Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dolce Vita!

So here we are in Italy. We spent 3 magnificant days in Rome. Private tour of the Vatican, The Spanish Steps, the shopping, dining and above all, the laughs and fun with Kelly (my sister) and Dean. This has been a trip of a lifetime for them. We are now in Florence, and when we checked into the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel they escorted Kelly and Dean to their lovely suite, with flowers, champagne, and chocolates. Happy Anniversary! I loved the look in their eyes. Seeing them enjoy this trip is worth the price of admission. They are thrilled. We had a lovely day going to Pisa and tomorrow a city tour of Florence. Then off to a Villa to rest up for our flight home.

It has always been said that it is better to give than receive and I have always been a giver, but this trip has been a gift to me as well. Although I miss having Lefty with us, we talk several times at the end of my day and text late into the night. I have been in charge of making this a great trip for my sister and Dean, and it is working.

We went to Mass at the Vatican and as I sat there listening to the service in Italian I felt so good - I knew pretty much everything they were saying and it was a special time to just sit back and reflect on this year. We are all so blessed and so many of us just go so fast we don't take time to just "chill." I have not laughed so hard and had so many great conversations with my sister in a long time. We are always focused on the kids, work or family. This was just about us and it was a great time to connect. Lefty stayed connected by our stories over Skype each night - he laughed right along with us.

So as we enter the festive season of Thanksgiving, reach out and let those you love know how thankful you are for them. It only takes a phone call, a card and even just an email. Life is short - you all know that, so take care of what matters now. Dolce Vita!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Road Keeps Winding

I have always been a big believer in making lemonade out of lemons and believe that I have helped hundreds of people through this rocky year stay on top. So now it is my turn. When you are the person who everyone turns to for motivation, it is hard to find motivation yourself. I read everything in sight, listen to speakers, talk to everyone I can to keep myself informed and yes, motivated. But the road continues to wind and with each curve there is always another curve ball.

Recently my travel schedule has been more hectic than usual, and for those of you who know me you may wonder how that could be. But, yet, I keep on trekking. One city to another - one country to another, all with a smile on my face and a positive attitude. Up to this point I have always tried to look at things through rose colored lenses, but recently I have met people who will do whatever they need to do to get ahead, put others down and not really care about assisting those around them. Playing politics has never been a game I get involved in, and I have been able to avoid being invited to that table. Well I have decided I am inviting myself and calling people out on their antics. This of course won't win me any friends, but it certainly is allowing me to stay authentic to who I am.

I am known as the radical mentor, people want to hear what I say until it is about how they need to change. Please know that I am a part of this too, I get feedback about my performance, attitude and team work daily. I accept when I get on someone's nerves and I try and change that behavior. Why in the world is it so hard for people to face facts - look in the mirror and take responsibility for what is expected of you.

I am getting ready for a trip to Italy - it is my sisters 50th birthday and she and her husband are also celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. Lefty and I planned this trip a year ago as a gift to them. A fun time to get away and no speeches or workshops for Cindy. Well once again the road winds, and the curve ball is thrown.

On a 18 hour flight back from the Middle East Lefty developed 3 blood clots in his leg. Needless to say 2 weeks later getting on another transatlantic flight is not a good idea. So we pick up and keep going. I will take my sister and her husband on a fabulous trip. I will talk to Lefty every day and he will be a part of the trip. Just like we have done for 29 years. I wrote the book Living with no Balance and Loving it for a reason. If there were balance, we could have postponed this trip and waited for Lefty's leg to get better. But we don't live with balance - my schedule is so booked through 2010 that trying to find a new set of dates is crazy - so we move on.

Why is it so hard for people to be flexible. The restaurant that doesn't go out of their way for a guest, the hotel without a bar open to serve a busy lobby. The gift shop in a hotel that has nothing for any normal emergency you have while traveling and manager with an attitude. I have no more time for this and from now on I am speaking up. I always have been careful not to make anyone mad. Forget it - when I get mad no one even knows - so now it is time for me to share. Life is a great gift and I will never take it forgranted. Stop sitting back in your easy chair watching life go by - get out and participate with a great deal of passion!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Executives With Too Much Time on Their Hands!

We have experienced the biggest economic slow down we have seen in years and still there are so many executives that are out of control. Now more than ever it is every one's responsibility within an organization to make a difference. Whether you are the mail boy or the CEO, you need to focus on 3 key elements in your business today.

1. Keep all current customers so happy they won't go elsewhere
2. Find new customers to replace those that you have lost
3. Create innovative ideas to get your customers to spend more money with you

Now this takes brain power, energy, team work, brainstorming, breaking out of our comfort zones and accepting that just because you are the vice president you may not have all the answers.

As a leader you have a fundamental obligation to your business, your board members, your employees and your customers. Find ways to keep the business alive and don't sit back in your easy chair and direct. This time in history means rolling up your sleeves and getting out there and working - not sitting on the side lines judging and criticizing, but actually assisting your people how to do it better everyday.

I have been a leader for over 30 years and I promise you I have always worked side by side with my team during tough times. It doesn't mean during great times I sit back, it just means when business is so great I can step aside and plan for the future. The future right now is tomorrow and if you haven't done anything to help your team for tomorrow - there is no sense in sticking around for the future - because there may not be one for you! P.S. Wonder what I am doing with a TSA agent - just so happens they were having line up and I teach organizations about line up so I asked if I could join in - due to some security reasons I could only join for the last few minutes, but I did learn some new things - day by day, city by city, airport by airport I know I am helping each person I meet and each person on my team how to be better. And along the way I also learn and grow! Oh by the way - this TSA agent knows me so well her nickname for me is "shoes." I bet that some executives out there are not known as well by their employees as I am by these agents.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Different Religions are Like a Lamp of Light!

Interesting flight to London from Cairo recently. I was seated in economy next to two young girls my daughters age - 21 & 22 years old. One of the girls mother was up front in business class and the girls decided I was just the person to talk to.

A four hour flight and I enjoyed every minute of this conversation. The way they engaged in conversation was to lean over to me and ask if I was a mother. When I said "yes," they asked if I had a son or a daughter and what her age was. After we shared information about each other - they were attending a semester abroad in London, and I told them all about Jessica, then came the big question. Are you Christian or Muslim? I told them I was Christian and they both shared that one was Christian and one was Muslim. We proceeded to talk and they said, here is our dilemma...the Muslim girl explained that she is in love with a Christian boy from Cairo and her parents are forbidding her to see him and now that she is leaving for London she wants to call him to say goodbye. I continued to just listen and then they asked me what she should do.

Now let's remember that I don't know these girls at all and I am certainly not going to tell them what to do, but listening to their story made me feel bad for the Muslim girl who is in love with a Christian boy. Life is strange and each move we make changes our lives for ever. Her best friend seated next to her who is Christian and dating a Muslim boy said - go ahead and call him - use my phone and your parents won't know. The the Christian girl said something I will always remember... "After all religion is like lamps." "You can change the shade but the light is always bright underneath each shade!"

Remember this today - who are you, what are you and why do you do what you do? - we are all lamps with different shades - maybe we should all learn to shine some light!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Time to Turn Over a New Leaf!

It is the last few days of September and it seems like yesterday it was January. I know...where does the time go? So let's think about that. Where does the time go? How many of you have completed your to do's, hit your targets and are ready to begin turning over the new leaves for the next year. Yes, I am serious. Autumn is a great time to begin planning for 2010 - not just your corporate budgets, travel plans and targets for work, but your personal goals as well. What have you accomplished this year? Make a list of your accomplishments and brag out loud. Don't wait for someone to thank you for what you have done - thank yourself by feeling good about yourself and planning new challenges for next year. 2009 was tough for everyone - business, families, and students all struggled to make the most of a bad year. But we are turning over a new leaf. We are entering the last quart of 09 and I believe what I said in January - those of us who marched forward through this chaos are thriving and those who buried their heads in the said are just surviving. Which are you? What changes did you make in your life and in your business? What is your plan for 2010? How will you actually have made this recession work for you?... and finally ~ my suggestion to each of you reading this is to "just get on with it." This is our time to prove what we can do. Don't let the politics, the negativity or the economy get in your way. Go out and make a name for yourself in whatever field you are in. This is our time to shine!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Let's Get Real

Everyone in business today is serious about staying in their business and more so growing their business. But what does that really mean. What changes in behavior have you taken to find new business. There are a lot of people out there fighting for your share of the pie, and guess what ~ they may be more serious than you. What do you have to do in order to keep the business you have and actually win more business?

The answer lies in your focus, drive and commitment to work harder than your competition to keep your current customers and win new ones. Let's say for example you have a frozen yogurt shop in your neighborhood. You already have a lot of regular clients ~ you even have a loyalty program and stamp their card each time they come in. Well, what happens when someone opens another yogurt store within 1 mile of your existing shop? The new yogurt store even tells customers that they will honor your loyalty card and they have priced themselves evenly with you, offer more toppings for the yogurt than you have and even more so, they have a customized juice bar that you don't have.

What are you going to do. Complain to your friends that the community should not have allowed them to open another yogurt store by yours, lower your prices, try to build a juice bar, add more toppings - what are you going to do?

Let's get real! No one has a license on market share. What should you do? Make sure this doesn't effect you. First let's look at business today and see how focused you are and how competitive you must be. Answer the following questions to make sure you are prepared for the next competitive strike.

1. What new things are you providing to your customers now...before they ask for it?
2. How do you respond to customer feedback?
3. What does sense of urgency mean to you?
4. How do you actively stay on top of the competition?
5. How much fun do you have with your customers and your employees?

The answers to these questions and others will help you continue to position yourself aggressively against the competition. Remember ~ Let's Get Real! Stop blaming everyone else about your loss of revenue. Find new ways to contribute to top line revenue right now, whether you are in sales or not.

For more help contact www.masterconnection.com and ask for Cindy - I will give you what you need, and don't be surprised if it isn't a good kick in the pants!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Summer is Almost Over!

So the lazy days of summer are coming to an end...or are they? People are still out of work, or working less and to them, summer will keep on rolling until they are employed. The politics of today concern everyone - healthcare, the war(s), the economy, the weather, and on and on and on. So stop right now and focus on what I am about to say! Seriously. What is wrong with America? We are a strong country that has been a leader forever and now because the media and the liberals continue to tell everyone how bad it is here, some people are actually believing it.

Again, I am really not concerned if you are conservative or liberal - I am concerned with reality and most people can't face reality. Reality of this country has been built on hard work and not on hand outs. But that doesn't seem to matter anymore. Give me more, give me more...who is going to give more? The only people that are going to give more are the ones that are working hard to be able to give.

Tonight I had dinner with friends from England. First they HATE their heath care system and second, their friends and family members that are out of work are not even trying to get jobs because in their socialist society - the government will take care of them. So sad and so true.

When are we going to stop blaming and start to take some responsibility. If you haven't saved money, invested money in IRA's or your own retirement - whose fault is it? Money problems have been around forever - the only difference now is that we have to constantly blame someone and it usually is big business. I am over it and over those who want a hand out. Charity begins at home and I will take care of my own - my family, my business and my country. If you don't like that - who cares! We will not only survive this mess we will thrive. Look at the real grass roots of America...they are speaking up and not standing for this chaos. Think we are kidding...just continue to sit back in your easy chair and watch. This is just the beginning. Nothing and no one will make you a success. This comes from within - you either have it or you don't. Make something happen now and you will be successful for the rest of your life!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

If You Haven't Been to Houston Lately...You Don't Know Houston!

I am here in Houston, Texas working with the Convention & Visitors Bureau as well as the George R. Brown Convention Center. In addition, I am speaking locally so spending several days in downtown Houston, Texas. Let me start off by saying that I am very familiar with Houston. My parents and sister live north of the city in Spring, I worked at The Woodlands Inn & Conference Center and my daughter goes to college at Texas A+M in Galveston. So, as you can see, I spend a lot of time in this part of the world. But....I haven't spent so many days and nights in downtown Houston working and enjoying it as a destination.

So what is new ~ everything! Let's start off with the facts that Houston is 2nd only to NYC in number of Fortune 500 Companies HQ, 2nd only to NYC in restaurants, and Houston is one of the most International Cities in America with over 100 different nationalities. Within walking distance of the Four Seasons Hotel, The Hilton of The Americas and The George R. Brown Convention Center are restaurants, clubs, museums, sport centers, shopping, parks, music halls and you can get around the entire city in a taxi for only $6.00US ~ "Six in the City," a program that the taxi drivers with the city put together to charge a flat fee in the city which makes it very user friendly.

The new renovations of buildings for lofts, restaurants and shops have given a new sparkle to a city that many only thought of for the oil and energy business. More companies are moving their headquarters into the city which makes for a great lifestyle that hasn't been seen in the city center for years.

So, was I hired to say all this? NO! I love LA, OC, NYC, CHICAGO, and all the other cities in between. You hear me talk about Prague, London, Budapest and Cairo all the time, but now it is time for HOUSTON! I felt so much pride and passion about this city as my daughter Jessica, her boyfriend Brandon and I walked the city streets after 5:00pm. It was clean, safe and by the way ~ in July the weather was wonderful.

Everyone needs a make over now and again. As we enter the fall fashion scene, we always look at what's in and what's out ~ well Houston has hit the "in" list. If you haven't been to Houston lately ~ you don't know Houston at all!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Do You Really Want a Change Agent?

Everyone is looking for a "golden bullet" to make things better. Well business is clearly picking up, it still will be a while before we are back in the "business booming" phase. So let's talk about change.

Change it up, make it different, come up with a new way to be successful. That is the mantra of today - everyone wants to throw out the old because business has been bad, and forget about what results we actually got from the "old."

Call me old fashion, call me too rigid, call me too simple. But don't call me unsuccessful. I am very successful both personally and professionally and it drives me crazy how so many people want that success without the hard work. I know, you think, oh here we go again with Cindy on her soap box. Well if you don't like my soap box don't read my blog, my facebook, my twitter or even my emails. I won't get off this soap box until those who want the quick, easy solution to our problems start to get to work - and I mean "work."

Take looking for new opportunities or new business. You can call it whatever you want to call it - but it is prospecting for new business. Why does everyone try and sugar coat it, call it something else? It is picking up the phone, trying to get prospective customers to talk to you about your ideas, your products or services. It is that simple, but not that easy!

My daughter Jessie, who is 21 and getting ready for her senior year at Texas A+M is so excited about all the opportunities out there. This week, she and a friend brainstormed ideas for new companies. I jumped right in. Every idea was great and the energy was fabulous. Now comes the heavy lifting - putting ideas to work means "work."

So let's go back to the change agent. What is funny to me is when everyone wants change, and we go in and start to call it like it is, no one wants the truth. It reminds me of the movie "A Few Good Men." "You Can't Handle the Truth." If you really want change, you may need to look inward first. Do you as the boss, the leader the business person really want all that comes with the change? If not - don't ask for it. Start to make sure that what should be going on in your business is actually happening. Is everyone working at the speed and accuracy you need? If not...start there before you call in the change agent!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Focus on the Future

In order to develop a positive attitude during these times, we need to focus on the future. A positive outlook of the future is what will guide you and your team through this mess. So where does one begin? First - look in the mirror. What do you see? Do you see someone with the glass half empty or full? Do you see yourself helping your business in new ways - have you created an innovative idea lately?

The answers to these questions lie within you. You and only you need to take charge right now to help build business, give customers great service and provide value to your company. Great leaders, great employees are developed...not born. Yet, why do so many people seem to feel they don't need any development?

Today I want to explore the idea I had years ago - "Bust a Boss!" Now this may seem radical (which I am as you all know), but what I am talking about is simple "real time" conversations with your boss and vice a versa. Bust things up - shatter the normal and sit down and have a real conversation with your boss and tell them the truth. How can anyone help you if you don't admit where you may need some help.

Recently I met with a group and shared the idea of having them all write on a flip chart what they were really good at and on the other flip chart what they were not good at and didn't like doing. What followed was a complete change in the structure of the team. "Bust it Up." Change things around, but let's stop playing around. Real time feedback and talking to one another is the only way to really have a positive outlook of the future. Anything short of that is mere horseplay.

In today's complex environment the boss may not have all the answers. If you are the boss - and you don't have all the answers - admit it, ask for help and stop hiding behind the title. The future belongs to those of us with the confidence to lead our team through this economy. Tomorrow will show the results of our efforts.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Value of Business Travel

As I sit in my office after 19 days on the road preparing to leave for another 7 days, I realize the effect of business travel and productivity. Without a doubt, I have been extremely conscious of talking to everyone I meet on the planes, in the airports, hotels and around the meetings at coffee breaks. It is this simple. People need to break away from their normal day to day operations and meet with others to define strategies, action steps and programs to take their organizations into the future.

I truly believe we have hit the bottom and things are moving. I am seeing more travelers out calling on their customers and beginning to entertain them as well. Last week while attending an Oracle Users Group Conference and then a Sage Users Conference, I met more people that spoke to me about how business was rebounding.

Now, I say that but then I also see the business that is still suffering. Let's not play business right now. Let's focus on making it real! Real is about honesty, integrity and follow through. I leave you with this. Who do you need to call to clear up some issues? Who did you forget to follow up with, and what do you need to do to connect with your customers? It is up to you....not me!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Where in The World is Cindy?

So because I travel so much, I realize that I may post a new blog with my thoughts from Jackson Hole, and then a picture of me in Orlando and the next day on Facebook it says I am in NYC. I receive alot of Twitter comments that say "so are you in the mountains or the city?" Well first of all - I love to keep people guessing - I am everywhere, believe it or not. That takes me to my thoughts today.

I am currently on the road for 20 days without going back home to Orange County, CA. Normally, I come back home at least every 4-6 days, re-group and go back out. But now more than ever I need to be out assisting our clients in growing business - after all "Cindy Novotny is the Stimulus Package."

So on to the story. First let me say that I am usually a fan of all airlines - I fly so much that I applaud all airlines for keeping us going safely in the air. But now, I have decided after several flights on Delta that I am no longer a fan of this airline. Granted, I have no status on this airline, nor will I ever because I am no longer going to fly them due to their lack of appreciation for a road warrior who is a 1K on United and a Platinum on American. Northwest on the other hand (the airline that merged with Delta) is a different story. They understand service (no I am not kidding for all of you that call them "northworst." They get and I can prove it.

I flew from Atlanta to Miami on Friday of last week on Northwest. Again, no status on this airline, but when I checked in the the agent at the counter said would you like to purchase an upgrade to first class, since we have open seats and it looks like as a business traveler you may be interested in the $70.00 upgrade. I immediately said yes, bought the upgrade and everyone was happy. Northwest made $70.00 more dollars which is alot in today's market, and I had a great ride and a glass of wine.

Arrived on time in Miami, received my luggage and had a wonderful day of work in Miami on Saturday - yes Saturday - remember now more than ever you do what it takes.

Left Miami Saturday night on Delta - express plane with no first class to Orlando. Great flight, arrived in Orlando for the Oracle Users Group Conference and had a great time with the ducks at The Peabody.

After giving speeches on both Sunday and Monday I had to take a really long flight to Bozman, Montana and drive a 5 hour drive to Jackson Hole, WY in the middle of the night - well, I didn't drive but still had to be awake to see all the bison, wolves, deer and elk that we passed on this beautiful ride under a full moon. I may mention that I flew American out of Orlando and did get upgraded and had a wonderful flight.

So here we go...left Jackson Hole on Delta (express again - no first class) and flew to Salt Lake City, Utah where I had to wait 41/2 hours for a red eye to New York's JFK. So I used my Platinum American Express to get me into the Delta Sky Club (a nice perk of AX) so I could relax and get some work done. Again, the difference in the Delta Club to the Red Carpet Club or the American Airlines Club Lounge - big difference. It was 7:00pm and there were NO snacks except the cookies Delta serves on their coach flights, and pretzels. No cheese, veggies or any food to purchase which you can now get in American and United clubs. Oh whatever....I had 25 cookies and bowls of pretzels for dinner. Big deal.

I went up to the counter at the club and asked if there were any open seats in first class that would be available to purchase upgrades. She said "oh yes, there are 16 seats available on this flight to upgrade." I asked how much and she said $125.00. Oh great I thought and she said I needed to do it at the gate closer to departure time. So with that I went back to my seat and waited until about 11:15pm to leave for the gate.

Once I got to the gate, I realized there were only about 40 people milling around for our red eye to NYC. So I approached the gate agent (who by the way - gate agents on any airline can ruin your life - just ask the pilots and flight attendants), I asked the agent about upgrading. He said, yes this is available. He asked for my ticket and then when he saw my ticket he gave me the look.

"Oh you have a U fare." I replied with, "what does that mean?" "This is a cheap fare that doesn't qualify." Now just remember that I know something about yield management and revenue. I understand that a free upgrade may not apply, and that if there were people that wanted to upgrade with a higher fare ticket, they get first chance. But not with Delta. I waited while the gate agent announced the upgrade special - which by the way brings in money that goes right to the bottom line because on this flight there is no food and everyone is sleeping. After he made his announcement, I waited to see the rush of people go up to the counter to take him up on his offer of $125.00 for first class upgrade if you had a ticket that was "B", "F", "E", and any letter but "U."

No one, and I mean no one went up to the counter to take advantage of this. So you guessed it, I did. I went back up to the same gentleman and said "since no one else wants to give you $125.00, can you take my money and let me upgrade." The answer was the same. "It is our policy that we can't upgrade this fare." I looked around and said - "I have the money, I want the upgrade so I can sleep better because I have to land and go right to work." "NO!"

So let me get this straight. They charge $15.00 per bag to help offset fuel costs, you have to buy your food, buy your headsets, but they don't want to take $125.00 from me when no one else wants to give them their money.

So Delta....good luck! Policies today were made for yesterday. It is time to change your thinking, your approach and everything that goes along those lines. This is a reminder to all of us. What policies are in place in your company that are not in the best interest of the customer? What do you need to change to be more flexible with your clients and employees. How can you change for the market conditions right now. You can always go back to the "old policies" when the business is flooding through the gates.

Enjoy your weekend, and remember - everyone has a voice, a vote and the ability to decide who they do or do not do business with.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bus Stops, Ducks and Thrill Rides

It is a beautiful beginning of May. I started out in Atlanta, hiked through some local parks - well a leisurely walk is more like it with friends from Atlanta, had a great dinner and lots of laughs. Then off to Orlando for the Oracle Users Conference where I gave 3 keynote speeches. It is amazing how we can go from calm to high anxiety in just one day.

In Orlando, I decided we needed to get out and get some vitamin D and walk a bit around International Drive - well remember this is Orlando and it was the first hot day of spring 90 degrees and also no one walks in Orlando. I convinced Shelley who was with me to walk to Sea World - you now get it. Hot, tired, and when we finally made it to Sea World we were at the employee entrance. The general admission entrance was still one mile around the corner. We sat at a bus stop with the locals - waiting for bus 8 to take us back to the Peabody and engaged in conversation with the local bus riders - that made the trip. We spoke to one gentleman from Haiti who worked in F & B from Sea World, one retired golf caddy who was leaving for Missouri to caddy for a seniors tour, and one local Florida man who was riding the bus downtown for dinner. It was refreshing, fun and so out of character for people like us who fly to great destinations, get picked up in town cars and never leave the hotel.

Although we were very hot, I just kept thinking - you gotta love this life! Made it back to the Peabody, watched the ducks and then when the sun went down, we went back to Sea World and rode the new rollercoaster - Manta! Not even open to the public yet, but we were with some people who had passes for the press party. We played with the Manta Rays, wathed the dolphin shows, and learned about the sharks.

When I think about my travel schedule right now - on the road for 17 days without going home - dealing with business and the economy, the "flu", and the flight issues, I could sink into a "pity pool." But this is what I do - I enjoy the moment - I enjoy the city, I enjoy the thrill of this life that I chose. So today when you read this - remember, it is only as good as you make it.

You may be going through lay offs at work, salary reductions, family problems, illness and an array of issues. This is life and we have to accept the drama that comes with it.

My hats off to all of us that are holding our heads up high in spite of everything and continuing to look for the positive. Tough times don't last - tough people do!
Have a great week.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Consume the Luxury of Hanna's & Casa Bella!

Many of you know that Lefty and I are partners in a great restaurant ~ Hanna's. For 4 years we have been proud to help in selecting talent, working on menu's, handling conflict between employees and sharing in the passion of our partners Dave Hanna and Beth Coppini. Saturday night clients of ours from the UK flew over to visit us (MCA) and we took them to our restaurant for cocktails and dinner. This is always tricky when entertaining clients in the first place but even more so when you are treating them at your own restaurant.

We couldn't have been happier with our team and partners. Dave pulled out all the stops and Kat our server who has been with us for years blew our clients away. These top echelon clients dine at the finest restaurants in the world and couldn't believe the food, service and ambiance. These clients are more than customers to us ~ they are our friends and believe in true feedback. I know for a fact that they would tell us the truth, and the truth is that we are on the right track.

I love the hospitality industry, I love the hotels I work for and stay in, the restaurants I dine in and I love each and every employee in every one of these places. It is the real "authentic" person who can get up everyday in this environment and come to work with a smile on their face and a will to please and serve others that is unbelievable. Why can't everyone do this?

When my daughter was 12 years old, we built a new home in Coto de Caza. She was not happy to move from her house that she had lived in for a long time to a new house. We involved her in the design of the house and she named our new house "CASA BELLA." She created an ad campaign for the house called "Consume the Luxury of Casa Bella." She designed a story for each room with the tag line "Consume the Luxury of Casa Bella" on each story. She did this with zest, energy and a new found passion for her new home. Now everyone that enters our home sees her passion and work ~ and more importantly "Consumes the Luxury" of our passion for hospitality.

It amazes me how some people don't even care about those around them, whether in their family or with friends. So stop and think about the next time you are having friends or family over ~ let them feel your love, passion and desire to show them a good time. Apply this at work tomorrow. It only takes a few minutes to make people want to be around you. We are proud that our employees both at MCA and Hanna's like their jobs and their surroundings. Do you?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Be Unrepeatable!

Create your own magic and try not to copy others. That is all very nice, but it is amazing in the world of competition how many people really do try and copy each other. Now this is not about benchmarking - this is about losing sight of what is real and what is made up. I have had the opportunity to work with many different types of people, both in my company and outside. All of these individuals brought something unique to the table, but when push came to shove, some of them could not stand up to the test of being an individual with their own ideas.

Please note - this is about some people...not all! How can you really excel if you are not authentic? How can you deliver excellence to your customers, co-workers and your company, if you have nothing original to bring to the table. Remember, we are not talking about inventing the next cool tech toy - I am merely speaking about making things happen. In some cases, it isn't even about being different - it is simply about making things happen - all by yourself.

In a world where everyone seems to be hunting for new business, canvessing the sea of prospects and looking for a new way to add value to their cusomers and cash to their bottom line, it is time to live life with some "juice."

Start with stamping out conformity, form letters, emails with no meaning. Amaze yourself by trying something new. Don't set back and say "later." If not now, when? Delight those around you by transforming negativity into a new thought. Confront someone who is driving you crazy, challenge your peers to step it up a notch, and turn your personal life upside down - have fun by living each moment with a smile.

Being unrepeatable means that you truly bring something to the table. You are not a phoney, fake or trying to be something you are not. Just try to experience each day by participating in life in your own shoes. You will be amazed at what you can do. Stop hiding behind what others think you should be, and share what you are. This is the life we chose, therefore let's accept it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The "AIG" Effect - All is Good!

It is April 1 and no fools are rushing in. We have all taken the past several months very seriously, and now it is time for a wonderful second quarter. I was in a meeting last week, when everyone agreed that we need to focus on the positive - "All is Good." Instead of "the AIG effect."

People are back to work - business is humming - I notice it everywhere. I was in NYC with my daughter shopping over the weekend, and I am NOT exaggerating that there were lines in the stores like it was Christmas. People were not just browsing - they were shopping, dining, drinking, laughing and spending money.

So here is my hit list for all of you to start of the second quarter:

1. Reach out to every one of your customers and find out what you can do to assist them in areas you may not have provided before - make your business a one stop shopping experience for them.

2. Re-look at your organization and find weak areas that need to be polished, strengthened, fine tuned and improved for quality and efficiency. After finding the gaps - create a plan to close those gaps and improve how business gets done.

3. Create a positive energy campaign in the office - the 3 E's - energy, enthusiasm, and energy. Look at everything - the way the phone is answered, the smiles on the team members face (or lack of), the creativity in the proposals, the honesty in the feedback, the development of the team and the ability to find new business.

It is so important to keep on a high - keep things rolling. Business will continue to get better as we in business get stronger. Strength comes knowledge, honesty and a clear vision of the future - so April Fools Day for me - this has all been a bad joke and it is over!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Everyone Needs Some Direction

Hello from lovely New York City. I figured out why so many people are lost right now during the financial "crisis." Since I travel so much, there are many mornings when I wake up, that I actually have to "think" about what city I am in. It dawned on me this morning at 6:00am Eastern Standard Time when my wake up call arrived. I had only been back in the states for 2 days from Asia Pacific when I left California for New York City.

I needed some direction - I looked out my window and saw all the highrises and realized exactly where I was - but in the dark, with my curtains closed, I was confused.

I think this is our problem today - many people are living in the dark, eyes shut, listening only to the media and not asking for direction. Each of us need to open our eyes, ask questions and try to figure out solutions...not stay tucked away in the dark waiting for sunlight.

As leaders today, you need to step up to the plate and provide on going leadership and direction to your employees - now more than ever. Where is your business headed, what issues lie ahead, how can employees step up right now and what is the overall strategic plan.

Remember that many younger employees - fresh out of college have never seen this type of recession before and they need your direction to move out of the disaster and into the future.

In my leadership training, we focus on developing team members - there are beginners to masters and each step needs different leadership. You have some people on your team that "think" they are a master, yet are producing like a beginner. What have you done about that? What feedback have you given them, what development steps have you put in place and what inspiration are you giving your team to keep their heads held up high and shoot for the moon. Remember if they shoot for the moon and come up short they at least will hit a star!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thai Food - Spicy but Sweet!

Before I traveled to Thailand, I never thought I liked Thai food. My brother in law loved it and I always said - no, too spicy. Then I spent a week in Bangkok and fell in love with the spicy and sweet tastes of Thailand. Thai Cuisine is well-known for being hot and spicy and for its balance of five fundamental flavors in each dish or the overall meal - hot (spicy), sour, sweet, salty, and bitter.

Last night I took Lefty to my favorite Thai restaurant in Singapore. I had been there before, and in addition to the great food ~ the employees are spectacular. They genuinely want to help you. They describe each item on the menu as if they made it themselves, they come up with ideas for local wines and beyond everything ~ they are excited you are dining with them. The name of the restaurant is Kha. So where does this dining experience lead me...

In life, there are people that are spicy - hot- hot-hot! But very sweet. I think I am one of those people. I have a lot of fire in my personality, but in the end I care deeply about those around me. You don't need to be luke warm to be friendly - you can have a spicy temper, passion and lust for life....just remember when you get too hot, enjoy the coconut sticky rice with mango to calm you down.

Here is to living a spicy life, that always has a sweet ending to each day!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What a Small World!

It is Thursday morning in Singapore and Wednesday night - St. Patricks Day in Galveston, Texas. I just spoke to my daughter Jessica and my nephew Danny live over a webcam at The Spot in Galveston, Texas. How much fun is this? As they cheered with their green beers, I sipped my morning coffee and we caught up. Life doesn't get any better than this. Or does it?

I want to remind any of you reading this that I have spent the last 20 years traveling the globe and my daughter traveled with me. Now that she is in her 3rd year at Texas A&M, her travel schedule has slowed quite a bit, but today I had her with me in Singapore - if only on a webcam - live enough to talk and see each other. She spoke to the participants in the class and together everyone had a laugh.

So why is it so hard to talk to the people you see everyday - your family, your friends, your boss, your co-workers. Do me a favor. Get up tomorrow morning with a new attitude. Make an effort to reach out to those around you at home and at work. Get on the elevator and don't look down. Make eye contact with the people in line with you at Starbucks. Smile at the valet who takes your car, hold a door for someone and more than ever - appreciate all this wonderful world has to offer. It is ours for the taking - so let's do something about it.

Whatever corner of the world you are in - Cheers to you from me!

Corporate Social Responsibility ~ "CSR"

Ok...the time has come to call it what it is - unbelievable. How can Howard Schultz the founder and CEO of Starbucks actually talk about "giving back" on CNN yesterday when he has closed 600 stores in the US and has laid off all of the assistant managers in each of his existing stores. Sounds like a good marketing message to let everyone know that $1.00 per coffee goes to help struggling countries. What about all his employees that are now out of work and can't find another job. Maybe he should donate $1.00 per drink to them. Corporate Social Responsibility - the new buzzword of business should start at home...

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), also known as corporate responsibility, corporate citizenship, responsible business and corporate social opportunity is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. Ideally, CSR policy would function as a built-in, self-regulating mechanism whereby business would monitor and ensure their adherence to law, ethical standards, and international norms.

Business would embrace responsibility for the impact of their activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere. Furthermore, business would proactively promote the public interest by encouraging community growth and development, and voluntarily eliminating practices that harm the public sphere, regardless of legality. Essentially, CSR is the deliberate inclusion of public interest into corporate decision-making, and the honoring of a triple bottom line: People, Planet, Profit.

Now it is not that I am against any of the above ideas or principles. In fact I am all about helping each other, saving the planet and honoring the community growth internationally. But I do believe that each of us are obliged to start with our own companies and countries. I have always believed that charity starts at home and if we all don't take care of our own organizations, neighborhoods, employees and families we will never solve much.

Too many movie stars, musicians and executives find it their role to try to fix the world when maybe they should drive into the "bad neighborhoods" of their own cities. Maybe it is time to help one another out at home so that we will have the strength to help others around the world.

My company has always practiced CSR - I take care of my employees, my customers, my community and help around the world with my customers. In addition, we are ethical, honest and deliver on our promises.

I believe it is time to look in the mirror and make sure you are walking the talk at home and in your own company before you branch out to save the planet.

Monday, March 16, 2009

It is a Global Promise of Success!

Stop focusing on your own problems, your own company, and your own country. We live in a global economy and it is amazing how positive things sound when you are reading the newspaper in Singapore or Sydney vs. New York. I am serious. The world is not coming to an end ~ although there is a global slow down ~ it is not the end of business. So here are some thoughts for those of you trying to run a business in the states.

1. Do you have a product that you could market internationally?
2. Have you opened up your company to do business in parts of the US or globally that you have never thought of before?
3. Is your Internet Marketing programs working for you while you are sleeping?

Now is the time to try out different things. Don't think for one minute that you must be a mega corporation to do business abroad. There are so many possibilites for those who reach out and grab them.

Are you ready to start selling to new markets, new clients, new territories. If you depend on the same customers that you have been doing business with over the past several years, you may find yourself behind - branch out and don't be afraid of what you don't know.

The world has become very small. There are entrepreuneurs in every country - someone ready and willing to rep for you, partner with you and capitalize on your ideas. Ready - Set - Go!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A View From the Top From Down Under....

Business is back. I am sitting at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport ready to board my flight to Singapore and the place is buzzing with business travelers. I am fortunate to be sharing a conference room with an executive from a global accounting firm and he shares that his organization has pulled out all the stops and they are back on the road visiting their clients. Fantastic! Even the energy at the airport right now is different. It is positive, there are smiling faces and business professionals are networking and talking.

It gives me great pleasure to see this in action. I just completed a course with Business Events Sydney - the team of people that are responsible for bringing Internation Conferences to Sydney. It was so refreshing to work with a group of people who didn't know what to expect from the session and left on a high with real time results.

If you are reading this, you probably know me, are a friend, collegue or have followed my blog because you have been in the industry and maybe attended one of our sessions.

I want to have each of you think about what you need to do to clear up your mind as we get ready to enter the 2nd quarter of the year. These past few months have been filled with "stuff" that created a dull, negative headache and now that the clouds are passing and the sun is shining....it is getting easier to move on.

My suggestions are to go back to your clients - call them, thank them and ask them what you can do now to move business forward. What do they need from you or your company. Too often we get too busy and forget to reach out to our customers and friends just to say hi....now more than ever it is time to do that. Let's celebrate the dawning of a new day - business travelers and leisure travelers alike are heading back to the world of travel. I couldn't be happier. Spread the word...it will catch on.

Here is to safe flights, great hotels, city tours that amaze you and a life worth living.....Cindy Live from Australia

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I can help your business stay on top in this economy!

Don't let this economy get us down - come up with new ideas, improve your business and be the "cream that rises to the top!!!" Be more exciting to your customers and give them compelling reasons to do business with you!

Contact me so that I can help you motivate and train your employees so that you stay on top!

Master Connection Associates
31441 Santa Margarita Parkway
Suite A 273
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
(800) 589-6137 Toll Free
(949) 589-6137
(949) 589-2758 Fax

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

No More Guilt Trip About Luxury!

It is March - and it is madness! I just celebrated Jessica's 21st birthday in Vegas with 28 family and friends at Mandalay Bay. It was absolutely unbelievable. Everyone had a blast...from the 21 year olds to the 75 year olds. I might add, that it was a "luxury" packed weekend that we have saved for since she was born. 21 only happens once, and why shouldn't we throw the party of a lifetime - forget the financial crisis - it was my baby's birthday. So I get home to the OC on Sunday evening at 8:30pm....pack for my trip to Australia the next day and sit back to reflect how grand life really is. All we hear about is that luxury travelers are gearing down, not taking the wonderful vacations they did last year, not saving for the special present for their mom or daughter because no one knows what the future holds.

Well I will tell you what the future holds. This is America and we are about freedom and spirit. Instead of keeping quiet about spending or showing your wealth...celebrate your hard work and all the things you have done to get where you are.

I board my flight for Sydney....get upgraded to business - yeah! And as I snuggle into my new United "bed" I read the cover story of USA Today - Weekend. There it is screaming at me - don't let your friends know about your cruise, don't let them know you upgraded to first class, and for heavens sakes don't ever let them know you got your tan from skiing in Gstaad...pretend your winter tan came from skiing a local hill. Don't you dare hire a car to take you to your hotel, hail a cab even when the price is the same...some might think you are a "jet setter."

Are you kidding me? So I sit in my brand new United "bed" and watch the couples around me that are flying to Australia for the first time. They are excited, celebrating with a champagne toast and cameras out to capture the memories. I speak to most of them around me. "So have you had this trip planned for a long time." They answer - "no, actually there were some good deals and we decided to enjoy this economic turmoil and cash in on some deals." So call it what you want - luxury shame, stealth wealth or guilt downsizing. I call it - "enough already!" There should be no guilt to trying to enjoy this fabulous life.

If we don't start spending money we will see a bigger downfall then ever before in the history of the USA. Since our president quotes Lincoln all the time, I thought I would set the record straight with a speech that Lincoln gave and one I have never heard our president refer to ...so here it is - read it with heart, mind and eyes wide open....

"The world has never had a good definition of the word "liberty". The American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty. But in using the same word, we do not all mean the same thing. "What constitutes the bulwark of our liberty and independence?

It is not our frowning embattlements, our bristling sea coasts. These are not our reliance against tyranny. Our reliance is in the love of liberty, which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands everywhere.

Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors. "At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some trans-Atlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us in a blow?

Never. All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined could not, by force, take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? "I answer that if it ever reach us, it must spring from amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we ourselves must be the authors and finishers. As a nation of free men, we must live through all times, or die by suicide."

Let reverence for the law be breathed by every American mother to the lisping babe that prattles on her lap. Let it be taught in the schools, in the seminaries, and in the colleges. Let it be written in primers, in spelling books and almanacs. Let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And in short, let it become the political religion of the nation. And let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes, and tongues, and colors, and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly at its altar. "And let us strive to deserve, as far as mortals may, the continued care of Divine Providence, trusting that, in future national emergencies, He will not fail to provide us the instruments of safety and security. Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, or frightened from it by menaces of the destruction to the government, nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might. And in that faith, let us to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it." ... Mr. Lincoln

So there you have it my friends....it will come from amongst us...so get to work, get spending, stop hiding your desire to travel and enjoy fine hotels all over the world. Sip your champagne and toast to the hard work that got you here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stimulus Package from Cindy!

So here is our Stimulus Package Options from MCA!

FREE e-learning Training!
Now more than ever, prospecting for new business and closing more sales is critical. To stimulate your sales, take two MCA e-learning workshops – Prospecting With Purpose & Turning Internet Data Into Sales and get the 3rd – Winning Closes FREE!

More MCA e-learning options: Go to www.masterconnection.com or www.mcaelearning.com

I have been told that I am "the Stimulus Package!" After 9/11 I personally traveled the globe helping organizations get back on the road and back to business. I can do it again.

Now more than ever, your success ultimately depends on the continued positive approach you take with your customers. Help is on the way…I am available to inspire and motivate, giving specific messages and techniques to remain productive and positive in this difficult time.

Service and Sales is critical and now more than ever we need to be at the top of our game starting with a positive attitude and using proper techniques that I will illustrate to help everyone make things happen.

Live – Customized Webcasts, Podcasts or "Me....Cindy" Live on location!

Live! Sales Stimulus Webinars
Now more than ever, everyone is in sales and needs additional support to compete in this uncertain time. Sales productivity has never been more important. MCA offers sales timely live, interactive webinars to provide strategic and technical skill training to support all your sales efforts.

Hot Topics:
1. How to Find and Sell More Local Market Business – effectively finding more local business to bring in revenue - weddings, banquets, special occasions
2. Everyone is in Sales-‘how to do it on property’ – this session is for all GMs, Front Desk, Reservations, Food & Beverage and of course Sales & Catering that needs to be searching for any possible business and how to help each other make it happen
3. 2009 Recovery Plan Selling Skills Series - 5 Session Webinar Series to sell effectively in 2009: Prospecting for New Business, The Probing Process, Selling Your Hotel with Impact, Handling Customer Barriers, Winning Closes

Call our office NOW - +1949-589-6137 - let them know Cindy told you to call!

Business Means Business!

There is not a day that goes by as a motivational, sales trainer that I don't encounter people asking for help. What can I do to find more business, make more money or keep my job? The answer to all of these questions lies with you. Master Connection Associates has created a "stimulus plan" for their customers. We have the ability through our customer service, sales and leadership training to connect with your staff to create a positive outlook of the future. So what is the catch - it is simple. First and foremost you have to open your mind and be positive. The negative attitude and conversations that are taking place around the water cooler need to stop. Sure people are losing their jobs, lay offs are never easy, but creating a negative atmosphere for those that are left to pick up the pieces is not the way to pull ourselves out of this mess. So here are some tips to guide you through the next several months.

1. Stop all negative chatter around the water cooler
2. Communicate everything that is going on in the company - keep people informed
3. Hold people accountable
4. Don't let slackers off the hook
5. Reward and praise the super stars in public
6. Don't allow anyone to play the blame game
7. Allow everyone to feel free to ask questions
8. Create an environment that allows all employees to give feedback to one another
9. Open up yourself as a leader to feedback
10. Remember to stay positive - tough times don't last, but tough people do!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It is always done this way!

So here I am at home trying to be normal. I go to my local grocery store and pharmacy to refill a prescription. I walk through the aisles and find that the line is fairly long, winding through the aisles to the pharmacy window. I get in line with my cart and a woman in front of me tells me that the elderly lady sitting down over there is behind her. I smile at the lady seated and say "ok, I will make sure you go before me." I stand in line for about 10 minutes while everyone ahead of me gets their meds, and just when it is clear I am next, I say o the elderly woman, "ok it is your turn." With that a very O.C. (Orange County) woman standing in a differnt line in a different aisle, says "excuse me I am next." I politely say - "oh no, we have been waiting in line for 10 minutes and this elderly woman is next." Ms. O.C. says - "that is not the line - it is always done this way - we stand in this aisle so I am next." Now I am not exaggarting, this woman was going to fight me and the nice elderly lady to get her place in line because that is how it is always done! Well she met her match. I am not one to back down anyway, but put me in charge of helping a "grandma" and I am all over that. This woman is an example of what is wrong with this world. It is not about you, it is about everyone. It is not about just having good manners and being a thoughtful person, it is about you never know who is watching you. So I decided to see who this woman was. I always wanted to be a PI - I followed her "cautiously" around the grocery store and then checked out right next to her, pushed my cart toward my car, which was parked not far from hers and as our eyes met, I said very nicely - "I am so sorry I didn't know the rules of the pharmacy today." "Thanks for helping me out." She looked shocked and said, "did I really seem that rude." I again in my nicest voice said "yes." I proceded to ask her if she lived in the neighborhood, and we exchanged small talk - knowing alot of the same people. She then said she was sorry for her bad attitude. I said thanks for the apology - now I won't have to personally bad mouth you around town - because in this town that "is how it is always done." Enjoy you week - and be nice - you never know who is watching you.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pay Attention to Everyone Around You!

So here I am skiing in Breckenridge, Colorado after just getting back from London....oh I know you think it is all fun and games, but seriously...I am always working, even when I am playing. Tonight I had a great dinner at Keystone Ranch - just like skiing, I love ski in and ski out. Dining is no different. I love the places where you drive up for dinner, they valet your car and you never have to hassle with your coat - dine in and in out. So why am I telling you this. Well, as in any situation, I love to talk to people around me. Tonight was no different. At Keystone Ranch, after you finish dinner, they escort you to a wonderful great room around a blazing fire and you sit in comfortable chairs with strangers and have your dessert and coffee - I said strangers! Everyone sitting around you is enjoying the same ambiance, and yet everyone is talking to everyone. That does not even happen in the same office. So we engage in conversation and it so happens that the party we are talking to is from Arizona...they began to tell us how they work hard so they can come to Keystone and enjoy this - fine food, wine and 40 year old port. They also said they noticed there were less people skiing - well it is the "crisis." The financial slow down of America. That is when the conversation got good. One person was a teacher, one was a business owner and the other was a lawyer. They began to talk about how we really need to focus on keeping business going and not keep dwelling on the negative. So I mentioned the MSN comment I read on line today - a financial writer for MSN spoke about how we should get rid of Valentines Day because we spend millions of dollars on unnecessary things. Now please understand why I am over the top about this author. She lives in a log cabin in upstate New York and just because she has this unbelievable degree in journalism she can write for MSN and make people believe she has all the answers. Well here are my answers....it is about capitalism and spending money to keep the economy going...not getting rid of what makes this country so great - she must be a very unhappy and naive woman who thinks that getting rid of a holiday like Valentines Day will save the economy. She needs to take a trip to the center of Manhattan and see how business is really conducted. Does she even know why she gets a pay check every week? I question anyone that thinks that big or small business is the problem in this country, when it is the reason this country has led the way for so long. So back to my friends at Keystone Ranch. They simply want to work hard, play hard and sip 40 year old port along the way. Mark my word - tough times don't last - but tough people do. I dare you to challenge the status quo and get out there and make a difference - not next week, next month or next year. Tomorrow will make the difference. Cheers to all of us that want to enjoy this fine ride of life!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Let's Take This Opportunity to Succeed!

It is February and still the media, government and even your friends are focusing on the dismal economy and what lies ahead. I am refusing to let this get me down. The apathy that fills the air is pathetic - we have never "saved" our way out of an economic crisis and we certainly won't this time. It is time to figure out how to grow your business - encourage your employees and create new, exciting ideas that will innovate our way through this mess. I didn't need a bail out, I didn't cheat investors and I certainly am not going to curb spending, traveling or conducting business on the road. I am an entrepreneur and I will continue to find ways to make money. I am a sales leader, a coach, a parent and the "stimulus package" for my company and family. I don't believe in negativity and yet I believe in reality. There has never been a better time to show the world what you can do... I plan on doing just that. So those who think I am crazy, can just set back in their easy chair and watch as life passes by. When you are living life, you are tackling problems - not hiding out waiting for hope to pick you up. So with that, I am off on a plane to Lisbon - upgraded to business class using miles - not money, reading The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson to figure out the history of money and how to make it all work in 2009! Have a great week - and remember that the miracle is YOU!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Full On!

I talk about positivity, I talk about going the extra mile, I talk about thinking beyond your boundaries and disruptive innovation. What is next? It is about you wanting to make things better. To communicate better, sell better, be a better partner/friend/spouse/parent or boss means that you take on each and every moment "full on!" I starting saying the phrase "full on" years ago when I would be telling a story and get excited - people would say to me, "really, did that happen," and my answer was not yes, no or maybe, it was "full on." It actually does not make a lot of grammatical sense, but I never worry too much about that - what it means is to allow life to come at you "full on."

January is almost over - financially speaking everyone is holding back until the first quarter is over...I say why hold back? While everyone is standing still - I am moving at a fast pace - "full on." I don't agree to let this "slowdown" actually "slow me down." In fact, just the opposite. Remember to be noticed you must keep moving while everyone else stands still. This is the year of hope, change and uncertainty for some. For me it is the year of success, pride, certainty, fulfilling my dreams and working harder than ever! Good luck as we enter the second month of this fabulous year!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Now More Than Ever!

Welcome to 2009! I can't believe it is here, and all the drama that is following it. I was over the top in December with travel to Egypt and the holidays that I had no time for "blogging." So here we go. The first focus is how to handle the coming months for business. My answer....we will thrive, not survive. Now is the time for disruptive innovation. Stir it up, blend it up, mix it up but whatever you do turn it upside down.

Ignore the negative media and friends around you, keep your head on straight and focus. Remember those who say it we can't survive should get out of the way of those of us who are making things happen. As we keep positive we must remember how lucky we are for what we already have. We are off to a busy start and you will not hear me grumble about the travel, the weather or the economy. I am thankful for everything that is going on in my life. Just this week, Lefty's dad had a heart attack....thank goodness he is in the hospital right now, and they just put a stint in and he is doing fine. I am thankful that Lefty could jump on a plane and get right there by his side. Jessica is back to Texas A&M, and for me....well it is back to the great smell of jet fuel in the morning. Happy New Year!