Why We All Must Fall: An Olympic Lesson

February 19th, 2014

Skiing Slalom DownhillSkiing Slalom DownhillSkiing Slalom DownhillIt’s that time again. We watch top athletes assemble to compete in the Olympics. We watch from our TV’s cheering these spirited young people on. Along the way there have been a number of unexpected falls and spills. Some have had to side step competition due to injury and forgo the drive to the podium until the next Olympics.

It never ceases to amaze me. The power: the fortitude and persistence of these young people. They fall down. They get back up. Sometimes there are tears. Sometimes a burst of frustration emerges. Other times a pure and simple resolve. But these competitors get back up. Dust them selves off and move forward. It’s inspiring.

Often times we are judged and criticized for the normal human reaction to a fall or disappointment in our lives. It’s that span between doing and having where the bottom falls out. Emotions swell to the surface. We cry. We shout. We may even have a burst of energy leave our bodies in the form of a pillow getting punched. These are normal reactions to disappointment. They are the safety values on the pressure cooker going on inside of us.

3 Important Factors to stay focused on:

1. What is the lesson?
2. What have we learned in this stumble?
3. Avoid thinking you are being punished – this is critical!

This is not defeat. It is merely a moment of correction in our approach. That’s why we must fall (and fail) at times. How does one course correct if there isn’t a correction to be made. That would mean that we are perfect. Now, come on, that’s not reality.

So in the falling and in the correction we learn to be agile, adjust and be our own Olympian – we dust ourselves off and move forward having learned a important lessons so we can move forward stronger and potentially faster than before.

It is hard to remember this while we’re in a free fall situation.
It’s even harder to be the person watching the fall of a love one, a friend or a colleague. Judge not. Have compassion. Be constructive in a loving manner. Help them get back up and make the adjustment without feeling ashamed of themselves.

For those of you in the corporate arena – sometimes taking a conversation off line and outside the office IS the best coarse of action. You have permission to be human with others.

Friday Finale: Don’t Get Taken Off Your Game

February 14th, 2014
Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day!

It’s Valentines Day and I’m getting ready to close up shop early. Outside I can hear the love in the air as the sounds from the street below are filled with “F-bombs” and honking horns. Ah the sites and sounds of NYC. Did I just hear the local engine company come around the corner? Yes, that’s them. And that sure is their horn. “Move ya’er car buddy!”

My point is, there is a lot that can distract you and take you off your game each and every day. Life can be messy. Life can be unpredictable. But life is also colorful and there is so much good to be enjoyed. Having a human reaction to challenge doesn’t make you weak. It makes you human. Process it. Concentrate on the good and try to leave the hurt and pain on the curb.

Maybe I should tell this to the group of teamsters wreaking havoc outside at the moment. But somehow I think they’d tell me that the idiot in the mini-van blocking the street is keeping them from their…well…zen…life…and love. Well they might say that in between a few more F-bombs. Maybe that’s what we’d all say in regards to the challenges and mistakes made this week. LOL

Love yourself.
Love your love ones more than you can imagine you already do.
Have a great weekend people!

7 Steps to Mastering The Art of Listening

December 18th, 2013

“Can you hear me now?” is a masterful part of Verizon’s marketing these days.
We’ve become a generation of cell phone users, texters and emailers. (Well, aren’t the kids today telling us that email is oh so passé now?) These are allwoman great technologies for communication but….

But do we really hear each other?
Are we aware of what we are really saying to one another? Listening goes well beyond the sense of hearing – you’ll need to learn to listen with your eyes, heart and soul to be an effective influencer and leader in the world.

Sitting in her office with the senior manager on her team, Harriett looks through her glasses and begins to fiddle with her pencil.

“If we try to resolve this problem in another manner, I’m sure it would be more beneficial to everyone around us”.

Harriett begins to drift off into her thoughts of the meeting the day before where tempers had flared and she felt completely uncomfortable and out of sync with what was going on.

“If we can roll out the strategy…” the woman continues, mapping out a plan on a blank piece of paper.

Harriet’s thoughts are far away. Her mind roams to her own fear in regards to her standing in this business. She begins to wonder if she’ll ever feel like she knows what she’s doing. Moreover, will anyone realize what a great job she does? Ever? She sighs heavily, clearly off in her own thoughts.

“Harriett, are you there? Did you hear me?”
“Yes, yes….of course” she smiles at the woman “I’m listening.”

But is Harriett really listening?
Are you really listening to others around you?

Possibility, like Harriett, off in your own thoughts, fears, wants and desires and not really completely present for those that are talking to you. You may be listening with your ears but are you listening with your other senses? This is the art of listening from a much higher level.

There are 7 characteristics of a good listener;

  1. Never interrupt
  2. Create a sense of physical proximity to the person speaking to you without invading their personal space. i.e. stand or sit directly in front of them
  3. Practice empathy and avoid criticism or any tone or words that could be perceived as patronizing.
  4. Observe their body language. Notice if they are distracted, agitated or relaxed. Take notice of your own body language as well. Remain relaxed and neutral.
  5. Share your own personal experiences but not too much or too soon in the exchange.
  6. Be aware of the context of the person’s life – it will help you understand their perspective faster.
  7. Allow yourself to listen not just with your ears and mind, but with your heart and spirit (intuition). Trust your intuitive guidance in your gut.

As a leader you must be able to identify and fulfill the needs of your people and/or clients. The art of listening fulfills the need for cooperation. In cooperation a person/people need to be heard.

If you agree with what is being said or not is not the objective. The objective is to allow the individual in front of you openly express themselves, to be treated with respect in that expression and to be responded to in an appropriate manner. Even if your answer if “no”. This is one of the foundational principles in building trust with those around you.

Bio Box:
Maria Gamb is an author, speaker and mentor to emerging leaders in business. Her first book ever “Healing the Corporate World”  was launched on Amazon in 2010 broke into the Top10 Bestsellers in Business/Leadership joining the ranks of the highly influential all boys club of authors such as Jim Collins, Daniel Pink and Carmine Gallo. http://amzn.to/998R9p

Are You Guilty of Using Guilt?

September 6th, 2013

By Maria Gamb, CEO of NMS Communications and Best-Selling author of Healing the Corporate World 

When one mentions the word “guilt” they are delivered immediately to a current or past event that evokes waves of regret and queasiness.  Sometimes it’s even a hot flash through their body. Both usually result in a facial expression that is one of undeniable discomfort. The epicenter of that emotional distress is usually attached to a mistake or lapse in judgment. On a physiological level, studies have shown that the emotion of guilt releases acid in one’s body. While I am not a physician nor scientist, I do know that an acidic environment in one’s body creates a breeding ground for disease to enter the picture. So what are we doing to ourselves and others?

We grew up with guilt, didn’t we? It’s a very familiar, almost familial, mostly unconscious communication style that has trickled into the office.

For example; my grandmother, bless her soul, would use guilt to manipulate us into doing whatever she wanted by saying things like “You wanna do something good momma?” Momma was the affectionate term she used for each of her grandchildren.  It usually went something like, “You wanna do something good momma? Take this newspaper and Windex and clean the sliding glass doors.” I’m not sure if she was just someone who knew the power of guilt or if she may have been an early day NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) master. She associated the task of cleaning her windows with being good. She guilt-tripped us into doing her bidding because if we didn’t, then we risked the judgment of being considered bad kids.

In the workplace, there are almost direct examples utilizing my grandmother’s perfected guilt technique or associating “goodness” with the action she wanted us to take. However, the more common examples are to place unrealistic cause and effects on individuals. “If this project doesn’t come through on deadline and on budget you will cause everyone in this 5000 person company to lose their jobs.”

The most commonly utilized guilt technique is to punish someone who has made a mistake; to withhold from that person acceptance, forgiveness and/or inclusion no matter the remorse, apology or actions taken to correct the situation. This person will shut down or leave. Wouldn’t you?

In doing so, you’ve limited the individual; they are unable to engage in or contribute to the team and it’s an example that if they are not perfect they will be cast aside, forever. That is not to say that there should not be consequences for a lapse in judgment or a mistake. But to what end? For how long?

I have a saying I use with my clients often when it comes to a leader dealing with a team member who made a mistake and for whatever reason they cannot seem to let go of the resentment around it; “What’s the statue of limitations on this issue?” In other words; when is the debt for the mistake paid? A bit of arguing about the issue with egregious detail follows. Then I ask, “How long do you intend to punish this person?” Silence and deep thought follow before admitting it’s unfair. Guilt is often termed the punisher and destroyer. Neither or which are terribly motivating for the person on the receiving end nor the implementer.

Oftentimes the use of guilt is completely unconscious; like a reflex. Sometimes it’s a communication style we learned from someone in our past. After a while the people around you will get tired of it.  Or sick, literally, of it (and even from it).  As I mentioned earlier, the physiological manifestation of guilt can effect one’s health. On a more obvious level, guilt stricken individuals sleep less, are more jumpy, experience shame, are more likely to take sick days and often times withdraw from the situation. All of which means the productivity of your team goes down. You lose your talent, their ideas, energy and whatever else they can contribute.

What about the self-inflicted guilt we impose upon ourselves for not being perfect? Women in particular seem to be masters at this technique more so than men. We become obsessive, talk about it, rehash every detail ad nauseam and obsess some more over whatever the infraction was that took place. In some cases it verges on self-flagellation.

The remedy is to practice forgiveness. Address the issue but forgive. Let it go. By the way, that is the same remedy for self-inflicted guilt over anything, including being a leader who may have deployed guilt in the past. One of your most powerful leadership skills is this one: Forgiveness. It is what motivate people to pick themselves up and move forward because when your team knows that mistakes are human, they are more willing to take risks, be creative and think outside the box.

As a reminder to yourself, consider posting Henry Ward Beecher’s quote over your desk: I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive.  Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note – torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one.

Link to Original Forbes article:  http://onforb.es/1aSDhNx

Short Bio for Maria Gamb:

Maria Gamb served for twenty-plus years as an executive, in businesses valued at upwards of 100 million dollars. She is founder/CEO of NMS Communications,  a consulting and training company helping executives and entrepreneurs claim their ability to lead profitable, innovative and effective businesses through balanced leadership. Maria the Amazon Top 10 best selling author of Healing the Corporate World  You can find out more about Maria and receive additional tools and tips at www.MariaGamb.com


A Pope, A Governor and A CEO Walk Into A Bar…

March 14th, 2013

chrisIt may sound like a common bar room joke set up, but what do Marissa Mayer, Gov. Chris Christie (R) and the Pope Emeritus have in common? There’s no real punch line, but an important example for all of us. They have all made the tough decision and made what have been perceived by many as an unpopular choice. They have abandoned the conventional norm and took the servant leadership principle of putting the needs of the whole group ahead of a few – this is one of the 4 main functions of a servant leader.

Mayer has called her remote employees back to Yahoo HQ by June. If they fail to report back, they can resign. The reasoning has been cited as a move to improve productivity and collaboration, as well as to weed out those who are dialing it in and not actually doing much. It’s a highly publicized decision berated by the media and women’s groups. Mayer has been dubbed insensitive to women who work remotely and take care of their families. She has been villainized by others for taking the workplace back into the stone ages and ruining this opportunity for others in Silicon Valley and beyond. The media has stopped short of calling for the gallows to be lifted and Mayer to be marched forward as a sacrifice.

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey was the big bold and brash republican front runner for the Republican Party’s 2016 bid for the White House, until recently. He also gave the keynote at the RNC conference during Romney’s bid in 2012. However, towards the end of the 2012 presidential campaign, the northeast was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, much of the New Jersey coastline was obliterated, bringing those community’s businesses and residential areas to their knees. Christie embraced President Obama’s help financially and in moral support during his on the ground visits. Christie praised Obama for his leadership during a press conference. Since then Christie has been ostracized by his party and frozen out of key alliances. In some circles he has been labeled a traitor.

Pope Benedict XVI made a historic choice to abdicate his position as head of the Catholic Church. No Pope has left office voluntarily since 1417, when Gregory XII stepped down. He has been criticized for his break with tradition. Some had swirled scandal and intrigue around the resignation that has been cited as a lack of strength to fulfill the duties of his office and effectively serve the people of the church. (http://www.bnowire.com/inbox/?id=1478)

Servant leadership is one that places the focus on the needs of many rather than just a few. Whether you agree with Mayer, Christie or even the Pope Emeritus or not, is not the issue. Each made decisions that they felt would be a greater benefit to others. They even jeopardized their own place within the communities they serve to put the greater vision first: the livelihood and growth of all within a company, the people they govern, and those they lead.

Mayer is focusing on improving profits and trimming the excess where needed by regrouping the human capital of her organization and the larger sum of employees.

Governor Christie was clear when he said that he was here to serve the public. That’s his job. So, party lines came down and he did what he said he would do – he did what was best for the people who elected him.

And the Pope Emeritus knew he physically could no longer be effective as a leader, as head of the Catholic Church. He stepped aside so the people would be served not with just mind, but with strength.

These are very large and very public examples of servant leadership in action. You don’t have to agree with or condone what they have done. In fact the gift, or the lesson, is that even in the face of their differing levels of criticisms they put the larger community they serve ahead of others’ expectations. We can all learn something from this. Always remember, opinions are like families, everyone’s got one.

Do what you believe is right, what is fair, and what is for the greater good of those you serve.

I’d like to hear what YOU think!

The 4 Functions of a Leader

March 6th, 2013


Beyond the vision.

Beyond the plan.

There are 4 undeniable functions of a leader.  These are the guiding principles behind the emotionally intelligent and sensitive leaders emerging today.  It is a concept knows as “Servant Leadership”.


The 4 Functions of a Leader


  • Be of service. You are in this role to be of service and facilitate the cycle of nature by providing tools, which create jobs, profits, and opportunities for all.
  • Be a guardian. To be a guardian, you have to be honest with yourself about whether your thoughts and beliefs are free of the motivations of your ego self. You must be willing to keep others’ egos in check, too, so that the group’s thoughts, actions, and results are in sync with the values of the higher self and do it without judgment.
  • Give to others generously. Be a go-giver in every aspect that you can imagine. Nurture the highest good in all members of your team so they can reach their highest potential. Share you wisdom and resources with others and be supportive.
  • Consider the needs of the entire group. Do whatever you can to ensure that the rights of others are not violated in the process of building and sustaining your business.

Excerpt from “Healing the Corporate World”

www.HealingTheCorporateWorld.com or on Amazon.com

Confessions of a Change Agent

December 6th, 2012

Taking A Personal Time Out:

Disengaging Your Judge & Jury

by Maria Gamb

The phone rings. It’s a friend.

“Reminder: once you’ve done all you can.. You just stand” ~ Rev. Run

“Um Maria, you need a nap sister.  It’s enough already!”

Me on the other end starring wide-eyed and blinking with confusion.

“What do you mean?”

Her, “I mean enough’s enough.  You’ve had a big year and its time to rest otherwise you’re not going to have enough strength in 2013.”

The tears begin to stream down my face.  “I’m fine!” I was both touched and pissed off simultaneously and completely confused. Feeling embarrassed and ashamed that I had no idea what the hell she was talking about.  I felt fine.  Besides, it was late summer and there was a litany of speaking engagements, clients and my favorite activity in my business – hosting the “Value to Vision Retreat” – coming up.   I thanked her for her concern, placed it in my internal filing cabinet and went about my day.

A few days later I was hit with a wicked cold, which flattened me.  In my ear, I could hear her telling me to lay down, to rest and recover.  Recover? Recover from what?! Yes, it’s been a year of “differents”. But life is a roller coaster. You coast, you adjust, you pick up speed and then come over the top of whatever is going on and you begin again.  No big deal.  It’s just a cycle. Right?

Well this year I dealt with my fiancé having lymphoma and being the primary care taker.  I’ve already shared this with you. I only worked 3 – 3 1/2 days a week because of this.  So it’s not like I drove myself into the ground, right?

 The truth is that life hands us interruptions, as I like to call them. Lymphoma was an interruption that completely realigned my priorities and my life.  It changed my willingness, my faith and my ability to be in the moment.  It also tested my patience, compassion and ability to carve out time that was just my own and had nothing to do with cancer…or work….or anyone else’s needs.  That was the harder part!

 On a spiritual level, there was such a tremendous blessing in something that at times was so scary.  I’m different on the other side of this journey.  I laugh more. I take things less seriously – including my own big bad self. But over the course of the year my body and my mind have been depleted. I’ve been tired more.  If possible there have been days where I would have slept 12+ hours.  But alas, my 4-legged friends had different ideas about when to rise. Thank you very much Nico and Lily! I’d nap occasionally but still soldier on. By 2 or 3pm I would want to curl in a ball and sleep until the next day. I could barely hold my head up.

In a simple business conversation that had nothing to do with any of this, I burst into tears and stated, “I’ve been given a time out, period.”  The woman I was speaking to just held her breath, “What exactly does that mean?”  It means that I’m not supposed to do anything right now.  Just rest. Sleep. Rejuvinate. It was the first time I said it to someone other than my closest friends.  It took my breath away. I could barely breathe. Clearly I did not get the earlier message about making a concerted effort to…..take care of myself and find my own balance.  But the Universe has a really funny way about having people show up in my life and remind me of what needs to be done.

Ok so what does that really mean? Finding my own balance? These are like words spewing from a guru’s lips as they are levitating over a lotus blossom and throwing petals across the masses. Rolling my eyes and sighing even as I type this! I mean, really, doesn’t the Universe know I’m busy? Don’t they know I have my next retreat to market and a sales plan to put in place?  Hey what about all those invitations to speak that must be followed up on? Come on now. Let’s get real (is any of this sounding familiar????)  Don’t you know the line… “I’m on a mission…” etc etc at nauseam. All said with my dramatic hand waving gestures and punctuated with sighs.

Phone rings, it’s that friend again.  I’m thinking, if you tell me to sleep or play I’m going to scream! Who has time for this? No, she’s not calling for that. She’s calling to tell me that I need to find my fulfillment and achievement outside my work. “What?” I’m astounded. Blinking and perplexed once again but finally I get it.

 When going into a “time out” our analytical mind goes nuts.  That part of who we are keeps telling us to drive harder, faster and be more focused.  The analytical mind IS the Nike tag line “Just do it.” The analytical mind will call you lazy and stupid and insane for not using your gifts, talents and brilliance as you grab a cup of tea, a big fluffy blanket and curl up with the cats and a book.  In fact, the analytical mind is a very masculine energy that says, “without results you are nothing”. The Cuba Gooding Jr. shouting in your ear “Show me the money”.  The relentless task master who tells you that if you’re not dragging yourself across your exhaustion on your knees, bruised and bloodied you are clearly not serious enough about your business, your career, goals and aspirations. Been there. Done that. Not interested in that route ever again.

Don’t you just LOVE the analytical mind?!

Sarcasm and vivid imagery aside – the analytical mind is useful and necessary when trying to figure things out.  But when you’re in a “time out” that piece of your mind needs to be appeased or you’ll never get the rest that you so desperately need. The rest is intended for you to recoup your energy.  In a refreshed state you will think more clearly, allow inspiration and ideas to come into play. You can’t do that with the analytical mind yelling at you.

For me, I am that hardcore results orientated person.  I like to SEE things come together, transform, change and have something to hold in my hand.  I’ve always been this way.  I like to touch and feel things.  So the remedy for me is to do something creative.  It could be stain glass. Painting. Drawing, Reupholstering a piece of furniture. Something where I use my hands, and at the end of a period of time I SEE something formed in front of me. I need, it is a need, to hold it.

This accomplishes 2 things:

First, in being creative I am using a different part of my brain and disengaging from just about everything I usually think about – that part of my brain rests. The creative part is playing and enjoying what I am doing.  I am completely engrossed in the process. Which means, I’m outside my norm.

Second, this process also engages the analytical taskmaster who wants to see results and literal accomplishment.  At the end of the creative period I am holding something in my hand that the analytical mind is satisfied with – she made/accomplished “this”. Whatever this is.  It feels safe.  And it quiets down.

We rest. We let go of everything we’re dealing with daily.

We allow ourselves to be open to something new and different.

We give our minds the space to recognize it when we see it.

With all this said, I’m off to the yarn store to purchase needles and yarn.  I’m going to start knitting again. I’m not sure how long my own personal time out will last, but I’m willing to knit until I’m done.  Who knows, you may be receiving a scarf from me if I’m in this self-imposed “time out” for too long! LOL

FYI – these time outs can last a day, a weekend, a week, month or longer.  Depends how much you resist! <wink>















Stalemates, Powder Kegs & Threats: 4 Questions to Reignite Collaboration

November 27th, 2012

Diana stands up from behind the table where she and 8 others are meeting. Taking a deep breath to compose herself, she smoothes her skirt. She’s had just about enough.

There’s several million dollars at stake on this decision, not to mention the long-term effects on the business. Around the table are team members from her department who are handling the logistics of bringing a certain product into the marketplace. Others are from Jim’s department who handle product development and creation. Additionally, the lead from the Taipei office working with both departments sits by listening to the discussion, taking notes and waiting for a decision on an issue that is now at critical mass based on his timetable.

Jim smirks, and inside he thinks “I’ve got her on the ropes.”
Diane looks sternly at Jim as she moves away from the table. They’ve been arguing for more than an hour in a stuffy conference room about the placement of the current production. This powder keg has been building for months. There have been veiled threats. Information withheld. And Diane is wondering how this all got so out of hand. Jim just wants to “win”. These types of discussions and power plays are sport for him. In his heart he knows that it’s not about the best options, it’s about who wins the battle.

Diane strides across the room to pick up a bottle of water. “How do I get a resolution?”
The light goes on in her mind and she decides to take a different tack. “Four questions” she thinks. “Just four questions and removing my personal emotion brings people back to the core of the issues.”

1 – Find Common Ground and Establish Focus – Ask a Probing Question to find out what the common issue may be. “What problem does not getting this vendor on board create for you?” This question is asked of each of the teams.

2 – Humanize the Exchange – Share something personal about yourself, but keep it associated to the topic at hand. “Yes, this vendor is remarkable. In the past sometimes I’ve found that remarkable may not always mean reliable. This has presented some disruptions in the past on other projects I’ve managed as well.” Or “I had a similar experience with X vendor last year. It was challenging to say the least”. You are signaling to all parties that you have empathy and a sense of connection to the issues.

3 – Bridge the Issues – Create a summation of both parties’ needs/desires in the process. “Is there a way for you to secure a vendor that will provide not only the quality but the continuity required so both of our departments are covered?” This ensures that everyone has been seen, heard and recognized in the discovery process.

4 – Dropping A Defensive Position, Inviting Ideas – “Let’s brainstorm a solution where both/all of our needs are met and the solution is balanced.” My personal favorite is to address the underlying, often subconscious subtext in a gentle manner by saying, “Let’s consider the entire situation so both parties get their needs met and everyone wins.”

These four questions give everyone a chance to say what they need, mean what they say, and stay focused on the bottom line outcome. It minimizes the emotional and ego driven discussions, and fosters a collaborative process to find a solution.

One can take a more aggressive, dominant attitude towards this process. However, most times it results in deadlock. Aggression begets aggression sooner or later. Or even if it does move forward, it’s usually a short-term gain. Why? People who “threaten” one another either literally or figuratively are seen as untrustworthy and imbalanced. Therefore, they damage any long term working relationships they could have with colleagues, vendors and or others in the marketplace. Moreover, when decisions are made from one’s ego and need to win or be right, it is often a decision made for that moment. Indeed, the long term may not have legs underneath it.

Woman are natural born collaborators; willing to bring people together to create a solution. They are able to balance facts and are more willing to create a personal connection to the situation, which evokes empathy. They are more concerned about the group and community winning than themselves. When personal emotion is removed from the conversation, it’s a winning formula.

Next time you’re in a deadlock, try these four questions to bring everyone back to the center and stay focused on the task at hand. There are times when this may not work. But it takes practice and experience to learn when it’s time to simply walk away from the discussion.

GPS Your Best Life- Release the Brakes and Get Going!

November 19th, 2012

Guest Bloggers: Charmaine Hammond & Debra Kasowski, authors of “GPS Your Best Life – Charting Your Destination and Getting There in Style” to be released on Nov 21, 2012

“If you don’t know where you are going, how can you expect to get there?”  This is a quote by Basil S. Walsh.

The challenge for many people is knowing where they want to go, and what they want to have, be and achieve.

Imagine going to a mega mall that you have never been to, one where you could get lost in the parking lot, let alone in the mall. Amy and Emma had were overwhelmed by the size of the mall, and how they would find their vehicle after a day of shopping. As they entered the mall they noticed the “you are here” sign. Taking note of the current location was the first step in finding their car at the end of the day and navigating through the mall. This sign helped them Get Positioned for Success (GPS).

To GPS your best life, you must first know where you are, then visualize where you would like to be, and finally map out a plan to get you there. Here are a few tips to help you GPS your best life, and get there in style:


Knowing where you are:

Knowing where you are right now… not yesterday and not tomorrow… but right now, is the first step.  Take a few minutes to acknowledge your strengths, your values and what makes you who YOU are. Think about the quality of the relationships you are in (friendships, business collaborations, marriage or dating, family relationships, and your relationship with yourself). Consider the aspects of your life that are comfortable or better yet, going well. What about the areas where you feel off course?

Knowing where you are is the first step in getting in the driver’s seat to create your best life.

Where you’d like you go:

Once you have a sense of where you are, think about where you would like to go, or what you would like to do, be and have. Sometimes people discover their purpose (true calling), some were born with it, and in some cases, their purpose finds them. Your purpose or true calling is your WHY. To get greater clarity on your true calling, ask yourself these questions:

What revs my engine?

What do I love to do that feels effortless?

What do people acknowledge my strengths to be?

When I sit back and imagine my life as it could be, what does that look like?

When you are crystal CLEAR on the “what and the why”, the how begins to emerge

Mapping a plan to get there:

Sometimes people try to map their plan before they are CLEAR on the what and the why.  Mapping your plan is the how. When you know what your life is like now, and what you envision for future, you can map out how to achieve that reality.

Chunk it down, think about the actions in bite size pieces. Write down every possible action (don’t’ worry about the order of the steps) to make the goal a reality. Every day, choose five mini actions, we call this your Daily Five GPS steps. Little steps lead to consistent action and big results.

And along the journey remember to acknowledge your growth and successes, and share them with others.


Charmaine Hammond and Debra Kasowski are the authors of GPS Your Best Life- Charting Your Destination and Getting There in Style.  Jack Canfield, co-author of The Success Principles and Chicken Soup for the Soul says that “Charmaine and Debra show you how to navigate through life’s inevitable roadblocks and obstacles with ease and grace, so you can reach your desired destination”. To find out how to GPS Your Best Life, visit www.gpsyourbestlife.com


Time To Find Your Happiness Again!

September 28th, 2012

Taking Charge of Your Own Happines:  A Lesson in Self-Leadership

Susan steps out of the taxi, which has brought her to an 8:00am appointment in midtown. She nervously drinks the last of her Starbucks Americano and sighs deeply as she stands up straight, smoothes her hair and gathers her belongings from the cab.

“I don’t know how much longer I can do this” she thinks. Tears well up in her eyes as she walks through the entrance door of the office building. “Deep breaths, deep breaths” she reminds herself to regain her composure.

“These people are just making my life a living hell.” Lost in her own thoughts of the litany of examples of Smith’s behavior and unreasonable demands, Susan exits the turnabout door spilling her purse onto the floor.

“I don’t know… I just can’t live in this constant state of unhappiness. Smith can never be pleased no matter what I do. Or what anyone else does for that matter. Something has got to give. Perhaps Smith will be reasonable today. But, as I already know, there’s no way that’s going to happen.”

She looks at the mess on the floor. That lipstick she bought last night to reward herself for not bursting into tears during yesterdays meeting seemed insignificant against her building unhappiness.

“It doesn’t feel like I have any choice.  I need to make a living. But I don’t want to live like this. They make me so unhappy,” she thought and again, the tears welled in her eyes as she picked up the rest of her purse contents and notebook from the cold marble floor.

Have you ever felt this way?

No matter what you do you could not please someone you were being led by?  It feels like a never-ending circle of requests and lack of appreciation for all that you do or perhaps that your day, your happiness and success was dependent upon someone else’s mood or the fullness of the moon on any given day.

This is a prevailing problem. Not just in the workplace but in our personal lives as well.  There is a very fine line, which we all walk every day. Will we hand over our self worth, happiness and success to others and their behavior? Or will we take control of the situation and find what makes us truly happy?

When we hand it over to another person, people or organization, we are practicing a form of co-dependency. “A codependent person is one who has let another person’s behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior,” says expert Melody Beatty, author of “Codependency No More”. Trying to “control” in some cases has more to do with trying to please, accommodate or vehemently try to change another’s behavior.

As we all traverse the world of business we must ask ourselves if we are engaging in codependency – that is to say, are we giving someone else the control over our happiness? Are we using external things and validation to determine our happiness only to find out after we’ve obtained them that they did not bring the desired happiness we craved?

I’m going to be very parochial for a moment. Webster’s defines each as follows:

Happiness: Showing pleasure or contentment, a sense of confidence in or satisfaction with something or someone. (not because of someone)

Comfort: To have physical ease and relaxation. To be free from stress and strain, financial worry or pain.

Many people do not know the difference between happiness and comfort. When asked what will make them happy they are stumped – especially when external items are taken off the table. If you don’t know what truly makes you happy one cannot make a beeline towards it.

For me, what makes me happy is:

  • A peaceful life that is free of drama, intrigue and conflict.
  • Allowing myself to give and receive love from others *no easy task in NYC!
  • Feeling like I’ve helped someone make a difference in their life and the lives of others via their business leadership, business idea and/or relationships, and knowing that this improves the quality of their lives and that of their family too.

These things create that satisfaction in my life. My happiness.

That warm happy feeling that buying a pair of shoes never provides, nor do promotions, income amounts or the approval of another person of my contribution.

What does make me comfortable are those shoes, the promotions, income amounts, great vacations and or affluence in my business and private life. Those are things that will make me more comfortable and provide ease in my life. But they don’t bring happiness.

In fact, outside validation creates only momentary happiness but once the shine wears off you’re still back where you started – forever, relentlessly seeking happiness. This is a lesson in self-leadership.

So when you consider your own happiness you may want to consider it in a different manner.  Make a couple of lists in your journal;

#1“What Makes Me Happy.”

#2“What Makes Me Comfortable.”

Then add a 3rd column that says “Goals”.

Set your “Goals” for what makes you happy first and what brings you comfort second.  When you understand the difference it will help you to focus on what you really want your life to be like, rather than just the byproducts of living.

Note to Readers: I would encourage you to pick up a copy of Melody Beattie’s best selling book “Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself”. It is truly a remarkable book with a wealth of information about crafting your own happiness and self-care.