Thursday, July 28, 2016

Warning: Ignoring Your Gut Feelings Could Ruin Your Life!

During a recent conversation with my daughter, she told me about a friend of hers who cancelled her wedding just shy of 3 weeks before it was supposed to take place. Drama and lost deposits aside, her decision to cancel impressed me. It had all come down to her deciding not to ignore her gut feelings. Something about the relationship just hadn’t felt right.

Early on in my sales career I accepted a job my gut tried me to warn me about. "Don't do it! There are red flags all over the place!” I didn’t listen. Instead, I ignored my own inner intuition in favor of the logical parts of my brain where all the reasons justifying why I should take the job resided. Needless to say, it wasn’t too long after I started the job that I realized I should have listened to what my gut – instincts, intuition, or whatever you want to call it – had been trying to tell me.

We have gut reactions for a reason. When we get them, our job is to take some time to consider what our gut reaction is trying to get us to pay attention to. Granted, there are times in life when you will make choices that go against your gut. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you take the time to try and figure out what and/or why you’re reacting. Below are a few insights meant to remind you of how truly valuable your own internal guidance can be.

Everyone has gut reactions, but they tend to pop up when we’re facing a decision. Our gut could be saying “Yes!” or “No!” because we have gut feelings in both directions. Either way, this reaction to a situation is reason enough to consider what it is that does or doesn’t feel right. If you can identify the cause/source of your reaction, you’ll be in a much better position to make a better decision.

Ignore your gut reactions at your own risk. Your gut instincts, feelings, reactions, and intuitions have one goal – to keep you safe and happy. The problem is that all your gut can do is let you know when your safety and/or happiness might be affected. Your gut can’t tell you what to do. That’s why it pays dividends to pay attention to what it’s trying to tell you. When you do, again, you’re more likely to make better decisions about how to proceed.

Your gut will remind you what’s important to you—even when you aren’t sure what’s important to you. Do you find yourself getting stuck in the same situations over and over again? I’m willing to bet your gut instincts have been working overtime trying to get your attention each time the same less-than-ideal situation comes around. From now on, if you begin to recognize a pattern that isn’t doing you any favors, stop! Is it possible your gut has been trying to inspire you to make a different decision all along?

Most successful people think of their gut instincts and intuition as a gift, and have learned to pay attention to them. That doesn’t mean they make their decisions based solely on those feelings. They use them as an invitation to look deeper into a situation and make sure that the course of action they choose is more likely to be beneficial, meaningful, and possibly even more profitable for them in the long-run.

What have your gut instincts and reactions been trying to tell you lately?

Alan Luoma: I am a Sales Coach with extensive experience in industrial sales, sales management, new

product development, sales and product training. I work with a great national sustainable packaging company and their exceptional distributors to increase sales. My success has been and is in utilizing the Pareto 80/20 principal in business and life. I have become an expert in seeking out and eliminating behaviors that prevent business people from being successful. I am a member of The National Speakers Association and New England Speakers Association. You can view my profile on LinkedIn, or contact me at 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Five Steps to Better Healthcare

Do you know how to get the best healthcare to meet your family’s needs? As the healthcare system gets more complicated, appointments with your doctor get shorter, and costs continue to rise, getting individualized, evidence-based care is a challenge. Personal healthcare advocacy skills are techniques to get information and take action so you can make standardized care a better fit for your and your family. They include understanding some basics about how the modern healthcare system works, knowing what actions you can take to increase your chances of getting the care that’s best for you, knowing what questions to ask and how to make informed decisions, and knowing your rights as a patient. With some personal advocacy skills under your belt, you can learn get the most out your healthcare. Here are five things you can do that can help you get better care.

1. Understand the business of healthcare
Healthcare in America is a business. There is a strong incentive for profit. You need to understand how doctors and facilities make money and get paid, or you may end up paying for tests and procedures that aren’t medically necessary. You need to be an informed consumer, like you’d be if you were buying any other big-ticket consumer item.

2. Get clear on your values, needs, and desires
You are the expert on you. Your input is important, so you need to be clear on how much control you want over decision-making, what your care philosophy is, what your medical, physical, emotional, and practical needs are, and what you want and expect while being a patient. Even great doctors need your input. They can’t know everything about you, so it’s up to you to convey your thoughts and opinions throughout the care process. Communicating your values, needs, and desires is the key to getting individualized care.

3. Meet your community
Connect with people who can guide you to great doctors and facilities. Ask around, get referrals, and interview providers. Tour facilities. Learn about all the different types of care that might be available in your community. Connect with others who have similar health issues, and use their knowledge to expand your own. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, when there is so much crowdsourced knowledge so close at hand. Create systems of support so you’re not going through your health needs alone. Supportive communities can literally be life savers.

4. Build a strong team
Find providers who match your philosophy of care, so you’ll be more likely to have a good working relationship. Work with providers who go the extra mile to spend the time you need to understand your health situation and make sure you’re actually being cared for. If you keep getting a nagging feeling that it’s not a good fit between you and your provider, switch. Your health is too important to leave in the hands of someone who is hard to work with, or you don’t trust.

5. Have effective conversations with your care providers
Do research on your condition, so you understand the basics and can talk about it quickly and efficiently with your doctor. Ask BRAIN questions (watch this video to know what those question are), and speak up for yourself. You won’t get the things you need if you don’t ask for them, and doctors and other caregivers can’t read your mind. You need to speak up about your values, needs, desires, thoughts, and opinions to get care that focuses on you.

Do these five things, and you’ll be better prepared, better informed, and ready to take actions to get care that works for you and your family.

Michal Klau-Stevens is a professional speaker and healthcare consumer advocate. She is a maternity consultant, pregnancy coach, and expert on consumer healthcare care issues, Past President of BirthNetwork National, a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, and mother.  Her website is TheBirthLady.INFO. Find her on LinkedIn and on Facebook at The Birth Lady page!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Drive Transformation: The Vital Role of the Champion!

Senior leadership provides the credibility necessary for change to be successful. It is critical that your senior leadership supports the change effort from the top and makes a large commitment to it; whether the change involves new processes, new policies, new systems, or human capital.  If your employees feel that your leadership team does not care about the change effort, they then think, “Why should I care if management doesn’t?”  A clear vision and case for the change needs to be communicated to all levels of your organization by using stories to paint a picture of what success looks like and your desired results.

Appointing the right person as champion of your change effort is vital.  This individual should be someone from the senior management team, but who is well-liked and respected by both your management team and front-line employees.  This individual should be someone who is not afraid to address the elephant in the room and not just someone who does management’s bidding and afraid to buck the status quo.  This person is ultimately responsible for the involvement of others, including your senior management team, at all levels of your company in the change management process.  The champion needs to have the authority to align behavior to the change process.  Most importantly, the champion must have the ability to listen and connect with your employees.

All levels of management need to support and actively lead by example the behaviors needed to drive active involvement in the change.  This may require additional management training.  Actively seek out and act on the feedback of your employees.  Remember, your employees all adapt differently to change.  Oftentimes as part of the management team, you have had time to debate and discuss the change, whereas, your employees have not.  Extend that same courtesy to your employees, by pulling them into the process from the beginning.  Employees will see any issues or problems from the outset as they know their jobs best, as they are hands on with your processes, customers, etc…  Employees will then also better understand your desired results and feel ownership in the process – making communication and buy-in of the change much easier.

Lastly, as the change process is occurring, pay attention to the change itself.  Ask your employees how the change can be improved?  What barriers to implementation are occurring?  This shows your front-lines that you are involved and they should be too.  Remember, if your senior leadership team does nothing, neither will your employees.

Idea Share of the Month!
Create an innovation champion.  An innovation program must be managed – it is not a put into place and it will run itself type of program.  A point person should have accountability for managing the program and working with the team to improve the system as necessary.

Frame of Mind Consulting understands the unique DNA of your organization, which is necessary to turn any organization into one capable of leveraging the full idea potential of its employees.  Would you like to drive connectivity and ownership throughout your company?  Contact me at (860) 559-7942 to set up your complimentary consultation during which you will receive some invaluable tips that you can apply to your business right away.

Thursday, July 7, 2016


I admit it - I AM a proud UConn Women's Basketball fan! It's not a recent development - I have been on the bandwagon ever since they won their very 1st National Championship in 1995 (Rebecca Lobo, Jen Rizzotti, Kara Wolters, Jamelle Elliott were among the trail blazers then). UConn and Geno Auriemma have won ten more since and this year's undefeated team had the top three WNBA draft picks (Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, Morgan Tuck), who have won the last four championships as teammates!

This month's blog was inspired by an article I read in Sports Illustrated about All-World #1 WNBA pick and 4-time NCAA Tournament MVP Breanna Stewart. In it, she reflects on her career at UConn and looks ahead to professional basketball. While she obviously brings enormous talent to the Seattle Storm (she leads the team with 18+ points and 9+ rebounds per game as I write this), she states in the article "something I know I can bring to my new team is positive energy". She referred to a book, "The Energy Bus", by Jon Gordon., so I got it. Here's Breanna's quick review from the article:

"Once I started reading it, it shifted my outlook on things. In the story there's a guy having a terrible day. His car has a flat tire—the least of his problems—so he has to take a bus. He gets on, and the driver refers to her bus as the Energy Bus. The book talks a lot about how you portray yourself and how that rubs off on the people around you. It teaches you about how you want people to see and react to you. It was an interesting book, and though it wasn't written about sports, it made me think more deeply about how to create positive energy and have that rub off on my teammates. It's a book used by a lot of coaches, including [the Clippers'] Doc Rivers and [Clemson football coach] Dabo Swinney."

Positive Energy - hmmm...

I LOVE the book and highly recommend that you read or listen to it (it's in my library and is read by the author, himself). The subtitle of the book is "10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy"...  In it, you will discover that the NEW acronym for CEO (normally referred to as "Chief Executive Officer") is "Chief ENERGY Officer". You'll have to read the book for details - it's simple, amazing and life changing... We can all be one!

Want to give your Life and your Career a boost? Read or listen to "The Energy Bus" and become a "Chief ENERGY Officer" - I guarantee you will love it as will everyone around you! I would love to hear your comments after you do (my contact info is below)... Drive your Energy Bus!!!

Chip, the Happiness and Success GPS, is a speaker, trainer, facilitator, consultant and NETWORKING EXPERT. Everything I do is customized for the group or business I that am working with so let's brainstorm - call me anytime at 860-673-4006 - coffee's on me!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Start with Why part 4

 Someone who has done a good job with figuring out his WHY and then explaining it in a way that others too can clearly see what his WHY is was Steve Jobs of Apple Computers according to Simon Sinek. Apple’s ability to remain one of the most innovative companies year after year, combined with their uncanny ability to attract a cult-like following, makes them a great example to demonstrate many of the principles of The Golden Circle and knowing your WHY.
            Apple’s products give life to their cause. Apple “thinks differently” and everything they do demonstrates their WHY, which is to challenge the status quo. Apple wanted to give the individual sitting at home the same power as any big company. Apple wanted to empower the little guy. And this is a pattern that Apple has adhered to over and over again with all its different products from computers to phones to animated movies.
            It shouldn’t be surprising that Apple wants to challenge the status quo when one thinks about its founder and CEO Steve Jobs. Jobs grew up in the 1960’s when the youth were challenging authority and the status quo. For many years, while trying to build his company, Jobs would show up to important meetings wearing no shoes and not have showered. He would be barefoot in those important meeting with his not so-pleasant smelling feet up on the table ruffling the feathers of many more traditional people who were present.
            Hey, that’s just who Steve Jobs has always been. And growing up into an adult with a business didn’t change him. Until his death Jobs has always been the same Steve Jobs that he has always been and so has his WHY, which was always consistently demonstrated over time with everything his company and products have done.
            When one is as good as Jobs was with explaining and showing his WHY, soon a cult-like following takes place because it’s no longer about the product as much as it is about the people who buy the product. These people are not loyal to the product because it’s a superior product that’s better than all the others. They are loyal to the product and brand because it is a good product that says a lot about who they are as people, as well as what they want to express to the outside world about who they are as people through using the product and showing off the brand.
            Essentially, there is no difference between Apple’s customers, employees and shareholders. What they buy or do may be different, but they all have the same WHY and they all want the world to know it by associating with Apple, its products and Steve Jobs when he was still alive. In essence, Apple is not really a company that sells computers. It’s a company that is changing the world by challenging the status quo, and empowering the individual who just so happens to also sell computers among other things by the way.
            Next month I will talk to you about how to find your WHY and what to do with all the great information in Simon Sinek’s book, Start with Why.

Dan is an award-winning teen leadership author, speaker and educator. You can find out more about Dan at: