"I keep your 55 Great Icebreaker Questions in my Jeep and review
them before every event!"
Jim Higgins, ProForma Branding Excellence

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Archives for May 2010

Chocolate Covered Pretzel List

We’re almost at the half year mark! leading me to take a personal inventory of where I am in my business and my life at this time.

You know how chocolate-covered pretzels are an amazing blend of sweet and salty at the same time? That’s how I feel life is at this moment. Salty and sad for all the old stuff and people I must say good bye to. Delicious chocolatey sweet for all the possibilities and growth ahead.

Here are the things I am sad to leave behind, and the things I am bursting with enthusiasm to embrace and encounter.


1. Some old clients

2. My house (maybe)

3. Old relationships that no longer fit my new life ahead

4. Lines around my eyes.(I’d love to let go of these 🙂

5. Furniture and stuff that have been clogging up my space

6. Books that used to fill my shelves. Loved looking at them but they are not needed anymore.

7. Stuffy corporate clothes


1. New place to live.

2. My sabbatical in new countries – Italy and France

3. Learning to speak French

4. Some time in California soon.

5. My national speaking tour

6. New furniture

7. Reconnection with my family

8. Innovative high level experiences and programs with new clients.

9. New wardrobe/new look

10. All the new relationships I will be building, here, there and wherever I visit.

Seems as though the pretzel is more sweet/chocolatey than salty/sad.

Have you taken stock of where you are in your business/life at the half year mark?

You Can Go Home Again

You Can Go Home Again

Gina Ratliffe and me overlooking Pacific in Santa Barbara

I had a fabulous trip to California this past week. It was filled with learning important new strategies for my business, sharing valuable information, coaching inspiring and motivated business owners, and reconnecting with Southern California.

I lived there for four years after college and really enjoyed that time there. Many years later, my perspective is quite different. I have a thirst for different ways of living, a desire to be with family (I have a whole contingent of family in Los Angeles) and of course, appreciate the warmth and sunshine.

Visiting Santa Barbara is a whole other experience. It’s smaller, more contained, and while populated by the rich and famous, it’s more secluded and private. LA is so OUT there, Santa Barbara creatively contains its power. But there is nothing like  driving alongside the Pacific Ocean on my way north.

Although this trip was unexpected, I feel that the experience confirmed my sense that it’s time to see more of the world. It appears as though there will be more letting go of the old, and launching some new beginnings for me. Can’t wait to see what unfolds, for me, my business and my friends, clients, colleagues.

Business Fox-Trotting

So often I tell my clients: Be careful what you wish for – you just may get it!

That is what seems to be happening to me as I enter day 2 of mastermind weekend with my own extraordinary inner circle.

From the very first time I traveled to Paris, I yearned to live there. Not forever -just long enough to be immersed in the culture, the food, the wine, the art, and most of all, the language. OK, the people watching  ain’t bad either. I dreamed of spending more than just a few days, of traveling to the south to Provence, to drink in the experience of the culture instead of speed-touring it all.

And then there’s Italy. Can there be a more beautiful place to hang out than Florence and Tuscany? I’ve always loved my visits there, always dreamed of having 2 or three uninterrupted weeks of eating, drinking, museum-hopping, bicycle rides and runs in the rolling hills of Tuscany.

I “mistakenly” mentioned this to my mentor and mastermind group. Well, that opened up a whole slew of supporters and cheerleaders saying: Go, Do It, Of course! We see you there! Imagine the experiences you’ll bring back with you. Do it Do it Do it!!

My heart starts pounding as I let the possibility, the reality of leaving my life as I know it sink into my mind.

As I face the sale of my house, the vision of creating a space to live a life-long dream is taking shape. At first, I completely throw up every obstacle I can think of – relationships, leaving my dog, my clients, my business. I am being TOTALLY reasonable.

In my recent boot-camp, one of the most important days is BEING UNREASONABLE DAY. But doesn’t the lesson apply to the coach too? Did I put that session in for myself as much as for everyone else?

I am now sitting in my own reasonable vs. unreasonable discomfort, contemplating taking off for places where I’ve always dreamed of living, always making people, circumstances, responsibilities, money excuses for why this experience was off limits to me.

So what will happen, how it will work it out, what challenges I will overcome, what mistakes and feelings I have about it all as it unfolds, I don’t know. I just know that I am writing this at 4:40 in the morning, unable to sleep in the fear and excitement of all the new possibilities ahead.

I resist uploading this post. Once it’s in writing, people will be asking me about it, expecting me to go forward, wondering what I’ll actually do or not do, what it will be like to just go and live a dream.

So I resist the delete button so I cannot backtrack, so at least I move forward one step at a time toward an experience that I deserve and from which I’ll learn more than I’ve gotten in any classroom.

Stay tuned – could a reality show be ahead:  Nanc Goes To France? (Matthew Goldfarb, thanks for this one)

Making Rain Without Pain

Clients and workshop participants frequently ask me: “What’s the difference between sales and business development. Aren’t they the same thing?” Often I answer with a question: “How does it feel when someone is trying to sell you?” Ugh!

Daily, we are bombarded with “sales pitches” almost from the moment we wake up until the moment we close our eyes at night. I have a feeling in the not-too-distant future, someone will figure out a way to create some kind of moving ad, like a billboard traveling across the inside of our closed eyes, to pitch us even when we are sleeping.

Gaining new business and clients in the service sector is a totally different process than selling widgets. When people purchase services, they are purchasing something quite intangible. That’s why business development is anything but selling.

Business development is a relationship-building process where you are actually attracting new opportunity toward you. How? By being interested in potential clients’ needs rather than “selling them your wares.” When we are truly interested in helping someone’s business, they will be interested in us. Pretending to be interested just won’t cut it. People intuitively sense when we are primarily interested in selling them on how much we know and pontificating about our expertise. If you are dead set on telling people all about you and your smarts, don’t be surprised if you are rewarded with the dreaded blank stare of boredom.

People are primarily interested in one person – themselves. Work on asking them probing questions about their business. When you give them this clear expression of your interest in them and their business, it’s pretty likely you will find yourself being the center of their complete and undivided attention.

Most of us recognize it’s important to be working on business development, but it seems to take so much time for such a small return. It seems impossible to do all the necessary work for clients AND work on business development at the same time.

The key to building your business while you are serving your business is systematizing, prioritizing, and training your clients to adhere to this system.

Here are three key actions you MUST take to get a handle on your business development results:

1. Plan your business development activities for short spans of time every day. Make 2-3 calls or outreaches every single day, set up meetings for ideal candidates and track your calls.

2. Return phone calls and e-mails no more than twice a day. Ask people to identify if the issue is truly urgent.

3. Train your clients. You must demonstrate being responsive yet maintain control of your schedule. Clue your clients in to how you will work with them at the beginning of the engagement. They can count on you to get back to them in a mutually agreed upon amount of time. No one benefits from or feels confident about a confused, frazzled professional.

All three of these key action steps address a biz dev approach that I call “Daily Consistent Activity©.” By implementing “Daily Consistent Activity©,” you are certain to generate a healthy, flowing pipeline with greater speed and ease.