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…

Just Say “No”

Me working on a project for my FAVORITE new client: GKIC (Glazer-Kennedy Insider Circle). More on that project soon (it's WAY COOL).

For the first few years of my business, my default answer to most ANY request – requests for favors, free advice, “picking my brain,” meeting for coffee, unpaid seminars, writing proposals, “exploring potential synergies” or partnering on new projects – was “YES.” I was a “yes” MACHINE.

All those yeses got me into trouble. First off, I ran myself ragged – oftentimes for people and projects that wasted my time and didn’t pay. At one point I was working 90 and 100-hour weeks – without much to show for it. Second, I had far less time and energy to spend on the clients that DID value my time and WERE paying for the privilege of working with me.

Something had to give. I was forced (thank goodness!) to put systems in place to protect my time.

I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this challenge, so I’ve put together a few of the processes my team and I have implemented, perhaps they’ll inspire you:

  • First and foremost, I switched my default answer from “yes” to “no.” This doesn’t mean that I don’t take on new opportunities, meet new people or embark on new projects, but it does mean that I’m muuuuuch more discerning about how and who with.
  • If a substantial request is and I’m leaning towards “yes,” I instead say “let me think about it and get back to you tomorrow.” This technique buys me the time I need to evaluate the opportunity (because some requests DO merit a big, fat “yes”) and, when appropriate, to formulate a thoughtful, and respectful (yet FIRM) “no”.
  • Rather than meeting with and sending proposals to all whoexpress interest in working with me (the “old” way), we now use a media kit  so potential clients can see what we offer and decide if they want to move forward. Showing price up front filters out those who aren’t serious or whose budgets are unrealistic.

    The Media Kit that saves us from spinning our wheels...

  • Have you met Toma yet? I’ve hired her to manage my calendar and ensure that important meetings and client work get scheduled. Delegating this simple task has released HOURS every week to allow me to focus on what’s really important.
  • I set aside one whole day a week to do exploratory phone calls with people and prospects. This limits the amount of time Ispend on potential time-wasters.
  • I no longer work for free. Period. And I’m much more willing to let business “walk away” because I know that the space that remains will be filled with activities that bring real value to our bottom line.
  • I get so many requests for one-on-one meetings with people I really want to connect with – but I just don’t have enough time. So now I invite them to a small group lunch (max 8 people) that I host every month. If they come, GREAT, we chat and get to know each other, and if they don’t, well then I figure they weren’t that interested in the first place.

The upside since implementing the above?

Way better clients, way cooler projects and waaaay more free time for FUN. I actually have a LIFE!!

Plus now I have quality time to spend on the clients that really deserve it. Just one example is GKIC who I just came back from visiting in Chicago (with Badass Business Woman Jessica Kizorek). You’ll be hearing more about that project for SURE.

Speaking of Jessica Kizorek, here’s a pic of us after a hike with our favorite accessory – the Make Them BEG sweatshirt. Want one? Sorry, that was a limited edition – a limit of two, one for her, one for me 😉 BUT you CAN still join us for our all-day workshop on July 22nd. If you sign up now you get the workshop AND the Make Them BEG training program – a sweet package deal. Click here to register.

Remember: Just say NO!!

Who loves you?

Michelle Villalobos
(vee – ya – low – bos)



PS – we are fleshing out our Google Places Profile, if you’ve worked with me, attended an event or hired me to speak please consider filling out a review here (click on the link, scroll down to reviews and click “sign in to rate”).

My Vacation

Some of you may know that I just returned from a 25 day vacation. It was the first time in the 4 years since starting my business that I can honestly say I WENT on vacation. Now, I don’t mean I haven’t tried, I certainly have. However, it wasn’t till this time that I actually felt like I relaxed and recharged.

I went to the Dominican Republic (where my parents live) for Christmas and New Years, then I went to Vail, Colorado to ski, and then headed to Denver, where I’ll admit I did work about 1 day.

I mention this now because if you recall my newsletter from last January (“Greetings From My Dream Life – Almost”), I struggled to disconnect and enjoy my vacation – I was waking up early every day, working, working, working… and getting stressed out.

Not this year!

What changed? First off, I learned to say “no” – to requests, commitments, favors and other demands on my time that interfere with my plan. This is probably the single most effective skill that I developed in 2010. Well, to be honest I am still in the process of developing this skill…

Second, I prepared everyone for my long absence, particularly the people on my team and those with whom I collaborate. I “enrolled” them in my vision for having a vacation, and as a result they were as protective (if not more protective) of my vacation “integrity” as I was!

Speaking of team, that’s the third magic ingredient. Not just having a team, but also empowering them to make decisions and get things done on their own, with minimal input from me. A team doesn’t have to be employees, either. I use independent contractors for everything from sales to assisting to graphic design, and lots more in between.

On the “con” side of this vacation was that work REALLY piled up while I was gone. And I know that there were at least a handful of people and clients who really resented my absence. Guess what? That’s just too bad. I needed the break and I’d do it again. Actually, I WILL do it again – about 6 months from now. I’ve decided that I need TWO vacations a year…

Let’s see how that goes 😉

Wishing you great success in 2011,

Michelle Villalobos (vee – ya – low – bos)
(888) 531-3830

What advice do you have for STICKING to your New Year’s Resolutions?

1. New Years Resolutions

When I am focusing on a huge goal, I change all of my computer passwords to be that goal.The reason why this works is because of something called, “priming,” which means that we are nudged all day to behave in goal-directed ways or not.Most of us don’t know that we are being impacted by words, music and people at every moment of each day and that those primes can make us happy, sad or zestful. Take charge! Choose the primes you want in your life, like goal-focused pictures, music and passwords!

Thanks to Caroline Miller of Professional Coach, Author & Speaker

2. New Years Resolutions

I’ve stopped making resolutions and started making affirmations instead. I read them daily and are a constant reminder of what I am working towards rather than setting unrealistic goals and getting frustrated when I don’t meet them ~ this year a vision board accompanies my affirmations.

Thanks to Michelle Morton of SendOutCards

3. The Pros And Cons Of Your Resolution

Write down a current resolution. Then, on one side of the paper, list out the ways keeping that resolution will benefit you and, on the other side, write down reasons that not keeping the resolution will hurt you. Review your list daily. This exercise will help you to look at the pros and cons of your resolution and to remember why you set it in the first place. It also allows you to keep it at top of mind awareness on a daily basis allowing you to continue to make the right choices.

Thanks to Nicole Bandes of Golden Eagles Coaching

4. New Years Resolutions

State your resolutions in a positive way, instead of negatively. For example, for resolutions that have to do with your health, don’t say, “I’m going to quit smoking.” or “I’m going start exercising.” Instead say, “I’m going to take better care of myself.” It’s more powerful and you’re more likely to keep the resolution

Thanks to Marc Tinsley of Tinsley Health

5. Know Your IDEAL And PURPOSE

Have a clear IDEAL and PURPOSE for the resolution that is not physical. For example, “I want to lose 25 pounds so that I can look good for my high school reunion” doesn’t often work because it is physical, short-term, & temporary. An ideal like, “I want to be the master of myself and my life” for the purpose of “having freedom” rather than being controlled by food cravings, can work. This is how I quit smoking after being a heavy smoker. I wanted to be the master, not the slave, of cigarettes.

Thanks to Laurel Clark of School Of Metaphysics

6. New Years Resolutions

If it’s a reasonable resolution, I give myself a grace period the first month or so. For instance, one of my resolutions this year is to Reprogram my brain to think positive. But am I going to get there in a day? No! But every negative thought I replace with a healthy thought, I will be on my way!

Thanks to Jacqueline Smith of Kiesque, Inc

7. New Years Resolutions

My best-of-the-best tip, trick or technique I’ve discovered or developed for STICKING to your resolutions:
1. Create a “goal” group. By sharing your resolution and meeting on a monthly basis, you are held accountable by the other members of the group. Not only are you accountable to yourself, but also to them. They also provide support in reaching your goal. A real win-win situation.

Thanks to Susanne Alexander-Heaton of Motivated By Nature

8. A New Years Resolution Really Can Equal A New You

Set realistic goals and start small while thinking big. Use NLP techniques to reprogram the mind from within and automatically think the right thoughts that will help in achieving your New Years Resolution. It more important to change the thoughts that will create the new way of being in the new year. Success will come when the subconcious is acting in the manner in the manner one wants to portray in the world.

Thanks to Vickens Moscova of Trendsetter Marketing Management

9. New Years Resolutions

I suggest that the trick is not how to stick to a new year’s resolution. If you have to “stick” to it, consider the possibility that you have chosen the wrong resolution. The things we humans do are the things we want to do. The trick is to find a resolution that you want to keep and to express it in terms that remind you why it’s so wonderful.

Thanks to Mark Chussil of Nice Start

10. Resolve Mixed Feelings For Success

There are two related problems with sticking to resolutions. According to social psychologists, we only make resolutions (a form of commitment) when what we’re trying to achieve doesn’t come naturally to us and we’re not sure if we can do it. Moreover, we are by nature ambivalent creatures and frequently have contradictory feelings about doing what we say we want to do. So, be sure to identify and resolve your mixed feelings about whatever you’re committing to do before moving forward.

Thanks to Karen R. Koenig of eatingnormal.com

11. New Years Resolutions Or Solutions?

Make New Year Solutions instead. A solution solves the issue once & for all. No need to Re-solve it every year!

* ACKNOWLEDGE AND CELEBRATE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS! This is an area that a lot of people skip & when it’s skipped it contributes greatly to getting discouraged & giving up.

Thanks to Bo Bradley of Manifest U! Inc.

12. Just Make One Resolution.

I have made resolutions every year and never achieved a full year with one kept until 2010. Last year I decided to only make one. My resolution was to watch no romantic comedies or chick flicks all year. (Long story!) And I actually kept it the entire year long! I think the fact that I only made one and didn’t get distracted with many others was a huge success – if I can keep one resolution, it inspires me for the future.

Thanks to Karen Reyburn of Reyburn Photography

13. New Years Resolutions

What I have done in the past and continue to do, organize my home (donate clothes, give it a really good clean up, organize my files, fix anything that needs to be fixed, throw away anything i need to throw away)..I find that when my home is organized, it makes me feel like I have a fresh start. I then break my resolutions into categories(Health, Finances, Spirituality). I write them out and break them down into steps so that as I accomplish each step, I get to check it off my list =)

Thanks to Demi Karpouzos of Strategical Coaching

14. Advice On How To Stick To New Year Resolutions

Tip Examples:
Create a realistic weight loss goal and time frame in which to accomplish it. An extreme diet may help you drop lbs quickly, but it won’t last and will most likely cause weight gain in the end. Aim to lose 1-2 lbs per week for healthy, sustained weight loss.

Thanks to Natalie Wolfrom of WordsInspire PR

15. The Best New Years Resolution…. Don’t Put It Off

Make sure you obtain coverage for long term care catastrophic nursing home coverage. How will you run your business? Most people are not prepared and do not realize that 40% of everyone in a nursing home now is under 65. And 1 out of 2 of us after age 65 use Long Term Care facilities, of which our insurance does not cover. The bottom line is how will we pay?
The best New Years Resolution…

The best New Years Resolution…

Don’t Put It Off. Take time now while you are clear and competent to consider the elements of your overall plan for the management of your business and estate and your care in the event of misfortune to avoid having a court of the state step in and do it for you. No one plans to be incapacitated, but if you are, who will make health care decisions for you? Only if you complete a health care proxy can you be protected. Safeguard your assets: If you have concerns about your creditors or your children’s creditors, Trusts can be drafted with special protective provisions, providing you have not already incurred the debt. A homestead, the best deal in asset protection today is the homestead. If you own a home as your primary residence, for a modes fee, you can place protection on your home from creditors. And be sure to check your beneficiary designations, make sure the information on these forms is correct and accurate. And remember giving can reduce taxes.

Thanks to

16. A Time Management Schedule That Works

After making time management resolutions for years, this year, I made–and am largely keeping–an ideal daily schedule:

* Work for paying clients: 2 hours
* My own writing, research, and marketing: 1 hour
* Processing e-mail: 2 hours
* Participating in social media: 15-30 minutes
* Dealing with finances, bills, recordkeeping, etc.: 30 minutes
* Office and household organizing and cleaning: 30 minutes
* Professional reading: 1 hour
* Physical exercise: 1 hour

Thanks to Shel Horowitz of greenandprofitable.com/

17. #1 Tip For Making Your Resolution A Reality

Record your goals on your phone, MP3 player, computer (or whatever is easiest and
most accessible) and listen to them morning and night. When it comes to goal
achievement, remembering them is half the battle. Listening to them daily
will keep them on the forefront of you mind. Change always begins in your head!

Thanks to Tara McCausland of Tara McCausland Coaching

18. Just Do It!

My tip, don’t wait until January first. Do it because you want to and start today. Think about it… Jan.1 is the day that most people feel the worst. You might be hungover, tired, or guilty about the holidays. Definitely not a day primed for success. Do it when it comes to mind. Start right away. If you really want it, why wait?

Thanks to Jenn Champagne of Bundles Of Energy

19. Fat Chance

Make compelling and fun goals around your passions in life. If you create them around something that you “should” do, fat chance they are going to happen. If they’re about taking something you LOVE to the next level, you’ll spring out of bed every morning.
If you have a compelling enough why, the how comes easily. Create a passionate intention for the year that is the foundation of all your resolutions, then break down the big goals into bite size pieces, celebrating successes along the way.

Thanks to Tamara Gerlach of Cultivating Radiance

20. One JND And Your New Year’s Resolutions

Abandoned diet regimens, neglected books on relationship improvement, dusty treadmills cluttered with laundry and stacks of mail – all damning evidence of our ambivalence about change. But change is possible!

Researchers use the term “just noticeable difference” to refer to the small change in a stimulus (visual, sound, taste) required for us to register it.

Forget about massive, heroic change. What could you do – right now – to move just one JND towards your most important goal?

Thanks to David Nowell of Www.DrNowell.com

21. You Asked For 1 But I Give You 6 – Sorry Couldn’t Help Myself

1. Use a digital photo frame to display photos of your goals.
2. Choose an inspiring desktop background. (Mine is currently set to this homemade image: http://jeffzelaya.com/2011/01/05/how-to-keep-new-years-resolutions-19-ways-to-do-it/ AKA: Create a Vision Board
3.Write your goals on paper and post them everywhere.
4. Tell other people about your goals.
5. Keep it simple
6. Fantasize how good life will be when they have achieved their goals.

Thanks to Jeff Zelaya of jeffzelaya.com

22. Call On Your Inner Butterfly Woman

We all have cocoon situations in life that limit us from making changes. The visual image of a cocoon is something wrapped up and constricting, what if we view this stage of the butterfly as an opportunity to reflect on what is important. The holidays before New Years are like the larva stage of the butterfly one is over indulging in preparation for the cocoon stage and with it the hope of the transformational stage to come. Call on your inner Butterfly Woman, the cycle of life goes on.

Thanks to Kristie Stephenson of Story And Myth

23. Use Your Social Network To Share What Matters

Engage your existing social network and try a new one! Everyone communicates by social network now. Mylifelist.org engages people in reaching their goals and sharing what matters. Studies have shown that when you write down your dreams and engage others to support you, they become achievable goals. The Mylifelist.org community is a safe space where people explore what is possible and share resources for how to stay focused and reach those major milestones you half-commit to every year.

Thanks to Shelagh Braley of Mylifelist.org

24. No Resolutions

January is a time to reconsider and gather together. It’s a time to think about what is happening right here, right now. Focus on the present in an intentional way. Our present is an accumulation of all our past moments so by intentionally paying attention to this moment we can then have a more open and clearer view of ourselves and what choices we want to make about how we live our lives.

Thanks to Dr Cheryl Rezek of Life Happens – Mindfulness

25. Ditch Your Textual Habit: Use A Webcam To K.I.T. With Loved Ones

People are always determined to stay in more frequent contact with family and friends but text messages and e-mail quantity can’t compare to the quality of good ol’ face-to-face conversation. Grab a webcam (such as a Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910 or TV Cam to call from your couch) and see how your loved ones are doing with your very eyes.

Thanks to Kristine Lee of Logitech

26. Here’s A Better Question…What Do You REALLY Want?

50% of resolutions fail by mid-January, because our goals conflict with what we REALLY want. We say we should quit smoking, but we REALLY want an excuse to take a break and relax. We say we need to exercise, but we REALLY want to avoid discomfort or inconvenience. So we ARE doing what we REALLY want, subconsciously. Struggle results from forcing ourselves to set a goal that conflicts with our true desires. The solution? Change your goals to align with your subconscious desires, or vice versa.

Thanks to Todd Goodwin of The Miami Hypnosis Center

27. Go Slow

Go Slow. Sometimes when we make a resolution, we get so caught up in the big picture that we forget that real change happens on a day-to-day basis. And so to stick to your resolution focus on right now. Because if you do, then all of your right nows will eventually be the major change in your life.

Ask yourself, right now, what are you going to do, today, to get you where you want to go?

Thanks to Alec Borenstein of Coach Alec

28. Use Technology Tools To Help Keep You On Track

Whether it’s saving money or just spending smarter, CardStar (www.mycardstar.com) is a free smartphone app that helps improve your finances by letting you store and scan all of your loyalty cards on your smartphone, giving you discounts and coupons on the go. Instead of storing rewards cards in your wallet or on your keychain, organize yourself and store them on CardStar and keep track of things like your frequent flyer number in one easy-to-access location.

Thanks to Charles Cooper of CardStar

29. Resolve To Keep Your Resolutions!

How do we Resolve to keep our Resolutions? Keep your Resolve strong by keeping your Resolutions short, focused and to the point! First, prioritize and short-list the most important Resolution(s). Next, Resolve to keep your Resolutions just for today! Then tomorrow, Resolve to keep your Resolution for one more day, and so on. One Day At A Time. Before you know it the first month, and then year, has passed! Short goals are easier to keep, and everyone can keep Resolutions for one day at a time!

Thanks to Robyn Tauber of Couture Brands USA And Sling Couture

30. Vital Vision

It is vital to have Vision, Action and Motivation as a basis for creating.

Take time to evaluate where you are.
Create a Vision. Think inspiration, ideas and intention.
Identify Action steps to take in your daily life.
Stay Motivated.

There is a direct connection between your intention and your ability to put it into action daily. Being intentional about your actions will influence future results.

Stay inspired, motivated and accountable, and your vision will be fulfilled.

Thanks to Jane Carroo of Clutter Coach Company

31. Return Policy Motivation

Every Jan I go on a shopping trip to NYC, it’s sale month anyways, buy a couple thousand $ worth of form fitting size 2 spring/summer outfits (NO SHOES/ACCESSORIES that’s cheating ) and hang them on a rolling rack in my room until my holiday 5 lbs is gone and fit nicely into them…every time I want to bake cookies or if we are going out to dinner, seeing that rack first makes me eat less and get on the treadmill more!
I live in DC so returning would be a pain….

Thanks to Jill Mikols Etesse of Jackets&Jill

32. Simple Solution For Better Sleep!

HAPPY NEW YOU! This is going to sound like ‘pixie dust’ but it’s not..women everywhere are raving about Goodnighties! Great value too! No pills needed and washable! 🙂 It’s my resolution this year for better health! AND THIS REALLY WORKS! It’s a new fabric that will help you rest, recover and sleep better!
So if you are a tired woman suffering from a broken internal thermostat with night sweats/ hot flashes or aches and pains then this is the fabric for you! also helps with FM,CFS,Arthritis

Thanks to Sarah Baldwin of Goodnighties Recovery Sleepwear

33. Spell It Out!

Thanks to Carrie Cheadle of Sport & Exercise Mental Skills Coaching

34. Be Realistic, Not Disappointed!

As the CEO of the largest network of fitness centers, I know that the only way to maintain New Years Resolutions is to BE REALISTIC. Too many decide to run a marathon or hit the gym 6 days a week. While admirable, these resolutions set people up for failure because they don’t account for real life and they ask too much, too soon. Remember,health and fitness are about being realistic, not disappointed! Take simple steps every day! – Frank Napolitano, CEO, GlobalFit/Author, Just Walk Pledge

Thanks to Frank Napolitano of GlobalFit

35. Sticking To Your New Years Resolution

1.) Connect your resolutions to your personal values – see how you can better live your values in 2011

2.) Keep yourself accountable with a partner

3.) Make the change for 21 days. One common belief about creating or breaking habits is that it takes 21 days for a behavior change to kick in.

More on resolutions: http://social.successtelevision.com/pg/blog/karlinsloan/read/32300/happy-new-year-leadership-resolutions-for-2011

Thanks to Karlin Sloan of Karlin Sloan & Company

36. Make It Public

My New Year’s Resolution for this year is to give one dollar for every copy of my book Beat Your Broker sold in 2011 to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. I wrote them a personal letter and I sent out a press release so that it would be easier to stick to and not think of it as a good idea at the time. I done the same thing when I quit smoking I made it public among my friends. By making things public we are held accountable to follow through.

Thanks to T. Shawn Davis

37. Visualize It Already Done!

Visualize what it will feel like to actually accomplish your goal, whatever it is, and use that vision whenever you need it during the year. If it’s weight loss, see yourself at your ideal weight, wearing clothing you like, having more energy, feeling great. If it’s attracting more clients, see yourself effortlessly networking, connecting to new people and loving how it feels. Connecting regularly to an embodied, confident picture of your resolutions pulls you magnetically toward your goal.

Thanks to Anna Stookey of annastookey.com

38. Sticking To Your New Year’s Resolutions

Too Many Resolutions. When you make too many resolutions, you can become easily dismayed because the list seems overwhelming. Focus on two or three big goals or resolutions and break each of them into smaller manageable milestones or tasks. By making the resolution more manageable, you make it more achievable.

Thanks to Debra Kasowski of The Millionaire Woman

39. KISS – Keep It Short & Simple

Tips that work for me in keeping resolutions/promises to myself:

– preferably in the presence of another person, like a spouse or a friend, write goals/resolutions/aspirations in a book/journal used only for this purpose (I have a book that I have been using for 18 years, it looks pretty raggedy)
-talk about why it is an important goal/resolution/aspiration (again with a spouse or friend)
-do not stick your journal high on a shelf so you can ignore it, make it your friend and revisit quarterly

Thanks to Pat Chiappa of Spiritus Financial Planning

40. The Easiest & Best Way To Stick To New Years Resolutions

Start your Resolutions 1 week before the New Year to get momentum behind them! By having them underway before you start the new year, you will be more likely to stick to them, because you will be more into the 21-28 days required to form a new, positive habit or seeing the progress already! There is no rule that says you must wait until Jan 1. Hold yourself accountable: mark a calendar daily on your progress. Rate yourself on a 1-5 scale or a + or – of how you do. Don’t skip this part -crucial!

Thanks to Jaxi West of Jaxi West Companies, LLC

41. What You Resist, Persists!

Be committed to a goal that inspires you rather than solely attaching yourself to the final result. When you are committed, you can enjoy taking daily steps toward your goal and stay committed even though you have some setbacks along the way. When you are attached to a certain result, (eg. a number on the scale), you are resisting “what is now” and coming from a place of un-acceptance and self loathing, which is a very unsuccessful way to start because, “what you resist, persists!”

Thanks to Siv Sjöholm of Success Is Vitality (S.I.V)


How To Say No To Clients Or Colleagues (Without Feeling Guilty)

Sometimes saying yes, just isn’t an option. Saying no is unavoidable. So, how do you do it right? Check out some of these tips.

1. Value Your Time, Put A $$$ On It, And Stick To It

What’s your time worth? Too many people don’t put a monetary number on it. You are the expert. Your time as that expert is valuable. Once you have a $$$ hourly rate for your time, you can very easily convey something like this.

“I’m flattered that you asked for my help. I charge $XX per hour for my time. As the expert in “insert topic/field here”, I get lots of requests for my time. Unfortunately, because of that I’m very busy. Let me know when you’d like to schedule time at my rate.”

Thanks to Jim Kukral of The Attention Formula

2. Say “No” Because You Said “Yes”

People who have a hard time saying no can hurt their teams and themselves in various ways. For those folks, one of my rules is, “One ‘yes’ at a time.” If you have already taken on one extra task or promised significant help to one teammate, here’s the answer to the next request you get: “I would love to help, but I have already promised to (name the action here). If you can wait until (the due date for said action), I’ll be happy to help you then.” You’ll still come across as a good team player.

Thanks to Jim Morgan of TeamTrainers Consulting

3. Let Me Introduce You To My Little Friend…

I simply tell a client my plate is very full and that I won’t have any availability for the next several months. Then, I give them the names of other, equally-qualified writers and offer to introduce them via email. It keeps me from doing work I don’t want to do, yet not look like the bad person with clients.

Thanks to Nichole Bazemore of Simply Stated Solutions

4. How To Say NO. And Have It Stick

1.Politely explain that you can not do it and why. E.g. Sorry I can’t give you an extra discount on that item.

2.Elaborate as is necessary to make the point. Do not over explain. E.g.Our margin is already so low on that we carry it primarily as a service to our customers, not as a money-maker.

3. Explain what you can do. E.g. If you purchase the complete package however, with the carrying case and accessory package, I can give you an additional 20 percent discount on that.

Thanks to Barry Maher of Barry Maher & Associates

5. Be Kind

I’m in sales. I’ve heard “no” a lot of different ways; from surly to sweet.

Kind ways to say, “No”:

“I’m sorry . . .

* we’re going to have to pass on this opportunity for now.”
* it’s not the right time for our company.”
* corporate won’t go for it.” (deferring to a higher power)
* it doesn’t fit in with our (budget, policy, etc.) at this time.

Sometimes people forget they’re talking to a real person if it’s a phone call. Be cordial–as if they’re sitting right there.

Thanks to Hali Chambers of John Morgan Seminars

6. Just Say No + Give An Alternative

My best tip for saying “No” without the associated guilt is to say no, and then offer the person a resource or next step they might find helpful. (Example: another organization/company they can partner with, another organization providing the same type of service, or another person who might be looking for a partnership opportunity).

Thanks to Mary Horowitz of NC LEAP / North Carolina Bar Association

7. Say ‘No’ With A Smile

Clear boundaries of what you will do focusing on making the language neutral.
I’d love to help you with that and I am available from 2-3 today to discuss’. Instead of ‘I can help you!’

‘This position/idea/decision/ is interesting but my concern is…’ instead of ‘I disagree, this idea is …’
‘I feel uncomfortable being asked to stay until 8 pm on this project…’

Thanks to Zele Avradopoulos of ZOrganize

8. It Doesn’t Fit The Path

Keep your vision and goals in the forefront of your mind at all times. When confronted with a request that doesn’t map with your vision and goals you can easily say ‘I’m sorry I can not do that for you. It does not fit with my current path for my business.’ And then help them find someone who can help them if that’s possible.

Thanks to Diane Helbig of Seize This Day Coaching

9. Tell Them Yes To What You Can Do

One of the most effective methods of telling someone “no” without feeling guilty you’re souring the relationship is to inform the customer how you can say “yes”. Rather than saying, “No, I cannot be there for four hours tomorrow morning,” you can say, “To carve out four hours I need at least two days notice. Do you want to schedule that now?” Exceptional customer service – and this is what we are talking about – is not only about the “yes” and “no”, it is about appropriate expectations.

Thanks to Brian Vinson of TRC Engineering Services, Inc.

10. Saying ‘No’ With Grace.

Begin with a simple ‘Thank you for…’ – perhaps taking interest in the product, visiting the store, offering the job etc as this will lower the other person’s defenses and they will be more likely to remain open to future relationship.
Next step is to begin with an ‘I statement’ regarding how you feel about the situation. For example ‘I feel very honoured you considered me for ……but….’ and follow with any negative input.

Thanks to Anne Laidlaw of Shiloh Trust

11. How To Tell Someone You’re Too Busy For Them Right Now

No one wants to feel like they’re at the bottom of your list. Try something like this:

“Right now, all my attention is focused on serving (my/our) current (customers/partners). If we have the opportunity to work together in the future, I know you’ll appreciate that same level of commitment.”

That doesn’t work for current customers and partners, of course, but it’s a graceful way to turn down business or partnership opportunities without offending them or closing the door for the future.

Thanks to Scott Allen of OneCoach

12. Say No With A Smile….

When working with clients…I do my best to develop clear defined policies…mostly for myself. They give me something black and white to use in …especially…difficult situations…Policies help me to keep my emotions in tact…and to be able to say NO without guilt.

Thanks to Sally Gilchrest-Unrau of samsweirdafternoon.wordpress.com

13. Saying NO- Brother Can You Spare A Reason?

When I have to say the big N-0, I make sure to give a clear explanation as to why it can’t be done, offer reasonable alternatives, and if applicable explain the current list of projects I’m working with the client and offer to put one on the back burner and replace it with the current request.

Thanks to Meghan Ely of OFD Consulting


The act of saying no is important to separate from feeling guilty. Feeling guilty is appropriate when you do something with the intention of deceiving or hurting someone else. Saying no is a refusal not a rejection and must be communication that way to avoid hard feelings. A business refusal is not the same thing as a personal rejection and it is important to know the difference. It is understandable to feel badly that you must say no, although not to go down the road of guilt. How we presently handle a situation today determines what will happen the next time. If you feel pressured to make choices that compromise your integrity, you may want to question the request rather then the answer.

Thanks to Lisa Brateman of Lisa Brateman, NYC Psychotherapist, The Relationship Specialist

“I Already Knew That” & Top 10 Other “WOW Takeaways”

Setting objectives at the beginning of ANY meeting is essential

So I’ve decided to put 10 of those epiphanies in one place – the WOW Takaways Top 10. As you read, you may think “I already knew that” and chances are, you’re right. But that’s a very dangerous attitude (that should’ve been WOW Takeaway #1!). The real question is, are you actually applying it?

WOW Takeaway #1. All of us together know more than any one of us alone. Remember that the next time a “lowly assistant” or an outsider makes a suggestion. Sometimes the best ideas come from unexpected places!

Creating a "Referral Wheel" is a great way to identify hidden opportunities for referrals

WOW Takeaway #2. Many of us spend more time and energy chasing brand-new business instead of focusing on existing clients, getting old clients to come back or pursuing referrals (all of which are generally more profitable than new biz). On whom are you spending your efforts and $$? On the left is a “referral circle” that identifies new ways to go after referral business.

Wow Takeaway #3. The elephant in the (board)room for almost every single service-based business I worked with was… drum-roll, please… PRICING! Price determines profit because once you’re covering costs, each additional dollar in revenues equals a dollar in profits. Problem is, most of us struggle with setting price, and then maintaining price integrity. If this sounds like you, here’s a link to a great slide-show: Pricing For Profit.

Construct a Price-Value Matrix to determine if your prices are too high, too low or just right

WOW Takeaway #4. If you’re not email marketing, you’re missing out on an amazing opportunity…. Problem is, 95% of email marketing is SPAM (okay, I made this statistic up, but I’ll bet it’s actually more like 99%…).

WOW Takeaway #5. Almost everyone is trying to use social media to drum up business in some form or another. Corollary: Most of it is a big, fat waste of time.

WOW Takeaway #6. For the vast majority of us, word-of-mouth marketing and referral marketing is the single most cost-effective way to drive sales.

WOW Takeaway #7. Most of us don’t develop cohesive strategies around word-of-mouth marketing and instead wait for it to “happen.”

WOW Takeaway #8. Strategy isn’t a once-a-year effort.

WOW Takeaway #9. When developing our marketing messaging, most of us focus on features, efforts and efforts, or PROCESS, instead of RESULTS. Remember, most people don’t care how you do what you do, people only care about what you can do for them. AKA: WIIFM – “What’s In It For Me?”

WOW Takeaway #10. Why do what you do? You’d be surprised at how many people don’t have an answer to this question.

Hope to see you soon, perhaps at one of our upcoming workshops…