Monthly Archives: June 2011

There are No Loopholes in Intention

Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

One of the Laws of Attraction that I attend to is the awareness that wherever I put my attention, I’m also placing my energy and thereby, my power. I also know that any words that I speak are filled with my energy and become powerful in my life. Since I know there are are no loopholes, no way around this law, I was shocked to hear what came out of my own mouth this morning as I looked at the scales – which haven’t moved in a month or so – and said “I just can’t lose this weight, what’s wrong with me, anyway”.

Based on this Law of Attraction, I just set in motion a self fulfilling prophecy.


I’m also the strengths based coach, so taking energy to discover what is wrong with me, might not be the best use of my focus. Here are my notes-to-self that I thought you might appreciate, too:

  1. What has actually improved over the last month that represents my real priority?
  2. What strengths do I have that will support my intention to be heathly and smaller?
  3. Assuming, I’ve been living On Purpose, what has the purpose of the past month been?
  4. What is the intention for this month?
  5. What is the one thing I desire independence from and what is the one dream I desire to celebrate at the end of July?

OK, world, here are my answers:

  1. What has improved? I’ve added walking regularly to my habits and am beginning to feel more energy.
  2. What are my strengths? My strength this month is my loyalty to the health of my puppy, who needs to walk every day.
  3. My true purpose? My true purpose for this last month has been to adapt to Sammy, and to survive getting up a couple times in the night to let him visit his favorite puppy-pee places.
  4. My intention for this month is to keep my focus on my business, to continue healthy walks, to find a way to be alpha dog while protecting the puppyhood of His Littleness.
  5. I want independence from a preconceived idea of how my body wants to return to health and vitality and I want to celebrate comfortably zipping up my favorite shorts.

As we move into a new month, and the third quarter of the year, remember, there are no loopholes in the link between your intentions and your results.  Thoughts and words are things – chose the good ones.

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Filed under Business Planning, Dreams, Intentions, Motivation, Sheryl Eldene, Strategy

Seasons and Cycles

By Gail Z. Martin

The world around us is a place of seasons and cycles.  Spring, summer, fall and winter come with reassuring regularity.  The moon moves through its phases month after month.  Tides rise and fall with predictability.  We plan our lives according to the seasons and cycles around us.

Business also has cycles.  Every industry has its own variation of a sales cycle or a  product lifecycle.  Some businesses, such as those in the travel and tourism industry, may be very attuned to the physical seasons.  Ski in the winter, go to the beach in the summer.  Or, a business may be governed by more arbitrary cycles.  Accountants are busy before April 15.  Retailers gear up for back-to-school and the holiday rush.  Other companies are driven by budget cycles or annual proposals.

Business owners are not immune to seasons and cycles.  Think about the past year.  Were there predictable periods when you knew you would be overworked or stressed out?  How about periods where you could anticipate a chance to get caught up or catch your breath?  Now think about how the seasons and cycles may affect your decision making and your accessibility as a manager, or your vision as an entrepreneur.  During the crazy season, you may be moving as fast as you can, but are stress and fatigue hurting your mood, temper or decision-making ability?  Are you as good a boss during the peak times as you are during the less crazed periods where you have more time to listen and the opportunity to deliberate on an answer?  Does your stress radiate throughout the organization, hindering everyone else’s productivity and dampening the office mood?

When you stop to notice how business cycles and seasonal demand affect us as entrepreneurs, we see that we may have our own  personal “hurricane season”  with moody tempests or a “La Nina” firestorm due to frayed nerves and an over-extended calendar.

Once you understand and recognize your own personal seasons and cycles, you can start to take measures to keep storm season from becoming a disaster.  Don’t be afraid to delegate more in order to give yourself breathing room.  Get temporary help or interns.  Make time even in the busiest seasons to take care of yourself with healthy food, enough sleep, exercise, and short relaxation breaks.  Making a conscious effort to manage your storm season can have a huge positive impact, not just on your personal wellbeing, but on the mood and productivity of everyone who depends on you.

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Marketing, Strategy

How Wise It Is: Volunetter To Stay In Touch With The Joy Of Giving When You Have Been Uprooted

By Stephen G. Post

We can be anywhere, so long as we are helping others and caring for them. This is probably the one source of stability in our lives that we can truly depend on, and so in the end we are never really out of place. At the right dose, contributing in small ways to the lives of others is a one-a-day vitamin for body and soul. I drew on this in recent years as my family and I navigated the peaks and valleys of a big relocation from Cleveland, where I had taught for twenty years in the medical school of Case Western Reserve University, to Stony Brook University in New York (

A few months after we arrived here, a psychiatrist researcher and friend in New York told me the story of social isolation and a big move leading to suicide. In one of his cases, a remorseful patient named Dave reported that his wife of twenty years had committed suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills while he was away on a business trip. Just a few months before the suicide, this childless couple had relocated to a town where they had neither relatives nor friends. Dave’s marriage was difficult because he was a heavy drinker. His boss thought that a move might give him a fresh perspective. (Actually, moves do not solve such problems, they just relocate them.) Evidently he and his wife had argued bitterly in the days immediately preceding her suicide. Presumably, she resented being uprooted due in part to her husband’s drinking habits.  (I was reflecting on this encounter a few months ago when I was doing some lecturing in the Southwest. One of my old friends said that when he and his wife and kids moved from a city in the Northeast to a remote small city, his wife so missed all of her friends and social networks that she actually became clinically depressed for the first time in her life.)

What if Dave’s wife had had a chance to get involved right away in some helping activity, such as volunteering for an organization that she found especially meaningful? Would this have saved her? It would probably have helped, as it often does for “trailing spouses,”  be they male or female. Within certain limits, of course, a good way to become free from darker emotions is to get out and help people by doing “unto others” in a voluntary organization that provides social support in the process of serving others. Emotions typically follow along with actions, and move in positive directions as a result of helping. The scientific investigations on these benefits focus on relatively modest activities – a few hours of volunteering once a week.

I suppose that wherever we are after a big relocation, we are still at home if we can stay in touch with the joy of giving. Big moves are not just about  “getting acclimated” to a new environment, although there is no question that we don’t quite feel at ease until the things around us become familiar and we begin to feel at home. We humans are creatures of “object relations,” and we live in the visual and audio “symbols” of our environment just as they live in us. But more seriously, pulling up roots disrupts relationships, no matter how much we try to stay connected-in-a-way by electronic gadgets. At a certain level, as the philosopher wrote, “out of sight, out of mind.” People back home move on to new relationships in the real world of face-to-face interactions.

So we lose what Robert Putnam and other sociologists refer to these days as “social capital,” and we need to rebuild it as soon as possible for our mental and physical health. Rebuilding is easier for some people than for others, depending on personality types, age, resiliency, and whether a move felt forced due to difficulties such as job loss, home foreclosure, or illness. Moving along on the journey of life can be glorious in younger years after a stable high school experience. Younger folks like to explore the world and try something new. But for those who are in their middle or late life, leaving a place where so much energy and heart has been invested over the years in building relationships and community opens the doors to all kinds of psychological challenges. The epidemiology is clear: Depression rates rise a bit as people begin to feel deeply the lost of friends, acquaintances, and the background familiarity that they tend to take for granted. Suicide rates rise, a fact that Emile Durkheim grasped well in his sociological analysis of the rise of suicide in the modern world due to loss of stable cummunitas and the resulting malaise of anomie. Men who move in mid-life have considerably higher rates of heart disease. No doubt the stress of having to start over and recreate life is a lot to bear, and can be hugely stressful for self and family. What could contribute more to the epidemiology of what psychologist James Lynch called “the broken heart” than a big unwelcome move that rips a person out of the world where they have been, as the philosopher Ed Casey writes, “implaced.” It often takes a few years to recreate what was lost.  It is easier for military families because everyone is on the move, and the culture of military social life and adjustment is more routine – although it is still not an easy way of life.

This gets me back to a favorite theme – the “helper therapy principle” can salvage your life in tough times. I first heard of something like “helper therapy” from my Irish mother. On my boring “off days” as a child, Molly Magee Post told me, “Stevie, why don’t you just go out and do something for someone?” No, she did not say, “Stevie, go read a book,” or “Stevie, go clean up your room.” I read a lot anyway, and kept an orderly room. Heading across the street I would give old Mr. Muller a hand raking leaves, or help Mr. Lawrence fix his mast. It always felt pretty good. Such simple action, but it brings together spiritual, moral, and health psychology in a common chorus, and it may be one of the few things that constitutes universal truth.

In a new community, volunteering is a good way to recreate social networks. People who volunteer tend to report better health, greater happiness, lower anxiety levels, deeper meaning, and even sleep a little better. Helping is a buffer against helplessness, and an affirmation of self-efficacy – I can do this! Find something to do that is meaningful, draw on talents and strengths in order to feel effective, and have faith that even if at first you are not quite inspired, your capacity of joy will eventually catch up with your actions.  As Putnam points out in his new book, American Grace (2010), a great deal of rebuilding social networks occurs in and through communities of faith. So, if you happen to be a person of faith, one of the best things to do after you land in a new place is to find a congregation of fellow believers. These days we have so many researchers concluding that the brain is essentially a social organ with its cells and pathways wired for empathy, for experiencing the joys and sufferings of others as if they are our own. Inhibit giving and inhibit flourishing.

Abraham Lincoln navigated a lot of melancholy. He said, “When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad.” No, there is no certainty of pay back, and Lincoln was not keeping score. But his generosity and helping behaviors gave him inner peace and the strength to overcome a history of depression. The idea here is to help others and do good because that is just the happiest and healthiest way to live out one’s life; it is also the way of life that is the most inwardly fulfilling, regardless of whether one gets anything back from others. Virtue, as the saying goes, is its own reward. Pay it forward, no need to pay it back, and hope to inspire others to “go and do likewise.” But in giving there is a glow, an inner benefit to the giver that can be seen in buoyancy and effervescence, and this is something that we can depend on pretty well; reciprocity, in contrast, is never reliable, however much we should all be gracious recipients when others seek to return kindness. We have to break free of “tit for tat” mentalities that require a response in kind. This iron law of reciprocity hangs over our necks like a sword of Damocles, keeping us from the inner freedom of love without limits.

Helping others rarely stands alone. Studies show that it brings with it an internal freedom, a sense of meaningful agency, joy, hopefulness, and peace. In this sense, helping love leads us into a family of emotions that are so strongly and closely connected that they blend together into one harmonious state of being. It is impossible to imagine love not giving rise to a spontaneity and liberation from all those emotions that weigh us down; it is impossible to imagine loving without joy and delight in the beloved; it is impossible to imagine loving without having hope in them and for them; and it is impossible to imagine loving in any sustained way without an inner peace and gratification that by its nature denies violence in emotion, word, intention, or deed.

The 2010 Do Good Live Well Survey, released by United Healthcare and VolunteerMatch (, surveyed 4,500 American adults. 41 percent of Americans volunteered an average of 100 hours a year. 68 percent of those who volunteered in the last year reported that volunteering made them feel physically healthier. In addition,

  • 89% report that “volunteering has improved my sense of well-bring”
  • 73% agree that “volunteering lowered my stress levels”
  • 92% agree that volunteering enriched their sense of purpose in life
  • 72% characterize themselves as “optimistic” compared to 60% of non-volunteers
  • 42% of volunteers report a “very good” sense of meaning in their lives, compared with 28% of non-volunteers

How wise it is to do what one can to contribute benevolently to others!

This “giver’s glow,” as I term it, has healing properties. Inner wholeness, nirvana, true peace – these are all related to the activity of self-giving love. A glow stick is a translucent plastic tube containing substances that when combined make light through a chemical reaction. After the glass capsule in the plastic casing is broken, it glows. The brokenness is part of the process. Give and grow, give and glow.


Stephen G. Post ( is the best-selling author (Wall Street Journal list) of The Hidden Gifts of Helping: How the Power of Giving, Compassion, and Hope Can Get Us Through Hard Times (2011). He is Professor of Preventive Medicine, Head of the Division of Medicine in Society, and Director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University ( He was previously (1988-2008) Professor of Bioethics, Religion and Philosophy, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, and Senior Research Scholar at the Becket Institute of St. Hugh’s College, Oxford University. Post is a Senior Fellow in the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University.

Post is recognized as a leader in the study of altruism, love, and compassion in the integrative context scientific research, philosophy, and spirituality. He is President of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love (, founded in 2001 with support from philanthropist John Templeton and the Templeton Foundation. As a boy Post studied the philosophy and theology of  love at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire with the distinguished African-American Rev. John T. Walker, who later became Dean of the National Cathedral. He completed his Ph.D. on the relationship between other-regarding love and happiness at the University of Chicago, where he was an elected University Fellow, a preceptor in the Pritzker School of Medicine, and a Fellow in the Martin E. Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion. He received the Hope in Healthcare Award in 2008 for his “pioneering research and education in the field of unconditional love, altruism, compassion, and service.” He was included in Best American Spiritual Writing (2005), and in 2008 he was the recipient of the Kama Book Award in Medical Humanities from World Literacy Canada. Post is an elected member of the International Society for Science and Religion, and writes a blog for Psychology Today entitled “The Joy of Giving.”

Post is an elected member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Panel of Alzheimer’s Disease International, and was recognized for “distinguished service” by the Alzheimer Association’s National Board for educational efforts for Association Chapters and families throughout the United States (1998). In 2003 het was elected a Member of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia for “distinguished contributions to medicine.” His book entitled The Moral Challenge of Alzheimer Disease: Ethical Issues from Diagnosis to Dying (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000, 2nd edition) was designated a “medical classic of the century” by the British Medical Journal in 2009. Post is the primary author of over 150 articles in journals such as Science, Annals of Internal Medicine, The Journal of Religion, The American Journal of Psychiatry, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and The Lancet.

A public intellectual committed to conveying important ideas in the wider culture, Post has appeared on a diverse range of radio and television programs including The Daily Show, Dr. Oz, Nightline, 20/20, and National Public Radio. Post is sought after as a public speaker by community and professional groups, and is the recipient of the “Top Notch Public Speaker Award” from the Endowment for the Humanities.

A member of the Episcopal Church, Post’s grandfather Edwin Main Post was the husband of Emily Post.

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Break or Take a Break

By Gail Z. Martin

I was behind someone in line a few days ago and couldn’t help hearing part of his conversation with his companion.  What caught my attention was the man’s comment that he hadn’t had a vacation in fifteen years.

Wow.  While I’m sure this man was proud of his diligence and hard work, I couldn’t help wondering how badly burnout might be affecting the value of his output.  In my experience, you either break or you learn to take a break.

Now I know that with some of the ups and downs of the economy, “staycations” have replaced vacations for many people.  The point isn’t about leaving town, staying in a hotel, or going somewhere exotic.  For me, the essential point is to step away from the swift current of your busy life for even a day, an afternoon, a weekend and rest, relax and refresh yourself.

Some people like to brag that they are so essential, their business couldn’t last a few days without them.  Usually, this means they have avoided developing procedures and delegating trivia, or that they have made themselves the roadblock, either out of a love of being important or the need to micromanage.  Eventually, the stress catches up and the business is forced to do without them while the indispensable manager recovers from a heart attack or other stress-related ailment.

Other people have never learned how to relax.  Maybe they were told that it was bad not to be active every minute–“idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”  American culture has the unfortunate habit of undervaluing rest and restoration and overvaluing activity for activity’s sake.  If that’s your hang-up, let it go.

When we allow ourselves to take a break, wonderful things happen that actually enhance future productivity.  By taking a step away from the normal flow of things, we often gain new and valuable perspective.  By resting, we preserve our health and prevent a longer, possibly destructive interruption due to illness.  When we move outside our normal routine to go somewhere new, do something different or have a new experience, we become open to unexamined possibilities.  And when our break frees up time for us to nurture our family and close friendships, we preserve the relationships that support us and enable us to do our best work.

This summer, make a commitment to yourself to take a break at regular intervals and see what new possibilities emerge.

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Marketing, Social Media

Learning to breathe

By Gail Z. Martin

I’ve heard a lot lately about being mindful so that one doesn’t spend more time working IN the business than ON the business.  Meaning that it’s possible to get so caught up in the daily grind that we stop doing the things that help our businesses grow.  One of these important, but often overlooked, items is, I believe, taking time to breathe.

Sure, you breathe, or you wouldn’t be alive to read this.  But did you know that most Americans take short, shallow breaths that contribute to the feeling of tenseness and panic?  We rarely stop to take deep breaths, breaths that begin in the belly and then expand through the chest.  We seldom take even a few moments to focus on the act of breathing, feeling the air fill us, and then letting go of the breath in a slow, calm way.

In Tai Chi, as with most martial arts and with disciplines like Yoga, breath is everything.  But you don’t have to be a martial arts master to get a sixty-second vacation by taking a moment out of your hectic, stress-filled day to savor a few calm breaths.

The next time you feel your neck growing tight, your temples beginning to throb and your back starting to clench, take a few moments and breathe.  Close your eyes and pay attention to the rhythm of your breath.  Is it fast and shallow?  If so, slow down your breathing by taking breaths that begin in your abdomen and then fill you all the way through your chest.  Hold it for a second and then try to let it go just as slowly, listening to it rush through the nose.  Even five or six deep, slow breaths make an amazing difference in the perceived stress.  After a few deep, slow breaths, it becomes easier to relax your shoulders, unclench your jaw, relax your lower back.  If your heart is pounding after a distressing phone call or office confrontation, deep, slow breaths can help you bring your mind and body back into a calm, rational state where you can make better decisions and think more clearly.

The next time stress gets to you, put the miracle of breath to work and notice how clear your thoughts become, how much faster you recover, and how much better you feel.

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Inner Coach, Marketing

The Wrong Thing Well -OR- the Right Thing Poorly?

Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

I’ve learned an important lesson this quarter, and it’s about the “Hard Work” part of the Big Dreams and Hard Work we talk about here. I’ve always been a focused, hard worker – you know that “Protestant Work Ethic” idea?  And I have a strong confidence in my own ability to do anything I set my mind to, and I pretty much always have done that (except for my forray into raising rabbits – I’ll talk about that next week).

The curse of being able to do a lot of stuff, like code web sites, sew clothing, can beans, grind wheat, make bread from scratch, clean house, create gardens, train dogs… that it just isn’t possible to enjoy all those things. I’m not a professional seamstress or a skilled web designer, but I often get myself caught in a “should” of since-I-know-how-to-do-that, I SHOULDN’T pay-someone-else syndrome. I know one thing:

“Many high performers would rather do the wrong thing well than do the right thing poorly. And when they do find themselves in over their head, they’re often unwilling to admit it, even to themselves, and refuse to ask for the help they need.”

I’ve been stuck for the last several weeks, trying to do some wrong things, and struggling to do the right things poorly.  Last week, I hired a professional to do some things that I know how to do, albeit poorly, and it’s an enormous relief to my schedule, to my creativity, and to my day.

What on earth have I been ‘thinking’ all these years? What are you able to do, albeit poorly that you could ask an expert to help you with?

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Filed under Balance, Image & Identity, Sheryl Eldene, Strategy

Windmills of your Mind

By Gail Z. Martin

Remember Don Quixote who jousted with windmills?  The image evokes a noble but losing battle.  There’s also the old song Windmills of Your Mind, homage to the thoughts  on the edge of waking and sleeping, ideas that go round and round in your head.

Recently, I saw a rather dangerous combination of the two ideas that, unfortunately, is all too common among business people.  It’s the vicious cycle of attract/repel that keeps some people frozen in place, never able to make true progress.

Twice now I’ve had business owners seek me out for my opinion on marketing and ask for my advice.  However, as soon as I toss out a few ideas, the windmills crank up and the negative winds start to blow.  Every suggestion or idea is met with a reason why it can’t work.

One person got quite heated about it, declaring that it was impossible to market in her industry for a variety of reasons.  Now true, that particular industry has more hurdles than most, but as I pointed out to this person, some of the largest companies in that field do have a blogging and social media presence.  She immediately proceeded to tell me what it would work for them but not for her. She was so busy defending her position that nothing was possible that she could not hear anything I said.

In the other case, outdated assumptions severely limited the person’s options.  She was an accountant who wanted to create a package of services/educational products related to estate planning but outside of actual accounting.  She came to me to ask how to get people to attend the events she planned to hold.  When I started to suggest traditional and new media ways to promote the new package, she told me quite heatedly that accountants don’t advertise, can’t advertise, not by law but by convention.  Funny, I heard that line of thinking from physicians 25 years ago, and now physician advertising (tasteful, understated but still promotional) is quite common.  I’ve also seen similar low-key but effective promotion for accountants.  And I pointed out that the new package was not accounting.  No matter–her mind was made up.

What happened?  In both cases, some desire compelled these two people to seek me out for advice.  They knew my line of work, so it should have come as no surprise that I suggested ways to market.  Yet the windmills of their minds–outdated ideas, critical voices, fears and doubts, were too strong.  They were trapped going round and round with old, limiting ideas and fears, unwilling to even consider a new way to approach the situation.  They missed the chance to move forward.

How about you?  What windmills do you have in your mind? Where are your thoughts trapped by fears, doubts and outdated ideas?  They may be costing you valuable opportunities!

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Intentions, Sales

Flash your · · · — — — · · ·

By Sheryl Eldene, MBA, MA

Before the era of 911, everyone knew the Morse Code for SOS, (· · · — — — · · ·).  Since we don’t use that anymore, I’m giving SOS a new meaning:


Master these 7 Signs of Strength and the help can come in the form of improved relationships, greater joy and connection with yourself, better self-care, enhanced communication, and greater success toward your goal.  Over there on the left under “Author Audios” you’ll find an exercise to help you identify your own unique character strengths, be sure to give that a listen today.

  1. Respond instead of react. When we react, we are usually acting from defense and from weakness.  If you respond from your strength, the response is very different.  For example, one of my character strengths is curiosity.  When my husband lands on my for leaving dirty dishes in the sink, my reaction is to recount all the time he leaves hairs in the shower AND junk in the garage, I’ve pretty much launched WWIII and have no idea what any sign of strength might be.  However, if I can respond from my strength of curiosity, wondering why this particular afternoon, those dishes where a difficulty, then I have launched a discussion that might not be all lovey-dovey, but can result in my putting those dishes on the counter on Monday’s so he has space to prepare for his evening with his buddies with the munchies he promised to bring.
  2. Identify and learn from your judgemnts. Judgments are often a reflection or our own inner needs and values. Really, when I judge you as negligent and rude when you use the merge lane to jump in from on ME, I’m acting from my own value of patience, of order, and of structure.  It’s a lot easier to talk to myself as you try to cut in front of the line by saying that “Yes, structure and order are important to me – not so much to you, and I see that fast and me-first is more important to you.  I wonder what part of my life would benefit from more order – my kitchen counters, probably”.
  3. Reach out when you need it. Asking for help is not a weakness.  Although our country is build on independence, and that is a strength, you can also use the strength of community, sharing, and mutual support.  That support must go both ways for each party to feel strong.
  4. Keep your word – especially to yourself. Any strength put on like a coat just for company isn’t really a strength, it’s a show.  If you have a value to keeping your word to others, but fail to exercise, avoid sugar, go to bed early, whatever, because when you cheat on you no one knows, then your word is just for show, and your heart suffers.
  5. Take time for yourself. This isn’t narcissistic or indulgent – it’s absolutely necessary.  The airlines got it right when they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before putting on your child’s – because if you don’t, the child and you might not make it.  Caring for yourself helps you care for others better, and models for those around you what a healthy lifestyle looks like.
  6. Know what you want. While meandering through life is fun, without knowing what you want, you’ll just get more of what you have today, which might be just fine.  Take time to figure out what floats your boat, not what should float your boat, but what really does.
  7. Don’t take things personally, even if it sounds personal, it usually isn’t.  As a matter of fact, I believe that we are simply not capable of judging others.  If I tell you you’re beautiful, I’m really saying that you have a feature, or a manner, or a style of dressing that I’d like – which is about me, not you.  If I tell you that you’re fat, I’m really saying that I have a value of slim-ness that I haven’t achieved and I’m afraid that I won’t achieve that – otherwise your shape wouldn’t even get my attention, let alone get energy for me to say something.

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Filed under Balance, Image & Identity, Inner Coach, Personal Transitions, Sheryl Eldene, Uncategorized

Who are your market makers?

By Gail Z. Martin

I owe a debt to a friend of mine, Chia-li Chen, for coining the phrase “market makers” (you can listen to her this month on my Shared Dreams podcast at (  It’s a brilliant phrase, and a brilliant idea.

“Market makers” are the partners who help you reach a wider audience than you would have otherwise been able to meet.  They are the event promoters who invite you to speak at a national conference, the large corporation that  buy a quantity of your book as an incentive prize, or maybe the corporate website that hosts you on a teleseminar for all of their clients.

Who are your market makers?

Sometimes, people stumble into market makers, but most of the time, it’s intentional.  It comes from having a clear idea of who your ideal client is, and where you can find them in clusters.  Market makers also help you accelerate your growth by connecting with you to lots of your ideal prospects, instead of you having to find those prospects one at a time.

How do you know a market maker when you see it?  Think about the companies that serve your ideal clients, who provide complementary—not competing—services, and that are organized enough so that affiliation with them creates scalable growth for you.  What companies would be a great fit for you as a speaker or for your books?   What organizations could hire you over and over again to consult or speak, or provide large orders of product?

Then it’s up to you to network your way in front of decision makers with a great win-win proposal.  When there’s a good match, both sides will clearly see the benefit.

Who are your market makers?

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Marketing, Strategy