Tag Archives: Business and Life with an Intuitive Twist


<div class=\"postavatar\">Civility</div>

by Gail Z. Martin

The whole civility topic has stayed with me.  All the anger spewed by talk radio and politicians, and all the fear that makes for news show ratings is making us sick—and I mean that literally.

We know that stress is a big contributor to disease.  Stress contributes to cancer, heart disease, inflammatory conditions, auto-immune disorders, sleep problems, overeating, substance abuse and domestic violence.  Life has unavoidable stresses, but we can choose to eliminate the phony ones by refusing to listen to radio and TV personalities shout at each other, by withdrawing support when politicians act like middle school bullies, and by being watchful of the tone of the conversation that is allowed in our minds and in our homes.

What does this have to do with marketing and business?  Everything.  When people are afraid, they spend less money on goods and services.  Businesses horde extra cash instead of hiring, “just in case.”  Investors pull out of markets.  Lenders refuse to lend.  It’s all based on a mindset of scarcity, the fear that there isn’t enough to go around.

What happens if we change the channel?  What happens when we focus on gratitude instead of fear, on building instead of scarcity?  It changes everything—personally and in business.

When you focus on gratitude, your intuition will feel like the volume has been turned up.  Suddenly, you’re highly receptive to other people—and they’re receptive to you.  Your intuition seems to speak to you more often when your mind isn’t blocked by anger and fear.  You’ll see new business opportunities, forge new partnerships and take risks to grow.  Not only that, but a business approach based on gratitude (with some intuitive hints along the way) will make you attractive to people who see you as an oasis of calm and confidence.

What are you grateful for in the New Year?  In your business?

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Intentions, Personal Transitions

An Awesome Attitude Can Make a BIG Difference

by Deborah Shane

How important is attitude?

There is an expression that “when you look at challenge differently, it starts looking different to you”. There are a few people lately that are amazing examples to me of “attitude in action” in dealing with their own life altering situations. They are going through personal and professional crisis that really can try a person’s faith and belief, but they persevere with grace and poise. Some days they are just not ok and good, but they share that with their support team anyway.

All around us there are people we know in crisis and change, from jobs to homes, to health, family and finances.Which people in your sphere’s have that “awesome attitude” and how can that make a BIG difference not only to them but to others?

I know for me, the past four years has been a relentless series of changes on all the areas I mentioned above and yet I am choosing to stay positive, keep evolving, growing and moving forward. There are many things that are NOT the same, but I still have love, health, family, friends, opportunity and fun in my life.

So what is attitude?

T-time management

What defines your attitude? Never underestimate how it can help someone you don’t know or haven’t met yet!

Coming Early 2011-

Career Transition-make the shift
The 5 Steps for Successful Career Reinvention

Deborah Shane, is an author, entrepreneur, speaker and expert. She is the founder and Chief Motivator, Educator and Catalyst at Train With Shane, which delivers business education and professional development through speaking, events and training in the career, sales, social marketing, and motivation fields. Deborah is also founder of the Women’s Empowerment Series Conferences and The Career Transition Series Intensives. Her new book Career Transition Make the Shift-The 5 Steps to Successful Career Transition comes out early in 2011. Reach Deborah through www.deborahshane.com, TrainWithShane.com, her blog deborahshanetoolbox.com on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn at Deborah Shane, and at Blogtalkradio.com/trainwithshane.

You can listen to the audio from when Deborah was a guest of Blog Host, Gail Z. Martin’s Shared Dreams podcast here: https://www.audioacrobat.com/play/WyNtfW3X

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Filed under Guest Blogger, Image & Identity, Inspiration

Timid or Careful?

by Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA, PCC

A forty five year old software engineer finally found employment after being laid off for 18 months. Her boss asks her to alter the financial reporting programs in a way that feels unethical to her. She’s been on the job for only two months, and doesn’t know the hierarchy in her new company and if what she is being asked to do is consistent with company policy, or is being done on the Q-T. She decides to work slower than usual on the project while she does some canvassing to find out what the legitimacy of this request really is. Is she being timid or careful?

A seventy year old woman with osteoporosis is walking across the street in the rain. She feels unsure of her footing, and is walking slowly, and more stiffly than usual in an attempt to protect herself from falling. Unfortunately, walking with this kind of tenseness increases her chances of losing her footing. Would you say she’s being timid and/or careful?

An entrepreneur whose business has flat lined over the last 24 months is both pleased that she is weathering the recession and nervous that neither her profits nor her market share are growing. She is contemplating a new social media marketing campaign the includes a new blog site, a new branding and new messaging to reach a more specific target market. The cost of creating this move represents about 25% of her current profits. She has had the proposal on her desk for three months now. Is she being timid or careful?

A two year old intently leaves the security of her hold on the end table and teeters toward her mother, slowly and carefully. Falls down, and tries again, holding onto that table for a little longer this time. Is she timid or careful? And clearly determined and focused!

Interestingly,TIMID, CAREFUL, and STUCK can all look the same. How are you doing in your business this quarter? Timid, Careful, Stuck or determined and moving slowly?

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Filed under Business Planning, Intentions, Sheryl Eldene

Anger and the lizard brain.

<div class=\"postavatar\">Anger and the lizard brain.</div>

by Gail Z. Martin

I’ve told the story about the two warring wolves inside each of us—the light one that is brave and true and the dark one that is dangerous.  The wolf that wins is the wolf we feed.

I tackled my own “wolf problem” when it came to feeling angry.  Now I’ve already shared my reaction to the over-hyped, over-dramatized TV news.  But once I realized how much the doom-and-gloom drumbeat of the news affected my mood, I went looking for other culprits in order to take back my wolf.
A friend of mine who is a psychologist told me that the oldest part of the brain is focused on survival.  It’s programmed to fight, reproduce and grab all the resources for itself, because that’s how wild animals survive.  Interestingly enough, this old part of the brain is what lights up when we’re angry.  And even more interesting, when we’re angry, the body redirects blood from the more advanced parts of the brain (that control logic, reasoning and decision-making) to fuel the fight-or-flight old brain.

Do you realize what that means?  When we’re angry, we’re using our lizard brain, not the new improved frontal lobe reasoning brain.  In other words—and this is important—anger turns off the ability to think.

Now consider how angry our society has become.  Road rage. Politicians who barely avoid fist fights and call each other names. Flamers and trolls on the Internet who post nasty comments.  School bullying that makes kids commit suicide.  Talk radio. Anger turns off the ability to think.
What would happen if you pulled the plug on the anger-makers?  Skip the morning drive talk radio show that leaves you with an upset stomach and a bad mood.  Stop reading the Letters to the Editor and the comments on news blogs.  Look for a non-partisan source for news that tries its best to provide the facts and let you decide.  Take time to breathe.

Anger turns off the ability to think—and it also drowns out your intuition.  When you’re angry, there are too many survival chemicals flooding your system for you to hear the soft whisper of intuition and opportunity.

Make just one change this week to pull the plug on the anger-makers and let me know how it changes your life and awakens your intuition.

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Filed under Balance, Gail Z. Martin, Image & Identity, Inspiration, Passion & Potential, Personal Transitions

What’s in a BRAND?

LaFern K. Batie, MBA
Business Strategist & Executive Coach

If I say “safe, luxury automobile” or “no frills, go anywhere airline” what comes to mind?

Regardless of the automobile or airline you chose, their brand power is in the eyes of you, the consumer, based on how you connect what you see, hear or experience with a perceived value. We are loyal to the seemingly simple and complex alike — from our favorite paper towel to the investment firm we choose to manage our life savings. What is a personal brand? Your brand, like any other commodity, connotes the value you promise. It sets you apart. Does it align with what others perceive in you?

When others see you, they see your business. Fair or not, you are a 24/7 walking, breathing billboard who has the capacity to present a strong, consistent and excellent image of what you represent. With so many resources available, where do you begin? With a personal inventory:

Who are you? Identify your five core values – those aspects of your life that are most important to you. How do they show up in the way that you lead and conduct business? Who you are and what you desire must align!

How do others see you? When you walk in the door, who do others see? Ask five individuals who care about you and will tell you the truth to provide five words describing you. Your business coach and personal advisory board members are excellent resources. Do they see you as intimidating rather than confident? Or less contemplative and more timid? Which perceptions need your immediate attention?

How do you desire to be known? Whether or not you give it intentional focus, your brand has been established. Are you the epitome of effective leadership or are you waiting on a pivotal opportunity before you show up as such? Among your colleagues or clients, what is different because you are present?

From personal image to business performance, your total brand speaks volumes to others about who you are, what you represent and your business’s capability to deliver on the promises that you proclaim. Now, what does your brand say?

My book, Marketing Brand You®: Moving from Chaos to Clarity, is available for purchase at:  https://thebatiegroup.com/products.php

You can listen to the audio from when LaFern was a guest of Blog Host, Gail Z. Martin’s Shared Dreams podcast here: https://www.audioacrobat.com/play/WB4cfHjk

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Filed under Business Planning, Guest Blogger

Freebie Friday – Gifts from Bobbie Christmas

This week’s guest blogger, Bobbie Christmas, is nice enough to share the following:

Bobby Christmas White Paper


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Which wolf are you feeding?

<div class=\"postavatar\">Which wolf are you feeding?</div>

by Gail Z. Martin

There’s an old story about a Native American grandfather who tells his grandson about the two wolves that live inside of every person.  One is a light wolf that is brave and true, and the other is a dark wolf that is dangerous and can’t be trusted.  The child asks, “Which wolf wins?”  And the grandfather answers, “The one you feed.”

With all the talk lately about civility (and lack thereof), I got thinking about the wolves we choose to feed.  I’ll make a confession—I stopped watching TV news regularly about 18 years ago.  Now that’s an odd admission from someone in the marketing and PR business, but the reason is, I realized how negative and sensationalized TV news had become since the days of Walter Cronkite and Huntley & Brinkley.

Sure, I’ll tune in for the main points of a big story, but I won’t leave it on.  Why?  I don’t want to hear all the breathless speculation (from people who don’t know more than I do on a breaking story).  Have you ever noticed how the speculation becomes more and more dire, and then moves from true speculation into “experts” predicting the worst?  And how do you feel while you’re watching that?  Tense? Angry? Frightened?

It took a toddler to make me realize how toxic TV news had become.  Once my daughter was old enough to really pay attention to conversations, she would hear enough scary stuff on the news to burst into tears.  I turned it off to avoid scaring her—and realized that I didn’t miss it, either.

Now I’m still a news junkie.  I read five newspapers online each day and subscribe to about 15 monthly magazines (and read them).   But the amazing thing is, when I read the news, I decide which stories deserve breathless coverage.  I’m not being manipulated by the fake emotions of the newscaster.  I remain much more calm, even when I’m reading about something bad.  I fed the light wolf instead of the dark one.

So here’s a challenge.  Try swapping the TV news for an online newspaper or news journal magazine for one month and see if you feel calmer.  If you can’t switch off the TV completely, mute the news and turn on the subtitles.  Try it, and I guarantee you’ll start to feel less stressed, less angry and less at the mercy of the universe.

Let me know how it works for you!

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Filed under Balance, Gail Z. Martin

My Big Dream? Get Smaller!


My "Before" Picture

At age sixty-five I was, for the first time, feeling old. I had developed arthritis, and my knees, back, and the arches in my feet hurt so much that I hobbled and groaned. At times I feared my joints might give way. I had trouble leaning over to clip my toenails or tie my shoes. I read articles on arthritis, something many people endure as they grow older, and learned that weight and age were the most influential factors in its development. I didn’t want to devour all the painkillers my orthopedic doctor prescribed, because they could cause internal bleeding, and I’d have to take antacids, as well. I dreaded going into a medication spiral where every drug required me to take another drug. “I’m just getting old,” I told myself at first. After months of pain, though, I grew depressed. Who wouldn’t?

In the past when my pets grew old and their quality of life decreased, my veterinarian euthanized them. I pondered the word euthanize, a handy euphemism for ending a life. I didn’t want to end my life, but some days I didn’t want to live, if it meant more pain.

“I don’t want to be euthanized,” I finally said one day. “I want to be youth-anized.” I couldn’t change my age, but I could relieve some of the stress on my joints if I lost weight. As a sedentary writer and book editor, I topped out at a whopping 245 pounds after a cruise to Central and South America that I thought would have to be my last, because of my difficulty walking.

To youth-anize myself I needed to weigh 150 pounds or less, which meant I needed to lose ninety-five pounds. Ninety-five pounds? That’s a whole other person!

Food is my downfall. I love sweets and salty snacks. I eat when I’m hungry; I eat when I’m not hungry. I eat when I’m happy; I eat when I’m sad. I eat when I’m bored; I eat when I’m excited. I’ve overeaten for my entire life and have always weighed more than I should.

Nothing else would do, though. If I wanted to get youth-anized, I had to eat less food and get more exercise. I also needed to stay motivated for a long time, to meet such a hefty (pun acknowledged but not intended) goal. How can a single person living alone find the incentive to keep moving toward a long-term goal?

In previous years I’d joined groups, read books, and tried every diet. In truth they all worked, but I always quit following them after a while. I already knew how to lose weight, but how could I stick to a diet long enough to lose almost one hundred pounds? Every time I thought of dieting, a streak of fear ran through me.

Wait!  A flash of brilliance came to me. I know what to do! I am, after all, a writer!

Deciding that “diet” was a four-letter word that struck fear in my heart, I began a blog called “Don’t You Dare Call It a Diet.” I spelled out my intentions for anyone to read. I revealed the horrid truth of my weight in hopes that “putting it out there” shamed me into doing something about it. I revealed how I planned to lose weight through healthy eating and exercise, and I promised to weigh in every Monday and report my progress. I sensed that if I made my intentions public, I could not back down and give up.

Years ago a nutritionist gave me information on a healthy food plan created for diabetics, and I decided to follow it. I’m not diabetic, but if I kept eating the way I did, I soon would eat myself into type 2 diabetes, one of the many dangers of being obese. The diabetic food plan calls for lots of vegetables and fruits, controlled portions of protein, and limited starches and sugars. All real food. No fees. No meetings. No shots. No pills. I could do that.

Although I already belonged to a nearby gym, I had gone there only a few times. I set up a schedule to swim and do water aerobics at least once a week. If I could get there twice a week, it would be even better, but I’m still working full-time as a book editor.

Once I drastically reduced my starches, carefully guarded my portions, and worked out regularly, the weight began to melt away. On my blog I reported healthy-eating tips as well as my weekly weight loss, usually one or two pounds a week, and people wrote to say I had motivated them, and they were losing weight. I was helping others? An unexpected bonus!

By the time I lost twenty pounds, the pains in my knees, back, and feet became minimal. Now that I’ve lost forty-five pounds, I’m practically pain free. I can walk as long as I like and even sprint up stairs. I thought my joints had lost their flexibility, but it turns out that my joints weren’t the problem. My fat was. It got in the way more than I admitted. I now cut and paint my toenails with ease and tie my shoes without any stress. Even sex has gotten better, without my huge belly in the way.

Once again I feel confident planning cruises and other trips, because I feel years younger than I did six months ago. I get more youthful with every pound I lose. I didn’t lose weight to look better, but I do look better. A lot better.

Within a year, and probably sooner, I’ll be at my healthiest weight ever. I still deny that I’m on a diet, though, because diets are restrictive. On my food plan I don’t have to do anything outside my comfort zone. I don’t have to eat strange or tasteless food, go to meetings, or deprive myself. I eat absolutely anything I want, but moderation and portion control is the key. As I research healthy eating more, I disseminate that information to my blog readers, so we can all make better and wiser choices.

My plan involves conscious eating. Every meal gives me a chance to make wise choices, eat less than my body needs, and lose weight. Every blog entry allows me to give and receive support from readers. Every pound lost brings me closer to my big dream of losing ninety-five pounds.

My journey continues, and more than 1,700 people have read my blog to date, with more people added all the time. Read it at https://dontyoudarecallitadiet.blogspot.com/.

Writing is a magical thing. While I work hard to achieve my big dream of getting smaller, I’m helping others get fit as well. My influence has extended far beyond my dreams. Best of all, when I hit my goal weight, I will have written enough blog entries to comprise a book. All I’ll have to do is search for a publisher or self-publish.

No longer do I harbor dark thoughts of euthanasia or fears that I’m going to live in pain. I have youth-anized myself, and I’m pain free. I can’t even imagine how great I’ll feel when I meet my goal weight.

How easily I could have given up and let myself get old and fat, but thanks to writing, my own big dream has turned into something that helps others achieve their dreams, too, and everybody is winning—by losing!

My "During" Picture

Bobbie Christmas, author of Write In Style and other books, is a book editor and owner of Zebra Communications in metro Atlanta. She can be reached at Bobbie@zebraeditor.com. Sign up for The Writers Network News, her free newsletter for writers, at www.zebraeditor.com.

You can listen to the audio from when Bobbie was a guest of Blog Host, Gail Z. Martin’s Shared Dreams podcast here: https://www.audioacrobat.com/play/WDx9N9D7

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Filed under Guest Blogger, Image & Identity

Freebie Friday – Gifts from Barbara Florio-Graham

Barbara Florio-Graham, our guest blogger this week was kind enough to share the following links for Freebie Friday:


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Filed under Freebie Friday, Guest Blogger

How are those resolutions coming?

by Gail Z. Martin

Just a month ago we watched the ball drop in Times Square and the new year looked like a bright, shiny penny.  Resolutions for a better 2011 seemed easy to make.

Now we’re one whole month into the year, and making some of those changes seems a little harder than it looked.  That’s why I asked—and I really want to know—are you making progress on your resolutions?

Here were my resolution list for 2011?

–Make this the year I actually lose the pounds I gained “birthing” my business and books (joined Weight Watchers and I’m down 4 pounds so far!)

–Set up speaking engagements in Montreal and Toronto (I don’t know where, when or for whom, but it’s on my vision board!)  (Not yet, but I’m going to Vancouver in April, which is also on my vision board.)

–Expand the size and type of organizations for which I present workshops and keynotes (it’s starting to happen)

–Spend more time on social media reconnecting (still struggling for time to hang out as much as I’d like).

The point is not to feel guilty if you’re not already done with your list.  Hey, it’s only a few weeks!  The important thing is to keep making progress—even if it’s only baby steps—in the right direction.

We get discouraged when we compare our progress to other people’s gains (we always see their wins but not the work or obstacles they overcome), or when we get impatient with steady progress.  But the truth is, every journey covers inches before it covers miles.  It’s better to see steady slow progress than to give up entirely because the goals didn’t happen fast enough.  Hang in there!

What are your resolutions—business or personal—this year?  I’d like to know.

***My new novel, The Sworn: Book One in the Fallen Kings Cycle, is now in stores!***

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Inspiration, Motivation, Personal Transitions