Friday, January 30, 2009

Do You Need One?

What are you doing to keep up your morale?

Doom and gloom is definitely in the air – with news of further corporate layoffs every day, and no end yet in sight to our nation’s economic woes, it’s easy to become despondent.

In my presentation “Step Up!” -- which I delivered as a webinar January 28th, and will be doing again in the future -- I talk about attitude.

Attitude is a choice. We can’t control everything that happens to us, but we can control how we respond.

We can be positive or negative – there really isn’t a neutral attitude.

I am not a “Pollyanna.”

And, although I prefer to think of myself as a positive person, clearly I have been known to take a few downward spirals over the years … experiencing the highs and lows that life and business ownership can dish out on a daily basis.

Here are my personal techniques to stay upbeat and positive:

1. Take 100% responsibility for how you respond to situations – no victim mentality

2. Set a good example

3. Hang around with winners, not whiners

4. Believe in yourself

5. Focus on the positives in your life

I also believe that regular exercise, laughter, an occasional “treat” (chocolate, a massage, seeing a good movie – OK, maybe MORE than an occasional treat!) all help.

Journaling -- particularly about what I am grateful for -- and focusing on the good, are other ways that help ensure I keep a positive attitude.

I would love to know your ideas, too.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Social-Networking Sites Should Supplement Interpersonal Communication NOT Supersede It

Earlier this month, a Time magazine reporter asked in an article whether Facebook replaces face time or enhances it.

My vote is the latter.

Social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace,, LinkedIn and even the microblogging site Twitter all should supplement your daily personal and work interactions, but NEVER serve as a substitute for face-to-face encounters.

Sure, it’s a lot easier to log onto your favorite site, type for a few minutes – maybe IM someone or “send a drink request” via Facebook -- than scraping off your car in the dead of winter to fight traffic, or take a train, plane, taxi or bus to meet someone.

But, I ask you to consider … what price do you pay for this comfort?

A friend’s hurt feelings? A confused client? Upset relatives?

Reading words on a screen, even with a video and/or audio element added, is not -- and, never will be -- the same as having a real dialogue in person.

Many times there are subtle nuances to communication and body language that “speak” far greater than actual words. How does this non-spoken “conversation” get conveyed online?

It can’t. But, worse, yet, often the message being sent and even its tone are misunderstood or misconstrued by the recipients.

Before you drop your Internet access, and close your online accounts, I’m not suggesting that you do this -- or even resolve to meet everyone in your network once a week or even monthly.

I am simply reminding everyone of the importance of a phone call and in-person encounter as part of the communication “mix.”

So, the next time you consider sending your former colleague a friend request, sit back, log off, and pick up the phone. Or, schedule a visit the next time you’re in his or her neighborhood.

I guarantee you that the impact you make in reconnecting with this person in such a manner, will far exceed the actual cost of the call or gas in your car.

Nothing speaks volumes more than a real-life hug or handshake.

Monday, January 19, 2009

We Can Learn From Obama’s Inauguration Speech

One more day until we can stop saying “President-elect Barack Obama” and say “President Obama.”

Regardless of your political views, I am sure you are wishing him great success. After all, it is in the best interest of all Americans – and, perhaps, all world citizens.

If there has ever been any doubt about the importance of selling your message and yourself, our soon-to-be 44th president should have put that to rest.

President-elect Obama has used his background as a community organizer and his great oratory skills to mobilize, motivate and inspire millions.

He is a student of history and rhetoric. He plays to the heart and to the head.

Obama’s inaugural address should be interesting, indeed.

For students of public speaking (and shouldn’t we all be?), pay attention to how much logic, and how much emotion he uses. When does he pause for effect? When does he gesture?

Barack Obama is a studied and practiced person. He will have thought out and practiced every word, every dramatic pause for effect, and every gesture.

Peter Drucker said, “Spontaneity is an infinite number of rehearsed possibilities.”

When you watch the inauguration, and listen to President-elect Obama’s address, you will see a master at work.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Book Recommendations

I once heard the quote, “You are who you are based on the people you meet, and the books you read.”

Although there also is some DNA involved, I do agree that we are shaped by our interactions with others, and the reading we do.

That said, as an executive coach and speaker, I realize how often I share ideas and quotes from the books that I read with my audiences.

I am frequently asked for book recommendations, in addition to the ones that I have written.

Here is a list of books that have made a difference to me (in no special order):

Blink, Malcolm Gladwell

What Got You Here Won't Get You There, Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter

Pivot, Alan R. Zimmerman

Jacked Up, Bill Lane

The One Thing You Need To Know, Marcus Buckingham (or anything else by him)

The 4-Hour Workweek, Timothy Ferriss

The Dip, Seth Godin (or anything else by him)

Enlightened Leadership, Ed Oakley and Doug Krug

The Fred Factor, Mark Sanborn

Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell

The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz

I would love to get your recommendations, too, so I can check them out, and pass them on! Post a reply here, or e-mail me –

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Setting Goals Is Better Than Making Resolutions

Some of you have made 2009 New Year’s resolutions, and to date, have kept them. Only 359 days left to go this year.


Others have made and broken their resolutions already. Personally, I don’t believe in making resolutions, which I think overall tend to be negative.

I believe in setting goals -- goals that are specific, measurable and observable. Often these goals are a stretch, but not impossible.

Let me give you a few examples. One is a goal that I had about 7 years ago. At that time, all of my reading was business-oriented -- news, training, sales, and business magazines, and also how-to books. These are things I still believe in, but I thought my conversations at parties were limited, and I was boring. My goal that year was to read 5 bestsellers, 5 business, and 5 motivational/spiritual books.

I kept a list next to my bed. After all, it was only 15 books a year, but more varied topics. Just by tracking everything – keeping the list in a visible place – I began to read more.

At this point, I don’t need that goal, I do it automatically. The results are that I am more informed, more fun, and a better conversationalist.

Here’s another example … a resolution might be to get in better shape. Instead, write a goal: Exercise 20-30 minutes four to five times a week.

Here’s another one:

Resolution: get more business. Goal: make 1 to 5 calls per day, 5 days a week.

Research shows that those who make specific goals, write them down, and share them with others, accomplish more than those who don’t.

This is nothing new, but always worth revisiting.

I hope 2009 is fabulous for you all. Only you can define what fabulous means!

Here’s my special offer to you, to help achieve your goals: Through the end of January 2009, I will offer my book Life Without Limits: A Guidebook to Turning Your Dreams Into Reality at the special price of only $5, plus any relevant taxes and shipping/handing. That’s almost $15 off the regular $19.95retail price! All you have to do is e-mail Miryam Roddy at or call her at 215-886-1688.

Happy New Year!