Saturday, February 28, 2009

What The Right Attitude Feels Like

My coach is always drilling me about my being clear in what I want, and what I offer my clients. She's got a point, but the nebulous "keep all options open" tendency feels sometimes too comfortable to leave.

Since I'm always drilling my students and clients about having the right attitude about as the foundation for their presentation, I thought I'd share exactly what that attitude feels like.

It's one thing to tell someone to get the right attitude, or even to "shape up or ship out;" it's another thing to gain that balance between being positive and being desperate to make the sale.

Once the right attitude is in place, everything else flows easily and effortlessly.

These are the qualities you should be feeling before your presentation:

- Positive about your message, your product/service.

- Clear about your benefits to the audience.

- Powerful enough to take some risks by sharing a story from your personal life that relates to your message.

- Relaxed. You know it really doesn't matter if you trip over your words, your audience is with you.

- Happy. You've got a captive audience, you know your message, and it's fun to connect with people.

- Enthusiastic, but not pushy. You create tension by letting your audience know how much better/easier their lives would be by accepting your message, but it's their tension, not your pressure.

Presentations are the lifeblood of business and offer you the chance to make your mark in the world. Enjoy!

Friday, February 27, 2009

What Really Drives Your Message Across

If you're like most people, you don't recall that many exact percentages. You know unemployment is higher than usual now, but can you say exactly what percentage of our population is considered unemployed? I'm not sure of the exact figure, either, but it's less than 8%, which is a lot lower than normal unemployment in Europe is, btw.

But, there is one statistic I know well, so well that most of my students can rattle it off in an instant: Words make up only 7% of your message.

That's something everyone learns in communication; it's a finding based on research by a psychologist, Dr. Albert Mehrabian, an emeritus professor at UCLA. He developed what is known as the 7%-38%-55% rule.

Here's what it means:

Words are 7% of your message, 38% of your message comes from the tone of your voice, and 55% is the visual element.

That is why we get so upset with, "It's now what he said, it's how he said it." (Reach for tissue.)

When we're about to speak before a group, or in a sticky confrontation, we usually think a lot about the words we're going to use, trying to be careful with our vocabulary choices.

What would make your message more effective, would be getting your mindset right, with an A-OK attitude. Attitude, or emotional energy, is what determines your tone of voice (38% of your message) and your body language (55% of your message.)

It's not so much what you say, it's how you say it.
Photo by Laura Christina.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Obama Speaks to Us

The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation. The answers to our problems don’t lie beyond our reach. They exist … in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on Earth. Those qualities that have made America the greatest force of progress and prosperity in human history we still possess in ample measure.

Thank you, President Obama. Now let's help entrepreneurs with a break from bureaucratic red tape. And we need to see some entrepreneurial types in high government positions, too.

Now, before anyone dismisses this comment as "mere rhetoric," keep in mind that rhetoric really does shape our thoughts, and therefore our actions, even if you don't realize it at the time.

Language does more than describe an outside reality; it co-creates that reality. That's why vocabulary is a real source of power.

Where Does Communication Take Place, Really?

You may be mentally rehearsing what you're going to say, or that great answer to an email, but you need to keep this critical piece of information in mind: Communcation does not happen in your mind; it happens in the other person's mind.

You've probably had the frustrating experiencing of saying one thing, and that message being totally misconstrued, perhaps so far as to be interpreted as precisely the opposite of what you intended!

Well, probably there is something wrong, not with what you're saying, but with the relationship. You know people who are hurt, angry, depressed, mad, and disappointed, tend to read the most negative interpretation possible of a message. The converse is also true; but a positive interpretation is probably the most helpful to you, even if some argue that's not being "realistic."

So, the next time you're experiencing a frustrating "misunderstanding" -- try to get to the bottom of the relationship issue. Ask the other person if something is bothering, or if that person feels offended for some reason.

It's not what you say, it's what the other person interprets that communicates.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Be More Convincing

Here's a great tip for getting the other person in the communication situation to grasp your meaning:

You're probably all too aware that you deal with a lot of people with whom you don't have that much in common. Maybe you're a Southerner; they're from California. You studied painting; they studied accounting. You love snow boarding; they hate snow.

As the saying goes, it takes all kinds to make the world go 'round.

But, these differences may also make effective communication a challenge.

So, the bottom line is, you need to select symbols from the other person's frame of reference. In some cases, you might even want to use what you think are tired sports analogies. I really got a point across to my students when I explained that each subsequent speech would be graded more severely than the previous one -- it would be like jumping up several levels in a video game. Ah....I saw the lights go on.

If you use anecdotes and analogies that are most comfortable and familiar to you, the result is the listeners have to make too much effort to get you, and so they'll most likely tune you out....maybe permanently.

To establish an authentic connection, which you know is one life's most rewarding experiences, take the time and trouble to use the other person's lingo, values, hobbies (all that stuff that makes up a person's frame of reference,) to get your message across.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Miami Banker Gives Away $60 Million of His Own Money

Read this wonderful story about a good banker in Miami here.

Mothers Always Get the Last Word

In one of my decluttering projects, I updated my family cookbook. It's a collection of family favorite recipes, printed up and placed in sheet protectors and kept together in a 3-ring binder. Mine is entitled, The Philosophical Cook, and is one of my most treasured gifts from my mother.

Here are some of her favorite quotes from the back cover:

What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah

The fact that you are outnumbered does not mean that you are wrong.

This is LIFE, not a dress rehearsal. Give it your best every day.

Do not whine. Be creative with whatever resources you have at hand.

There is a vast difference between quality of life and standard of living.

Ability without honor has no value. Emerson.

Take time to savor the best memories of each day. Otherwise you will never realize how blessed you are.

Anything that does not kill me, makes me stronger. Nietzsche.

To get ahead, go the extra mile and do more than is absolutely necessary.

We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails.

Obstacles in the path of the weak become stepping stones in the path of the strong. Carlyle.

Never hesitate to tell your loved one that you love them. Sunny Wilson, my grandmother.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Why People Hire Coaches

I used to make fun of coaches who worked with people outside of sports. I just found the whole idea ridiculous, like why would anyone hire a "life coach" or a "communication coach" or a "small business coach?"

Then I got serious about growing my business. And I hired a coach, someone with whom I had worked before and trusted.

To make this post shorter and to the point, here's a description of the people who should not consider hiring a coach.

If you fit into these categories, maybe you could even become a coach.

- You're independently wealthy and loving it.

- You are well compensated in your job; you both enjoy that job, and feel secure in it.

- You know someone who is successful in your business and that person is willing to be your mentor, for free.

- You are enjoying a blissful retirement.

- You're growing your own business, and sales are shooting through the roof, while costs are plummeting.

- You're growing your business but you're young and have unlimited investor support to get you through any kind of steep learning curve.

In my case, after six years of graduate studies, I'm in the habit of learning, and paying for that. I knew I wanted to start my business, but I wasn't sure how, and I didn't want to waste time learning from my own expensive mistakes. So, I hired a coach.

You'll get to see the web site she's helped me develop next month.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Good News about Corrupt Politicians

I have to admit that my finding-the-silver-lining ability was definitely challenged yesterday. I was invited to attend a local political lunch and I went to hear the Republican Senator from North Carolina.

To say his message was depressing, would be a humongous understatement. He was trying to rally the troops - go out there and get people registered to vote Republican....but without really giving us any reason why. The economy's in a mess, and our government responds by offering two providers of bread and circus programs: the popular Democratic pork, or the more tasteful, Republican pork loin. In the end, it's variations on the same pig.

This senator still believes that we just need more government spending to make education more effective. What a novel idea! It works so well.... Obviously, he's never taught in the public school system.

But....Mixonian was not defeated by these tired and corrupt political band-aids.

There are still reasons to be grateful to our U.S. government:

1. We're not in any armed civil conflict.

2. While the economy is reeling, the grocery stores remain open, and most businesses are functioning at some level.

3. Kidnapping is not something we worry about.

4. We can park our cars in almost any place, and we would be truly surprised if those cars would not be where we left them.

5. Being overweight is a much more serious health problem than starvation.

6. We still have libraries. And a lot of libraries offer free computer and Internet use.

7. We are all free to blame, criticize, and whine about any and all elected officials, any aspect of the government, without fear of going to jail for that.

8. We're all free to run for office, lobby, communicate with our government, to try to make it more effective.

So, how's your list? Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What Your Decisions Say About You

Your mind is a tool you can choose to use. It can help you in many ways, or, not. I think our outcomes in life reflect-- to a significant degree -- our self concept. In other words, life generally delivers what we confidently expect. And those expectations flow from our decisions.

Here's a really nice thought from Neale Donald Walsch, author of Conversations with God, which I have not yet read.

Every decision you make -- every decision -- is not a decision about what to do. It's a decision about who you are. When you see this, when you understand it, everything changes. You begin to see life in a new way, all events, occurrences, and situations turn into opportunities to do what you came here to do.

And, in a similar vein....from Anthony Robbins:

More than anything else, I believe it's our decisions, not the conditions of our lives, that determine our destiny.

So, in a way, your decisions define you. They show how you really view yourself, your self concept, on a subconscious level. Think about it, each decision provides a way to express who you are to the world.

Successful people make decisions quickly and without regret. Other people let fear paralyze them, and spend far too much time second guessing themselves and thinking that they should have done....something else.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Miracle of Your Commitment

As someone who has sat on the fence, keeping all her options open, for decades, I am learning what it really means to commit. That probably has beent he greatest learning during this time of dissertation writing, especially as a distance student. I used to want to wait for the right moment, which often never shows up.

So, if there's anyone out there sitting on the safe fence, take a look at this:

Until you are committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.

Concerning all acts of initiaive (and creation) thre is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment you definitely commit yourself, then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help you that would never otherwise have occurred.

A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in your favor al manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assitance, which you could never have dreamed would come your way.

This is from The Scottish Himalayan Expedition by William H. Murray.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How's Your Adventure Going?

Live life fully while you're here. Experience everything. Take care of yourself and your friends. Have fun, be crazy, be weird. Go out and screw up! You're going to anyway, so you might as well enjoy the process.

Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes: find the cause of your problem and eliminate it. Don't try to be perfect; just be an excellent example of being human.

--Anthony Robbins

One of the communication challenges facing people today is establishing trust in a rather crazy context -- life today!

People hire people they trust.

People buy from people they trust.

People hang with people they trust.

Of course people make misjudgments about whom they should trust ALL the time. But we still go by what we think we can trust.

How do you establish trust?

Be yourself. Be fallible. Trust others. Show up.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Presidential Thoughts...Looks Do Matter

Q. What determines who gets elected to run a country?

A. The person that for most people embodies "this is what our President should look like."

To put it bluntly, Obama is U.S. president because the majority of voters thought he looked like what our president should be, at least compared to McCain. And in Venezuela, Chavez looks like what a significant group of people think their president should look like.

In the U.S., unattractive people don't get elected. At least that's true since Abe Lincoln left office. And Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president, was a lot better looking when he ran for office the first time, and when he tried to take over the country by force back in 1992.

To succeed as a revolutionary, you gotta look the part. Being tall and handsome and looking good in military green certainly helped Fidel Castro. And if Che had lived to a ripe old age, gotten fat, or lost the hat, I don't think we'd be seeing his image in contemporary leftist chic contexts.

(BTW, I took that picture of Che painted on a wall in Caracas.)

To be first lady in France you have to look like a model, or better yet, be one.

It's the same in every field. Bankers look like bankers, not like grafitti artists. Well, I guess some of them look really like con artists, but they're a minority.

Miranda met a newsreporter for the first time last week; she informed me that, "he looked exactly like what she thought a reporter would look like."

Tenured professors tend to steer clear of fashion, might look too superficial.

Look around you and you'll notice that everyone pretty much dresses for their part at work. That's normal.

The scoop is this. If you want to have a different job, (or a job,) a different position, a different level of life, you might need to reassess the way you present yourself to the world. Nobody is going to take the time to see what you're really like inside.

Mindset vitamin: I put myself out there looking like the person I want to be.

Happy Prez Day.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

101 Things You Really Need to Know About Communication

Here's my 6 years of graduate school, in a blog post. ;-)

1. Communication is the key to success.

2. Everything about you communicates....something.

3. You cannot not communicate.

4. The medium is the message. (Marshall McLuhan)

5. Words are only 7% of the message.

6. Communication co-creates reality.

7. Communication is the transfer of emotion. (Seth Godin)

8. People appreciate your being clear.

9. What you really gain through good communication is authentic connection with people.

10. You impact the energy of a room by simply entering it.

11. You have way more influence than what you think.

12. Communication is irreversible.

13. Misinterpretation of email can end your marriage.

14. It's not what you say, it's how you say it.

15. What you're feeling is your invisible message.

16. Listening to yourself is essential to being authentic.

17. To connect with others, you have to establish trust.

18. You establish trust by being authentic and open.

19. There are two levels to every message: content + relationship.

20. Everything you communicate is either building personal relationships, or doing the opposite.

21. Human motives are complex.

22. Male communication focuses on results.

23. Female communication focuses on relationships.

24. You have a choice in how you interpret others' messages.

25. You can always choose an interpretation that best suits you.

26. Being authentic is not being selfish.

27. The optimum size for a work team is 5 to 7 people.

28. Always start an email with a greeting.

29. Keep in mind that employers and customers may check out your FB profile.

30. When possible, talk to people instead of emailing them.

31. Forgiving others frees you.

32. Respond, don't react to situations.

33. If you react by accident, go to the bathroom and pull yourself together.

34. Active listening brings you to the present moment.

35. The first step in preparing a presentation is your thesis statement.

36. Persuasion takes place in a context of trust.

37. Writing things down in a journal frees your mind to think new thoughts.

38. If a speaker refers to a famous person, the speaker is (probably) trying to borrow credibility from that person.

39. Executives spend more time listening than talking...according to the research.

40. Executives say they spend more time listening than talking.

41. The average American worker receives 200 emails a day.

42. The best day to release bad news to the press is Saturday.

43. The best day to report good news to the press is Monday.

44. A sound-bite lasts 9 to 14 seconds.

45. People make lasting judgments about you within 30 seconds of meeting you.

46. Send hand-written thank-you notes, not emailed ones.

47. Avoid bullet points in your Powerpoint presentations.

48. Use photos instead of text in your Powerpoint presentations.

49. The first electronic communication medium was the telegraph.

50. Make sure your handshake is firm, not too limp, not too strong.

51. No perfume on a job interview, unless you're practicing in the oldest profession.

52. Learn to disagree without being disagreeable.

53. Saying affirmations (the truth in advance) can shorten the time you spend feeling down.

54. When you have a spare minute, work on your 30-second elevator pitch.

55. News programming is a form of entertainment.

56. News programming is bad for your health.

57. What's bad about the news is not the news, it's what you tell yourself about the news.

58. Complaining brings you more stuff to complain about.

59. Expressing gratitude brings you more stuff about which to be grateful.

60. A thankful heart is a happy heart. (Veggie Tales)

61. There's no such thing as a neutral message.

62. Your standpoint shapes your viewpoint.

63. In reaching your goals, you only have to know the first step to take right now.

64. Use spell check.

65. More vocabulary = more power, so use a thesaurus, too.

66. You can never please everyone.

67. Groups that identify themselves as being against something, rather than for something, do not have a bright future.

68. Creativity is really the only non-renewable economic resource we have. (Richard Florida)

69. To make your message persuasive, you must appeal to human rationality and emotions.

70. The strongest human motivator is fear of loss.

71. You can gain all kinds of benefits from listening, really listening to people.

72. If you think you can, you can, if you think you can't, you're right about that too. (That was Henry Ford's expression.)

73. A good meeting is always preceded by the distribution of a clear agenda.

74. Stress exists only in your mind.

75. There are no justified resentments. (Wayne Dyer, PhD)

76. People have the attention span of goldfish.

77. Creative people should always try to do things they can't do. That's when creativity is needed. (Marcel Wanders)

78. Fear blocks good communication.

79. Fear is created by fantasizing about future experiences. (Jack Canfield)

80. People can hear faster than you can speak.

81. You cannot listen to a person and text at the same time.

82. Truth is good for you. (ODE magazine)

83. Use a lot of white space in your emails.

84. Make sure you have complete and correct contact info in your email signature.

85. Don't put your hands in your pockets when you make a presentation.

86. Leaders who lead by placing blame do a great disservice to their followers.

87. Sometimes people ask questions that have hidden agendas embedded in them.

88. Someone saying that there's a problem doesn't make it true.

89. What you believe about yourself defines who you are; that's what you communicate.

90. What you confidently expect to happen (good or bad) generally becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

91. Refusing to discuss a problem is the most destructive communication block.

92. Blame and criticism also block communication.

93. Remembering a person's name immediately establishes you as someone who listens, i.e. someone who cares.

94. Learning names takes practices, just like everything else.

95. You teach people how to treat you.

96. What we know about really effective people is that they think. (Jim Collins)

97. Human beings love symbols.

98. Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy. (Isaac Newton)

99. Ultimately, people seek communion in their communication.

100. There's usually some bit of truth in all criticism.

101. Complaining, criticizing, gossiping, and whining deaden your communicative ability. Refuse to participate in these activities!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Rich are Different....How They Think

Some people may dismiss Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, by T. Eker, as useless. It's true that there’s not a lot of concrete information in it about the details of your financial life. (Though what advice is presented, is sound). What this book presents is challenging (maybe) information about mental attitudes that facilitate wealth. It’s about changing your psychological approach to money, success, and happiness.

Eker believes everyone possesses a “financial blueprint”, which is an internal script that dictates their relationship to money. This blueprint is created through lifelong exposure to money messages from friends, current events, entertainment programs, and, especially, our family. Unfortunately, our blueprints usually contain errors that block the achievement of our goals. I think of these blueprints as potential setpoints, that can hold us back, or propel you forward.

Eker lists seventeen ways in which the financial blueprints of the rich differ from those of the non-rich:

Rich people believe: “I create my life.” Poor people believe: “Life happens to me.” (This is HUGE. Every successful person I know is control of her life. Unhappy people constantly complain how this, that, or the other thing prevents them from doing something.)

Rich people play the money game to win. Poor people play the money game to not lose.

Rich people are committed to being rich. Poor people want to be rich.

Rich people think big. Poor people think small.

Rich people focus on opportunities. And, BTW, everytime you hear a complaint, you're hearing an opportunity in disguise. Poor people focus on obstacles.

Rich people admire other rich and successful people. Poor people resent rich and successful people. (This is important, too — but you don't need to admire ALL rich people.)

Rich people associate with positive, successful people. Poor people associate with negative or unsuccessful people. (Birds of a feather....)

Rich people are willing to promote themselves and their value. Poor people hate the whole idea of selling and promotion.

Rich people are bigger than their problems. Poor people are smaller than their problems.

Rich people are excellent receivers. Poor people are poor receivers.

Rich people choose to get paid based on results. Poor people choose to get paid based on time.

Rich people think “both”. Poor people think “either/or”.

Rich people focus on their net worth. Poor people focus on their working income.

Rich people manage their money well. Poor people mismanage their money well.

Rich people have their money work hard for them. Poor people work hard for their money.

Rich people act in spite of fear. Poor people let fear stop them. (This is big for a lot of us right now. Eker says that successful people act in spite of this fear; you've heard, "Feel the fear and do it anyway." They move beyond worry, they “fake it til they make it”, learning as they go. Unsuccessful people do nothing at all.)

Rich people constantly learn and grow. Non-rich people think they already know.

In the book, Eker explains each point, demonstrating how successful people discard limiting beliefs while the unsuccessful cling to them.

Mindset vitamin: The more I think like rich people, the closer I get to being financially independent.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Get Yourself A Bigger Comfort Zone

I think it's Anthony Robbins who defined insanity as doing the same things you've always done, but expecting different results.

Showing up in your life in a bigger way means you're doing something new, with which you probably don't feel very comfortable. It may mean confronting someone in a pleasant way, cutting back on spending, accepting smaller servings of dinner, or calling people when you'd rather send email, or even read a magazine.

These things can be painful, or look painful, but the reality is you have to do something about them in order to make it work in your life.

You will have to do something uncomfortable.

Rationalizing bad habits, making excuses, or flat out denying reality keeps you stuck. And recognizing that there is something that is not working in your life, doesn't mean you have to know right away what to do about it. You simply become aware of things at a new level.

I used to suffer terribly from allergies -- to dust and certain plants. For many years, I simply accepted my fate...that I could never be more than a few feet away from a box of tissues.

After experiencing a trauma, the allergy symptoms disappeared. But when life evened out, the allergy symptons started coming back. But I had come to the realization that I didn't have to live life with a tissue in my hand. My allergies were telling me something, that I was trying too hard to please other people.

So, in that case, I really didn't have to do anything; I simply became aware of what was triggering my allergic reactions, and now and then when I get a sneezing attack, it's a sure sign I'm under stress. I take a minute to stop feeling the pressure so much, and usually right away I stop sneezing.

So you may be surprised that you've been accepting things in your life as "normal" -- that may not be necessary. But, if you don't stop and question yourself, assess what's going on in your personal life, work world, finances, health, relationships, and giving, things will continue the way they always have.

Mindset vitamin for today: I enjoy expanding my comfort zone!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Today is the Day

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)
German dramatist, poet & novelist

You've probably been affected by the wave of lay-offs in one way or another. Either you got the lovely email, or someone close to you has. There's a big change going on in our economy. Duh.

Taking action is empowering. But it's not a question of posting one resume and waiting for a flood of job interviews. It's action today, action tomorrow, and action the day after. There will be plenty of time for inaction in the next life, maybe.

Remember that you are a marketer for you. You want clients and your clients need you -- it's your job to get yourself out there so people can find you. That's true whether you're seeking a "real job" or a gig or building your own business.

Make a list of things you can do (remember you're only focusing on things within your control -- you don't rule the universe.) Think about people you can call, information you can get to people, people you can connect to each other, things you can organize.

If business is slow, or you're facing unemployment, today is the day to call someone. Forget about email, get out the phone and connect.

Think about how you can help others in the same situation. And take action.

Think about how you can build even more trust between you and your clients. And take action.

Mindset Vitamin: Today I take action to move me closer to my goals.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

9 Irresistible Reasons to Go Complaint-Free Starting Now

by Christine Kane

In my upcoming Uplevel Your Life Mastery Program, there's a contract. It's a commitment that each participant will go complaint-free, criticism-free, whine-free, and gossip-free for the full seven weeks of the course. That's 49 days, baby! What does that have to do with Upleveling your Life? Everything! First off, let's get one thing out of the way: It's not about "being nice." This is much deeper.

It's about understanding the power of your Attention. If you have a big juicy Intention or Dream - then your attention is the daily practice of manifesting that goal or dream. It is the essence of Creativity. So, if I'm working with you, I want you to experience the power of shifting your attention from the so-called problem, so it can attract the many solutions! Here are 9 Irresistible Reasons to Go Complaint-Free Today:

1 - When you're complaint-free, you find solutions rather than staying mucked in the problem. If you don't offer yourself the option of complaining, then you train your brain to actually find solutions and get ideas. As Maya Angelou says, "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain."

2 - When you're complaint-free, you shrink your ego. Complaining is like weight-training for your ego.It makes your ego stronger because it makes someone or something else wrong. And it makes you right. Your ego becomes inflated and puffed up. When you cease the complaining/criticizing/gossiping habit, you tell your ego that your spirit is in charge, not your ego!

3 - When you're complaint free for 21-Days, you've started a new habit and created a new you. Experts tell us it takes 21-days to form a new habit. And while it does take some trial and error to get through those 21-days, most of my clients notice that after only 7-days, they tolerate negativity less. After 2-weeks, they report that when they slip up, they can instantly self-correct!

4 - When you're complaint-free, it's a conversation starter. Imaginary scenario: Hal rushes into your office to gossip. You get to simply smile and say, "Gosh Hal, you know, I'd love to join in, but I'm in the middle of Upleveling my Life. I signed a contract to go Complaint/Gossip-Free. Wanna look at it?" Hal says, "Huh? What's that?" Poof! The energy of the conversation shifts! It goes in a different direction and you get to experience that wildly exciting lightness where gossip would have once existed!

5 - When you're complaint-free, it's a conversation deepener. Hal will listen for a while and then say, "Wow, that's a really great idea. I always notice how easy it is to complain, and I want to be more self-responsible..." You'll share a deeper connection when you each admit that you want to live happier and more focused lives.

6 - When you're complaint-free, you attract new energy.
My clients have reported this one change so frequently, that I barely blink an eye anymore. When you go complaint free, you simply start attracting more positive people to you. The negative people will walk away and think you're a complete idiot. But then, you'll start noticing positive curious people entering your life because you're so much fun to be around.

7 - When you're complaint-free, you banish lazy thinking. Think about it. You can't get much lazier than complaining and gossiping. It's the same well-worn neural pathway you've trudged down day after day, along with 95% of the population. When you're complaint-free, you go a different route. With alertness and alacrity, you find new ways of seeing things. (Plus, you get to use words like alacrity!)

8 - When you're complaint-free, you create happiness. It's challenging at first, yes. But after a few weeks, the common response I get from my clients is this: "You know what? I'm SO much happier!" That's because complaining is just a habit, and it does nothing but drag us down. When your attention is forced to find new places to land, your subconscious becomes a "happiness-seeking missile." And because you're so powerful, you find it!

9 - When you're complaint free with a group, you get to soar on the updraft of the great group energy. When groups work together, magic happens. It's why I created a Platinum Coaching and Mastermind group this year. It's why I invite my blog readers to join in on prayer lists each time I lead my women's retreats. When you link up with a group of like-minded people, effortlessness is created. So - create a cool updraft with the many thousands of people who subscribe to this eZine. Go complaint-free!

Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her 'LiveCreative' weekly ezine with more than 4,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at

WANT TO SEE HUNDREDS MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE?See Christine's blog - Be Creative. Be Conscious. Be Courageous - at

While Christine Kane is best known for her hip and catchy songs, and the down-to-earth wit of her live performances, her fans and students share that they are inspired most by her message of living authentically, passionately and courageously. Christine's philosophy is that you are the artist and your life is your work of art. That, she says, is what it means to "Live Creative." She now shares this message nationally, speaking to groups ranging from the CIA to the American Hospital Association to NICU therapists. Christine's award-winning blog ranks among the top 10,000 blogs on the internet. She has designed a coaching program to support women in their own empowerment. If you liked today's article, you'd love to spend a weekend with Christine at her "Unstoppable Power of Intention" Retreat for women, June 5-7, 2009. Click here to find out more!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One Killer Investment Opportunity!

What if I were to share with you the one investment that would definitely pay you back?

This investment is not tied to the stock market, and it's not related to real estate. It's not a bond, nor a precious metal.

This investment is YOU!

No job is guaranteed, nor its salary. Value attached to property may go up, but not necessarily when you need it to. The stock market is full of opportunity to make big bucks...and to lose them as well.

The only secure investment you make is in yourself.

That's why we get educated. That's why companies (normally) spend money on training. Training or learning opens your mind, creates new neural pathways to facilitate creative problem solving.

If your company isn't furthering your education, or if you've gotten your "laid off" message in your email box, don't sit back and rot.

Check out the abundance of free instruction on the Internet, free resources at your library, or seeking mentoring.

I liked what Chellie Campbell says in The Wealthy Spirit:

The only net you will ever have is the internal one you make for yourself. It is woven of goals, grit, determination, will, planning, resilience, creativity, and optimism. And the belief that if you fall, you have what it take to get back up (9).

Mixonian mindset vitamin: My investment in myself pays back early, securely, and richly.

Monday, February 9, 2009

New Marketing: Tell a Story

As you remember, traditional marketing = product + price + promotion + placement. Notice that product is first. There is this product, or service, and the marketing people have to market it.

That's old paradigm, folks!

New paradigm: create a story for some people, then create a product.

From Tribes, Seth Godin's definition of marketing: the act of telling stories about the things we make -- stories that sell and stories that spread (15).

Most wisdom from Mr. Godin: We're all marketers now.

You may have only one client, your employer, but your "client" better be clear about the value you contribute.

If you're working with numerous (a plethora of) still gotta have your story.

BTW, for communication folks, this reflects rhetoric guy, Walter Fisher's, "Human Communication as Narration" theory. But Seth Godin is a bit closer to cutting edge in business today.

What's the Mixonian story?

Mixonian was started by a barely-computer literate woman about a year ago. She wanted to have some way of connecting to her friends all over the globe, and contribute something to their daily lives as well. In the process, Mixonian brought her new friends, and the blog is about to blossom into a Real Web Site. Mixonian is multidisciplianary, but the idea is to bring useful ideas to her readers Monday - Friday.

The author remains barely computer literate.

Mixonian mindset vitamin: I market myself by sharing relevant and personal stories that reflect my passion and ideas.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Make Your Day -- Make a Mistake!

If you've had the courage to look at your stock portfolio lately, I'm guessing the thought has crossed your mind, "...if only I had sold XRY when it was...blah blah blah." Mixonian has only one thing to say: Get over it and move on.

Risk is part of life, it's better to risk and "fail" from time to time, than spend your limited time on this planet on the sidelines looking in.

It's not that your goal is to make a mistake; you're certainly going to do so in any case. What I want to share with you is important: your fear of making a mistake is a much bigger mistake!

You've probably heard that Thomas Edison tried 10,000 different materials before finding the right one to make the light bulb. Well, that's 9,999 mistakes on ONE SINGLE project. If he had been working for anyone other than himself, he may well have been fired after the first 100 tries.

It's not making a mistake that brings you down, it's how long it takes you to recover that wastes so much time.

It's not what happens to you that makes your life, it's how you react to what happens to you that defines you.

Last week my dear students gave impromptu speeches and did a bang-up job. But some of them let themselves get paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake. Or a few would make some small blunder, and then apologize, which only distracted the audience from their message. much more so than the mistake that most people didn't even notice.

Mixonian mindset vitamin for today: Making mistakes means I'm a player. I learn and move on.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Some Really Good News

You've probably already realized this, but we are truly experiencing a fundamental shift in the global economy. Let me remind you of some of the things we used to know:

- Banks are safe and conservatively run, as evident by their being subject to extensive government regulation.

- Lowering interest rates stimulates the economy.

- Government spending stimulates the economy (well, not everyone believed this, but a lot did.)

- Electing a popular president stimulates the economy.

- My job is pretty safe.

So, what's the "really good news"?

It's called O P P O R T U N I T Y. And....the shape of things to come is not known, it's up to us to decide that. How do we shape the future?

We decide not to get sucked into the current negative hysteria.

We decide that this is the time to get creative.

We remember the Law of Karma, that what goes around, comes around.

We decide that this is the time to take risks. No risk, no gain.

We decide that relationships trump things.

We remember that change is part of life. That's why we get to enjoy indoor plumbing these days.

I recently saw this quote from Joan Baez: "We don't get to choose how we die, or when. We can only choose how we're going to live."

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dealing with People Disguised as Energy Drains

You've probably noticed that when you spend time with certain people, you come away feeling positive and energized. Most likely, when people spend time with you, that's the way they feel. And then when you spend time with some other people, you come away feeling low. Like you hadn't realized things were THAT bad, that world was about to end, and that things can never get better.

Chellie Campbell calls people who bring you down, "tuna." In her way of viewing the world, people are either fearful "tuna," bullying "sharks," or clear and optimistic and competent "dolphins."

This post is about dealing with tuna -- people who even get you talking about how bad things really are. And that's so easy today, it's the spirit in the air right now: F E A R.

I know Mixonian readers want to support their friends, family, and co-workers, but dealing with "disasterizers" leaves you with less positive energy, not more. Here are some tips for loving these people while establishing healthy boundaries:

1. Blame your therapist. Use an unnamed third party to explain. My coach/therapist/boss/guardian angel says I can't afford to complain, criticize or gossip right now. She says its harmful to my psyche. See ya'.

2. Guide the conversation to discuss which related factors are under our control, and which are not. Either propose a plan of action, (like let's tell Ms. Boss how we found her critique unhelpful) or agree that since running the national economy is not under our authority, you'd prefer to focus on what's growing in your own garden.

3. Make a quick exit. Could be to the bathroom, or one Mixonian reader drives to a mall to powerwalk during lunch. That way she gets endorphins running, and comes back to work feeling stronger.

4. Start writing a blog, or an upbeat newsletter. If you develop a reputation for being extra positive, people will fear complaining in front of you. No joke!

5. Whatever you do, don't criticize the criticizer or you're getting snookered into the same negative game. Pushing against people, literally or figuratively, only strengthens their resolve to fight back.

It all starts with awareness...and soon you've got a reputation. "Don't talk to her, she'll just get all positive on you." (smirk) Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The True Way to Happiness

Christina, who is ten years old and one of the happiest people you could ever meet, wanted to share her advice with Mixonian readers.

1. Be happy every day.

2. Always look on the bright side of situations. Even though it looks like there isn't, there always is.

3. Keep calm and carry on.

4. Have fun every time you can.

5. Try not to stress, if you can help it.

6. Be the best person you can be every day.

7. Try your hardest.

8. Every once and again turn to God for help.

9. When you are sad, go to a mirror and smile, it always makes you feel better.

10. Always be self-confident and never care what other people think.

Christina also took the photo.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Will Give for Stratospheric Success

You could probably use some encouraging news. Carrie is enthusiastically recommending The Go Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann.

Here's super-condensed summary of their contribution:

The Five Laws of Stratospheric Success

1. The Law of Value.

Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.

2. The Law of Compensation.

Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.

3. The Law of Influence.

Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people's interests first.

4. The Law of Authenticity.

The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.

5. The Law of Receptivity.

The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.

For more, click here.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Why Go Back to School after 40

I am finally, after six years of studying, going to graduate this May with my PhD in Communication Studies. A lot of my friends are back in school, one friend just got his MBA last December. So, this is for the rest of you, here are some benefits of going back to school.

And...going back to school doesn't necessarily mean to get a degree, or another degree. Taking cooking classes, or sharpening your presentation skills is a way of going back to school. It's not the degree, it's the learning process.

Reasons to go back to school when you're supposed to be done with yer learnin':

1. Because you can.

2. Your professors make more sense now than when they did when you were 19.

3. While your BS detector is more acute, you also have more tact.

4. What you learn affects everything and everyone who crosses your path.

5. You set a great example for the children in your life.

6. Your children may pretend to be embarrassed, but secretly they're proud of you.

7. You meet interesting people and connect to them.

8. Learning always opens new opportunities for you.

9. You become an even more interesting person.

10. You have more things to talk about with people.

11. You become wiser in unexpected ways.

12. You appreciate more things in life.

13. Your self confidence blossoms.

14. You can earn more money.

15. It's fun....sometimes.

16. You surprise yourself, in a good way.

17. You learn to trust yourself more.

18. You become more self-reliant.

19. An investment in yourself always pays richly.

20. Your studies put other things in your life in a different perspective.

21. You learn more in a shorter time than younger students.

22. You only live once.