Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Who are Your Mentors?

Did you know that people who have mentors are more successful? According to Inc.com, 30% of all new businesses won’t last for more than 24 months. When people start their business with the help of a mentor, success rates rocket up to 70% over 5 years! 

There’s no doubt that having a mentor can supercharge your progress. But sometimes it’s hard to find a person who will have the time and availability to help you. No worries these days though. This is one of those times when the Internet is great. You can start by searching for your “dream” mentor and checking out what they have available online. The more successful they are, the more likely they are to have information on their site you can take advantage of.  

One great thing about looking on the Internet is that you can find mentors for different aspects of your life. You can have one for your career, your personal life, your health, etc. And each mentor can be at the top of their field. 

The point is, don’t let not having a mentor become an excuse for why you and/or your business hasn’t reached the next level. Part of building your own business is always having a forward focus. Again, the Internet is a great place for finding inspiration, tips, tools, ideas, and motivation any time of the day or night.

One of my favorite online mentors is Brian Johnson. I can’t say enough good stuff about this guy. I know he’s not everybody’s idea of the perfect online mentor, but I have learned a lot following both him and his content.

Who are your online mentors? Share them with us. That’s the other great thing about the Internet. There’s room for all of us.

Monday, September 28, 2015

I Can't Believe I Stepped Into A Gossip Grapevine Again!

Spend any time with a group of people and you’re going to hear gossip. In fact, there’s so much gossip flying around that most people just accept it as a part of life. The TV characters we love provide us with step-by-step guidelines on how to gossip. Newsstands are full of evidence that nothing is off limits when it comes to gossip. And even though we instinctively know that gossiping is not a good thing, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and entertainment of a good piece of juicy gossip.
One reason this happens is because there’s a fine line between discussing the facts of a situation and speculating about all the grey areas surrounding it. And anyone who works more than a couple of hours a day knows that people in the workplace talk about a lot more than business. Not getting caught up in the gossip going around the office can be a challenge. In some work environments, it probably feels safer to stay in the gossip loop than to risk stepping away from it and becoming someone who’s gossiped about.
Sadly, we don’t have the power to stop our co-workers from gossiping. Fortunately, we have absolute control over whether we do or don’t participate and/or contribute to the gossip grapevine. Here are a few strategies to help you steer clear of a gossip grapevine.
1. Own 100% of what you say. This can be trickier than it sounds because sometimes we have information that other people aren’t privy to, and the thought of showing our co-workers that we’re “in the know” can be very compelling. Before you share, simply ask yourself who benefits from adding you’re inside information to the conversation. If it’s you, your status, or your ego, then don’t share.
2. When you’re tempted to contribute to a conversation, consider these questions too:
·       Will the information I have contribute something positive and/or worthwhile to the conversation?
·       Is the information I have public knowledge or the result of a shared confidence?
·       Could I just as easily talk to the person or people the information I have is about without a second thought?
3. When you realize you’ve stepped into a gossip grapevine, step out of it. Just because you’re around gossip, doesn’t mean you have to stick around. Work projects, problems, issues, and deadlines are all legitimate excuses for walking away from the gossip zone without stepping on anyone’s gossip-prone toes.
4. Remember that gossip isn’t limited to secretive conversations around the proverbial water cooler. Take care with your comments in voicemails, emails, and other Internet platforms. You don’t want your words to be misinterpreted as gossip by the recipient simply because they couldn’t see your facial expressions, or body language, or hear your tone of voice.

Gossip in the workplace can become a serious problem. It can ruin reputations and careers in a manner of minutes. But it’s also one of those situations where you get to choose between being part of the problem or part of the solution. Now that you’re “in the know”, where will you stand? Will I hear it through the grapevine?

Alan Luoma is a Sales Coach with extensive experience in industrial sales, sales management, new product development, sales and product training. He works part time with a national sustainable packaging company with their distributors to increase sales. Alan is an expert that speaks on eliminating behaviors that prevent you from being successful in sales and uncovering sales prevention departments that hinder your success. He is a member of the Hartford Springfield Speakers Network, The National Speakers Association and New England Speakers Association. You can view his profile on LinkedIn, or contact him at Luoma@snet.net

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The state of small business today

Small business is the place to be today and that includes the professional speaking business. There are always going to be some small business sectors that have more challenges than others but in general, small business is alive and well.
Technology has made managing small business financials and overall tracking of most everything it takes to run a small business easier. The challenge with technology is that it is ever changing and although the changes can be for the better, it means down time to learn it all, and can be expensive to install.

The internet and social media has made many small businesses more visible, not just locally but nationally and even worldwide. Social media can be expensive or inexpensive depending on how you decide to use it. This has been a great help to many small businesses today.

Businesses that do not continually embrace change to improve on their processes, products and services to not only keep pace with their competition but surpass them, will be left behind and may even find themselves out of business before long.

As a speaker, be sure you keep the information you deliver current and fresh. Changing it up from time to time can get you repeat business from an organization you had spoken to before since you now have a different message to deliver.

About Nancy D. Butler
Nancy, a national motivational speaker, business coach and award-winning author, has been quoted in many local and national publications including USA Today, Money Magazine, Playboy magazine, The Chicago Tribune, AARP and The Day and has been a speaker for major corporations such as Pfizer, General Dynamics and Dow Chemical. Nancy has also been a guest on several television and radio shows.

Contact Nancy for a free consultation at nbutler@aboveallelse.org. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

60 Years of Marriage.

Dear Fellow Speakers, Entrepreneurs and Guests,

I'm proud to announce that on October 1, 2015, my parents will be married for 60 years. That is quite an incredible achievement. I consider them a match made in heaven. I was able to experience 55 years of their 60 years of marriage. What I saw, was a lot of respect for each other. Very rarely through the years did I ever see them fight. They always had each other's back even in times where I'm sure one could've turned on the other. They held their ground and backed each other up when was needed. If someone were to ask me what was one of the key traits that produced a strong 60 year marriage? I would say, respect. I also believe there are two other traits, loyalty and very hard work. We were a Middle American Family that had a nice house, great yard and great neighbors. I consider myself very blessed in my life to have spent my youth in that house and witness these traits first hand. I've been able to take these principles and traits that I witnessed and carry them forward into my life. Both of my parents taught me the value of very hard work. I had up to 3 paper routes by the time I was 8. There were times for my father where he had three jobs and my mother two jobs. I remember the times when we didn't have my mom on Christmas morning because of her work commitment with her employer to be there to cover for the holiday. Even though there were many years of hard work and sacrifice I never heard foul words ever exchanged by them. I know they are human and have argued like we all do. But, very rarely.
They have always taken great pleasure in always helping those who were in need or hurting. By trying to help financially or a platter of my mom’s favorite meals. For me, that would solve any problem, especially the corned beef and cabbage.

They took sacrifice with grace. They always stated to me and my brother, that "the sun is always shining at the end of the tunnel, you just need to make your way through the tunnel". And I find that's one of the key success phrases I always carry with me. Sometimes life is not an easy trip for most of us. We will experience our peaks and valleys. No one is immune from this. But married couples have the choice on how they treat each other through the tough times. I mentioned the number one key traits to a successful marriage was respect. And trust me, if my brother  or I gave my Mother a across eyed look or if we gave her some bad attitude, I had my father immediately in my face or in my brother's face to straighten us up. Keep in mind, I grew up with the discipline of the 1960's. You never crossed the line of respect in my household. The discipline of being respectful has stayed with me throughout my life. I was brought up with the fact that respect isn't an option, it is a duty.When I speak to groups I always share with them how important environment is to one's success. The environments that you dwell in over a period of time will reflect who you are as a person over time. Always be careful of the environments you hang out in. These environments will determine your direction and outcome in life.

In recent years, both of my parents have experienced health issues, each of them has always stayed at each other side until the health issue has pasted. Their loyalty and commitment for each other is still  very strong after 60 years. I believe this short story is a lesson for all newlywed couples of today. With the divorce rate of at least 50%, the line of respect, loyalty, care and regard must be breaking down between husband and wife. I always hear that marriage is a 50-50 partnership. I disagree with that. Marriage is 100-100 partnership! There will be times when one of the partners won’t be able to carry their weight. That is when the other partner has to step in at 100%. That is the true bond of marriage, it is the bond of friendship and it is the bond for great success in business.

Be well and stay safe.


  “The Insurance Coach”
       John P. Slosek, Jr 
   "The Insurance Coach ™"
Insurance Coach Radio Show 

Airs Every Saturday Morning 8am 
   www.realoldies1250.net          413-246-5037

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Subject: NO WORDS!

I have a coffee mug in my kitchen that says "Ridgefield; a small town is
like a big family." One of the best parts of living or working in small
community, especially one that you grew up in, is that you experience a
great sense of closeness and you get to know a lot of different people. This
past weekend underscored the need for a small town to come together as we
experienced several horrific events. Ridgefield was reeling from the events
of Friday evening and was then thunderstruck again on Sunday.

On Friday afternoon, a 19-year-old UCONN sophomore from Ridgefield was a
passenger in a car that was struck by a truck and was killed along with one
other occupant of that vehicle. Due to the advent of social media, this
devastating news spread through the town like wildfire. Many people knew the
family and were literally brought tears by what had happened:  every
parents' worse nightmare. Friends and fellow students of this young man were
deeply, deeply moved by this tragedy and many began to look at the fragility
of human life especially as it relates to young people. Perhaps one person
on Facebook summed up the feelings of an entire community when she wrote "No

Then, early Sunday evening the unimaginable, and even unbelievable, happened
once again. Two Colgate freshman from Ridgefield, were involved in a plane
crash where both of them perished. How could something like this have
happened again?  How can these families possibly process this information
and deal with the worse news than any parent could possibly hear? The news
of the subsequent accident brought more and more of us to tears. The Town
immediately came together looking for ways to help these families but what
really could be done to offer any type of solace.

As news of these horrible accidents became known, I first called my
21-year-old son at UCONN, and fighting through the tears, told him how much
I loved him. I made him promise me that he would carefully analyze decisions
that he was confronted with and to think very hard and long about actions
that he was about to take because the adverse consequences can result in
horrible injuries or even death. I then called my two daughters and had the
same conversation with them. These pathetically sad situations cause many of
us to philosophize about a number of weighty issues.

For me, I was bathed by an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.  I counted my
many blessings and I thought about how many times during the course the day
I might become upset with any given situation or would be abrupt with some
of those around me, including my family. I thought very deeply about the
fact that life does not come with any guarantees and it is given to us
without any warranties. It is also made available to us for a limited time
only. So how can we make each of our lives richer or fuller or what can we
give to others? How can we leave this world a better place? These questions
should cause us to pause and think about how each of us might think and act

It is so very unfortunate that often it takes horrible tragedies to cause us to
stop and take an inventory of our individual lives so we might make changes
to improve how we interact with others. Hopefully, people can make changes
that will have a positive impact upon others so that these vibrant young
people will not have died in vain. To the families of these beautiful souls, please
know that entire communities stand beside you in shouldering some of your

Please be good to each other and remember that life is a gift, that's
why it's called the present.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Preventing Hardening of the Attitudes with Humor

It is generally agreed that good sense -- and a good sense of humor – are important personal tools that will carry you a long way in business and in life. Not as clear is why this is true or how one becomes more skilled at humor. Let's look at an area where you can easily profit from an expanded sense of humor – setting the tone for the work environment and some simple ways to develop your own sense of humor.

 Humor in the workplace functions like a thermostat, controlling the climate within the environment. It is a key component of the ambiance that greets and surrounds everyone who enters your workplace. Simply put, positive humor fosters a warm and inviting feeling. Negative, divisive humor makes a place seem cold and aloof. Humor,or lack thereof, defines the emotional state of a workplace in the same way lighting sets the tone in a theater production, where changing lights indicate a shift in mood. In the theater, the illumination fills in the holes and occupies the spaces between characters, events and sets. In organizations, which consist of sets of human relationships, humor illuminates the dynamics of the group. It is a language by which people join and identify a common universe. They consciously and unconsciously make statements through humor about themselves, their relationships, their groups, and their company, which they find difficult to say otherwise. Alan Weiss, author of "Million Dollar Consulting," believes humor in the workplace works to "remove emotionalism and defensiveness that interferes with candid and honest communication."

 In the same vein, the cartoon Dilbert is popular because it identifies and names the problems people recognize. It's a soft way of saying, "here's what you are concerned about ..." In this way, humor is a coping mechanism. When truth is too scary or difficult to face, it enables people to detach themselves from some potentially emotionally threatening situations. “Gallows humor” is an example of how humor can create moments of sharing and community that offset feelings of isolation, termination, and helplessness.

The quickest and most effective way to become more proficient at the skill of humor is to lighten up yourself. This will positively affect both the climate at work and the flow of honest communication, another direct and helpful result of humor in the workplace. Begin to use subtle but evident forms of humor. Wear humorous ties or interesting accessories, attach a humorous quote to your memo, or keep your high school graduation picture on your desk. The idea is to expose your sense of humor without having to have other people laugh. It is important to be able to laugh about yourself in a self-effacing (not self derogatory) way. Self-effacing is non-threatening to others. If you're making a presentation and you trip over the power cord to the overhead, say something like, "Please keep track of the number of times I do that ... my record is three in an hour." In this way you acknowledge the reality of the situation, show the group that you recognize your humanness, reduce everyone's embarrassment, and put yourself back in control.

 Finally, for both selfish and altruistic reasons, it is important to know what makes other people happy so you can bring them joy while making them feel appreciated and respected. Pay attention to what makes your colleagues, employees or customers laugh or smile. The more you feed them humor they like, the more positive the climate becomes. Because humor is a skill, the more you practice these techniques the more proficient you become.

Izzy Gesell (Izzy's website) is an organizational alchemist who helps individuals and organizations transform their thinking from commonplace to extraordinary. Through his keynotes, trainings, coaching and facilitated sessions, Izzy offers imaginative, intuitive and immediately useful insights and programs. He is skilled at delivering meaningful material in a way that makes participants enjoy their time with him.   
Izzy was one of the first to use Improv Theater concepts as tools for personal and organizational learning. He is the author of Playing Along: Group Learning Activities Borrowed From Improvisation Theater, a co-author of Cancer & the Healing Power of Play, a co-author of Humor Me: America’s Funniest Humorists on the Power of Laughter, and a contributor of a chapter on Improvisation as a facilitation tool in the IAF Group Facilitators Handbook. "His video course  on Applied Improv for Leadership" for Lynda.com was their first  course shot before a live audience. A second Lynda.com course, "Humor in the Workplace" was recently releeased

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How We Can Do More with Less

Recently, I was asked to watch a Ted Talk from Yves Morieux titled, “How Too Many Rules At Work Keep You From Getting Things Done”. In this talk, Morieux shows us how cooperation from a team can create superior results. The example he uses is a women’s international relay running race made up of the world’s top runners. Based on statistics, the U.S. women’s team is predicted to finish first, while the French women’s team is predicted to finish 2nd. The result is an upset. The French team out runs the U.S. team regardless of the stated metrics, whose historic data predicted other results.

How did they do it?

The first element, which allowed the French to win, was clarity. The team was clear on what it needed to focus on to pull off the upset. They raced their best race by focusing on their goal and breaking down the race into achievable segments. The handing off of the baton was the most important part of the race. This was done successfully through powerful vocal cues, facial intensity, and an accurate hand off in stride at the correct angle.

The second element was measurement. How fast did each runner need to pump their arms? How long of a stride did they need to take to exert the least energy, while performing at optimal efficiency? At what point was the baton hand-off the most effective? And at what position did the retrieving runner need to be at while the baton hand-off was taking place?

The third element was accountability. Each runner on the French team was accountable for the next runner. No one person was slacking, which allowed the team to be “on” their A-game.

Morieux goes on to say that Cooperation is the main component behind these three elements. In other words, with cooperation we can do less while doing more. To achieve the ultimate cooperation we need to be proficient in clarity, measurement, and accountability.

What can you do to increase the efficiency of your business?

I'll be speaking on the subject of "Clarity" on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at 6:30pm at Canton Public Library in Canton, CT. This free talk will harness you with the motivation to Make Room for Clarity in your home and life.

As a Professional Organizer, Speaker, Author, TV Personality, and 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 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 iTunes & Stitcher podcast "Make Room For Clarity", which focuses on interviewing business & health experts by visiting www.MakeRoomForClarity.com Inquire about Rick's professional organizing business, "The Functional Organizer, LLC.", which focuses on decluttering, organizing, paper filing and time management by visiting www.TheFunctionalOrganizer.com