Category Archives for "General"

The Trifecta of Non-Action

A trifecta refers to the ability to pick the first three finishers in a race. It’s a tough call to make. If I turn it around I can see that there is a trifecta of my thoughts that keep me from winning.  That will slow me down each time. These three phases will always keep me stuck in the problem and not seeing a situation clearly.  

If Only

This is a a very deep rabbit hole.  I can rattle off the  hundreds of decisions, circumstances and situations that could have happened and the whole story would be different.  Reality check.  If only I could stop thinking like that,  I could actually get out of my own way and deal with what is right in front of me.  The data, the facts, the choices I made and those that need to be made and I can move forward.  


Someday my ship will come in.  And today I have got to ask – what will be on that ship?  If only I knew.  See what happens, that circular thinking.  So someday is today.  Today is the day I see the situation clearly.  Today is the day I know the exact contents of that ship, it’s route, timing, and if I can trust the manifesto.   I will not go down the path of changing the data.  Whatever I know is all I know and that is the only information available to act on.  To make a decision.  To move forward. Today.


My list of WHEN is usually the longest list of all.  Perhaps it is also the most dangerous patch of quicksand.   It lets me believe that if I line everything up and do my best, it will work out exactly as I expect.  Exactly as I want.  Exactly as I need.  When I have all my ducks in a row, then all will be right in the world. 

History tells me this isn’t fact.  That it will play out differently, but I cling to “when”. Experience has shown time and time again, that it is not within my control to decide when things happen.  Circumstances change, delays ensue, unexpected field conditions occur.  We are living through the pandemic, none of us had any control and yet we had to make decisions.  Had to act.  Had to mitigate the changes. Each of us had to decide what was best for us, our business, our family. 

What’s Next:

Stay away from the trifecta.  Pay attention to your choice of words.  Our words have a significant impact on our thoughts.  When you hear yourself, that means slowing down to listen to yourself, say one of the trifecta phrases —  if only, someday,  or when, refocus your train of thought to What is the “real” information I have in hand now? What is the best decision I can make today with all of the information I have? 

Act accordingly today, not someday.  




Are Good Parenting and Management Skills Transferable?

Recently, I gave a talk on how to align your life through your time, money, and narrative, to live who you really are as your best self.  An MD who heard the speech contacted me after and said “your talk is really about being a better human being and I think you should talk about being a good parent.” That made me think he missed the entire gist of my speech.  Then, I realized he was giving me a huge compliment!   Thanks to my colleague Kevin Haselhorst, MD! He got me thinking about if good parenting skills and good manager traits are interchangeable.

The short answer:   They are not.

The Basic Contract

The premise of the relationship is very different between parenting and manager. In parenting, you are responsible for a life, the whole life, and all of their lessons in all realms of life to the best of your ability. In managing, you may choose who you work with, sometimes, you do inherit or have staff assigned to you, but there is an economic contract in place. You or the company pay employees for showing up and preforming tasks and producing outcomes.  In turn you provide each person with salary, benefits, a safe work environment and the tools they need to accomplish their job role.

I googled:  Are parenting and managing the same skill set?  I  found an article in Forbes that speaks to traditional leadership and parenting traits you can follow it with this link.  .

Unconditional love is required in parenting, versus providing direction for responsibilities and remuneration for a job.  If as a manager you get to mentor, grow as colleagues and friends, and honor each other that’s great, but it is not the ultimate goal of getting the job done. 

The entire intention of the relationships are different – this is a No.

Honoring Their Path

This is a possible yes and a no. Yes, we want to give direction, set the stage, show our staff how we like it done, give the training, resources and tools they need. As managers, we have to give them room to find their own routines and process while meeting our work expectations. If we micromanage, we may suffocate them.  If we only have them do it our way, and do not let them evolve the position and their role, we are not good stewards of our company. It is the same for a child. We show them how to do something and guide them, but the path they take is ultimately their own and as parents, even though it’s tough, we honor who they are, not who we want them to be or who we thought they would be. As an employer, if they are not performing the job satisfactorily, we can mentor, provide more training, discipline, but ultimately, we need what we need to get the job done. If an employee is not fulfilling the economic contract, we can part ways.

Getting the work done the way it needs to get done, vs. letting your child become who they are supposed to be – this is a No.



I still struggle with patience after years of working in fast-paced environments.  I learned much more about the virtue of patience from parenting than managing. In both situations, there is an end to patience. Depending on the amount of time and energy it takes as a Boss, you do not have to accept it. As a parent what are our options?  Feel free to comment on your approach – basically it depends heavily on the situation and the child. 

Different approaches, especially in personal situations – this is a No. 

Run a Good Meeting

As a boss, particularly of a larger team or a leadership team, this is critical.  Giving everyone enough information so they can be on the same page with you. Your ability to run a meeting fairly so all opinions and relevant data are heard and can be channeled appropriately. Like a parent, in my meetings I always make sure there is time to celebrate milestones and that there is a lesson or advice imparted.

I believe family meetings are critical. In this day and age before young children have a “smart device” it is important to have family meetings. This is different than family dinner.  It can take place at any meal you are all together.  As appropriate include other members, such as a grandmother or caretaker who spend a lot of time in your household.  Understanding schedules, priorities and anything that will impact the family dynamic over the next few weeks are good topics for discussion. My daughter loved family meetings, she would take notes and send follow-ups to me – it was great training on being responsible and communicating.

The same values hold for both meetings – this is a Yes.


What’s Next:

Take a shot at applying what you do well at work, at home and vice versa. See what resonates with your team and what you feel intuitively good about. Repeat daily.




The Great Resignation: Fear Move or Career Move?

Is it time for a career change?  The Great Resignation has prompted all of us to look closer.  What’s on the other side of that decision?  Even if the door is wide open, and new opportunities abound, it is not always evident what you will encounter on the other side.  I tend to vacillate back and forth about My choice.  MY decision.  Should I stay or should I go?  I’ve learned to ask myself this question.  It never fails to give me clarity:  

Am I making this decision from a place of fear or abundance? 

Fear Move

A fear move is well just that.  A decision our of fear – what I won’t get or I will lose.  This is when I am thinking along the lines of:

  • I haven’t found anything better
  • I am running low on funds
  • This sounds interesting, how bad can it be?  
  • I used to love this
  • The commute sucks
  • And my favorite twisted thinking… I could die tomorrow!

Abundance Move 

An abundance move is a decision to do what you want in life.  This is the brave move.  The move into a different opportunity.  The pull to live your life being able to do “mostly” what you love every day.  I say mostly because that is the reality.  Work, is work and even retirement includes work – making life appointments, letting go of being in charge, finding new ways to inspire myself. In retirement everything takes longer than you think like working out. 

Big Lesson:  Your Life is What You Do Everyday

What do you do everyday?  How do you spend your time?  How do you want to spend your everyday which adds up to your life?  An abundance career move is when you ask yourself, will this make me happy?  Is this where and who I want to be?  It is your faith for your future.  For who you want to be. 

I’m stopping now for dramatic pause.

More Resources Available to Make this Decision

The Great Resignation has prompted debate, insight and lots of practical information about shifting your life.  Find resources that can help you think through this critical path.  CNBC has many helpful articles such as this one:  The great-resignation-heres-what-to-think-about-before-you-quit-your-job.

Top 5 Career Move Reasons

A recent Forbes post made the argument why this is the right time to make a career change.  Since Covid, our priorities are sharper.  We all want true relevance and purpose in our lives.  And the facts are that remote work will be a reality for at least 35% of existing work places with that statistic constantly rising. 

Indeed’s 2019 study revealed the Top 5 reasons people make career changes.  The surprise – two years later, including the Covid experience, our thinking has not really changed the results.  The top 2 reasons people make career change:


2- Want Greater Flexibility  

The core answers remains the same and beg the question:    What will make me happy? 

If you want to take a deeper dive into Indeed’s 2019 Data here you go:

Indeed chart

Don’t be discouraged.  Figure out your true Motivation.  

Why Work Matters

The temptation is to say, I wish I didn’t have to work.  It’s easy to think if I didn’t have to work I’d be happy.   Ask any recent retiree, it’s not a slam dunk.  And statistics prove that.  Being of purpose and relevance are key human motivators.  So it begs the questions: What type of work will make me happy – paid or unpaid?  Start with figuring out if you are skills or mission focused.

Skills Driven

Do you like the daily tasks, role and all systems that come with it?  That’s why some managers are so versatile.  They like the role regardless of mission, content and specific industry.  My daughter loves to organize, make charts, train and project manage.  These are the daily tasks that engage her.  It is less important to her where she does it.  Whether at a big law firm, a start-up or at the local coffee shop.

Mission Driven

Whether you love financial analyses or serving the homeless, you care about what the “Why” is of the organization and how it relates to your values.   Pro Tip – I have found there is a very wide swing here to find your niche and do it across multiple sectors.  Core to my soul as a social worker, I want to help people be financially independent.  From teaching job hunt classes, to entrepreneurial start-ups I don’t care if I’m writing reports, working with people or raising money, I love that mission and everything that comes with it.  

What’s Next

Delve closely into your “honest” motives when you are ready to seek a change.  Make sure you notice what opportunity looks like when it’s knocking at your door.  Ask yourself “Is it a career move or abundance move?”   Take a deep breath and dive in.  The water is great at this end of the pool!

Stay on Your Path: Own Your Narrative

How do you talk about who you are? What words do you choose to describe yourself? Your narrative tells others about you. Often, our answer depends on our primary purpose in any given situation. According to Muse, it’s the number one most popular interview question. 

The same holds true in social situations. We often answer with what we think the other person wants to hear and will get what we desire That sounds simple enough, but it is certainly not easy to be concise, relevant, and genuine. 

Staying on your path is about telling yourself who you are and then carefully choosing your words to tell others. It follows suit that once you study, or just raise your awareness about where your money goes and how your time is spent, you will want to be more purposeful in talking about who you are.  

If watching your time and money revolve around taking notice, the third piece of the puzzle assists in making conscious choices. These are not I should or when I statements.  This is a clear declaration of oneself. This statement is the direct result of knowing who you are. 

Words to Use

How do words impact our reality is covered in this article on Psych Central. The authors give several explanations for why using the right words can transform our reality. Their conclusion:  Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can change your brain.

Your narrative is your story. It is more than your “headline.” It drills down into your why. Watch Simeon Sineck’s Ted talk for that, if you have not. For example, My headline is Wayfinder. My narrative, about my career is:

My work was about implementing new programs and ideas. I was a change agent, first as an advocate then as a manager. I like showing others the way. Now I write and talk about leadership; helping others to succeed.

Honoring Your Choices

When you take the first two steps on the path and view your values with hard evidence of what you spend both your money and time on, you are now in a position to step up to the plate and put that into alignment with your narrative. Making conscious choices about how you tell your story is coming into agreement with your values. Showing the true you, uncovered from the clues that have been hiding in your finances and schedule. Coming into alignment, makes everything easier. It’s living your values.

Planning or Doing

Are you still talking about your life in the future tense? Are you using statements akin to Someday I will start a company; Tomorrow I will have time to really focus on that team member or a specific problem. For example, you may be always planning but never doing.   

Doing is saying something like:  I write and speak because I want to connect to people, I want to show my vulnerability and I want to show my strength that has helped me because I think it might inspire others.  Do you actually put your money where your mouth is and do those things you always say you will do such as: write a book; climb a mountain; visit China; make time to catch up with a colleague?

These statements don’t have to be about big goals or dreams. It is about closing the disconnect between who you think you are and what you actually do. This is the point when you can honestly see yourself. It’s about how you are spending your money and time in service of meeting your own goals. 

For years and years, I should-ed myself about being a writer. Then, when I actually looked at my spending and where I went, and what I did each day, I knew actually what was going on. I was talking about wanting to be a writer more than I was writing. 

Two years ago, seeing my own disconnect I stopped planning and started doing. At first, I started writing for just 10 minutes a day. That was all I could do. But, I started on the path. It’s like a muscle that needs to be flexed and trained. Now I have a consistent writing practice, including mentors, classes and colleagues. This has yielded a consistent blog posting every other week, several finished fiction and creative non-fiction pieces and a collection of short stories in progress.  

Coming into Alignment

This is the penultimate mountain to climb to unite the path. Bring your time, money, and who you say you are into alignment for smoother sailing down the river of life.  

Meanwhile, I understand that it is a lot more comfortable sitting at home on the couch and talking about what you plan to do instead of doing it. There is great self-esteem boosting in choosing to take on your own challenges. To actually become and do who you really are.  

Another Personal Example:

When I took notice of my patterns. I could see that I was in alignment with my time and money. What was not in alignment was my narrative. I would say:  I’m the mom who can’t lose 10 pounds, dated the wrong partners, and was always working. Those things are true but they are not the only truth. I was a single mother, I had a good job, I was active in my community, I made time to go to the park every day, I made time to read to my kid every day, that’s who I was. But what I said about myself was all negative. It is about showing a balanced view and appreciating the things you do that are working.   

What’s Next

Be authentic and keep yourself on track by thinking about what I spend my money on, what I spend my time on and what I say about it.

For me, I am Ilene Marcus, I spend my time helping people make simple changes to improve their lives. I spend my discretionary money on writing classes, charitable causes, my puppy, and my car (I drive a lot). What I say about myself:

Every day I work on being a better writer, on being a little kinder, a little smarter, and a lot more loving. And I will do that for the rest of my life.


Stay on Your Path: Money Matters

Money matters, I love that pun. Money matters for our daily existence for living expenses and to buy experiences that bring us joy and happiness.  Then, the second interpretation – What is happening with your money?  It is a very personal question.  As in how much do you have?  How do you acquire it?  What do you spend it on?

Let’s back up. To stay on your path, you must know what is on your path. By looking at how you spend your time and money you can see who you are and what you do everyday.  For some, time is what matters first, and money second.  In many ways they are interchangeable. They both matter.  Probably, one means more to you than the other. As a result they both contribute to your daily reality and staying on your path.

Years ago, I learned this truth.  

A budget is your political preferences in action.

Your budget is a picture of how you spend your money.  It says a lot about who you are and your choices.  As a result, the word political is important here as it denotes realities we must accept, such as taxes and other expenses that provide for our basic needs, food, housing, transportation. But political also denotes choices that are made to keep promises.

How do I spend my money?

Money is easy to track.  It comes in, it comes out, whether it’s cash or credit.  You can track where it goes.  Actually, you know where it goes, you just might not be paying attention.  This is why it is important to look at what you spend your money on.  Everything is a choice.  Where you live and how much rent you pay or if you have a mortgage; what type of car you drive or what mode of transportation you prefer, each of these expenses has an equation.  I earn this much or I have this much.  Based on my circumstances I spend this much.  The remainder is what is discretionary – I can do what I want with it.  The question is:  Are you making cognizant choices?

For example, a company may say “Our priority is to protect the environment.”  We can check out if that is true by looking at their financial statements. What percentage of their budget is designated to the environment?  Is there in-house expertise or is it in a consultant line or sub-category? Is it in their corporate DNA?  Is it a priority in each line of business?  Are funding and resources devoted in most areas?  Are they a Certified B Corp?  Do they hire and pay well for this expertise?  Is it something they value by putting dollars behind that statement?

Make it personal.

It works the same way in our personal lives.  I believe that I am charitable, I love my community.  Looking at my giving patterns I can test this belief.  Do I only give money when a friend is in a swim-a-thon or having a fundraiser for their 60th birthday.  Am I more generous to a charity I know and have already supported?  Do I take credit for what I give or give anonymously?  Can I reach to give more than what is comfortable?  Will I make a decision to say ” I can’t have the extra latte this week because I made that donation.” Can I put my generosity ahead of my own comfort level.  Does my belief about being charitable match my actions?

What does that say about me?

The choices I make with my money say a lot about me.  Do I always buy things on sale?  Which isn’t a bad thing as long as I don’t short-change myself and get what I want and need. Do I spend the time to figure out what I want and how to make that happen in my life or do I just go along to get along?  Am I spending purposefully or just trying to get through the day, the week, my latest life event?

Are my beliefs inline with my spending?

Understanding that funds are limited and must first go to paying rent and other necessary things, how you choose to get what is important to you is the measure of who you are . Real tangible expenses, such as medical bills and emergency repairs aside, honestly answer the question:  Do I spend my discretionary money on what I believe is important to be my authentic self?  Is my spending in alignment with my narrative about who I am or does it represent who I wish I was?  Am I living incongruently with the proverbial, tomorrow, I will fix it tomorrow.  Tomorrow will be different.  

Take Yoga for instance. – I would only take the free classes, and I didn’t go as often as I should.  Or I would buy the expensive class pass and not use it.  By looking at that pattern of who I wanted to be, vs. who I am, I can now say, “Yoga is not for me and I don’t need to try anymore!”  That’s the truth for me.  This is applicable to most things in our lives.  What I choose to eat; How I spend my free time; what I buy to use for my home.  For me that meant being honest about Yoga, which is not in my life any more and doesn’t make me feel guilty about not doing it. By being honest, I can spend my money and my time on things that nourish me, not worry me.  

What’s Next:

Make a conscious effort to track your expenses, even for one day.  How much are you really spending on your daily coffee habit or your transportation because you are rushing or other things that don’t work for you (such as Yoga for me).   Does what you spend your money on make your life smoother or does it cause friction?  Are you filling your soul with the items that feed your authentic you?  What do you choose to spend your discretionary funds on?  Get in alignment with who you are and what you truly care about and sail through your day.  

What Happens on a Techstars Startup Weekend?

Techstars Startup Weekends produce results.  Startup weekend Hudson Valley was no exception, it was electric!  You can learn more about Techstars and how this magic is produced.

What Happens at Start-Up Weekend?

It all starts with community leaders who want to make a difference.  Thus an organizing committee is formed. Techstars provides a roadmap for everything needed for a 3-day program where aspiring entrepreneurs can experience start-up life.  As a Techstars Global Facilitator, I am there to support the organizing team and bring their vision to life. 

We focus on turning an idea or product into an MVP – Minimal Viable Product. Participants pitch, and then based on the ideas selected join a team.  We work together over 54 hours to build out ideas, find customers and outline the user journey.  Mentors assist in mapping out action steps.  Participants learn how to create a business model for this idea that is coming into focus.  Can it make money? We spend a lot of time on monetization, that’s my favorite part.  

Who attended Hudson Valley Start-up Weekend?

  • 82 people ascended to Barnfox co-working space at 291 Wall Street in Kingston
  • Add in 15 Brave Entrepreneurs  PITCHED their idea LIVE i5 n front of the audience
  • 6 Ideas proceeded to teams
  • 15 Mentors supported the teams.
  • 4 Judges came Sunday night for final pitches
  • 1 Facilitator kept it moving all weekend (that’s me!)
  • 2 Organizers brought together the most amazing group of people
  • 19 Sponsors supported the community

Big Shout out to the Barnfox Team, Frederick Pikovsky and Charlie Webber pictured with me!  

As a result, new relationships are forged,  Partnerships created, mentors found.  The energy is contagious.  Proving that entrepreneurial work is a team sport.

Check out the Pictures and Videos!

Check out the camaradie, the final pitches.  See participants for yourself!

What’s Next:

Get your entrepreneurial spirit on.  Take the next step on an idea or pay it forward and provide help as a mentor and coach.  Support entrepreneurship in your community to build economic strength, personal resilience and community purpose.  Not only will you help others, it feels great!

Quit Old Behaviors and Be More Successful

Quit knocking on doors that don’t open.  High preforming sales teams know this mantra:

Stop calling, stop emailing, stop begging for one more meeting and stop acting desperate. Dump them and move on. Instead of chasing prospects who don’t want to be caught, invest your time in prospects who engage with you instead of run from you.  

Non-profit fundraisers acknowledge this in the Benevon Model for Sustainable Fundraising,  and call it “bless and release”. 

If  it works in business, pretty good chance we should apply to our personal lives to get what we want.  So where do I begin?  First off, stop doing things that aren’t producing the results you want.  This post on 3 Reasons to Walk Away is a good starting point.  The first benefit of stopping what isn’t working, is that it produces a lot more time.  Time is our most precious commodity.

What to do with all this free time, you ask.  Easy – start doing new things and become more successful. 

Read this article from Dr. Travis Bradbury on just what to do.

What’s Next

Stop doing anything that doesn’t get you the results you want. Don’t quit 5 minutes before or after the miracle.  Most importantly, expect miracles when you change your behaviors.  


Crossing Off Bucket List Items

Yesterday, I crossed off a bucket list item. I played an “extra” for a new HBO series.  How exciting.  How interesting.  How exhausting!   

The first thing you need to know is that the term “extras” is passé.  Backgrounders is the official title – designated as BG for Background.

It was exciting to be on the set.  Workers buzzing around truck loads of equipment.  Special lighting being set up and tested.  Wardrobe, props and make-up professionals hovering with a watchful eye.  My fellow backgrounders welcoming and very generous in showing me the ropes.  Still, after the first hour on the set, I realized I might have a different set of priorities.

The SAG (Screen Actors Guild) members talk about the Director, his work, his style and who is who in the cast.  Those working towards their SAG card, were the most helpful.  These folks relayed stories of past sets they worked on.  Launched into tales of being fit into specialty outfits as they proudly flashed pictures on their phones in full costume.  They were animated about situations when they got attention from the Director, only to be left on the cutting room floor. 

First timers, such as myself, were curious about wardrobe and props.  Yes, I was curious, but more importantly, I wanted to know where the closest bathroom was.  Once I found that, I was much more interested in the snack table and the lunch truck. Need I continue as you see where this is going?  Yes, I must persist because of the non-obvious lessons.

The most important lesson. Learn what you do not like.

I do not like the 5:42 am casting call.   I do not like trudging around a soggy campus repeating the same small action 20 times and then waiting two hours to go back to a soggy tent.  I didn’t like carrying my props and keeping track of them.

My feet hurt.  I didn’t like that.  Truth is I should have been training for a marathon, coincidentally, an item that will never make it to my bucket list.  The tools I needed for background work, aside from my positive mental attitude, were good shoes, orthotics and an extra phone battery. I don’t like being unprepared.    

I was surprised that I didn’t mind the unknown schedule and getting direction right before I needed to be somewhere. Someone would yell: In five minutes get to the setGo back to holding. Wait here, till we have more direction for you.  It didn’t always seem to  be productive.  The flip side.  I had no responsibility other than to do what I was told.  It was not my problem that I thought it didn’t make sense or was less than efficient.   

What did I like?

I met tons of interesting people.  Seriously, the concentration of fascinating, smart, aware fellow human beings was outstanding.  With ease I was able to delve into deep conversations with those I just met.  No topic off brand.  Politics, family, earnings, health, love, you name it, we talked about it.  Very unexpected.  Extremely enjoyable.

I liked being in someone else’s workplace.  I was not in charge.  Delays, situations, potential liabilities, not my problem.  I appreciated clear direction, the gathering of the group for instructions and being part of something greater than myself.

I liked getting paid for what I did.  For my time.  For showing up.  

I liked the systems of it all. The apps I was asked to enroll in to get my casting call, track Covid testing/status and payroll.  All remote, all electronic.  Very impressive.  

What’s Next?

I woke up the next morning, achy and tired.  I was relived not to have to get up and out by 5 am.  After my first cup of coffee, my mind wondered to what they were doing on set.  What scenes are being filmed?  What parts are the BGs playing today?  Still, getting out of my bed or up from sitting every muscle hurt.  I didn’t miss it.  I talked myself into being glad I was not slogging around on a wet set.  A few hours later, a text from the casting company, asking if I would come back for another day.  I texted yes before I even finished reading it. 


Is Multi-tasking Efficient?

I’ll admit it, I am a multi-tasker.   Which begs the question, how efficient am I?  The top answer according to Google reports that multi-tasking does not make me efficient.  It’s quite the opposite:  

Multitasking seems like a great way to get a lot done at once. But research has shown that our brains are not nearly as good at handling multiple tasks as we like to think they are. In fact, some researchers suggest that multitasking can actually reduce productivity by as much as 40%.

Data aside, I beg to differ.  Let’s start with the basics and see if we can construct why and when multi-tasking works.

Is there a Difference Between Efficiency and Multi-tasking?  

Efficiency is finding a quicker, easier way to get a task done. This post helps you see what works for you and what does not. Multi-tasking is performing several tasks at the same time, that may require diverse skills and shared focus.   

1- Some Tasks Have Too Much Down Time

Like laundry.  Ok, so laundry isn’t a business process or is it?   Do we have process or routines which need to be started and then can be left alone to produce results while we focus on other pressing needs?  Waiting for email responses comes to mind. Send an email and wait.  Send an important email and wait even longer.  Scheduling requests depending on the industry and process have a lead time.   I always had to wait for data queries.   First input the data and then wait.  So yes, we have several natural laundry cycles while waiting.  The question is are we efficient during the waiting time.  Are we able to get other work accomplished?  Is it substantial work or do we squander it tinkering on the edge of projects and assignments?

2- Some Parts of Meetings are Just Too Boring

Why is it, when I perform other tasks, while semi-listening, I believe I listen more?  The data says its not true, but how productive do I feel after I have attended a meeting and while listening and appropriately participating I have cleaned out my inbox and answered several pieces of neglected mail.  I’ve also looked over my calendar, cleaned up any uncertainties and got material ready for each meeting.  Why not in this virtual world, I am already in front of the screen. Be honest and make sure you are fulfilling your purpose at the meeting.  If you show up to do other things and just get credit, that will be noticed.  And of course if you are leading the meeting, this needs to be done judiciously.  

Pro Tip:  This is much simpler in virtual meetings since we are looking straight ahead at the screen.  Just make sure your leave your camera on and it doesn’t have a wider angle, share screen is disabled and you stay muted.   

3- Work Begets Work

It’s one of the most common truths about productivity.  The more you do the more there is to do.  This begs multitasking and efficiencies.  Learn what you can get done in-tandem with something else.   Pay attention to what you can “skimp” on your time and what you can’t.  Figure out how much time tasks and projects take to download them to  your staff. Especially when adding on new responsibilities, multi-tasking is often the only way to go.

What’s Next

Go ahead, multi-task.  Just set-it up so you can be efficient in managing your time and downloading.  Institute your own quality control checks.  If you aren’t making mistakes and don’t have to go back and redo your work, you might be in an efficient multi-tasking zone.  Well done you have beat the odds!

Brain Power

My brain power can be my friend or my enemy.  Sometimes I forget to use all of my brain.  Old thinking can get me stuck down the rabbit hole.  Thinking about all the things that get in the way doesn’t help me.  I’m learning that my brain is a very sophisicated tool at my disposal to help me achieve my goals.   Jim Kwick, World renown Brain Coach tells me how to do this.  This article written for Entrepreneur reminds me to learn by un-learning resulting in boosting my brain power and helps me reach new levels. 

The number one thing to unlocking my brain power is to learn how to learn.  Kwick recommends 3 strategies to unlock your brain’s power.

1. Don’t Start with I can’t Do this

We know that setting intention and leaning into that sets the framework for success.  Start with I can do this. 

2. Un-limit Your Beliefs

Let go of the stories, narrative, beliefs, ideas that keep you small, stuck, not moving forward.  For example, instead of saying:  I have been down that road, it does not work.  Try changing your thoughts to:  Maybe the road has been repaved and has new signage.    My car runs better than it used to.   I’m stronger so I can walk further now so maybe that road will be a better route now!

3. Action Oriented Motivation

Find the smallest step you can take to change your landscape and dive in.  One small step in the right direction begets another and another.  

You can find the article in Entrepreneur:

Your Brain Is a Supercomputer. Here’s How to Reboot According to World-Renowned Brain Coach Jim Kwik.

What’s Next:

Use your brain to your advantage.  Come at learning from another angle and motivate yourself to try new ideas and pathways.  Un-learn to boost your brain power and your motivation will soar. 


Type A or B Personality?

Our personality dictates our actions.  To take it a step further it also dictates our mindset and as a result our level of satisfaction with our work and our lives.  The older and wiser I get, the more I understand the importance of knowing who I am and leaning into that.  Contentment with my choices leads to peace of mind.  When I am at peace, everything is possible.

I am a huge fan of Dr. Travis Bradberry.  I am an an even bigger Edith Wharton fan.  Her insights into human behavior and desires are both enlightening and foreboding.  Why do I mention these two impressive people in the same sentence? Read Dr. Travis Bradberry’s article and see for yourself.

9 Things Every Type B Person Wishes You Knew
Dr. Travis Bradberry | Apr 19, 2021

Can Personality Type Change?

While change is always possible it is daunting.  I have found, it is the small steps, the simple actions we take to get ourselves on track that matter.  A slight course correction every day, leads to a big change in direction.  This blog posts provides simple actions you can take to make simple course corrections How to be Zen-in-an-annoying-world.

What’s Next:  

Know who you are.  Insert your humor, empathy and some homegrown sensibility into whichever type you are.  Make small course corrections everyday.  Be kind to yourself and others.  You can’t go wrong.


The Most Important Data Source

Without reservation I can say feelings are the most important data source.  First, successful people use their gut, hunches and intuition to fuel their choices.  Columbo, MacGyver and Jessica Fletcher, all icons in their own right, show how they use their feelings as information.  As a result, their feelings inform them which steps to take, which to avoid and show them what to do next.  Secondly, Darth Vader, Harry Potter and the Charmed Women all work tirelessly to reconcile their feelings and use their emotions as their power.  

This kind of data is valuable in every aspect of my own daily operations.  Often my feelings are complex.  I use a tool called the feelings wheel to understand the origin, shades and depth of what is going on.  For me, it is all too easy to misunderstand and get sidetracked.  My emotions are often an untapped tool, a muscle that needs exercising to assist my decision making.

If you are like me, I want to rush right in.  Mellowing with age, I am slowing down. I have learned to take in information and wait, wait, wait.  And then use it.  There is less drama and more understanding.  There are much better decisions.  Learning how to harness these emotions is easier said than done.

1. Let the Feeling Happen

I, for one, do not like feelings.  They nag at me and pull my mind into a corner.  This just delays the inevitable.  I have to let the feelings happen.  Whether I like it or not.  

2. Don’t Judge.  Feel.

If you move to judgement, you are blocking a feeling.  Don’t point your finger at someone else, know that the three you have pointing back at you are indicators.  Use those feelings to tap into inner strength and foresight.

3. Name It.

Identifying an emotion and giving it a label makes it much easier to understand.  As a result, whether you like it or not, you can start to think about the actions you need to consider to get you and the situation (mostly you) under control or as I like to say, rightsized.

4. Do Something.  Just Sit There.

We are trained to rush, take action, solve the problem.  Take a step sideways and slow it down.  Take the time to really dig into your gut feelings and then formulate a plan.  Consider all angles to fully address the core issues, not just the symptoms or immediate discomfort you may be feeling. Read this blog about how your actions are seen by others.

5. Consult the Feelings Wheel.

Click here to find out about the wheel’s founding and how to use it – although once you look at it, you will know exactly what to do.  


Image result for primary and secondary emotions


What’s Next:

Use your feelings for your own good.  They are telling you valuable information.  If you can’t name it, you can’t use it.  Identify and name the emotion. It’s an untapped data source that will boost your intuition, strengthen your resolve and put you back in the driver’s seat of your interactions.  



The Trifecta of Non-Action

A trifecta refers to the ability to pick the first three finishers in a race. It’s a tough call to make. If I turn it around I can see that there is a trifecta of my thoughts that keep me from winning.  That will slow me down each time. These three phases will always keep me stuck in the problem and not seeing a situation clearly.  

If Only

This is a a very deep rabbit hole.  I can rattle off the  hundreds of decisions, circumstances and situations that could have happened and the whole story would be different.  Reality check.  If only I could stop thinking like that,  I could actually get out of my own way and deal with what is right in front of me.  The data, the facts, the choices I made and those that need to be made and I can move forward.  


Someday my ship will come in.  And today I have got to ask – what will be on that ship?  If only I knew.  See what happens, that circular thinking.  So someday is today.  Today is the day I see the situation clearly.  Today is the day I know the exact contents of that ship, it’s route, timing, and if I can trust the manifesto.   I will not go down the path of changing the data.  Whatever I know is all I know and that is the only information available to act on.  To make a decision.  To move forward. Today.


My list of WHEN is usually the longest list of all.  Perhaps it is also the most dangerous patch of quicksand.   It lets me believe that if I line everything up and do my best, it will work out exactly as I expect.  Exactly as I want.  Exactly as I need.  When I have all my ducks in a row, then all will be right in the world. 

History tells me this isn’t fact.  That it will play out differently, but I cling to “when”. Experience has shown time and time again, that it is not within my control to decide when things happen.  Circumstances change, delays ensue, unexpected field conditions occur.  We are living through the pandemic, none of us had any control and yet we had to make decisions.  Had to act.  Had to mitigate the changes. Each of us had to decide what was best for us, our business, our family. 

What’s Next:

Stay away from the trifecta.  Pay attention to your choice of words.  Our words have a significant impact on our thoughts.  When you hear yourself, that means slowing down to listen to yourself, say one of the trifecta phrases —  if only, someday,  or when, refocus your train of thought to What is the “real” information I have in hand now? What is the best decision I can make today with all of the information I have? 

Act accordingly today, not someday.  




Work is a Team Sport

Whether you like it or not work is a team sport.  I have come to learn that TEAM is the acronym for Together Everyone Annoys Me.  Work teams are the rule, not the exception.  

You cannot go it alone. Managers, Leaders, Staffers all have to balance relationships in the workplace.  

As a result, soft skills such as humility, patience and understanding are key to workplace success.  

This post discusses how I annoy my co-workers even when working hard.

How Annoying?

Short answer: It depends on the day.  Even a favorite project or meeting can get under my skin sometimes.  When I am delving deep into a project I can get hyper-focused.  Those are the days when I need to make sure I connect with others, take a break away from the screen or the team so I can resume being my charming self.

Take this quiz and see what your co-workers think of you. The results are often surprising.

What’s Next? 

Practice patience.  Everyone has a bad day.  Just remember, if everyone is annoying you, just perhaps it’s you!


My Pandemic Scorecard

Scorecards provide valuable information about where we are and where we are headed.  Almost a year ago, I posted my first blog about being in pandemic mode with a perspective on when to panic .  It was two weeks in and there was absolutely no crystal ball to tell what would come.  That’s when we thought it would be a few weeks, maybe a month.  

Now at a year later is a good time to take stock.  What have I learned? 

1. Don’t Panic 

Good advice for all issues, situations, feelings and unprecedented events.  Panic will make any situation worse. Wikipedia says::

Panic is a sudden sensation of fear, which is so strong as to dominate or prevent reason and logical thinking, replacing it with overwhelming feelings of anxiety and frantic agitation consistent with an animalistic fight-or-flight reaction.

You are not yourself or your best thinking self when you get into panic mode, so keep your wits about you. 

How did I do?  On a scale of 1-5,  with 5 being great and 1 being screwed that up – I’ll give myself a 4.  For months, I panicked when I had to leave the house or I was running out of TP (toilet paper). 

2. All Black Turtle Necks are Not Created Equally 

Steve Jobs was a Visionary.  For some reason, this is still a controversial statement.  Let me clarify here.  I think Steve Jobs was a genius because of his reliance on black turtlenecks.  Without exception, and that is saying something, they always look good on a zoom screen, or go-to-meeting or any virtual platform.  Summer is tricky, too hot for the turtleneck, but we do the best we can.

How did I do? Also a 4 out of 5.  I shifted my wardrobe and was honest with myself about the fact that all black turtlenecks are created equal.  Some fray and pill.  Others don’t hold their shape.  Many have too much material, a few, not enough.  

3. Face Masks are Our New Reality

While there are reasons to love face masks, for the most part, they are annoying, steam my glasses, get lost in the wash and make my face sweat. This post 6 Reasons to Love Face Masks, raises really good points like having an easy exit and not having strangers see your facial expressions.  Overall, its a necessary evil.

How did I do?  2 out of 5.   I started with disposable and was late to the party in terms of ordering.  I still struggle with which mask design is safe and allows me to breathe comfortably when wearing for extended time.

4.  Working at Home is Here to Stay

According to FlexJobs, remote work is here to stay:

According to Upwork, 41.8% of the American workforce continues to work remotely. Although an estimated 26.7% will still be working from home through 2021, 36.2 million Americans (22% of the workforce) will be working remotely by 2025. This is a staggering 87% increase from the number of remote workers prior to the pandemic!

How did I do?  This note to self about working at home still rings true.  I’ll give myself a 5 out of 5!

5. Even Zoom Meetings Can Get Backed-Up 

It seems like we have less time to get anything done.  You can only be on one meeting at a time.  I have found that using breakout groups, tools like Slack and logging on with my phone to one meeting and my computer with another can change the playing field.  It can also make me a little scattered.  So while we are at home, it is still a balancing act to carve out time for myself.

How did I do?  Those of you who know me, know that when I use a rating scale of 1 through 5 – I do not allow 3 – it’s middle of the road and  non-committal.  Rules were made to be broken and I am rating myself a solid 3 here.  I can do better, I could also do worse. 

What’s  Next:

Assess where you have been.  Be honest about what you want to do better.  Celebrate small victories.  Enjoy our new reality.  Who knows what will be next?

Fear Move or Career Move?

Is it time for a career move?  What’s on the other side of that decision?  Even if the door is wide open, it is not always evident what you will encounter on the other side.  We vacillate back and forth about our choice.  Our decision.  Stay or go through?  Go through or stay?  I’ve learned to ask myself this question.  It always brings clarity:  

Am I making this decision from a place of fear or career? 

Fear Move

A fear move is out of fear.  You are thinking along the lines of, no one else will hire me, I haven’t found anything better, I am running low on funds and mom/dad aren’t paying the rent anymore. This sounds interesting, how bad can it be?

Career Move 

A career move is a decision to do what you want in life.  This is a “HOPE” move.  To go to a job that you mostly like what you do, who you do it with, and how you want to spend your everyday, which adds up to your life.  A career move is when you ask yourself, will this make me happy?  Is this where and who I want to be?  It is your HOPE for your future.  For who you want to be.  I’m stopping now for dramatic pause.

Top 5 Career Move Reasons

Indeed research  (2019) shows that “earning more money” is only one of five main reasons individuals make career moves.  Remember this study is BC-19 (before Covid19).  

Indeed chart

Don’t be discouraged, there is new data on the horizon. 

A recent Forbes post made the argument why this is the time to make a career change.   We all know that our priorities are sharper, we want true relevance and purpose in our lives and remote work will be a reality for almost 35% of existing work places.  So the core of the question is:  What will make me happy? 

Why Work Matters

The temptation is to say, I wish I didn’t have to work.  It’s easy to think if I didn’t have to work I’d be happy.   Ask any recent retiree, it’s not a slam dunk.  And statistics prove that.  Being of purpose and relevance are key human motivators.  So it begs the questions: What type of work will make me happy?  Start with figuring out if you are skills or mission focused.

Skills Driven

Do you like the daily tasks, role and all systems that come with it?  That’s why some managers are so versatile.  They like the role regardless of mission, content and specific industry.  My daughter loves to organize, make charts, train and project manage.  These are the daily tasks that engage her.  It is less important to her where does it.  Whether at a big law firm, a start-up or at Starbucks.

Mission Driven

Whether you love financial analyses or serving the homeless, you care about what the “Why” is of the organization and how it relates to your values.   Pro Tip – I have found there is a very wide swing here to find your niche and do it across multiple sectors.  Core to my soul as a social worker, I want to help people be financially independent.  From teaching job hunt classes, to entrepreneurial start-ups I don’t care if I’m writing reports, working with people or raising money, I love that mission and everything that comes with it.  

What’s Next

Delve closely into your “honest” motives when you are ready to seek a change.  Make sure you notice what opportunity looks like when it’s knocking at your door.  Ask yourself “Is it a career move or a fear move?”

Last Day on Earth?

Older and wiser, I am often asked to give advice about what I have learned.  That’s quite a loaded question, even for me who is extremely opinionated and can analyze anything ad nauseum.  Life has thrown me many curve balls and I have finally learned what I needed to know.  How and where to tell my truth is another story. 

Everyone is talking about what has changed for them.  New self-awareness due to Covid isolation, boredom and fear has clarified many of life’s murky questions.  Then again, entering my sixth decade of life deserves introspection.   

Last night at the Boston Speaks event, Live Words  I answered this question:

What Life Lesson Would You Share If Tomorrow Was Your Last Day On Earth?

Several speakers answered the question .  My lessons start at the mark of 49:27 on this recording of the event.

Or you can listen to the voice recording. 

The beginning is cut off so if you listen please read this sentence first.

Enter the scene:  It’s a rainy cold day in NYC, trying to get uptown and finally on the subway platform that is five people deep, everyone soggy and wet waiting for the train… 

What’s Next:

Be kind.  Be audacious.  Stake your claim.  Know that you are enough.  Actually you more than enough.

Everyone is Anxious and That’s Annoying

No doubt we are all anxious.  The constant news cycle, pandemic cases rising, personal losses mounting.  It is very tough times.  And then the constant low level anxiety that permeates our day and thoughts:

How do I get through all of my virtual meetings, emails, social media posts and phone calls?

How Does Anxiety Show-up at Work?

One of my most popular blog posts was How Does Anxiety Show-up at Work?   Many of you wrote me that you value the perspective of  understanding why anxiety filled employees act the way do.  

Writer Katie Holmes reached out to add more value to the story.  Katie spent the last couple of weeks writing a new piece on how to combat anxiety.  Compiling some fantastic submissions from 22 different mental health professionals (and others).  

 Here is some of the actionable, practical advice in her article 

  • Helping others through their anxiety can help you deal with your own issues
  • Take your thoughts to court, consider actionable steps you can take to remedy the worry, and be mindful in everything you do so you’re not obsessing over your worries all the time
  • Decide on your desired state and rehearse it
  • Deep breathing exercises, acupressure, exercising and visualizing throwing your worries away
  • Consider an activity that will get you out of the house and have some interaction with people
  • Realize you’re not alone, and seek help

What’s Next

Find your own best practice to reduce your anxiety.  When you “right-size” yourself,  as a leader you will help others calm themselves and show up with their best intent.





Tackle Simpler This Year

The holiday season is here.  If you are like me, New Years comes fast.  Resolutions remind me of past promises not kept.  I know I am not  alone. Wanting a simpler life is a good goal.  Forbes reports less than 25% of people follow through on New Years resolutions by years end.  In 2021, find a simpler, kinder way to approach your vices, problems and the unexpected situations that throw you out of whack.

Statistically speaking New Years resolutions have dreary outcomes.  CNN reports that only 40% who set resolutions will be successful 6 months into the year.  In 2018 there were nearly 327.2 million Americans – that means 196,320,000 people in America will fail.  I know you have the GRRR to get it done.

I propose the approach to a Simpler Life with 7 ways to deal with life’s ups and downs. Try to be SIMPLER this Year!  

S – Solution

Stay in the solution, not the problem.  Of course this is not new 2020 advice.   However, this time, instead of continuing to gather facts, anecdotes and scenarios about what happened, work towards accepting the situation. If you stop explaining what happened and recognize it did happen, you are multi-more times ready to find the solution.  A good trick is to think about what you would say to someone else in this situation.  We all know how to advise friends, family, and colleagues on their problems.  Give yourself the best advice of acceptance and move to solutionizing.  How you can approach the situation, regardless if it’s a good or bad problem to have, to keep it drama free.

I – Illuminate

Light the way with choices that are thoughtful.  Open up your world instead of making it smaller.  Don’t just put a Band-Aid on a problem, do some surgery if that’s what it takes so it can heal properly.  It’s eaiser to do it right once, than to have to keep going back and fixing it again and again.  Be playful with how you approach the situation.  Shine some light instead of keeping it dark.  

M – Manageable

Make it manageable.  Step-by-step we can climb any staircase.  Break it down into digestible pieces that are achievable.  Be realistic.  How much can you really accomplish in any given day?  Do you know the value of your financial runway?  Are you being  honest about your resources and support?

P – Paths

Follow it through to the end of the path.  In terms of finding the solution, as my dear friend Kathy says: “Play it though to the credits.” Does the path flow smoothly or are there large gaping holes along the way?  If so, go back to the illuminating solutions and make them manageable.

L – Learn

No matter how smart you are, you are at a place you have never been before.  This time, this age, this set of issues, although eerily familiar, this is still the first time you have been here.   If you climb Mt. Everest, no matter how hard you train, how many simulations you run, at some point, you have climbed further than you ever have and that is a new situation.  Remember it’s new to you.  Approaching each task or situation with a learning attitude changes your internal dynamic and frees you up to try new methods.  

E- Easy

Easy does it.  Simple is not always easy. Slow down.  Rushing won’t help.   Although we can be in situations where hours, even minutes matter, try to step away and slow it down.  Going easy will change your perspective drastically.

R – Rationally

Start with common sense.  Think with your feet on the ground.  A good litmus test to take is see if you can explain it to a 10-year old (mind you kids are smart these days and have resources….).  If you can’t explain it, then it is probably not rational yet.  Try again, you’ll get there.

What’s Next:

Reach for a Simpler Life in 2021.  Use the Simpler Method to make your life more manageable.  Be part of the 40% that sets intentions and realizes them.  (Notice the change in my wording, no use of goals or resolutions.)  Come with me on the journey of advocating for a simpler and  kinder way of living.  Happy New Year 2021 – May we all have what we need, when we need it, and then some!






Tell It Loud & Proud

What an experience to be one of the story tellers chosen by the Academy of Music Theatre and New England Public Radio in Season 6 of the Valley Voices Story Slam series!

The Rules are Clear and Simple

True stories told live without notes.  Hear some outrageous, funny and heartwarming true stories told in five minutes by your friends and neighbors from around the valley. The audience picks the winner, and a storytelling star is born! 

Reflections of my Personal Experience

I remember wanting to win.  I remember losing.  I remember being scared of a new experience.  I remember working hard to lean into that experience.  To feel the feelings and move forward.  To believe in myself.  My words.  My ability to show up.  To connect to others.  To be of service with a smile, a wave, a kind word.  I remember sharing my story and being embarrassed.  I remember sharing my story and owning it.  Showing a part of me to the world that I never have before.  To be vulnerable.  To stand and be judged.  And then, not to judge myself.  

Video Live Stream of “Around the Block” on November 5th, 2020

If you want to hear my original real story go to the 101.36 mark.

What’s Next:  

Tell your story loud and proud!  I’m listening.

Stay Agile

Being Agile in an agile world is no easy feat.  Are you project management agile?

Below is a quick “cheat sheet” on the fundamental principles of being agile taken from project management to guide your efforts.  It covers the top 10 most popular agile project management software tools – totally applicable to all business and personal challenges.  

The 12 Fundamental Principles of Agile

Published by DPM, this read is a well-researched and thought-out article citing nearly 25 different sources.   Any of you interested in agile project management methodologies will find this a useful addition to your tool kit.  You can read it on the digital project
In addition, it provides a lot of useful background, including the 5 key components, and methodologies such as lean and scrum.  Good buzz words to know in this day.  

Memory and Agility

Secondly, you can also read a post of mine on Minutes are the Memory that summarizes useful information about getting your team on the same page.  The article includes a link to an article on minute taking in Business Management Daily

What’s Next:

Remember the old adage.  Jack be nimble.  Jack be quick.  Jack jump over the candlestick.  Use these agile principles to jump over any obstacles on your path to success.  


One Thing

If there was one thing you could do to make your life easier, would you do it?  Would you take one simple act to make your day smooth sailing?  As a result would you feel better?  Would those around you notice?  

Let’s hedge our bets and say, I want to.  Often I am just not motivated. Even for a small task.  Or I get too busy.  And then it becomes complicated. 

Next, I rationalize and say I’ll start tomorrow.  Tomorrow will be the day.  This post gives guidance on how to simplify – Tackle Simpler This Year.

Today is that tomorrow. 

Just for today, I will follow this advice.  I will do one simple thing to make my life easier.  Imagine if we all did  just that.  Anxiety, tension, would start to slip away.  Compassion and kindness would enter.  If one of us does better, we all do better.  

For instance, you could try this very actionable advice in this short read posted on Lifehack about one simple thing.

What’s Next: 

Take one simple action today.  You will feel accomplished.  Those around you will notice and be inspired to do the same. 

Are These Unprecedented Times?

The only constant is change.   Said by Heraclitus (Greek Philosopher)

We say it.  We read it.  We meme it.  But do we mean it?

I have lived through the JFK assassination.  When I started to drive, there were gas shortages and lines.  Y2K (computers implode at the turn of the century) didn’t scare me off .   I survived 9-11 working downtown and taking the subway. And now COVID-19.   I grew up without cell phones or bike helmets or GPS or Alexa. 

The business cycle is always changing.  Sometimes more obviously than others.   

No, these are not unprecedented times.  We are navigating new roads.  Many way off the map road and very raw.  Every generation has had their cross to bear.  My parents lived through war and bread lines.   Their parents escaped Nazi Germany.  Yes, it is hard and trying and troubling.  There are also gifts. Going back to basics.  Simplicity.  Connection to those we love.  The quintessential pivot (over used but so apropos).   

Simon Sinek’s  words always nail what I am thinking and feeling.  It’s a good 6 minute listen.  

What’s Next:

Adapt.  Change.  Learn.  Be part of the solution.  Don’t complain. Rise to the occasion.  Make each day count.   Evolve your business and thrive.

Management Lessons From My Smart Phone

I want an explosion!  Not in real life of course. On my handheld in a video game.  It makes me smile when like items line up and explode, disintegrate and fly off the page.  Then the cartoon power graphics virtually pat me on the back: Well Done!  Great Job!  You Win! 

It doesn’t matter if I am playing Spades, Cookie Jam, Charm King, Two Dots or Sniper.  Three of a kind is good, four even better and five will give me a slice of rainbow cake.  I love rainbow cake. 

And then what was working for me starts working against me.  If I get four of a kind, I miss the one piece that is hard to get.  I try harder.  I have to think if I should sacrifice that one play for a longer term goal.  And then I see it, my pattern.  I take that bait every time.  I can’t sit on it or wait.  Patience is not one of my virtues. 

This is where the applicability of video game strategy dovetails with my habits as a C-suite manager.  Let’s take a lesson from employers who hire athletes.  Read this article in to why kids who play sports do better in life.

Consequently, I would like to make the argument that since athleticism is directly correlated to high work performance, those of us who are mental athletes also qualify as fierce competitors.  By extension, it follows that causal gamers also fall firmly into the camp that competition makes you more successful at work:    

Even though this is a “tongue and cheek” analysis, you will recognize many truths:

1.  Persevere

Experience counts.  The ability to work through pain and discomfort and go the distance is the goal.  For example, when the lights are green and there are no pot holes, everyone is a good driver.  On the other hand, when the trees are down and it’s raining and slick that’s when we can tell the amateurs from the professionals.  Then, the game turns south, but you keep going, because you know there will be a turning point.  It will work.  You will make it happen.  

2. Excel at Time Management

Gaming can be a vortex.  However, it can also calm and free you to get going.   Therefore, use your game time to sharpen your focus and increase your adrenaline levels to concentrate and get right to work.  Get done what needs to get done.  

3. Learn from Failures

I am a slow learner.  I don’t always catch on right away.  One of the biggest lessons I have learned from my games is that sometimes the action happens away from the action.  I fail if I stay right in the thick of it.  Right in the middle.  When I step aside and look at the whole picture, not just the action, the picture changes and I get a much broader view.  When I fail, I need to make my view bigger not smaller.  

4. Know the Rules of the Game

Know the rules to bend the rules.   Use the rules to your advantage.  As a result you will have power-up options and intuitively them as necessary.   Use accountability as an asset to benefit your end goal.  

5. Use Your Weakness

You can handle criticism.  You can pivot and know how to work around areas that trip you up every time.  Recognize the pattern and change it. 

What’s Next:

Learn the lessons.  Look around you.  Sacrifice the short-term, “4 in a row” win  for a long-time strategic victory that explodes your success.


Coloring Colors Everything

We all do it.  Color, doodle, scribble and jot on whatever is around.  Meeting agendas, back of envelopes, junk mail.  It’s natural.  Do you know why we do it?  It feels good.   And according to the The website Colorit, it’s good for you too!

  1. Your brain experiences relief by entering a meditative state
  2. Stress and anxiety levels have the potential to be lowered
  3. Negative thoughts are expelled as you take in positivity
  4. Focusing on the present helps you achieve mindfulness
  5. Unplugging from technology promotes creation over consumption
  6. Coloring can be done by anyone, not just artists or creative types
  7. It’s a hobby that can be taken with you wherever you go

Read the whole article by clicking here for the benefits of coloring for adults.

So why is it important for leaders, managers and well, anyone in the workforce to spend time coloring?

According to Gresham Harkless Jr., Media Consultant and founder of CB Nation:

Studies have shown that adult coloring can reduce stress, increase motor skills, improve sleep, improve focus and help with relaxation.  With the disruption and change happening in our world, I hope this is something that helps.

Gresh’s Special Brand of Advice Includes:    

CEO Coloring Book

  • Keep your Cup Full
  • Be the Change You Wish to See in the World
  • Everyone Wants to be a Beast Until it’s Time to Do What Beasts Do
  • The Name of the Game is Being Found
  • The Darkest Nights Produce the Brightest Stars

Listen to my podcast with Gresh on Humor in the Workplace by clicking this link.   

You can find Gresham at:

What’s Next:

Grab a pen and some paper and purposefully doodle.  See where it takes you.  It will change the way you look at what’s in front of you.  


Like Yesterday

I remember 9-11 like yesterday.   The shaking ground.  The burning falling sky.  The smell of death and destruction. I remember being evacuated form the 21st floor only a block away from the falling towers.  I walked with thousands of others, in silence, in fear uptown.  With no cell service, no idea of what was going on and not knowing if I and those I loved would survive.

I remember the weeks and months and years after.  Rebuilding, reinforcing, making stronger.

Now I know that it was not an ending but a beginning.  Of finding my resiliency and my community. Of remembering to live for the day and prepare for tomorrow.  Of honoring whatever life throws at me and finding the courage to throw some stuff right back.

What’s Next:

We never know.  And yet we persevere.  Go forth and be audacious.  

WATCH: NYC, Nation Mark 19 Years Since 9/11 Attacks as Pandemic Alters Traditions

What Are You Doing In Virtual Meetings?

What are you doing during your virtual meetings?   For me, it depends on the meeting.   And my mood.  Let’s be honest, in or out of the office setting, my moods still show up.  How do I show up regardless?  Zippa based in San Francisco polled 2,000 workers and found out.  

What are people doing during on-line meetings? The answer is:  It depends more on your geography than your defined organizational role.

1.  Cleaning out the Inbox.   

Truth be told, I am guilty of this one.  And why not?  My inbox is always overflowing.  The trick is not to email the people in the meeting so they know for sure that you are not paying attention.  There are times you are expected to find documents and emails during the meeting, but not all the time.   

2.  Snacking.

Managing annoying people, you would be surprised how often team members complain about someone chewing loudly or bringing a smelly meal.  Now virtually you cannot smell the food, although all your movements, including chewing are very obvious.  Carrots are always a good snacking choice albeit not on line where you chew, chew, chew.

3.  Doing Chores.

We are all have a little ADD (attention deficit disorder) and when we think about something, want to, or feel the need to get it done.  Think twice before moving around.  If it is in your culture, put your video on hidden.  If not, learn how to sit still and do your chores after.   Remember, when it’s your turn to present and show-up you want everyone to pay attention to you.  Honor your workmates and do the same. 

What’s Next:

Decide how you want to show up and be that person.  Don’t move around too much and make it obvious that you are not engaged. Pick what matters and what doesn’t.  Prepare snacks before and keep handy.  Pay attention, you don’t want to miss something important. 

Entrepreneurial Journey: Berkshire Camino

Work is a team sport.  As a result, we all need others to launch, grow and succeed.  It it is an honor to be an EforAll Mentor. You can find out more about this great program by clicking this link. 

The key job of an entrepreneurial mentor is to spur economic development by providing direct assistance to business owners helping them prosper. 

It is a lot of fun (seriously) to work with the EforAll Model.  It has been an even greater honor to be a mentor to Mindy Miraglia, Founder/CEO of Berkshire Camino. Check out Berkshire Camino’s brand new youtube channel.

This is a success story I am eager to share.  You can meet Berkshire Camino through this website link.

Being a mentor is powerful.  It lets me shine my light on others and helps them to grow prosper and impact our world. 

1- Help Entrepreneurs to Step into Their Power

Being a leader takes experience.  Yes, innate skills and abilities help, but the true test comes in time of decisions, upheaval and emotional choices.  Be there for a newbie, show them their own conviction.  Help them to own their decisions, choices and use their intuition as a compass.

2- Use the Corners of Your Brain

Each of our experiences are varied.  Sometimes we wonder if it is relevant.  If you have these questions, become a mentor.  It’s a great reminder of how universal business skills are and how all the lessons we learned can be passed on to a ready audience who are eager to learn from us.

3-  New and Exciting Ideas

The business world is changing faster than ever.  New on-line business models, social distancing requirements and state mandates drive business operations and costs in unprecedented ways.  Watching an entrepreneur’s idea unfold, evolve and become is a powerful experience.  An experience not to miss.

4- Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Comfortable with spreadsheets, contracts and business strategy, working with Mindy, it was imperative I got to know her product.  Witness, me and fellow mentor Paul, wading through a river on a Camino walk.   Way out of my comfort zone.  Way fun!

Watch Me Crossing the River – it’s a movie

5- Take Your Own Berkshire Camino Walk  (Use this Discount Code)

Go ahead, make an entrepreneur’s day.  Use this 15% Discount Code – AlignedCamino2020 to book at book now.

Introducing Berkshire Camino

Guided half-day walks with a facilitated experience invites guests to go on a journey.

Each Berkshire Camino is a mini-pilgrimage taking you on a tangible and metaphorical journey. We walk with an intention, exploring nature with curiosity.  We let go of anything that is weighing on our hearts and minds. At various stages of the journey we walk in silence to go inward.  At other times the group chats playfully. Guests tell us they feel grounded, connected and resolved about some aspect of their lives after a Berkshire Camino walk.


Berkshire Camino is easy, safe and engaging.  Take a walking pilgrimage in the Berkshires.

  • Walking in a small group provides safety, making it ideal for solo travelers who don’t know where to hike as well as local Berkshire residents seeking something new and unique to do in their own backyards.

  • Locally curated walking itineraries you won’t find in a guide book or App.

  • Shuttle transportation from town centers to the route’s starting location. This enables us to take a linear, point A to point B walk, relieves trailhead parking congestion, and allows guests to explore the town center where the tour ends on their own or with other tour guests.

  • Our guides are warm, friendly and compassionate souls who are skilled in facilitating a group experience that fosters connection among guests.

  • Tours are staffed by at least one guide per tour who is CPR and first aid certified and carries a first aid kit and back up water.

  • Berkshire Camino LLC is insured and Covid safety compliant for your confidence and safety.

  • All you need to do is sign up and show up. Be open-minded and willing to reconnect to yourself, others, nature and spirit.

What’s Next:

Check out the Berkshire Camino Website.  Tell a friend about it.  Help an entrepreneur, help yourself and help our economy grow.  


The Ultimate Tool

Agility matters.  Your ability to pivot and unlock the “potential of you” is critical at all life stages.  Inspired by a conversation at the DLE leadership Program. You can check out the DLE Hub and see great programs and advice to own your career.  This blog is inspired by a DLE breakfast meeting with former NFL player Watch the Breakfast Club With Derrell Smith.  Derrell spoke about entrepreneurship and said “Everyone needs a swiss army knife!”  I couldn’t agree more.  Build your toolbox with basic tools that are multifunctional, useful and can spring into action for any situation that comes your way.  This includes your team, your value proposition and your approach to getting the job done.

1. Work Hard

There is no substitute for a basic ethic of hard work.  Just put it on YouTube.  Just get it out there.  Those of us building businesses know that it is easier said than done.  There are no shortcuts to success.  Hard work is mandatory.  I love this quote by Samuel Goldwyn, the film producer

The harder I work the luckier I get.

2. Take Every Opportunity

Set aside what you know and try opportunities that come your way.  Yes you need a strategic approach, but sometimes that approach is about trying different messages, angles, delivery vehicles, venues, any thing that gets your craft and message out there.  Each step sets the journey, eventually you will know which steps to skip and which to dive into.  

3. Faith is Mandatory

You got to believe.  Believe in yourself.  what you do.  The value you bring to the world.  To the work.  To your team.  If you do not believe in what you are doing, how can anyone else get behind your mission, your purpose.

4.  Emulate You

Build your team with people who think, believe and understand your vision.  That may get annoying, so remember to get the Handbook on Managing Annoying People written by yours truly.

5. Be Mission Based 

Follow your why.  Be able to talk about your why with passion and purpose.  As popularized by Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk on Why.

6.  Market to the Fatal Flaw

Don’t hide who you are and what can and will go wrong.  Be truthful and honest and show-up as your authentic self with all of your vulnerability and warts. 

7.  Failure is part of success

Another favorite quote from Mark Twain:

Wisdom comes from experience.  And experience comes from bad decisions.

No one succeeds without setbacks, mistakes, and misgivings.  It’s the moving forward and continue to believing that moves the needle and your success.

What’s Next:

Make sure you have a current toolbox.  Keep your best tools at the quick, sharp and ready.  You never know when you will need to pivot.  Get LinkedIn with Derrell Smith.



Feelings = Decision Making Tools

Finally we are talking about feelings, emotions and mental health in the workplace.  Be smarter than the average bear and use the feelings wheel to understand the origin, shades and depth of what you are feeling. In a digital remote environment it is all too easy to misunderstand the intent and get sidetracked.  Your emotions are an untapped tool, that you can hone to serve your decision making abilities.

Don’t Judge.  Feel.

If you move to judgement, you are blocking a feeling.  Don’t point your finger at someone else, know that the three you have pointing back at you are indicators.  Use those feelings to tap into inner strength and foresight.

Name It.

Identifying an emotion and giving it a label makes it much easier to understand.  Once you understand, whether you like it or not, you can start to think about the actions you need to consider to get you and the situation (mostly you) under control or as I like to say, rightsized.

Do Something.  Just Sit There.

We are trained to rush, take action, solve the problem.  Take a step sideways and slow it down.  Take the time to really dig into your gut feelings and then formulate a plan.  Consider all angles to fully address the core issues, not just the symptoms or immediate discomfort you may be feeling. Read this blog about how your actions are seen by others.

Consult the Feelings Wheel.

Click here to find out about the wheel’s founding and how to use it – although once you look at it, you will know exactly what to do.  


Image result for primary and secondary emotions


What’s Next:

If you can’t name it, you can’t use it.  Identify and name the emotion. It’s an untapped data source that will boost your intuition, strengthen your resolve and put you back in the driver’s seat of your interactions.  

6 Reasons to Love Face Masks

How we embrace change says a lot about who we are. Face masks are now a given in everyday life.  How we choose to protect ourselves and others and live those beliefs shows who we are.   I choose to embrace facemasks and with that comes the responsibility of choosing my fashion accessory wisely for each day, occasion and the weather.  

Check out my blog on Sixty & Me and see what women all over the world are saying about their facemasks!

6 Reasons to Love Face Masks – Besides the Obvious

What’s Next:

There are many unintended consequences from a pandemic, you can read about the by-products of a pandemic here. First, stop complaining and plan your facemask wardrobe.

Managing Morale Killers

Morale is the level of enthusiasm, belief and investment in a person or group at a point in time that shows committment.  It is embedded in workplace culture.  In other words, it is one of those intangibles that makes the difference between an easy and a hard day; a good and a great job; and results and real success. 

There is no doubt that workplace morale has been hit hard these past few months.  One thing about a pandemic – any crack in the veneer; any issue that was festering or unresolved will thrive in a crisis.  However, if the process is not working, it becomes so much apparent when priorities shift and office operations change (such as during a pandemic).  

No need for me to reinvent the wheel.  Dr. Travis Bradberry hones right in on these pitfalls in his LinkedIn post, Six Things that Kill Morale.  Dr. Bradberry calls em like he sees them, finds the “how” to make it work and breaks it down into simple manageable bites.    

Basics Hold True

Your morale impacts your team and then your entire workplace.  Read this blog on how to stay happy while working. As a result, especially when we are not working together face-to-face understanding morale takes on new significance. Follow Dr. Bradberry’s advice and you and your team will be better for it.

What’s Next

Basics work at all times.  Keep them in mind and you will keep your team productive. You may even need a personal reminder.  Make space for down-time and do something that puts a smile on your face.  Your morale will sky rocket.  

Why Laugh Out Loud (LOL)?

Admit it. We all LOL, even though we hate the term.  When we find ourselves actually laughing out loud it feels good.  Laughter produces an immediate major positive impact on our entire well being.  And the effect lasts. 

Popularized in 1989, “LOL” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2011. Does this mean it’s acceptable in Scrabble or Bananagrams?  In my family that’s still a major debate (LOL).  What is clear however, is that in times of stress, emotional duress and uncertainty, laughter really is the best medicine.  

Benefits of Laughing

This quick read highlights the positive impact of laughing; it’s relaxing; boosts the immune system; protects the heart and even burns calories!

Why Memes?

Axioms, like memes, touch on truths. Therefore, we tend to overlook their importance.   Memes do it in very tiny space. Memes get right to the heart of the matter.   Today with more pop culture references than ever before it is crucial to understand the what people are actually saying.  This article in Forbes is a great quick read on Why-understanding-memes-and-internet-humor-is-important-to-grasping-what-people-are-really-saying-in-2020.

Humor as Character Strength

The ultimate understanding of any problem is turning it into comedy, therefore beging able to laugh about it.  Recently, more studies and articles have surfaced espousing the impact of laughter.  In this article – Humor as a character strength is revealed.

…only in recent decades has experimental psychology respected it as an essential, fundamental human behavior

Janet M. Gibson
Professor of Cognitive Psychology, Grinnell College


Humor in the Workplace

Above all laughter keeps it interesting.  I have been on the human bandwagon for sometime now.  You can read this blog on humor in the workplace and my interview on I am CEO Podcast.


What’s Next:

Times are serious.  Find something to laugh about.  A real deep belly laugh. Gain perspective and resiliency.  You will be more human.  


Byproducts of a Pandemic

Let’s talk about pandemic byproducts.  I have been a Zoom customer for years (thanks to Vistage) and was quite comfortable transitioning to work at home.  Although I never thought of investing in Zoom as a company, it was still a boost to know the technology and how to use it before Zoom became a household name.  No one ever really plans for a pandemic. And yet – byproducts and unintended consequences abound and will impact our lives for years to come.

The Curb Cut Effect

Another byproduct example is highlighted by nonprofit humorist Vu Le in his nonprofitaf blog.  Vu highlights the curb cut effect and social inclusion.  It took a movement by disability advocates to get curb cuts and now everyone benefits, not just the disability community – those pushing strollers, anyone schlepping a suitcase, or riding a bike.  You never know how a small change or action can help a much wider pool of people.  You can read about the Curb-Cut Effect in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

When the wall of exclusion came down, everybody benefited—not only people in wheelchairs.

Stanford Social Innovation Review


Rooms by the Hour Innovation

This article in the New York Times (NYT) really nails the issue of solutions that exist for problems we didn’t even know we had.  Need a room by the hour?  Not for that, for peace and quiet, there is an app for that. During a pandemic -quiet space that was affordable and felt trustworthy became a need and Globe was ready to fill it.

An Oldie but Goodie from the Race to Space – Camera Phones

In the 1990s, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory invented a light, miniature imaging system that required little energy in order to take high quality photographs from space. This technology has become standard in cell phone and computer cameras.  You can read about all the inventions including scratch-proof lenses here.  So I personally have NASA to thank for the extra memory needed on my phone to house 24,865 pictures, I am not joking.

What’s Next:

As the world re-opens what will we need now?  As we un-cocoon, it’s a good time to think about what can we use to make our lives easier?  What is your Globe?  Where do you need a curb cut?  What new products will you bring into your life?

Join the NPC of the Berkshires Virtual Summitt

This is your personal invite to join the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires Virtual Summit – on Nonprofit sustainability.  

Over my almost 40 year career  I have been a champion of nonprofit organizations – focused on sustainability, nimbleness and responsiveness.  The NPC’s Executive Director, Liana Toscanini, and the Marketing Manager, Elizabeth Stone, bring this vision to life everyday.  As a Board Member it’s an honor to work with this talented team and be part of this purposeful organization.  We have over 150 members (serve many more) and champion the needs of the non-profits in the Berkshires employing 25% of the workforce in our county.  A very sizeable impact!

We focus on capacity building, sustainability, bringing resources and inspiration to our sector.

A quick 2+ hours north from NYC and Boston, Berkshire County is one of the country’s premier arts and nature regions with an impressive collection of cultural and historic sights.  Not as evident to visitors and second home owners is the impressive network of non-profits who keep the ecosystem humming all year long.  

What’s Next

Investing in the nonprofits by community building is more important than ever.  Come meet our heros at the Annual Awards Ceremony.  Hear from our leaders and connect to a very vibrant community.  

Please join us.  

Virtual Nonprofit Sustainability Summit

Our line up includes:

Keynote by Maria Sirois, Psy.D. on Resiliency

Fireside chat with Blogger Vu Le

Linda Dulye Community Builder with GenXers


Managing Annoying ME

Forget co-workers, family, friends and neighbors.  How do you keep out of your own way when you are with yourself 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and going for at least another 4 weeks?  Being able to get out of your own way is an art in any time and place.  Understanding your patterns, your destructive or non-healthy tendencies.  Being in social isolation in a pandemic makes it even harder.   Now is the time to practice how to get out of your own way.

Just Stop

My friend Kathy, a school social worker works with acting out kids.  Lliterally when a student is in the middle of an episode, she holds up a picture of a stop sign.  And it works.  She suggests I keep a mental picture at the ready for when I am digging deep into my rabbit hole about what I could or should have done or playing a conversation over and over in my head, hoping it will turn out differently.   Stop.  Count to three, accelerate slowly.  I never get a ticket when I follow that advice.  It gets me out of my own way, everytime.

Remove What Doesn’t Work

So many of my patterns, are just that, old patterns. Long honed reactions to situations that no longer really address the situation or give me the outcome I desire.  Why do I keep repeating those old behaviors?  Laziness, comfort, convivence, all keep me stuck.  We all know a good definition for insanity is repeating the same behavior over and over again and expecting a different result.  The universe has given pretty clear signage that it is time to turn inward and stay still. I don’t spend lots of time on the phone.  I enjoy the activities I engage in, be it work, volunteering, chores or self-care.  And I write.  I like writing.  That takes away all of the annoying interactions that previously ruled my day and made me annoying. Click here to read this blog post about quitting behaviors that don’t work.

Channel Yoda – Don’t think.  Do.

When there is something I need to get done, I get it done.  Keeping the big picture in focus, letting go of all the details, choices and noises that can get in my way.  I keep it simple.  I get up, move a muscle, change my thoughts and get done what needs getting done. No more hemming and hawing.  What a relief. The noise in my head mch more manageable. No worrying about what I have to do.  No lists, just taking care of business.  

Let Go.  Repeat.  Let Go More.

When did stuff become so important? Stopping to annoy myself means keeping things simple.  Just what I need, when I need it.  Using all the can I have stocked-up over the years, the make-up samples, the gifts I’ve never used, the clothes I was waiting to wear for a special occassion.  Well today is a special occasion.  I am showing up for my own life.  I am healthy, able and in the game.  What else do I need? 

Schedule Self-Reviews

So much advice during this time about care, gratitude, thankfulness.  Best advice says, schedule this time.  Make time at the end of the day to review what worked, what didn’t.  If something is still going round and round in your head, that’s a sign to nip it in the bud, to stop annoying yourself and others.  Be honest and true to yourself.

What’s Next

Stop sabotaging and annoying yourself with behaviors and patterns that don’t work.  Simplify your days and get done what needs to get done.  Say what needs saying.  Kick back and relax.  The universe is demanding it

Keep a Smile in a Drawer

During a crisis find time to smile instead of the natural inclination to worry, hunker down and get serious.   We all need a pressure valve to release these intense feelings.  Stefanie Johnson, Founder/ CEO of SwapIt, has made her life’s mission to have women look and feel their best. Finding joy is critical to feeling good.  The unknown and unfamiliar breed fear, making it all more important to take time to celebrate the small things and get smiling.  

The Smile is a “Free” Tool 

No special equipment, planning or monthly price to be paid.   I am a big fan of the smile to change the dynamics in any situation.  You can read abou the smile as a great life hack clicking this link.  No preparation needed.  Always at the ready.  Leo Widrich the co-founder of Buffer says: 

Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure-inducer, cannot match.

Stack the Odds in Your Favor

Placing small fun items in unexpected places will make you smile.  Hide a finger puppet on your bookshelf, put a wind-up toy on your desk, place a favorite item in your drawer so you see it every time you open it.  Purposefully placing unexpected items where they might not belong will increase your chances of smiling.   

Its Not Selfish to Enjoy

Watch the interview.  It will make you smile when you see some of my favorite things.

What’s Next: 

Find several small items that make you smile.  Put them where you are sure to see them several times a times a day.  Smile unexpectedly and find joy.  Check out SwapIt on their Website,  Facebook and Instagram.  

Working at Home: Note to Self

Working at home is an adjustment all on its own.  Not as easy as it looks folks.  Must create boundaries, routine, systems and have reliable equipment.   Layer on social distancing and it’s a whole other “game of thrones”.

I’d like to share these valuable lessons I’ve learned in a short-time. I never saw them coming.  I hope you can relate.

1. Avoid Crashing Your Computer in a Pandemic

While it’s never a good time to install an update or lose your data; sometimes are worse than others.  Especially outside of a large urban area.  After my laptop slipped so gently and gracefully off the coach (where else would I be emailing from – my desk or breakfast bar?).  It was not a quick fix with the entire world working remotely.  No inventory for 50 miles around.  Silver linings playbook, someone gave me a loaner and my new laptop arrives in 4 days, from QVC.  And you thought I was going to say Amazon.  Better yet, six payments and no interest.  No pain, best price on the dark web.  That brings us to note number 2.

2. Clean House

At home 24 x 7 for 2 weeks now, surrounded by everything I own, I realize, if I don’t like it, I don’t use it.  Did I mention my new computer is rose pink, its pretty.  Thanks Lenovo!  I use my computer everyday.  I gotta like it.  Time to purge: old pens, files, furniture, non-working electronics, blah, blah blah.  Let go to make room for what you actually use.  For me, holding onto things I don’t like and I don’t use, never serves me.

3. The Adage is True – We Learn in Adversity

Why is it that I always learn the most when I face adversity?  The Chinese word for crisis that also means opportunity is not a coincidence.  Old wisdom.  The message was there.  The stories tried to warn me.  I just had to learn if for myself.  Thank you Dorothy, Grand Mother Willow, Mulan and Edith Wharton. 

4.  Notice the Good

When the entire population of the world shifts to working at home, there is some good.  Whatever you call it, find the silver lining, make lemonade.  Be an optimist.  Look closely, it’s happening. Humanity is bonding.  I have viewed many videos, from far away lands, translated from other languages.  We have the same problems with our kids, our jobs, our loved ones, our government…  We are in this together. No blame, each of us scared, annoyed, worried and just plain exhausted.  With our electronic devices we now have time to connect and the means to do it.  And the grid is holding.  We truly are connected.

What’s Next. 

Create a routine.  Include time to play, to learn, to celebrate and even to worry.  Keep your perspective.  If you crash your hard drive, remember you are fine, you are not alone, and what needs to get done, gets done.

To Panic or Not

Don’t panic.  Reactions speak louder than actions. The flurry of information and activity about the Coronavirus is taking on a life of its own.  Bombarded by data, public messages and emails (from well everyone – even just to say they are aware) makes it all more confusing.  The stakes are high.  No one knows where it will end.  Now is the perfect time to think about how you frame and decide your next steps when it feels like you are not in control.

Start with acknowledging reality.  You are not in control, your feelings are accurate.  What is the next right action when you are compelled to take action and the world around you won’t stop spinning?

1. Keep Calm and Slow it Down

Deep breathing promotes calmness by increasing the oxygen supply to your brain.   In through your nose, down to your toes (really that’s belly) three times.   The whole process can take less than 20 seconds and it works!  Click to read a great piece on effectively combatting stress.   If you already have something healthy that works for you (I am not advising a double martini at this time) remember to use it.  Tapping, repeating a mantra, visualization and release all work.  The trick is remembering to do it when the vultures are circling. 

2. Pick Your Key Information Source and Stick to It

During crises, information comes in droves, when you need it and when you don’t.  Turn off the spigot.  Stop gathering and vowing to read it later, check it out, find out more.  That just increases stress and delays action.  Decide who you trust and stick to it.  Don’t make information gathering the full-time job.  Follow the advice from those you trust and tweak as needed.

3. Wait Don’t Avoid

Know the difference between waiting and avoiding.  There is a big difference in waiting and not taking action.  Starting with monitoring, considering and keeping abreast of, are all good responses in many situations.  I would like to reference earlier versions of the iPhone operating system.  You really were better off waiting till later versions with more information and bugs fixed.  Monitor, don’t ignore, delay till it seems that there are solid facts and valid plans emerging that can fit your situation and needs.  The early bird does not indeed always get the worm.  Remember it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese (while the first one gave his life for it).  

4. Get Perspective

Put the situation in perspective.  This too shall pass.  My daughter called me late last night, still at her office in the middle of disaster planning for a major law firm with over 2,000 people.  I said “oh it’s just like Y2K.”  She said “what was that?” I probably gave close to 150 hours of my life to Y2K, including time not with my daughter and now it’s ancient history.  Refresher – Y2K was the fear that computers would crash and cause extensive havoc as the year changed from 1999 to 2000.  Eventually this will be another blip on the screen.   I’m not saying it’s not important.  I am saying it is a week, a month, a point in time when seen in perspective.

5.  Show Up and Use It

One of my favorite sayings is:

Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

There is always something to learn.  A process or plan to change, a way to improve what we do based on current events.  Take those steps now with gusto.  Show up with your best self ready to serve.  Keep it simple and keep it moving.

What’s Next

Don’t panic.  Be available to actually deal with issues that need to be addressed.  Stay present and help be part of the solution not the problem.  

Annoying Email Habits

We love them.  We hate them.  Emails are a necessity and a huge annoyance.  How can you keep your emails less complicated and more readable?  Find out how in this quick read with tangible advice posted on the Ladders – click here.

And if you need some extra help, you can ready my blog post on stopping annoying emails.

What’s Next: 

Think twice before you fire off that same-old same-old email language. Make people read and take action instead of moving your precious email directly to trash.  

I Heard It On the Radio

Join Radio2Woman as three women discuss the complexities of women leaders, management and doing good in the world.

What a thrill to be on air at Radio2Woman on WBCR 97.7 with Serene Mastrianni and Lorin Krouss in downtown Great Barrington, MA. Right on Main Street USA.  The show aired on Thursday February 13 at 1 pm and will repeat on Tuesday, February 18, at 4pm. 

You can listen to the full episode live here.  Get ready, grab a cup of coffee and listen to our chat, as we discuss the complexities of women leaders  management and doing good in the world.

This episode covers so many topics!  Highlights include:

  • Special challenges of women in the workplace and in leadership roles.
  • Setting clear roles and boundaries.
  • Taking responsibility when we are annoying!
  • Why Leaders speak from the “I’ position.
  • What makes a dedication thoughtful and special.
  • How to evolve a stagnant workplace culture.

Wowan2Radio Great Barrington Ilene Marcus – full show.

Also thrilled to be featured in Productivity Summit and Challenge 2020.  Get your free pass at

What’s Next:

Remember you heard it on the radio!  Email me for speaking engagements at  Check out the Productivity Summit and Challenge.

If all else fails use this link to listen  to Radio2Woman:



Don’t Steal the Glass

When most people talk about the glass they are referring to their status as an optimist or pessimist.  These days that’s the wrong question.  How about who owns the glass?  

My blog is now way off topic from where I started 3 years ago writing about leading through difficult situations with challenging team personalities up against big goals.   These days, I am much more interested in personal trials and choices.  It’s amazing to see how each individual’s small actions can corrupt the team dynamic.   We are heading back towards a Kitty Genovese situation.  Unfortunately most people don’t even remember Kitty – millennials, please click, read and learn. Read about the “Bystander Effect” and Kitty’s murder.

The new question:  Is it your glass?

Watch this video and make your own choice.  Would you take the sea glass or leave it on the beach?

Is it your Glass?

Posted by Managing Annoying People on Thursday, January 30, 2020

What’s Next:

Take responsibility for your own actions.   Don’t take the sea glass.  If you do, be ready for what happens next.



Wisdom or Advice?

What’s the difference between advice and wisdom?

Either way, I am talking.  Are you listening?  Go ahead it’s a 4 minute 27 second video on my best wisdom…live. With artwork by Deb Koffman.  

What’s Next

Watch your non-verbal clues.  Smile like you have a secret.  And don’t avoid.  Go forth and don’t be annoying!


Tackle Simpler This Year

If you are like me, New Years resolutions remind you of past promises not kept. And we are not alone. Wanting a simpler life is a good goal.  Forbes reports less than 25% of people follow through on New Years resolutions by years end.  In 2020, find a simpler, kinder way to approach your vices, problems and the unexpected situations that throw you out of whack.

Statistically speaking New Years resolutions have dreary outcomes.  CNN reports that only 40% who set resolutions will be successful 6 months into the year.  In 2018 there were nearly 327.2 million Americans – that means 196,320,000 people in America will fail.  I know you have the GRRR to get it done.

I propose the approach to a Simpler Life with 7 ways to deal with life’s ups and downs. Try to be SIMPLER this Year!  

S – Solution

Stay in the solution, not the problem.  Of course this is not new 2020 advice.   However, this time, instead of continuing to gather facts, anecdotes and scenarios about what happened, work towards accepting the situation. If you stop explaining what happened and recognize it did happen, you are multi-more times ready to find the solution.  A good trick is to think about what you would say to someone else in this situation.  We all know how to advise friends, family, and colleagues on their problems.  Give yourself the best advice of acceptance and move to solutionizing.  How you can approach the situation, regardless if it’s a good or bad problem to have, to keep it drama free.

I – Illuminate

Light the way with choices that are thoughtful.  Open up your world instead of making it smaller.  Don’t just put a Band-Aid on a problem, do some surgery if that’s what it takes so it can heal properly.  It’s eaiser to do it right once, than to have to keep going back and fixing it again and again.  Be playful with how you approach the situation.  Shine some light instead of keeping it dark.  

M – Manageable

Make it manageable.  Step-by-step we can climb any staircase.  Break it down into digestible pieces that are achievable.  Be realistic.  How much can you really accomplish in any given day?  Do you know the value of your financial runway?  Are you being  honest about your resources and support?

P – Paths

Follow it through to the end of the path.  In terms of finding the solution, as my dear friend Kathy says: “Play it though to the credits.” Does the path flow smoothly or are there large gaping holes along the way?  If so go back to the illuminating solutions and make them manageable.

L – Learn

No matter how smart you are, you are at a place you have never been before.  This time, this age, this set of issues, although eerily familiar, this is still the first time you have been here.   If you climb Mt. Everest, no matter how hard you train, how many simulations you run, at some point, you have climbed further than you ever have and that is a new situation.  Remember it’s new to you.  Approaching each task or situation with a learning attitude changes your internal dynamic and frees you up to try new methods.  

E- Easy

Easy does it.  Simple is not always easy. Slow down.  Rushing won’t help.   Although we can be in situations where hours, even minutes matter, try to step away and slow it down.  Going easy will change your perspective drastically.

R – Rationally

Start with common sense.  Think with your feet on the ground.  A good litmus test to take is see if you can explain it to a 10-year old (mind you kids are smart these day and have resources….).  If you can’t explain it, then it is probably not rational yet.  Try again, you’ll get there.

What’s Next:

Reach for a Simpler Life in 2020.  Use the Simpler Method to make your life more manageable.  Be part of the 40% that sets intentions and realizes them.  (Notice the change in my wording, no use of goals or resolutions.)  Come with me on the journey of advocating for a simpler and  kinder way of living.  Happy New Year 2020 – May we all have what we need, when we need it, and then some!






And the most annoying is…

It’s that time of year when everyone is talking about lists.  The best of the best, the best of the worst, the top headlines.   So many choices, so much content, why choose?

I have curated two articles.  Pick one.  Choose none.  Read both.  Either way may your path in 2020 be filled with abundance, joy and lots of choices…  

The first is The Most Annoying People of 2019 Ranked.

The second is about being busy at work .

What’s Next:   Be Audacious!  Happy Holidays and a Fantastic 2020!


Why are Superheroes Important?

Life certainly is more interesting when a Superhero is around.   Imagining our way out of a tricky predicament with a super power like, x-ray vision, air-bending or running at the speed of light are all forceful images.   

Why are we enamored, enthralled and overall gaga for Superheroes?

Appearing in 2015, this is the most relevant quote I found :

The superhero is an ideal, an aspiration, a goal, and that is an excellent moving force for children as well as for adults. The highlight of superheroes is that they represent both reality and fantasy. In most cases, these are very normal men and women in real life. They have a job, friends, and a rather ordinary life. But thanks to their great power, they can be stronger than reality and overcome any obstacle. For them, everything is possible.

What Superpower would I have as a Superhero?

My heart races just thinking about Superheros, I love them all.  Growing up in the Superman and Batman era, faster than a speeding bullet and the Bat Mobile come to my mind first.   Given the proliferation of Superheroes over the years, I especially want to have the power of eating everything and never gaining weight. 

Seriously, if I could be anyone, have any power what would I choose?  

Empathy is a key driver for me as described in this blog Empathy is my Superpower. Lately, I have been prompted to dig deeper into what I believe are important superpowers.

And a poem was born:

1- Young girl feeling powerless doesn’t even know what’s amiss. Longing to be noticed, unhappy at home, looks to the sky, being a superhero will make time fly.

Superhero, super fine, flying around all the time. Tell me, what’s on your mind?

2- Launched in the world and on her own, searching for that place to call home. Working and playing all the time, life is grand by design. A “superman” will make it real, just stay focused on closing the deal.

Superhero, super fine, flying around all the time. Tell me, are the pages already inked and lined?

3- Single mother, days filled with strife. Life cuts like a knife. Believes super powers would make it right. X-ray vision and super-strength are nice but for healing powers I would pay full price.

Superhero, super fine, flying around all the time.

4- Older and wiser, finally moving out of my own way. Random acts of kindness make my day. Live and learn that Superheros with Superpowers are not always divine. Superheros are those who just know how to be kind.

Superhero, super fine, flying around all the time, please define the word Kind? Being friendly, generous and considerate are what make me legitimate.

Superhero, superfine, flying around all the time. The only thing on my mind is using all of my powers to be KIND!

What’s Next: 

Just be kind and everything else will unfold as it is intended.


Life Hack: Smile Like You Have A Secret

Everyone is searching for ways to make their life better and more meaningful.   At every turn news clips, blogs and celebrities are showing us how to have more fun, detailing the items we need to buy that will transform our lives and telling us how to get what we want to be happy.  I’ll make it simple.

Smile like you have a secret! 

This article proves smiling gives the same boost as eating 2,000 chocolate bars or receiving $25,000 dollars.  If you are not curious, smiling right now, or thinking about the calories associated with 2,000 chocolate bars, please seek professional help.

Body language says more than you would like.

I have always been a big proponent of the smile.  This blog post shows that what your body does, really says more than your words.

Smile like you have a secret when you are annoyed.

Finally advice that is easy to do in every situation that annoys you. Smile a big smile (ear to ear) like you know something. I always include this in all of my trainings.  And it’s a hit every time. Smile like you have a secret and let the annoyer wonder what you are smiling about. That alone often changes their behavior and fosters teamwork. Even when you can’t help yourself, your smile will hide strong feelings.

What’s Next:

Take a moment to sit in Mona Lisa’s shoes.  Did you ever stop and wonder what she was smiling about?  Make a list of all the reasons you have to smile.  Repeat daily.



The Prompt is Circles

Thanks to Deb Koffman and IWOW – In Words Out Words, I have a poem for you:

For Suzi

Does it matter where I end and you begin?

Our point of connection has a story.

It starts with me.  My past.  My choices. My feelings.  My beliefs.  My essence.

Enter you with your history, ideas, emotions and faith.

As the Extra Terrestrial, ET circled right into the center of human existence…

OUCH.  One point. One finger. So powerful.  OUCH.

Does it matter where I begin and you end?

Once our souls touch it matters forever. 

ism 11.5.2019

What’s Next:

Take a minute to celebrate the people in your life.  Notice your patterns and connections.  Live each day with intent. Welcome the OUCH.  It’s proof positive you are living.




5 Easy Ways to Stay Happy

I am a positive happy person.  It’s just the way I am wired.  Yet, I have a new awareness that some people find my “upbeat” energy and enthusiasm annoying, especially in the morning before my first cup of coffee – yes they can’t believe I am that awake!  I spend a lot of time talking to people about finding joy in their daily routines.   Here are the cliff notes to those conversations:

1. Happiness is a Choice

Happiness is a choice, not a result. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy. No person will make you happy unless you decide to be happy. Your happiness will not come to you. It can only come from you.   Ralph Marston

2.  It Could Be Worse

Just when we think it can’t get any worse, there are times that it does just that.  Look at this quick read to see How to stay happy in the worst circumstances.  

3.  Stay Calm and Soldier On

This quick read on How to stay Zen in an annoying world gives easy tips for peace and happiness.

4.  Coffee Matters

An oldie but goodie blog on why coffee is always the answer (or whatever floats your boat)!

5.  Humor. Comedy. Laughing.

If you can’t make it funny or find the humor in any situation, you are already a goner.  Surround yourself with people that amuse you.

What’s Next:  

Whatever it is, you are equipped to handle it and stay happy.   In the immortal words of Kenny Rodgers:

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, Know when to walk away and know when to run.

My addendum:  Know to stay happy.  Know the alternative.

What is the Psychology of Choosing to Suffer?

I write and speak about Managing Annoying People, mostly because I am annoying.  Albeit, that’s not the whole story.  Where does the annoying behavior start?  Often it’s not the skill set, it is the behaviors.  Case in point, my skill set is top of the line and my process forces a better product – so why am I annoying?  I guess that’s the beginning of the problem.  Too many people, especially in the workplace, just get annoyed and want the situation to go away.  Particularly in the role of “change agent”, board members, employees and donors are okay with the status quo.  They are comfortable.  They want change, as long as they don’t have to change.  Being annoyed does not have to be part of the process – that’s the suffering.  For most people it’s easier to suffer than to change.  

The Phycology of Choosing Pain.  

This article nails the “historical hysterical” reasons we continue to suffer through situations instead of shifting our reality.  Why do we hold on to old beliefs that don’t serve us anymore?  

Pain vs Suffering.

I love this saying:

Pain is inevitable, suffering optional.   (Who originally said it is not certain, maybe the Buddha, maybe Haruki Murakami.)

What’s the difference you ask?  Pain is the raw gut emotion – the big feelings most of us like to run from, as far and fast as we can in the other direction.  Suffering is the emotional anguish we put ourselves through trying to avoid the pain.  Suffering sounds much like this:  if only I had done this differently.  If only I had the right “something” I wouldn’t be in this situation.  If only… We all know life gets messy and even with the best intent, situations go off the rails. You don’t have to keep reliving it.  Stop the tape in your head and you will stop your suffering.   

What’s Next?

Review your belief system and let go of what doesn’t work anymore. Figure out your pain points and address them head on. Once you get out of your own way, the suffering will be minimal.  Feel the pain and leave the suffering behind. Live by the sentiment: Pain is inevitable, suffering optional.  

Simple Guidance on Paying Attention

Why does 11:11 have significance to so many people? Aletheia Luna says:

According to numerology, the number 11 is a “master number” which signifies intuition, insight, and enlightenment. When paired together, 11 11 is a clear message from the universe to become conscious and aware.

Not to go all spiritual on you (then again why not) you can check out Aletheia’s reasoning on the numerology behind 11:11 by clicking this link.

11:11 has been popping up in my world for sometime now, so it prompted me to figure out why.  Here is what I found:  

1.  Universal Sign for Pause 11:11

Everything has a pause button except for me.  As a human, I have a start button, essentially get up and go.  I have a stop button, time to sleep, but there is not an obvious sign of when to pause.  I don’t have a natural sign when it’s time to regroup and take a break.  In fact, we are often told to power through and just keep going.  I have to build that muscle to make myself pause.  

2.  Hardwired Responses

As humans we are hardwired to react to perceived threats.  Usually whatever comes up first, contrary to conventional wisdom to go with your gut reaction, is not correct.  That’s the hardwired, historical, hysterical stuff.   The second thought is usually different from the first reaction and closer to the truth of how you need to proceed.  Seeing an 11:11 sign, should signal it is time for you to pause.

3.  360 Perspective

Take a look at your behaviors and figure out when taking a pause can help.  This blog on annoying misunderstood-habits can provide insight.   Thinking through how others experience you versus what you are trying to portray, can be profoundly powerful.  Use that power as instruction to get your actions on track.

What’s Next

Next time dealing with a reaction, regardless of a big or small issue, make it easier on yourself by taking a break.  Pause and think about what the universe is showing you.  Act accordingly.

Is it Okay to call your staff Annoying? Lesson from the Momtroversy

If you know me, you know, I call them like I see them.  And annoying is a real thing.  It’s irritating, persistent behaviors that get under your skin and impair your judgement.  So yes, when someone annoys you, it’s a good policy to let them know.  If not, your reactions will surely be annoying.


Humor in the Workplace = Motivation ( I am CEO Podcast Link)

Use humor to motivate your staff.  Be funny and get results keeping your team on track. 

Shout out to Gresh (Gresham) and is dedicated to increasing your business success rate with a two-tiered focus on: (1) increasing visibility and (2) proving support for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners.

Listen to my interview on using humor to motivate at work:

IAM361- Natural Motivator Uses Humor To Tap Into Truths About Workplace Dynamics

What’s Next

Do something unexpected.  Find the fun in the everyday mundane.  Watch  your team respond.  Have a great day!



Quit Old Behaviors and Be More Successful

Quit knocking on doors that don’t open.  High preforming sales teams know this mantra:

Stop calling, stop emailing, stop begging for one more meeting and stop acting desperate. Dump them and move on. Instead of chasing prospects who don’t want to be caught, invest your time in prospects who engage with you instead of run from you.  

Non-profit fundraisers acknowledge this in the Benevon Model for Sustainable Fundraising,  and call it “bless and release”. 

If  it works in business, pretty good chance we should apply to our personal lives to get what we want.  So where do I begin?  First off, stop doing things that aren’t producing the results you want.  This post on 3 Reasons to Walk Away is a good starting point.  The first benefit of stopping what isn’t working, is that it produces a lot more time.  Time is our most precious commodity.

What to do with all this free time, you ask.  Easy – start doing new things and become more successful. 

Read this article from Dr. Travis Bradbury on just what to do.

What’s Next

Stop doing anything that doesn’t get you the results you want. Don’t quit 5 minutes before or after the miracle.  Most importantly, expect miracles when you change your behaviors.  

I’ll Tell You Why Your Boss Isn’t Happy With You

Always a thrill to be quoted on Yahoo Finance.  Thanks Charlene Oldham.  This is a quick read with all around good advice for workplace engagement.   

#8. Your Boss Keeps You Out of the Loop

You can’t expect to be privy to every policy decision, says Ilene Marcus, chief executive officer of the consulting firm Aligned Workplace and author of “Managing Annoying People.”  But an unhappy boss might simply be trying to avoid interacting with you. 

“However, as your superior in the organization, the boss is responsible for keeping you informed about policy, programs, changes in plans and overall company strategy,” she advises.

What You Should Do

“A manager’s key job is to provide the tools, resources and direction to staff so that they can perform their jobs,” says Marcus. “If your boss stops providing these things, start asking for them.”

Read the full post by clicking this link.  Isn’t that annoying – you know how to click a link

What’s Next:  

If you are happy and you know it, clap your hands and thank your lucky stars.  Chances are, if you are happy at work and doing a good job, your boss is happy with you.  


The Desire To Be Heard

What is more frustrating than feeling like your words are falling on deaf ears?  With too much information from multiple sources how does anyone parse out all of the interference?  How can you differentiate yourself from the fray?  Can you be heard above the noise?

These links explain the connection between our needs and our ability to have others hear us.  

Belonging and Our Desire to Be Heard

Everyone wants to feel heard from (huffpost).

Understand why some people have the insatiable desire to be heard (quora).


What’s Next: 

Dig into the reasons you want to be heard.   Find the right tone and approach.  Think about the people you want to listen to you.  Tell your truth simply and with feeling.  Less is always more.


An American Lesson: Encouragement

Encouragement is the act of giving someone support, confidence and hope.  We live in a world where we are constantly challenged to make money, find our purpose and be relevant.  America is a nation founded on bravery, hope and encouragement.  When you encourage yourself to be at the top of your game, you will naturally encourage those around you and we will all be better for it.

Find the words of encouragement that speak to you by reading these Top 100 Encouraging Quotes.

What’s Next:

Encourage someone else today and you will encourage yourself to be your best you!  


How Does Anxiety Show-up at Work?

Anxiety in the workplace is rampant.  Competent, productive workers get anxious.  Pile on deadlines, personalities, problems at home and long standing personality traits and it’s amazing we get any work done.  

What is anxiety?   According to the dictionary it is:

a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

These days everything has uncertain outcomes. Therefore, how is a worker, especially one who manages others and is in constant contact with a myriad of personalities and power structures, supposed to cope?  It’s a minefield out there with customers, donors, Board members, suppliers, bosses, committee members…

First things first.  It’s not about long term therapy or counseling.  You do not have to go down the rabbit hole to find the root of your anxiety.  It’s no use trying to figure it out.  You just have to face the fact that you have it.   However, my friends, it is not as easy as it looks since everyone’s anxiety takes a different form.  This blog on annoying-misunderstood-habits may help you.

There is much information about the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as headaches, gastro issues and trouble sleeping.  This links to a basic help guide for understanding anxiety.  

Forget Symptoms, Look at Behaviors.

Even my google prowess cannot return a good result on how anxiety manifests itself in behaviors, not symptoms.  The difference is not what happens physiologically, such as increased heart rate; sweating; feeling weak and tired, but how you react when you have those symptoms.  This link from the Mayo Clinic discusses stress which is what anxiety looks like.  Me, I become louder, faster, more (and you know I am a lot already).  For example, if I am worried about meeting an impending deadline, I may talk faster and be more blunt and direct than when I am not anxious.  Another person in the same circumstance may withdraw, freeze and not be able to produce.  If you are me, then you know that I come out swinging and looking to pick a fight.  

Do you know how you manifest your anxiety and how other’s see it?  Can you understand how some of your colleagues or team behaviors may be based in anxiety, not personality issues?  Why does it matter?  It matters because when I know how my own anxiety shows up – I can see it in others and disarm situations quickly and effectively to keep the work on track.  

My Anxiety Behaviors:

1. Defensiveness

When I am explaining too much, it’s a clear sign I am in anxious state.  When I explain, I complain and that comes off as defensive.  Not the “pulled together smart”  image I am trying to project.  That persona goes right out the window.  Then I become defensive without any defense.

2. Too Much Repetitiveness

Isn’t that already redundant.  For me, constantly repeating myself comes from growing up in a house where no one listened.  When I am anxious, those old behaviors rear their ugly head and I say the same thing over and over.  Playing out all of the maturations of an issue in my head, they go right to my mouth and out into the world.  Annoying without a doubt.

3. Can’t Comprehend Others

Most people think I’m not listening.  Oh I am listening!  I am just not hearing what you are saying.   My comprehension ceases to exist.  I can’t understand your words, it seams you are speaking another language to me.  It starts with my amygdala being triggered.  Then blood rushes to the my frontal lobe. The adrenal glands react and the physical symptoms take over. Blood pressure up, pain threshold increased, temperature rises, faster breathing and heart rate.  The result of all that is I cannot comprehend.  I loose brain functioning.  That shows up as not listening and frustrates others.  All of this because I want to make sure I hit a mark!

What’s Next:

Be less.  Know your own reactions.  Show up ready, willing and able without the baggage.  Use simple words.  Yes.  No.  Maybe.  I’ll check.  I don’t know.  Take 10 deep breaths.  When all else fails, own up to those around you.   I’m anxious, I really don’t mean to annoy you.  But know that you are doing just that.  

Are There Really 2-Sides to Every Story?

Figuring out the truth, or as much of the truth as possible is often an art.  People like to embellish.  Some don’t see their responsibility.  Unfortunately, there is not always a clear line between black and white.  A whole lot of gray exists.  This leaves the question of — How can you determine the truth when there are so many sides to the story?

1. Understand the Rashomon Effect

First let’s get a clear definition, Wikipedia says it best (yes this time you can believe them):

The Rashomon effect , occurs when an event is given contradictory interpretations by the individuals involved. The effect is named after Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 film Rashomon, in which a murder is described in four contradictory ways by four witnesses.

The old film with subtitles is worth the effort.  From the bold opening scene, you are sure you know what is going on.  As the story is retold and more information is added in subsequent reenactments of the story, your perception shifts.  It leaves you wondering, about what really did happen?  Can I trust what I just saw?

2.  Choose the Lens You Are Looking Through

I manage up and down (and am often annoyed all the way around).  Depending on who I am in the situation, I usually have a different perspective.  As a manager I want to have all my ducks in a row and cross off my list all those monthly reports and outstanding items.  As the boss or CEO, my priorities shift depending on the landscape.  In contrast although I “need” those reports, it might not be the priority item today as I deal with another crisis.   Finally, it can seem counter-intuitive but where I sit makes a difference in what I see.  

3.   Understand the Source

Know your people and understand their bias. First, there is so much conversation about bias these days.  In its purest most organic form, bias is a prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.  Secondly, bias is as individual as annoying – it depends on your background, your feelings and your history.  What may be straightforward to one, can set-off a whole range of reactions in another.  Thirdly, figure out your bias and make sure your intentions are pure.

What’s Next:

Take time to look at the situation through the 360 view.  Are you looking at all the angles?  Do you understand where each person is coming from enough to see through the gray into the black and white?  If not, don’t judge, let more information be revealed.  Be brave to step out of your comfort zone and see the situation through the other’s lens.  






Empathy is My Superpower

I always wanted a superpower.  X-ray vision or to be faster than a speeding bullet.   We realize truths about ourselves in the strangest of moments.  My truth is I cannot see through concrete walls or even run at the speed close to a bullet.  My superpower is empathy.  The reality is that I must harness that power and use it wisely.  While it is abundantly documented that empathy is a mandatory skill to be a good leader, how to use it is not as widely documented.  We can learn (some of us quicker than others) how to be kind, humble and aware.   It’s much harder to learn how to balance empathy with action.

Why is Empathy the Most Important Leadership Skill?

Read about it the article published by Fast Company.

Empathy is Not a Soft Skill

Having empathy requires tough ethics, read about it in

What’s Next: 

Think about what your superpower is. Use it wisely. And always be kind.  Please share my poem.  


empathy and power

empathy poem


Good Process = Good Work

The steps your team makes towards completing tasks is essential to success.  If there is no process, no pipeline, those customers do not automatically line themselves up, the quarterly reports don’t magically appear overnight and the inventory doesn’t restock itself.  Living in farm country, I can tell you those fields don’t plant themselves.  As a manager it’s often difficult to find the line between micro-managing and trusting your team to drive their own work.  As a result, even when a process is well documented, I really value when my staff overlays their own method to get it done and updates me and others on their progress.  

Case in point.  At my favorite Inn there is a gardener named Hans.  Now he wasn’t always a gardener, he cut his teeth in sales. Successful in high pressure occupations, land development, specialty sports equipment and restaurant management, he is sharp as a tack.  Now he toils daily to make the world a little prettier, to make people a little happier.  It’s brutal work, but he has a system that is worth paying attention to.  I call it the Hans Pile.

1. Blaze a Trail

The breadcrumb theory of management is well documented.  We all know leaving a trail of completed work is paramount to teamwork.  At the very least it lets people know you showed up and are on the case.  Now-a-days with the business cycle in overdrive and remote workers being a standard; everyone is too busy to notice what’s going on until there is an issue.  And there always is an issue. This makes it more critical than ever to let others know what you are doing. Accountants have made a whole profession out of it, tracking what actually happened after it happens.  When you create a trail of what you have accomplished it quickly becomes apparent that there is work in progress.  One pile or item is not a trail, it’s sloppy and lazy.  Several little piles demonstrate routine, strategy, process and dedication.  Yes all of that with just a few piles.

2.  Make it Simple

Steve Jobs said it best: 

That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.

Boiling it down to it’s essence means you really know it.   Once you really know it, what comes next is no longer a question, its a certainty.  This allows you to make it happen.  Stay calm and move mountains. Read about how to be Zen in an Annoying World in 3 Simple Steps.

3.  Move the Mountains

Figure out your best routine and stick to it.  Most processes regardless if it’s harvesting a field, rebooting a website, or pulling off a product launch require multiple steps.  The piles give you a view to see what you have accomplished.  These completed piles line-up where you need to go next.  The piles are a reminder that Rome wasn’t built in a day and serve as resting points to see how much you have accomplished.

Because of your routine, you will be a better contributor. After you have taken the final step and completed the project all anyone can see from the outside is the great work you did.

What’s Next:

Be proud of where you have been.  See the movement of where you are headed and that you will complete what you set out to do.  Get ready to see the finished product.  Remember that the piles created throughout the process, although no longer visible, leave an indelible mark that make all the difference.  Build your garden and let it flourish. 


5 Reasons Your Boss Hates Trust And Fairness

Why do bosses shy away from trust and fairness as a basic management tool?  Research overwhelmingly shows that a positive workplace culture increases productivity.  In a study of studies –  130 independent studies were reviewed to test this theory.  Click here to read “Bosses Take Note!  Create Positive Culture in Workplace to Boost Business.  This article draws the direct link to trust and fairness as a key driver to productivity. 

So why is it so hard to create and sustain trust and fairness in the workplace?  It’s a simple concept but hard to execute.  Most people don’t have the tools to make this happen.  These are the top excuses I hear from bosses and managers:

  1. No one did it for me so why should I do it?
  2. It’s easier to go with the flow
  3. I am only one person and cannot impact the whole organization
  4. It takes time to nurture trust and I have work to do
  5. What is the difference between equity and equality?

fairness and trust

Culture change is a long term proposition.   25 leaders (including me) discuss culture in the workplace.  I think it is the  intangible glue that holds all of the pieces of a company together.  Even gorilla glue isn’t permanent.  It takes fortitude, foresight and a strong belief system to make trust and fairness the rule and not the exception.


What’s Next:

Take the long view and make trust and fairness your drivers.  Even when it’s uphill, you are fighting the right good fight.  It’s only fair.  




To Blog or Not To Blog

To blog or not to blog?  I am not the first person to ask that question.  I’m also not the first person to ask what does blog mean after all?  A throw back to the early internet days when we still had to type www:// before any address.  Please say it with me… World Wide Web. 

Originally known as Web Logs, the name was evolutionary shortened and became Blog.  I mean really, these days Google is even too taxing.  If I can’t talk to Alexa or whoever I am with at the moment; Echo, Siri, Waze Boy Band chances are, I won’t engage.  It’s like the turn signal on your car, how much effort does it really take to flip the switch, and sometimes it’s just too hard, not for me, but with 100% certainty I can predict that it is for the car right in front of me.

So why blog at all?

If you are still reading, am I taking the words right out of your mouth?   For me, it’s an act of faith, of love and of loyalty.

Make Inspiration Strike

If I sit down to write, inspiration will come.  I have faith that if I write, it will matter.  To be relevant, I have to show-up and write.  I have to get good at it, which means practice.  Even small skills, like cooking eggs, take time to perfect.  If you want to get good at something, you have to practice.  You have to  actually do it. Making a plan and sticking to it builds character and self-esteem.  So I keep to a writing schedule.  Every two weeks, on a Friday, religiously I publish my blog.  

Time to Grow

I want to become a better manager, leader, friend, writer, entertainer.  When I write, it forces me to think about situations I am facing (or not facing as the case may be).  It keeps me honest about my reactions to work issues; relationships and the world in general.  It also gives me a chance to annoy you.  Which is not a part of growth, just a perk.  

To Thy Known Self Be True

Writing takes me out of my every day and makes me think.  It shows me connections and truths about my actions and beliefs.  It helps me to be a better me.  And of course it makes me happy.  And I hope it makes you a little happy too!

What’s Next

Read a fun blog and laugh.  Read why I blog at  CEO Nation – Find my Words of Wisdom in the lucky #7 slot!.  

What Words Annoy You the Most?

It’s inevitable. Someone will say something that annoys you.  If you are like me, it is both grating and frustrating.  I lose my focus, whether it’s a business or personal conversation.  Basically my body’s physiological “annoyed” response will kick in.  My blood pressure rises and I start to look irritated.

Reactions speak louder than words.  Much louder.  They reveal your physical and mental state.  Your body language and choice of words are factual representations of your feelings.  If you have time, read this blog to figure out what happens to you when you are annoyed? 

What can you do about your reactions? 

When someone says something that gets under your skin, it’s always a good idea to ask for clarification. Straightforward simple questions:

  • Why did you say that?
  • What do you think that means?
  • Do you know how the “kids” are using that term?

The truth is being in an annoyed state is not always a bad thing.  The annoyance comes from the dumbing down of thoughts, feelings and ideas.  Hey, every now and then a little slang can go a long way in making a point. Just don’t get too annoyed.  

What’s Next:

Watch this short video on the slang words that push people’s buttons and just try to stay calm!

Survey Reveals Which Slang Words Annoy People The Most

Whoops I did It Again…I Annoyed My Co-Workers

How many times have you said to yourself, I won’t do that again.  I’ve learned my lesson.  And yet, there it is… Whoops I did it again.  I annoyed my coworkers.  Not on purpose, yet I was bolder, more aggressive and louder than needed. 

So it’s time once again to take the How do I annoy my co-workers quiz!

New Questions will appear as you go through the quiz.  Check the status bar at the bottom to see your progress!


What’s Next:

Know who you are.  Own it.  Use it to win over your co-workers, instead of annoying them!

Find your How I Annoy My Co-Workers Personality and Stop Saying “Whoops I Did It Again”:

Emma Stone:  The sweetest actress ever, barely ever annoying

Mary Poppins: So perfect, it’s annoying.  Are you even real?

Painfully Irresistible:  Just like Liam Payne from One Direction, a little pain, a little gain

Next Popping: That’s irritating and everyone can see it!  The picture is me at a photo-shoot saying “take the pic already”

Like A Kardasian:   You are so on top of whats new its both annoying and yet jealous making

Steaming Hot:   It’s Coming out of both your ears and everyone knows it.  Stand back…








Another Annoying Email…

I have a love-hate relationship with email.  It comes down to most emails are annoying. And yet they keep on coming and we keep on sending.  What’s going on?

1. Important Information Gets Lost

How many email accounts do you have?  After a quick look, it seems that I have at least five.  Yes five!  My work account; a client account; the personal account; my old account; and another client account.  Really.  And even if  I know which inbox is which, there really is no priority system.  Sure, some are starred but those are not my stars.  So how do I make sure don’t miss the important stuff like a deadline or work issue?  The result is it’s a constant balancing act.  While there are plenty of tools to help you clean out your inbox, no tool still exists to make sure I see what I need to see.   

2. Emails are a Time Suck

We all know annoying things suck your time.  If in need of a refresher read this blog on why together everyone annoys me.   You know how it works, the more email you send out, the more you get back.  And your inbox is perpetually clogged.  It’s a never ending vicious cycle and just know — you are not alone.

3. Please Get to the Point Already

Say what you mean to say.  And say it without mistakes and quirks.  This CNBC article explains why some emails are so annoying and what to do about it.

What’s Next?

Embrace this phrase:

  • Be Brief.
  • Be Bold.
  • Be Gone.

Delete away and feel lighter.  Write less annoying emails and keep everyone, including yourself happier.


7 Ways to be the Best Boss Ever

Dr.  Travis  Bradberry nails it every time.  In his newest article he pinpoints the seven traits that make a boss great.  And all of them are in your direct control. You can choose to be great or not.  Just like being annoying – you make your own path.

Read and Learn my friends.

What’s Next:

Find your passion, bring your own quirks and dazzle those around you to be their best selves. 



Let It Be: 3 Reasons to Walk Away

Walking away is counter-intuitive.   We are socialized to keep commitments and own up to our responsibilities.  Knowing when to let it be and let go takes a lot of work.  It’s the opposite of I don’t care.  It’s the culmination of lessons and experience.  It can be the ultimate sign of maturity.  The trick is understanding your role in the situation and being able to tell when you have given all you can and anymore is just futile effort.   

 1. Not All Doors are Meant to Open

Founder and CEO Ilene Marcus of Aligned Workplace shares, “Not all doors are meant to open to you or your company. Don’t spend time courting clients, systems, workers that will never get you what you need or aren’t really ready for your services. Just part ways. No hard feelings. It saves so much time in the long run.”

You can read the full article by clicking here. 

2.  Pull Don’t Push

I don’t know about you, but I have wasted a lot of time in my life trying to push things quicker, faster, stronger.   The trick is not to push for what you want but to pull it towards you.  Learn more about the push-u-pull me here.

3.  Get More of Everything

When you open the right doors more of everything comes your way.  When it’s right I get more “life-fit” – things that make my life work better and make each day easier.  I also get more time.  And more time helps me keep my sanity.  When I am not rescheduling and readjusting my schedule, but decide from the outset what I can and can’t do, naturally I get everything done without lists and schedules and headaches.  

What’s Next:

Walk away to save your sanity and boost your success. Know when your extra efforts will have diminishing returns. Make the bold move and walk away. Walk away and see what comes back to you.  Trust me, it will make your life easier. 


Zen in an Annoying World in 3 Simple Steps

How can you stay calm, cool and collected when everything and everyone around you is dancing on your last nerve?  Often you can’t.  Learning to not react is an advanced skill set.   It combines patience and trust.  Most of all it requires practice.  I have learned that it can be as easy as 1-2-3.

1. Breathe

Physiologically proven to slow you down.  Breathe deeply three times.  It works.

2. Close Your Eyes

Information gets to the brain almost 3x faster through vision than your other senses, including smell.  So stop the world and get off for a moment.  Just a moment.  Cosimo de’ Medici ruler of Florence (1389 -1464) credited with unifying Tuscany said “go slow, to go fast”.  To me, that means get your self grounded.  Situate yourself.  Set a good foundation and then go get ready to rock and roll and move quickly.

3. Calm Your Body

Your muscle memory has a deeply rooted history.   How your body responds sets the tone for what your brain will think about.  Paying close attention to the signals from your arms, legs and feet provides valuable clues about what’s going on in your head.  The old adage move a muscle and change a thought is spot on.   Read this blog on body language and its impact on how others perceive you.

What’s Next:

Don’t react to other people’s craziness.  Follow these three simple steps to calm yourself and stay zen in an annoying world.  Go slow, to go quick. 



Confidence Can Be Annoying

Confident people can be annoying.  They always know what they want and how to get it.  Isn’t it the dream to always say the right thing at the most opportune time?  The superpower of being absolutely sure in my choices.   A general rule of thumb is that if you are not sure  — act as if . Apparently, this state of acting drives you towards your desired goal.  

Sometimes our behaviors betray us and show that we are not confident.  One of my favorite blogs Stop Talking Now explains this.

After reading Travis Bradbury’s article on The 8 Things Truly Confident People Do the answer is clear to me.  I am not always confident.  I can do better.  Everyday I act like I know what I’m doing, is a step closer to the best I can be.  For now this makes me super confident.

Be an actor today. Act as if you know what you are doing.  Act self-confident.  Be who you want to become.   Just don’t be annoying!

What’s Next:

Follow Travis Bradbury’s advice to show up as your SUPER CONFIDENT best self.

The Corks of My Life

Think about the items that have traveled with you throughout your life.  The strange, intangible objects that you choose to keep.  Forget the big things, the couch, the armoire, the bins of pictures, and the old shoes falling apart in the back of the closet. It’s the smallest of the small that matters.  A button, a pin, a sea shell. 

We all have one, a special box (no, not that special box).  The box that has miraculously moved with us since our teens.  Yet it never moves.  It never gets lost.  It’s etched, bedazzled or an old shoe box from a long ago and far away pair of heels.  Very high heels.  The box holds a collection of things.  Inanimate small things I never let go of although I’ve never needed them.  An acorn, a note, a ticket stub. 

And then there are the corks.

Champagne, Prosecco, or a bottle of deep Red. There is nothing like the shape of a wine bottle.  Sleek, smooth, intense.  But it’s all about the cork.  The cherry on top of the bottle.  The jewel on the crown. That pulling sound … and then the release, a light pop like the sound of a smile.  The excitement of not knowing exactly what you will get. Sweet, sour, messy.  The very essence of life.  The process of opening up.  Of going out into the world to do the work.  Developing and telling the story of your life.  Mine begins with the unknown and probably ends there as well.  The corks of my life.  A collection of defining memories. Moments tattooed into my soul, carving the deep grooves of my relevance.  Defining my being.  Each cork, like each story, unique. The colors nuanced and natural.  The purpose clear.  Once pulled, oddly lifeless and yet still relevant.  A reminder of what was.  Tangible remains of an animated moment with an inanimate symbol.  Do they still mean something?  They mean everything.

The Corks of my life. 

On the ski lift.

When I didn’t get asked to the prom.

The day I learned to become invisible.

My first rock n roll concert in Central Park. 

The moment I realized my father was never coming back. 

When I finally lost my virginity.

After It hurt, and I kept doing it.

The day I got my dream job that was a nightmare.

My third miscarriage.

The night before chemo.

The day after my divorce.

In Paris.

In Italy.

My first home.

Dancing in my bare feet singing at the top of my lungs.

In the moment having the time of my life.

When my daughter told me I let her down.

The day a raindrop fell on my check and I realized I was alive. 

The day I realized I had survived.

The day I could ask for what I need. 

My unexpected soulmate.

Right now, having all I will ever need. 

What are the corks of your life?

Live 2019 Forward!

Hindsight is always annoying.  It reminds us of what we could have known.  Should have known.  Let’s re-frame it in 2019.  Don’t should on yourself.  Take that hindsight, those lessons and feelings and turn them into action.

Be Relevant.  

Know what’s going on and care about it.  Bring your best self.

Be Purposeful.

Go slow just as fast as you can (thanks Sam Hunt).  Savor the moments.  Live the lessons. 

Don’t Annoy Yourself. 

Recognize what you bring to each interaction. And then bring it on. Be the light that others seek.

What’s Next:

Don’t annoy others either.  Smile like you have a secret, because you do.  It’s going to be the best year ever!


Your Second Act: GGRR = Give. Growth. Redemption. Relevance.

It’s that time of year again.  The end of one year and the start of a new one.  Your chance for new beginnings.  This time, make it more than chance.  Change your story.  Grow from your past and make this year the most meaningful ever.  GGRR…

G = Learn to GIVE: Live and give your SUPER PURPOSE.  The reason you were put on this earth.

G = GROW from your mistakes, don’t just recover, evolve.

R = Find you own REDEMPTION​. Your inner peace. That place where you are good at what you do and are truly comfortable in your own skin.

R = Know your  RELEVANCE​ and live it everyday.  

Read the full post on my blog about learning from mistakes.    You can also check out a longer version at Sixty and Me.

What’s Next?

What will you do today to live your super relevant redemption purpose?  I will be my out-spoken; bold powerful self.  Care to join me?




TEAM: Together Everyone Annoys Me

I declared war on annoying people in 2017 with the release of my book Managing Annoying People.  Now it seems everyone wants in the act and it’s a hot topic — how annoying!  So let’s get going.

My special mission in life, my super-power if you will, is to help you get un-annoyed.  And yes, even the New York Times has gotten into the act.  The good news is that as experts we are all rowing in the same direction and providing actionable advice.  For the record, I’m just a little bit more annoying which yields just a little bit better advice.

So this holiday season, as tensions rise and your auto-physiological response kicks in…. remember:

1. Your Reactions Speak Louder than Your Actions

How you respond says more than how you approach situations.  Because you are the team leader, boss or new kid on the block, everyone is watching you.  Just slow down and be cool.  Don’t get annoyed.

2.  Keep Those Boundaries Clear

Stay in your own lane.  So hard to do.   Here’s a visual: when I point one finger at you, there are three pointing back at me. (Pro Tip: Point now and look at the three pointing back at you.)  Stay focused on your own role, goals and actions. 

3.  Smile Like You Have A Secret

I love this one.  It makes people wonder what you know that they don’t.  It also has the added benefit of making you appear smarter than you are when you keep your mouth shut.  You know it’s true.  So smile, like you know something and zip the lip.

4.  Send My Book to Your Loved Ones – It ALWAYS gets a Chuckle…

Who doesn’t want to give a gift that makes someone laugh and at the least smile?  Order it with one quick click on Amazon or Barnes&Noble,  Yes that’s right Barnes&Noble, you can support the underdog and get your shopping done.  I know what you are thinking, I have MANY people who can use this book — in this situation just shoot me an email and I’ll give you a deal.  Who doesn’t want a deal?  Deals are not annoying.

What’s Next:

Shameless plug – buy several copies of the book and give as gifts.  Believe me, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.  Un-Annoy yourself and cross off all of your holiday gift shopping.  Shoot me an email or call me and I’ll be happy to provide an author note.  Just don’t annoy me!



Battle Fatigue

Commonly known as PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder according to the Mayo Clinic is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.   

Unfortunately, I have firsthand experience with it.  Both from childhood events and as a 9-11 evacuee.  It was my experience in 9-11 that brought on the full-blown systems and was finally diagnosed and treated.  It was not a surprise when my friend Nina, and all around inspirational person created her latest body of work called “Battle Fatigue” that I was drawn into the story.  And it’s a good one. 

In Nina Lipkowitz’s own words:

One year ago I became concerned that my father’s scrapbook from WWII might fall apart and disappear into dust. I thought about writing a book but not being a writer I decided to use the material in a much more personal way. I photographed and scanned all of the pages, made photo transfers from many of the images and bought paint and canvas and took a leap into the complete unknown.

My lessons:

Leap Into the Complete Unknown

This statement alone is transformational.  Take a chance.  Move forward.  Leap without looking. Miraculous things can happen when we go to a place we have never been.

Battle Fatigue vs. PTSD

Is there a difference?  Does an updated name change the experience? When I look at the struggles in my life (really who hasn’t had their share) I think of those that were so extraordinary that I didn’t realize how brave I was while I was right in the thick of it.  Now I see it a little differently.  Bullets flying at soldiers from all sides, no ability to turn it off.  That doesn’t just tire you out after the fight.  It rewires and defines you as you go through it.  It takes a driven, determined person to get through the “battle” to the point where there is a “post” to suffer from.  

Our Life Is Our Work

It doesn’t matter if you are an artist, a CEO, or a window washer.  Watching Nina’s process of literally taking the “scraps” of her Father’s experiences and going through her own artistic process, trusting the canvas to see what would be created is the true miracle.  Taking the pieces, we have of our lives and figuring out how we show-up is the main event.

What’s Next:

Take your own leap into the complete unknown.  Explore your deep past, fears and history.  Visit Nina’s website and read about the show by clicking here.

Read this article on sleep and PTSD by clicking here.


Why Thanksgiving is the Best Invention Ever

Lately there is no escaping talk about politics.  There is so much debate between viewpoints, pundits analyzing each action.  It’s so annoying to hear all day long.  Once you start nit-picking, and complaining it becomes your norm.   Quickly it becomes ingrained in each comment,  you don’t even realize you are doing it.  Stop doing it.  Turn it around.  Focus on what we do well, not un-well.  Find what makes us unique and differentiates us in how we live our lives.

Sure every culture, country and religion has it’s own rituals.  Everyone has an Independence Day.  Some cultures even have a few including May Day.   But not a one comes close or beats Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is the greatest American holiday ever.  Focus more on what makes it great:

1.  Tradition

Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, knew this all too well. Our traditions, no matter how simple, crazy or weird, bind us us a people, a family a culture.  Thanksgiving with an all day buffet, parades, football, early dinner, lots of pie, and leftovers.   I repeat pie….

2. Time Off

We have to face the truth, when it comes to holiday and siesta, American workers are lacking.  We work more than almost any other culture.  Solopreneurs, rarely get a day off; as well as those working retail and customer service. Many companies are trading and choosing holidays.  For the most part Thanksgiving is UN-touchable. 

3.  Time with Loved Ones

We all have our peeps – be it friends, family or the animals we love.  Many people need to fortify themselves to spend family time; but somehow we get through it.  And we are stronger for it.  Remember to love yourself first and be thankful for what you have.  My old feet kill me after a day of cooking, but I love that I have my feet!

4.  The Melting Pot

America took pride in being the melting pot.  The symbol of a place where all are welcome and fit right in.  Now-a-days students learn about the tossed salad — we all got thrown in and retain our flavor while we all work together to make something even more delicious.   The melting pot is like a high performance team, each with a speicfic role and each adding something unique and valuable to the whole.

5.  A Lazy Day

This is the official permission for a lazy day.  Even me, who does the cooking and cleaning and entertaining, somehow on Thanksgiving, I have permission to do it in my pajamas.  It’s just a little bit easier with fluffy slippers.

What’s Next:

Remember what makes America great.   Try to put a little Thanksgiving into everyday.

4 Reasons Coffee is Always the Correct Answer

You may remember reading the 3 Reasons the Perfect Coffee Ritual Matters. The cliff notes are:

  1. The ratio between cream and coffee makes the perfect balance.
  2. Getting what you expect, with no surprises, sets you up for success.
  3. When you set yourself up for success, you show up as your best self.

Now there is a 4th reason:

#4.  Coffee will extend your life!

And as an added bonus, this study found that in the summer it will hydrate you.

Read below, why coffee is the go-to and helps you succeed.  Click here to read the article on The Ladders.

Sip slowly and enjoy. 

No Place for Hate

Adding my voice to say:  No place for hate.  This means all the time, in all you do, especially in the workplace.  

Watch Your Words. 

We say things we don’t really mean – in the heat of a moment, when we are hurt, when we feel slighted, just because.  Choose your words carefully.   Say what you mean and mean what you say, just don’t say it meanly.

Accept Diversity.

In the day-to-day this means that it is incumbent upon us, when we do not understand to respect an other’s beliefs, values and actions. 

Choose Kindness. 

Not always easy to do the right thing. But, do it you must! You never know when you will be the difference in someone’s day.  When you will be the one who shows up and makes the right impact in someone’s life. 

What’s Next:

As Eli Wiesel, prophetic writer of the atrocities he witnessed and survived during the Holocaust said: 
The opposite of love is not hate. It’s indifference. 
Don’t be indifferent.

What if I Have No Problems?

Lately every blog, news, mode of social media is telling me how to do something better or giving me steps to fix something or a list of ideas to try.  What if I have no imminent problems, issues or concerns?  I’ll tell you what to do…Learn how to do nothing.

1.  Savor the Moment

Enjoy. Be in the moment. No lists, meetings or drama.  Just sit there. 

2. Make a Mental Note

When things go wonky; because they will – it’s the circle of life.  Use this memory to bolster your resolve and know it can and does get good. Make a memory of the feeling. 

3. Trade Up

I’d like to pass on a lesson from one of my mentors. A kindred soul – I met Cheevah Blatman, a Southern Bell from Richmond VA, during my first year in Grad school.  I have lived by her words of wisdom ever since. Some of it too juicy for this blog. Here’s one piece I can share: “Trade-Up”.  When something goes wrong, when righting the ship, just don’t mend it, fix it.  Make it better, hence “trade-up”.  When something goes right; make it even tighter and “trade-up”.  Take a lost earring for example.  Don’t just look for a replacement, get a better pair.  Computer on the fritz?  Upgrade to what you need and truly want: hot color, more memory, lighter weight. This also applies to goal setting. “Trade-up”.   Dream it bigger.  Build it better. Choose something of greater importance.

What’s Next:

Nothing.  Savor, enjoy and just sit there. 

The Truth About Friction with Millennials: It’s Jealousy

Managing millennials evokes strong feelings.  Like most truths, there is an incredibly simple explanation.  No matter how much rationalization, exploration and justification you do, this is what it comes down to.  We are jealous!  It’s that simple.

Jealously is a very powerful feeling, often leading to serious actions, such as huffing, puffing and overall frustration.  I find if I can deconstruct the source of my emotions, I can let go and be even a better manager.  I have also picked up a few lessons from my millennials that make me happy.

1.  I Wish I Had Me for a Parent

Unwavering support.  Medals for just showing up.  A house like Disneyland where everything one needs magically appears – clean laundry, favorite foods, streaming video on demand and rides to wherever you want.  Need I say more?

2. An Accomplishment is an Accomplishment

Seriously, when stapling a few pages together or doing menial tasks makes one feel fulfilled and righteous.  I want that feeling.  That is what you get with millennials.  Look at how I attached that document, so easily….  Millennials don’t necessarily distinguish between tasks.  It’s almost like the opposite problem of drama queens – can’t distinguish between a broken nail and a broken arm.  They are both equally distressing events.  We know the arm is much more time consuming and serious, but perhaps not to a millennial.  So whether I put together three packets of sales material or I come up with a new algorithm for selling our products, they are accomplishments and a millennial will celebrate both, as equal events. 

3.  Working on Their Own Timetable

Millennials are not lazy, not sure why that misconception exists.  In my experience, they just have their own timetables, which may or may not be based on reality.   No rushes, no emergencies, used to a world where somehow it’s always ok (refer back to point 1, I wish I Had Me for a Parent).  Keep Calm and Whatever…has caught on.

4. Full Belief in Self

Because of their access to everything, and the world being such a bigger place, millennials, are acculturated to totally believe in themselves.  Knowing I am worthy.  Understanding that I did good, no matter what I hear or see.  Celebrating the small acts, no matter the task, builds character and self-esteem.

5. Worth Not Determined by External Validation

This is the true gift that millennials have.  They know their internal value.  They may have trouble expressing it and show up as “inflated” but the truth is they know who they are and they relish in their authenticity. 

6.  They Embrace What They Love and Bond With It 

This part is really easy:  Figure out what you love and you may find you have more in common with a millenial then you would have believed.

  • Starbucks:  It’s a culture, not just a drink.  Exposed brick, warm woodwork, cool music, stay as long as you want.  What’s not to love?
  • Trader Joe’s:  Where else can you find carrot cake spread on demand when your mom isn’t around to give you just what you need?  Add-in delicious ethnic food to heat at home on the cheap.  What a deal.
  • Podcasts:  Learning by true osmosis, and multitasking – relaxing while learning; learning while commuting; learning while exercising.  
  • Loyalty Programs: Don’t you want to be rewarded for what you value and get free stuff besides? 
  • SnapChat and Insta: It’s not the endpoint.  Millenials, know it’s the journey.  Be the leading person in your own life.  Each pose is special, each caption is meaningful.  They live, love it and freely share their discoveries to relate to others.

What’s Next:

Managing millennials at work or home got you frustrated?  Think about what drives you and what you love and then forge ahead.  Encourage your millennials with kindness and cheerfully say: “That’s amazing! You did two loads of laundry -now fold them and put them away – Wow that’s terrific!” They will follow directions and you will be amazed.  Remember the old saying:  “You catch a lot more bees with honey than vinegar”.  And besides, if you can’t beat them, figure out what to love about them.  It will make your day a lot easier.  



Part IV – The Finale: Diary of a Millennial Job Seeker

Our millennial is offered the job!  Isn’t that the goal?  Yes and no.  We need adequate income, purpose and clarity.  Finding a position that can pay the bills, nurture growth and make a contribution to society is the gold metal.  The lesson takes us back to where we started: 

  • If the interview process is convoluted – RED FLAG
  • Not every job is for every person – Know your own “best fit”
  • Power dynamics are ALWAYS at Play in the workplace – Figure out your own win strategy

IV: Throwing Sand

As we leave the room where I had my final interview with the manager I’m told not to “act too excited because we’re not offering the position to everyone.” What should have been a red flag sales tactic felt good and had the manager’s desired effect.

As soon as I am in the elevator I feel awful. Did I just sign away my Saturdays? Who has a 9-hour work day? How will a commission based salary support me? I’m warm, overwhelmed and completely enveloped by an impending doom of the wrong decision being made.

2 Hours Post Interview:

The reality sets in. I do not have to accept a position simply because I enjoyed everyone I met and they choose me. I think about the situation from a sales perspective and realize every part of the interview process was essentially designed to make me feel special, important, and like I was being offered the most sought after position in the tri-state area. They had crafted a competitive scenario and in essence told me I had won.

I know the right thing to do is send a lovely email as soon as possible apologizing and thanking everyone for their investment and time. I can’t stop thinking about how sad I am as in one day I was: in multiple boroughs, had several interviews, was given a position, accepted a position and then processed I needed to go back on my agreement of said position. After reflection, I clearly see every indicator of a toxic process: who and how many are in the interview process, drama around setting up the interview, they talk at you, have an over eagerness for you to start, and the job description and reporting line are murky.

Someone wise (who is expert in Managing Annoying People) told me:

Do you want to be the kid in the sandbox who is getting sand in their eyes, OR the kid throwing the sand in everyone’s eyes?

Honestly, I don’t want to be either kid, sandboxes are gross; however, I have my take away. Through the interview process I was made to feel insignificant but now I am in the upper hand and that is better and a different sadness than rejection.

I craft an email and edit it with the help of three trusted friends because I want to have the wording just right. I thank, I laud, I apologize, I complement, and I speak for the best of everyone’s interest.

No response. This part of the apparent Odyssey has passed. I process the positives: interview experience, privilege of being offered a position and practice saying no to people I truly admire.

The quest for the quality and right fit position continues for this millennial job seeker. Wish me luck.


A sand throwing, dog loving, not excellent at public transportation, competitive, almost-employee

Thanks to Our Millennial Guest Blogger:

Our readers appreciate the report from the front line, your insights and showing us not every win is a win. 

Good Luck and may your find an office with a dog, an easy commute and an employer who harness the skills you offer with a good pay!

Part III: Diary of a Millennial Job Seeker

This is the story that just keeps on giving.  Next our Job Seeker is asked to come for a full day with comfortable shoes because she will be chasing clients.  Could that be right?  Read on and see if you can catch a few clients yourself.

Part III. Comfortable Shoes

I arrived for my second round interview confused as well as on time without any issues or complications finding the address. This time the receptionist knows me which puts me at ease. The email I received with follow up information states that the third round will be a full day affair and that I should wear comfortable shoes to be prepared for client interaction. 

Shouldn’t I be asked to wear nicer shoes to be respectable in a client facing environment? What a strange request? Why would I need comfortable shoes to meet a client? 

My mind is racing as I see other prospective employees my age all trying to look professional while clutching their morning Starbucks cups. The reception area is packed and I hear the interviewers behind the door being pumped up for their upcoming day. Their enthusiasm at 9am was akin to raised voices watching the super bowl. The screaming and excitement was out of place against the quiet conference rooms and white walls. 

The employees come rushing out, calling names, and putting us into groups of 2-4. My group was composed of myself, another prospective candidate and our interviewer; a young employee who just began two months ago. 

During introductions I am instantly very aware of the urgency, time crunch and pressure of the day. Throughout the day we are given and asked to present 5 tasks made up of applied marketing concepts. It is explained that the day will be intense and we will be traveling to a site to represent a client. If we make it to 3pm, we will be asked back to the offices for a third and final round interview with the manger. The interviewer is a fast walker and makes very intense eye contact.  The interviewer says things like: 

  • “If I do not feel your responses at any point today are not a good fit, I will terminate your interview”
  • “Please stay off your phone for the duration. If I see you on it I will assume you are not interested in the position and your interview will be terminated” 
  • “Don’t forget, you’re in competition with one another, if you’re speaking I will assume you’re speaking to one another about the tasks and that will be grounds to terminate your interview”
  • When I asked a question, the terse response: “That is the type of question that you can ask the manager if I decide to send you back for a 3rd round interview” 
  • “I am taking a picture of your task to send the manager to see if your responses exhibit potential and meet requirements for the 3rd round interview”

My adrenaline is racing throughout the entire day as I am instructed into a competitive anxiety kept in place by constant remarks reminding me that I am powerless and the final say is out of my hands. 

I have no idea what the company does but realize as the preliminary corporate structure is explained that the position title I applied for was a title intriguing enough to attract applications but vague enough to umbrella a wide range of tasks. In essence: the company used “marketing coordinator” to entice me to come have a sip of their kool aid. Their is no marketing coordinator position. The company does not believe in external hiring which is why every person must start at the same very base and remedial level. This position is entirely commission based and has insurance of promotion within a month. 

Red flag: I remained confused throughout the entire day. Although I asked many questions, the responses were vague and limited. 

We travel through multiple types of NYC transportation and I deeply regret my choice of shoe as I struggle to keep up and feel blisters forming and blood trickling on my toes. I execute a quick shoe-change while the interviewer looks away for a brief moment. I have no one to blame but myself as the email clearly states the necessity of comfortable shoes.  

Five hours later at the end of the 2nd round it is explained that now will be a 1 on 1. I’m exhausted. I’m asked to go second and the other prospective employee and interviewer disappear into the throngs of NYC masses. I wait. And wait. I wait so long that I begin to have fear I’m being ghosted by an interviewer. The interviewer comes back without the other prospective employee in tow, no explanation. 

After a full day of being told the interview could terminate at any moment, I’m told I have made an outstanding impression and that the manager is looking very forward to meeting me for a third round interview. The tone of my interviewer completely changes as I’m told that before the third round interview there will be a quiz asking some of the key concepts about the company explained throughout the day. I race to meet the pen to the paper as the 8 steps to success are rattled off quickly followed by the steps for a guide to sales. 

I am told that I must rush back to the office for the third round, send a text that I have arrived and prepare to meet the manager. The interviewer breaks character and releases a smile and a quick “I’m rooting for you! Good luck!” before again disappearing back into the crowds. 

On the trek back to their offices I regress to university mode as I create acronyms and little tunes to commit my memory to the page of information I will be quizzed on. I rush, cram, memorize, reflect, text a couple friends and accept the confusion.

This interview is different and I’m ushered right through. The pug from the last interview is asleep on the couch next to me and the manager’s thick British accent hits me. As compared to the last two interviews this is completely different as the act is dropped and the sales voice is turned on in full force. I feel the power dynamic in the room change as I realize: they want me. 

I am relentless and ask questions about corporate structure, branding, ownership, and compensation. The manager brings up several people by name to discuss financial goals and similarities between myself and the other employees. I recognize the sales tactic and notice how by doing this we both use phrases as if I’ve already been given and accepted the job. The manipulation through confusing information and language registers but my body ignores it. Working 6 days a week because it’s an accelerated leadership track? Makes sense. 8:30am to 6:30pm? The hard work pays off. No sick days or breaks? Well of course not, it’s important to learn everyday. No benefits? Well yeah, that’s temporary until I am prompted of the initial position into a higher ranked role. I’m excited they want me and … I drink the kool aid. “Sounds great!” I insist over and over again to the manager. 

My phoned is blowing up with messages from my friends: “Don’t sign anything!!” and “Pyramid scheme!!!!”

After the manager gives me an hour I know I’m their priority. The manager explains that 2,000 applications were accepted, 200 people were called in for a second round interview and 30 were called back in for the final third round interview. The closing pitch: “Well, you’ve impressed myself and both of your previous interviewers. You did really well today and after a glowing and very strong recommendation based on your the work you produced on the tasks, I’d like to offer you the position on the spot. Additionally, we don’t do this for everyone but I hear you and want to address your concern about transportation costs on a mostly commission salary and I am willing to give you a stipend of $500 a month for transportation.” 

I’m impressed that the manager was able to see the deep concern I felt about the commission based salary and was willing to supplement the income. My brain churns the percentage of positions of selected and I think I’m 1/30 out of an initial 2,000 people. Wow. I quickly think to myself that hard work pays off and 6 day weeks and 10 hour days will be worth it. 

I am asked for my decision and I affirm I’m excited to start with an enthusiastic hand shake and agree to coming in the following Saturday to begin orientation and sign papers. 

What happened on the commute back home.  Did our millennial start work on Saturday?  Just like this interview process, this story goes on forever.  Stay tuned for Part IV  next week.

Part II: Diary of a Millennial Job Seeker

What happened on the interview?  Thanks again to my guinea pig we have a view from the inside.  I actually think our job seeker is enjoying this workplace mating dance of who fits with whom. 

Back to our story.  Our millennial seeker had found the office after using every minute of the 3.5 hours for a 2 hour commute….

Part II. Unicorns & Scribbles 

There is pulsating pop electro remix floating throughout the room.  There are 2 other people in the room waiting to be interviewed. One about my age but younger looking. He was wearing black jeans, a button up and nice sneakers with his backpack. Did I wear the right thing? Is that what business casual means in 2018 for a young company? The other is a man is 10 years my senior wearing a professional suit, briefcase included. Is he here for the same interview? Am I in the right place? Nowhere in the room does it say the name of the company; there are no handouts, posters or content or anything with the workplace name. I’m confused and hoping I’m in the right pace. 

Me: “Hello, I’m here for an interview at 5:00pm” 

Receptionist: “Can you show me your confirmation?” 

Receptionist“Okay, now if you have a resume please staple it to the back of this sheet and please fill out the front page”. 

The sheet:

Are you currently employed? 

When are you available to start? 

What qualifications do you have for this role? 

What position did you apply for? 

Where did you attend college and when did you graduate? 

What are your hobbies/interests? 

If you could be any animal, what would you be and why? 

I immediately think: what kind of rèsumès are they receiving that these questions aren’t answered? I fill in my response for the last one: “A unicorn because their blood has healing powers; they are rare and unique, and their associated color is rainbow.” Any answer I write would be ridiculous? The whole point of questions like these is to see how you think, right? Or your personality to assess workplace and culture fit? Here’s to hoping that Unicorns say that I don’t sit in bed and binge netflix like every other 20-something, always pick up my phone on the first ring, am a morning person, and that I always have my projects completed on time.

I sit, finally stop sweating, and chat with the receptionists. I try to fish for information and although the woman’s English is very much rough around the edges I put together that there are 12 offices in the back all renting space, one of them being the company for which I’m interviewing. I try to ask if this is an outsourced recruiting firm? My English is lost on her. While I’m trying to get information both the man in the suit and the kid in jeans have finished their interviews. 10 mins at most. I have a moment to breath and bask in the on timeness of it all.

Although the email said I’d be meeting with the CEO, a young man wearing the suit calls my name at 5:17pm. 

Interviewer:: “Nice to meet you. Also, here is our office mascot” 

**Interviewer points behind a glass door down to an adorable French Bulldog.** 

Me: “ooooooomg that caught me off guard, adorable!”

We go into an office, it’s messy, there aren’t windows, the name on the desk doesn’t match his, and there is no additional explanation about who he is, or the process. He has the page that I filled out along with my rèsumè stapled behind it. 

Interviewer: So, what are you looking for? 

Me: I spent the last year traveling and freelancing but most currently I’m working as a legal assistant.  I’m ready to begin building a career and getting back to the roots of what I studied in college.

Interviewer: Are you currently employed?

Me: Yes…… I’m working as a legal assistant 

Interviewer: Right, right, you just said that

***Interviewer writes legal assistance on the top of the page ****

Interviewer:: Right, right. so, what makes you an asset? 

Me: I’m able to see the bigger picture as well as the smaller details which makes me excellent as executing tasks on a timeline. I’m able to see each individual tree as well as the overall larger forest. 

Interviewer:: Great, great. How soon before you could start? 

Me: The normal 2 week’s notice so I can give time for a replacement 

***Interviewer writes 2 weeks at the top of the page***

Interviewer: okay, so here’s what we’re doing. 

**Interviewer flips my résumé over to use the blank page*** 

Interviewer: We work with Fortune 500 and blue chip companies in order to support markets we haven’t yet entered. There’s a lot of demand but we don’t have enough people in leadership positions. 

***Interviewer begins to furiously scribble boxes and lines and arrows which i’m sure to him represent flourishing markets and prospering management and supply chains. His diagrams couldn’t make LESS sense but his brow looks so furrowed in concentration I didn’t want to break his focus***

Interviewer: so what we’re doing is training people and we’re hoping to do a fast track. Obviously putting people in management positions without training is setting people up for failure so what we’re hoping to do is create a fast track in about 25-40 weeks to management 

Me: that’s fast. 

***I open my notebook for the first time because it sounds like he’s about the throw some numbers out. He doesn’t. 25-40 weeks is the only number. ***

Interviewer: Yes, uh because companies need management and we’re training for that. Like Um back office as well as client meetings and projects and management. So basically we fast track you to management and then you’re able to take on a client waiting to be serviced because we have more business than we do teams. 

My mind is racing. Am I in the right interview? They have my name down but does this man work for an events company? What is this company? Are they a training company that provides candidates to other companies? Should I tell him i’m confused? He drew scribbles? He’s rushing? The e-mail said the interview would be 25 minutes long? Would those scribbles mean ANYTHING to me if I was a business major? I really don’t think so?

Interviewer: does any of this sound exciting to you? 

Me:**Panics and takes the easy route**  Yes, very much so. I chose my major to enjoy a career that is centered on critical thinking and I especially like that what you’ve talked about. It sounds exciting because it’s variation and an escape from mundane or ritual work, I like to exercise my brain and I think it’s exciting to build your own career. 

Interviewer: totally; that’s really cool. Okay so we’d actually like to train as quickly as possible. Are you available on Monday? 

Me: I’m very flexible but actually unavailable on Monday 

Interviewer: Tuesday? 

Me: Tuesday works

Interviewer: Great, so when you hear from us and hopefully that’s good news the second round will be on Tuesday and it will be a full day from 9:30am to 3pm. This will include clients, and training and it will also be at this location. We will have more information about the corporate structure and the salary. You’re actually the last person we’re interviewing and we are making all of our decisions in the next half hour by 6pm. 

Me: wow that sounds like a crazy half hour! Sorry to keep you so late on a Friday in that case haha…

Interviewer: Oh no no, and yeah, we have a lot of decisions to make

Me: good thing you have the dog! 

Interviewer: yeah, she’ll definitely help 

Me: should I let her like smell me to make a decision? 

Interviewer: hahahah, exactly, exactly. So we’ll be in touch. Is this the best email to reach you at and phone number? 

I say yes. He walks me out and I shake his hand again and thank him for meeting me. 

As I walk across the street, maybe 6 minutes after I got out of the interview MAXIMUM, I hang up abruptly on my friend to pick up on an unknown caller who turned out to be the receptionist from the front desk wishing me a congratulations and in finding out that the company “is very excited about you as a candidate.” 

They send me an email with follow up information for my second round interview. I have less idea what this company does than I did when I applied because then at least I had the word Events as guidance for the services provided. Glad I shlepped 3 hours out of my way to meet a cute bulldog. 

What will happen next? Has this ever happened to you? Write in with your interview experiences and predictions about the outcome of what the second interview has in store for our guest blogger!

Diary of a Millennial Job Seeker

Honored to have a true millennial guest blogger.  The names and places have been changed to protect everyone!

Part I. What happens when you use Linkedin like it’s Facebook: 

I applied for this “marketing coordinator” position at an Events Company using the “easy apply” function on LinkedIn on Tuesday with my generic rèsumè. No cover letter. No visit to the website or direct contact with HR. In essence, the fakest of applications to the vaguest of job descriptions. Wednesday, less than 24 hours later, I wake up to an email in my inbox inquiring if I can come in the next day. I ask to come in on Friday instead, they comply. 5pm it is. 

On Friday I got a text for a confirmation about the interview AND AN EMAIL. Two mediums of confirmations?  The e-mail says business professional/business casual. It’s in JERSEY CITY bc the office in manhattan is under construction. 

The train ride to Jersey City is uneventful besides 2 factors: 

1) My mom called and for a brief moment I felt relief from the fit I had in the parking lot of the train station. There was not a single spot in the 400 spot lot and I missed the train and had to uber to a neighboring station. Good things mom can talk us down.  

2) I hadn’t prepped for the interview at all since it was on such short notice and I figured I’d have time to research the company during the 3 hour commute. I’m trying look up the company on my phone and my DATA ISNT WORKING. No safari, no “About Us” section, no client testimonials, no LinkedIn searching the HR manager who emailed me, no insta stalking the company. I later find out the data was blocked because my baby sister who is also on the plan used up all the family data. Who can relate?

It’s at this point that I text two of my fastest responding contacts to request they google information so I don’t walk in unprepared and without research. They begin to google, click links and send me screen shots. Nothing is substantial related to the company. No images of events…. no insta account… I find that it was started in 2018…. the CEO has no pictures… basically it’s a fake company. 

I use google maps to walk the 6 minutes from the subway to the office. I’m so pleased that I have so much time to spare that I go and relax at Starbucks with wifi to only to continue finding bupkis. No employees state or link the company as their place of work on Linkedin, the language used on the website is vague, no past clients are listed, the company does not characterize itself as a start-up, and there’s no blog which is very commonplace for events or marketing companies who are always interested in discussing market trends. I walk back to the exact spot that my phone indicated was one minute away from the company office. I change into my heels, find a mint at the bottom of my Mary Poppins inexhaustive purse, blot my forehead from sweat, take a couple deep breaths before heading in to be nice and early and calm and sweat free. I walk the extra minute and look up. I’m in the middle of a parking garage. Panic tears it’s way through my chest as now I’m 20 minutes before the interview and very aware that i’m in the vicinity of the interview and yet; so far. 

I call an Uber for $5 rationalizing that Uber HAS to take me door to door. The Uber app says the driver is 5 minutes away and that the trip is 1 minute. This further frustrates me because I know the office must be in plain sight and that I JUST. CANNOT. SEE. IT. And then, pure luck — a mailman! Unlike the 4 previous Storeowners I asked that led me in conflicting and incorrect directions, he must have an idea! Afterall, isn’t it a mailperson’s job to know the neighborhood? I am flustered with 11 minutes left until my interview time. He points to the tallest building in the area two blocks away. get charged $3 for my cancelled uber and take off running.

In the elevator a man steps in with me and sees my clammy hands clutching a folder and pen. Obviously I took out the necessary materials ahead of time because I don’t think it the interviewer’s business that I have tattered five below receipts, straw wrappers, flip flops and leggings in my purse. I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t speak to the professionalism of my character.

“Are you here for an interview?” the man in the interview asks. My heart sinks as in this moment I’m all the sudden very aware that this is the man that will be conducting my interview. I’m so fired up from the stressful succession of events of the previous hour I ask “Why, are you my interviewer?” He looks taken aback and I realize my immediate assumption is wrong and I’m giving major  attitude. I apologize and tell him yes all the while being immensely thankful that I still had luck left. I exit the elevator on the 5th floor with 6 minutes to spare before 5pm interview laughing at the irony that I have used EVERY minute of the 3 and 1/2 hours I left for a 2 hour max commute.

What happens next?

Does the interview start on time?

Is it a real thing?

Can you relate?

Tune in Next Week!

5 Clues on How to Spot a Toxic Interview Process

How much do you really know about the interview process? There seems to be a lot of movement in the job force lately.  I’m receiving tons of emails from recruiters looking for talent.  I’m also getting lots of individual questions on how do I know if I should make a jump to a new workplace.  Many factors, personal, financial and emotional are in play when making a job decision.  Can you spot a toxic interviewing process? Here’s some information to think about during the interview process to assist in figuring out your next step.

1. Who and How Many are in the Interview Process

Have you met so many people that you feel this is hire by committee?  Just figuring out how many thank you notes to write feels like an uphill battle (yes, you still need to write notes).  Have you met so few people that you are not sure how many people actually work in this unit or position.  Is your only connection the person interviewing you.  This is a key indicator of how “team” operates in this environment.  Look carefully for clues about group process.

2.  Drama Around Setting Up the Interview

How exciting, you got a call that your resume impressed and they want to take next steps!  And then the lack of process or way too much process sets in.  First an email about scheduling a call.  Then a call about the process.  Then they have to check everyone’s calendars (don’t they know about calendaring apps) to arrange a phone interview.  And finally there is confusion if you should call them, how many people will be on the phone and how big is the funnel they are actually filling to get to a short candidate slateMaybe on-boarding will be a better process.  Maybe not. 

3.  They Talk at You

Throughout the entire interview they are “over-explaining” relationships and work products.  Thrown in are comments disparaging others in the company and why this position is needed.  You are 20 minutes in and still have not been asked one question.  Get the picture of the management style.   Run away quickly.

4.  Over Eager to Have You Start

Your availability is a bigger topic of conversation than your skill set.  It seems that hiring is the metric, not propensity for success and culture fit.  They don’t seem interested in leaving your current employ in good stead, they want you to start now.  In the big picture, a few weeks here and a month there, depending on the position will have minimal impact.  Why is your start date, not the resources, on-boarding and timing of what works for you as well as the company at the heart of the discussion?

5. Job Description and Reporting Line is Murky

After several conversations, the details of what you will be doing and who you be working for are still unclear.  You have done your best to understand the organizational chart, team structure and culture.  You realize there are a lot of statements about working out the details, people who need to be informed and figuring out exactly where you will be stationed.  While in start-up mode, this may be acceptable, be honest with yourself about the questions that are not directly answered.

What’s Next:

Remember, the interview process is like dating.  It’s a chance to see how you fit together and if you believe you will be better together or separate.  Note: What can be acceptable process during start-up phase, should not be confused with on-going process.  While every situation will not be black and white, make sure to take a deep look at the gray and see if it is a color you can live with on a day to day basis.  

Amazon’s Response to Hiccups

Without fail I can predict that something will go wrong.  Small hiccups, freak accidents, and human error.  It often feels that it’s amazing things go right as often as they do.  Anticipating and planning for contingencies is second nature for productive, competent people.  For managers, it’s a litmus test for separating the leaders from the rest of the pack.  What can we learn from those who have this skill?

You don’t need me to tell you that Amazon is a giant  — a best in practice, keep it fresh type of company.   You do need me to show you this absurd adorable dog picture (featured on my blog page) that somehow makes whatever went wrong okay.  

1.  Spin It and Spin It Well

Can you hone in on the silver linings play book and quickly explain to others the opportunity presented by the situation?  The valuable skill is finding that hook to turn the situation around.  When something goes wrong the last thing the management team wants is to be around a group of lamenting Debbie Downers.  

Just look at that cute dog Amazon trots out with their error message.  I immediately liked the dog.  No use yelling at a cute dog that just made a mess.  He won’t listen. The spin – redirection to the adorable picture that makes you smile even after losing everything in the shopping cart.  So while I’m still in the smile, I just re -open the app.  Why did Amazon choose that picture?  Unexpected spin, and re-direct. 

2.  Act Quickly and Decisively

Show no fear.  Face what went wrong head on with determination and gusto.  Show your team and the presenting problem that you mean business.  This is not the time to take a back seat.  Step up.  Think on your feet.  Be “the”  player. 

3.  Under Promise and Over Deliver 

Take a lesson from another icon, Captain Montgomery Scott  of Star Trek fame.  Known affectionately as Scotty by his shipmates, he was the go to guy for fixing mistakes and managing the Captain’s expectations.  Scotty would say:  “Captain, if I had 3 days and 4 men I couldn’t get the warp drive back online in two weeks and you want it in 24 hours!  I’ll get to work right away.  It’s an un uphill battle captain, but i will give it my all.”    Less than a day later Scotty would have the problem fixed: “Captain, we have all the pieces ready to go and are ready to test it”. Captain Kirk would just smile and say:   “Scotty you are a miracle worker!”   Be a Scotty.  

What’s Next:

When something goes wrong, use it as a BIG chance to show your team what you are made from.  Just follow these three easy steps and be a Scotty.   Don’t forget the adorable dog picture.  

Everything Old is New. Not Really.

I read it on social media so it must be true.  EverQuote is the new tech darling. There it was, highlighted in trending stories on my screen.  Occupying that coveted real estate in the top right column.  As all New York Times readers know, the place your eye naturally goes first. The ad very alluring, and just one click…so much easier than turning the page of the paper beast and trying to tame it.  I clicked through; score DoubleClick.

Apparently, young hot entrepreneurs have broken the insurance industry malaise with the founding of EverQuote.  As a first time car buyer, after leasing for 16 years (who doesn’t love a new car every three years?) I was up to the task, engaging my finely honed analytical skills and googleness.   I researched and read reports.  Multiple test drives on multiple vehicles were involved.  I chose a car.   

Next, find insurance.  I was like Henry Hudson navigating upstream.  I sprung into action.  Armed with one of my favorite lines from the iconic movie Fried Green Tomatoes as our heroine looses her parking spot at Piggly Wiggly and smacks into the car that zipped into her spot:  “I’m older and I have more insurance”.   My 40 year clean driving record would do the talking for me.  And then the fun began.

1.  Call Who You Know

I called my current company who couldn’t manage to get my car registered in a new state.  After three trips to the RMV – I sent my insurer a bill.  The email is still unanswered.  The featured picture is the document highlighted by the RMV worker on the mistakes made by my insurance company.  Sadly, this is the third document with just as many green highlights. 

My refund of $3.32 promptly arrived.  It doesn’t make up for the over $700 dollars a year more I paid because the insurance company couldn’t distinguish between state rules; or correctly fill out a routine RMV form.  Thanks, Travelers, I enjoyed that red umbrella for 23 years.  No more.

2.  Go Local – They Have Office Hours and Keep Them

Living in the boondocks has perks.  You never pay for parking and get a spot right in front every time. My banker, insurance agent, plumber and barista are all truly serviced focused, extremely competent and take care of  any issues on the spot.  Let’s be honest there are always issue but. addressed on the spot, amazing.

In a small town, you will share friends, see each other at the market, post ofifce and town events.  No one wants stress.  We are civil and all agree we want each other to be happy and have a good experience. Thanks Wheeler&Taylor, you now have my business.

3.  Engage in the National American Past-time of  Shoppers Regret.  Enter EverQuote

Sexy and seductive, a cute bot sticking out from the sign up boxes, nicely done.  My head whirling. Why did I find this the week after I bought insurance?  Thinking like a true American, I’ll just get a quick comparison so I can really regret my well-researched decision. 

I start entering my info.  Two screens in I decide it’s too onerous.  I make the emotionally sound decision to be happy with the process I just went through.  After all I did compare quotes from five companies and analyze coverage options.  My process was good, ergo my results should be good.  Besides, I am not giving out my email.  I know where that goes.  I abandon EverQuote and the second favorite American past time.   

4.  Figure out Its the Same Old Same Old.  

On my commute home, I receive a perfectly timed call from a local number.  Unsuspectingly I pick up.  A pleasant woman was calling me from EverQuote to see if she could help me with my automobile insurance needs.  I was driving and just a little curious, so I proceeded.  I congratulated her on working for a “disruptor”.  Disruptor, the word that had spurred me to click through the first time.  She replied “we don’t have that product”.  A red flag?

Had I entered my phone number prior to quitting the EverQuote application ?  I don’t recall doing so.  I rarely give the right number because I know where that goes.  It could have happened in the early stages of the application when I was gunho .  I was eager and they got me.

The same questions I had abandoned on the website were asked.  Too quickly she said, “I have the perfect insurer for you”.  Click, click and I was transferred to the Mutual Insurance Agency.  Barely a few more questions and I was provided with my competitive quote.   Deja vu?  Was Travelers on the line?  I politely declined and matter of fact said:  “I currently pay $700 annually less. Please do not call me again”.  I received several more emails, as well as a few additional phone calls from EverQuote over the next several days.   

What’s Next:

A little disappointment.   I always root for the underdog and had sincerely hoped that EverQuote was a true disrupter, like my favorite car service VIA, that does make my life easier.  But alas, just another call list and email spam I have to block.  Lesson learned.  Curiosity really does kill the cat, or your time at the very least.  


The Ultimate Revelation About Trusting My Instincts

Loud, engaging and right in the middle of things has always been my style.   I call them like I see them, shoot straight from the hip and diligently pursue outstanding results.   SO why am I afraid to tell it like it is and dole out my special brand of advice?  Can you relate?  Do you feel like you have to adjust your style or tone down your thoughts?  While everyone needs to account for “culture” how can you not lose the uniqueness of you?

In a twist of fate, although you already know I am trans-location (country girl in big city), all of my analogies are western today.   I love analogies, they make sure the point gets across with a frame of reference.  Analogies provide insight into the twisted workings of my thought pattern.  That’s part of the uniqueness.  Analogies work for me.

1. Stop Being Gun Shy

I have been working since I was underage to work.  I understand the basics of attitude.  Being able to please my boss or clients is second nature to me.  Making an impact is always the goal.  So why now do I feel that I have to watch every step?  Well, life happens.  Unanticipated events, such as your long-time boss embezzling and going to jail, changes your vantage point.  Soap opera dramas that happen in real life: Is it art imitating life or life imitating art?    I don’t know, but it just seems to happen more and more.

Life experiences are designed to throw you for a loop.  Gun shy – afraid to shoot because of past experience.  Well the past is the past.  Don’t let it define your future, or mine for that matter.  Just shoot.

2. Remember:  Not My First Rodeo

Sizing up situations quickly is fine-tuned skill set.  If you make your income as a manager this skill set is a basic survival tool.  And that’s where the trouble begins.  I often address topics and concerns that others aren’t even conscious about yet.  Yes, it’s a little psychic. I’m just doing my thing. Saying my thing.  Telling it like it is. Often, when I make a comment or a recommendation, it may seem out of left field to others.  For instance, when I say:  “I can tell that guy is going 9.3 seconds on a bull”,  others think I’m guessing.  I’m not.  My intuition tells me and I has a good long track record behind me.  

3.  As said by John Wayne:   “Courage is Being Scared to Death and Standing up Anyway”

When I am in the zone, I don’t even have to think about my actions, they are automatic.  In this SarderTV interview, it just comes out naturally without judgement.  If I have to explain how this impacts you being you — you really do need help.

What’s Next?

Move forward one step at time.  Take the next right action and build evidence that trusting yourself yields results.   Go get’em cowboy.


Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Annoying and Dysfunctional

I’ve managed a lot of people.  I know first hand that anyone that distracts from driving your business goals is of concern.  That’s why I started writing about Managing Annoying People.  They certainly fall in that category.  Lately, I’ve been dealing with a different breed; dysfunctional people who engage in circular thinking.  This not only impedes moving the business forward, but makes you crazy!

Managing annoying people requires consistency and setting very clear boundaries.  The technique is repeatedly enumerating priorities and the actions needed.  Try it, it works.  Managing dysfunctional people proves to be much more difficult.  Their behavior is manipulative, cunning and baffling.  Annoying people are usually consistent in how they annoy you, compared to those who are dysfunctional.   The hallmark of the dysfunctional behavior is that it is confounding, you never know what they will do next.

Understanding the difference between dysfunctional and annoying behaviors can save you a lot of time vis-a-vis your management efforts and co-workers.  I made a handy dandy chart so you can clearly see the subtle differences of the behaviors:

Subtle Differences between Annoying and Dysfunctional Behaviors

Surviving  Dysfunctional People

Notice I was careful not to say managing dysfunctional people.  Often these type of personality traits are deeply inbred.  Your best bet is to recognize the behavior, you will not change it.  What you can do is stop the time drain by not reacting to their twisted reality.

1.  Just the Facts.

They are competent but certainly not superstars.  Often they believe that their work is superior and they have an inside track to information.    Yet, because of their dysfunction, they do not see situations clearly.   Use the facts and just the facts.  Document their actions without labeling it negative or positive.  For example:  The report you sent was empty.  Please populate and resend.

2.  They Believe that Everyone Else is the Problem.

Dysfunctional people are quick to label and complain about everyone around them.  It’s actually one of the surest signs of dysfunction – they label their own behavior by blaming it on others.  They tell you that you are the one with the problem.   When a co-worker starts saying, “you are manipulative and rude,”  it’s a safe bet that they are really talking about themselves.  The old saying holds true here:  when I point one finger at you, there are three pointing back at me.  (Pro Tip:  Point now and look at the three pointing back at you.)

3.  They Complain Constantly.

This is the crucial time drain.  Because they do it all the time, I find myself listening, because it’s just easier.  In the long run, this is a huge offense to the whole team.  Once that language starts circulating it can spiral out of control.  Statements like, “If Libby just did what she was supposed to,” or “if the central office followed orders” or “if the IT people fixed that program” are misdirected.  They never believe that it is their responsibility to make things work.  It’s  hard for them to give and forgive a little.   They think everything should work around them in a perfect world all the time.  Isn’t that a lovely bubble.

4. Don’t Let Them Get Away with Rude Comments.

When called out on their behavior dysfunctional people swing back.  Often they exhibit aggressive behavior and usually do some bullying.  Of course they don’t see it that way, they think they are protecting their bubble.  But it is what it is.  Label their behavior and let them know, you know what they are doing.  Be clear and concise, “Louis, why are you being so aggressive?”  No reason to get into it, the back and forth is not necessary.

What’s Next:

Time is your most precious business commodity.  Our effectiveness depends on our ability to closely manage those that steal our time. Once you know the difference between annoying and dysfunctional, you can choose how to spend your time, and who is worth your while and worthwhile to manage.  This puts you in the driver seat.  That’s the bubble you want to be in.


What You Need to Know About Selective Listening in 5 Minutes

Why do people hear what they want to hear and leave the rest?  Why does selective listening happen and how can we lead and manage through it?  This question, almost as profound as which came first — the chicken or the egg, plagues us all.  This phenomenon is particularity perplexing to those of us who lead and manage others.  The result is we focus on a CYA (cover your ass) mentality, which interestingly enough still leaves holes.  Equally confounding is the lack of a pattern or predictability to selective listening.  The confusion usually comes out of the blue sky without warning.   What I’ve learned is that even with my professional radar, I still get surprised by who didn’t hear what and when they choose to mention it.   As a result one of my signature phrases is:  “It’s never what you expect that actually gets you”.  Monty Python  nailed it; “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition”.

When selective listening happens, I recommend:

1.  Act Quickly

Letting it fester is the worst approach to take.  Akin to freezing and looking like a deer in the headlights.  This is an opportunity for you to showcase your humility while using your strong leadership skills to get to the root of the issue. In these situations, it’s never black or white.  There is a big gray area, that will continue to grow without your action.     Check out the 4-Fs in Managing Annoying People.

2. Do a Jessica Fletcher Timeline

If you don’t know who Jessica Fletcher is, Google immediately.  Star of Murder, She Wrote, J.B. Fletcher, international best selling mystery novelist always starts with creating a time line.  Who was where?  When did it begin?  When did it really begin?  What evidence exists… emails, texts, pictures, voice mails, documentation, meeting notes.  You get the idea, let’s just hope it doesn’t boil down to crime scene photos like J.B. has to deal with.

3. Label It To Discuss It – Selective Listening

If you can’t categorize it or name it, you cannot discuss it.  Use phrases such as “we have a case of misunderstanding” or  “he-said; she-said” or “old-fashioned telephone” (often that has to be explained to millennials).  Feel free to use my favorite: “we’re not on the same page literally”.  By the same token, you do not have to immediately fix it.  By labeling it, you demonstrate that you understand there is an issue and you are working to resolve it. 

4. Stand in the Selective Listener’s Shoes

In the light of day, this can be incredibly powerful.  Owning up to our own responsibility when someone else hears what they want to hear takes practice and a lot of work.  Sometimes we are not as clear and concise as we think.  Or even if we are thorough and have it all documented, it is possible it can be misconstrued.  Moreover as we stand in their shoes, we see they may have been acting on old information or as it happened previously.  Their shoes maybe painful and hurt to walk in.  Perhaps they are going through tough economic times, a health scare or relationship troubles.  Others may have a vested interest in not hearing the information because it doesn’t make sense in their world right now.  They need it to be the way it makes sense to them.  Those with selective listening cannot see anything else at this time.

5. When Possible Find a Graceful Exit

The goal is not to be right.  As a matter of fact, it is to have the right outcome.  The outcome that will not weaken policy and procedures.  The solution that treats same people in the same circumstances in the same manner.  The resolution that leaves the relationship in tact without compromising principles or setting an unwanted precedent.   Again, easier said than done.  Remaining cognizant of what a graceful exit actually looks like will increase the likelihood that you will achieve a graceful exit.  

What’s Next:

Remember, it’s not you.  It happens to everyone.   Be as clear as you can moving forward.  Ask for feedback on what people heard you say.   Keep your cool, deal with it head on and make a graceful exit. 


3 Things Everyone Knows About Waiting That You Don’t

Time it right or you will miss blueberry season.  Waiting for those plump, fresh, delicious purple jewels to reach full flavor.  I picked, ate and baked.  Who could wait?  Fresh blueberry muffins, right out of the oven.  Delicious.  Four hours later, a second blueberry muffin.  And you know what?  It was even was more delicious.  Who knew that waiting would make it better?  Waiting matters when you want maximum results.

Wine lovers know the perfect time to open up a bottle.  How long to let it breathe.  And they know exactly what to pair it with to make it even more delicious.

Deal makers wait for that precise moment in the negotiations to turn a disadvantage into an advantage.

Managers instinctively navigate team dynamics.  Knowing just when to push back.  When to build confidence.  What to explain.  Resulting in each person doing their best.  They use tools like my How Do You Annoy Your Co-workers Quiz.

So why am I so impatient?  Why do it I want it right when it comes out of the oven?  Why can’t I wait?

1.  I Know What I Want so Why Wait?

This gives me free reign to go get it.  I am the boss after all.  I’m in charge.  I can get what I want.  I’ve earned it.

2.  I Assume I will Get Results.

It will work out.  Competency trumps negativity.  The plan will come together.  If it goes sideways I can handle it.  Haven’t I been through worst before?  I will make sure it works.  Remember the famous line from the original TV series the Odd Couple?  When you assume you make an ass out of you and me.

3.  There Aren’t Enough Hours in the Day.

Seriously.  Sometimes I don’t want to have to wait.  I just want to get on with it.  Cross it off my list.  Put it in a file.  Stick it in a draw.  Get it done so I can move onto something else.

What’s Next:

Even a bad blueberry muffin is a pretty good thing.   I can make it better by learning to hone my timing.  Striving to get the full flavor, the full intent and the full experience of the muffin.  I won’t assume hot out of the oven is always better.  In the immortal words of Tom Petty…the waiting is the hardest part.

Stop Talking Now

Stop Talking Please.  How many times have I seen people look at me and I just know what they are thinking?  You’ve guessed it.  Way too many.  Why me?  Looks to me that other people jabber on and never get that look.  When I talk it’s different.  I had to go inside to find the answers.  Turns out I had to go inside my hurt and my emotions that is.  Seems like in my role of providing advice, talking is not always the answer.  So, I had to think about how I can do better.  Here’s what I found:

1. My Timing Stinks.

Once it’s in my brain, it’s on my lips and out of my mouth.  I guess that’s what shooting from the hip really is.  Without thought or instinct, I blabber it out.  Often its too soon.   Too soon, because the other person hasn’t finished talking.   The other person has not thought through the impact of what they are saying.  I am already onto solutions.  The other person is just beginning to process what is going on and I am talking about what is going to happen next.  Too soon. 

2.  Too Much.  Too Fast.

You know exactly what I mean.  It takes me a lot of words to say something that can be put more succinctly.  In my defense, they are complicated thoughts and I want to make sure you get the full gist.  How can I do that faster?  So I start talking faster.  That never works.  It has the opposite impact.

3. Trying Too Hard. 

It’s important to me that you know I understand.   As a result, I think about what I want to convey.  The t-shirt with the slogan ” Do me a favor.  And Stop Talking.”  pictured on my blog  is about what you want.  I really want what you want.  So I’ll stop talking now. 

What’s Next.

A little reminder that a look inside doesn’t always tell us what we want to hear, but we need to hear it.  And then honor it.  Now I am really shutting up.  Have an easy week.





Reactions Speak Louder than Actions: Guard Your Body Language

It doesn’t matter why they irritate you, when you are annoyed – whether you are the boss or the employee or a peer, it evokes a fight, flight or freeze response.  Your entire body literally displays your feelings.  Your reactions speak louder than your actions. How your body portrays your thoughts matters. As said by Blanca Cobb, body language and people watcher extraordinaire

This is the power of body language. Silent messages CAN be more credible than spoken words. There are situations where words whould sell you out before your body language.

People who “annoy you” make it difficult to work together.  Even if you think you are doing your best poker face (as in no reaction, no response), think again.  Your boss, the team and your coworkers see your reaction. Reactions speak louder than actions. 

The Team Dynamic

This unspoken yet noticed actions make it difficult to work together.  In a strange turn of human behavior, although it’s the other person that started this chain of events, it turns out it is your response that matters.  You have now become the annoyer.  Usually people who are annoyed by the same behaviors as you, will coalesce around your reaction.  They will flock to you and hang on your words and actions. This is good right?  Wrong. 

It’s just human nature.  Eventually team members will start to feel bad for the under dog.  Especially if you are the boss and you are the one reacting negatively.  Over time staff become fearful that it can happen to them. That you will treat them in the same way you react to the annoyer.  This sets off an environment of mis-trust, mis-Communication and fear.  As a result that definitely means no teamwork. 

There are several way to deal with your own reaction to annoying people:

1.  Instead of Reacting Have a Direct Conversation

Let the annoyer know how their behavior impacts you.  Be very specific in your conversation. For example you can say: “At team meetings when you interrupt me, I get frustrated and do not want to hear what you had to say, even though it might have benefited the team.”

2.  When You are Irritated by Someone, Ask Why They Act That Way

Often people don’t realize their behaviors set others off.  Once again the more specific, the better. You may ask: “Why do you always bring a mound of files to the team meetings, I find it distracting.”

3.  Smile Like You Have a Secret When Annoyed

Finally advice that is easy to do in every situation that annoys you. Smile a big smile (ear to ear) like you know something.  I like to say, Smile like you have a secret and let the annoyer wonder what you are smiling about. That alone often changes their behavior and fosters teamwork.    Even when you can’t help yourself, your smile will hide strong feelings.

I actually wrote a whole book on behaviors that make it difficult to work and manage teams!   You can find some new tricks to change your reaction and drive your work forward in my book and blog posts.  Or use the old fashioned method and send a text!


Get Business Networking Results

Happy July 4th!  Summertime brings lot of chances to get business networking results.  With parties, events and summer games there are many conversations to have. This leads me to think about how much business chit-chat is too much?  How do you network to be get results.  How do you make yourself memorable?  The answer is easy.  Anything that feels like work is work and should be limited in networking opportunities.   Networking conversations should be easy, breezy and fun. 

The key ingredient when discussing networking is value.   To find your sweet spot when networking think value. What is a good conversation worth to you?  The best way to network is to share a laugh or a thought or an unusual fact.  When you network with these goals in mind, you will be professional, appropriate, relevant and most importantly memorable.  Who doesn’t want to be memorable?  Memorable gets results.

Network to Learn and Laugh

Learn what others are engaged in, how they got where they got and what makes them tick.  When you network from the perspective of learning, you take the emphasis away from yourself.  This not only opens you up to see the world in another light, it’s is much more enjoyable for the random people you pony up to.  Don’t be so serious, have some fun.

Network for Insight to be Memorable

Get out of your head and see what insights you can apply to your situation by listening to others.  Show up interested.  Especially in business conversations people can tell when you are genuinely interested.  Get results by networking with those you value.

Network to be of Service to Others to get Results

It seems that people tend to network when they need something.  The time to network, is when you have something to give.  A funny story, a joke, an insight, a helping hand.  Think about it as part of your pro Bono arm.  I can’t explain how it works, but those that give the most, get the most back!


With over 30 years in C-suites, and many July 4th Work picnics, I know how to annoy.  That’s why I speak on building powerful engaged teams and managing annoying people who steal your energy and time, even though they are competent.  I help managers drive their agendas and bring joy back to the workplace.

Network with a funny story or a unique fact and be memorable!


Never Start By Saying No!

Newsflash:  Despite global warming it is officially Summertime.  The signs are everywhere.  Kids are off from school.  There are many more outdoor activities and the days are longer.   This all adds up to less reasons to be stuck working.   You’ll need a boost to get the time away from work you need.  Try this productivity hack to spend your time off without stress.  Learn how to say “no” to your boss so that you can enjoy your downtime.

The Advice

Never start by saying “no”.   Learn how to say “yes” and accomplish the “no”.   Learn to meet both of your needs by setting boundaries and figuring out what you must and can accomplish.

This is funny advice from me.  Since I have a whole chapter in my book Managing Annoying People about how to just say NO.  Last week I urged you to say “no” for cleaner focus on your priorities.  Click here to read  why your efficiency hacks are not working, This advice  is a subtle twist on the concept.

Why Listen to Me?

I write, speak and mentor on workplace dynamics; building powerful engaged teams and managing people/teams that annoy you and steal your energy and time, even though they are competent.  I counsel people to learn to use boundaries.  We work on how to distill the situation and then be able to clearly and concisely communicate to get results.   I understand how messy it is out there folks.  Everyone is doing more with less time, staff and resources.  How your react sets the tone for your relationships.   I know, I managed 10,000 people and had to learn who would get it done, even if not my way!

How Do I Use this Productivity Hack?

The trick is to meet your boss’s needs (or your employee’s needs) and do it on your timetable and rules.

Let’s say the Boss wants you to work over the weekend to finish a project.  You have to quickly scan  — is it doable?  What resources do I need? How can I get this done?  The goal is to figure out other ways to finish the project without sacrificing your own time and needs.  It’s really helpful if you think about the instructions for putting on an oxygen mask on an airplane.  Put your oxygen mask on first and then attend to those around you.

The Conversation Sounds Like This:

Boss: I need you to stay all weekend and finish the XYZ Project.

Response: Of course (the more enthusiastic the better).   I’ve been wanting to hammer that out and get it done all week.

Boss:  Great I can count on you?

Response:  Yes, you can.  Let’s talk about the specifics.  I can tackle it hard on Thursday and Friday and then if needed, Sunday night.  We will have it bright, shiny and ready Monday morning!

Boss:  Great, so you’ll be in the office on Saturday?

Response:  Probably not especially since the plan I outlined will work —  we will have what we  need.  The goal is to get the project finished by Monday morning.  I can do that.  Do you need anything else?

Specific Time and Place Events

In a situation when it’s an event or coverage on a very specific date and time and it conflicts with with your needs – remind  your boss that if you don’t have some breathing room and downtime, you will not be fresh and peppy to do all the other things you need to do for the job, The idea is for the boss to be able to relate personally to your situation.  It would help to remind your boss that you need to take care of yourself (and your family) so that you can “rock” your work place responsibilities.

In these situations:
  • Express your disappointment.  Reiterate that you are re so glad that they asked and you would love to do it you’ve been looking for those opportunities.
  • Problem solve on who else may be available or a good fit; don’t look at all the obvious options that your boss has thought about.
  • Describe how you will connect to people at the event or follow up even though you won’t be there.
Remind your Boss – they can count on you to get accomplished what needs to be accomplished.
If you are interested in talking more about this, please email me at ilene@alignedworkplace.comor reach me at 212.787.8581.

3 Reasons Your Efficiency Hacks Are Not Working

Who doesn’t want to get more accomplished in less time, with less effort?  Efficiency hacks have been a hot ticket for the past several years.  So why do I constantly hear workers complain about their workload, no time for vacation, and the amount of hours expected at the office.  Why aren’t these hacks making it better?  Why have we yet to find efficiency mantras that actually work?  

We are following the wrong advice.  It’s the negative hacks that work; not the positive seeming actions.  Let’s start with this truth:  It’s not what you are not doing that is holding you back.  It’s what you are doing. Like trying to open doors that will always stay closed to you.  Stop spending time on the wrong things, like pitching customers that don’t buy or offering jobs to those who reject you.   Start focusing on the things that work and your efficiency will soar.

Understand how to stop doing what’s not working:

1. It’s Counter Intuitive. 

As Americans we wrote the book on MORE, MORE, MORE.  The concept of doing less and getting more is counter intuitive.  We think one more go at it and this time it will work. Just not so.  Think about a much needed vacation, or rest.  After the vacation of actually doing less,  you can actually do more.  Read about quitting old behaviors that do not work.

2. We Focus on YES, not NO.  

We are trained to say Yes.  As in, “Yes I am a team player.” “Yes I will help my neighbor,” and the ultimate “‘Yes I can do that!”  We don’t want to be the Debbie Downer that says “No.”  And yet it is the NO that makes more space for our Yes.  Can you wrap your head around this?  No, leads to more yes.  It hones your priorities.

3.  Maybe, Someday, and Tomorrow  are the Bermuda Triangle of Efficiency. 

In classic Yoda fashion “Do or Do Not”.  Anything else is a waste of time.  Choosing an action, regardless if it’s an active DO or passive DON’T Do, puts you on a clear path with a concurrent action plan.  Waiting, undecided, lingering just slows you down and clogs your brain, your calendar and your energy.  Last fall I was featured on Marc Guberti’s Virtual Productivity Summit.  My most liked efficiency hack was: ” Do what you hate first. Once you get it done everything else will open up”.

To make your hacks work, make them purposeful and easy.  Follow my advice on Maroon Oaks Blog – Lead Your Workday with 12 Efficiency Mantras.   

Maroon Oaks connects  Women – Entrepreneurs,  Job Seekers & Relaunchers through a free member network.  Developed for Women who ant a level playing field and a chance to achieve family-work-life balance

What’s Next:

It’s a little of a spiritual concept to grasp.  Only the doors that are meant to open, do open.  It doesn’t matter how much you knock, honk, sneak in and try to get access.  When it doesn’t work, stop doing on it and spend time on efforts that yield results.

If you focus on the people, companies and workers who understand you and your products and say “No” to those who don’t, you will have more time to say “Yes” to those who want to work with you.  And as a by-product you will be happier.

Try saying “No” to grow your business.



Lead your workday with 12 Efficiency Mantras


Do I Annoy My Co-Workers? Take the Quiz and See.

I’m so  excited, I finally did it.  I created an annoying quiz just for you!

With 100% certainty I know what is going to happen to you in the coming weeks.   You will annoy a co-worker.  Usually not purposeful, but the end result is the same.  It gets in the way of the work.  Although we often don’t intend to offend, it happens.  We don’t always look at our behaviors or understand  our actions that annoyed our colleagues.

Who wants to spend their time being annoyed?  That’s annoying already.

I know what you’re thinking.  How can Ilene know my situation? My team’s irritating idiosyncrasies?  The specific nuances of my workplace?  The truth is, I don’t.   What I do know is human nature; human nature as it particularly relates to being part of a team and managing workplace dynamics.  And I clearly know about being annoying (have you met me?)

My new quiz will provide insight into how your co-workers interpret your actions.

With 50% certainty, I know you are going to struggle with honesty when taking the quiz.   When the words resonate, pick that answer or you will only be annoying yourself.

Aligned Workplace mentors business leaders and managers to drive their agenda and build workplaces where success, inspiration, kindness, and joy define the culture.   We provide specific actionable advice to put you on the path to being less annoyed at work by using tactics to instantly transform the relationship dynamic.  Because being annoyed takes away from you driving your business agenda and wastes your time.

What’s Next:

First step is to know your “annoying type.” — the quiz will help you.

Start the quiz and in 7 questions you will know your annoying personality type.

Take the advice and share, share, share your results.

The world wants to know:  What is your annoying workplace personality?


What Everyone Ought To Know About Why I am Out of Sync and Need Help

I need your help.  I’m out of sync!  The funniest part is that’s how I made my living for years.  I knew exactly how to line things up and make them work.  I could spot what was out of whack much earlier than my colleagues.  That made me annoying.  Now I am out of sync.    

Four years ago I created Aligned Workplace, assisting C-suite Execs and Managers align their resources, team skills and messaging to quickly drive their agendas and grow their organizations.  Big shout out to those of you who bought my services!  And know how to drive your agenda, I did.  I was intense, pushed too fast, and was hard on you.  

Then something amazing happened. Managing Annoying People:  7 Proven Tactics to Maximize Team Performance was born.  The book officially launched January 2017.   It’s a fun, easy read handbook to deal with people in the workplace who suck your energy, time, and Zen.     “I built the book.  The book built the business and the business is building me” as said by Dean Minuto of Yescalate. Thanks Dean!

And now I’m not in sync. The book and business did really build me.  I’m different now.  More purposeful, relaxed and open.  I am at crossroads of what to do next.  Where should I be focusing my efforts?  Who is the exact customer that needs me and what should I be doing?

Data Points

I love data points, so here are mine.  Here’s what’s been happening:

  • Close to 500 copies of my book have made it into readers’ hands.
  • I speak and train new audiences on how to be better managers and handle difficult workplace situations (gentle reminder, send opportunities my way).
  • My radio interviews, guest blogs and articles (such as give career advice to new workers, mid-level managers and millennials on how to jump start their leadership journeys.
  • Through coaching, I provide CEOs and team leaders with action plans to broaden their spheres of influence.

My unique ability is to provide services, just in time.  I am in your corner as change occurs:  be it environmental, personal or workplace shifts that alter the existing rules.  What I find interesting is that everyone thinks their solution is so unique and yet they all want that one silver bullet  – the actions they can take to propel them forward.  They want answers.  They want shortcuts.  They want it wrapped up and delivered with a bow. 

So now the ball is in my court.  How do I reach and serve those who need me?   Originally targeted to CEOs and team leaders,  I now seem to be more useful to sandwich managers.  This is a term I coined.  Like the sandwich generation, stuck in the middle of two masters.  Sandwich Managers have to manage up and down and are usually annoyed all the way around!  I find these to be newish managers, late 20’s to early 30’s.  Particularly complicated now that everyone is gluten-free.

Here’s Where I Need YOUR Input:

  • Who should I be speaking to – where are the associations, populations connections to people and service organizations who could use my services?
  • Where are the right training opportunities with groups of 30 – 50 people?
  • What do you think of the creation of on-line “paid for course”?
  • Who would benefit most greatly from my services?
  • Who is willing to pay for this content?
  • Would it be fun to have more short videos with annoying situations played out?
  • How about more guest pod casts?
  • How annoying are these questions?

I am out of sync.  Now that I have repeated that three times – I think, you got it.

Hit REPLY and tell me what you think.  And a truly radical idea, pick up the phone and let’s have a conversation and catch up.

The lines are open 212.787.8581.

Spoiler Alert – next week’s blog will be a survey on How Annoying are You in the Workplace? 

Looking forward to connecting.

Un-Annoyingly Yours,


5 Things To Do Immediately About Annoying Misunderstood Habits

Being misunderstood sucks!  The worst part is we often don’t realize why our intent is not coming across loud and clear.  Do you know your everyday habits that cause people to form inaccurate or negative opinions of you?   Can you identify your behaviors that annoy others and repulse instead of engage?

I speak and mentor on how to turn annoying situations into amazing experiences, especially in the workplace.   Coaching managers over and over again, three distinct patterns repeat themselves.  The complaints, the explanations come in different forms, but they boil down to these annoying workplace habits: 

  • Being Anxious

Most of us live with some level of anxiety. We’re not really aware of how this shows up to other people. We think we’re covering it up.  You may talk too fast, too loud, or too much.  In reality it shows up as an annoying habit.

  • Controlling Behavior

For over achievers, it usually takes the form of micro-management.  Habits such as being aggressive, only wanting things your way and hovering over your direct reports run rampant.  Really you just want to be appreciated and of service, but to others you appear inflexible, tough, controlling.  Not fun for others.

  • Insecurity

For those who are frightened of not being good enough, it shows up as needing constant reassurance. The habit is asking the same question over and over again. It makes others think you are insecure. Your friends or coworkers, or even your boss feel that you are continually saying the same thing over and over.  You don’t hear yourself and it’s frustrating to them. 

It is important to pay attention as to how you’re being perceived.  The vibe you give off has a direct impact on  advancing your career and your personal goals.  Nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to be around an annoying person.  Take it from someone who thought she was being helpful, although I couldn’t help hammering points home, again and again.  Being anxious, controlling and insecure gives mixed signals.  Instead of making people more sympathetic to you, it turns them off. 

What can you do right now?  

1.  Be Aware.

Follow this analogy.  Body Dysmorphia is a disease where a person doesn’t see their physical self as they exist in reality.  This article on Bustle explains that it’s a much deeper issue.   Consider that you may have “Workplace Dysmorphia” and not see your actions clearly in business situations.  Sometimes, I overwhelm people with my excitement.  I didn’t see that my enthusiasm could be a turn off.  To start to change, I had to be aware that I did not see my habits as they appear to others.  Do you know how your behaviors appears to others?

2.  Breathe and Take a Moment.

This is always good advice whether you are entering a team meeting, an annual review or bungee jumping off of a cliff.  Take a moment, to breathe in success, breathe out fear and  ground yourself. 

3.  Apologize

Not necessarily for the behavior, but for the impact it has on others.  Tied together with awareness, you can tell when someone is not responding in a positive way to you.   In that moment say , “I’m sorry if we are not connecting right now” or “I see we are not on the same page right now”.  Or the line I often need to use is: “I know my ideas are overwhelming, lets start again.”  This will change the dynamic right away. 

4.  Ask for Help

From a friend or colleague you respect.  From your HR department, or from your mother.  Email me!  Ask others for information about how you come across and what would help you to be better heard and understood. 

5.  Replace it

Change your behavior.  If you are the one who keeps asking the same questions about yourself, turn it into questions about others.  If you interrupt when others are speaking (my most annoying habit) write down on a piece of paper what you want to say, instead of saying it aloud.  If you repeat yourself incessantly, say it once and count to 100 in your head, before you speak again.  

What’s Next:  Find a new behavior that doesn’t annoy others.  Take responsibility for your actions.   Understand that others may not grasp your intent.  Adjust your behaviors and see what happens.  What will you change today?

The Ultimate Guide To 4 things to Remember to Learn from Your Mistakes

What's next?  That was always such an easy question for me.  The situation was basically irrelevant.  I sprung into action.  I was on the ground running, ​brain and body immediately creating a road map.  And you know me; we are not talking about a straight line to a pot of gold.  This map was multifaceted with twists, turns and surprises.  Not much room for the unknown.  And usually it went according to plan. Usually until a few years ago.

​Last week, I had an interesting conversation with a Social Work colleague​​ about an article she read.  The gist, apparently as we age, we make more and more mistakes.  This was shocking to me.  Wasn't I supposed to be smarter, stronger, nimbler?  

As I thought about it, it began to make sense.  ​In my younger years while I honed my craft, raised my kid and enjoyed my life, I did things I knew how to do.  I got better at them over time.  Now, semi-retired, there are so many things that are new to me.   Suddenly, this making more mistakes thing has merit.  I've realized it is absolutely true for me.  Don't get me wrong, some of those early mistakes were doozies. Lessons long learned.  ​Now I am open to making totally new mistakes.  I'm in a space I've never been before.  This time being off-road means I travel without GPS and no maps.  What's next?  Usually a mistake... (and that includes proofreading!) 

​Research on being successful hails grit as the key ingredient.  I'm very gritty. I've learned it's just not enough. ​ ​​​My recent blog post on how to have a great second act​​​ takes a look at people who springboard from mistakes.  When I think about what's next ​and how to get there, I grit my teeth and say GGRR.  ​

The full GGRR explanations can be found ​in my Sixty&Me Blog Post.  GGRR isn't a roadmap, it won't tell you what to do.  It is a guide on how to use hindsight that propels me forward.  And hopefully you too:

1.  Learn to GIVE: Your SUPER PURPOSE™

2. GROW from your mistakes, don't just recover, evolve.

3.  Find you own REDEMPTION​.  Your inner peace.  That place where you are good at what you do and are truly comfortable in your own skin.  .  

4.  ​Know your  RELEVANCE​ and live it everyday.  

What's Next for you?



3 Reasons the Perfect Coffee Ritual Matters for Your Best Self

The perfect coffee ritual sets a tone for your day and gets you engaged, focused and grounded.  Good cup of coffee, good day.  Bad cup of coffee, not such a good day.  If you drink coffee, you know exactly what I mean.  If you don’t, pick your poison.   Day off, late start, retired, sipping that steaming cup of nectar with your ideas and thoughts swirling around.  Already at the office, running errands or in a meeting gulping that java while going over your mental to do list.   It doesn’t matter if it’s coffee, Matcha Latte, a smoothie or water.  This morning beverage gets you going and sets the tone for your day.

Originally published on my monthly blog on Sixty&Me where I blather about mindset, setting yourself up for success and taking what comes.  Really it’s the good kind of blathering.  The perfect cup of coffee is about balance.  Finding it, keeping it and tweaking it. 

1.  Get What you Want

Starting your day with a ritual makes you comfortable.   Being comfortable is key to being engaged. While I am not a fan of the “over a buck” for a cup of coffee, make your choice.  Know what it is, how you like it and what to expect.  This small ritual will put you in the right framework for the start of the day and let you worry about non-coffee related issues.  

2.  Maintain the Temperature

Just because you get what you want doesn’t mean it will workout.  Focus on the big picture and what else is going on.  We balance lots of things in a day.  Just be aware and know when to regroup, add cream or a little sugar metaphorically.  Go back and start again if you need to.  It’s just a cup of coffee – not the purchase of a car or a place to live. 

3.  Tweak It

Changes happen.  It is the only inevitable, everything changes.  Now finally in Spring the weather impacts your body and your mood.  Every change influences how you feel about your morning ritual.  It may be like it always was, but you may not feel it.  So make small changes.  Let me say that again, small changes.  Tweaks.   Tweaks will set you up for a better response to whatever comes your way in your day.  Still wanting more, supersize or have a second.  Problem at the team meeting, just make a small change – let someone else talk or let something that annoys you roll off your shoulders.  Make small changes for a big impact.

The perfect cup of coffee is about balance.   Remember these simple, easy steps to have an even keeled and perfectly balanced day.

Read the blog on What my search for the perfect cup of coffee-taught-me-about-finding-balance/ on Sixty&Me.

What small tweaks did you make today?  How did it go?

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What Everyone Must Know About the Bull on Your Team.

Do you know who the bulls are on your team and how to handle them?  Can you tell which team members are driving change and who is tangling-up the team process?  This blog originally titled Everything Looks Weak Next to the Bull is about how to get out of the way when the Bull is breaking all the China in the place.  It’s about those team members who are always raring to go.  They jump start the project.  They get things flowing.  They take a lot of credit for their efforts.  Eventually these are the team members who tangle up the process instead of driving it forward.  There are a confluence of factors that lead to this situation.  As a team leader or team member, you can learn to recognize the factors that stop process.  Learn which of these you can control and when you need to run and take cover.   Read the full article on Thought Leaders LLC.  to see why everyone looks weak next to the bull.

Sometimes the person on your team who is “driving change” is actually driving everyone crazy. How can you figure out the difference? What do you do when you learn they’re making everyone nuts?

1.  You Let Them Get Away with Whatever.

And I mean whatever. It doesn’t matter if you are the team leader or a member.  It’s too hard to stand up to them.  Actually, it’s just easier to not deal with it based on prior experience.  It will take too much of your time.  You can just deal with it later, whatever the fallout is.  Either way, they have the ball and you let them run, run, run.  And run all over you, they do.

2. Take Cover. 

You have that gut feeling that you will be collateral damage.  Run and take cover.  It doesn’t mean you don’t care about the team or the project or the outcome.  It just means you need to lay low until it becomes clear, how and what you can contribute.   There is an old saying for when a team member goes rogue “our job is to sell rope and let them get tangled”.  Because you care, cover your assets.

3.  Live with the Chaos. 

A certain amount of chaos during a new project is expected and during a change process, a given.  If you can’t live in the grey, then this is not the job for you.   Even when chaos is expected and real, it takes a talented manager to point the chaos in the right direction.  The direction that will align the team to work together and reach even better than intended results.  If you can live with the chaos, you can be the one to take the team forward when it counts.

Read the full article on Thought Leaders LLC.


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Featured in The Single Most Important Advice for Your Career

Good career advice and career guidance are like a good hairstyle.  You want to know where to get it and how to keep it.   The single most important career advice, after being competent which is a baseline “give-me”  is don’t annoy your boss.  If you learn the common mistakes most workers make, you can fix them and move up the corporate ladder.  If you annoy your boss It all boils down to one solution.   Honesty.  It’s that simple,  You can embellish, subtract and tone-it-down, albeit it all comes down to this.   A good boss can smell the BS cubicles away.  Fool them once, and there will not be a second time.   Honesty about your abilities, efforts, and work status is key to building your reputation and a good relationship with your  boss.  

Follow the logical career advice of why honesty is truly the best policy.  Or, if you must, follow the yellow brick road but, it’s the long way around.  Learn this simple career advice and be honest with your boss:

Your Boss will win the race

The Boss will figure it out, before you do.  Usually the boss has smarts even if you don’t see it.  This means unless you get a crash course on whatever it is you are lacking, a good boss will figure out that you don’t know before you figure out how to know it. 

Ask your Boss for face-time and career guidance. 

If your Boss is fair and not a jerk, he or she will value the opportunity to show you their way, teach a new skill and mentor you.  A good boss intuitively understands that employees value face time with them.   Therefore, they want you to learn from them.  They may not know you need the help.    Ask for what you need.

Learn to ask without being needy

This is a hard one for most.   Keep your voice, your mannerisms and your tone calm, cool and collected.  Don’t give long explanations.   Just ask for what you need.  For example:  “Can you show me how you would like the pivot table?”   If you ask, your boss will make the time to show you what you need or find someone else to help you.  

See the big picture.   

The boss has to see the forest and all the trees in that forest to keep the forest growing.  Know the type of tree you are and where you fit into that forest.  Make sure you keep your tree strong.  If you don’t get this advice, email me.   You need my help…..

This article in covers the 8 Worst MIstakes That Annoy your Boss More than Being Late.  It’s a quick read and worth it. 

Follow Tip #7 from yours truly:   You say you understand – when you really don’t!    It all boils down to simple honesty.  What do you think?  

I Crossed the Picket Line and Other Tales for Getting Over the Hump.

Thanks to the FastLeader Legion and Host Jim Rembach for a fast paced insightful interview.   Jim’s engaging style moments puts leadership into action.  Leadership is a hard won skill, once your get management right and impacts your workforce every day.  

Click here and listen to this upbeat discussion on the Fast Leader Podcast


ToTweet:  I helped the Fast Leader Legion get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow with @BeyondMorale – check it out at

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @talkism and get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet 

“As the leader, you have to separate yourself from the pack.” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet

“Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it meanly.” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“Avoiding, in an annoying situation is perilous to you and your organization.” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“Someone at work is going to annoy you, how can you be ready and not react?” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“Setting expectations and setting boundaries is extremely important.” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“People actually enjoy hearing no sometimes.” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“Pride of ownership is very important to success.” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“How do you help your employees make that idea their idea, not your idea?” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“If employees feel they’re part of the solution, they’re going to be a lot more bought in.” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“Leadership is a righteous perk, once you get management right.” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“Good managers are leaders and good leaders are managers.” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“What makes you a leader is working with a team, having a vision, and having them own that vision.” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“Everything is about the integration between my vision and how to put the pedal to the metal.” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“I have an economic contract with my employees, and that’s the basis of our relationship.” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“I need the job done, it’s not just about being friends.” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“Make sure you come with your joy and who you are to everything you do.” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“Most of us have careers that have blended our work and our lives.” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“If you don’t bring the joy, what are you doing?” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“If you’re not loving who you are and how you do it, do something else.” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“Set the goals, watch the steps and bring your team along.” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“If you don’t believe in your ideas, no one is going to.” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

“There’s always options, it’s our job to find them and make them work.” -Ilene Marcus Click to Tweet 

Do You Know How to Get Things Done?

Insightful article on how to GET THINGS DONE.  Not just saying that because I am quoted – I’m quoted because I agree that managing process for your team is a cornerstone skill for leaders and managers.   Setting the tone and process for your team is always a timely topic, whether tweaking an old project or starting on a new endeavor – timing and process is key to success.  

Communicating with your team about the priorities is critical to organizational success and moving the work process forward.  Aligned Workplace helps C-Suite Executives, Business Founders and Managers hone their messaging and align resources and tools to get things done.  Being able to define the process to your team, breaking down the process and the hand-offs between departments/units/divisions is a key competency of good leaders.  Make sure you know how to get things done.  

Check out this article on the Wrike Management Blog that includes stories, & new approaches to work management,collaboration, & productivity.

Learn anything new? Let me know.

Attract the Life You Want. Pull Don’t Push: My First Blog on Sixty&Me!

Attract the life you want.  Many business lessons are applicable to our non-work lives.  It’s all a matter of how we understand the lesson and apply it to our circumstances.  My hope is to make the link from the lessons we’ve learned in our professional lives to action for readers based on these sound business principles.

My first monthly blog discusses how to attract what you want.  This is based on the marketing principles of pulling, attracting,  instead of pushing or selling, a strategic marketing tactic.

Honored to contribute to this awesome community.  Check out Sixty&Me Website!  

Read my Blog on Sixty and Me: Want to get more from life stop pushing and start pulling.

Tell me did I hit the mark?



CEOs Set the Tempo

Who would think Startrek’s Captian Kirk and Whiplash’s Fletcher (J.K. Simmons, current Academy Award Winner) have anything in common? But they do, more than it would seem.

As CEO of the Enterprise and the away team, Kirk always set the pace. He did it through trust, loyalty and instinct.

In Whiplash, Band Leader/Teacher (aka State Farm Guy) set the pace through fear, intimidation and humiliation.

How did both CEOs inspire the best out of their crew?

The answer is simple, know your team. Know how to reach them and build them up. Then take responsibility for your actions and watch them soar or drown based on your tempo.

As leader, you set the tempo. Make sure your team is in sync with you.

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