A-ha! Moments…


I live for those blinding flashes of insight that literally have you stop and go “wow!! I get it now!” Lucky for me, I have these “a-ha! moments” all the time, pero like, ALL THE TIME. And if you know me, you know my mantra: “the uh-oh precedes the a-ha!” In order to have an a-ha, there must be an “uh-oh” that necessitated it.

So recently I decided to learn about a-ha! moments, investigate them and start understanding why and how we have them — and how to have more. One thing I realized (a-ha!) is that one if the best times for me to experience the phenomenon is early in the morning, in that halfway period between awake and asleep. (Problem is, I’m usually so sleepy that I don’t want to get up and write it down!)

Well this morning, I had one, and I came here to write it — because this was my a-ha! moment (actually this was the uh-oh that preceded the a-ha!): I write thousands of words a day and have tons of original, interesting thoughts each day… Yet I struggle to put together content for my blog, emails and social media. What’s THAT all about? Ridiculous.

The realization I had right after that, is that all those thoughts are being recorded in random, scattered places, with a large chunk of them being written by hand, in Sharpie or just recently, by hand with a stylus the iPad “Penultimate” app.

My a-ha!: I love to write by hand. Instead if trying to fix or change that, why not embrace it and post those notes… Just as they are, in real-time? I can always type up an intro to explain them, if needed. Gotta figure out logistically how to make that work, but at least now I realize the big disconnect — I prefer to write by hand, and my notes are interesting and beautiful just the way they are — and now that I am aware, something can shift.

What’s the lesson in here for you? No idea. Why don’t you tell me!?

Ciao for now,
Michelle Villalobos (vee – ya – low – bos)


The Big CLOSE.

Ever wonder how you got to where you are?

Today I was thinking about that…

When I was a kid, every year we’d visit my cousins’ house in Chicago. My family would drive out from Longmont, Colorado and stay there for a couple of weeks, during which time my (indulgent) teenage cousins and I would plan and execute our annual Talent Show in their basement.

The Talent Show featured your standard musical, dance and gymnastic lineup… mostly on roller skates. My mom still has a picture of me at 8 years old in pom-pom pigtails and overalls roller skating in circles around the “audience” (our parents), singing “Tomorrow” from Annie. At right is a picture of me posing before a gymnastic performance.

My talent show duties included: talent recruitment, ordering the numbers, hand-crafting invitations, designing costumes, spreading the word, and getting the parents to attend.

Ah, the glory days…

So no surprise, I guess, that nowadays my favorite time of the year (twice a year, actually) is Summit SeasonThe Women’s Success Summit (May 17th & 18th) is my grown-up version of the talent show. The Summit brings together South Florida’s most ambitious, talented and successful women (and men!) to inspire, educate and ELEVATE the business community.

The theme? The Big CLOSE – all focused around the principles of selling – selling yourself, your ideas, your products, your services. (And by the way, we are ALL selling SOMETHING.)

Clear your calendar, friends, this is one event you must attend. Personally, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. And yes, men ARE welcome to attend, and in fact, several often do!

Aside from the phenomenal content and national powerhouse speakers (check out the lineup here: www.WomensSuccessSummit.com), we have new and exciting sponsorship initiatives for businesses that want to engage 800 upscale, professional and highly influential women over 2 whole days. Check out the sponsorship deck here. Or contact Jessica Lurie for details (888) 531-3830, jessica@mivistainc.com.

By the way, I’m SO excited to announce our new venue, The Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, (YAY!!!) and our partner, Chispa Marketing, that is producing this Summit.

This Summit will deliver game-changing strategies, foster powerful relationships and inspire those oh-so-important “a-ha” moments to help women like me elevate themselves beyond where they are today. Take a look at some of the amazing speakers and sessions we have lined up, and prepare to be blown away…

It Was A Hot Summer Day In Boston…

I recently had an epiphany that I want to share with you. Bear with me as I begin my story almost 15 years ago…

When I graduated from college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I spent years switching jobs, moving from city to city (NYC, Boston, Concord, NH, just to name a few) and generally being aimless.

At one point I decided “wouldn’t it be fun to work in an art gallery?” So I walked into the nicest one, on Newbury Street (Boston) and asked if they were hiring.

When the gallery curator interviewed me, the conversation went (something) like this:

“Do you have any sales experience?” — “Uh, no.”
“Do you have any art background?” —“Hmmm. Nope.”
“Have you ever done anything like this at all?” —“Well, last summer I visited 45 cities in 60 days to hand out Dentyne Ice chewing gum samples on street corners. Does that help?” [See pic at right]

Maybe they were hurting, because despite my un-qualifications I got the job. So I packed up, left bustling Concord, NH, and moved to Boston to sell art.

By the 3rd month, I hit #1 in the Boston gallery. In month 9, I ranked #2 among ALL of the art consultants across the entire national franchise. What happened?

I didn’t get this back then, but in retrospect, it’s clear. I’d studied psychology in college, and in the absence of ANY art knowledge OR sales skills, I relied on a basic “Psych 101” technique: personality profiling.

When people walked into the gallery and it was my “up,” instead of accosting and trying to “sell” them, I focused on reading their body language, adapting to the cues, and developing rapport, mostly by educating them and focusing on the stuff that they wanted to talk about. The sales followed. Lots and lots (and lots!) of sales.

The lesson that I see now, in retrospect, is that I was successful selling because I wasn’t focused on the sale. Instead, I was focused on building relationships, and ultimately TRUST. People want to do business with regular people – not with salespeople, not with logos, not with marketers. Moreover, they want to do business with people they LIKE.

To that end, one of the most powerful ways to connect with other human beings is to adapt to their unique personality type. Do you know the 4 basic types? If not, here’s my “secret weapon” so you can use it too.


First and foremost, it is important to understand that we ALL have elements of all types, but like a preference for right-handedness or left-handedness, most of the population exhibits a natural preference for certain ways of being over others. When we understand our natural preferences, and those of others, communication and interaction is just easier.

In addition, there are MANY different ways of categorizing personality type – The Myers Briggs Type Instrument (a 16-type distinction that, incidentally, my company is certified to administer and interpret), DISC, Keirsey Temperament Sorter, and many, many more.

Below is a SIMPLIFIED 4-type distinction* that can quickly get you to a place where you are recognizing and adapting to different styles. In this type paradigm, there are 4 basic personality types: Lions, Monkeys, Owls and Koalas.

The below designations are adapted from several sources, but the essence is based on my favorite: The Referral Institute’s Behavioral Styles model.

The Lions and Monkeys (top of the chart below) tend to do things FAST. They walk fast, talk fast, drive fast and decide fast.

The Owls and Koalas (bottom of the chart below), tend to take their time. They like to consider things more carefully and tend to be more circumspect in making decisions.

The Lions and Owls (left side of the chart), tend to be more TASK-oriented, whereas the Monkeys and Koalas (right side of the chart) tend to be more PEOPLE-oriented.

The below chart helps you by giving clues about how to adapt to each type.

So, can you tell which type you are? Let me know here. And if you have any questions, post those too!

Michelle Villalobos (veeyalowbos)
(888) 531-3830

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