Pay Attention – What Confident People Do So Well!


Business, like life, is about how you make people feel. 

It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.

Danny Meyer, founder Shake Shack



This past month has seen a shake-up in various aspects of my routine. And, hey, I’m not happy about it!


Julio, who has serviced my Highlander for more than a decade, quit the dealership and told no one where he’s going.

Rocky, a server of eight years at my fav pizza joint, has moved back to Texas.

And then there’s Pam who retired from the art store where for almost twenty years I had framed all my menus (yes, I collect menus and frame my favs which I have hanging in my dining room).


I don’t mean to sound grumpy, BUT – in the last four weeks I’ve realized how many people make my life run smoothly and I take them for granted. I couldn’t tell you much about any of their private lives although I know that Julio believes in ghosts, Pam adores her goddaughter and Rocky had dreams of becoming a screenwriter.


Each has given me exceptional service for many years – in small ways that added up to me not having to worry about the little details of my life.


Why do I miss this trio?


Because they knew me.

They knew my name.

They knew what I liked and needed within their sphere of expertise.

They gave my slice of impersonal Los Angeles a neighborhood feel by making business personal and not transactional.


Over the years I did thank each one for the care of their service – and I’m glad I did as chances are our paths will not cross again.


For all the books I’ve read on customer service and business management these three people reminded me each time I went to them what real customer service looks like and sounds like.


And they made it look so simple.


What did they do?


·       They remembered my name.

·       They remembered what I did for a living and how I love pizza, my car and menus.

·       They engaged in easy-going conversation without being inappropriately intrusive.

·       They laughed.

·       They knew their job and each did their job with care.

·       They wanted me to be satisfied.

·       They weren’t perfect – but they were darn good at what they did.


Walt Bettinger, CEO of Schwab, tells the story of how in business school he failed just one exam – his final. The main question on the test was actually simple: what is the name of the person who cleans the building that houses our classroom?


Bettinger had seen the woman who cleaned the building innumerable times and it never occurred to him to ask her name.




Her name was “Dottie.”


Bettinger now knows the name of every “Dottie” who works near him.


Michael Strahan of New York Giants and “Good Morning America” fame was asked in a Harvard Business Review interview how he “pushed people to better performance.” Here’s what he said:

Make everybody feel empowered. I had to learn this as an athlete. So when I played, before every game I would walk through the locker room and go from the equipment manager to the coaches, doctors, and trainers to the players and touch each person on the shoulder or give a pound or a hug. With Brandon Jacobs, a big running back and a rowdy guy, I would get in his face and yell; with Eli Manning, I would just put my hand out and say, “Go have fun.” You’ve got to know your people; there are different ways to motivate. . .When I walk into the Good Morning America offices, I speak to the security guys and the cameramen just like I speak to my cohosts. Nobody gets preferential treatment, because we are all here to do one thing: make the show successful. Without those people, I can’t do what I do. We all need one another.


True that!


And yet, for some, this is not an obvious concept to grasp.


Recently Aiden came to me for coaching because he wants to become an inspirational leader. A noble goal though “inspirational” can mean a range of behavior.


He told me that at team meetings his boss gives seemingly impromptu pep talks that bring some to tears. Aiden wants to be able to bring people to tears. (No, I’m not going to make what is so obvious a joke!)


When I asked what he’s already doing to inspire his team he paused for a long while and then said, “I thank them when they do a good job.”


When I asked how he thanks them, he said it’s usually with an email because he’s busy and he knows they’re busy so it’s easy.


When I suggested he switch to offering a personal “thank you” either face-to-face or via a quick call he gave me a puzzled look and told me he’d feel “funny” doing that because he’d feel self-conscious.


Oh, how we complicate our lives with the weird things we tell ourselves!


The truth is – people who recognize people inspire them to continue doing what they are doing well.


The truth is – people who pay attention and notice and let others know they see them reassure and inspire others.


Julio, Pam and Rocky were not managers. They didn’t head-up sensitive, costly projects. Within the purview of their own responsibilities, though, they did what each of us needs to do more of –

They paid attention.

They paid attention to what I needed and through it all each made me feel valued.


My life, like yours, is complicated. Into my complicated life they injected simplicity by paying attention.


They inspired me to pay more consistent attention to the people in my life.


Smart people – Effective people – Strategic people – Confident people

know how to pay attention

and then use what they gleaned from paying attention to provide standout service.


Years ago, I was privileged to have some business dealings with Fay Vincent who was an entertainment lawyer, securities regulator and sports executive who served as the eighth Commissioner of Major League Baseball.


In our last call he uttered a phrase that stuck with me. He said that what he most enjoys is:

To look into the faces of the people I manage and to realize they are this company’s most important resource. 


Fay Vincent’s stayed focused on the great truth that the people he managed, his customers internal and external, were his and the company’s greatest resource.

He was a man who paid attention.


What do you see when you look into the faces of your customers? 

Your colleagues?

How does what you see influence the way you do business?



Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you from being influential and heard?

To explore how one-on-one communication skills coaching can help you present you with enhanced confidence,

contact me at:



Dealing With Paranoia in The Workplace!



When it hurts – observe. Life is trying to teach you something.

Anita Krizzan


Oh, how we complicate our lives!


Steve (names changed) is head of Human Resources for a mid-sized company and Gina is the Associate Head.


Gina is upset that Steve doesn’t promptly answer her emails. She sometimes hasn’t gotten information that she needs and feels out of the loop. She doesn’t like not knowing an answer and is afraid people will think she’s incompetent.


Gina believes Steve is out to sabotage her.


Steve claims Gina is driving him nuts with too many emails. He thinks Gina needs to handle situations on her own as she knows how to do her job.


Although Steve has told this to her, Gina doesn’t believe him.


Gina also thinks Steve likes Judy (new office hire) more than he likes her and is conspiring to make her mess up at work so he has a reason to fire her and then promote Judy!


Let’s start with what could be some of the reasons why Steve doesn’t promptly return emails:

  • He doesn’t like Gina
  • He is incompetent
  • He is too busy chatting with Judy
  • He doesn’t see a need to respond
  • He trusts Gina to do the right thing
  • He doesn’t enjoy dealing with email


While I don’t have security footage that will show me if Steve is fawning over Judy, my instinct tells me that Steve is not some psychopath plotting Gina’s demise. In fact, he promoted her six months ago!


What do these colleagues need to do?


Each needs to do something difficult.


Steve admits he’s not good with answering email. He’s not proud of this and recognizes he needs to do a better job.


He now needs to move on from recognizing this is an ineffective habit and consciously develop a game plan for being more prompt in his responses. If Gina’s upset, chances are others in the company share Gina’s frustrations.


Gina needs to probe what appears to be her paranoia regarding Steve and Judy’s relationship.


Aside from making an accusation, what are the facts to back up the belief that her career is being sabotaged? When I asked, she could not provide evidence other than “she knows!”


Steve and Gina need to reflect on how their behavior could appear to the other and ask how their behavior is making life difficult for the other.


The Golden Rule of doing to others as we’d have them do to us is not nearly as effective as the “Platinum Rule” – of doing to others as they would have us do to them!


That’s real strategy –

and will lead to real and successful communication and relationship!


Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you from being influential and heard?


To explore how one-on-one communication skills coaching can help you present you with enhanced confidence,

contact me at:







2020 – The Year Of Breaking Through Fear!


Today’s post is my 1st of the decade. While “happy new year” may be getting a bit old, I do wish you a “Happy New Decade!” 

How is your 2020 going? 

I’ve been inspired by three friends each of whom has published a long-dreamed of book. They are each in different professional fields and each has said to me over the months (if not years) that she wanted to write a book. And now, each has. It’s amazing what happens when you break through fear as these three women have.  

Life inevitably means change, and while I typically in January resist it (because I’m afraid of succumbing to its dizzying effects), this year I’m inviting it with gratitude.

And so, thank you for being here on this blog with me along this journey. As we embark on a new year and a new decade know that I am hugely grateful for YOU. 

I wish you a Remarkable 2020!



Many of us begin a new year reflecting on the past and feeling bad about what we haven’t accomplished. Instead of focusing on the past, I think it’s more strategic to focus on the future.

Of course, that sounds nice, but what does it mean to focus on the future?

I’ve spent much of January working with clients who were / are afraid and who were / are tired of being afraid and who felt frustrated because they didn’t know how to put distance between fear and the work they wanted to accomplish.


The fear was old. The desire and commitment were new for each of these folks.


Nick wanted to become a more engaging and fluent public speaker. He was afraid, though, that sitting in the back row of the conference room was a man who knew more than he did and who knew he was a fraud. And that man was going to expose Nick!


Randy thinks his business partners do not respect him and is afraid they want him to fail.


Dean wants his team to do what he tells them to do in the way he tells them and is afraid that all will go to hell and he’ll be fired if the team does not follow his orders.


Ann has decided to act like her first manager, a woman who offended people but got the job done, because she’s afraid her team doesn’t take her seriously because of her age and limited experience.

Denise has been forced to take early retirement from work and is afraid her life will soon be irrelevant.


Gregory chooses not to go on interviews for jobs he wants because he’s afraid of what will happen if he gets the job and fails at it – or worse, what if he disappoints his parents?

That’s a whole lotta fear – for the start of a new year!


Each of these folks has been fixated on a particular fear and that fixation has prevented them from creating a strategy that will let them smash through the fear in this new year. At least until that have that moment of calm!


Here’s the great truth. . .


You can’t make a resolution until your controlling FEAR is identified.

What are you afraid of?

Answer that question and you can make 2020 the year of smashing through FEAR!


Each of the people I named above came to me because they reached the place where they fully said, “I don’t want to be held hostage by fear anymore!”


How do you go about living this year AND kicking off a new decade free of FEAR??

I suggest. . .

Go to a fav café or spot in your home. Grab your tablet, laptop or that trusty notebook and spend some uninterrupted time answering these questions:


  1. What is your fear?
  2. Is it as real as you oftentimes think?
  3. Is it fueled by you or by others?
  4. Are you truly helpless?
  5. What needs to be done to do what the fear says you can’t do?
  6. Where can you find the resources to help you?
  7. What will happen if you continue to let fear have full reign?


Sure, there are some fears that are grounded in sensible reality. There are legitimate reasons to be afraid BUT the overwhelming majority of our fears are not grounded in reality. They are grounded in LIES.


Nick lied when he told himself that there is someone in every conference room ready to expose him as a fraud. That person has never and never will exist.


Randy lied when he told himself his partners were out to get him. In a calm moment he admitted to me that he has a lifetime history of an exaggerated sense of pride that makes him hyper-sensitive to comments made by colleagues. In a moment of calm he acknowledged evidence is all over the place that his partners respect him.


Ann lied when she told herself that her team didn’t like her because of her age. In a moment of calm she recognized that imitating someone she didn’t respect was not a strong strategy.


And Dean lied when he told himself there was only one way for his team to accomplish a task. In his moment of calm, he was open to the possibility that his team was made up of capable and inventive people.


Denise lied when she told herself that to retire is to become irrelevant. In a moment of calm, she admitted that the rest of her life is not determined by HR and that she can choose to become as “irrelevant” as she chooses to become.


Gregory lied when he told himself that it’s inevitable that a new job will lead to disappointment. In a moment of calm, he admitted he has the professional resources to rebound from any mistakes he might make.


Nick faced that weird little man in the back row earlier this month and delivered an impactful webinar. Was he nervous beforehand? Yes. Was he worried beforehand? Yes. BUT – before he spoke, he acknowledged the fear and simply moved on.


Smashing through fear is all about not being paralyzed by the fear.


The fear seldom goes away completely. It lurks.

What we can smash through is the paralysis that fear brings on.

Action counteracts the paralysis.


Expose the lie for what it is – a lie – AND THEN form a plan of action.


More questions for you to consider – all with an eye to formulating a strategy:

  1. If you can stop looking at the fear, what would you most look forward to this year?
  2. When did you feel most proud of your work last year?
  3. Can you name where you experienced the most noticeable growth last year? Dare yourself to be honest!
  4. In what ways can you build on that pride and growth this year?
  5. What do you need to better challenge and support yourself this year?
  6. What’s stopping you?!


The Business of Confidence is the business of not allowing yourself to be paralyzed!



Want help smashing through your FEAR in 2020?

Shoot me an email or give me a call so we can explore options!