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Join me at the SOCAP 2017 Symposium

socap's-2017-symposiumbf06c25c78366c709642ff00005f0421The SOCAP International 2017 Symposium takes place at Fairmont Chicago hotel, April 23 – 26, 2017. I’ll be there presenting two sessions on branding, and I invite you to join us. SOCAP’s community of customer care professionals gathers annually at this symposium to bring the best and the brightest speakers out for their members to network, collaborate, and receive professional and personal development credits.

I’m always honored when I am asked to share information on personal branding because it’s how you stand out. It’s how you are remembered and mentally referenced in the minds of others. It’s the value you create for the world around you. When I get to leave a footprint in your personal branding journey, and guide you to defining a higher sense of self, it makes my heart smile. It’s time for you to unleash your amazingness, discover your brand, and leave your mark on everything you do. As a Reach Certified Personal Branding Strategist, I have been masterfully trained in helping you connect with your most authentic attributes.

Learn more about my sessions at the SOCAP 2017 Symposium, and the professionals who create amazing customer experiences around the world on a daily basis.

 

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Guide to Mastermind Groups (Part 2) – More Benefits

mastermind groupAs a follow up to my last blog, I believe that there are even more benefits to participating in a Mastermind group which is why I am continuing the list today. Without further ado, let’s take a look!

Feedback – In life, there are common issues that are bound to arise whether it is with running a business, changing careers, or simply trying to make ends meet. Regardless, having people who may have been through these problems can be invaluable. In the group, there is always the same goal to grow personally and professionally and become more successful so you will be guaranteed help in some way or another.

Accountability – When you brave the world alone, there is very little accountability for actions. However, a mastermind group will look to change this by setting objectives at the end of every meeting. If the targets are not hit, you will be held accountable which should improve your discipline as well as keeping you motivated.

Improve Confidence – With the help of other members, you will start to make huge decisions in your life and for your business, which will allow you an improved confidence. Once you have more confidence, this will show to everyone in the same room and will soon spread to those that you can influence.

Expand Skills – When you attend meetings for your group, you will be meeting with all different types of people who all have different skills and perspectives to offer. With any luck, each member will specialize in something different, which will allow you to interact and expand your very own skill set. When you attend your very first meeting, you will see that there is a very special atmosphere to be experienced. In some ways, it is like being back in school again because you have peers who are pushing you to become even stronger. As you continue to challenge each other and raise the bar, you will soon see an improvement in your performance.

Help Others – So far, many of the benefits have been focused on what you will see in return of your investment but there is also a flip side to this since there are many other members. When you contribute an idea that gets taken forward and helps someone to increase his or her happiness in life, it can be a great feeling. When you help others, you also know that you will see the return of this at some point in the future.

Summary – As you can see, there are some amazing benefits that you will get from joining a mastermind group. Besides gaining business ideas, having many voices of reason, improving your confidence, having accountability, and expanding your skill set, you will have an opportunity to spend time with influential people and this will have a profound influence on both your personal life and your business. Amongst other things, you will make small changes, which can be a great way!

Interested in joining a Three-Month Mastermind group that I will be facilitating starting in June? In this group, you’ll learn how to be more strategic by setting SMART goals, brainstorming together, and you’ll receive a private coaching session from me each month. You’ll get three hours of strategy monthly, checklists, resources, networking, and more. Sign up by April 30th for an instant $100 discount. Want more information? Visit our 2017 Mastermind Group page, or call me at 202.518.5811. I invite you to share this with your like-minded colleagues.

Here’s to your success!!

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Can You Really Have It All?

As a coach, a question I regularly receive from coaching clients is whether or not anyone really can “have it all,” especially in this time of economic uncertainty within most industries.

just for you gift packageWell, I hear you asking and so I’m answering! The truth is this: Yes, you can have it all but you might not be able to have it all, all at the same time.

Undoubtedly, you’re aware that it takes sacrifice to get to the top of your game, whether that be personally or professionally. When you’re creating a family, your career might need to be put on hold and, as you nurture your career, you may find yourself with less time to invest in your personal life. This is the inevitable balance of progress in our world. There is give and there is take and you have to accept the ebbs and flows in order to move forward with grace and focus.

Now, not being able to have it all, all at the same time isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Being aware that not every aspect of your life will flourish simultaneously is actually quite liberating.

With the knowledge that you will need to maintain balance in order to keep your work and personal lives alive even when needing to more heavily invest in one or the other, you will make better choices with both your time and resources. You’ll be aware of your tendency to let one side or the other slip and can stay on top of your basic needs to keep yourself balanced enough to remain grounded and successful in all areas.

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Getting Unstuck and Moving Ahead in a Mastermind Group (Part 1)

What is a Mastermind Group – Essentially, mastermind groups were first introduced to boost both personal and business skills. With this in mind, a typical group will be educational at the same time as offering brainstorming, support, and even peer accountability. When you join a group, there will be a focus on success for both yourself in addition to all of the other members.

Between participants, various activities will take place including the setting of powerful goals and plans to accomplish them. With commitment and confidentiality in tow, members will give and receive completely honest and compassionate advice. Not only are members a source of support when needed, they will also play devil’s advocate so you will be in the best possible position for success moving forward.

What the Group Isn’t – Many misconceptions can be found with this topic so it is important to note that the group isn’t a class. Although guest speakers can sometimes be brought in, the focus revolves around brainstorming rather than having one person speak and the rest listening. Finally, the group isn’t primarily for networking opportunity (although if it happens, even better!). At times, leads may be shared but the idea is to bring individuals together regardless of their line of work.

Benefits – When reading this, the main question will probably be ‘well, why should I join a mastermind group? What is in it for me?’

Make Connections – In life, it can be incredibly lonely especially if you stay in the office late or work all by yourself. Therefore, having a mastermind meeting will allow you to build connections with others who may be in the same boat. As well as sharing your stories, you will have an outlet for all of your dreams and aspirations. Once you spend time with like-minded people, you will have a newfound motivation and will to succeed. Over time, you will build connections with these people.

Create Ideas – Since brainstorming is one of the key reasons to such a group, you will be able to create ideas and feed off of the ingenuity of those around you. Within your career or personal life, you will think about certain ideas so much that you struggle to see the flaws. However, the group will help you to see the good points and bad points in ideas thanks to the honest conversations that occur.

Summary – Now, you should know the basics of mastermind groups and what they offer. Stay tuned for more insights in Part 2.

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Communicate with More Authority without Becoming an Authoritarian

Just last week, one of my clients asked his employee to revise a proposal that will be sent to a client. Annoyed, the guy said “What for? I thought I was the lead on this account.”

Does this conversation sound familiar?

Assert Your Authority

Most leaders believe in the power of brainstorming and teamwork, but the problem is, some employees tend to mistake their open-mindedness for weakness. Just because you’re polite and open to suggestions, doesn’t mean that everything you say may be questioned!

As a leader, you must hone your business communication skills so people working with you will know how to differentiate between a directive and a request.

Does it mean making every deadline non-negotiable? Should you stop taking suggestions from your team?

No.

Here’s a Better Idea: Change the Way You Communicate

Be careful with your choice of words and tone of voice. Consider the following:

Deadlines: 

“It would be great if you could submit your work by lunch tomorrow.” 

Vs.

“I’ll expect your work tomorrow on or before lunch.”

Work requests:

“Please edit your report for Client A, make it more compelling.”

Vs.

“Your report for Client A isn’t convincing enough, can you please revise it?”

Both statements mean practically the same thing, but the second statements can be interpreted as a suggestion, while the first one is a clear order.

As for your tone of voice, make sure that your voice is loud and clear when you’re talking. This isn’t the time to be shy, so just man up, and look them in the eye when you’re talking.

What if my support staff is stubborn?

Use this simple rebuttal formula. Let’s go back to the second example:

You: “Please edit your report for Client A, make it more compelling.”

Employee A: “Why? It took me 3 days to complete that report, Employee B says it’s great.”

This is a typical excuse. Employee complains, saying that it already took forever to complete the work then segues to add the opinion of someone else to back up his claim.

You: I understand that it takes a lot of time to create a report1, but it needs to be revised2 because it doesn’t have substantial proof to back up the results you’re claiming3

Let’s dissect this simple formula:

1.      Empathize – Show that you understand how they feel by repeating what they said.

2.      Reiterate your request – “it needs to be revised”

3.      Give a specific reason – the reason should be specific, objective, and reasonable. Don’t just say “because I want you to revise it.”

Using imperatives doesn’t equate to rudeness though, so make sure you add “please” or “kindly” when possible. The same applies when you’re using the rebuttal formula above. If anyone in your staff continues to argue after you’ve provided a reasonable objection, then it’s time to remind him of your position. This is your last resort; don’t use this argument often because doing so will appear as if you’re abusing your power.

Your business communication skills will affect your relationship with your team and image as a leader. Does your voice have a certain air of authority? Do you sound like you know what you’re doing? If you do, then you’ll have no problems getting people to do what you asked.

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Top Ten Ways to Start (and Maintain) a Good New Year

The best way to have a good year is by living life on a daily basis, letting the good days accumulate, one by one. And it doesn’t have to be New Year’s to resolve to have a good year. Start anytime. Today, for instance.

  1. Take time, slow down. Be present in your life and mindful of the present.
  2. Care for your body, eat well, exercise, treat yourself to loving, nurturing self-care.
  3. Spend quality time with family and friends. Communicate, keep in touch. Say I love you. Tell people you appreciate them.
  4. Take time throughout the day to renew yourself. Take a walk, read a poem or a good book, listen to music (really listen); bring beauty into your life. On a monthly basis, take a whole day for yourself — play, treat yourself to something you want to do; retreat from your daily life. Mark these special days on your calendar (in ink) so you’ll be certain to take them.
  5. Clean up what needs to be cleaned up. Make amends, fix what’s broken, clear away clutter, forgive what needs to be forgiven and let go.
  6. Commit to a project you really want to do or to learning something new or attaining something you want. Commitment is the first step. Then set achievable goals and work toward them on a daily basis.
  7. Give yourself to a cause, volunteer at a nonprofit organization, a community group, your church or lend a hand to an individual or family who could use your help.
  8. Practice your spirituality in whatever form you express it, on a daily basis.
  9. Laugh every day.
  10. Take time to dream.

Wishing you a healthy, successful and joyful 2017!
To Your Success,

Marshall
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How to Create the Life You Want

If you aren’t living the life you want, how do you get back on track? How do you get clear on what you want? And how do you stay committed to it? Here are some steps that can help you get started:

Know What Motivates You

Motivation becomes stronger when you have a vision or an image of what you want to achieve. You may have the desire to get something done or to achieve a particular goal, but if the desire and ambition are not strong enough, you may lack the initiative and willingness to take the necessary action. A motivated person takes action and does what is needed to achieve her or his goals.

Clarity

Before getting what we want we must first know what that is. This may seem obvious but it trips up even the most intelligent people right out of the gate. Take out a blank sheet of paper and write “My Dream Life” at the top. List everything you want to have, do, be and share. From this list generate goals to help set you back on course.

Avoid the “Shiny New Object Syndrome”

It’s easy to lose momentum by getting distracted with new, exciting opportunities. Having clarity makes it easier to distinguish those opportunities that help move us forward from the ones that throw us off track. The next time a new opportunity arises ask yourself, “How will this help me achieve my ultimate goal of “x”? If it doesn’t, you probably want to dismiss the opportunity and move on.

Redefine Failure

People who focus on the destination as opposed to the journey also tend to be more critical of their failures. When you enjoy the process along the way, it’s easier to appreciate the end result — whether you consider it a “success” or “failure.” The next time you do experience failure, however, reframe it. Consider that you have just learned how not to do something, and then acknowledge yourself for what you’ve learned.

Give in to Your Primal Instincts

Craving new challenges is hard-wired into our DNA. If it weren’t, we never would have left the cave, invented the wheel or flown to outer space. Ignoring this primal code over the long term can lead to disappointment. So how do you happily succumb to this urge? With more clarity and structure.

Create a list of things you haven’t done yet, but want to do. Be specific and remember the three, guaranteed “no fail” rules when it comes to goal setting:

1. Write it down. 2. Write it down. 3. Write it down.

Putting your list in writing transforms it from a desire into a personal contract with yourself.

Go Guilt-Free

Taking time to care for ourselves, guilt-free, is difficult for many people. Sometimes it feels as though things will fall off the rails if we “let go.” But when we do let go, something amazing happens: the earth still spins — people find a way to manage without us. Taking time off leaves us feeling refreshed and makes us better workers, parents, spouses and citizens. Plus, going guilt-free can be contagious.

As with anything worthwhile, there is no quick fix when it comes to designing and building the life you want. However, keeping yourself motivated can make you a happier person, more energetic and enable you to see the positive results. Getting the life of your dreams should be more than a dream. Make it a reality by taking these steps; as the saying goes “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” Imagine you are at the end of your life; would you rather have wonderful memories or awful regrets? Only you can make the life you want so what are you waiting for? Go for it!

What are your dreams for a beautiful life? Share with us in the comments or over on our Facebook page HERE or tweet @marshallbcoach.

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Starting Over: Tips on how to Bounce Back in Difficult Times

Natural disaster. Divorce. Death of a loved one. Job loss. Career change. There’s not one of us who has escaped major change in our lives. And whether you bring on major change yourself or circumstances beyond your control are thrust upon you, starting over is never easy. In fact, major life change can bring with it extreme heartache, debilitating stress and despair. But you can do it. You have the means within yourself to recuperate and grow from any life-altering situation. Truly. If you or a loved one is facing an experience that requires “starting over,” keep the following points in mind. They’ll help you get through a very difficult time with greater peace-of-mind and grace. Take time to let go. Starting over often happens due to traumatic events. Even when you initiate the change that requires starting over, grief is natural. Take the necessary time to grieve your losses. Your timeframe for mourning may be different than someone else’s, so be true to your own needs. Be gentle with yourself. If ever there was a time to love and nurture yourself, it would be now. Go easy and be sweet with yourself. Take rest when you need it. Say no to anything but the essential, and use that extra time to sleep, walk in nature, visit with supportive friends. Just be. One step at a time. Starting over can feel overwhelming at first, so pay attention to one step at a time. For example, if your home has been devastated by fire or another disaster, take care of your immediate housing needs and safety first before you turn to the bigger question of where to live in the long run. Take consistent baby steps. You will make more progress (and it will feel easier) if you focus on accomplishing regular, small tasks rather than large ones now and then. It will also help you move through the times when you feel so overwhelmed that you can’t seem to do anything. Acknowledge each and every step as an accomplishment. Each and every one is. Accept the change. Whatever has happened has simply “happened.” It just is. Try to avoid “what if” scenarios or feeling guilty or creating stories to explain why it happened. Hard as it might seem, acceptance helps you embrace the process of starting over. Make an attitude adjustment. Starting over can be as easy as changing your mind or your attitude. Instead of being fearful of change and what lies ahead, embrace the potential that change makes possible. Try to view it as adventurous, perhaps even exhilirating. You may learn to celebrate change rather than trying to avoid it. Set realistic deadlines. When it comes to the tasks required of starting over, it’s helpful to set deadlines for yourself. But give yourself ample time to accomplish them. For example, you might set a date to attend a support group to help you deal with the pain of loss. Learn new skills if necessary. Starting over might mean having to learn some new skills. If you lost your job, you might need or want to go back to school. If you lost a longtime spouse, you might have to learn how to date again. Be open to learning. It’s a positive way to start over and have some fun at the same time. Create a support team. Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family members for help, or attend support groups. And know when to seek help from professionals. People who are more resilient use these strategies to build their strength and capacity to lead a resilient life. They choose to embrace the unpredictability of life, the pain and the adversity because they know that the rewards they gain are priceless. Like it or not, change is inevitable. Learn to accept, embrace and grow from the change. Starting over will feel easier, and you be able to go with the flow more gracefully. It may not feel like it at the time, but slow and steady steps will help you heal, grow and evolve into a more rounded being who can bounce back when life knocks you down.   How do you keep going when the going gets tough? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or tweet @marshallbcoach.

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Goal Setting: How to Create a Clear Vision and Path for your Career

It’s a new year, time for making plans and setting goals for your health, relationships and lifestyle; but what about your career? Having a clear vision of what you want to achieve in your working life is key to achieving your goals and enjoying success. Do you know what you want your future to look like?

Why Set Goals?

Top-level athletes, successful business-people and achievers in all fields all set goals. Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses your acquisition of knowledge, and helps you to organize your time and your resources so that you can make the very most of your career.

Here are some steps you can take to help you articulate your vision statement for your career which will help you achieve your goals.

• Set aside some time.

Creating a vision for your career cannot and should not be rushed. After all, you are going to be spending the majority of your time at work, so you may as well spend some careful consideration when planning.

Review your goals and values: Write or type out what you are currently doing and what is important to you for a healthy working life.

Long Term Goals: What do you enjoy doing? What are you good at, what type of work is important to you?

Short Term Goals: What knowledge or skills do I need? What industry should I focus on?

• What would your career be like if you had the power to make it any way you wanted?

• Imagine yourself in the future at a point in which you have achieved great career success. What is it that you have accomplished? What does your life look like?

• Where would you like to be in your career in 5 years? In 10 years? In 15 years?

These are just a few simple questions to get your creative juices going. Once you start to express your feelings and thoughts about your career, you will start to see a plan form. Keep your statement nearby where you can read it regularly to inspire you. Revisit it often to make sure you are staying on track and to reinforce the image of you in our ideal career which will help you both consciously and subconsciously develop goals and action steps that will lead you to success. Have you created a Vision for your Career? Leave a comment here or head on over to our Facebook or LinkedIn pages, or tweet @marshallbcoach and share your experience!

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Top Ten Ways to Start and Maintain a Good Year

The best way to have a good year is by living life on a daily basis, letting the good days accumulate, one by one. And it doesn’t have to be New Year’s to resolve to have a good year. Start anytime. Today, for instance.

  1. Take time, slow down. Be present in your life and mindful of the present.
  2. Care for your body, eat well, exercise, treat yourself to loving, nurturing self-care.
  3. Spend quality time with family and friends. Communicate, keep in touch. Say I love you. Tell people you appreciate them.
  4. Take time throughout the day to renew yourself. Take a walk, read a poem or a good book, listen to music (really listen); bring beauty into your life. On a monthly basis, take a whole day for yourself — play, treat yourself to something you want to do; retreat from your daily life. Mark these special days on your calendar (in ink) so you’ll be certain to take them.
  5. Clean up what needs to be cleaned up. Make amends, fix what’s broken, clear away clutter, forgive what needs to be forgiven and let go.
  6. Commit to a project you really want to do or to learning something new or attaining something you want. Commitment is the first step. Then set achievable goals and work toward them on a daily basis.
  7. Give yourself to a cause, volunteer at a nonprofit organization, a community group, your church or lend a hand to an individual or family who could use your help.
  8. Practice your spirituality in whatever form you express it, on a daily basis.
  9. Laugh every day.
  10. Take time to dream.

It is tempting to make grand New Year’s resolutions, but as we all know, many of these fall by the wayside too quickly leading to disappointment. The key to maintaining promises you make to yourself is to take one step at a time. When you create achievable goals, they are easier to reach and each success builds momentum to spur you on. So don’t berate yourself if you fall at the first hurdle; gather your thoughts, take a deep breath and start again. You will soon realize you have made great progress and are living life to the fullest. Share your favorite tip with us on Twitter and be sure to tag @marshallbcoach. Stand out by building your brand HERE

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