Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Successful Career Woman’s Guide to Landing and Keeping a Man!

Many, many women I know are self sufficient, successful and capable. They spent many years getting a degree or advanced degree and are now in a very successful and rewarding career. They’ve bought houses, gone on trips and own businesses, they’re beautiful and are amazing human beings.. but they have no idea why they can’t get a man to stay!!!

I’m not talking about the women who don’t WANT a man in their life. They’ve been there and done it! I’m talking about the woman who WANTS a man, a companion and a friend to share their life with. And I don’t mean a gay man!

Many of these women are teaching in universities, running businesses or partners in a law firm. They’re content on the outside, but very much would like to have a man at their side. They’ll NEVER admit it to anyone, because they’re often teased about being single and are always showing up to events with friends and not a companion. They’re tough on the outside, because they’ve had to be.

But when they get together with their closest friends, or their coach, they confide in each other and this is what they’ve shared:

They don’t NEED A man.. but they WANT one.

I’ve learned so many amazing things from being around these women. They are truly incredibly self sufficient and can run their house better than most women I know. But there is one thing they lack and it’s what I have taught them:

Warmth with people and of course.. the all important FLIRTING SKILLS!!!

Now before you go and stop reading because I went and wrote something so incredibly basic, let me ask you this:

*When did you last make the person you were talking with, feel good about themselves?

*When was the last time you let the person you were talking to, know that they were needed?

*When was the last time that the person who was talking to you, walked away with a smile on their face?

If the answer to any of these questions was “I don’t remember”… then that was TOO long ago! If the answer was “just yesterday”.. then you’re doing a good job!

Today’s world is so busy, that we rush through life just trying to squeeze all of the necessary things in. Often times we don’t give the actual people we come in contact with a second look, let alone a thought.

When I’m working with the people who want to develop warmth in their life the first thing I do is to send them out with a different set of eyes. When they go to the store, their ASSIGNMENT is to greet the people behind the meat counter or cash register and make THEM feel special.

How is a person supposed to do THAT you ask? Two days ago, I decided to make Cuban Sandwiches for lunch. So, I went to the 17 year old boy behind the counter and started asking for his recommendations… for meat, for condiments, and for cheese. Before you knew it, he was telling me OTHER dishes he wanted to make or had made recently. We were having a terrific conversation and when I left, I told him this: “I can guarantee that you’re going to make a great husband!” When I left, I knew he felt great.. and I did too.

Practicing in low risk situation is always the best. So when you’re in that situation of really wanting to show a person of the opposite sex that you’d like to get to know them BETTER, then you’ll have LOTS of practice of making a person feel special.

Okay, yes, flirting does also involve dressing up a bit, using the long linger of the eyes, glancing sideways at the person you admire and quickly away with a smile, and all of those little things that we can do when we like someone. To some people, these come naturally, but to others, they have to learn them all again.

Other suggestions for the ALL IMPORTANT flirting are to briefly touch the man on his arm, laugh at all of his jokes, and keep your body very casual, not so professional, stiff and unrelaxed. He’ll REALLY get the drift if you say something like, “oh my gosh.. you’re so silly” while you laugh with him and give him a little push on the arm just for good measure!

But the best one is to really make a person feel special and NEEDED. If you’re incredibly self sufficient then GREAT. But don’t let your “being a complete human without a man” side of you forget that MEN NEED TO BE NEEDED. They want to feel and BE special to that special woman, and they want to know that to the outside world, you’re competent, successful and beautiful… but at home?

All you need is HIM!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

ACcepting Yourself for WHAT and WHO you ARE

This morning I think I shocked some people. Every single day when I drop off my son for school I am dressed in jeans, sweats or something extremely casual. I usually have a baseball cap on and sunglasses on, so I go relatively unnoticed.

Many of the mommies at our school could win a beauty pageant! They’re the country club set who show up in their tennis gear ready to go play a game. What makes it even worse... is that they’re all incredibly nice!

This morning, I had my TV face on, ready to publicly meet the students, parents and teachers of our school for the first time. I dressed up, did my hair and even put on a suit. I rehearsed my speech that I was going to give to the school to raise more money for our Technology fund raiser.

When our principal announced that a mom had something to say, I took the microphone from her and loudly greeted the students, faculty and parents: GOOD MORNING ST. MARGARET MARY!!!

(The movie Good Morning Vietnam was my model!)

For that next minute or two I engaged the students in banter about the upcoming event! I told them that Friday was going to be filled with MUSIC, GAMES, FOOD and FUN!!! Then I shared WHY raising money for technology was important! I challenged the school to get a VISION for technology and that we all had to work together!

My message was LOUD and CLEAR! WE NEED MORE MONEY!!!

It was more like a pep rally than a speech.

I think I scared some people….they weren’t used to having someone be that loud. They weren’t used to having someone so boldly ask for money. It may have made some people uncomfortable, but it’s important and we’re behind in our goal. They needed to hear it! And I think we got the energy going!

I’ve finally come to the conclusion about me. I’m different. I’m not a wall flower. I’m not someone who is calm, cool and collected all of the time. I used to wish I was. I used to want to be one of those incredibly beautiful, perfect women who make it all look so easy. I’ve finally realized, that’s not me… and now I see some advantages to being who and what I am.

I can get in front of a school full of people, shake them up, and get them to take ACTION!

What about you? What are those things that are different about you? Are you someone who is comforted by taking a back seat and supporting others? Are you one of those people who can be organized all of the time and love nothing better than reading a good book? Are you someone who can see a room and know that if you added a bit of color and a few accessories that the room would really come to life? Or are you someone who loves creating things on the computer that challenge your mind?

I’ve come to realize that our roles in life are here so we can work together to support one another. All of us have different gifts and talents and in order for us to have happiness in life, we have to be using our gifts to benefit others!

We all have weaknesses too. That’s why we NEED each other. None of us can exist solely on our own. I know that a person like me NEEDS the organized person to keep me on track, to do my books and to keep my desk clean. I can’t do that very well and it’s bothersome of course. I am blown away at how some people make THAT look so easy.

Accepting yourself isn’t easy. It’s hard to be different when you’re a young person. No one wants to stick out like a sore thumb and be considered an oddball for looking, acting and feeling different.

It’s time to celebrate the differences that we all have. Let’s start acknowledging those around us who are different. Tell them that it’s GOOD to be different. Thank them for being HONEST with themselves and others when they show up and are authentic.

And remember, when you see the others who look prettier, funnier, snazzier, smarter, sharper, more articulate, richer, or skinnier than you… remember that they CAN'T do what you can do!!! Tell them that they’re great.. and then go and do your thing! The world NEEDS you to express your talents and to use them to help and support others!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Planning for the Holidays

If you’ve been to any store lately you’ve seen that the holiday decorations have hit the stores. It’s the time of year that puts everyone in a good mood until the time that the family arrives on your doorstep. Then of course, the rush is on to get it all done in time. If you’re anything like me and my family, there are always last minute trips to the store to get everything that is needed for the dinner and the delivery of presents.

Now is the time to plan out your whole event. You should know now whether you are traveling to a relatives’ for the holiday or even just for dinner. It’s a good time to start planning your menu’s and your presents for the people on your list.

Here are a few things to make your holidays run a bit smoother:

Write a list of each person who is to receive a present. If you need to draw names, make it happen via email this week. Then select a budget for each person and draw the cash out and put it in envelopes. Make a vow to stay within the budget you’ve set.

Start by perusing the catalogs. It’s an easier way to shop. There are so many catalogs on line now so shopping on line will help you stay away from that crazy holiday rush.

Shopping in one place certainly saves time, and places like TJ MAX and Marshalls are old favorites and do carry affordable items for the whole family.

Once you’ve gotten the shopping done, it’s time to start the decorating. I usually purchase a few magazines specifically for the holidays and do one art project that will last. It’s been fun to see my projects through the years that took a day to make, but have been in our family for years. If you’re “crafty” enough, then these items make excellent gifts for your friends and neighbors. Presents like pinecone wreaths or candle covers are easy, fun to make and last for years.

Next, comes the cooking! This is the one that seems like it should wait, but in realty it’s a great time to start right now! We still have a few weekends before Thanksgiving and those early Saturday mornings are a great time to bake up and decorate holiday cookies and bars. In addition, homemade jellies and jams make excellent holiday gifts to share. My personal favorite is Hot Jezabel. I make it with pineapple and apricot jelly, horseradish, dry mustard and black pepper. It is delicious on top of cream cheese with crackers. Put in a cute jar, with a box of crackers, the recipe in a basket makes an affordable and delicious gift.

Get your kids dressed and head to the nearest hotel lobby for a beautiful holiday picture! Sure, you can go to a studio and spend upwards of $100, or you can get dressed and go to a nice hotel where you can take a picture that is classy and will impress your friends! Get them printed at Walmart and you’re good to go for your holiday newsletter and card!

Last but not least, understand that the holidays are some of the most stressful times of the year. If you have a family and are traveling or entertaining, you need to schedule some time for relaxing without doing anything. Book your manicure ahead of time or a fun cookie exchange evening out with the gals in advance.

Then kick back and enjoy the time this year. If you plan ahead this year, like you SAID you would last year, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the holidays creating memories, instead of stress!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Stress Hits 3 Months after Tragedy, Change or Trauma

Think about all that has happened in the world in the past few years: 9/11 and thousands losing their lives, terrorists who live and breathe to take away freedom, hurricanes that have completely taken away the foundation of several states, mud slides that have wiped away houses, floods that have killed and ruined, earthquakes that have swallowed up entire cities, riots and gunmen who have terrorized people, the war that haunts us every day and the list goes on. Hundreds of thousands of people have been uprooted and have been forced to move elsewhere to get on with their lives, and millions are dealing with a more stressful world.

As someone who has lived through several crisis’ such as having a baby at 28 weeks after laying in the hospital for 4 weeks upside down, living in NYC during 9/11, losing my business as a result, and 2 moves out of state in the past 5 years, I know a little bit about surviving a trauma and dealing with the stress.

It’s hard. It shakes you to your core, but it can be done.

Here is what to expect: I’ve guessed it can take up to about 3 months for the numbness to really wear off and for the stress to hit. It creeps up on you as a sense of overwhelm, and then the nerves start taking over and then POW. Full blown TENSION.

I remember when the people in Oklahoma were on TV counseling the residents of NYC after 9/11. They said that they weren’t worried about them immediately following, but up to a year later. I remember hearing that and didn’t exactly know what it meant. Then, I lived through it. The Christmas immediately following 9/11 was the worst one in history for everyone I knew. After speaking with my friends in NY, everyone admitted that being with family that holiday season was full of anger, fights and lose tempers. Everyone seemed happy to go back to their own nest after the holidays. I remember that one too. My sister and I had the biggest blowout of our lives. My parents had to mediate and I remember regretting several things I said.

The stress hits the families hard. The parents fight, and the kids suffer. The kids bring it to school and it affects others. Since we are all connected somehow, it’s hitting everyone in some capacity.

First of all, recognize that everyone is going to go through their own personal trauma. Explain it to everyone that has gone through something difficult that it IS going to happen. Warn them to not be caught off guard.

Next, seek encourage those who have gone through a change to seek counsel. If it’s from a friend, a professional, a priest or rabbi, whomever, get HELP. It helps to talk about what has happened. When a person can say the words out loud, hope can be established. The worst thing is to try to handle the stress and pressure internally. THIS is how people snap! They let the stress build up and then they POP. It’s natural. Think of a balloon. It can only handle so much air until it breaks. People are the same.
Hard exercise should be a part of every day. Getting out the aggression by running, walking, lifting weights or punching a bag is a very therapeutic thing to do.

And most importantly, spiritual support is the most important. We know that God understands our fears, our hurts and our pains. When it’s too much for us to handle, reach the scriptures that can give so much comfort, then give it over to God. Then release it and have the faith that He’s working. He can give us ideas that can help solve our issues. He can bring people into our path that can help us with our needs and even think for us when our brains seem to be frozen.

Our world is at a boiling pot right now. People’s relationships and lives are in danger of dealing with too much. It’s time to reach out to others if you’re blessed with comfort and peace right now.

All you have to do is ask your neighbors, “how are you doing?” If you do that to the people you see, you’ll find people who are in need. Then God can begin a good work through you.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Coaching Celebrities

I’ve kept the same cell phone number for the past 7-8 years. I’ve lived in NYC, NC and now Florida and in all that time, I’ve never changed phone numbers. Nor will I. Sure, it’s inconvenient for my mom who lives across town to have to dial a NYC phone to get me and I’m only a few miles away, but for me it’s worth it.

I have clients that still call me periodically for coaching that used this cell phone years ago. They like knowing that I’m just a call away if they need me. Several of these clients would probably have names that you might recognize, and don’t use a coach on a regular basis, but if the need arises, they know I’m there.

I’ve spent a large part of my career working with and for celebrities. Whether I marketing for them, do PR for them or consult and coaching with the them, I’ve made a part of my career working in that market. As a result, I’ve gotten to know many agents, publicists and Event Planners.

I also coach individuals in business. Right now, it seems that a large bulk of my clients are in new jobs, businesses or about to make a transition. I don’t work by contract, only on an as needed basis. Some of my clients show up every week. Others are clients that are only once a month. I’m flexible because my clients are busy. So am I, and I’m fine with them rescheduling with me a day in advance.

I started coaching this way because the high profile clients that I served couldn’t meet on a regular basis. They were traveling or unavailable at normal business times so I made allowances for them. As my business and experience grew, I found that working with high profile types was going to be different than a traditional client that may be.

I work on a project basis with many of these high profile types. Some of them are high level executives, besides celebrities and I’m there as a personal consultant that they call upon for many different issues. Most of them found me through the communication coaching that I provide and we’ve kept the relationship going through the years. Whenever they call I merely write it down and keep a log. I usually bill once a month. On projects, I’ll estimate a cost for the project and always try to come in under the estimate.

I have clients that will fly in for the day and for that, my fees are a bit higher than on the phone. It’s a concentrated coaching session that can deal with family issues to creating a work out schedule or recreating a brand or speech. We’ve discovered projects to create that they can market and we’ve written the outline of books.

I noticed right up front that celebrities are keenly aware that people try to make a buck off of them so I actually charge them less in some cases. Regardless, overestimating the bill is the way to go, and they always appreciate the financial break. I learned this early on when I had a repeat customer and I sent a bill that she questioned. She didn’t feel that I had put in that much time with her so I told her that I had struggled with the bill myself because the project was so “off and on”. So, I told her to rip up my invoice and to pay me what she thought she should. I got a nice check in the mail that was just a little bit less than I had originally charged and it had a nice note attached. It was definitely the right decision because I’ve continued to coach this person here and there over the last many years.

Coaching high profile types are a great gig if you can get it. But don’t make the mistake of holding to your exact requirements or you might lose a client in the process. The ones that I know appreciate my willingness to be flexible with my schedule and to reschedule if something else comes up. I’m fair with the money and I always try to deliver more than promised.

I love the coaching people who are successful, energetic and ambitious. They never refuse a challenge and they’re always up for new ideas. They appreciate others who are hard working like them.

That is why I keep my cell phone number the same. Being available to these people is the name of the game.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Celebrities have to Deal with Nerves Too!

Have you ever seen how cool they look? Every hair is in place and their outfits are usually just perfect. They look so cool, like they don’t even have to try. It’s the celebrities that I’m talking about! Those perfect people who end up on our TV screens while we sit back and eat popcorn and drink beer, they’re sipping on Champaign and looking like they don’t have a care in the world!

Okay.. stop it RIGHT there. That’s absolute NONSENSE! I’ve been fortunate enough to work with several celebrities and I can tell you from experience, they are JUST like you and me! They fret, they sweat and they worry about the tiny wrinkle on their forehead. They also have the luxury of having other people dress them, do their hair and makeup, their manicures and their pedicures, pick out their accessories and adorn them with so much praise that no WONDER they look like they’re on top of the world!

The reality behind the scene is a bit different. As a coach who has been there to hand-hold several celebrities through acceptance speeches, award dinners and shows and personal appearances, I can tell you a thing or two about these people.

First of all. They’re REAL. They have real concerns in their lives such as family problems, work issues and relationship woes. Most of them worked extremely hard and long to get to where they are in their career. The celebrities I know are some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met in my life. They’ll work all day long, jump the red eye back home and work the whole next day.

Second of all, they get nerves just as bad as we do. Many celebrities just won’t give speeches because they can’t face the world without having a script memorized. Remember Barbara Striesand? The woman with one of the most beautiful voices in the world was terrified that she’d forget the words? Her nerves got the best of her and it cut her public singing career short. What’s so sad about that, is that her singing is God’s gift to the world.. not just to her. She sings for pleasure of course, but we listen in awe. Her voice is for US.. the people. It’s a lesson that many celebrities know. They’re grateful for their lot in life.

I remember speaking with one female celebrity whose name of course I’d never mention. She asked me to come and watch her speak and she was terrified for being ripped apart by so many of the people she had to appeal to in her job. As I watched her, I saw a woman who had put it all on the line. She had children and would take care of the kids in the afternoon and would be up until midnight doing work. She was beautiful yet she wondered what they were thinking of her age as it crept up.

When she was done… I applauded. I said, “I’ll tell you what the people are thinking about you when they see you”. They are watching in amazement, who a woman who has done so many things with her life and still manages to have a personal life. She has the guts and the gall to get up in front of audience after audience to put it all out there… and they sit there wishing they could do the same. Then I told her some words I’d later regret: “ you don’t need me. You are perfect exactly how you are.. don’ t change a thing”. Of course I was serious and she did move on. Fortunately for her, she went on to greater and greater success. She just needed a little boost to her ego and I was the right person at the right time.

I’ve had many celebrities call me for a simple reason. They have nerves that creep up and practically paralyze them. With these folks, I get to know them in person so they feel comfortable with me. I am able to show them at their greatest potential and I show them their weaknesses. If they are too perfect, I get them to be more vulnerable by sharing a personal story. If they’re relying on reading a speech, I stand before them and ask them questions about the reason they are happy about the award or the event. I force them to think on their feet in an uncomfortable position, and they go home to practice that over and over and over.

I ask them to visualize their speech or the event. I ask them to go there in advance if possible so they’ll have an exact idea of what its going to look like in their mind. I create a visual for them standing in front of 50,000 people in an arena and face them all eyeball to eyeball. It freaks people out at first but it slowly warms them up to the idea that its not PEOPLE that make you scared, it’s facing your own self that is scary.

I get them to laugh… at themselves and at the world. We discuss the fact that their moment on stage has to be fun too.. not so serious. I give them physical exercises to calm their nerves before hand. With so much variety, we enjoy our time as we prepare for the big event. Practice makes perfect of course so I continue to follow up with them until the second before and after their gig.

I remember seeing the comedian Carrottop on stage one time when he impressed me more than the other dozens of times I had seen him. He was doing a college show and in the middle of his act, he froze on stage. Then he said to his audience, “OH MY GOSH, I had a panic attack.. I had a panic attack on stage JUST NOW… can you believe it?” Then he laughed it off and went on with his routine.

I retell that story every time I’m working with a person who has to hide their nerves and act as if they’re the cool and collected professional the whole time. He was completely comfortable with being uncomfortable and that is the best place that any performer can be.

So next time you’re sitting on the couch and watching an awards show or at an event where you see a celebrity, don’t go feel sorry for yourself thinking that they have all the luck and you’re not destined for stardom. Your time WILL come. You’ll be the one on stage and people will be watching you.

So put your best foot forward, practice, visualize and of course.. have fun with it. If you create a fun space for your audience, they’ll have no choice but to enjoy their time with you!