Monthly Archives: April 2011

WHAT matters, check HOW at the door….

By Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

I ran across a quote of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this week which really caught my eye –

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

This is especially appropriate as we finish this month’s focus on setting intention. So many times, our choice of a goal gets dumbed-down because we can’t figure out how it’s going to happen, or, as Dr. King said, we can’t see all the steps between here and there. Part of the art of setting intention is just setting it and having trust in your own inner courage and power to move in that direction, knowing that there is a way, and your feet will find it – maybe even in spite of your mind which is wildly trying to think up HOW.

Years ago I used to write down everything I wanted in my life as a New Year’s day activity.  Since I was flying private airplanes at the time, one of those things was to have a home that backed onto a private airstrip so I could just pull my plane out of the hanger next to my house and take off.  Of course I couldn’t see the end of that staircase, but it went on my list anyway.  Same with the swimming pool I thought would be lovely in my backyard, and the business I wanted to start.  None of those dreams came with a how, they were just MY DREAM.  Truth be told, a year or two later, I wasn’t interested in the pool (too much to clean, and too risky for my children’s safety) or in the home on an airstrip (too noisy and isolated from the city) and I’ve run my business successfully now for 18 years even though I put that on my “Dream” list 30 years ago.

WHAT intentions would you set if you didn’t have to come up with the HOW first?

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Filed under Dreams, Inspiration, Intentions, Sheryl Eldene, Uncategorized

Clear Vision makes the Difference for Online Marketing

By Gail Z. Martin

What, specifically, is your vision for your online marketing? If you don’t have clear intentions for your online marketing, it probably isn’t working as hard for you as it could.

Online marketing includes your web site, any paid ads you run online such as banner ads or Facebook ads, your presence on blogs and podcasts, online press releases, web videos and audios you’ve created, teleseminars and online events—everything about you on the web.

Does your online presence tell a consistent story? Do all the pieces reinforce your position as an expert? Are you showing yourself in your best light?

In order to have a clear intention for your online marketing, you need to focus on your top business goal and your #1 target audience.

Everything you do should support achieving your top business goal by successfully connecting with your #1 target audience in a way that moves your audience to take strategic action.

What is the action you want your audience to take? Do you want them to move down your sales funnel from free download to expensive consulting product? Do you want them to sign up for an upcoming event? Are you hoping they’ll invite you to speak? It’s OK to want all of those things, but you’ll need a carefully structured online effort to reach multiple audiences with multiple goals.
Start simple. If your #1 target audience did just one thing to make the biggest impact on your bottom line to help you achieve your top goal, what would it be? Once you know, align all of your online marketing efforts toward encouraging your audience to take that single action.

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Marketing, Social Media

This is MY Dream….

I fell in love (for the first time) with “Alice in Wonderland” this week. When I enjoyed the Disney film decades ago, it was fanciful and faguely interestiing. Today I’m very interested in the role of intention to the outcomes of our lives, and I’m a new groupy to the ALICE “cult”.

OK, just kidding, sort of. In the course of the film, Alice says “Ever since I fell down the rabbit hole, I’ve been told what I must do and who I must be. This is my dream and I will decide where it goes from here”.

In the sequel to the movie “What the Bleep Do We Know”, titled “Down the Rabbit Hole” the producers continue their discussion of how much the role of intention plays in the outcome of each person’s individually lived movie.

I never understood why they would call the sequel that. Now I do. Ever since I was born, I, too have been told what I must do (keep your knees together and if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all) and who I must be (wife, mother, successful, hard worker, femme fatale – but not too fatale).

This really is my dream, and I am deciding where it goes from here. I love working, and I love being feminine, and I love being successful – that’s my dream. What’s yours?

Written by Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

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Filed under Dreams, Intentions, Sheryl Eldene

Does Your Web Site Have 20/20 Vision?

By Gail Z. Martin

Does your web site have a clear focus on communicating with your ideal client, or is your focus a little fuzzy?

Can you see your statement of intention in your web site—its design, content, and wording? If not, your focus is probably fuzzy, and your target audience is probably not getting a clear message.

Start with a clear statement of intention. Who do you want to attract to your web site? What do you want them to do when they reach your site? What impression of you do you want them to carry away? How often do you want them to return?

When your intentions for your web site are clear in your own mind, you can view your site with fresh focus and new eyes. Imagine that you are one of your ideal prospects. Look at your home page. What does it say to you? Does it offer value or promise to help you solve your most pressing concern? Are there no-risk ways to get to know the expert (you) better—such as a free downloadable article or ebook? What is on the site that will improve your (the prospect’s) life?

Now that you’ve had a chance to take a 20/20 look at your web site with fresh eyes and clear intentions, what changes will you make?

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Marketing, Sales

Social Media Success Begins with Clear Intention

By Gail Z. Martin
When you log onto Facebook for your business, do you have a clear intention in your mind of what you hope to achieve?

Without a clear intention, you’re likely to lose your way. Facebook and other social media sites are full of distractions, from comments by old friends to videos of cute kittens. If you’re not completely sure what your mission is when you log onto Facebook to promote your business, you can drift, dawdle, and find that you’ve wasted several hours.

The key to having a clear intention is to keep your top business goal in mind. Next, remind yourself who your key target audience . That audience will help you achieve your goal, and that’s who you’re on social media to meet.

Go armed with content that you’ve already written that targets the needs, interests and concerns of your target audience. Provide tips, ideas and expert suggestions that showcase your expertise and, most importantly, provide something of value for your target audience.

Take the time to make a personal connection to just two of your current friends. Comment on one of their recent posts, ask a question, share an interesting link. Then invite 5 – 10 people to friend you and “like” your fan page by selecting people who are part of one of Facebook’s many groups dedicated to a topic that relates to your expertise.

With a clear intention, your time on Facebook will translate into a stream of new prospects and qualified traffic to your web site.

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Intentions, Social Media

The Golden Rule

by Tish Times

I have lots of meetings. I meet with prospective Corporate Members, I meet with job seekers, I engage with vendors, I talk to entrepreneurs. I make it a point to learn something from each interaction that I have.

Recently I met with a company who was trying to sell me on their product. I had some additional appointments in the vicinity of their location, so I asked to meet at their office. The meeting was scheduled for 8:00 a.m., I arrived about ten minutes early. The lobby was open so I took a seat to await the arrival of the prospective vendor. Around 8:10 the gentleman that I was anticipating rushed through the door, papers spilling out of his briefcase, tie untied, obviously very discombobulated. I understand that things happen, and people run late occasionally, so I didn’t comment. He greeted me and we proceeded into his office and sat down. He began shuffling papers around on his desk, attempting to make room for us to conduct our business. As he continued his housekeeping, I examined the surroundings. I noticed that the man’s suit was wrinkled, as though he had grabbed it from a hamper on his way out of the door. There were piles and stacks of “stuff” surrounding the small office sitting on the floor or atop file cabinets that were either unused or overfull. When we began our conversation, it was evident that he hadn’t prepared for our meeting. I found myself answering questions that had been asked at our last encounter; in addition, it was as though he hadn’t acted on any of the information that I had previously provided. Quite obviously I had wasted my morning and there was a horrible impression left from that interaction.

My first inclination was to make a quick judgment based on my experience, however I decided to make this a learning opportunity instead. I pondered how I felt when I was early, but my prospective vendor did not respect my time. It caused me to consider the importance of making my clients feel valued. I then thought about the negative sensation that I had in the office. Instead of having a sense of calm, I felt very uncomfortable. Had this person known me at all, he would have been aware of the great appreciation I have for a neat office! My thoughts immediately went to the type of atmosphere I want to create for my customers. If I felt uneasy in those surroundings, I am sure others have had the same experience. I wonder how much business is lost because of the experience we provide (or fail to provide) for our potential clients. What are you doing to create an environment conducive for great experiences in your business? Even in a virtual environment, you create the ambiance that may inspire your prospective clients to buy, your potential employees to accept your offer, or your interviewer to select you. The time you take to prepare for a meeting and obtain knowledge of the person you will be connecting with will speak volumes to them concerning your desire to meet their needs.

I may not do business with the individual to met with last week, but I will never forget the experience. I gained a whole new appreciation for the Golden Rule. I will create the environment for my clients that I hope companies will create for me. Find out what your clients, want and need then give it to them; otherwise be willing to refer them to a company who will. They will respect you more and will come back when they have a need you are able to meet. Although I may not do business with my “teacher” from last week, I will provide feedback (to them – not to the world) as to why I made a decision to go elsewhere. When you receive criticism, don’t take it personally, but use it as an opportunity for growth and to repair areas of your business or life that might need attention. Use each encounter as an opportunity to get better; and don’t let the negative feedback that might come periodically make you bitter. As my mentor says, ‘When you know better, you can do better”. Make a decision today to be a lifelong learner.

Tish Times is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of HireTimes Career Group. Tish is an expert on career and business redesign. To receive her articles on Working Your Passion, confidence building for career and business strategies, and mindset change, visit and join the mailing list. For coaching or speaking engagements; contact 877-546-7408 or

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Filed under Guest Blogger, Image & Identity

Reality Check, Please

By Sheryl Eldene, MBA, MA

As we begin the second quarter of the year – it is finally Spring, after all – I’m inviting us to do a reality check on where we are compared to our original intentions. Whatever you are doing now with the majority of your day, is that what you wanted to be doing when you started this endeavor? For most of us, what we do with the majority of our day is a job or a business – what we do with our energy and our time in exchange for assets/money. Of these four types of intentions, where did you start, and where have you ended up:

  1. IT’S A JOB. When I started this job/business, my intention was to make money to support the lifestyle of my dreams. I wanted this job to be lucrative and to provide security. I wanted those two results as a result of using my skills and talents and possibly learning new skills along the way.
  2. IT’S A CAREER. When I started on this track, I intended to create a path that I could follow over many years. I hoped that it would create wealth (“Do what you love and the money will follow”), but my main intention was to engage in a field that would bring me passion and joy just in the doing of it.
  3. IT’S A CALLING. When I started this endeavor, I felt called by the Spirit that helps direct my life. I felt that my engaging in life in this way would fulfill a greater mission and would serve my family, my community, my world, my contribution to heaven-on-earth for all of us.
  4. IT’S DEEP SATISFACTION. When I started this work, I imagined that it would complete my heart. Although I do not have a sense of a ‘Calling’, this work felt like something that I have always longed to do, and succeeding at this endeavor would be the high point in my life.

This month is all about setting intentions. What intentions did you set, and how has that progressed for you, or did you unconsciously shift your focus from, say ‘satisfaction’ to ‘a job’, or from ‘a job’ to ‘a calling’?

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Filed under Business Planning, Coaching, Dreams, Intentions, Passion & Potential, Sheryl Eldene

Are you ready for the spring thaw?

By Gail Z. Martin

This has been the l-o-n-g winter.  No one seems to have been safe from weird weather.  (When the Dallas airport is closed by snow right before the Super Bowl, things are definitely weird.)  We’ve been hit by so many cold days and snow that we wouldn’t blame that famous ground hog for packing his bags and moving south (although here in the south, it hasn’t been too cozy this year).

The last couple of years have been like nuclear winter for business.  There’s been one fallout after another, from the housing markets to the banks to specific regions and industries that have been hit hard.  Many business owners are feeling a lot like Punxuatawney Phil, the famous ground hog, afraid to see their shadow.  And yet….we know that sooner or later, the spring thaw will happen.

Will you be ready when it does?  Winter (and recessions) come on a cycle.  And they leave pretty much on a regular cycle, too.  When you anticipate winter’s arrival, you prepare: weather stripping, stocking up on firewood, grabbing some ice melt at the hardware store, buying a new shovel.  Smart homeowners and gardeners also know that spring follows winter, so they make preparations of their own regardless of how gloomy the sky looks or how late spring seems to be in a given year.  They plant bulbs, prepare the ground for planting, order seeds and starter plants, clean out the greenhouse, gather their tools and get ready for planting season.  Homeowners start thinking about outdoor projects, sizing up new maintenance needs, and take the lawnmower and other tools in for repair.

How about with your business?  Maybe you saw the freeze coming, and did as much as you could to hunker down and stay warm.  Two years after the crash, are you still in your burrow with the covers pulled over your head?  That’s a short-term solution, but it won’t work forever.  There are some signs, however faint, that an economic spring is coming, but too many people are still burrowed in for the winter.  Here’s a clue—smart business owners are sharpening their tools for spring, because they know the thaw will come.

Have you used this “winter” time to prepare?  Did you revise your web site, re-think your strategy, shore up your distribution channels, get reacquainted with your vendors and customers, build your skills (and those of your team), cut costs without sacrificing investment in the future?  Most importantly, have you maintained marketing visibility so that when consumers poke their heads out of their burrows and want to spend some money, they haven’t forgotten about you?

Time to get started!  Spring is coming!

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Filed under Business Planning, Gail Z. Martin

Your Calling Card

by Jacqueline Wales

If you’re an author, why build a website? Well simply put, it’s your calling card. The place you want people to come to read your excerpts, to interact with you, and to build your credibility. But not just any website. You want it to reflect you. Your voice, your spirit, your message.

You’ve just spent months, maybe even years, to write and develop your book. Bookstores unfortunately, are turning into Dodos, and Amazon rules the waves! That means it’s up to you to drive traffic to your book. But it’s not enough just to have a website, you have to do what you can to make sure people visit. You need to start connecting to other blogs and websites to raise your visibility. Write articles, discuss your book, share the content, comment on other people’s books, blogs and build your network of other writers and readers.

Selling books is a business. Your business is to make sure you reach out to as many people as possible so they know you exist. When people come to your site, get them to opt-in and subscribe to your list, and in return give them an excerpt from your book, or some other content that is perceived as value.

There are millions of online resources and websites dedicated to writers. Seek them out and emulate the author websites you admire. Successful authors carefully and strategically build their campaign for exposure. That’s why having a website is essential to success.

Jacqueline Wales is the author of The Fearless Factor and When The Crow Sings. Both available on Amazon, and from the author at She invites you to visit and download an excerpt from The Fearless Factor.

You can listen to the audio from when Jacqueline was a guest of Blog Host, Gail Z. Martin’s Shared Dreams podcast here:

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Filed under Guest Blogger, Image & Identity, Marketing