Part 2 of : Am I the Type of Person People Want to be Around?

Last week, I shared with you my thought process of examining myself with the question “Am I the type of person people want to be around?”  This week, I am going to finish with the last two parts.  As I explored these two subjects, I made a promise to be completely honest with myself.  So, I encourage you to do the same.  In order for you to truly evaluate yourself, remember complete honesty is key.

1. What kind of presence do I leave with people?

Defining someone’s presence is a hard quality to explain.  Basically, it involves how you are in regards to socially, self-confidence, and body language.  Believe it or not, these three characteristics are hard to fake once you get over that first impression.  Let me break these three characteristics down for you to understand better:

  • Socially- It’s also about – are you an Extrovert – get your energy from others, or an Introvert – getting your energy from being alone and recharging?
    • Are you the type of person who has a hard time talking or being around others?  An introvert?
    • Or are you someone who can easily start a conversation with anyone around you?  An extrovert?
    • If you are the second type, chances are socially you are the magnet others are drawn to in a group.
    • If you are the first one, the only way you are going to be that magnetic person is to take a risk and get out of your comfort zone.  Push through your fear to start a conversation.

The key is to simply BE
YOURSELF – otherwise you are going to appear awkward and the situation may be
more uncomfortable. I find being honest is always best
.

  • Self-Confidence vs. Arrogance
    • There is a huge difference between being arrogant and self-confident.
    • An arrogant person knows everything and does not want to hear any other opinion but their own.
    • A confident person will take the time not only to listen to other’s but also is curious, open minded, and wants to hear others thought processes and beliefs.

A confident person
attracts others naturally by their self-belief to get any job/task done, being open-minded,
and showing others respect in all areas of life. 

  • Body Language
    • Body language often speaks much louder than verbal words.
    • If your arms are crossed, you avoid eye contact, you are constantly moving your foot or fingers, and slouching, you are sending a verbal
      message.  This type of verbal message is not a good one.  All these movements tell someone else that you are not approachable and do not want to be bothered.
    • Positive and welcoming body language includes direct eye contact at all times, arms are in a relaxed position, you are engaged in the
      conversation, smiling and asking open ended questions.

Sending positive body
language is an open invitation to anyone around you.  People will be drawn to approaching you
rather than being scared or shy. 

1. Am I honest?

Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to communicating with others.  If the people around you know they will always get an honest answer from you, then it’s easier to trust.  Not only that, honesty communicates openness automatically.  If someone needs advice or has a problem they will come to you because of your honesty.  This does not mean you have to reveal every single detail of your life. At the same time, don’t exaggerate or make things up when sharing something with others.

Hopefully, you as a reader have been inspired to examine the type of person you are around other people.  Remember, in order to be effective and make an impact on other’s life, you have to be willing to examine yourself and change if needed.

Life is Simply Made up of Many Transitions…

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Yours truly and Melanie my godchild

I will never forget that particular day in February,  many years ago, when I received the call that my sister was on her way to the hospital because she was going to have her first baby.  This was big news in our family, mainly because she was the first sibling to have a baby. It was doubly exciting for me because I was going to be an aunt and she had asked me to be the baby’s godparent. I was awed and taken aback, sounded like a big responsibility, yet I was thrilled and jumped in with both feet as I always do.

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My mom, sister, me and Melanie at her christening

The christening was about 6 weeks later, so I booked my plane ticket and flew down to meet my little godchild. She was beautiful, always smiling, happy and had taken to me as I held her and rocked her to sleep. She loved to fall asleep on my shoulder.  It was an amazing experience, holding that little tiny baby as she was baptized and everyone looking on in the church.  The only sad thing for me was my sister lived over 1000 miles away, so I would try to make a trip once a year for a week to visit and hang out with my godchild. I remember one trip in particular we had had so much fun, that when it was time for me to go she ran onto the bed and flopped across my suitcase and declared “I’m going, pack me in your bag!”

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Melanie trying to fit into my suitcase so I can take her home with me. (She was 3 yrs old)

Fast forward 16 years later, my little godchild is not so little anymore (She’s taller than me now!).  In fact, I just got back from spending a week with her, my sister and her family.  As it turned out, my wonderful godchild was graduating from high school.  It was so wonderful to be there for her. She’s so grown up! When did that happen?  It was another amazing experience and a huge transition. In fact, my sister and I, since her first child was born, have both gone through many transitions. She moved several times and had 2 more kids, both girls.  My transitions were many, surviving 4 layoffs in 9 years, a divorce, and the poor passing of my 2 beloved Golden Retrievers.

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Melanie and I at her graduation this month. (She's 18 now!)

So, as I was sitting there in that amphitheater with my mom, watching Melanie (my godchild) walk across that stage and accept her diploma, I was awash with tears of joy and sadness.  How did this time pass so quickly?  And when did I become the “cool” aunt that all my nieces wanted to hang out with?  How bizarre to be sitting here watching a graduation of over 600 students in Houston, Texas and be struck with all the transitions we go through in life.  So, this prompted me to write because as I saw the amazing transformation of my godchild, I also know she has wonderful parents (and aunts, uncles and grand parents) who have instilled in her many survival tips and tactics of sorts on how to make it through each and every life transition in one piece.

And since I’ve been through many of my own life transitions, some of them all at once (my divorce, laid off from my job, losing my house, my best WomenOnFire1_4friend) I wrote a chapter about it for this awesome book by Debbie Phillips (Founder of Women On Fire) Women on Fire, 20 Inspiring Women  Share their Life Secrets (and Save you Years of Struggle!). I have the honor of being one of the 20 Inspiring Women who share their life secrets in Debbie Phillips new book, Women On Fire. This book is a heart-stirring and heartwarming anthology of stories written by 20 courageous and powerful women who faced real-life challenges and successfully moved through them to become authentic women on fire. Each woman shares the details of a seemingly insurmountable obstacle and describes how she summoned the strength to overcome it and emerge stronger, healthier, happier, and more deeply fulfilled. The most important part of their message is that you can do the same! If you want to discover more about my 7 Secrets to Life’s Transitions, click here!

I’m thrilled to be a part of this book, this Women On Fire movement and to have so many wonderful Women on Fire in my life – my sister, my mom, my beautiful godchild, and my nieces!

Click here to order your personal signed copy of Women On Fire by yours truly!!

DPSMInspire me crp
Debbie Phillips, Founder of Women on Fire and me with the new "Inspire Me" DVD

If you want to be inspired even more, check out the newly printed – WOMEN ON FIRE DVD: Inspire ME – it’s s a delightful video tour into the world of Women on Fire.

Discover ways to move forward in your life when you meet real-life women who are “on fire” about their lives. Click here for more information about the DVD and how to order.

You will experience the magic of Women On Fire Tea Parties (read more about how the Women On Fire Tea Parties saved my life) and be invited into an exclusive live Women on Fire workshop.

Choose Life, Choose a Job, Choose a Family, Choose Your Future…

What do you choose? This title of my blog is actually from a song that I love from the second soundtrack from the movie Trainspotting- called “Choose

Soundtrack 2 From Trainspotting
Soundtrack 2 From Trainspotting

Life” by PF Project. (As an aside this is a great soundtrack, yet the movie was a little disturbing.  Both of these CD’s, if you grew up in the 80’s and have a hankering for the British pop and techno stars of that era like Iggy Pop – you’ll love it!). I started this year with a bang and pulled out full throttle to accomplish my very ambitious goals for the year. This song kept playing in my head, because I had to choose what I wanted out of this year. My last blog started the year with my plan, (check out that post here) I then had to take steps for some action, to make things happen.

Me and Debbie after My Vision Day Birthday Celebration
Me and Debbie after My Vision Day Birthday Celebration

So what I did next was make a decision to do something completely different and inspiring for my birthday. I contacted my Executive Coaches, Rob Berkley and Debbie Phillips to see if it was possible that I could do a Vision Day for my birthday. I thought it was so appropriate to take the day I was born and use that day as a jumping off point to create an amazing year for me.

The awesome news is it was one of the most coolest, fun and productive birthday’s I’d had in a while. Ok, I know some of you may not think that “working” on your birthday would be fun. Yet, being with Rob and Debbie, it’s really not “work” at all. I’ve known them for over 13 year, so

Rob and I in his Porsche off to Corkscrew Swamp
Rob and I in his Porsche off to Corkscrew Swamp

our day went quite quickly. And Rob and I were able to squeeze some time in to take some inspiring photos at the Corkscrew swamp and nature sanctuary with my new Nikon D90. I have a photo I took in this post.

The upshot of my Vision Day Birthday, was I left that day with a wonderful plan all laid out for my business, and plan for my personal life and for my inspiring “hobby” of photography. I’d totally recommend taking some time out to plan out what you want your year to look like, it’s not too late!

My good friend Janet, Me and My Mom eons agon at Mardi Gras
My good friend Janet, Me and My Mom eons ago at Mardi Gras

The month of February is my favorite month of the whole year (and not because it’s my birthday). All sorts of cool things happen in February, it’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans (I grew up there and spent many years celebrating this festive holiday.) It’s many close friends and family members birthdays that I love to celebrate. And it’s s wonderful time for me to give thanks and be very grateful that I was born and have had such amazing experiences in my life that have gotten me to this wonderfully special moment.

Mr. Lizard in Corkscrew Swamp, Naples Florida
Mr. Lizard in Corkscrew Swamp, Naples Florida

Take some time out for you now – choose your life, your family, your future – put your plan together of what you want to accomplish. Make some time for fun, doing things you love, and also take some time to be really grateful for all the wonderful people and things that you have in your life. Choose your future now…

 

A Tea Party That Transformed My Life

Before I reveal my tea party tale of life transformation…..Fifty lashes for me, I know, for breaking my own rule and not writing for a whole month- yikes! Many apologies for not writing on a regular basis and of course so much has happened over the past month. I will do my best to give you a peak and get you up-to-speed on some cool things that I’ve discovered…

 

Here’s how a tea party transformed my life- It was four years ago that I had bedsc_0297en laid off for the second time. I was lost and a bit dazed as to where to turn and what to do. It wasn’t like I hadn’t seen the lay off coming, I was Director of Corporate Communications and had spent 2 years laying everyone off and it was only a matter of time before I was gone too. However, it still doesn’t make it any easier. It was then that my awesome, inspiring Executive Coach, Debbie Phillips (Founder of Women On Fire- this is her in the photo!) invited me to her first ever Women on Fire Tea Party in NYC. I was thrilled to be a part of this amazing event and a bit nervous and excited because I didn’t know what to expect.

Have you ever gone to an event and felt totally and completely relaxed and smjandcompany1at home? Well this is the feeling I got at this first Tea party. It wasn’t like any other event I had gone to before. The women were all professional women, entrepreneurs with their own businesses, executives, writers, film producers, an amazing, and inspiring group. What was so fascinating was how I was able to connect to these women on such a wonderful level- one that went beyond careers and what I did for a living, it was more about who I was and what I wanted to become. Just the thing I had needed to help me figure out what my next move would be. [Photo of the women who attended the first ever Women on Fire Tea Party in NYC- Sept 2004]

Here’s a little bit more about these Women On Fire (WOF) Tea Parties in New York City. I just LOVE them! The tea parties are filled with 15 fabulous women with Debbie Phillips, Founder, who leads this inspiring event.

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It’s held at the ultimate NYC Tea parlor- Lady Mendls. The moment I step foot into Lady Mendls a big sigh comes over me and I’m so relaxed and super excited about meeting all the wonderful women who are attending the Tea party along with me.debbie-wof-table

These Tea parties are not anything like you’ve ever attended before. (I’ll do my best to describe them, but you really need to attend one yourself to really “get” what it’s like.) The atmosphere is perfect- candles smell oh so good and the lighting is perfect, and the flowers are beautiful and the table is set so incredibly well. What really makes these tea parties though isn’t just the atmosphere, it’s the ladies who attend. Debbie has this amazing network of women that she knows and these parties have grown now and are filled with like minded women entrepreneurs, executives, vice presidents and moms a like. Theses Teas are an experience, not just an event. It’s not a “networking” event at all. It’s a place where you can really connect with other like-minded women. The connections I’ve made with all the women at all the many tea parties I’ve attended have been lasting. Many of these women become friends, colleagues and even clients. (A side note- according to Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Black Book of Connections, “All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends.”)

This past Tea party on December 12 was probably one of my most favorite, db-sm-dec-081because this party was dedicated to me! I was so thrilled to have Debbie dedicate the tea party to me, it meant so much. She always dedicates the tea to someone who is there and someone who isn’t in attendance. I made some more wonderful connections at this tea party as always and can’t wait till the next one!

 

I wasn’t quite able to put my finger on why I love these tea parties and why they’ve helped transform my life up until now. I’ve been reading Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Black Book of Connections. One of the things he really harps on is how to connect with people you meet, and he means really connect. As you read these next sentences- really take this in, and read it twice or three times if you have to. I promise, when you get this concept, it will totally improve the way you connect with people you meet and you will be reaping the benefits of your wonderful new relationships.

 

It’s not about you, it’s about them (the people you are meeting)- ask them a question, ask them their opinion, get to know them. And always ask yourself before you meet someone, “how can I make people better as a result of connecting with me?” Gitomer sums it up best here- “If you make yourself valbbcluable, and memorable, others will want to make you part of their network.” At these tea parties it’s not about you, it’s about meeting other fascinating, inspiring and fun women and connecting and getting to know them. It’s not about giving business cards and pumping people with answers and information. These tea parties are really all about connecting with like-minded people and walking away with friends and colleagues who will be there however they can for years to come.

 

Don’t wait, use some of these techniques now as you attend holiday parties and celebrate with friends. And I would totally recommend getting Gitomer’s book too- great stocking stuffer!

Daring Escape from Corporate America

I don’t know about you, but I feel like 2 years ago I made a very daring escape from Corporate America. I’d be entrenched and chained to a desk since I was 22 and that’s a long time. I had always thought that I’d be like my Dad and work at the same place forever until I retired. Yet, that was not my story and that was not meant to be for me.

My career path took some long and winding and winded turns along the way. I started out in sales and then got into marketing. My tale is long and blogs are for short stories… So suffice to say- after being laid off 3 times in 6 years, I stopped banging my head against the corporate wall. I stopped for a moment to realize that maybe that wasn’t my path any longer. Thank goodness I had and still have 2 wonderful Executive Coaches in my life (Rob Berkley & Debbie Phillips www.visionday.com) who totally supported me and helped me create my wonderful marketing, coaching and consulting business that I have today. (Photo: Debbie Phillips, Me, and Rob Berkley)

I’m writing this now for a couple of reasons-

  1. I was just highlighted in a colleagues blog which I wrote about here back in April- Pamela Skillings interviewed me and I talked at length about my experiences of daring escape. If you want to see more about my quest- check out her Escape From Corporate America blog
  2. I wrote a chapter in the most incredible book authored by Debbie Phillips that will be out later this fall Called Women On Fire 20 Inspiring Women Share Their Life Secrets (and Save You Years of Struggle!) It’s all about my very intense, gut wrenching experience and struggles in corporate America and my interesting journey. I promise I will tell you more about this in the coming months.

(Photo- Pamela Skillings and yours truly)

The takeaway from today is not the outcome- that I’m now in a 2 year old incredibly successful business that I created (albeit that sure is nice!). It’s the incredible journey I had to take to get right here. There are tons of people in my support team and my success team (which I’d recommend you get some of these folks!) who were pivotal to get me here. So why not take a moment right now and write a short gratitude list thanking all those folks who supported and helped you get you where you are today. I’ve already started mine!

Discovering 4 Travel Secrets on my Trip to Martha’s Vineyard

Back at home now, I’m writing from my second floor office where the view out of my window is a bit dreary- the rain is back. Yet, as I sit and reflect about my trip to Martha’s Vineyard, it was far from dreary. In fact, I discovered 4 really cool secrets that I wanted to share with you.

Before departing on our trip there’s the usual freneticness that goes along with any kind of travel these days requiring leaving your house for more than a few days. Since the summer is upon us, I know I’m not alone in my quest for sanity amidst the travel. Key for me was trying to figure out what to do with our sweet, adorable, 11 month old Golden Collie- Lily, who’s entwined herself into our hearts forever. (Photo- Here’s Lily hanging on the porch.) When we went to Las Vegas we had put her in the kennel and found out when we got back that she was sad and depressed. So for this next trip I needed to find another option. As things always work as they’re supposed to, our dog walker found us the most incredible dog sitter that would stay with Lily. So my first travel secret was 1) Having Peace of Mind- how much would you pay for peace of mind to take care of your animals, plants and home while you’re away? Well let me tell you, I’m not sure I can put a price on my peace of mind. To me, it was priceless not to have to worry about Lily or our home while being away.

This leads me to my next discovery- 2) Trusting Your Gut- as it turned out, our dog sitter Justin was a godsend. He took great care of Lily. In fact, he walked her for 8 miles each day and then played with her all the time so she was way too tired to chew anything in the house. I’m glad I could trust my gut on this one. (Photo- Lily so tired she fell off her bed!)

Then my next discovery- 3) Taking a Chance- we drove from New Jersey to Wood’s Hole, MA and had a decent idea when we’d get there, depending of course on traffic all along the coast. As it turned out we arrived into Wood’s Hole at 8:20 pm. The ferry was leaving at 8:30pm- what to do? The next and last ferry was leaving at 9:45 pm and we didn’t want to wait. Yet, we were not planning on taking the car and we didn’t have a reservation. (In the summer you need a reservation for your car.) Plus, we didn’t have time to park in the lot, unload our stuff and be able to make the 8:30 pm ferry. So I took a chance. I had nothing to lose- all they could say was no. This was all new to me, trying to take a car on a boat. I simply drove right up to the entrance and asked if we could go standby and the next thing you know- he said there was room for the car and hurry and go buy a ticket. I ran as fast as I could in the terminal, whipped out my Amex Platinum, and had my round trip reservation to Martha’s Vineyard with my car. Wow, that was just the coolest feeling, taking a chance, and having it all work out so splendidly. So we made the 8:30 pm boat and were the lasts ones on. I couldn’t have planned this any better. (Photo- Car Ferry entrance at Wood’s Hole.)

The ferry ride was smooth and easy, and we got to see the beautiful sun disappear along the horizon. This was my son Harrison’s first ferry ride and he totally enjoyed it! (Photo- Sunset from the ferry on the way to MV)

My last discovery on our trip was- 4) Spending Time with Those You Love- this discovery has lots of meaning to me. I never seem to take enough time to be with those I love and make time to share some laughter, food and just hang out and “be with.” Spending time on Martha’s Vineyard with my Executive Coaches and friends- Debbie Phillips & Rob Berkley was doubly wonderful because I was able to bring my family. They’ve never been to MV and I was able to introduce them to all new adventures. Suffice to say we had many moments where we laughed until we cried, ate some inspiring and delicious food, met some other fabulous Islanders, saw some incredible beach and ocean views and had some wonderful adventures. (I even managed to squeeze in attending one of Debbie’s “Women on Fire Tea Party’s”– the first one on MV!) (Photo-Me and Debbie Phillips having breakfast at the MV airport.)

Don’t deprive yourself this summer of these 4 Travel Secrets-

1) Having Peace Of Mind

2) Trusting Your Gut

3) Taking A Chance

4) Spending Time With Those You Love.

I guarantee a steady diet of these 4 travel secrets and we won’t be able to wipe that smile off your face come September- promise!