Wednesday, December 31, 2014

No One Succeeds Alone

One of the perks of being a Business Advisor is I get to work with some smart people. Recently, a client and I were chatting about the elements of success. He said something that struck home – “There are no self-made individuals.” I’m sure many among us would scoff at that statement. “Hey Thom, I built my company from the ground up with my own blood, sweat, and tears.” And you very well may have; however, did you really do it alone?

Think about it. Did anyone ever ‘open a door’ for you? Of course they have. Absent these interactions, it can be a very slow (i.e. painful) trek toward growth. But sometimes you need a little bit more, and I have a couple of suggestions to help you jump-start your business in 2015.

Build Your Team
Every swashbuckling solopreneur needs guidance. Consider establishing an Advisory Board for your business.  Ask three or four professionals you admire if they would be willing to serve.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy like getting everyone together for a surf-and-turf dinner every month.  You could simply connect with members when you need to bounce ideas around.  

Phone a Friend
Another option is finding an Accountability Partner.  Hey, going it alone is rough (I know) but having someone keeping you focused on the Pot O’Gold at the end of the rainbow (and the 6,000,000 things you’ll need to do before you get to it) can make all the difference.  Ask another entrepreneur, or business professional, if they would be interested in meeting briefly (phone or Skype) on a weekly basis to help keep each other focused. 

Call in a Ringer
Sometimes you need something a little more intensive.  In these cases I’d recommend a coach or advisor.  I know, I’m an advisor but I’m not pitching you (really).  Even high-level CEO’s hire coaches. Why? For one simple reason – they get results.  That’s why you pay them. 

If you have a budget, and think it’s time for a professional to help you get your business humming, contact a few business coaches. Get to know them, and how they might grow your business. It’s all about personalities, so be sure you’re 100% comfortable before you choose who you're going to invest in.

Well, these are a few of my tips.  If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comment section. Happy New Year!

Thom Fox is an Advisor helping businesses and entrepreneurs enhance profitability and increase revenue. To learn more about Thom, please visit

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Step 2: Discovering Your True Values

Once you have put the fears and negative messaging in place it’s time to really look within as you define your dream and where it is your heart and soul are calling you to go. 

What is it that feeds you? What is it that makes you feel alive, powerful, and lets you know that you are truly doing what you came here to do? So many have said to me “I don’t know how to find my dream or my purpose.” In truth, after talking with them, what was happening was that they were in conflict with what they felt called to do and with what their values were. Never question or challenge your integrity yet realize that your values will be changing throughout your life.

At one point in your life, being close to family may have been the greatest value you possessed yet as you grew moving to another town or a big city may have been the calling. You may have thought that being an at-home mom was what you wanted, or you may have thought that climbing the tallest corporate latter was what your life was about. Each of those dreams may or may not have been achieved yet do they really define who you are now? Have your values changed in spite of you? Are you feeling pulled so that no matter which decision you make it feels wrong?  In this case you will never be at peace.

Having permission to realign your values, to catch up with who you are and where you’re going is imperative if you are to truly become who you are meant to be. This takes time, clear thinking, and perhaps someone to discuss this with. Find a solution you can live with, that encompasses all of who you have become. If it’s your dream it is always possible.  

Dorothy A. Martin-Neville, PhD, is a motivational speaker, author, coach, and psychotherapist who has spent her career helping others, through humor and faith, claim their dreams, eliminate self-sabotage, and become everything they were meant to be.

She can be reached at:   860-543-5629   

Monday, December 29, 2014

Are You Done With 2014?

Writing one of the last few posts of 2014 is a challenging task. My wish is for you to start this new year excited about your true potential, and about how much you have to offer. It’s a challenge because it’s the end of the year and a lot of people are already looking forward without stopping to reflect on this past year’s results. 

Looking ahead and making plans is a good thing, but before you let go of your 2014 accomplishments, consider these questions: Were there times in 2014 when you “settled” for results that were less than you are capable of? Did you settle for less at the end of 2013 too? Were the results you got over the years before that “good enough?” 

It’s so easy to settle for good enough. We live in a world where people don’t expect results beyond good enough. A lot of people stop working once they’ve achieved results that are good enough. I don’t know if there have been times in your life when you have settled for less, but I know there have been in mine. So I put together this short list of quotes as reminders of how joyful and productive life can be for you—and me. Everyone can benefit from a little inspiration now and then.  

We should all take a minute to reflect on what Nelson Mandela taught us about how much human beings are capable of. One of our struggles is living in a world that doesn’t always encourage us to do or be more. Words like “close enough” and “good enough” have become accepted standards. But what could you accomplish if you committed to simply taking just one more step towards your dreams every day? Just one step!

 Stephen Hawking is correct. Life isn’t about achieving perfection, striving to be perfect, or making something absolutely perfect. It’s about the joy our best efforts can inspire in the lives of other people. When we share the results of our best efforts with other people, we encourage them to do the same. When we share what’s “good enough” or “close enough” with other people, we encourage them to do the same.  

Perhaps this is the best quote to end the year with. Personally, I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. My goal here is to get you inspired about what you can accomplish simply by being your own unique and brilliant self. You don’t need a resolution to do that. You can start believing in yourself and what you are capable of at any moment in time.

My other goal is to remind you that success rarely occurs in a vacuum. It’s usually the result of the combined efforts of people sharing a common vision. If you need work done that’s outside your area of expertise, don’t drive yourself crazy trying to figure out how to do it, only to end up settling for work that’s “good enough.” Find an expert who can assist you with work that’s outside your comfort zone so you can continue to excel at what you do best. 

We’re ready when you are.  

Sunday, December 28, 2014

What is the ONE Problem (EXCUSE) Holding You BACK?

If I asked you to write down the ONE problem getting in the way of your success, could you do it?
It can be hard to narrow the field down to ONE specific problem because different situations present different problems. In business, the ONE problem could show up in a variety of forms: If my prices weren't so high, I’d have more sales. If I had more prospects, I’d be able to exceed my quota. They show up in life too: If only I was thinner, I’m sure I’d be happier. If I had gone to school for just one more year, I know I could get a better job…. You get the idea.
Trying to solve multiple problems at once is likely to result in a lot of stress and frustration, and very little progress. A better approach is to decide which problem is most urgent and pressing right now. Once identified, you can focus your time and energy on coming up with a plan to resolve the situation.

It sounds like it should be easy enough to do, so why don’t people do it?
·        Sometimes it’s easier to have a good excuse for a problem than it is to take action and do something about it. People expect less out of you when you have a really good excuse. Of course, the down side of excuses is that people probably won’t have as much respect for you—or your work.

·        Really good excuses make it easier for people to ignore thoughts and desires about having or getting more out of their job, or their life. If someone is not where they want to be, they don’t believe it’s because of anything they have or haven’t done. Instead, they blame a list of seemingly valid excuses for not being able to tackle the ONE big problem standing between them and their success.  

·        People don’t take the time to adequately identify the problem. When they don’t, they are not able to come up with an adequate solution. Instead, the problem becomes hidden behind a multitude of excuses that slowly and steadily begin to wrap their way around all of the other problems—even the ones that would have been easy to deal with.

So welcome to 2015. Is there ONE business or life problem you want to work on solving to make this new year your best year ever? Quite simply, it’s your choice. Either you decide to let excuses stand between you and your success, or you come up with a plan for stepping outside old and worn out comfort zones.

Identify your most pressing problem, come up with a plan for solving it, write your plan down RIGHT NOW, and carry it with you. Anytime you realize you’re about to start making excuses, reread your plan, and for goodness sake, follow it!

Alan Luoma is a Sales Coach with extensive experience in industrial sales, sales management, and sales and product training. He holds key accounts with a national sustainable packaging company, is a motivational speaker, and provides sales training to individuals and groups. He is a member of the Hartford Springfield Speakers Network. You can view his profile on LinkedIn, or contact him at

Saturday, December 27, 2014

                                    Keeping Work and Life in Balance through Laughter

Happy Holidays everyone!  I wish all of you a safe, healthy and prosperous 2015. For my last blog of 2014, and as a follow up from my showcase presentation from the last HSSN meeting,   I wanted to go a bit more into depth about the importance of developing a good work life balance through laughter.

After 20 years of working in the super-serious, chuckle-challenged  non-profit world, I know there is one essential truth: A sense of humor will save your job and probably your life. My warped sense of humor and my ability of not taking  myself too seriously proved to be my best asset in times of  tremendous stress.  Research has shown that the most productive people are those who take their work seriously while taking themselves lightly.  As a result of this, employers around the world are finding that Laughter programs can have a positive and immediate impact on their business, including making their company more profitable.
 Harmless humorous antics in the workplace are now encouraged by many corporations, including General Electric, Hewett and Packard, IBM and AT&T. Companies of all sizes, services and products are adhering to a philosophy that advocates laughter programs or clubs improve morale, relieve stress, build group collaboration and positively impact the bottom line. In an attempt to turn the office into a quarterly comedy club, businesses are using professional laughter consultants who encourage employees to lighten up and get serious about laughing. Many companies have started weekly laughter clubs where employees spend 15-30 minutes going through a series of simulated laughter actions where they laugh without using comedy or jokes.

 Health and modern medical experts agree with the ancient saying that “Laughter is the best medicine.” A hearty belly laugh can lower blood pressure, and laughter exercises the lungs, pumps more oxygen into the bloodstream and activates endorphins that make people feel good. We were born with the ability to communicate with our emotions, and that includes laughing and smiling. Yet it’s sobering to know that young children laugh or smile more than 400 times a day while adults are lucky to muster up a few daily chuckles. Kids shouldn’t be having all the fun.

As a society, we all struggle of creating a good work life balance in our lives.  By  spending 5-10 minutes a day laughing with someone or with a group of people will do wonders in creating healthy life styles in work and in everyday life.  So, go ahead and have a good chuckle! 

Trevor Smith is the CEO and Chief Happiness Officer at Blue Sky Consulting.  As a professional trainer, public speaker and workshop facilitator, he works with non-profit and for profit business to help them develop healthy and productive work cultures.  You can visit his
website at or e-mail him at



Friday, December 26, 2014

Top 4 Reasons Why You Don’t Need a Website (part 2 of 3)

Last month I shared with you how one can lose valuable time and money when they believe they need a website; and what they can do, along with questions to ask themselves, to help them along their decision making process.

This month I’d like to share with you four reasons why you don’t need a website.

1.   There are other ways to be visible online
Please don’t fret over not having a website. There are plenty of other ways to get your message out to the public, and for prospective clients to reach you, learn about you, and ultimately use, and pay for your services.

It can be as simple as what we are all doing here on the HSSN blog! Being a contributor in already established blogs or online communities is huge in terms of being able to reach the specific audience you want to work with, connecting with them on a human, relationship building level, and still have the opportunity to offer snippets of the wisdom (or promotions!) you have to share…and all you need is an email address, or phone number for them to reach you.

The same approach can be used with podcasting, video-casting, or with creative inter-twined social media campaigns. No website needed.

2.   You want repeat clients, and lots of them!
People buy primarily due to an emotion (to get rid of or obtain one) or because they truly feel you “get them” and they relate / connect with you. Notice I said connect with you…not connect with your website. A website does not replace you; it simply cannot; repeat clients know this. Why? Because repeat clients relate / connect with humans not websites and therefore they do not care if you have a website, or not; if they like what you are offering and a relationship is there, they will continue utilizing your services. No website needed.

3.   Hard to believe, but not everyone is online…
I know; I know this is a challenging one to take in without complete disbelief and lots of head shaking. I talk to lots and lots of people; by looking at many of them one could “expect” that they are familiar and comfortable with being online (and will easily find your website). When in reality it is the most challenging and frustrating activity one could ask them to do. Not to single out any one group of people, but I’m not talking about 80+ year olds. These people are much younger and are a big population of buyers. They would rather be introduced, by a trusted friend or family member (i.e. a referral) to a service, or are more comfortable with receiving an old-fashion printed piece via mail or to be picked-up at an event they are attending. If by chance ones target audience even partially includes this group of people, and a website is the primary marketing focus, and if the lack of online comfort-ability is not taken into consideration; the business owner could be scratching their head wondering what is not working.

This is when inter-connecting other non-website online tactics with off-line ones will assist in reaching potential clients. For example: the topic for a blog article or podcast or video you created for an online community is sure to have key points and solutions that your non-online prospective clients would want to learn about. Produce a rack card, postcard or other creative piece with the key points and solutions stated in the article and leave them with other businesses, that are not in the same industry as you, but that touch the same type of client you wish to serve. Your message will reach these non-techy people in a manner that feels safe for them and in an environment where they are open to hearing and receiving your message. Without realizing it these prospective clients will thank you (mentally) for thinking of them in this way; which is the start of the human, relationship building connection that guides the purchasing decision. No website needed.

4.   Create more human connections
Instead of having your own website to create, maintain, promote and wait for visitors to find and (hopefully) inquire and purchase…why not determine a few diversified key places / topics your ideal clients are interested in. Reach out to established businesses in those places (of course it is best if you believe in their practices and mission), create relationships with them (again with the human, relationship building!) and design an arrangement where your product or service is delivered as an added benefit for them to showcase on their website for their clients. This approach allows you to reach your target audience on many levels, from angles they never expected (such as; where they like to eat, favorite leisure activity, personal or business goals), and most likely on an already trusted website. This really can be done off-line too (like in my example in number 3 above), and you can tailor your message specifically to each website you are a guest on – which is super helpful when trying to reaching your ideal client and getting the “Yes!” you are after. The website-guest-vertising has, you, the business owner, reaching ideal clients where they already are, not waiting and hoping they find you were you are. Best of all – you guessed it – No website needed.

Each of the above points can be expanded on in a few different ways; maybe another day in another article. For now, my message is that a website is not the all of marketing, it is not even a piece of marketing a website is more like a small sliver of the marketing pie. One can and will do just fine in business without a website, as long as other approaches are being taken in its place; but also note that having a website does not mean business success either. Either way you look at it one does not mean the other is true… a website does not mean a successful business just as not having a website does not means a failing business.

A business is built on value – giving value to others. Humans give value. No website needed.

In the next article, of this three part series, I will share with you the: The Only 4 pages Your Website Needs (if you choose to have a website, that is).

Until then, happy marketing!

Chana Monahan
Greenhouse Graphics, llc. Where Ideas Grow


Thursday, December 25, 2014

24 Seconds to Fail

Merry Christmas Everyone!!! I wish you a safe Happy, Healthy and Successful New Year. My gift to you is this link and my personal football story that occurred in 1967.  Please invest 7 minutes and 50 seconds to watch this video first then read the rest of my Blog.

The title to the video is "The Greatest Comeback That Never Was". It makes you think what is going to be the outcome to this story. In 1967 I had the opportunity to try out for a sandlot football team in my hometown of Indian Orchard, MA called the Eastfield Rams. I had a burning desire to play football since I was 5 years old. At the age of 9 the opportunity arrived to play football and in 1967 I was a walk on for August try outs for the Eastfield Rams Football Team. There were only a couple of small issues. I was overweight, uncoordinated, slow runner, and could not catch a football to save my life. However, I could hit and tackle like a freight train. The month of August in 1967 was boot camp for the Eastfield Rams and it was grueling. The workouts were twice a day or known as (2-A-Days) and were very intense. Many kids that came to play and were in good shape and had ability to make the team easily but they QUIT. They were focused on the short term pain and ridicule that we faced during the harsh workouts. They lost sight of the big picture. I knew that the Head Coach highly disliked me and was very disrespectful of me. He figured I was going to quit after the first day. I defied every negative expectation he had of me and every negative outburst of me in front of my fellow players. The quality, poise, precision, attitude and level of success with any sports team starts with the Head Coach (The Leader). Some of the other players began to disrespect me along with the coach. They basically followed the leader. Through it all I had survived 30 days of August Boot Camp and it was time for what used to be called "Cut Day". This was the day that the head Coach eliminated players that he didn't want on the team. "Guess who was on the Cut List?" ME! This is where 24 seconds to fail comes in. Failure is a pure result of failing to act, failing to complete your mission, failure to stand up for yourself and to speak up for what is right at anytime without fear of reprisal. It is stepping out in faith knowing what you need to do at that moment and know it MUST be done.
If you watch the video above this team had made one of the greatest comebacks in high school history. With 24 seconds left they were celebrating, crying, wallowing in victory and just want to kick the football off let 24 seconds run off the clock and be inducted into Hero History forever. It wasn't to be! They took theirs sights off the mark and failed. They celebrated 24 seconds too soon. 
Getting back to me and August 1967 "Cut-Day". As the Head Coach read off the list of who wasn't going to be on the team ironically I was the last one called from the list. When he dropped the hammer on me said: " Slosek your off the team". My 24 second clock started ticking. In this short span of time I had to defend myself  it became one of the key moments that changed my life forever. I jump in the middle of the circle of standing players where the Head Coach was and looked him directly in the face and said: "WHY?" I haven't missed a practice, I supported the team in every way, I have improved my skills, I have learned every play, I have lost weight, I put up with your disrespectful attitude for 30 days. "I DESERVE TO BE ON THIS TEAM!!" An amazing thing happened. The assistant coaches sided with me and told the coach the exact same thing. Eventually, Coach folded and I remained on the team. This began a 10 year football career. I played 5 years with the Eastfield Rams, 4 years High School and made All-City as a Tight End and played 1 year of College before I hung up the cleats as a Wide Receiver.
In this life all of us will eventually will be faced with situations that will start our 24 second clock. When that day arrives will you be prepared to overcome any situation and win the day?
                                              *         *         *         *         *
All the best.
John Jr.

John Slosek with Welterweight Boxing Champion of the World
Marlon "Magic Man" Starling his record  45-6-1-1 back in November 2014.
John is an 30 year Insurance Agency Owner in Chicopee, MA.
He will speak for groups and seminars on request. He will make himself available for speaking engagements if your speaker cancels last minute.
His forte is business development and personal growth.
He can be reached at or by text at 413-246-5037.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

An Amazing Way To Convert Web Site Visitors to Customers or Clients

If you are some type of service provider chances are that you have a website which provides a lot of useful information to your target audience. There are a great number of things that we can do to drive traffic to our website which would include posting useful and topical information of interest to
our consuming audience. We can also provide free information, white papers, blog posts, educational videos, and books that answer a number of questions those in need of our services might have.

As a service professional, one of the first tasks we wish to accomplish is to drive interested parties to our website. We should also develop some type of call to action and provide the viewer with a sense of urgency in order to accomplish our next objective which is getting that individual to contact
us. The ultimate objective would then be to develop some type of relationship with this individual to convert them to a client or customer. What if you could be provided with a tool that could help you convert website visitors to clients or customers and increase your client or
customer base?

Our firm has been utilizing such a tool with great success. This marketing device comes with many different names and it is represented by many companies but ultimately it is known as live chat. Once you visit our website, a small box appears on the screen which asks you if you would like
to be assisted in getting any of your questions answered. To the extent that the website visitor engages with the live chat operator, a dialogue is undertaken and ends with our live chat operator emailing an inquiry directly to the smart phone of one of our attorneys.

The ability to immediately contact someone who is interested in utilizing our legal services for some type of accident or injury case is quite compelling. First of all, the interested party is shocked that they are contacted almost immediately by an attorney. We have now established the fact that we contact people immediately, we inquire about their particular situation, we answer the questions which they may have, we tell them that we will be providing them with a free book via overnight mail, and we advise them that we will be contacting them after they have received their book to
answer any other questions which they might have. We also tell them about the things they should be doing and the things they should not be doing in order to build value for their case.

Our close rates in converting these website visitors to new clients is staggering. These website visitors develop a high level of comfort with us as a result of our immediate action, our willingness to answer their questions, the fact that we provide them with free books and our ability to
put them at ease and explain exactly what needs to be done. This is an invaluable marketing tool which I would highly suggest all service providers post on their website in order to gain this advantage for people who are looking for their services.

Monday, December 22, 2014

7 Simple Questions for a Healthy Business

Have you asked yourself this question lately?

What do I really want out of my business? 

Most of us forged out a business plan when we started our entrepreneurial venture, but what have we done lately? Our plan seemed to work years ago, but things change and today is moving faster than yesterday. Every December, I make it a habit to review my current year BEFORE January comes around. This gives me an opportunity to jump start my new goals for the new year. It also allows me time to reflect and review the things that worked and the things that didn’t work. Let’s walk through the process of asking the right questions, so we can make room for clarity in 2015.

Here are 7 simple questions I ask myself every December:

1. What worked?

2. How can I build on what worked?

3. What didn’t work?

4. What did I learn?

5. Where did I spend the most time?

6. How should I spend my time going forward?

7. What are my BIG ideas for next year and when will I implement them?

Doing this exercise gives you a clear snapshot of your business right now. It gives you a launching pad for your goals moving forward. It also allows you the opportunity to get rid of the clutter that gets in your way. The end result is a relevant business plan that makes you feel better, because you know what you need to do to get positive results. No one is going to tell you what to do or hold your hand along the way, so you need to step up and adjust your game plan.

How long will this exercise take? One option is to spend 20 minutes and get a quick snapshot. A more valuable way is to enjoy the process and think for a good 2-3 hours and really explore the possibilities of what’s possible over the next year. This is called working “on” your business and it is essential to your business growth. So grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair and ask “What do I really want for my business?

As a Professional Organizer, Speaker, Author, Podcast Producer & Host, Rick Woods helps residents and businesses make room for clarity, by getting rid of the clutter that gets in their way.

Rick’s newly released book “Make Room for Clarity” is a step by step guide to getting rid of the clutter that gets in your way. Available on Amazon. Listen to Rick's free weekly podcast "Make Room For Clarity", which focuses on interviewing business & health experts by visiting

Inquire about Rick's professional organizing business, "The Functional Organizer, LLC.", which focuses on decluttering, organizing, paper filing and time management by visiting

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Stretching Your Comfort Zone to Become a More Powerful Presenter & Speaker

If you’re not stretching your comfort zone, you’re not growing.

If you are not growing, you’re dying.

What is an area you need to grow in in 2015?

Last month my comfort zone stretched tremendously as I delivered a keynote address in front of 800 people on a topic I've never spoken about before. I nailed it!  The testimonials from audience members, and their actual takeaways and learnings were exactly what I was hoping for when I created the keynote.

skip weisman, professional speaker, delivering a keynote address on leadership communication to an audience of over 800

But, what was even better was that I played the guitar, and sang a song in public, at the end of it. Something I've never, ever done!

Even though I messed up the song, no one cared and I had fun with it.
Skip Weisman, professional speaker debuts on guitar at end of recent keynote address in Calgary, Alberta in front of an audience of over 800.

My confidence is through the roof and I can't wait for 2015 to get back on stage to speak (and maybe even sing, again!)

When the meeting planner and her emcee host learned I had been taking guitar lessons for about five years, they asked if I'd play something after my keynote address.

Since this was a huge comfort zone buster for me, I immediately said, "NO!"

Then, I figured, "what the hell," it won't kill me and may even be fun.

What things are you saying "no" to in your speaking that may make you even stronger?

Stop saying "no" to those comfort zone challenges in 2015 and step up to become a more confident presenter.

A great way to bust your comfort zone and to double or even triple your presentation skills next year is to go to and sign up for my 52 Power Presentation Tips, they're free and will come to you once a week for 52 weeks.

Skip Weisman is The Leadership & Workplace Communication Expert, and is a member of an elite group of international World Class Speaking Coaches. Skip works with the owners of companies with between 6-60 employees to transform workplace communication in 90-days and create a more positive, more productive and even more profitable company. Additionally, he coaches and trains business professionals and professional speakers to become a World Class Speaker and presenter that can inspire and motivate any type of audience.  You can learn more about Skip at and .

Saturday, December 20, 2014

There's Still Time To Finish Strong!

Muscle Memory Needs a Workout, too!
How's your year shaping up? The last week of the year may seem too late to salvage it, especially if your results have been less than you had hoped for. But how harmful is that mentality - the one that lets you just give up, that lets you off the hook, that accepts defeat even though the race is not yet over?

The problem is this: once you take the easy exit, it becomes easier and easier to continually excuse yourself, until you stop really trying to achieve anything! Remember, mental habits are like muscles -  you must exercise them in order for them to perform well. So, let's set up your mindset to achieve a strong finish, no matter how short the time is.

1. Think of at least 10 positive things you have accomplished this year. Big or small, it doesn't matter.
2. Think of at least 5 things that you have done for others this year.
3. Think of at least 3 things that others have done for you this year.
4. Think of ONE thing that you could knock off and get done if you gave it 30 minutes.
5. Do it, or think of something else and do that.  Just ONE thing!

Whether you consciously realize it or not, this simple set of exercises just shifted your mental muscle memory from slack-off mode to action mode. By acknowledging your accomplishments, your brain recognizes achievement as a normal part of its routine. By recalling what you have done for others, your mind becomes laser-focused on producing value. By appreciating what others have done for you, gratitude moves in and greases the mental gears. By actually taking action and doing something, anything, your mind holds success in its most recent memory and remains poised and ready to perform again and again.

A success-oriented mental mindset can be built in a day, or even an hour.  There's plenty of time to finish strong. Wishing you a Happy, Healthy and STRONG Year, both now and in the New Year!


Linda Spevacek is an innovative speaker, author and coach who can help you create prosperity across all aspects of your life. For speaking topics and programs, visit

Thursday, December 18, 2014

"Bah Humbug" has shopping, wrapping, cooking, traveling, and entertaining killed your holiday spirit?

During the month of December we shop until we drop, wrap until our fingers cramp, cook to entertain or satisfy our holiday cravings and travel more than any other time of year, it's no wonder we find ourselves throwing our hands up and say "Bah Humbug"!
The days of caroling and hot cocoa by the fire are gone, we overwhelm ourselves with pressures that kill our holiday spirit.  Just the other day I was walking around the mall on my "planned" shopping day to finish up my holiday shopping.  As I walked in and out of several stores without a single purchase, I started to feel discouraged, I actually found myself wishing it wasn’t Christmas.  I didn't even know what I was looking for, so how could I have a successful shopping trip?  So I decided to stop and regroup; here is what I did.

1. Bought myself a hot latte and a quick snack.  Refueled my body, this is important to keep your energy levels up.
2. Sat down, took a few cleansing breaths to clear my mind. Decluttered my mind, this is important for clarity.
3. Looked around and took in the beauty of the holiday decorations, the people walking by with packages, smiles and chattering with each other.  Recharged my spirit, this is important to remain positive.
4. Decided the next store I entered would be fun and interactive.  Created my goal, this is important for focus.

These four simple, yet effective tools took me all of about 15 minutes.  I was rejuvenated, focused and ready to go.  I spent the next couple of hours successfully accomplishing my holiday shopping and doing it with a smile and a sense of happiness.  I kicked "Bah Humbug" to the curb. These tips can be applied to all aspects of holiday madness.

Virginia Ann Griffiths
Parent Time and Stress
Management Strategist

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Tis the season to give and receive! A complaint from an unhappy constituent is probably NOT on your wish list during this holiday season. Yet the complaining customer is a huge gift, albeit a well disguised one, to you and to your business.

Here are five reasons why your complaining customer is a gift: 

1. One complaining customer is the tip of the iceberg, because for each one, there are 26 unhappy people who say nothing to you, but tell nine to fifteen others. And 13% of the 26 are each telling 20 others.  Conservatively, this could result in 313 negative comments about your business.

The person who complains to you is giving you the wonderful opportunity to address a problem. When you can eliminate the problem for that one, you improve your service for many, and reduce negativity.
2. When you respond respectfully and in a timely fashion to the complaining customer you have the opportunity to create a loyal fan. Even if it takes time to resolve the complaint, the customer will likely continue to use your company. When you are able to resolve the complaint satisfactorily and also quickly, the complaining customer is practically guaranteed to remain loyal.
Since it costs five to seven times more to replace a customer than it does to retain a customer, you have the opportunity to save money for your company.  

3.  Approximately 68% of the customers who leave a company do so because they feel they were not treated well. Their complaint offers you the opportunity to change that perception.

4.  A new prospect has a 5-20% likelihood of buying a product or service you are offering, compared to your existing customer’s 60–70%
probability, so you create more profit by retaining a customer.

And, perhaps best of all...

5.  With each complaining customer you engage, you grow in experience, professionalism, value to your company~~~and self-esteem.

 A visit from a disgruntled customer may be your best gift this holiday season. Enjoy!
      Jeannie Newman is a speaker and coach, specializing in all aspects of Emotional Intelligence. Contact her for guided discussions, workshops, and seminars that feature theory and practical application of staff retention, customer retention, and related topics. She works with individuals, agencies, organizations, and corporations. She can be found at, LinkedIn, or 860.794.4109.