“Who Am I?” – How Do You Answer That Question?!


We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.



In recent weeks, while sheltering at home, I’ve been doing Spring-cleaning – not with tossing out “stuff” that’s been collecting dust, but rather by rummaging around old files that are scattered about my MacBook.


I’m constantly downloading and collecting links to articles and posts that I convince myself I’ll use someday in a workshop or in the classroom – or for this blog.


I came across the following five items about famous people who would seem to have nothing in common other than that they were famous.


However, what moves and amazes me is that each of these people had to grapple with the question that each of us has to grapple with –




Take a look at these “snapshots” and taken together let them challenge you to ask yourself the hard question that needs to be asked. . .



Charles Herbert, Mid-Century Child Star on TV and in Movies, Dies at 66

By Sam Roberts Nov. 4, 2015


Charles Herbert, who was 4 years old when he was discovered by a Hollywood talent scout and went on to become a top-earning child actor of the 1950s and ’60s, died on Oct. 31 in Las Vegas.


He shared the limelight with Cary Grant, Sophia Loren and James Cagney. Mr. Herbert was making more than $1,600 a week at one point (almost $13,000 in today’s dollars), but wound up broke and, later, addicted.


In a 2006 interview, Mr. Herbert said, “The worst thing a person can lose is your identity,” adding: “It’s O.K. as a child because people look at the screen and say, ‘O.K., he’s Fred’ or ‘O.K., he’s Tom Sawyer.’ But when you’re an adult, people don’t know who the hell you are — you don’t walk around with your credits. They want to know who Charlie is. And I didn’t know.”



Ruth Reichl: Life After Gourmet Magazine


When Gourmet magazine closed in 2009, then-editor Ruth Reichl was shocked by the news. [email protected] spoke with Reichl about her book, My Kitchen Life: 136 Recipes That Changed My Life, which chronicles how cooking helped her to heal from the loss of the job she loved.

Reichl:  I’d been working since I was 16, and I had always identified myself by my job. I was a cook. I was a writer. I was a restaurant critic. I was a magazine editor. Suddenly, I was a nothing.


It’s really pernicious to think that you are your job. Although I had been in food all my life, I had not been cooking for a very long time. I’d been too busy to do serious cooking. By really throwing myself into the cooking and paying attention to how much pleasure it gave me, I rediscovered that the secret to life is learning to take joy in everyday things. . .


I realized that I wasn’t my job. That I was me. I re-found the person who was kind of always in there. . .those Conde Nast editor jobs are princess jobs. You live a very big life. You meet famous people, and you travel first class, and everybody is bowing down to you all the time.


All that stuff is just gloss. Who you are is more important than thinking that because you’re hobnobbing with famous people, you’re really somebody. You’re not.



Jennifer Lawrence Felt Lost After Breakup with Nicholas Hoult

The Huffington Post


In an interview with Diane Sawyer, Lawrence spoke about her relationship with ex-boyfriend, actor Nicholas Hoult.


Lawrence opened up about the couple’s split, which occurred around the same time she wrapped filming on the “Hunger Games” movies.


“These movies had been my life for so long and they had to come first in everything. I was also in a relationship with somebody for five years and that was my life,” the actress told Sawyer.


Lawrence continued, “So my life was this person and these movies and we broke up around the same time that I wrapped those movies. Being 24-years-old was this whole year of, ‘Who am I without these movies? Who am I without this man?'”



Mary Lou Retton opens up about her struggle of discovering ‘who you are’


Their Olympic moments happened 24 years apart, but the journeys of Mary Lou Retton (1984 Los Angeles) and Shawn Johnson (2008 Beijing) are similar in so many ways.


Both grew up away from the spotlight — Retton in West Virginia, Johnson in Iowa — before bursting onto the Olympic stage at the age of 16. Both won a collection of medals at their Games, vaulting each to sudden fame and a bevy of post-Olympic commercial opportunities.


The adjustment to that new life, however, was not easy for either woman. And while both continue to be household names, they admit it’s still hard to balance fame and regular life.


“Finding my own voice was difficult,” Retton said during a conversation between the two women. “I’m a 48-year-old woman and I still struggle with it. But I’m getting better. When that physicality is gone and the title is gone, you have to find who you are. I’m really still trying to find that out.”


“That’s good to know,” Johnson replied. “Because I’m still trying to find it.”


“It’s a journey,” Retton said. “It’s a lifetime process.”



Landon Donovan Urges Athletes To Speak Out About Mental Health

Huffington Post – 08/12/2016


Retired soccer star Landon Donovan doesn’t shy away from talking about his experience with depression — and he hopes other professional athletes will be just as forthcoming.


Donovan took a three-month break from his professional career in 2013 to prioritize his mental health. While athletes can sometimes seem unstoppable, it doesn’t mean they’re not susceptible to mental health issues just like everyone else. In fact, Donovan suggested that retired athletes can be especially at risk for depression.


“I think our problem is we wrap our identity around what we do and it becomes who we are. So, you see a lot of former athletes struggle with this, a lot of athletes that are no longer being recognized for what they did on the soccer field. They’re like ‘Well, what am I now? I don’t have this sport anymore.’”


The former LA Galaxy forward said therapy helped him become more open about his mental health, and he encourages others who feel affected to do the same.


While these days of quarantine can be mad-crazy, they may also be the right time for you to explore

how life-skills coaching can help YOU become YOU

with enhanced confidence – and joy!

Please contact me

  [email protected]









Learning How to Live “Day By Day” in These Crazy Times


Courage is not the absence of despair:

it is rather the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair.

– Rollo May



Crazy days and crazy nights.

It is all so surreal.

I hope you and those you treasure are safe.


I write this post keenly aware that the life of each of you has been turned upside-down in ways we could not fully have imagined just a month ago.

So, please know that posting this is my way of saying, I hope you are managing, that you are, indeed, persevering.


For most of my professional life I have taught, coached, counseled and trained. People have sought me out because they want, if not answers, then at least direction on how to get answers.


As I write this newsletter I have no idea what will happen between today and Memorial Day weekend (the weekend my goddaughter Meredith is to be married).


Like you, I’m taking it one day at a time.

BUT – what does it mean to take it one day at a time?!


As I’ve talked with friends, colleagues and clients during these past weeks, I’ve been struck by how folks fall into one of two groupings:

  • Those who are afraid and are paralyzed by their fear.
  • Those who are afraid and are energized to move through their fear.


What is different about the folks in these two groupings?

The folks who are afraid and determined to move beyond their fear are mindfully challenging themselves to –






Feel. There is now a proliferation of articles, podcasts and talks focused on how to navigate life in the midst of a pandemic.


I have the sense, though, that for many of these well-intentioned advice pieces, the advice comes down to: don’t be afraid – we’re in this together – we’ll make it.


My response is, Yes. True. I agree. I hope. AND. . .


I think we should allow ourselves to feel afraid. We have good reason to feel afraid!


I also think that many of us are feeling not simply afraid. I think just as strongly we are feeling a tremendous sense of loss. We are feeling grief.


Each of us, as citizens of planet Earth, has lost and may continue to lose something, someone we love and enjoy and delight in.


Let’s not rush past what we are feeling. Let’s feel what we feel. Let’s name what we are feeling. AND let’s not allow the complexity of what we’re feeling to paralyze us.

I’m afraid.

I’m grieving.

Now what?


Each of us needs to answer that “now what?” question. Yeah – that’s the “business of confidence.”


Adapt. A friend of mine is an instructor at Loyola-Marymount U. Jerry happens to be 89-years- old. When his seminar course had to move online because the university was shutting down in-classroom instruction, he was not happy. He was apprehensive.


AND he was determined to “make it work.”


He embraced Zoom (best thing since sliced bread, yes?!) He rallied his students. He rallied those of us who are scheduled to guest speak through the rest of the semester. He accepted the invitation the madness of these days offered him – the invitation to adapt.


Jerry is a man who has reinvented himself half a dozen times in his life. At 89 he is again reinventing and adapting.


In the midst of uncertainty, Jerry is energized by his anger, his grief, and his fear. You will never hear him say, “I don’t know how and so I can’t and so I never will.”


Connect. These days invite us to do more than feel and adapt. They invite us to connect in new and unexpected ways.


Last week I spoke with a colleague who shared that the unexpected gift of quarantine is that he gets to spend more time with his girlfriend – they recently moved into a new home. With excitement and a touch of wonder, he said, “It’s been such an unexpected gift to have the time for us to get to know each other in a deeper way.”


Wow! I was moved by the spontaneous surprise he felt.


Two weeks ago I was hired by a new client, Justin, who is wanting to hone his presentational skills.

He found me on LinkedIn. Random. Unexpected.

I thought he’d want to wait until after the quarantine to start our coaching. He didn’t. We’ve met several times on Zoom J and an easy, collegial rapport has developed.


Connection in the midst of separation.


Each day ask yourself, “Who can I reach out to and surprise today?”


For those of you who’ve done training with me, you know one of my fav books is Keith Ferrazzi’s “Never Eat Alone.” Well, many of us have no choice but to eat alone!


Each of us, all of us, has the choice to not be alone in the midst of uncertainty and its roller-coaster of emotions.


Expand. Among other things, I’m using this time to take the time to catch-up on reading, turning to that pile of “someday books.” I’m revisiting old genres. Exploring new. Putting aside my Kindle and feeling the hefty warmth of a real printed book again. I forgot how much I enjoy reading just for the sake of reading.


I recently had a conversation with a client who was considering a career change prior to the outbreak. We were playing around with ideas and options and at one point Rose said, “I hadn’t thought of that!”


Now is the time to find ways to generate those “I hadn’t thought of that” experiences.


Here’s the thing –

We want life to return to “normal.” Like you, I don’t know what life will return to. I don’t think, though, it will return to “normal” as we used to know “normal.”


To live – really live – in that as yet new normal, we will be asked to dig deep within. Why?


Because when this is over there will be many people who will be hurting and afraid because of what they went through. They will be our customers and clients, our colleagues and, perhaps, our bosses. If we’re going to work with them and for them, we’ll have to do so with a renewed awareness of our own strengths and weaknesses. And that renewed awareness will only come about because somehow. . .


We will have accepted Fear’s invitation to –







I think this is what it means to take it day by day!


One of my literary heroes is the writer and diarist Anais Nin. She mentored me in college and for many, many years I’ve had a saying of hers framed in my office –

Never crystalize.

Remain open to change, renewal, adventure, experiment.


I always thought it was a “lovely” sentiment.

It is.

And now it has come to bite me in the butt!


Stay smart.

Stay safe.

Stay healthy.

And never lose sight of this certain truth – life is good and worthy of our best.


Should you have any pressing questions or even

just need someone to vent to who will listen,

feel free to email me: [email protected]

You’re not alone – we really all are in this together. 

The One Thing Really Confident People Do Really Well!


Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be.

But what will happen in all the other days that ever come

can depend on what you do today.

Earnest Hemingway



Last week before my UCLA class on Interpersonal Communications I met up with Peter (names changed), one of my students, for a consult. As we were talking, a middle-aged woman approached us. She was out of breath as she pointed to Peter’s red water bottle, “Is that yours?” she asked with what I thought was an accusatory twinge.




Peter gave her a startled, “It’s mine” but to my New York eyes she had that “you’re lying” look in her eyes.


Peter stared at her and then did the most remarkable thing – he offered her his water bottle, asking, “Would you like to take it?”


“Is it yours?” she asked.



“Well, if it’s yours I don’t want it” – she said now with more a whiff of confusion than annoyance.


Peter held it out saying, “You can have it – it seems the bottle meant a lot to you.”


This unusually kind gesture snapped her back into the moment. She was thrown off balance. As was I!


She left (having declined the bottle) and Peter and I went on with our conversation.


Peter thought little of the encounter – I, though, was blown away by his composed generosity.


Doing something unexpected in a conversation, in a relationship – heck, in your life – takes confidence. And I’ve been thinking about Peter’s particular style of confidence.


He was not quick to feel judged because he has such a solid sense of himself. This allowed him to practice an uncommon generosity to a stranger who was emotionally stressed.


When I complimented him on his kindness, he shrugged, saying, “it’s just a water bottle. She seemed more invested in it than I am, so why not give it to her?”



Even as I write this I am in awe of his generosity BECAUSE that generosity is wonderfully grounded in a sense of confidence.


Peter adapted to the circumstance of the moment, took the woman and her situation in stride knowing that life is littered with the whack-a-do!


SO – the question is – how do you develop that kind of confidence?


Peter did play professional sports after college – not all pro athletes, though, are that generous.


That kind of confidence is a choice.


Peter reminded me that we choose the kind of confidence we want to display in our daily life.


Confidence is manifested differently in each of us. For Peter – to be confident is to be generous.




We each have to decide what confidence will look like and sound like in our own life.


After writing that last sentence, I stopped and reflected on what confidence looks like for me. I’m not terribly proud of my answer. . .

Because I was bullied growing up, I resolved when I was in college that I would never again allow anyone to verbally intimidate me (and, yes, there’s anger laced in that sentence).


I resolved to not be afraid of others who were physically imposing.


I decided to not be afraid of people whose lives were so very different from mine.


And, yes, because of the confident people who have been so generous to me, somewhere along the way I resolved to ground my confidence in generosity.


However, I’ve yet to give away my water bottle!


What does it mean to be confidently generous (and not simply “nice” or “kind”)?


It means that you’re willing to act in unexpected ways that surprise both the other person and you!


It means acting out in specific gestures – offered because you want the other person(s) to experience something good.


It means being consistent in surprising others.


And to use my favorite Italian word, it means having a sense of sprezzatura, which is what makes confidence SO attractive.


Sometimes, while going about The Business of Confidence it’s easy to forget the hidden dimensions to being confident.


Peter reminded me that in its essence to be confident is to be generous.


Do you want to become more confident?

Consider This:

  • If you were more confident, what would you do MORE of?
  • If you were more confident, what would you do LESS of?
  • What is the “water bottle” you can offer to someone this week? This month?


We need you to provide the things that are unexpected, scarce, and valuable. Scarcity and abundance have been flipped. High- quality work is no longer scarce. Competence is no longer scarce, either.

We have too many good choices – there’s an abundance of things to buy and people to hire.

What’s scarce is trust, connection, and surprise.

Seth Godin



Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you from being

generous and  influential?

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

contact me at:

  [email protected]


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:

  [email protected]



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:

  [email protected]







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!

Too Afraid to Want What You Want!


The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.

George Bernard Shaw


Todd hired me because he wanted guidance as he searched for a new job. The financial situation at his company is such that he doesn’t see room for either advancement or a raise and he doesn’t want to be stuck on a Titanic.


He works in the entertainment industry as a technical manager at an editing production house. He’s been at it long enough that his knowledge and expertise put him in a valued position.


For several months he’s been going through a series of interviews at a major Studio.  After each one, he’s been encouraged that “the job” is going to be offered to him.


However, in an odd twist, his fifth interview was with an executive who admitted he didn’t know what job he was interviewing Todd for!


At the end, the guy assured Todd that he seemed like a perfect fit – even though he couldn’t say for certain what the job was.


He told Todd that someone from HR would contact him shortly.


Todd realized that with each successive interview, he was becoming more confused as to the job he was a “shoe-in” for.


Ten days went by without a word. So, he called his contact and explained that he’s going on vacation and would like to know what’s up before heading out of town.


His contact asked him to call when he got back because for sure he’ll have good news then.


Todd told me that he’s not going to call; he’s fed up and if they want him, they’ll call.


But there’s more.


Todd admitted he doesn’t want them to offer him a job – whatever the job might be!


Intellectually, he wants “the” job, but emotionally he doesn’t.


He likes his job, he likes the power and influence he has and he’s afraid to lose it, but because the company’s in a financial mess he feels he should move on.


If the Studio says, “No,” then he’ll be happy because he can reassure himself that he tried.


If the Studio says, “Yes,” then he’ll go to his boss and hope he’ll counter-offer, though he doubts he can.


Todd admits he doesn’t want to take power in the situation because then he’ll have to live with the consequences of his decisions.


He’s hoping that what “should” happen, will happen.


Crazy?  Sure.


But most of us do some version of what Todd is doing.


Change is scary.


Taking responsibility for our decisions is scary.


Leaving it up to the “gods” to decide our fate seems less risky.

Playing mind games is more fun than mapping out a strategy.


But, if we don’t create our own life, then who will?


Do you want to break through the fear 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]


Are You Superstitious?


The man who says he can and the man who says he can’t are both correct.




When Chandler Massey won his first daytime Emmy for his role as Will on Days Of Our Lives he was the odds-on favorite in his category, though he didn’t take the predictions seriously.


In fact, he didn’t even bother to write an acceptance speech.


He revealed to reporters that he hadn’t prepared a speech because he didn’t want to “jinx it.”


He later regretted not writing one because he forgot to thank various special people, including his grandparents.


I was amused reading this (yes, of course, I was in a doctor’s waiting room!)  because how often have I refrained from doing or saying something because I didn’t want to “jinx” it – whatever “it” is!


So many of us engage in this primitive practice of superstition.


My father used to say, “Don’t get your hopes up because you don’t want to be disappointed.”


I followed his advice for years – and never got disappointed – or super excited.


I trained myself to focus on the negative and to downplay my talents, wishes and hopes.  I learned that hoping can only lead to disappointment.


I’ve met many people who are reluctant to prepare for the best because that could somehow increase the chances of “the best” not happening.


If you think about it, isn’t it amazing just how much power we think we have over the universe? Instead of, “build it and they will come” their mantra is more like, “don’t dream it and it will come about.”


Had Massey written an acceptance speech, he still would have won since the mere act of writing would not have had the power to make all those winning votes magically disappear!


He engaged in superstitious thinking and we all do it in some form or another:


Let’s not talk about bad jury duty experiences because then we’ll receive a summons the next day (hmm. . .I hope I didn’t just jinx myself!).


Let’s not talk about it raining on my special occasion because then it will rain.


Let’s not prepare since that would entail too much power on our part; but let’s acknowledge we do have power to shape things by simply speaking of them!

What’s wrong with being disappointed?


Okay, that’s such an obnoxious question because we all know being disappointed sucks.


However, had Massey written his speech and lost, he would have been disappointed AND he would have had that thank you written so he could have sent it to those he loved.


After all, he wasn’t thanking them for winning, he was thanking them for loving him and he didn’t need to wait to stand on stage with a trophy to do that!


What kind of superstitious thinking are you doing?


Is it stopping you from doing something you would enjoy?


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]


What To Do With Habits that Refuse to Die


Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.

Fyodor Dostoevsky


Shortly after his 90th birthday, my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Six weeks later, he passed away.


Knowing that our father was dying, I resolved that I wouldn’t argue with my brother about anything relating to our dad’s care and burial. We had argued over so many details when our mother died that I was determined we would do it “right” this time. I felt confident – after all, I coach people in how to handle difficult, stress-filled situations.


I was going to coach Peter and myself through this ordeal. . .

Ah, but I’d forgotten that old habits die hard!


Within an hour of my landing back in New Jersey, Peter and I were pressing each other’s buttons with ease. That is, until we looked each other in the eye and said “no – not this time.”


More than anything, we wanted to work together so as to be together for our father in his last days.


When Peter and I were growing up, our father always told us to “keep your eye on the ball, kid.”


Given that Peter and I never played sports, his advice made little sense! Eventually, we figured out he was quoting some famous sports person (still don’t know who) and what he was trying to say was that if you stay focused on what you want, you can have it.


Sitting by our father’s side in the nursing home, Peter and I kept our “eye” on the ball, supporting our father and each other in all ways caring.


While old habits may never die, this time they did not take hold as in times past. What happened?  Peter & I were able to laugh at our own selves and at each other.


“You know you’re being controlling, don’t you?” 

“No, I’m not!” 

“Then, what do you call it?” 




We didn’t allow old rituals to stranglehold us. We quickly (okay, “somewhat” quickly) caught ourselves when we fell into old patterns and moved on to a more honest, more engaging place.

Old habits may die hard or they may never die.


The real issue, though, is this – we can change our relationship with old habits of talking and relating.


Awareness + desire = change

Well, actually, awareness + desire + skill + practice = change.


Here are some questions to help you become more aware of the rituals that trip you up at work and in your personal life:


  • What is a recurring situation in which you respond in familiar, knee-jerk fashion?
  • What triggers are being pressed?
  • If the old ways of responding are not working for you, why do you persist in using those ways?
  • What would you like to see happen differently?
  • What would you have to do for that “different” to happen?
  • What’s holding you back from doing that “different”?
  • What can you start doing to make it easier for you to do what you want to do?



Old habits have only as much power and control as we give them!


Do you want to learn how to confidently break the old habits that keep tripping you up –

so as to develop and nurture successful professional relationships?


To explore how business skills coaching can help you present you 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 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 your self 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.” 
  2. Readily and willingly make yourself vulnerable and are not easily embarrassed.
  3. Experience empathy for what your client is feeling, thinking.
  4. Respect failure and mistakes and so are patient because you know the process demands it.
  5. Convey knowledge and competency with a non-arrogant alertness so that a potential problem is addressed with, “here’s how we’ll handle it.”
  6. Telegraph joy in what you’re doing through a palpable sense of liveliness, exchange and laughter.
  7. Focus on the client and are not self-absorbed because the on-going dynamic of the relationship is paramount.
  8. Understand the inherent power of story – realizing that a command of facts alone doesn’t generate trust.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.



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]