Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Spirit of Giving and Grandma’s Beef Stew

It’s a wonderful time of year, with the holiday spirit reminding us to focus more on giving than receiving . Whether with our family, colleagues or clients, it’s great to feel the joy of being generous with others.

The Word Chef, Tea Silvestre, author of "Attract and Feed a Hungry Crowd."

The Word Chef, Tea Silvestre

One of the most generous business people I know is the marketing wonder woman Tea Silvestre, The Word Chef and author of Attract and Feed a Hungry Crowd (see my book review here). Tea is always cooking up fun and engaging new ideas to help people with their marketing, often only for the “cost” of your interaction with her. Contests, prizes,  challenges, videos. private groups, awards, hand written cards, MORE prizes (see picture below for one of my faves)- her prolific creativity and generosity surprise and delight.  And she’s a hoot.  Fun, clever and kind – a great combination.

Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG), courtesy of the Word Chef.

Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG), courtesy of the Word Chef.

She also does mentoring, coaching, writing, all things Word Press and offers great online programs  too.  But she doesn’t talk about that so much.  She’s much busier giving to others and building a really loyal, connected, interested and engaged tribe (she’s also a big Seth Godin fan, so you get the drift).

One of her recent challenges was to send her a picture of food, then she would write a marketing blog about it while also promoting the sender’s business and web site in the process.

photoI got Tea’s email around the time I was making the family recipe for beef stew this weekend, perfect for the rainy weather.  I had already taken a picture, so I decided to pass it along.  What’s the marketing message here?  Maybe something about marketing mix.  Or Slow Marketing?  I’m sure The Word Chef will whip up something fabulous to go along with it.  Thanks, Tea, for all you give and do.  You’re the bombe (i.e., something sweet, unique and delish)!

In the meantime, here’s the recipe.  Most of the women in my family make stew just this way, but I think the originator was my Grandma, an excellent Sicilian cook.  My mother says it’s Italian because of the tomato sauce.  It’s definitely great for fall and winter dinners.  Enjoy!

Grandma’s Beef Stew

1.5 lbs stew meat
1 T veg oil
½ onion
2 T-3T flour
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 lb green beans
3 potatoes, in large chunks (peeled or not)
3-5 carrots, in large chunks (peeled or not)
Water (add a cup of red wine if you wish)
S/P to taste
2 bay leaves (opt.)
1 cup frozen peas

Heat oil.  Sautee onion til soft.  Add meat to brown – season with S/P.  Add flour to coat meat.  Add tomato sauce plus two cans of water and stir, which will create a thick roux.  Add more S/P.  Add string beans, potatoes, carrots and bay leaves.  Add more water, can by can, until ingredients are just covered in liquid.  Add more S/P to taste.  Stir well (it’s nice to season as you go along – it layers the flavors).

Simmer at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally (you can also put everything in the crock pot and let it cook all day).  Add frozen peas about 30 minutes before serving.  Remove bay leaves, taste for seasonings and enjoy!!

Serve with freshly baked biscuits (the kind in the can is great) or rolls.

Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is a business development and leadership coach and Victory Circles facilitator in Southern California.  She is passionate about helping others discover and develop their strengths to achieve greater business success through coaching programs, workshops, staff training, executive coaching and keynote speaking.  Visit her website at www.optimaldevelopmentcoaching.com to sign up to receive helpful business development resources, including a free Business Planning Template. You can also connect with us at www.facebook.com/optimaldevelopmentcoaching.

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Don’t Follow These Directions

Do you get a lot of email (rhetorical question, right)?  I get quite a few from other service professionals:  business and life coaches, marketing consultants, social media gurus and more.  I follow people to see what others in my field and related industries are doing.  It’s always good to learn something new and check out what the competition is up to.

Of course I don’t read them all.  And every once in a while I do a big unsubscribing purge.

But recently I opened one to read a quick tip from a business coach whose advice made me talk back to the computer and write the blog post.  The beginning of her message was great and right in line with my thinking.   Things like, “Clients struggle because they don’t have a plan – a detailed plan that moves them forward.” I totally agree.

The next recommendation was to get paper and pen and sit in a quiet place and start by writing down everything you DON’T want in your business and life.

WHAT??

That is the exact opposite place from where I tell business owners to start.    Here are a few reasons to avoid starting with what you don’t want:

  • Negativity narrows your focus.  When you think about all the things that are going wrong, your creativity and breadth of thought decrease. Negativity can stifle your thinking and shut you down.  Why would you start there??
  • Negativity decreases your mood.  No surprise here, but negativity leads to a negative mood.  Imagine how you’ll feel when you jot down all those things you’re not liking, not interested in and aren’t working?  What a drag!!
  • The Law of Attraction.  I have never seen “The Secret,” but I have experienced the phenomenon of attracting into your life what you think about, imagine and verbalize.  I’m not exactly sure how it works, but I’ve found that “putting it out there” increases your possibilities of getting it back.  Try it for a while and see what happens.

Let me suggest a different exercise.  Sit down in a quiet place for 10-15 minutes with pen and paper and answer these questions:

  • What do I love most about my business?
  • What are my favorite things to do that are also the things I do best?
  • How can I do those more often every day?
  • What DO I want in my business?

As seen on Facebook

When you start doing more of what you do well and what you love, there will be less room for the things you don’t want.

Start with your strengths and successes (and I hope you do follow these directions).

What do you want in your business?  Weigh in below.

Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is a business development and leadership coach and Victory Circles facilitator in Southern California.  She is passionate about helping others discover and develop their strengths to achieve greater business success through coaching programs, workshops, staff training, executive coaching and keynote speaking.  Visit her website at www.optimaldevelopmentcoaching.com to sign up to receive helpful business development resources, including a free Business Planning Template. You can also connect with us at www.facebook.com/optimaldevelopmentcoaching.

Memories of 9/11

I wrote this post two years ago for the 9th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.  It’s as true and relevant today as it was two years ago and eleven years ago.  I hope to visit the memorial later this year.  Have you been to the 9/11 memorial?  Would you like to share a memory of 9/11?   Comments welcome below.  -GMM
 
Twin Towers

The Twin Towers and Lady Liberty

On the 9th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, I reflect on memories of my experience that day and the days following.  As with all significant, out of the ordinary events, most of us have vivid memories of where we were and what we were doing.  Feel free to share yours below.

 

I lived in NYC on September 11, 2001, but I wasn’t in the city that day.  Instead, my colleagues and I were at a national meeting in Crystal City, Maryland, across the highway from the Pentagon. We felt the hotel shake when the plane hit.  Soon after, we smelled smoke.  The building was locked down.  Like many others, we could do nothing but wait and watch the horrifying images on a big screen.

While phone service was limited for the first few hours, I felt reasonably certain that my daughter was safe at her preschool in upper Manhattan, over 10 miles from Ground Zero.  I had hoped that my husband was still in the city, but, when I finally reached him, I learned he had crossed the bridge soon after the first tower was hit and was stuck in New Jersey.  He ended up driving over 100 miles out of the way and taking 4 hours for a typical 18 mile, 30 minute trip home.  He had to ditch the car in the Bronx and make his way by livery cab and foot back to Manhattan.  6 hours later, he picked up our daughter and made it home.

Back in DC, the trains weren’t running; the airports were closed.  People at the meeting started talking about carpools to Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Florida.  I was able to leave the hotel that night and stayed with friends in DC, relieved for the comfort of good friends in familiar surroundings, away from the destruction and chaos that were so closeby.  Then I had to figure out how to get home.

I was able to get a train back to NYC on September 12th.  I’ll never forget the first glimpse of the two giant pillars of smoke rising from Ground Zero as the train made its way through New Jersey toward Manhattan.  The towers were gone.  The smoke and sky where the towers once stood were like a huge scar.  I will never forget these images and memories from those unfathomable days.

I’ll also never forget the changes that took place in the city after 9/11.  Everything was quieter, a startling change in a city of deafening overstimulation.  Planes weren’t flying over head , a very strange occurrence on an island with waterways that serve as giant flight paths for 3 major and multiple smaller airports in the area.  Only the occasional roar of fighter jets circling the city was heard, extremely unsettling after the air attacks.

People were also quieter.  We all seemed to be whispering.  We were also making more eye contact than is usual for New Yorkers.  Sometimes the glances were suspicious, but mostly they were supportive and sympathetic, looking for a connection, an understanding smile, or a little reassurance.

The Friday after the towers fell, I was coming home from my office in the early evening (I was working as a psychologist at the time and spent many months processing the events of September 11th with my hospital clinic and private practice patients).  I would normally take a 30-minute subway ride, but I preferred to stay above ground for while and ended up taking mainly buses and cabs for almost 2 months after the attacks.  The bus ride home would take about an hour.  My only concern was that I’d miss the candlelight vigil scheduled for 7pm.  I was hoping to participate at the park in the close-knit neighborhood where I lived, but as the bus continued its stops, it became clear I wasn’t going to make it.  At a stop in West Harlem, around 138th Street and Broadway, I saw people gathering in front of an apartment complex.  I jumped off the bus, ran across the street and joined the growing group.

A woman had a basket full of candles and was handing them out to the crowd.  Most people were speaking Spanish.  The woman with the basket started talking to me.  I told her I lived uptown but had seen the gathering from the bus and wanted to be with others for the vigil.  We shared our sadness for those who had perished and concern for the hundreds who were missing.  People started lighting each other’s candles.  The woman started the ceremony.   She spoke to the crowd, well over 100 people, in Spanish and English.  She turned and asked if I thought we should say a prayer.  “That sounds nice,” I said.  “What’s your name?”  she asked?  I told her, and she turned to the crowd and said, “Gloria has joined us and will lead us in a prayer.”  She turned back to me and asked, “Do you speak Spanish?”  “Uh, no…”, I replied.  “That’s ok, I’ll translate.”

I wish I remember what I said.  At that time in my life, I wasn’t praying too regularly, so I was a bit out of practice and certainly taken aback.  I just started talking – I know I prayed for the victims and their families, peace and healing for us all.  As I spoke, the woman with the basket translated.  When I was finished, she made a few more comments, then invited others to offer intentions.  People prayed for friends, family, friends of friends, firefighters.  People held hands and cried.

After 10 or 15 minutes, a noticed a cab pulling up near the corner.  Cabs could be hard to come by at the time, so I slipped away, got in the car and continued toward home.

I will never forget those moments on a street corner, part of a group of total strangers from diverse cultures, classes and backgrounds, sharing the grief, fear and concern that brought us together that night for a little comfort during such a stressful and frightening time.   I will never forget the feelings of hope, unity and peace that night; the feeling of connection to others;  a degree of pride and love for my country that I had never felt before; and the gratitude and sorrow for those who courageously lost their lives and for the thousands of innocent victims whose lives were changed forever.

All of our lives were changed forever on September 11th.  Today I pray for our continued healing.  And I pray for more peace, love and unity in the world that can also change our lives forever.

 

Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is a business development and leadership coach, speaker and trainer who uses a strengths-based approach to help individuals, groups and organizations achieve their goals and realize their greatest success.  You can reach her through her web site  www.optimaldevelopmentcoaching.com.

Double Book Launch For Entrepreneurs

It’s a banner week when two of your go-to business resources launch their books within a few days of each other.  I’m so excited for these ladies and for you readers who can benefit from their expertise as well!  Both of these books are engaging, extremely helpful reads written for any entrepreneur.  Tea Silvestre (aka The Word Chef) wrote Attract and Feed a Hungry Crowd, a marketing book that doesn’t just give you the recipes but teaches you how to cook. Cheri Ruskus, business coach and founder of the Victory Circles, has published her inspirational guidebook for entrepreneurs, Victory One Moment at a Time.

Note:  These authors are two of my favorite people, both of them mentors, teachers and friends.  While the reviews below are accurate, I freely admit I am a little biased.

Tasty Tidbits from The Word Chef

I devoured Tea Silvestre’s new book, “Attract and Feed a Hungry Crowd: How Thinking Like a Chef Can Help You Build a Solid Business,” (available for Kindle and paperback) and savored all the tasty marketing tidbits she serves up in this satisfying read. Tea is a friend, mentor, teacher and constant source of inspiration and outstanding marketing resources, so I was not surprised that she delivered in her new book.

The Word Chef, Tea Silvestre, author of "Attract and Feed a Hungry Crowd."

Tea opens the book with a quote by Seth Godin: “The future belongs to chefs, not to cooks or bottle washers.” and you can see the influence, with clear, concise marketing advice founded in concepts like standing out from the crowd, differentiating yourself and building relationships (i.e., your tribe) . Cleverly framed in the cooking metaphor, Silvestre, also known as The Word Chef, is generous with tips and strategies for small business owners trying to stand out in a crowded marketplace. The icing on the cake is the sweet list of readings and resources at the end.

I highly recommend this book for entrepreneurs who need to work on their marketing and are trying to find and share the “secret sauce” that makes them and their product or service unique.  Do not miss the other delicacies at www.thewordchef.com.  You’ll come back for seconds.  Or thirds.

Business Moment by Moment

My last blog post was about Master Mind groups and the principles coined by Napoleon Hill nearly a century ago.  Cheri Ruskus’ new book, Victory One Moment at a Time, goes further in applying the Master Mind principles to business success and serves as a wonderful resource for entrepreneurs to tap into their passion and be fueled by inspiration. She gives the  Master Mind principles a modern refresh, applying them to the current challenges of entrepreneurship.

Cheri Ruskus, author of Victory One Moment at a Time.

Cheri describes each principle, then shares her Victory Letters, writings she’s been doing weekly for over 10 years. Cheri creates beautiful metaphors, relating concepts from life to business and back again. Thought provoking questions focus on the spirit, attitude and mindset that bring about success.  Eleven of the original Master Mind principles are included, like leadership, self-confidence, concentration and cooperation in building a business.

Cheri has worked long enough with entrepreneurs to know that one principle needed to be added:  that of Honoring Time.  As business owners, we know that time is money, and managing our time becomes a huge issue in managing our businesses.  She has great insights on this topic and more.

The book’s format, with a chapter for each principle, allows you to pick up the book and focus on the topic of greatest need or interest at this moment in time. Taking the time to master your business is essential, and this book can help you do just that.  You can learn more about the Victory Circles program and philosophy at www.victorycircles.com.

Happy reading!  And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog, as more on these books is forthcoming, including book giveaways for our readers.

 

Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is a Business Development and Leadership Coach and Victory Circles facilitator in Southern California.  She works with entrepreneurs and other business leaders to discover, develop and optimize their strengths to achieve greater business success. Visit her website at www.optimaldevelopmentcoaching.com to receive helpful business development resources, including a free Business Plan Template. You can also connect with her at www.facebook.com/optimaldevelopmentcoaching.

Two Heads (or 6 or 8) Are Better Than One for Your Business

You know that two heads are better than one, so imagine what it would be like if you had 6 or 8 other minds where you could draw wisdom, knowledge and experience.  I’m talking about the power that like-minded yet diverse people can have in helping you build your business.  As entrepreneurs, we can put our heads down and think we can do it all ourselves, sitting behind our desks and trying to work it out.  But the input of others can be so important to move ahead with an idea.

Napoleon Hill circa 1937

One way to get this input is through a Master Mind group.  It all started with Napoleon Hill in the early 20th century.  He was inspired by Andrew Carnegie, who built his successful steel business through strategic collaborations with others.  Hill’s books, Think and Grow Rich and The Law of Success outlined the mindset for being successful as well as the process of the Master Mind.  Hill interviewed the likes of Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Charles Schwab and other business leaders of his day and found that they all had cooperative alliances with fellow business people (ok, they were all men at the time) that helped increase their energy, power and fortune.

Nearly 100 years later, the model stands the test of time.  Think of a Master Mind group as your personal board of directors – people with diverse backgrounds, strengths, and areas of expertise all focused on helping your business grow.

I became involved with Master Minding through Victory Circles, first as a participant, then a facilitator.  The program started as a stand-alone monthly group, based on Hill’s principles, such as self-confidence, leadership, concentration and establishing your definite chief aim.  We apply these to business development and provide accountability to each other with check ins and celebrations of our success.  

The program has now evolved into customized business development programs that incorporate business planning tools, templates, Master Mind groups and individual coaching to meet each entrepreneur’s needs.  Just last week, I held my first ever full day Quarterly Master Mind Intensive.  Part of the Victory Circles Acceleration Coaching program, the purpose of the intensive is to come up with an action plan for the different aspects of our businesses for the coming quarter.  People came in with questions and a lot of blank spots on the action calendars we provided ahead of time, but each of them left with a clear focus and concrete plans for marketing, sales, customer touch points, financial literacy and more for the next three months.  I was inspired by the quick cohesion of the group, the free sharing of information and resources, and how much we accomplished in a day.

If you’re thinking about joining or starting a Master Mind group, here are 6 things to consider:

  1. The Master Mind Principles.  Hill outlined 16 principles of success, some listed above.  Victory Circles focuses on 12 – 11 of Hill’s and one of our own: Honoring Time (so essential for entrepreneurs).  Decide if you want your Master Mind group to use them as a guide.
  2. Industry.   Some groups are industry-specific (e.g., realtors, coaches) and others intentionally comprised of diverse business owners.  Do you want greater focus on what you do or a more general approach that benefits from input of people outside your industry?
  3. Location.  Master Mind groups can take place in person or by phone.  In person groups are great for cohesion and that face to face contact, but many professionals are busy and prefer the benefits of phone, Skype, or a G+ hangout.
  4. Frequency.  I’ve always been involved in monthly Master Mind groups and now have started the quarterly group described above.  I’ve heard of people meeting weekly.  Perhaps a combination is best, and I’m experimenting with that now.
  5. Length. When my Master Mind group included lunch, we met for 2 hours.  The full-day Master Mind last week was incredibly powerful, and we ran for the full 6 hours!  If you’re meeting on a more regular basis, especially by phone, 60-90 minutes could be perfect. 
  6. How Many Heads??  We’ve had as many as 12 people in a Master Mind group and as few as 3, but I think 6-8 is perfect, allowing for individual sharing and a variety of perspectives to learn from.

Have you ever been in a Master Mind group?  What was your experience?  Please share your comments below.

Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is a Business Development and Leadership Coach and Victory Circles facilitator in Southern California.  She is passionate about helping others discover and develop their strengths to achieve greater business success. Visit her website at www.optimaldevelopmentcoaching.com to learn more about Master Mind groups and sign up to receive helpful business development resources, including a free Business Plan Template. You can also connect with us at www.facebook.com/optimaldevelopmentcoaching.

How Will You Get Traction in Your Business?

Last year, I came up with a little saying, “You’ve got to get traction to take action.”  It was catchy and pithy enough to become a bit of a mantra that helped me stay motivated and focused when I needed it.  In the meantime, we had been working on expanding and refining our Victory Circles programs.  As we started to discuss the roll-out of our 2012 programs, Cheri Ruskus, founder of the Victory Circles, came up with another membership level that’s focused on getting your business plan written.  Guess what she called it?  Traction!

Victory Circles is already an auto racing metaphor.  We wave the checkered flag for accomplishments and have an Acceleration coaching program.  Running a business is a race that you can win.

But that’s not all.  Traction is an acronym to highlight some of the important elements of business planning that our program offers.

So when you’re looking to get Traction in your business, keep these things in mind:

T – Time – You need to put aside the time to work on your business, including business planning.  We business owners have a lot on our plates, so it’s imperative that we schedule time, preferably on a weekly basis, to work on our businesses.

R – Recognize the important requirement to write the business plan yourself – the act of writing the plan can make the biggest difference.  Work on writing skills to communicate the mission and passion of your business.

A–     Alignment  – Make sure your plan is aligned with your goals, values, objectives and strengths.  You’ll be much more engaged in the process and more likely to stick with it.

C – Courage, hope and belief.  Mindset is a huge component of success.  Come to your plan with the courage to be self-employed, the optimism to embrace a positive vision of the future, and a belief that you can do it!

T – Three master mind principles are essential in your success.  1 – Definite Chief Aim – Know the purpose and mission of your business; – 2 – Accurate Thinking – Think things through in a systematic way, and take time out of your business to plan. 3-  Self-Confidence – You need to have the confidence to implement your plan.

 I – Intention, input and implementation.  Be clear on your intentions .  Make sure they are viable, quantifiable results you’re intent on achieving.  Get input from others – you can’t do it alone!  And figure out an implementation plan for how are you going to make it happen.

O – On track – This is where your plan will keep you.

N – Now is the time!  Stop waiting to get this done.  Start now.

Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is a Business Development and Leadership Coach and Victory Circles facilitator in Southern California.  She is passionate about helping others discover and develop their strengths to achieve greater business success.  Visit her website at www.optimaldevelopmentcoaching.com and sign up to receive a free Business Plan Template.

Put Your 2011 Top 10 to Good Use

It’s the last day of 2011, and I’ve been enjoying reading a number of Top 10 lists for the year.  I thought I’d put my own together but use it as a guide post to the intentions I have in 2012.

No matter how you look back on the previous year, I highly recommend focusing on those things that went well and using them to guide, inspire and motivate you as you reflect on your goals and wishes for the year ahead.

So, in that spirit, I’ve compiled my top 10 for 2011 (in chronological order) and related intentions for 2012:

1.  Keys to Your Future – Girl Scout Leadership Conference.  As a member of the planning team and then the MC for the event, I thoroughly enjoyed being part of a program that exposed girls to concepts about their own strengths and the strengths and talents of other women who are outstanding career and life role models.  Between the many speakers, self-care activities, practical tips and expanding relationships, the two-day event was a winner.

Intention for 2012:  Continue to play a role mentoring and inspiring girls and young women through the Girl Scout program; coordinate and conduct more retreats and conferences.

2.  Teenage Daughter Milestones.  Our daughter Natalie turned 14, went to Washington DC with her 8th grade class, got a prime scholarship to a summer vocal institute, started high school and is LOVING it, and earned her Girl Scout Silver Award, the highest honor for her level of scouting.  So proud of the bright, talented, caring young woman she is becoming.

Intention for 2012.  Keep supporting her and nurturing her independence (man, that part can be hard) as she continues to grow and flourish.

3.  Meet and Greet with Cheri Ruskus.  I was delighted to welcome my friend, colleague and mentor Cheri Ruskus, founder of the  Victory Circles, to California this summer. Since we have the only VC group in the state, I was very excited to introduce VC members and others in my network to Cheri while she was visiting from Colorado.  See blog post below for pictures and all the details!

Intention for 2012.  Continue growing the VC program locally and virtually. Write more blog posts (geez).

4.  Family Vacation!  In August, 16 of us, aged 14-83, converged in Lake Tahoe for a rare but very fun multi-family vacation.  My mother, four of her first cousins, spouses and kids, my aunt, two of my first cousins, my husband and daughter enjoyed beautiful Lake Tahoe for the better part of a week.

Intention for 2012.  Stay connected with family all over the country. Travel to beautiful places whenever possible.

5.  Instructor, Women’s Economic Ventures.  When I saw that WEV was looking for instructors, I didn’t hesitate to apply.  Already teaching business planning to women entrepreneurs in Victory Circles, I was excited to align myself with such a great organization.  After a rigorous interviewing and vetting process, I was offered the position and really enjoyed teaching the 14-week class, helping some really inspiring and inspired people get their business plans in order.

Intention for 2012:  I was asked back to teach the Spring course (yay!), so I get to continue teaching, which I love, and helping people get their businesses off the ground (also very gratifying).

6.  NYC High Line.  Every trip I take to NYC is special, because I get to spend time in my favorite city with some of my favorite people:  family and friends who are far away but close at heart.  This year, after a trip a month earlier was cancelled by a hurricane, I made it back to see my cousins and take a walk on the High Line, a beautiful urban outdoor space (hey, I did write another blog post in the past 6 months!).

Intention for 2012.  Make it back to New York at least once.  Make the time and effort to stay close with those who are important to me.

7.  Ventura AIDS Walk.  This year I was appointed to the Advisory Council of Ventura County AIDS Partnership, an organization I’ve volunteered with for the past few years.  I also participated in my first AIDS Walk, which was a very uplifting event that brought hundreds of diverse people together.  We raised nearly $20,000 – not bad for the first time VCAP ran such a large event.

Intention for 2012.  Continue to volunteer for VCAP and raise awareness to prevent HIV and AIDS.

8.  Paper Published.  The first paper from a research project I’ve been involved in for nearly 3 years was published in an academic journal.  It’s always nice to see that work come to fruition.  A number of talks and posters have already been accepted for 2012 conferences.

Intention for 2012.  Continue working with colleagues to publish and present more papers in 2012, including one I’m leading on the use of new media tools in clinical research.

9.  TEDxOjaiWomen Speaker – What I Learned from Being a Girl Scout.  When Jodi Womack announced that she and Darina Stoyanova were organizing a TEDxOjaiWomen, I immediately emailed her to see if she needed any additional speakers.  As a woman who strongly encourages you to ask for what you want, Jodi responded in kind and said she could carve out 5-7 minutes.  “I’ll take it!”  What a phenomenal opportunity and an inspiring event in the context of dozens of amazing talks and topics (also see www.TEDxWomen.org for the full program).

Intention for 2012.  One public speaking engagement per month; continue working on my public speaking skills; ask for what I want; book another TED talk!

10.  Business Growing.  2011 was the best year yet for Optimal Development Coaching – more clients,  more followers, more trainings, more consulting opportunities, more earnings.

Intention 2012.  Increase 2011 earnings by 50% (I know, it’s audacious, but I’ve got a plan, and I can make it happen).   If you’d like, you can keep track of what’s going on by visiting my web site or connecting with my on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.

What a year!  Now it’s your turn.  What are some of your top accomplishments and how can you leverage and build on them to reach your goals in 2012?  I’d love to hear from you.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, prosperous 2012 full of joy and meaning.

All my best, Gloria

Meet Cheri Ruskus, Founder of The Victory Circles!

Right before I went on vacation in August, I had the honor of having my friend, colleague and mentor, Colorado business coach and author Cheri Ruskus, visit us in California.  We hosted a lovely meet and greet event at the Camarillo Chamber of Commerce so that Victory Circles members, current and past, as well as those interested in learning more, could meet the woman behind the program.  Enjoy the photos below.

Showing off this beautiful, handmade purse by VC member Mary Gillette from Sewbella Memory Quilts and More.

Victory ladies!

Cheri reads from her new book, Victory: One Moment at a Time.

People enjoyed an evening of laughter, connecting and learning!

Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is a Business Development and Leadership Coach and Victory Circles facilitator in Southern California.  She is passionate about helping others discover and develop their strengths to achieve greater business success.  Visit her website at www.optimaldevelopmentcoaching.com and sign up to receive a free tool to optimize your strengths.


Worldwide Linchpin MeetUp Day!

Did you even know there was such a thing?  Well, Seth Godin started the Linchpin Meetups about a  year ago, encouraging those who read the book Linchpin and consider themselves indispensable leaders to meet with like-minded folks and make things happen.  There’s over 1100 worldwide.  I’ve met some remarkable artists, activists and all around nice people at the meetup in Ventura, launched by Linchpins Donna Von Hoesslin and David Pu’u.

In honor of today’s festivities, I’m re-posting an article I wrote a few months back that was inspired by Seth’s writing on fear and the lizard brain.  Enjoy!

Are You Undermining Your Success? 

Taming the Lizard Brain

By Gloria Miele, Optimal Development Coaching

Have you ever thought, “I need to get out of my own way,” or “I’m my own worst enemy?”  Those kinds of thoughts are a sign that you’re having issues with self-confidence, and your fears are working against you.  In his book, The Laws of Success, Napoleon Hill outlined the six fears that can undermine self-confidence:  Poverty, Criticism, Old Age, Ill Health, Loss of Love and Death.  Which ones resonate most to you?

More recently, marketing genius Seth Godin published his latest book, Linchpin (if you don’t know Seth Godin’s work, you can get a great sample from his daily blog at http://www.sethgodin.typepad.com).  Seth argues that in today’s world, we need to be indispensable, creative artists who work from the heart – to be Linchpins.  Does this sound familiar?  Successful entrepreneurs are linchpins.  You succeed by being bold, bucking the trends, doing something unique and letting your genius emerge to set you apart in the crowded marketplace.

Seth also talks about the fears that get in the way of being the linchpin.  Certain types of thinking can hold you back from taking a risk and putting yourself on the line.  This thinking is rooted in fear and uncertainty and comes from what Seth calls “the lizard brain.”  The lizard brain is the oldest, most primitive part of the brain, driven by survival and fear.   The lizard brain wants you to be safe, not call much attention to yourself and hide from the crowd.

The lizard brain contributes to the undermining thoughts that stop you in your tracks.  They challenge you, doubt you, and question your abilities.  We all have them, and often we don’t even realized they are there – “Who do you think you are?”  “What will people think?”  “Can I really pull this off?”  “What if I embarrass myself?”  “What if I fail?”

All these questions can hold you up, make you pause, keep you from pursuing your dream.  But remember, those messages in your head are just that – in your head.  These are irrational thoughts not based in reality but generated from the lizard brain that wants you to stay safe, warm and well fed under a rock.

If you’re working from your self-confidence, you keep the lizard brain at bay.  You’ll put yourself out there, take a risk, and act in a self-assured way.  Here are a few ways to fuel your self-confidence:

1.     Use Your Strengths. If you know me at all, you know I’m a strengths zealot.  I love working with people, especially entrepreneurs, to help them identify and leverage their strengths.  Think about it – if you’re playing to your strengths and pursuing your passion, you are coming from a place of confidence, assurance and expertise.  You automatically minimize some of the fear, because you’re in your comfort zone.  It’s a great way to give yourself a self-confidence boost.

2.    Practice. Fear is fueled by the unknown.  If you’re not sure about how things are going to go, you can feel anxious and uncomfortable.  The more you practice, the better you’ll be.  Some people are terrified of public speaking, which in turn causes them to avoid it, and they never are able to practice this skill.  Even a 30-second introduction can send them into a tail spin.  By writing out your introduction and practicing in advance, you’ll be much more prepared.  The more you do it, the more confident you’ll become.

3.     Just do it.  Aside from being one of the most successful and recognizable slogans in advertising history, this directive from Nike’s ad agency applies far beyond reaching your fitness goals.  Sometimes you just need to take the plunge.  Avoid the quest for perfection – it’s unattainable and will stop you from moving forward.  Be good enough.  Let yourself feel your success.  That is what builds your self-confidence.  Here’s a great example where the wish for perfection can stop your progress – video marketing.  If you’re waiting for that “perfect” take, you may never get your video program started.  “I sounded funny.”  “My hair doesn’t look good.”  “Do I really have that many wrinkles around my eyes?”  Do a few takes and upload that video.  We’d all love to see it!

4.    Tame your lizard brain.  By now, you’ve got a good idea of some of the thoughts and motives that hold you back.  It’s important to be aware of the fear but don’t act on it.  Recognize the fear (“Oh, yeah, I’m procrastinating writing this article because I’m caught up in the perfection game.”) but then move beyond it.  No one will be as critical as you are.  Give yourself a break.  Let it go.  Do something big and exciting

Put the lizard in its place.  Start with what you do best and move forward from there.  Post that video. Write that blog post.  Make that sales call.  Be a linchpin!  The more you do, the more confident you’ll become.

Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is a Business Development and Leadership Coach and Victory Circles facilitator in Southern California.  She is passionate about helping others discover and develop their strengths to achieve greater business success.  Sign up for her newsletter at www.optimaldevelopmentcoaching.com to receive a free tool to optimize your strengths.

An Italian Celebrates St. Patrick’s Day

What is a 100% Italian-American doing celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?  I grew up knowing that on March 17th, corned beef and cabbage was on the menu in my house.  Unlike the other dishes she made, mom made this one in traditional Irish style, with boiled potatoes and carrots as accompaniments (aside from soup, it was the only boiled dinner we ever had).  

I was raised Roman Catholic, so there’s one St. Patrick’s association (did you know many parishes give dispensation to eat corned beef and cabbage when March 17th falls on a Friday in Lent, when abstinence from eating meat is the typical rule?).  I also attended  a fine Jesuit university, Loyola Marymount, where the St. Patty’s revelry started VERY early in the morning and continued throughout the day.  I lived in the Bronx for a few years, not in, but very near, an Irish neighborhood, and of course lived through the many St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in New York City.

But the big reason St. Patrick’s Day holds a special place in my heart is because of my dad – Patrick Joseph Miele.  Not Pasquale or Patrizio, but Patrick.  So, the question remains, how did a first generation Italian, born in 1917, who grew up in an Italian ghetto in the Bronx, end up with the name, Patrick?  As the story goes, my grandfather, Giuseppe Miele, worked for a very kind, Irish boss named Patrick Sullivan.  When my father was born, my grandparents gave the boss a great honor by naming their first-born son after him.  Patrick must have been a really special guy, because Italian custom dictates that the first-born son should be named after the paternal grandfather.  Just so happens great-grandpa was Pasquale, so that ended up working out for everyone.

So, today I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day not for the love of corned beef and cabbage (though I am bringing some to a pot luck) but for the love and memory of my dear dad, Patrick, who I’m sure is speaking in his best Irish brogue and doing a little jig up in heaven.

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