Category Archives: Coaching

Introvert or Extrovert

by Gail Z. Martin excerpted from Fresh Start Success: Reimagine Your Work, Reinvent Your Life, Re-Ignite Your Passion

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Does working with people power you up or drain your battery? Do you crave company, and enjoy the bustle of a busy workplace? Or are you in your happy spot where it’s quiet and you can work with solitary focus?

Most of us are a mix of introvert and extrovert traits. You may be able to turn up the wattage and shine on stage or at a social event, then come home and collapse because you’re utterly worn out. Or you might be able to work alone on a project for hours, but then go looking to recharge by going to the mall and surrounding yourself with people. Often, we’ve learned to adapt to school and work demands for us to be either more outgoing or more solitary than we truly prefer.

As you consider your options for your own Fresh Start Success, it’s important to gauge the amount of interaction you need to feel energized and happy. For example, if being in the public eye drains you, a new career where you’re constantly on the road and making presentations is unlikely to satisfy you, regardless of the money. On the other hand, if you thrive on having people around, you may feel lonely and restless working from home with no one but the dog for company.

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What’s Your Most Productive Environment?

by Gail Z. Martin excerpted from Fresh Start Success: Reimagine Your Work, Reinvent Your Life, Re-Ignite Your Passion

What kind of environment makes you the happiest and most productive? Don’t automatically replicate the standard office or repeat what you’re used to if that was part of what made you unhappy or less fulfilled in prior jobs. Start with understanding your natural wiring. Think outside the cubicle!

When you work in alignment with who you are innately, it’s not work.

Maybe you thrive working around other people. Consider planning to spend some of your day working from a coffee shop, library, or fast food venue, rent a keyman office in a shared office building, and do a lot of networking events.

If solitude helps you focus, find a quiet place where you can gather your thoughts. Reinvent your approach to filing, document storage, and other key aspects. As long as you meet legal requirements, create systems that work well for the way you think and work. Make creating the right environment part of your Fresh Start Success!

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Good Systems Are Essential for Success

by Gail Z. Martin excerpted from Fresh Start Success: Reimagine Your Work, Reinvent Your Life, Re-Ignite Your Passion

Lisa Mininni knows entrepreneurship firsthand. She studied business in college and went on to earn a master’s of science in administration. She became a vice president of human resources for a large healthcare system early in her career and enjoyed a lot of success. A number of mergers and acquisitions gave her the opportunity to gain plenty of experience in organizational change.

While she was the catalyst for successful union negotiations, had high employee engagement scores, and was good at turning chaos into order, when the decision was made to dismantle the division she was working in, she laid everyone off, including herself.

Lisa wanted to find a similar position, but in 2001, she was in her mid-30s and there were few vice president of human resources positions open. People said she looked “too young” for the job.

Then one day, Lisa was driving down the highway, and something popped up from the freeway. She covered her face with her hands, and a tire iron flew into the front seat, shattering the windshield. Lisa shook off the glass and realized she had no injuries, but the tire iron had only missed her by four inches, and it left a six-inch gash in her hood. When the cops came to the scene of the accident, all three of them said, “Geez, you’re on this Earth for a reason,” because she survived without injury.

“All I had known my entire career was working for someone else,” Lisa said. “I had been asking God whether I should start a business and write a book, and then the accident happened, and I knew I was here to do something important.”

The first two years striking out on her own were hard. Thanks to her background in quality improvement, Lisa was very good at streamlining and found that coaching was intuitive for her. She was good at helping people control costs and save money. Her mentor asked her what her conversion rate was and she reported eighty percent, thinking that wasn’t very good, but that success rate stunned her mentor.

That’s when Lisa realized her system was working well. She intuitively assessed how people wanted to receive their information, then validated those prospects through her pre-qualification systems, and that led to them becoming very successful clients.

At that point, Lisa decided she was onto something. She created her own signature program and started attracting people who wanted to know how to build systems to show their uniqueness and work in alignment with who they were. Lisa created Excellerate Associates, an entrepreneurial and leadership institute, to share her vision.

After Lisa began coaching, she realized she needed to make a mental shift to focus on what she wanted to contribute to the world, instead of what she wanted out of coaching. “I wanted to make an impact. I didn’t want someone who was making the transformation from corporate employee to success to struggle as long as I did. Gradually, I developed systems to make that transformation easier. If I’d had my own system right from the start, I believe I could have cut two years off my three-year learning curve,” she says.

Lisa also wanted to make a contribution based on her unique self and to work in alignment with who she was, rather than trying to fit someone else’s mold. “Being in alignment makes it much easier to triage priorities,” she says. “And I needed to figure it out quickly because I did not want to keep working a ninety-hour week.”

So she worked with a coach for over a year to shift from a self-serving point of view to a vision of contributing to the world. “I learned that it’s not all about me, me, me,” she said. “People are put in your path for a reason,” Lisa says. “That proved itself again and again as I was networking while I developed my program. You just don’t know who you’re going to meet.”

With her hardwiring, she empowered business owners to transform their contribution in the world.

Lisa discovered that she had always connected disparate ideas, and her skills were honed by working in chaotic organizations without good infrastructure. “In successful businesses, you create accountabilities and strong systems. When that is missing, there is chaos. Now, I’ve married both hardwiring and systems to create a powerful shift, and it is something we teach through my business.”

The third year of business was the tipping point for Lisa, when she hit “critical mass” and revenue went way up. Now, Lisa and her team of Profitability Lab Leaders educate small business owners, entrepreneurs, and business leaders on biological hardwiring. Mental “wiring” is biological and dictates the type of environment in which a person is best equipped to thrive and succeed, and the kind of environment in which people prefer to live and work. She is also the best-selling author of Me, Myself, and Why? Get More Clients Now! and the co-author of Leading Women.

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Structure Matters

by Gail Z. Martin excerpted from Fresh Start Success: Reimagine Your Work, Reinvent Your Life, Re-Ignite Your Passion

When you leave corporate life and strike out as an entrepreneur, you quickly notice that you miss the lovely support that was always just a few steps away.

Computer problems? There’s no IT department, so you either fix it yourself or find someone who can. Ditto accounting, marketing, sales—you get the picture.

As a business owner, you’re the CEO—and the one who empties the garbage cans. It’s a real adjustment to make.

Setting up systems is crucial to your Fresh Start Success. Your systems need to be suited to your personality so that you use them without constant friction.

Creating systems isn’t always intuitive, but having them is essential. As you consider your reinvention, think about how you want to structure your new business, as well as the impact you want to have in the world.

If systems and structure aren’t your strong point, find a mentor who can help you avoid pitfalls. Getting the structure and systems in place at the beginning can be a real factor in creating your Fresh Start Success!

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Cooking Up New Opportunities

by Gail Z. Martin excerpted from Fresh Start Success: Reimagine Your Work, Reinvent Your Life, Re-Ignite Your Passion

Lisa Woodie earned a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a specialization in marketing and public relations. She spent the first half of her career in corporate and non-profit marketing, and as the owner of a marketing business.

Lisa found the creative and strategic planning part of marketing to be very satisfying. She liked starting with a challenge and coming up with a program to address the problem, and then seeing success. The variety kept the work fresh. What drove her crazy was the industry’s volatility. When business was bad, companies laid off marketing people. Lisa had been with a major business newspaper, but when her boss retired and the paper got a new publisher during an economic slump, the new publisher laid off multiple staff members across many departments, including Lisa.

Lisa always loved to cook and enjoyed using her creativity in the kitchen. At one point, she left marketing to own and run a restaurant, only to discover that while she loved cooking, she didn’t like running a restaurant. The day-to-day management issues took too much of her focus away from cooking.

Then, Lisa hit several life transitions in a row. After the layoff, her sister died, and her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Lisa was the caregiver for both her sister and mother until they passed away. For a while, she went back to marketing, putting her marketing skills to use as a consultant, and she did some soul searching over her next move.

When Lisa began marketing a wellness company, the experience led her to research holistic nutrition, natural medicine, and environmental toxins. Health was uppermost in her mind, after her recent caregiving experience. Lisa decided to marry her interest in health with her love of cooking. Lisa considered going to culinary school, but decided against it because classic French/gourmet food wasn’t a good fit for her business vision. She decided to explore becoming a personal chef and took a personal chef course at the local community college to see if it would be a good fit. Lisa was confident that between her prior entrepreneur experience and her marketing background, she had what it takes to run a successful business.

At the end of 2011, Lisa founded Homemade Fresh Chef Service to provide personalized meal planning and preparation in client homes. She was still caring for her mother at that time and then needed to provide care for her father. Even with those other responsibilities, Lisa started planting and watering the seeds of her new career in 2012. The slow start frustrated her because she was eager to follow her passion, but she knew she had to be patient. Lisa’s father and grandparents were entrepreneurs. “It was in my blood,” she says. “This time, since it wasn’t my first time starting a business, I knew what to expect. I believe everything happens for a reason. Hard work and passion lead to success.”

In the end it worked out, and several years later, she is even more passionate about healthy cooking than she ever was about marketing. Now Lisa is a personal chef. She has regular clients, and she goes to their homes once or twice a month to prepare meals for them. She customizes the meals to each family’s personal taste and dietary requirements. Then she packages, labels, and freezes/refrigerates the meals, provides reheating instructions, and cleans up the kitchen. Her company also provides in-home catering, and Lisa works with wine consultants to pair food and wine for tastings.

Her income has grown steadily. In 2013, Lisa’s company did four times the business of the previous year, and in 2014, her revenue jumped one and a half times that of the previous year. “Business started to explode, especially in 2015,” she said. “I’m on track to get the business where I want it to be.” Lisa knew that personal satisfaction was key to making her next career jump. “I’ve been a business owner for half of my career,” she says. “Money is important, but it’s not the only thing. Happiness is key, along with a supportive partner who has a good job!”

Lisa’s clients either don’t like to cook or have no time to spend in the kitchen. “My food makes my clients happy, and it helps them experience the benefit of fueling their bodies with real, high quality food instead of processed ingredients,” Lisa says. “I get personal satisfaction out of helping people eat better, be happier, enjoy meals and time with family, and be healthier. I make it possible for my clients to enjoy real food made from scratch with heat-and-eat convenience.”

In 2015, Lisa won the Rising Star award from the National Association of Women Business Owners, Charlotte Chapter. The award is presented annually to someone who has demonstrated entrepreneurial creativity and determination in successfully managing a business that is less than five years old.

After all her career shifts, Lisa sees work philosophically. “I’ve never understood people who were unhappy with a job and kept on doing it,” she says. “We get one go-round at life. It’s short and there are no guarantees. I am blessed to be able to work at what I enjoy.”

If you’re planning your own Fresh Start Success, take a moment to view your past experiences as stepping stones to your next opportunity. Life rarely moves in straight lines, and we often encounter setbacks and obstacles as we pursue our dreams. Sometimes the most valuable insights we gain are from the things we’ve done that didn’t quite turn out the way we planned. Lisa’s prior experience with marketing meshed with what she learned about herself from her previous entrepreneurial endeavors helped her to figure out where she really needed to focus. Look for ways your own past experiences—good and bad—can help you define and refine your path to the future.

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Serial Entrepreneur

by Gail Z. Martin excerpted from Fresh Start Success: Reimagine Your Work, Reinvent Your Life, Re-Ignite Your Passion

Often, it takes more than one try to find where you really belong. Many of the people interviewed for this book are serial entrepreneurs. They have owned more than one business, with varying degrees of success. Sometimes the market shifted or the economy changed, but in many cases, the entrepreneur realized that his or her passion and opportunity lay elsewhere.

To put it a different way—being good at something doesn’t lock you in to having to do that type of work for the rest of your life. It’s okay to be good at more than one thing and to “graduate” from running one kind of business into another. The work that satisfies you at one age may grow stale a decade or two later. The demands of one profession may become more than you want to put up with at a different stage in your life, and so you forge a new career better suited to your current needs.

As you’re considering your Fresh Start Success, think about the jobs you’ve had, the roles you’ve played, maybe even the companies you’ve owned. What common traits did the best—and the worst—share? When you plan your next move, factor in the value of the experience you’ve gained from your prior entrepreneurial efforts, and put that self-knowledge to use as you map out your future.

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Intuition or Desire?

by Gail Z. Martin excerpted from Fresh Start Success: Reimagine Your Work, Reinvent Your Life, Re-Ignite Your Passion

Due diligence plus finely-honed intuition make for a powerful combination. Run the numbers, do your research, and then listen to your gut. How do you hone your intuition? Test it on less consequential decisions. Your intuition has always been with you; what’s been missing is your mindfulness. As you begin to practice being aware of your intuition, you’ll notice it speaking to you more often.

Don’t make the mistake of confusing your intuition with your own desires. Your intuition is the still, small voice that wakes you up in the middle of the night with insight, or that makes you hesitate about rushing in to a bad idea. In contrast, our desires shout so loudly we can’t hear ourselves think, let alone hear that whisper of intuition. Knowing the difference takes practice and mindfulness, but it’s well worth the effort as you craft your own Fresh Start Success.

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Mogul to Mentor

by Gail Z. Martin excerpted from Fresh Start Success: Reimagine Your Work, Reinvent Your Life, Re-Ignite Your Passion

When Cha~zay Sandhriel, PhD was little, she knew she wanted to work with animals. She loved horses and thought about becoming a veterinarian, then became a horseback riding teacher. Health issues got in the way. Cha~zay got very sick and realized she could not meet the physical demands of the job.

So Cha~zay changed direction. “I was very good at languages,” she says. “My mother had been one of ten children in a family with no money, became a nanny, and taught herself to speak other languages. Her experience inspired me.”

Cha~zay traveled and studied languages. She completed an apprenticeship in Zurich in customer service working for the Swiss Government, and then worked for a Swiss private bank. Then Cha~zay landed a job with an American company in Switzerland, which required her to speak English. She intended to be in the U.S. for nine months and then go back to Switzerland and work as a translator, but she ended up staying in the States. “I had skills, but no degree that was recognized in the U.S., so I had to reinvent myself again,” Cha~zay recalls.

Her first job in the United States was making $8.75 an hour as a receptionist. “That was a lot less than I’d made in Switzerland, which was hard on my ego,” she says. Cha~zay was ambitious, and she made a connection with a German CEO who wanted to start a headquarters in the U.S.

The CEO offered Cha~zay the choice between working for accounting or human resources. She picked accounting but discovered it was a lonely job, even though she loves numbers. So she did a u-turn into HR and discovered she had a talent for selecting the right employees when starting new businesses. Cha~zay went back to school to get her GED and eventually her BS in business management. By this time, she was in her mid-thirties and realized that her real talent was in seeing possibilities.

Cha~zay put together teams and HR budgets for Silicon Valley start-up companies. She set up operations, payroll, and insurance; wrote employee handbooks; and set up 401K plans. “I was completely in my element,” she says. “And what I was doing worked. Our turnover rate was less than one percent while the industry average was ten to twenty percent. I used my intuition when hiring people and realized that I love working with people.”

She came to a point where she had reached an income ceiling. Then, Cha~zay thought about going out on her own and specializing in working with German and European companies relocating to California, but she got bored with the repetition. “I felt like I was living on the edge, not sure whether I would make it or not,” she recalls. “There was constant risk.” By this point, Cha~zay was making a six-figure income and knew she had an entrepreneurial spirit.

The big shift came when she saw a magazine headline about millionaires creating ten new jobs each year. “I realized that if I had a company that earned a million dollars a year, I could provide ten jobs. I was questioning whether or not I had what it took to succeed at that level,” Cha~zay says. “I asked myself, ‘Who am I to do this’? Then I realized, ‘Who am I not to?’ I felt responsible for creating those ten jobs.”

Cha~zay asked her husband for his support and made a list of all the things she believed were holding her back. “I sorted through my fears,” she recalls. “My top fear was public speaking. I hated to present at meetings, and I was very shy at that time.” Her second top fear was flying. She decided to tackle both fears because they were holding her back financially and keeping her from promoting her new business. “I came to see those two fears as a drain on my pocketbook and debilitating to my confidence,” she says. “There was a woman on the other end of this fear who was going to emerge. This woman scared the crap out of me.”

She gave herself two years to overcome the fears. Cha~zay signed up for Toastmasters, took workshops, and pushed out of her comfort zone. She moved past the physical symptoms of fear. When it was over, she couldn’t believe who she had become. Unfortunately, during this process she also grew apart from her husband. She wanted to make an impact and live a big life, and he wanted to keep things simple. They divorced as best friends.

She approached the CEO of Mindjet, where she worked, and asked to reduce her hours. At this point, Cha~zay was a full-time student, in the middle of a divorce, and running her own business. She was also sixteen units short of a degree and was working part-time while running a part-time business. She was also a single mom. The CEO gave her more flexibility, and Cha~zay reduced her hours to four days a week and spent three days a week on her own business. The CEO of Mindjet was also on her company’s advisory board.

Cha~zay bought and rented real estate to create a passive income stream. Then, she built several houses. She also became a Learning Annex instructor and spoke on stage with the author of Rich Dad/Poor Dad in front of thousands of people.

“That’s when I made my mistake,” she recalls. “I lost sight of my intuition and took too many risks. I had a ten-year plan, but I didn’t stick to it. I got into bad partnerships and lost money and clients.” Cha~zay lost six million dollars and all her assets, plus the time and money spent on lawyers. “I lost faith in humanity,” she says. “I was devastated.”

So she went back to the drawing board. Cha~zay had visionary experiences, but her mother and ex-husband didn’t believe in the unseen world or intuition. So she left the U.S. and took a few years to turn inward. She went back to the Swiss and Italian Alps and earned a living as a consultant for several years. Building a life for her daughter kept her going. During that time, Cha~zay completed two PhDs in metaphysical science and holistic life coaching. Then she came back to the U.S. and trained in Reiki, becoming a certified hypnotist and an ordained minister. “I’m not religious, but I wanted people to be able to make their confessions and provide a minister’s non-disclosure protections,” Cha~zay says.

Cha~zay started her Core Freedom community to provide a “home away from home” for others and to share what she learned about the unseen world. She volunteered as a suicide prevention hotline counselor for several years and draws on that experience as she helps others discover their purpose in life. She is also the host of The Core Freedom Show, a podcast dedicated to the evolution of the soul.

“Today, I have new opinions about money and what I want out of life,” Cha~zay says. “I’m authentic with myself and with others, and I don’t hide behind my business. My new project is helping low-income people create start-up companies. It’s my passion to bring out their gifts.”

For Cha~zay, it’s no longer about having that big company to hire ten people. She has hired those ten and more. It’s no longer about making one million dollars a year; it’s about reaching one million people per year with her message.

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Claim Your Role as Catalyst

by Gail Z. Martin excerpted from Fresh Start Success: Reimagine Your Work, Reinvent Your Life, Re-Ignite Your Passion

Everyone has the power to be a change agent and a catalyst; you just have to acknowledge your own ability to make a difference. Start by becoming mindful about how the organizations you’ve worked for actually functioned. Where were the inefficiencies and redundancies? Who was doing a great job without acknowledgement? What could have been done better, and how could it have been improved? Take those lessons with you to the next role you play—whether it’s within another organization or in a company you start.

Make a conscious decision to build an ethical company—not just by observing the letter of the law, but by maximizing the human potential of your employees, customers, and industry through recognizing and rewarding actions that mentor, empower, and implement new ideas. Resist the comfort zone of default thinking and challenge “the way it’s always been done.” Make your reinvention a Fresh Start Success for everyone involved.

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Be A Change Agent

by Gail Z. Martin excerpted from Fresh Start Success: Reimagine Your Work, Reinvent Your Life, Re-Ignite Your Passion

“I’ve always been a change agent.” Faith Monson trained to be a salesperson. She moved up through the ranks, from salesperson to sales manager, then to regional manager, always changing how things were done. She stayed at each job longer because she reinvented the job while she was doing it. That helped keep her interested and let her take advantage of potential opportunities.

As one of the first women in a full sales position in the companies where she worked, Faith had a major role in changing company culture as to how the corporations treated women. “Early on, women were only allowed to be in customer service, not in sales,” Faith recalls. “The outside sales people were male, and even when a woman in a showroom sold something, it wasn’t considered to be ‘sales’.” In fact, while male salespeople won awards, there were no awards for women in the showroom, no matter how many sales they closed. Yet the showroom saw many more clients each day, meaning that the women actually had more client contact than the men.”

Faith created a corporate recognition program for the showroom sales staff and got the customer service workers reclassified as “inside sales people” by pointing out the volume of sales they generated. She fought and won approval to promote female inside sales people to outside sales people, pioneering a program that was later replicated across the country. “These women were great sales people,” Faith says. “They just hadn’t been recognized.”

“I’ve always been a catalyst. I like to mentor and empower women and watch them grow,” Faith says. But the leadership’s micro-management culture drove her crazy. “I was all about opportunity and looking for new ideas,” Faith adds. “The management preserved the status quo and limited opportunities and innovation. Ultimately, running into a brick wall took its toll.” She felt that the company’s leadership was unsupportive and unresponsive to the needs of the sales force. “That did it for me.”

“I had always wanted to have my own business with bright, talented, and enthusiastic people. I knew how to run a business, and I had ideas on how to make it grow. In my corporate experience, my clients were primarily small business owners. I listened and learned about their challenges and concerns, strategized with them, made suggestions, and had creative brainstorming sessions on how they could best promote themselves,” Faith recalls. “I met so many clients with unique and creative abilities that weren’t promoting their businesses, and I wanted to help them be successful. I found working with them stimulating and challenging, and a part of my job that I really enjoyed. Now, I see that it was a training ground for my next job.”

It was time to move on. Faith was ready to be her own boss. She had proven herself and believed in herself. The turning point came when she was sitting in a train station reading You Are a Brand by Catherine Kaputa. Faith devoured the book and decided to go out on her own and help businesses be more successful by using the skills she had honed in her corporate job to establish their brands and promote their success. Faith partnered with the best website designers, professional writers, and marketing and promoting gurus she could find. Her first clients were people who knew her from her corporate experience, accepted her in her new role, and hired her to coach them to success, which was very validating.

Throughout her career, Faith created books of quotations and inspirational photos to motivate herself and stay pumped up. “Those quotes inspired me to go for it,” Faith says. “They encouraged me to take risks. They taught me to be my own biggest cheerleader.” Sales turned out to be a great training ground. “I sold myself to myself, and I sold myself to potential clients,” Faith said. Her contacts believed in the “new” Faith and referred her.

Being her own boss was freeing. “The sky was the limit,” Faith says. “I could try things, take risks, and learn on my own. There was endless opportunity, and I was uncovering my untapped talents and skills.” There were some downsides to being on her own. “I’m not an IT person,” Faith confesses. “I had to hire people to do those things, and I would have liked to have been able to do more social media and internet work myself.”

Faith’s new venture was successful immediately. “I was my own boss, I used my ideas and stuck myself out there, out of my comfort zone, and stretched myself at every opportunity,” Faith says.

Faith came from a competitive, goal-driven environment, and while she had excelled in that situation, she wanted to shift gears and make her vision all about her clients’ success. “In my corporate world, I mentored peers and subordinates. Now, I wanted to mentor my clients, help them to fly, come out of their shells, burst out of their insecurities,” Faith says. “I wanted to be in their corner. Often, that’s all they need. I’m there, cheering them on, being their Sherpa. Everyone is different in what inspires them. I empower them so they can go for it.”

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