home. I want to wake up and have breakfast together, clear the dishes and feed the dog. I want to turn on the news and see what the political pundits are discussing and to call my girlfriends and talk about their kids. I want to go to Jeremy’s preschool and see the work he is doing and talk to the other mom’s about who ‘popped’ who on the playground.

I want to get in my garden and pull up weeds, water the plants and compare my budding interest in growing flowers with the neighbors’. I want to get back to swim practice and have sore muscles from working hard. I want to be harassed by my swimming buddies for missing the set. I want to go home.

I’m now in L.A. with my HOLLYWOOOD cuz, Pedro. We’re working on a film project together and I’m learning the ins and outs of the entertainment business. It’s a different world of who knows who and whose doing what. I don’t know the names, but I know the game.

I have the feeling that I’ll be back. I love the creativity and the excitement. And whatever I can do from Charlotte, NC, I’ll be doing. And I’ll be learning.

Tomorrow I leave and tomorrow night I get home. I’m back to sweats and baseball caps, packing lunches and washing laundry.

I never thought I’d look forward to doing those. But it’s funny that it’s the simple things that ground us, and keep us safe and secure. It’s those things represent home, family and deep connection, and that is where I want to be.

The End.


Dear Mary,
Happy to hear your trip was a successful one. Keep in touch sweetheart.
Maureen (L.A)

I'm glad the tour went well. and hope to talk w/ u soon. (Steve – L.A, NYC)

Welcome back, sounds like you had a great experience. I'd love to catch up and hear all about it. Give me a call when you get caught up and we can meet for a drink. (RZ Charlotte)

Day 9 - Denver: A Day in the Life of a Trend Reporter

Today I was able to be a bit lazy. I got up and had breakfast in the room and then called my friend Howard and spoke with him for about an hour. We both agreed we’d like to put together a reunion of all of our high school friends and have it in Denver in 2 years. We didn’t get to see each other because he had a big client he was working with today but it was fantastic catching up.

I had a few unusual things happen to me today. The first was that I went to get wireless connection and have lunch at Starbucks in downtown Denver. I couldn’t get plugged in for some reason and so instead struck up a conversation with a 22 year old employee, Anna. She had a nice personality and confided in me that she didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life. Her boyfriend is in NYC and sings Opera. But her? She didn’t know. I suggested something in the entertainment field- sales or marketing. She liked the idea but didn’t know where to start. I said, “go get the phone book and I’ll show you.”

We went to the word ENTERTAINMENT in the yellow pages. She recognized an improv group that was big in Denver. So, I called them. I explained who I was and what I was doing in town and that I had met this young woman Anna who wanted to find an internship in the entertainment field. The guy Vic, the manager, was open to seeing her resume and perhaps offering her an unpaid internship.

She was floored! She couldn’t believe that I could call one person and get her an interview with one phone call. I told her that no matter how much schooling she has, that she’s always going to have to make her own way. She’ll always have to be the one to think of who to call next, what to do next and that once she gets in the door, she should work her tail off to prove that she’s capable of anything. I told her that she should read motivational books and tapes and really spend time developing her skills. I said that if she is ambitious, she can do anything she wants in the world!

Within 10 minutes, I was out the door and ready to go shopping.

When I got out the door, I looked across the street to see what stores were there. On 16th Street in down town Denver, there are many stores on both sides of the street and then there are vendors in the middle median. All of a sudden, I tripped off the sidewalk. I didn’t realize that it became a road because it all seemed to blend in so well. Simultaneously, my arm was brushed by a BUS DRIVING BY. I caught myself in the nick of time and missed being hit by a bus by less than a second. I was actually skimmed by it. I looked up and the bus driver was RIGHT next to me shaking his head. Besides coffee being tossed in my hair, I was unscathed. A man walking towards me shouted, “OH MY GOSH, YOU WERE ALMOST KILLED”. I stopped and asked him what happened, and he told me that someone must have been watching over me because I should have been hit. I stayed and spoke with him for about 10 minutes as I realized that I could have ended up in the hospital right then. I remembered that the angels were watching over me and knew that one of them was working OVERTIME!

Within the hour, I was pretty shaken up. I ducked into Ross’ to shop for a bit but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how blessed I was that I was okay.

I headed back to the hotel and negotiated a longer stay so I could come back to the hotel after I did the show at 4PM. I got dressed and headed to the station.

The people in Denver were exceptionally nice and I even met my friend Tony’s best friend Kirk who is the entertainment reporter. We chatted for a bit and then I set up. I did the segment with Kim, who I remembered from my last trip.

When we were on the air together in December, she picked up some of my gift items and half of the table started falling apart! With less than 30 seconds to go, I threw things off the table, picked up other things, rearranged them and BOOM.. we were ON THE AIR! We both had a laugh about that again today.

The Denver NBC Station had so many guests watching the show live. The station is just full of electricity. The people are all really sharp and nice. I really like the people there a lot. I like Denver too… and think I could be happy living here at some point!

After the segment, I went back to the hotel, packed, got dressed and worked out. Then I showered and ran out the door to check out. My cab was waiting, thankfully, since now it was pouring down rain. The trip to the airport was a quiet one and now I’ve been sitting in the airport for the past hour getting ready to leave.

I can’t believe I only have ONE more TV appearance and then I head to L.A. for a day and a half. Then, I get to GO HOME!

I’m a bit tired tonight. I don’t feel like talking with anyone but I know how that can change. Tonight will be a late night and then I’m on during the noon hour.

Okay. Time to board. I’ll check in later!

Day 8 –Detroit A Day in the Life of a Trend Reporter

I’ve now been on the road for 8 days! It seems like a year. I’m starting to see flight attendants that I had earlier in the week and they think I’m a flight attendant that they flew with!

I had a mini melt down today and really started missing my husband and son terribly and also my mom. I was reading the incredible book, “The Secret Lives of Bees” and had a hard time holding back the tears from the book. I finally had to escape to the ladies room after landing to compose myself. I freshened up a bit and felt much better.

The book was such a great read. It was about how women can and do support one another and how the feminine spirit is needed in all of our lives. Women do need women support! I am so fortunate to have many close female friends.

After sunning all day at the pool in Tampa, I landed in freezing Detroit late last night and met up with my good friend Diane Cross, whom I met from the last tour in December. We went out for a late dinner and when my head finally hit the pillow it was about 1am. I was up at 6am so I didn’t get much sleep. I’m sure that’s partly why I was so low on energy today.

The show went well this morning. They had another woman who was doing exactly what I’m doing but she was booked doing Mothers Day gifts. She was an author of 12 or so books which was extremely impressive to me. When I asked her HOW she did that, she replied, “that’s just what I do.” I seem to understand that now that I’ve discovered blogging. I can’t seem to stop. Its like it’s something I was meant to do! It’s a good feeling when you KNOW what you are supposed to do!

I didn’t get to see Tony Trupiano, my old friend from my PR days. He now hosts a 4 hour liberal radio talk show every day and was on the air all morning. We spoke via phone though and I’m hoping to see him next time!

This morning I had a cab driver, Tony, from Poland, drive me around all morning. I have now sent 2 boxes of clothes home so I’m able to shop a little bit more for things that I want along the way. My bags aren’t so heavy anymore! He drove me to get coffee, the drug store and to the airport. The bill was $100 which is so expensive but the time that I’d have to rent a car, return it, fill it with gas and figure out where I was going would COMPLETELY turn me off from a grueling trip like this.

As it is, I feel like I’m living a lot of peoples’ dream, to be doing TV shows all over the US. But when you run into a celebrity on the road and see the incredible treatment that THEY get, you remember that you are just a worker bee on your way up! They get full blown gourmet meals at nearly every stop, limos and 5 star hotels. As a former celebrity agent, I used to set up appearances for many celebrities and I never thought twice about asking for private planes for Charlton Heston, limos for Suzanne Somers, or accommodations on the first floor and also ice cream for Dr. Joyce Brothers. Each celebrity had their own contract rider where their set of requirements were listed. Now that I’m on the road, I completely see how beneficial it is to the performer to be pampered a little bit. It’s grueling to be on the road so much, and anything to make the trip a bit more comfortable is worth it.

I’m now on the plane to Denver and sitting next to a flight attendant, Linda. We had a great chat about life and it felt like a good girlfriend and I were talking. She’s a mom of 7 year old twin girls and travels about 10 days a month as a flight attendant. It is nice to hear how others deal with being away from their kids for so long. Husbands pick up the slack and end up appreciating their wives a lot more for the time that they’re at home.

Tonight or tomorrow I’m getting to see two friends that I hung out with in High school. One is a lawyer in Denver, and the other is an entrepreneur. Both were my good buddies in my junior and senior years in high school. We were always so silly together and I can’t wait to see if we can all be just as ridiculously silly now. A long time has gone by, but I can’t help but feeling like it’ll feel just like yesterday that they were hanging out in my driveway in Winter Park, FL talking about our weekend plans. We had a group of about 15 of us that hung out together. The girls were from the public high school and the guys were from the Catholic high school. I met the guys in my junior year at a Catholic retreat and introduced all of my girlfriends to the guys. From then on, we were a clique and had so many great times. One couple, Todd and Cindy, got married right after college. The rest of us went our separate ways and so it’s going to be great to catch up!

Later: It’s the morning of my Denver appearance. I am sitting in the hotel which is spacious and has a nice sitting area so I’m not having to sit on the desk chair or on the bed. There is no wireless connection so I might head to Starbucks in a bit to check email. I ordered oatmeal for breakfast and am watching CNN.

I had 2 hours in the Chicago airport and enjoyed getting to talk to a wonderful woman Sybil, originally from Jamaica and now lives in the states and is a missionary there. It was wonderful to talk with her and she was a great encourager to me and we promised to stay in touch. She showed me pictures of the darling children in Jamaica and it made me think that one day, Sway, Jeremy and me might do a missionary trip to somewhere exotic to help them.

I spent some good time in the airport calling people and got an offer to MC an event in May back in Charlotte. I called my friend who ran for State Senate and told her that I’d love to MC the event. It’s for a group of Home School Parents. They wanted to know if I had any connection to the home schooling market and I was happy to report – YES! My sister home schooled my niece, my sister in law Karalee home schools all 3 of their kids and my good friend Heather in Charlotte home schools 4 of their 5 kids. I have nothing but good things to say about it, so it’ll be a fun event to work.

(Already wrote about Linda! )

My trip to Denver was short due to a nice nap. I had only had about 4 hours of sleep the night before so I think I recovered by getting about 2 hours on the plane. I also spent some good time talking with Linda, a gorgeous Asian woman who happened to be a flight attendant on my former flight and was now heading home. She and I talked Mommyhood, friendships, and God. I find that nearly everyone has a spiritual life that is alive and well. It seems that the older people get, their spiritual lives become more and more important. I’ve met so many people on the road who are very, very open about how grateful they are to God for their families, living in the US, their many blessings and also rely on Him for help on a daily basis. This has been a really comforting and encouraging to see that others also are relying on their faith in God to get them through. It reminds me of the Jim Carry movie with Morgan Freeman where Jim Carry becomes God for a while. They show all of the hundreds of thousands of prayers that come through on a minute by minute basis. I’ve imagined all of these people that I’m passing in the airport every day, are whispering prayers of thanks, help and survival. I know that I’m one of them, and have recited the Lords prayer about 50 times in addition to my own prayers!

Last night I got to see Matt, my good buddy from High School. It was really fun to catch up. We caught each other up on 20 years apiece! We’ve both had our share of major successes and major disappointments. He’s been happily married to Denise for 20 years, they have 3 great kids and he is a successful partner in a law firm. I was sorry that I didn’t to see Denise but I told Sway this morning that they’d be a fun family to visit if we ever get out to Denver to ski.

Today, Howard, my other friend that lives here from high school is going to swing by the hotel and pick me up to take him to his business so I can meet and go to lunch with he and his wife Susie. Howard was always a good guy and I’m so happy for him too. He’s been happily married for about 20 years too and has 2 teenage boys. Matt told me that Howard and his family are outdoors people so I’m sure they enjoy Colorado and all that it offers.

The conversation of evaluating my life was really rewarding to realize that I’ve accomplished a lot in my life so far. I’m happily married, have a wonderful son, have great relationships with my family and friends and both Sway and I are working on our careers to be able to achieve the balance of freedom and fun that we want. We still have things we want to do, but we are on our way.

Today, I’m seeing Howard and Susie, will work out and then will appear on TV this afternoon between 4-5PM. I don’t leave Denver until nearly 10PM so I will have time to shop a bit or do email or work out.

I’m going to get ready for the day now. I anticipate another wonderful day with friends and a fun appearance in Denver.