Smiles for Sale

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

How do you keep going, day after day?  How do you pump yourself up when you don’t even want to get out of bed some mornings?  It’s hard.  It’s really, really hard, but on those days when you just don’t think you can face another challenge, try this:

Choose to smile!

I’m not kidding; this really works.  And on those days when you just can’t muster up a smile of your own,  here’s a couple of helpful hints:

Mimic some sounds that force a smile, like making the long “e” sound.  It causes you to stretch the corners of your mouth and it comes close to the real thing.  This concept was actually proven by Robert Zajonc who did a study on how smiling can affect your mood.

Another trick is to look at pictures that amuse you, touch your heart, and make you smile no matter how crummy you feel.  What would it be for you?  Pictures of babies?  Pictures of puppies?  Pictures of shoes?  It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it warms your heart.  This video just may help get you started: https://binged.it/2r9sjxR.

Choosing to smile – it sounds so simple and even a little bit hokey, but the key word here is CHOOSE.  There is only one person who can truly make a difference in your life and you already know the answer to that one – YOU.  So make a choice – will you choose to be miserable today or will you choose to take one step towards happiness.  It’s all up to you.

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Beauty in Your Own Back Yard

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Bigger houses, faster cars, more exotic vacations.  Sometimes it seems like we’re constantly looking for what’s next; always racing to find something better.

WHEW!  It can be exhausting!

That’s why I was so surprised when I looked out my window and saw this in my own back yard.  A little Japanese garden my husband planted a couple of years ago, and it’s finally arrived.  The beautiful flowering trees framed by the bright blue sky was breathtaking – and it is just steps away from my kitchen window.

It made me wonder how many other treasures have passed me by.  What other precious moments have I missed with my friends or family because I’m too busy with what I HAVE to do right now.

A good friend once asked me: “Can you remember what happened in your life six months ago that was so important you couldn’t take the time to enjoy the people around you?” 

And most of the time, my answer is “no.”  I can’t remember which email or text or meeting was so crucial that I had to drop everything to be there.  Now this doesn’t mean that you can blow off your responsibilities, but neither should you dismiss what is right in front of you in search of something you perceive to be better. 

So take a deep breath, look around, and tell me what you see.  What makes you stop for a moment and say: “Ah, now that’s lovely.”  In this world of instant everything, take a break and just BE.

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The Impact of Only Three Letters

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

What if you could become a stronger leader, better listener and awesome parent, spouse and friend – all by changing one word?  Yep, that’s right.  All it takes is one word.

Here’s a quick example of how only three letters can change someone’s perspective and attitude.  This example can be used with a team member, friend, and even your teen-age kids:

           “Julie, you did a great job on the project, but…”

What happens when you hear the word “but.”  First of all, it discounts everything that was said before it.  Julie no longer remembers that you said she did a great job, instead she’s waiting to hear the negative comment that follows.  She may even get her feathers all ruffled up, getting ready to defend whatever it is you’re going to say next.

What if you replaced the word “but” with “and?”  How would that sound???

           “Julie, you did a great job on that project, and…”

Now she’s open to hear what you have to say next.  No matter what your ending statement is, Julie is more receptive. 

So the lesson is – change the word “but” to “and.”  It sounds simple, but it’s not.  You see, I just broke my own rule and used the word “but” in the previous sentence.  It takes some work, and it is well worth the time and the effort.  You will get more of what you want, have happier employees and family members, and people will want to hang around you because of your positive attitude.

It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

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Pop the Bubbly

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I simply can’t believe it!  Today I post my 100th blog  and it’s a huge reason to celebrate. 

For those of you who truly know me, you’ve already noticed that technology has been a challenge for me.  I’m getting better every day but I really have to work at it.  You see, I was raised at a time when we used typewriters – the kind with a return handle.  And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you’ll understand how I feel about technology – many times I don’t know what YOU are talking about.

So starting my first blog was a HUGE learning curve.

It all started when a good friend of mine asked me to help him with his blog.  My answer was quick: “Sure, as long as you realize I’ve never read one or written one.”  Then I went home and googled: What is a blog.

He then emailed me a blog about writing blogs.  I found this interesting and began to read it, and I really liked her writing style: https://www.enchantingmarketing.com/category/blog/.

A few weeks later, I visited my brother and he had a book about writing blogs on his desk.  I asked: “Are you thinking of writing blogs?”  His answer was: “No, my daughter gave it to me.  Take it if you want.”  (Blog inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho)

So there it was.  The third time the idea of blogs came to me, and since I believe in the rule of three, I had to take a serious look at it. So I wrote my first blog on September 22, 2016. 

And, as they say, the rest is history.  So today, 100 weeks later, I celebrate taking that first step into the unknown, into feeling uncomfortable, and not knowing what was going to happen next.  Because of that, I have grown from this experience in ways I never imagined possible.

So now I’m curious.  What leap of faith have you taken?  Anything you’d like to share that took you from “What the hell am I doing here?” to “Man, I’m really proud of myself?”  I’d love to hear about it.

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Remembering Traditions My Way

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I am not a creature of habit, I never have been.  However, as the Easter holiday approaches I am reminded of the traditions I grew up with – traditions that I have never forgotten.  And they still bring a smile to my face more than 50 years later. 

Growing up, my family didn’t celebrate Easter in the typical way.  I don’t remember any baskets filled with candy, nor were there any Easter egg hunts.  Instead, my mom would fill a huge wicker basket with all the food she was going to prepare for our holiday dinner.  Our basket was overflowing with a huge ham leg, a loaf of bread with a cross baked into the crust, a cake in the shape of a lamb, a jar of horseradish, and I’m sure a few other items I’ve forgotten.

My brother and I would lug this heavy basket to the church parking lot and wait for the priest to come out and bless it, then haul it all the way back home. 

At seven years old, I never really understood the meaning behind all this, but now I realize that it created a bond between my brother and me that lives on today, and it has left me with so many special memories that will last a lifetime.

Hmmm, now I’m wondering if my brother has the same memory of those Easter holidays.  I wonder if he gets the same warm feeling when Easter comes around.  Maybe he doesn’t even remember them at all.  I’ll have to ask him the next time I see him.  OR maybe not. Maybe this is something I’ll keep to myself with my own images and my own emotions.  I don’t want to ruin this happy memory.  This one is just for me.

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Put On Your Confidence Cape

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Have you ever heard of Power Poses?  This term was introduced by Amy Cuddy and her now famous 2012 TED Talk.  It’s a concept that fascinated me and I was curious to see if it would work.

Here’s how it goes: When you find yourself in a stressful situation, stop and strike a pose like Wonder Woman.  You know what I mean – hands on hips, feet shoulder width apart, head up.  The idea is to hold this pose for two minutes and it can change your attitude.  According to Amy Cuddy, standing in a powerful position like this will actually have an effect on the cortisol levels in your brain.  You will feel more confident, assured and determined. 

Of course, you may feel a little strange striking the Wonder Woman pose while in your office or living room surrounded by people you know, so try it behind closed doors, like in a bathroom stall or empty elevator.  The idea is that you will emerge feeling more powerful and confident. 

Amy Cuddy also introduces several other poses you can use as well, some sitting down and others standing up.  Play around with them and see if they help you.  To learn more about her research, view her TED Talk at: http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.

 So the next time you are going to that job interview, getting ready to conduct a meeting of your peers, or trying to get up the nerve to ask for that first date, try one of the Power Poses.  I’ve done a few myself and it really does make a difference.  What have you got to lose?

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Overworked? Overwhelmed?? Sound Familiar???

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I walk into my office and there it is, staring me in the face, almost laughing at me…piles everywhere, otherwise known as:  My Massive TO DO List.  So many times I feel so overwhelmed that I just turn around and walk out the door.  I don’t know where to start, so I do nothing.

We all have them, there’s no denying it.  Maybe your piles are like mine scattered all throughout your office, maybe you have color-coded them and filed them in your computer, or maybe you’ve downloaded one of the many apps on your iPhone.  But no matter where you keep them, they always seem to be lurking in the background, reminding us that we don’t have enough hours in the day.

So what can you do to gain control?  Well, I’ve come up with three easy techniques that have helped me master my piles – at least, most of the time:

Learn to say “no.”:  Stop adding to your never ending list of things to do.  There is always another book to read, another webinar to watch or another podcast to listen to.  But the real problem is that you already have so much great information from the past books and webinars and podcasts you’ve invested time and money in.  Take that hour and apply it to all that valuable information you already have sitting in those pretty color-coded files.

Make a file folder for each day of the week:  Label them Monday through Sunday.  Then, as something comes up that you need to accomplish on a specific day, put it in the appropriate folder.  This has helped me immensely.  I check my day folder each morning and it helps to keep me on track for the day.  There, right in front of me, is my “to do” list for the next 24 hours.  I can stay focused and it keeps me from chasing the next shiny object.  Pick a file holder that is fun and inspires you.  Check out the office supply stores -I’ve seen some lovely ones there.

Celebrate your small successes:  Many times we are so focused on the big projects and what we didn’t get done that we get frustrated and overwhelmed.  But what if we celebrated our small successes along the way, like making it to your appointment totally prepared, or serving a dinner that was actually pretty good.  By celebrating our small accomplishments, it gives us the courage and belief to tackle the bigger ones.

I can’t lie – I still have piles, but by using these three “tricks,” I find them more manageable and I’m not driving myself crazy.  Give these a try and let me know which one works best for you.

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Follow the Yellow Brick Road

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You can see it in the distance.  Sometimes the road looks foggy, even a little scary, but you know you have to follow it if you want to reach your destination, your goal, your dreams.

Just like Dorothy did in the Wizard of Oz, keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep moving forward in spite of your fears, your self-doubt and your self-imposed excuses.

In my last three blogs I’ve shared some unique and out-of-the-box tips on networking, but none of that will help you if you don’t follow-up with the people who can lead you to your destination.  So here they are, five specific actions to take after meeting that person you believe can help you:

 1.   Don’t ask the expert to do the meeting scheduling. When you ask someone to meet with you, send them specific dates to consider.  If those dates are not available to them, they will send you options.  The most important thing is that you’ve started a conversation. 

2.       Make the meeting convenient and maybe even active. If you are asking for an hour coffee or lunch, choose a location that is convenient to the person you have asked to meet with you.  Even better, if you think they are open to it, ask to go for a walk.  They say that some of the best deals are made on the golf course, so why not the trail path?

3.       Go with a prepared list of questions.  Before you even meet, think carefully about  what you want to learn from this contact.  Make a list of questions so no one feels like their time is being wasted. 

4.       Find out what you can do for them.  Always end the meeting by asking what you can do to help them.  It could be business related, like introducing them to a valuable contact.  Or it can be personal, like telling them about the best restaurant in town.

5.       Always thank them more than once. In this day of instant everything, send a thank-you email or text immediately.  You know what else is amazing? A handwritten thank you note. Because very few people do this anymore, it will really make you stand out.

Give these follow-up tips a try and let me know how it goes.  You’ll be amazed at how one thing leads to another.   And one day when you find yourself in front of Oz, you will realize that even though the path was scary at times, it was also loads of fun.

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Tips Tricks & Techniques to Make Networking Fun

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Since we’re on a roll here, let’s continue this series on networking.

I’ve heard from so many people that they really dislike face-to-face networking.  It makes them feel intimidated and uncomfortable and they just don’t want to do it.  This made me wonder:  how can we turn the tables, flip the switch, and think differently about networking. 

I came up with five simple steps to make a game out of it – to actually make it fun.  So here are some tips, tricks and techniques to try.  Now remember, the key word here is “try.”  Pick and choose the techniques that are right for you and your personality.  I’m going to challenge you, though, to step out of your comfort zone – that is the only way you will grow.

So here we go…

1.       Get to the networking event early.  This may sound really simple, but many people show up in time for the speaker, then leave immediately after.  That is NOT networking.  By getting to the event early, you will feel less intimidated because there are fewer people there.   Then you can really focus on who you want to meet and start a conversation with.

2.       Don’t tell yourself “no”.  Many times my inner voice starts screaming: “no one wants to meet you, you have nothing of value to offer, no one will listen to you…” If this ever happens to you, STOP and hit the delete button!!!  There are enough people out there already telling you “no” so don’t become one of them.  Instead choose your three greatest attributes and repeat them to yourself over and over again.

3.       If it feels comfortable to you, wear something that stands out.  I often wear my red boots because people will compliment me on my boots.  It’s a great conversation starter.  Anyone can wear something that’s a little different – maybe a different colored shirt or tie or blouse.  It will make you stand out from the crowd.  Try it and see if it works for you.

4.       Smile.  It’s a powerful show of confidence which people respect and are drawn to.  Smiles are contagious and the simple act of smiling makes people feel better.  No matter who you’re approaching,  there is no stronger opener.

5.       Remember the #1 rule – LISTEN.  Meeting people is about making their lives better.  Whether you give them a smile, a new job or anything in between, there is a way to help everyone.  Listen and learn about what matters to them.  People want to tell their stories.  Be the person who is excited to hear them.

I encourage you to try all five techniques.  After all, how do you know which ones will work best if you don’t test them?  Let me know if you have a favorite. 

Now go out there an have some fun networking!

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5 Networking Questions that Actually Work!

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In my blog last week, I shared a unique way to look at face-to-face networking, especially if you are a bit introverted or on the shy side.  The key is to think of networking as simply starting a conversation, that’s all.  You’re not trying to make a sale, interest people in your idea, or land your dream job.  Your only goal is to start a conversation. 

But how can you reach out to people and engage them in a conversation that will help you determine if they are a good fit for you?

Well, here are five specific questions to help you get started.  Five questions that can help you in any networking situation:

  1. Start a conversation with “Where are you from?”  This can trigger a number of different responses.  They could talk about the company they represent, where they grew up or where they currently live.  It is a great start to a conversation because it can be answered in a number of different ways.
  2. When they tell you what they do, ask: “Describe your typical day to me.”  So many times people use industry jargon and you have no idea what they are talking about.  This is a simple way to understand what they do on a day-to-day basis.
  3. Instead of asking “What do you do?” ask “Where do you work?”  It’s a simplier question to ask because people may be more comfortable talking about their company instead of themselves. 
  4. “How did you come up with that idea?”  This is especially good for people who are self-employed.  There is usually a good story behind starting your own business.
  5. Find something in common that you can share with them in your opening conversation.  For instance, “I see that you belong to the chamber.  So do I.

These are just a few examples for getting a conversation started.  Pick and choose the ones that work for you.  Once you ask the question, your next goal is to LISTEN.  Only in listening can you determine if this person is a good match for your service or product.  Only by listening can you decide if you want to follow up with a second meeting.

I’m curious which question works best for you.  Please don’t hesitate to let me know.

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