You Admit You’re Difficult – So Now What?


Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits; they become character.

Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

                                                                                                                                Frank Outlaw

Last week I offered a seminar on “dealing strategically with difficult people.”  During introductions, three out of twelve admitted that they were taking the workshop because they know that they themselves are difficult.


I admired their willingness to be upfront in a group of strangers.  At various points during the day, each of these self-identified difficult persons recognized various aspects of their ultimately self-sabotaging behavior in my presentation.  However, I had the sense that they had resigned themselves to the fact that “that’s just how I am.”


One man admitted that in his capacity as a manger he frequently yells and slams doors.  “My team knows that’s just how I am.”  When I asked him why he didn’t just stop, he said it felt good and he didn’t want to.  Everyone laughed.


I’ve no doubt that he does feel “good” when he has his hissy fit (that’s what it is).  But, why does he keep doing this when it’s not going to get him what he says he wants? The respect and eagerness of his team.


Thousands of books have been written on “how to change” bad behavior.  Anger management classes abound.  But, why, when we know we “shouldn’t” engage in certain behaviors, do we go ahead and do so anyway?


Perhaps, that is THE question each one of us needs to ask:


Why do you do what you do even though you know, consciously and unconsciously, that it is not going to get you what you really want? 


Each of us must answer this question and until the question is grappled with and answered a person is never going to be able to change destructive behavior.


I also don’t think you can change ingrained behavior without the help of a coach –someone who can help you stay honest with yourself, help you hold yourself accountable, and guide you in implementing new communication strategies.


Accountability is key to change. . .

THAT is the business of confidence!


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:

  [email protected]






10 Traits of a Confident Speaker

Nothing would be done at all if we waited until we could do it so well
that no one could find fault with it.

John Henry Newman


When I was going through files from a Public Speaking workshop I delivered at UCLA five years ago, I came across this checklist I had compiled.


Because it’s evergreen, I’m sharing it with you this week. . .


A confident speaker / presenter:


  1. Knows their stuff – maybe not inside and out, but they know what is required of them in any given circumstance and knows how to find the helpful answers when they don’t readily know an answer.


  1. Knows how to reassure the other person(s) that they are in good hands by being in the moment and using words that are true. In this way, confident people don’t waste other people’s time.


  1. Believes they have something worthwhile to give – whether it’s seemingly insignificant or operationally impactful. What they have to give may not be life changing, but it will make the other person’s life a bit easier.


  1. Knows they are “odd” – and in what way they’re odd. Hey, we’re all a bit whacky and we can only be confident if we understand our own quirks.


  1. Has a sense of humor – they can laugh at themselves and even helps others laugh at their quirks and foibles.


  1. Is willing to risk making a mistake for the sake of doing something new, better or bigger for the promise of elucidating their material.


  1. Doesn’t make their audience into something that they’re not. They understand that the audience (no matter the size) shares much in common with them and that commonness gives them access to their audience. But, they also understand the specifics of what makes their audience unique and do all they can to speak to that unique reality.


  1. Is not afraid of being nervous and recognizes that it’s a healthy feeling. Confident people know they can be nervous AND confident at the same time. They know that being boring is a choice.


  1. Can make adjustments on the spot. Because they’re sure of their material and overall goal, they can tweak as they engage. Yes, they can “think on their feet.”


  1. Understands they can’t do everything within the allotted time they have with an audience. And that allows them to not feel frustrated because their “gift” fits within the box created by the allotted time.


I think these ten traits can be condensed into just one:

 A confident speaker / presenter has realistic expectations of their own self, the other and their relationship AND based on those expectations, a confident person is happy to give an audience whatever gift they’ve prepared for them, believing that good can come from the mutual experience.


now THAT is the business of confidence!



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:

  [email protected]





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

It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.

Danny Meyer / Setting the Table



My brother, Peter, was in town for business and we made plans to get together for dinner. He asked if Rod, an associate of his, could tag along. Since Peter doesn’t know boring people, I said, “sure!”


That night Peter showed up alone. Seems Rod was nervous that we wouldn’t have anything to talk about and so decided to set out on his own.


I’ll admit – I was stunned. How could three world-traveled grown men not have “stuff” to talk about?!


Peter explained that Rod could be shy at times.


I get that Rod could be shy since I was painfully shy growing-up.


I was shy because I believed I was boring. And I believed I was boring because I didn’t live an exciting life by my definition of “exciting.”


Lost in the confusion of this jumble of draining thoughts, I shied away from people, claiming to be shy, lamenting that I was boring.


I really wanted to buy Rod a drink and assure him – all would be well! Alas, he never showed. . .


Conversation may be a dying art and skill. If it isn’t, there are a whole lot of people who do not understand what conversation is and why it is so needed for our well-being.


Conversation is not binary opposites centered on agreeing or disagreeing, arguing or withdrawing.


Conversation is something GRACIOUS because it is rooted in engaging another, being present to another. That means the graciousness of conversation is laced with matters of responsibility and respect and clarity and discovery.


Shy people offer me the common refrain, “I only like to speak when I have something to say,” while overly-confident people boast that they, “like to tell it like it is.”


Neither stance opens you to the possibility of conversation because neither attitude allows you to be gracious.


REAL conversation springs from a posture of seeing the other person as a Surprise.

In my UCLA class on business communication, I ask participants to reflect on who influenced them as communicators. I expect that they will tell me tales of family or teachers or friends who impacted them. It’s not uncommon, though, for people to name Oprah, Anderson Cooper, and even a Miss America!


BUT, these are larger-than-life personalities – not individuals who directly and immediately helped to shape a class participant.


We ourselves don’t have to be larger than life. We just have to be within life.


I have oft quoted the great poet Mary Oliver’s “lessons for living life” –

Pay attention.  Be astonished.  Tell about it.


Victoria’s mom (names changed) died when she was 16 and ever since she has been guarded in her relationships. She hesitantly wondered if there’s a connection. When I suggested therapy, she said her dad nixed the idea since therapy is only for “crazy people.” We ended up talking about what’s really “crazy” when being willing to give-in to fear.


Bethany was not forthcoming regarding why she is defensive around her co-workers. She played with her key card and kept her head down. I found her coy attitude annoying and had to force myself to stay with her. And then she randomly mentioned that her son introduced her to the writings of Malcolm Gladwell – and she lit up! We talked about the impact Gladwell had on each of us and I was gobsmacked when I learned she’d done her Master’s thesis on non-verbal communication.

Ken cried as he shared with me that he had not been kind to women and broke several hearts when he was younger. When he met the woman who is now his wife, he did not feel as strongly for her as she felt for him. She’s the one who wanted to get married, more than he did. He married her because he believed that he needed to be punished for having hurt those other women. We ended up talking about love – love for self and the place of forgiveness in love.

Michelle, a sales person at my favorite furniture store, shyly asked if I was a Cancer. She became alarmed when I told her I’m a Capricorn and that I was born in January. She anxiously asked if it was the 10th – and was relieved when I told her it was the 7th. Her mother’s birthday is January 10th.  She assured me that “Things will get better. These last six months have been hard, yes?”  She then abruptly started to talk about the company’s move of the manufacturing plant to North Carolina. Just as abruptly, she asked, “Why are people afraid to love? Is it something in the dirt?” And again, I found myself talking with a stranger about love – and dirt – and Wicca!


I didn’t change any one of these folks’ lives. Nor did any change mine. BUT – in the exchange of conversation, unexpected, poignant and, yes, odd – in a moment of vulnerable authenticity – we entertained, we bonded, we opened up each other’s world a bit.



Each was gift.

All of which brings me back to the “business” of confidence. . .

Confidence is about seeing the nooks and crannies of your life. About not taking the seemingly insignificant aspects of your life for granted.


Confidence is about talking about those nooks and crannies because somehow they are worth sharing.


Sharing implies benefit – for you and for the “other.”


Can you believe that there’s something “good” you have to share?


That’s ultimately what confidence is – it is about trusting that you have some good worth sharing.


Confidence is about being open to the surprise of another who is “other.”


Interesting people know their story.

Interesting people know others have a story.


What you share doesn’t have to be worthy of mention in PEOPLE.


There is value richer than PEOPLE from your unique perspective – as there is from that of the other.

When I leave a lively conversation I feel energized because it has encouraged me to be less self-centered, less afraid.


Conversation brightens.

Conversation makes you feel less alone.

And so, conversation can make you feel generously unique – can make you feel YOU.


and THAT is the business of confidence!



I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.


I mean not just standing around,

but standing around as though with your arms open.

Mary Oliver


People Are Consistent – You Know That, Yes?!


To grow is to change and to have become perfect is to have changed often.

John Henry Newman



My friend Veronica’s dad, Ed (names changed), had a heart attack last month. Veronica’s mom didn’t tell her until a week later as she didn’t want to worry her.


Veronica was ready to dash over but her mother said, “Don’t come. If you want, stop by on Saturday.”


Veronica felt frustrated, but decided to honor her mother’s wishes.


On Saturday morning she called her dad and asked if she could bring him anything. He told her not to come over. Upset, thinking he didn’t want to see her, she went over nevertheless.


Her mother’s car wasn’t in the driveway and when she rang the bell there was no answer.  Worried, she called her dad’s cell. Not realizing she was at the door, he told her to stay home.


“You’re not going to let me in?” she pleaded.

“Oh, you’re here?” He sounded surprised, which annoyed her.

“Yes, I’m here. I’m outside.” 

“Why did you come?”

Exasperated, she said, “Because I wanted to say I love you and give you a hug.” 

“Oh, you didn’t have to do that.”

And, yes, he did sound touched.


Later, Veronica told her mom the saga. Her mother sighed and asked, “Why do you pay attention to what he says? You know how he is!”


Veronica laughed because her mom was right. Her dad doesn’t like anyone making a fuss over him and he’s never been an affectionately demonstrative guy.


Why would she think a heart attack would change him?


Well, she thought it would change him because she wanted it to change him!


Veronica has shared numerous stories about how exasperatingly independent her dad can be. This latest fits within a pattern, so I asked why she’d been hurt when he told her not to visit.


Veronica knows that his first reaction in time of crisis is to rebuff people. Why take at face value what he says?


He was happy to see her and was touched by her care. Why does Veronica always allow herself to feel hurt when he initially rejects her help?

Old habits die hard. 


When people are in a relationship, communication patterns develop and take on a life of their own. 


This is especially true in families.


Veronica continually gets tripped up by her dad’s fear of imposing on her and so she finds herself trapped in a cycle of worry, hurt and relief.


It’s draining.


Veronica’s dad most likely isn’t going to change, but Veronica can.


She can change her attitude and more readily see through her dad’s fear (and her own).


What about you? 

Are you trapped in a dance that is continually tripping you up? 

Don’t wait for the other person to change – make the first move!


now THAT’S the business of confidence!


Do you want to break through the old habits that are 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:

  [email protected]


30 Things I Want My Goddaughter to Know on Her 30th Birthday


Let the young soul look back upon its life and ask itself: what until now have you truly loved, what has raised up your soul, what ruled it and at the same time made it happy?

Line up these objects of reverence before you, and perhaps by what they are and their sequence, they will yield you a law, the fundamental law of your true self.



Earlier this month my goddaughter Clare celebrated her 30th birthday. I am feeling old(er) and gave considerable thought to what I could give her as a gift. Since she’s dripping in Shinola, I thought I’d challenge myself to identify the thirty truths about people and relationships that I’ve grown convinced of in the span of the past thirty years and that I hope she grows convinced of in the coming thirty years.


Clare is a smart woman and she already lives guided by many of these truths. In the years ahead I look forward to witnessing her learn and relearn the value of all these truths.

(a form of this article originally appeared on my LinkedIn page)


  • Everybody has a story – everybody is a story. Homer knew this. So did Chaucer. There are no more magic words than, “let me tell you a story.”


  • Life is whack-a-do. Logic has its place – and should stay in its place – but – let yourself be gobsmacked by what people say and do. Remain open to surprise.


  • Both God and the devil really are in the details. I once saw a well-dressed woman walk down a major Los Angeles boulevard holding a stiff, extended dog leash – with no dog in sight. A friend sitting beside me in the car never noticed. Be a person who notices it all.


  • People struggle with words. Too many words. Too few words. They struggle. Most are confused. There is no greater gift than to help someone gain clarity. There is power to asking, “tell me more.”


  • No need to fear the different. Again, honor the story.


  • Welcome the stranger. Blanche du Bois was right to say, “I have always depended upon the kindness of strangers.” But, remember, you do live in NYC!


  • Not everyone will like you. You are not perfect – nor do you need to be. Inevitably, you will disappoint someone – other than yourself. The smart and the brave learn to “fail forward.”


  • Don’t waste your time with someone who doesn’t say “thank you” to a server. Arrogant people do not deserve your time.


  • It’s ALL about relationships. A client once told me, “I’m dating someone but it’s hard to find time for them.” Another, during the week of her 50th birthday, lamented that she has only one friend. They’re not outliers. Don’t join their company.


  • Ritual grounds us. Establish traditions with those who mean something to you. Those rituals will anchor and energize your life.


  • People are most difficult when most afraid. Remember that – for yourself. Remember that – for when you are engaging with a person acting out in a difficult manner.


  • Lying is a fool’s habit – there are a lot of fools in this world. And most people lie from fear. What are you afraid of?


  • Sidestep your fears at your peril. They will do you in unless you put them in your place.


  • When people say they are going to do something, more times than not, they really want to do what they say they are going to do – but – the road to hell really is paved with good intentions.


  • We all have a remarkable capacity to talk ourselves out of what’s in our own best interest. People are either too thick-headed or too-cautious. Which are you?


  • Never say something to yourself that you wouldn’t want someone to say to you. Be kind.


  • We all do what we do for a reason and so the best thing we can do in a moment of decision is to ask: “Why am I doing this? Why do I think this is in my best interest? Is there something else I could do that would potentially be better?”


  • Magical thinking is deadly. A problem does not magically resolve itself. A person does not heal or evolve by denying a problem is real. Sorcery is for binge-worthy Netflix shows.


  • Given a few spare minutes, people can weave fantastical soap-opera storylines to explain why someone did something or said something, believing the lie, “why else would they be that way?” Hmm. Maybe they were constipated that day.


  • 30 years from now people will have forgotten you and your idiocy. Yeah, people just don’t care that much to remember for 30 years how you made a fool of yourself one day in a meeting.


  • People change only by choosing to do what makes them uncomfortable. Seriously. Embrace Pt. 23.


  • You don’t have to do a Google search before saying “yes!” I spent 3 years on an island in the South Pacific and was clueless as to where I was all those years! And they were the best years of my life.


  • One of the sanest ways to stay honest with yourself, is to ask, “what did I learn this week about myself – people – my work – life?”


  • The heart of power is to believe, “I have value.” To believe I have value to offer. To believe I deserve value. Power is not a dirty word.


  • Confidence is never achieved. It’s exercised and re-exercised. Demons are never eradicated. Don your emotional ALO wear and have at it.


  • Joy runs deeper than happiness. Where your joy meets the world’s need, there you will find your purpose.


  • Desire lofty goals and reconcile with the fact that you will at some point be disappointed. Disappointment is not defeat.


  • “Who do I want to be in this moment?” is the most important question you can ask yourself – in times of crisis and in times of contentment.


  • Eutrapelia (one of my Top 10 all-time fave words) is Greek for the “virtue of play.” The Ancients knew that Knowledge + Wisdom + Healing all come from “wasting time.”


  • Whatever you choose and wherever you go you will find adventure and new people – some of whom will nurture you, some of whom will annoy the hell out of you. The truth is – every decision leads to an adventure.


Mary Oliver, of course, got it right when she wrote:

Instructions for living a life: pay attention – be astonished – tell about it.

Finding Your “Genius”



Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.



The following is a snippet from an article in The Washington Post written by Pulitzer Prize winning dance critic Sarah L. Kaufman.

While the article gives a peek into the world of ballet, it is the last sentence that devastatingly speaks to the core of “confidence.”

The ability to receive the good people offer.

Without that ability all the business and communication books in the world are of little help or meaning.

Really. . .


One night, former ABT principal Susan Jaffe and her dance partner Jose Manuel Carreno left the theater to find a table in the walkway set with chocolate cake and punch, while a crowd of fans in paper hats sang “Happy Birthday.” (The dancers’ birthdays fall in the same month.) Admirers also have given Jaffe paintings, letters and, once, a mink coat.

The gifts were astonishing, Jaffe said, and simply being greeted with appreciation after performances always moved her.

But at the final performance of her 22-year career, she made a concerted effort “to open up to the audience,” and this, she said, is when she arrived at a different understanding of those who sought only to give.

Taking bows that night, being showered with applause (and flowers), ‘was almost a spiritual moment,’ she said.

“In my whole career, I was so busy worrying about my balances and my performance that I forgot about receiving. I didn’t spend enough time appreciating being the receiver of love.”


We don’t often – if ever – put the words “love” and “business” into the same sentences.

We receive deadlines, feedback and complaints. Love? Not often. Not much.

However, confidence implies being able to receive.


What are the compliments you receive?

Is there a running theme to them?

It’s been said that compliments reveal our genius.

I love that!

So – what’s your genius?!


now THAT’S the business of confidence!


Do you want to hone your Emotional Intelligence

so as to develop and nurture successful professional relationships? 

To explore how life- skills coaching can help you live your life

 with enhanced confidence – and joy

please contact me

  [email protected]


Respecting The Contradictions That Make People “People”


We must accommodate “The Paradox.”

Eric Metzgar, anthropologist / explorer


One of the questions I ask students in my UCLA business communication class to consider is: When someone meets you for the first time, what do you think they first notice about you?  How does this make you feel?


A couple of years ago, Alex names changed), one of the participants, wrote in response:

I feel like people usually notice my body. It’s so weird because I wear t-shirts that show off my body but that at the same time I hate being judged by my body. I want to be muscular but not too muscular so It doesn’t look like I am trying – haha. I feel my exterior sometimes is a hindrance and blessing. I sometimes feel like men and women will not see my sweet, sensitive inside because they are not able to get past my exterior.


I was both moved and perplexed – how can you be into showing off your body AND be uncomfortable in showing off your body at the same time?


Ah, but since Alex wrote that reflection, I’ve encountered others who move me and mystify me!

Edmund was studying to become a Marriage and Family therapist. While in the Program, he cheated on his wife with a woman (department secretary) who was twenty-four years old – ten years older than his son.


For years his wife, Gail, had begged him to go into couple’s therapy. He refused as he saw no need for a therapist.

After their divorce, when their son was having a hard time adjusting, Edmund nixed the idea of having him see a counselor. He didn’t see the point.


Deno asked me in a workshop, “What do you do with someone who won’t let you interrupt?”

Midway through my answer, he shut me down with a curt sounding, “Okay, got it. Thanks.” I was taken aback. I smiled and tried to complete my thought. “No, that’s okay. I got it.” I doubted that he “got it” because I hadn’t finished with my explanation.

Later, his boss said that’s what he does – and she thought he might have been referring to her.


Carla is a friend who calls herself a vegetarian but she eats chicken. She doesn’t like the idea of killing cows, but she’s okay with killing chickens.


Sid, the president of a manufacturing company, hired me to help him hone his leadership skills – but – he doesn’t see the problem with urging his managers to lie to customers.


Jeff works in a diagnostic clinic where all eight technicians refuse to be vaccinated because they either “don’t know” what’s in the vaccine or they believe they won’t get Covid again.

Jeff asked me, “How can someone in the medical field not believe in the vaccine?”


My friend Ray recently told me that I am the most emotionally intelligent person he knows. I’m flattered, though most days I don’t feel emotionally intelligent because while I “know” people – I know that I don’t know people.


People have an amazing capacity to leave me feeling gobsmacked – and so I bow before the mystery of people.


Are the folks I mention above emotionally “tone-deaf?” Sure.


But, it’s more than that as “emotionally tone-deaf” is too glib a label.


Fear makes us act out in all sorts of weird ways.

Confident people know and respect this truth.


Confident people know their own “weirdness” and devise workarounds so as not to get trapped in dysfunctional thinking and acting out.


What’s your weirdness? How do you live with it?


Now THAT’s the business of confidence!


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:

  [email protected]


Being Committed to Being Confident


If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win. 

Carl Lewis



I spend a lot of time with folks who are afraid. And who are in pain because of that fear.


I’ve been reminded of this in these first six months of 2021. And not because of Covid.


Linda (names changed) is a client who told me in our first session that, “Trouble has followed me all my life.”


It was a dramatic statement and it didn’t take long for me to realize that Linda takes comfort in her victimhood. She thrives (yes, thrives) from the anger she feels because her earlier career plans have never materialized.


Erin reached out to me a few days after I first Zoomed with Linda. She, too, made a startling statement, telling me that she doesn’t want to be ordinary, “I don’t want to play it safe forever.”


What is the difference between these two women?


Linda is harsh and demanding with herself. She walked away from her dream of becoming a CPA because she believed it “can’t” happen. She told me that in school she wasn’t able to attain a perfect GPA and she believed she needed a perfect GPA in order to become a successful CPA and so, she dropped out of school.


In one of our sessions Linda lamented, “I don’t know who I am.”

If you are a stern, unforgiving perfectionist, can you ever know who you are?

Constantly, you question – doubt – distrust – yourself.


Linda boasted to me that she has no tolerance for “bs,” yet, she is the one bs-ing herself, dismissing me when I pointed out that some of the best professionals I’ve encountered had less that sterling GPA’s.


Erin was traumatized when her business entered bankruptcy. She emotionally shut down and for five-years refused to do anything that would challenge her in any significant way.


She remained productive – but within strict bounds. She didn’t want to experience failure again and so she opted to play it safe.


In our last session, Erin told me she’s at a point where she knows someday she wants to run her own company again, proclaiming, “I don’t want to be stuck in the past.”


Linda, too, has told me that she wants to revive her dream of becoming a CPA and working in Import/Export – but – she doesn’t smile when she shares the dream. There’s no excitement in her voice. And that’s because she doubts she can bring her dream to life. Her mantra is: “I tried. I failed. That’s it.”


Linda constantly asks – why?

Erin has begun to ask herself – why not?


Two women. Two dreams.


Each reached out to me for help – but each wanted me to help in starkly different ways. Linda wanted me to help her prove that she can’t succeed. Erin wanted me to help her succeed.


Linda is hypnotized with the phrase, “Why bother?”

Erin is energized by being “bothered.”


How do you become “bothered” again after having been curled-up in a heap for so long?


I’ve personally grappled with this and I’m now convinced that confidence is a process – a process of putting one step in front of the other, no matter how futile you think those steps might be.


Confidence is the process of coming to terms with the reality that Perfection is no ally.


Confidence is the process of acknowledging that “Win or Lose,” action is always demanded.


Peter Sterling wrote that –

Change is not something that passively happens to you, but rather something you are in regular conversation with.


I love that image – having a regular conversation with “change” and so having a regular conversation with “confidence.”


And the two questions that have to be asked in that conversation are –

  • What’s the worst thing that could happen?
  • What’s the best thing that could happen?

Ultimately, in an honest conversation, you figure out a way in either scenario to “handle it.”


As I wrote in the beginning. . .

People come to me afraid.

Afraid for a litany of reasons:

I will not be recognized

I will not be rewarded

I will be judged “less than”

I will hurt someone

I will not be able to recover from a disastrous mistake

I will not be able to “handle” it

I will not succeed

All that fear is bound-up in some sort of lie.


95% of the beliefs we have stored in our minds are nothing but lies

and we suffer because we believe all these lies.

Don Miguel Ruiz / The Four Agreements


The great truth is –

Confidence is not a state of being that can be attained. It is a process. A never-ending process that becomes a way of being.


I’m now convinced you can’t become confident all by yourself as confidence does not take place within a vacuum.

Linda meets with a therapist and with me – but – I have the nagging sense that she doesn’t trust us and is using us to prove that she is beyond help.


Erin has created her “Committee” of three trusted friends to help her set a new five-year plan. Working with me and her Committee, she’s determined to remain freed from the echo chamber of lies she can so easily tell herself.


Here’s the thing –

Confidence implies action and action implies others – others who hold us accountable, cheer us on as we continually learn how to act in and through and from confidence.


Earlier I asked what the difference is between Erin and Linda. And I now think the difference is that Erin has not just “fire in the belly” to change, she has a “Committee” that she trusts and that she allows to call her out on her bs while Linda is stuck in that echo chamber – alone.


Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.

Laurie Buchanan.


What are YOU changing? What are YOU choosing?


Now THAT’S the business of confidence!


Confidence Is As Simple As Folding Laundry!


Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

Mother Teresa



Last week, on a day when I felt especially anxious, after having listened to way too much cable business news, I decided to do laundry – something practical!


When I went to the laundry room to retrieve my clothes from the dryer, I found them all neatly folded and placed in the basket. What a great gift for a single guy who never folds his laundry!


Just then, along came the cleaning lady who works for my neighbor. She smiled and went about taking my neighbor’s clothes from the dryer. I thanked her for her kindness. She said it was nothing and then went on her way.


This woman’s kind act jolted me out of the pity party I’d been hosting all week. She wasn’t being paid to do my laundry. She could have dumped my clothes on top of the dryer. Her worries, whatever they might be, did not prevent her from acting beyond self-interest.


Tough times ask challenging questions of us.


The sight of my neatly folded laundry invited me to consider how I can easily slip into self-absorption.


Without realizing it, the cleaning woman invited me to consider how I’ve been tending to relationships – family, friends and business associates.


Can we still be gracious and generous with friends and family – and even strangers?  Offering kind surprises?


Simple things we can do that the distractions of these days might make us neglect include:

  • answering e-mails and phone messages in a timely way
  • being available to people seeking out our help
  • rousing ourselves when we want to isolate
  • paying kindness forward


As you recommit yourself to the people in your life, consider these questions:

  1. On what has my attention been obsessing?
  2. In what ways has this taken me away from my relationships – professional and personal?
  3. What simple steps can I take to reconnect – whose “laundry” can I fold?


THAT is the business of confidence!



To explore how life- skills coaching can help you live your life

 with enhanced confidence – and joy

please contact me

  [email protected]


The 10 Things All Trustworthy, Trust-Generating Pros Do

You can’t be everything to everyone,
but you can be something great for someone.

Arielle Jackson



Although I only play miniature golf I have had the privilege to speak at the Titleist Performance World Golf Summit. I spoke on how coaches, trainers and teachers can create trust between themselves and their clients.


I explained that no matter what your field trust springs up when your client believes that you “see” and understand them.


In my talk I highlighted the basic communication skills that go into creating trust: listening, managing emotions, understanding your biases and using well-chosen words.


Since that talk, I’ve recognized a marked difference between those who are able to create a trusting relationship and those who seem robotic. Yes, clearly there’s a difference in communication skills BUT there’s also that “something else.”


I’m now convinced that the “something else” hovers around whether the coach, teacher, healer (substitute “manager” or “leader”) trusts their own individual self – trusts not just their professional skill set, but trusts their own person and their ability to enter into a relationship with others.


In order to establish trust with your client you need to trust your own self.


What does it mean to trust your own self?


While it’s about being “confident”, it’s about more than confidence. When you trust

yourself certain observable things happen – or at least, you’re willing to let happen.


Trusting yourself means that you –


  1. Believe what you’re doing is worthwhile and you’re committed to the job. Golf legend Scott Foley said it best: “I’m here to touch the individual lives of the people that I work with. I was raised on the idea that when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed at night the goal is to leave the world in a better place than you found it.”


  1. Readily and willingly make yourself vulnerable and are not easily embarrassed.


  1. Experience empathy for what your client is feeling, thinking.


  1. Respect failure and mistakes and so are patient because you know the process demands it.


  1. Convey knowledge and competency with a non-arrogant alertness so that a potential problem is addressed with, “here’s how we’ll handle it.”


  1. Telegraph joy in what you’re doing through a palpable sense of liveliness, exchange and laughter.


  1. Focus on the client and are not self-absorbed because the on-going dynamic of the relationship is paramount.


  1. Understand the inherent power of story – realizing that a command of facts alone doesn’t generate trust.


  1. Go about your business rooted in the belief that the ultimate goal is to hear a client say, “I hadn’t thought of that before.” It’s all about discovery.


  1. Are grateful – for the skill, the client, the opportunity. Everything rests on this. Seriously, have you ever met an ingrate you trusted?  How can there be trust without gratitude?


I think these ten traits flow from being able to answer the most basic and simple of questions: “Who do I want to be?”


Answer that question and you will inevitably come to trust yourself – and so create a trusting relationship with your clients.


A recent client of mine told me that he wants to be known for five characteristics: Intriguing / interesting / powerful / knowledgeable / humble.


He believes that he is these words and also that he can become “more” of these words.


I’ve been working with him only a short while but I can see how those words mark him and why his business practice is getting noticed.


The truest of truths is that people will most trust you when you trust yourself. 


Why?  Because the more you trust yourself, the more you’ll –

  • trust your client
  • trust the process of the relationship
  • help the client trust him / her self


Trust is a circular experience.


A client or colleague trusts you when they believe you “see” them.

You can only see them when you see and trust yourself.

The more you trust yourself, the more you can help your client trust his or her own self. 

Help a client trust their own self and they will come to believe that they can “do it” – whatever skill that “it” might be.


Ultimately, the circle of trust begins with you.

There’s no magic to any of this, though when trust happens, it can be magical.


and THAT is the business of confidence. . .



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:

  [email protected]