Take Control of Your Destiny Now! 

2015 Proves that Mindfulness, Meditation and Abundance Works

What do you do when your plans are working out exactly as planned? You remain focused and press on. That’s exactly what I did in 2015.


I realize that it’s been awhile since I wrote a blog post and there are many valid reasons for that.  One of the main reasons is that this year my speaking business was abundant with everything I put out into the Universe and set my sights on.


2015 is the year that I committed to daily meditation to set the tone each morning before entering my day. I practiced mindfulness, generosity, and awareness of positivity.


Living in the vortex is very powerful! 


“It Is Not about Controlling Thoughts, It Is about Guiding Thoughts” Esther Hicks


I woke to a snow storm on the morning of a flight to my speaking engagement. There was so much snow that I was unable to pull my luggage along the sidewalk. Returning to my condo I checked on my flight and watched as 1400 flights were cancelled. My flight was not one of them. 


I took a taxi to the airport which was very empty, made my way through TSA and found my gate. It was the only one with people there. We waited and eventually were told they were bringing our plane around. It was in a hanger (garage) close by.  We boarded amidst murmurings that there was a snow storm at our destination as well.


I arrived to no snow, clean roads and checked into my hotel. The snow storm started within half hour of checking in. Yes my attendees did show up the next day. They kept warning me that it would be difficult getting back to Chicago because of the snow.


My plane departed on time and arrived in Chicago to clearly shoveled streets and I arrived home half hour before the snow storm started again.  


Things like this happened all year and I added them all to my 2015 Gratitude list as a reminder.


And that’s just one of the miraculous happenings in 2015.  I achieved my objectives as a professional speaker and reached a BHAG with my business.  


My grand daughter had her 1st birthday and started walking. 


I lived in positivity and abundance in 2015 and I am ending the year with gratitude and positive emotions.  


As we prepare for 2016, I wish you and yours abundance, success, love, and joy for the new year. 


“Success is about a happy life, and a happy life is just a string of happy moments. But most people do not allow the happy moments because they are so busy trying to get a happy life.” Esther Hicks


I also encourage you, if you have not yet created one, to start a Gratitude List and update it frequently. At the end of the year you will again receive blessings as you read through all the wonderful things that manifested in your life.


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Retired Baby Boomers: What’s Next? A “CYO” Job!

Personal Branding for Baby BoomersCreate Your Own (CYO) Opportunity

Just because you’ve reached the age of “advanced maturity” (55+) and the brass ring of “retirement” with a functional parachute doesn’t mean you’re ready to join the Geritol Generation, right? 

Heck NO!!! You may not realize it yet, but as a newly retired Baby Boomer, you are in the catbird seat to create a brand new “CYO” opportunity for yourself. 

A first step to a CYO opportunity is self-assessment. A few questions to ponder and get you started: 

  • What do you already know how to do (by profession or hobby) that would be valuable information or a skill to teach to someone else? Another language? Playing a musical instrument? Using a specialized software program like Quickbooks or Adobe Photoshop? 
  • What are you truly passionate about? Healthy eating? Physical or Mental Fitness? Recycling? Green-living? The key is to identify and pursue your passion! It may be through volunteering or a paid job. But if you don’t know what your passion is, you can’t focus your energy on a path to pursue it. 
  • Is there something “whimsical” that you always wanted to do but that wasn’t exactly lucrative when you were younger? Well now that you’ve worked and paid your dues, built a nice nest egg and can afford to be indulgent, why not go for it now? Always wanted to act on stage in front of a live audience? Join a local theater production at your church. Become a tour guide in your city. Partner with a local real estate agent and conduct walking tours of your neighborhood for new residents. 
  • Love meeting new people and helping your elderly neighbors? Offer to drive them to doctor appointments or the grocery store. Offer to walk their dog(s) twice a day. Or something as small as stopping by or calling to make a daily “wellness check” as you go about your own errands. 

The key is to recognize your hidden (or forgotten) skills and talents, and capitalize on them to create and pursue a new career path for yourself. 

You’ve got a good 20-30+ years before your “expiration date”. Make them count! 

Retirement from a job is NOT retirement from life. For us Baby Boomers, retirement from one job is only a stepping stone to our next life adventure. 

There are many resources available on the web that can support you in your quest for the next phase of your life.  One place to look is www.careerpivot.com.  Marc Miller has many resources available to help you.

Another place to check is Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers which is available on Amazon.com. This is a small investment for potentially thousands of dollars in income.

My friend Mar Miller is the November 14th guest on my radio show. He will be discussing his new book titled Personal Branding for Baby Boomers – What It Is, How to Manage It, and Why It’s No Longer Optional. Mark you calendars and join us for this show. I read the book and it is a step by step guide to creating your personal brand. 

Your comments, as always, are welcomeShare them here or at any of these social media links.

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Training the Employee Who Can’t Read or Write

All are welcome in our training programsI have heard and read about the lack of qualified people to fill jobs in the workforce. 


As a road warrior corporate trainer, I meet all kinds of people within and outside of the United States. 


I have presented seminars on the East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, Southern States and Canada. I have presented seminars in Europe.  I thought I had heard and seen just about every type of employee there is in the workforce.


That’s why it took me by surprise and nearly knocked me over when a colleague asked for help with ideas for her attendees at an onsite training program.  


The client asked her to train several employees who can’t read or write. Since she was doing several days of the same communications topic with this client she was seeking ideas to solve the problem.  


Th communication program includes several writing exercises, and wanting to provide all employees with a consistent experience was challenging to say the least.  My friend had to adapt the training in a way that those who cannot read and write would not feel uncomfortable. 


She agreed to have them to sit next to people they feel comfortable with so they could help translate the written activities.


At first I wondered how employees could be successful in the workplace in today’s Internet based, computer literate world. 


Then it dawned on me, perhaps these employees have English as a second language.  Not every job requires you to read and write English.  Truth is, as long as you are capable of doing the job, it can be yours.


The training was successful and everyone is happy. 


How about your company? Do you have any employees who cannot read or write? What technique do you use for communication? 


Contact me at yvonne@jadcommunications.com to learn how I can provide training for all of your employees.  


Your comments, as always, are welcomeAsk how I can help your employees increase their skills.

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How To Be Consistently Committed To Your Success Despite Bullying

YvonneFBrown I'm Jamaican. Born and bred. Those who know me are aware of that and I am very proud of my Jamaican heritage.  It forms my foundation of who I am as that is where I developed my self worth. I know who I am and I am very comfortable in my skin.

When I started my training company JAD Communications in the year 2000 I branded myself as the "Jamaican American Dreamer."  I chose that name because I came to America looking for my American Dream. A great deal of my youth in Jamaica focused on achieving that objective.

I am proud to say that I have had 10 careers and enjoyed every one of them. So the dream comes true over and over again.

When I founded JAD Communications, I was called out by a Caucasian woman who said "You can't use that term because that's my business brand." 

She is an American. I don't even know if she has been to Jamaica. I was taken aback enough to remind her that I AM Jamaican. 

She insisted that her brand with Jamaica and "Everything's Irie" for project management has been in existence for awhile and so I cannot call myself and my company "Jamaican American Dreamer."

Imagine that! 

"By looking through the prism of possibilities we open the door to Self-Creation and the future we envision for ourselves." - Yvonne F. Brown 

Don't believe me? Google "Jamaican American Dreamer" and you will get my newsletters complete with the palm tree logo and the Jamaican flag.

While this was off-putting, it got me thinking about the JAD Communications brand. I opened myself to a receiving, receptive mode for ideas and inspiration. 

The new brand came to me "I help people on the Journey to Achievement of their Destiny."  I re-branded the company and business improved immediately.  

So, although that was not her intention, she really did me a favor. Years later she complimented me on the new company brand. 

What she didn't realize is that "I am the captain of my ship, and the master of my fate. I build self confidence by staying away from negative people who try to drag and tear me down."

How about you? Do you have a story of using lemons to make lemonade? I love to hear from you. 

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Three Observations About the Impending Robotics Age

NAO Robot I love to connect the dots on what is happening in the world and society. It’s fascinating to watch as society is changing so rapidly that it’s difficult to keep up.  

We all know about the Industrial Age and that we are now in the Technology Age but I wonder how many of you have noticed that we are entering the Robotics Age?

My recent "Find Yourself, Live Your Dreams, and Be Happy" Blog Talk Radio show   titled “Is a College Education Still Worth it?” noted thatAccording to the October 2014 article published by Computerworld.com, by 2025, 1 in 3 jobs will be replaced by software or robots.”

That show got me thinking about the ubiquitousness of robots in today’s society and how seamlessly they have slipped into our lives without us realizing how many of them there are.

1. College degrees need to match the age in which they are earned 

As I noted the rising cost of college, the mounting college loan debt, and the mountain of graduates unable to find work, I started wondering what happened to the jobs, and if we need to change our career and degree focus. 

That’s when I started the list. It reminded me of the acceleration of the Technology Age and what happened when hardware became less expensive and apps began being invented every waking moment. 

2. The Robotic Age is accelerating and there are more robots being invented on a daily basis

I started my list to track the robot infiltration and that’s when I realized that they are everywhere.  Admittedly, as with anything new, there are positives and negatives associated with this trend. 

Robots have become pervasive in the global marketplace.  Just today, while writing this article, I saw a news report of Amazon testing drone package delivery in Canada. A short video showed the customer receiving his package that a drone had just dropped on his doorstep. Amazon now has “Prime Air” This is their domestic drone delivery service.

Here are a few examples of robots in today’s society from my list.

1, Pepper the Humaniod robot who reads emotions sells for $2,000 - See it here.

2. Lowes has a robot sales assistant and for customer service. They proudly exclaim that they can market to you using the digital readout on the back of the robot. It also speaks many languages. One customer said “I actually come to this store because of the robot.” Introducing Orchard Supply Hardware's OSHbot. Click here to see video of it in action.

3. Robot bartenders are serving drinks on cruise ships like Royal Caribean. Over at the Bionic Bar robot bartenders serve up mixed drinks that you order on tablets.  Click here to see it

4. Foxconn plans to replace half a million Chinese employees with Robots.  Check out the video at this link.

5. On a positive note a recent CBS Sunday Morning introduced us to robots opening up the world of art. Click here to see the video.

6. Another positive example is how, paralyzed by a stroke, Henry Evans uses a telepresence robot to take the stage as he delivers a TED Talk from his bed. This is made possible by demonstrating how new robotics, tweaked and personalized by a group called Robots for Humanity,has allowed him to do that. Watch the incredible TED Talk at this link.

3. Robotic Integration into society is seamless. 

As we accept this robotic invasion with the mindset that they will “make life easier” for us it appears we neglect to realize the creeping ubiquitousness of this trend. Yes in some areas they make our lives easier, but often they take jobs away from us as well.

Remember that many of today’s youth are so used to interacting with machines that, for them especially, it will be a seamless integration in their lives. It will be as normal to them as iPhones and iWatches. 

Robots are getting less creepy and more social. Some are being touted as companions. Perhaps you should rent the Will Smith movie “iRobot” which shows one possible human future with robots.

What are your thoughts on this march into the Robotic Age©? Do find it a good thing, or something that fills you with dread? Are you ready for them to throw you out of work, or help you do things you couldn’t do before? I would love to hear your thoughts on this blog post. 

Incidentally, this is only a small portion of my list. Want to learn about the other robots? Just email me at Yvonne@jadcommunications.com


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Self-love, Mirror Work, and the Selfie Take Charge of Your Life

Selfish Girl

When I came to America from Jamaica many decades ago I was a 17-year-old very happy young lady who was in love with herself.

I remember vividly how much that annoyed my mother.  She actually would tell me “you're a very selfish girl. Selfish, selfish, selfish.”

There's a mole under my top lip. When I showed it to my mom and asked her what that means she said “it means you’re a selfish liar.” I never forgot that. Of course today I know better. Back then I just ignored her comments.

I was reminded of this today when I received two new emails from Hay House, one of my favorite companies, talking about a new program about mirror work. It's called “Loving Yourself: 21 days to Improve Self-Esteem.

The first email was called “The power and rewards of self-love.”  It got my attention because that's exactly what my mother was so angry with me about when I was 17 years old. It got so bad, that by the time I was 18 I moved out of her house and was on my own.  So I came to America and one year was all that I could take it of this discouragement, so I left.

That’s right. I went out on my own at about age 18 and I never looked back. I did not talk to my mom for a couple of decades because I felt as though she was telling me that self-love is selfish and her words were holding back.

I had plans for my future, and had no intention of letting anyone get in my way or stop me from being my authentic self and living a life of limitless possibilities. Me Inc.

Of course she's quite proud of me and what I've achieved in my life today. But back then she just couldn't see it.  She thought of self-love as a negative thing. She thought looking at yourself in the mirror, giving yourself love was a negative thing. I knew better then and I know better today.

Now that bullying is out of the closet, everyone knows that people are getting bullied all the time. The mirror work would be very helpful for people who are getting bullied.

By learning self-love and doing mirror work, (talking to yourself in the mirror and saying "I love you" to the person you see in the mirror) regardless of what you look like, you can encourage your authentic self. Then whatever the bullies want to say or do won’t get to you, because you know you are.

You can use self-love to heal your body, heal your heart, lose weight, and soothe your spirit.

Were living in the age of selfies. Everyone's taking pictures of themselves everywhere you look they are using the selfie stick so they can get it just right. Here's the thing though, I don't believe it's because of self-love.

February is the month of love and Valentine's Day.  Yet often we hear people talk about how they have no one  to spend time with on Valentine's Day and feel lonely. 

I explained to one of my friends this year, that you can bet on self-love.  It can help you have a wonderful day. Just go out for a nice meal by yourself, spend time getting to know yourself through self-reflection. The truth is the better that you know yourself, the easier it is to have self-love.

And if you know yourself and you’re one of those people who say “but Yvonne I know myself and knowing me I don't have self-love” then do some mirror work. 

I daresay it will help you to learn to appreciate yourself. And as you learn to appreciate yourself you'll find doors opening all over the place because that is the key to self-fulfillment, boundaryless dreams and limitless possibilities.

 

Your comments, as always, are welcomeShare them here or at any of these social media links.

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How the Law Of Attaction Changed My Life in 2014 and Beyond

Arielle I've been thinking about what to write as the last post as this year closes and another one begins.  So much has happened this year I didn't know where to start so I will begin with joy.

I have a new grand daughter. Her name is Arielle. 

It has been so long since I held a baby in my arms that it completely enveloped me in the miracle of this new life. 

It has inspired me to write a new book dedicated to Arielle about Boundryless Dreams and Limitless Possibilities.

In August I did something I have wanted to do for a very long time. I attended a Abraham Hicks event in Chicago. 

It has transformed my life. 

Meeting Abraham taught me how to remove stress from my life and provided a methodology for taking back control from life's surprises.  

Because of what I learned from Abraham, I began to meditate and now begin each day with fifteen minutes of meditation. There are no words to describe the positive difference meditation has made in my life. 

I took a vacation for the first time in years and reconnected with family. It was a fabulous week.

One more incredibly wonderful thing happed to me this year. My son Michael, who I have not seen in many years, visited me in Chicago and connected with his brother Charles. It was amazing spending time with my two sons and realizing how alike they are.

My company had a great year and I am looking forward with positive anticipation to a stellar year in 2015 as I watch Arielle and my business grow.

How about you? What are your plans for 2015? Whatever it is, be sure to tune in to my radio show on January 10th at 2:00 pm Central Time as we talk about Law of Attraction, Spirituality, and Law of Attraction Journaling. 

Check it out and learn more about the show at  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yvonne-f-brown

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Why Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is Dead Wrong About Women's Raises and Karma

Satya Nadella

Its an old story and recent books like "Lean In" encourage women to know their worth and go for it. 

So it was with disgust that I listened to Microsoft's CEO last week telling women to just sit there and wait for their managers and company to recognize their hard work.

I wanted to reach through the TV set and slap him silly. Such talk is a way to put the women's movement of equal pay for equal work back decades. To begin with, women still don't make equal pay for equal work yet. So sitting around waiting for the men to bring it to you is just plain ridiculous.

Microsoft CEO to women: Not asking for a raise is 'good karma'

Now Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is back pedaling and has disavowed controversial comments he made at the women's tech conference, including the suggestion that women who don't ask for raises will receive "good karma."  

Worse yet, he made the statement at a prestigious women in technology conference. The man actually said “It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise.”

My Six Figure Salary

The first time I was offered a six figure salary it was because I requested it. The offer was close and rather than just jumping on it, I negotiated more. Then I proudly presented my offer letter to my husband Bill to prove that it was real. It was an accomplishment that made me proud.

As a woman with a computer science degree, I was working with three minority challenges. I am a woman, I am Jamaican American, and the technology field is mostly filled with men.  

I worked my ass off to get to the six figure salary and still had to ask for it. It was not handed to me. 

Judge Judy Salary Negotiation Technique

I am a HUGE fan of Judge Judy and am currently reading her book, "Don't Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It's Raining," which is what I think Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is doing to women with his statement.

I recently finished reading another book by Judge Judy titled "What Would Judge Judy Say? Be The Hero of Your Own Story" that was virtually impossible to put down. 

One of my favorite things I learned in that book is how Judge Judy negotiates her salary. 

In the book she shares how at a certain point in her career as Judge Judy she stepped out of the box called "Contract Negotiation" and so arrived for the negotiation talks with an envelope.  

She told them "this is what it will take for me to continue with the show" and has continued that tradition with the new president of the network and still uses that method.

Today Judge Judy Sheindlin is the highest paid TV star and earns $47 Million per year

"Stephen Battaglio, TV Guide's business editor and author of the list, said Judge Judy generates about $200 million in ad revenue for CBS (CBS) but costs just $10 million per year to produce, before factoring in Sheindlin's salary. The show is aired internationally, and some stations air it several times a day."  

I guarantee you that if she sat and waited for "good karma" with the network executives her salary would not be what it is today.

How about you? Are you using "good karma" or negotiating for what you know you're worth? 

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I'm afraid to eat because of GMO. I don't know what I can eat anymore. Do you?

 

I heard about pink slime some time ago and was appalled to learn that our government has allowed this type of food to be served to the citizens. 

While growing up, the USDA was a reputable and reliable source of confidence in the foods I put in my body and the body of my family. 

I no longer trust them.  Actually, I wonder what they feed their families.

When I learned about Genetically Modified Foods (GMO) it was an eye opener. For years I wondered why so many people shopped "organic." I had no idea it meant that it was non-GMO food. Now I know why it costs more.

Here's the thing, nothing is safe anymore.  While watching a show about GMOs on Windy City Live in Chicago I took some notes about food that are GMO. I did not write them all down but learned that cotton, canola, corn, zucchini, yellow squash, and soybean oil are GMO and should be avoided. What an eye opener that was for me.

Fruits and vegetables were considered safe but recently I started reading the labels. I found that my apples are coated with a substance to make them have the right color. I bit into one and it ripped my gums off! It took months for it to heal. Now I pass on apples unless they are organic.

Bread and rolls are the worst. My husband and I noted recently that some rolls we had for over a month never changed. Used to be after awhile the rolls would develop mold. Not these rolls though. I tore off a piece and put it in water and it sat there for days as a lump. Even a sponge would have soaked up some of the water. 

Now I think that is why so many Americans are overweight. The foods they eat are just sitting there in their bodies like the lump of "bread" I put in the water.

Our dog, Phoebe told us that pre-made burgers I purchased was not real food. When we gave her a piece she took one smell and waled away. Not that she is our new food taster, but when she blows off a food, you can be sure it's not real.

There's hope though. I learned on the Windy City Live program that many foods now bear the "No GMO" or "GMO Free" labels. 

I also learned that many European countries don't have GMO foods. If they care enough about their citizens to do that, why can't the good ole USA do that as well?

Until then, here are a few sources to help you shop non GMO. - 


http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/

http://www.nongmoproject.org/find-non-gmo/iphone-app-shopping-guide/

http://gmo-awareness.com/shopping-list/

http://www.vitacost.com/non-gmo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_organism

Hopefully these few sites will help you to shop for and feed your family Non-GMO foods, to keep them and you healthy.

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The Doctor is Not Always Right Push Back and Take Back Your Life

A woman was sitting on her couch watching television when she suddenly felt as though she was having a stroke on her left side. 

She went to the doctor and the doctor told her it was just stress and sent her home.

Suffering numbness and tingling down the left side of her body at home in Toronto, Stacey Yepes went to doctors suspecting she had suffered a stroke.

After returning home it happened again. She returned to the doctor with the same result. 

Finally while driving her car it happened one more time so she took out her cell phone and recorded what was happening in a video. 

Check it out:


She then went to a different doctor who did a CAT scan and responded with yes ma'am you are indeed having a mini stroke. They then treated her for that and sent her home. 

I added the video to this blog post to help you recognize a potential stroke.

She's going to be okay. But it's because of her own quick thinking. 

Doctors. can be wrong. Doctors are people too. 

They have stress and a lot on their plates just like the rest of us.

It's important that you're aware of that because your whole life depends on it.

Personal experience:

A few years ago my husband was having trouble with his foot. There was nerve damage of some sort going on.  He went to the doctor and the doctor said there was nothing wrong with it and that it was stress. 

The doctor sent Bill home. But the problem persisted. 

Five visits later, the doctor sent Bill to see a Neurologist who took want to look at his foot and said "I know exactly what this is.” Then he gave him a prescription which solved the problem and that was that. 

The thing is, Bill could not have gone to the Neurologist without a referral from the first doctor.

Speak Up - Stand up for yourself!

In the book “Crucial Confrontations” the writers tell the story of a man who entered the hospital for a simple earache and walked out, the puzzled owner of a brand-new vasectomy. 

If you wonder how this could have happened, It wasn't a typographical error. 

Here’s the thing, according to the doctor, the patient was “wide awake as medical professionals prepared him for the surgery." 

That included shaving him in a place that was a whole torso away from his infected ear. And yet he said nothing. 

I can’t figure out why he didn't ask what was going on,” the doctor exclaimed. The man deferred to the doctors.  He had learned not to question authority from a very young age and still adhered to that philosophy.

So speak up, question people in positions of authority, stand up for your rights or you could pay a unexpectedly heavy or even fatal price.

Here is a study from the writers of Crucial Confrontations and the folks at VitalSmarts regarding the healthcare effects of silence.  www.SilenceKills.com


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Carrot and Stick? What the hell is that?

Carrot and Stick I love traveling for business as it gives me the opportunity to meet people in other regions of the country and get their opinons about a variety of things. 

In particular I enjoy connecting and interacting with the younger generation as I find them fascinating.  

During a recent training program one team member turned to the other and said "it's like using the carrot and stick method of motivation."  

His colleague looked at him as though he was from Mars and I had to stifle a chuckle as I listened to him explain what "carrot and stick" meant.

Here's the thing, many young people have no idea what these idioms mean.  

Idioms are words, phrases or expressions that cannot be taken literally. When used in everyday life they have meaning only to those who have heard them before.  

It is a natural manner of speaking to a native speaker of a language. It can be regional or, as in this case, generational.

For example see if you can complete these idioms:

People in glass houses, ___________________

Birds of a feather _______________________

Sticks and stones _______________________

A dime a _______________

A fool and his money _____________________

Actions speak __________________________

Generation YIdioms are natural to many Baby Boomers because their parents used them in general conversation. Gen Y has never heard many of these idioms. 

Today's leaders and managers need to understand this as they may find their younger employees have a disconnect sometime during communication where an idiom is used.  

The oldest Gen Y members are 36 years old now. They are no longer young. They have been replaced by the Digital Babies

Boomer generation folks said "Don't trust anyone over 30" and Gen Y are now "the old ones" and over 30 I wonder how they like it.

I say this because I once had a twenty something person in my class say about a baby boomer colleague "I wish she would just retire and get out of the way already, because I can't get promoted until she's gone."

I wonder how Gen Y feels now that the Digital Babies are fast approaching and needing them to get out of the way. 

So YOLO folks soon you will learn through personal experience what the idom "People in glass houses ________________" truly means. Look it up.

To learn more about idioms and their meaning visit The Idiom Site

I would love to hear how you finished the idioms in this blog post.


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Are You Driving Your Flock Away? Why People Are Abandoning the Church

I hear the same old story from pastors all the time: "My flock is dwindling. How can I get them back?" 

I find that very interesting because recent news points to a possible reason why people are avoiding the church. 

I'm a Catholic girl born and raised in Jamaica.  I attended Catholic schools from kindergarten through high school. At one point I actually wanted to become a nun.  That's right folks you heard me... a Nun! 

It may be difficult to believe but I was a true believer. I remember the first time I realized that priests were just regular people and this was their job. 

Kind of like how actors pretend to be other people. Priests call themselves "men of God" and nuns call themselves "married to Jesus."

Because I was on track to be a nun, Father Eberly invited me into the rectory. That caused me to realize, when he removed his robe,  that he was just a man. I had never seen a priest without his ropes before, and I was so young that it stayed with me to this day.

The Church Finally Comes Clean – Admits Wrongdoing

On January 22nd, 2014, the Chicago archdiocese finally admitted to, and released files, that reveal the extent of the sex abuse cover-up by over 30 priests. 

14 of the 30 priests in the file are now dead and so will never be prosecuted. I found that outrageous.  

It is unforgivable that the church knew about this for decades and would simply remove the priest, send them to another parish, and allow them to continue with their child abuse on those unsuspecting parishioners.  

Pedophile priests condoned by the church! It is no wonder that people are no longer interested in listening to the church or attending services.

Here's a video coverage account where the priests themselves respond. It's appalling.


I can imagine what I would do to a priest or anyone who did something like that to my child. 

The archdiocese actually issued the statement that "how we treat people today is different than how we treated people then." 

The Nuns Are No Better - They Can't Be Trusted Either

As if that was not enough to cause people to abandon the church, on January 20th, 2014, we heard the story of a nun who gave birth to a baby, and named him after Pope Francis. 

I'm not surprised actually, because while in Venice, Italy on vacation, I stopped in a coffee shop to get a cup of coffee and I saw a nun picking up a coffee, with a shot of booze. I grabbed my video my camera to take a picture but they said no, no pictures.  So I don't have the picture to prove it to you, but believe me, I've saw that with my own two eyes.

If they're drinking booze in their coffee, why wouldn't they be having sex too? 

The news reported that "As the nun was rushed to the hospital north of Rome, Italy, she claimed she wasn't pregnant, repeating "it's not possible, I'm a nun.""


My Views on the Situation:

Perhaps it's time for the church to reconsider their stance on celibacy. It's unnatural and unattainable long term. 

Perhaps like pastors of other churches, priests and nuns should be allowed to marry and have a normal life. It is also possible, based on the fact that the church had full knowledge for decades about all the pedophiles, and that the priesthood attracted those pedophiles because they knew there is a special fund in the church for their wrongdoing, and that if caught thy would simply be sent another parish to start over with new victims.  

I'm glad I did not become a nun and I truly understand why people are leaving the church in droves.  

Those who remain should really ask themselves why am I still in this Church?

Your comments, as always, are welcome.

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How Authentic, Tactful Communication increases your Credibility and Helps to Solve Problems

 

Another Cancelled Flight Brings Friendship

The most interesting thing happened to me recently. While waiting for my flight at O'Hare I was suddenly informed that the flight was canceled.

There was light snowfall and a very light rain that day, the first of the season. One could actually walk through without an umbrella so I was surprised when the airlines canceled my flight to Wausau, Wisconsin.

As I bantered back and forth with the woman behind the counter I learned that she would put me on a flight departing the next day at 1:00 PM or the later flight at 4:52 PM.

Laughing, I explained to her that my class the next day "Communicating With Tact, Diplomacy, and Professionalism started at 9 AM and therefore those were not viable options.

Standing on my right was a woman who appeared to be a flight attendant who is on her phone making arrangements with the airline. We looked at each other momentarily and I continued to explain to the lady behind the counter that I needed to get to Wausau tonight. "Perhaps you could get me booked on another airline" I answered.

She got on the speaker system and informed everyone they should go to customer service right now to make arrangements. 

There was already a line at customer service when I arrived. Soon there were so many people standing in line it spilled into the hallway.

How Travelers Responded

Some people were angry, some were frustrated, and demonstrated it through discussion. 

Annoyed, the customer service folks started processing only people in the line on the right who were Premier status. 

Suddenly the crowd parted and the woman who I thought earlier was the flight attendant, stepped through the line and said to me "I live close to Wausau and I'm driving there you can get a ride with me if you want."

Another woman who was in the line had alread agreed to accept a ride with "Diane." We both went to baggage claim, retrieved our checked luggage, then waited outside for her to pull up.

She drove the 229 miles almost to Wausau and we all had a really wonderful time. She was a great storyteller.  After driving about 50 miles, we learned she was actually the pilot who was going to fly us to Wausau.

She said "sometimes older women see me in the cockpit and and say to their husbands 'there's a girl flying this plane.'" 

The Result of Our Travel 

I was able to pick up my rental car in Wausau that night, drive to my hotel, and be on time for my class first thing the next morning.

I share this story to remind you that you're always on stage, you're always being observed. Had I communicated poorly, or in a negative tactless manner with the woman behind the counter, I am sure that "Diane" would not have offered to share the ride with me to Wausau.

This is further proof that whether in public or in private, when you communicate with tact, diplomacy, and professionalism you will be perceived well and can attract to you the support and help that you need in tough situations.

Do you have a story like this you would like to share?  I would love to hear from you.


Your comments, as always, are welcome.

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Ask and You Shall Receive: The Universe Answered My Prayers By Manifesting What I Desired

There's a wonderful new book that teaches in a very simple way how to manifest what you want to have such as joy, love and success in your life.

Right, I know that it's nothing new. Writers have been sharing this since the beginning of time and those who know it and use it are the inventors of their manifest destiny.  

A Few Famous Manifesters

I am convinced that Madonna has used it to create her $800 million dollar career. People forget that she was once a young girl from the Detroit suburbs who in an interview shared her dreams and said "I practiced, and practiced, I worked real hard and my dream came true." I used to have a copy of that interview on VHS tape but don't know where it is now.

Steve Jobs used it to manifest inventions like the iPad that he imagined. Bill Gates used it to put PCs in every home.  Yes, I had a video with Steve Jobs on one side of the stage, and Bill Gates on the other side of the stage each sharing their dreams of personal computers on PBS. 

That's right. When they started their careers the prospect of personal computers was laughable, because a computer was something that took up an entire room ceiling to floor.

The book, written by Pam Grout,  is called "E-Squared:  Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality."

Here's how it helped me to manifest:

I've needed a new "work horse" coat for some time. Last year I took the one I used for traveling and threw it out at the end of the season. It was done. 

Rather than getting a new coat, I retrieved a previous business coat, had the dry cleaner re-stitch the ripped seams, and fix the lining. That took me to the end of the winter.

I started looking for a new coat this September and found a coat desert in every store I visited as I was told "winter coats are all in our distribution center and will not be in the store until later in the season."

I kept looking and last week while traveling for my seminars I found myself driving past a Burlington Coat factory.  

A voice said, "check them out and see if they have a coat for you." So I parked the car and popped in.

In the coat department I found a short coat that was just what I was looking for except that it had a hood. I don't like hoods on my coat because it cuts off my  peripheral vision.  

So I moved to the full length coats and found a beautiful coat to try on. It not only fit perfectly, it had a tag that said it is washable! 

Manifest Changes and the Coat Redesign

I returned to the short coats and looked longingly at the one I loved and said out loud, "this would be perfect, if only it didn't have a hoodie." I flipped through a few other coats and returned to that batch and guess what? 

There was my coat exactly as I described it. The Universe had removed the hood and provided the coat I described it! 

Here's the best part, I purchased both coats and it cost less than my original budget for one coat! 

So read the book, follow the instructions, and begin to manifest what you want in your life yourself.  

I am developing a program to help you manifest what you want right now.  Let me know if you would like to be included in the invitation list.

Your comments, as always, are welcome.

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The Girl in the Closet

Yvonne F Brown "The starting point of all achievement is desire, followed by a goal, a plan, and finally execution of that plan." Yvonne F. Brown  

Last night I watched a movie starring Snoop Dog titled "Reincarnation."  

Filmed in my country Jamaica, West Indies, it was a reminder of how far I've come.

When I speak to audiences and share my 10 careers, it is not unusual for women of all ages to approach me and say "how did  you accomplish so much? I aspire to a life of accomplishments like yours."  

Watching Snoop Dog tour Jamaica reminded me of how poor I once was, and how far I've come.

Flexibility is a requirement

I also remember when I was promoted to Operations Manager of a 70-store retail chain. I was so happy to have achieved this and looked forward to moving to my new office that would match my new position.

Imagine my surprise when they emptied out a closet and said "this is your new office."

Some people would have pouted or complained about it, but I immediately focused on the positive aspects.

1. I have my own office.

2. It has a glass panel so that I can keep my eye on my people. 

3. It has a DOOR!

The Squeaky Wheel

They say the  squeaky wheel get the oil, and students have told me that they use this as a tactic to get what they want. 

I don't think this is a viable long term strategy.   

While you may get what you want at first, you can be marked as a trouble maker, and all that squeaking eventually gets tuned out much like the the boy who cried wolf.

Yes, I could have complained about being in a closet, especially when one manager started bullying me and calling me "the girl in the closet." 

Truth is while they snickered, I had peace, quiet, tranquility, and privacy in that closet.  I took that space and made it mine.  

Soon they were jealous of my beautiful office. 

They didn't see the potential that I did.  Sometimes people have no vision.

So the next time you find yourself in a situation that does not seem optimum, pause for a moment, take a good look at what appears to be misfortune, create a vision from it, and set about making that your reality.


As always, your comments are welcome.


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Edward Snowden, Consulting, Our Changing society and What's Your Word Worth?

Hactivist or Traitor? You decide.

Consultants must sign confidentiality agreement

As a consultant for more than a decade I can tell you that during the on-boarding process new hires are required to sign a confidentiality agreement.  This is because you will be working on client data and often have access to trade secrets during the course of the engagement. 

At Accenture we consultants were privy to all kinds of corporate data, and took pride in the access we were afforded as members of the elite consultancy we were a part of.

Today things are different. As witnessed by the recent disclosure by Edward Snowden of information, that the United States is collecting data on our phone traffic including discussions, today's consultants are a different breed entirely.

Snowden Lauded for His Disclosure With Time Magazine Cover 

Snowden apparently specifically took the consulting job with Booz Allen Hamilton to gain access to their client's data and expose it to the world.  

He supposedly is exposing the information for a noble purpose "to educate people about what's going on."  I don't buy it  for one minute.  

Snowden is seeking fame.  That's the objective of his generation.  Forget about being a doctor, lawyer, or scientist. He decided to go big, and global, with his fame, and he succeeded.

He is currently on the cover of Time magazine as a new age "hactivist" and has caught the eye of Julian Assange the editor-in-chief and founder of WikiLeaks.

So I guess he got what he wanted... Global Fame

Whistle Blower or Traitor?

Whatever happened to integrity and character? Exactly when did it become endearing to mislead a consulting firm, sign confidentiality agreements, then do them the injustice of releasing their clients' secrets to the world?

How can companies now trust Booz Allen Hamilton and their consultants when allowing them access to confidential corporate information?  

If this goes unchecked, then every company is potentially exposed to future "Snowden" types joining their organization for the express purpose of "exposing" them.  

The new issue of Time Magazine touts Snowden as one of the "geeks who leak." 

I'm sorry but that does not work for me. He is no such thing.

Oh, by the way, none of what he released is news, as I've seen it in movies for years.  Where has everyone been?  

What can businesses do to protect themselves from these types of people?  I don't know.  Do you?

Your comments, as always, are welcome.

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You talking to me?! Handling Stress at Work

School Bus Attitude makes a major difference in how we connect during conversation and Communications. Variations in tone, pitch, and volume changes what is heard, how it's processed, and whether a connection is made or broken.

Recently while teaching a class in Ohio several things happen that gave me pause. 

One attendee came into class and said "I'm here for the be nice Class." 

Another attendee said "I was sent here because I was told you can't call people a dumb ass anymore"

This is a class on communicating with diplomacy, and obviously by these two remarks, it shows that these two people really needed the class. 

Imagine working with someone like that all day. That attitude can keep can create very bad relationships, cause poor morale, communication breakdown, and destroy team spirit.

Good help is hard to find

One of the attendees explained that he interviewed 45 people while trying to fill two jobs. I found that really interesting. Since the news media has so often said of late, that companies are having a hard time finding people to fill jobs. AS I watched the unemployment rate going up, I wondered what could be the trouble? I found out from my attendee.

He said that he interviewed 45 people for two jobs at his plant, and offered the job to six different people. Now remember he only has two positions to fill. 

Six times in a row the potential employee failed the drug test.

Other attendees were not surprised. They said "yeah that's a problem here in Ohio."

School TypoOn three separate occasions, the word "school" was misspelled on the road in a school zone. In South Carolina, Miami, and Kalamazoo, Michigan work done be subcontractors was done poorly.  

I understand why so many are unemployed. Anti-intellectualism is at an all time high, few people read anymore, and only stupid stuff gets our attention.

Is anybody safe anymore?

One attendee spend a lot of time on the phone during the class. I pretended not to notice because she was so interactive and participated during the program. The next morning I found out what was going on.

She is in charge of many school buses in the Ohio area and she spent the day on the phone because of a drunk school bus driver. Here's what she told me:

The school bus driver was drunk and a student had to come up to the front of the bus and tell her how to get to the school.

The school bus hit a truck, ran up on the sidewalk, almost hit some teachers, and crashed into some cars. 

The bus driver got out of the bus and ran away. She may be drunk, but she was smart enough to escape while she could.

"Did you see it on the news this morning? That's what I was doing all morning yesterday when you saw me all stepping out of the seminar, answering the phone, and texting." That's why we have always trained at least one student on the school bus to call 911 in case of an emergency. That's just part of our our safety process.

Now I want you to imagine that you're putting your child on a school bus sending them off to school in the morning, and then watching on the news, or hearing about this drunken school bus driver.

My students reminded me that "yeah, that's a problem here in Ohio."

It's no wonder people don't know how to talk the talk to each other.

That explains why the communications class is so important.

These types of stressful situations can definitely cause your tone, pitch, and volume to change what you say, into something you did not intend.

With the right training, however, you can take control of situations such as these, turn things around, and have positive, productive, and successful interactions at home and at work.

If you would like to schedule of my communication training programs for your team, just contact me at Yvonne@JADcommunications.com.

Your comments, as always, are welcome.


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Five mistakes to avoid as an independent contractor

Trainer I am often approached by an attendee questioning me about how to become a professional trainer after a training session . 

I share the requirements, expectations, knowledge and skills necessary and point them in the right direction.  

Often I never hear from them again and wonder if they followed through on my recommendations.

Being a professional trainer requires not just subject matter expertise, it also requires you work as an independent contractor and run a business.

Here are five mistakes to avoid as an independent contractor:

1. Be sure to invoice your client immediately after providing the service.  One independent contractor often "forgets" to send his invoice to the client and they now are considering dropping him as one of their contractors.  An independent contractor is not an employee.  You cannot just wait to be paid like with an employer.  Until and unless you send an invoice, you will not be paid. Besides, if payments are run as a batch, sometimes you hold up payments to other contractors.

2. Immediately add the date, time, client etc., to your calendar once contracted for an engagement.  Another independent contractor missed his engagement because he relied on his memory rather than adding it to his calendar with a reminder.  This indicates that he is unprofessional and did not prepare for the engagement, otherwise he would have remembered.  

3.  Getting the engagement is only one part of the requirement.  It is imperative that you pull together the content, PowerPoint, handouts, stories, videos and everything else that you will use during the training program. 

4.  Do the math to determine how much you will actually earn from the engagement.  An acquaintance excitedly spoke to me about how much she was making.  When asked what she made after expenses, she hadn't even considered that.  Remember the independent contractor have to pay their own income tax.  Truth is she was barely breaking even and in some cases was losing money and didn't even know it. 

5.  Pick a niche and focus on it.  New speakers often say "I can talk about anything." This indicates they are not professional speakers as they don't focus on anything in particular.  It makes it difficult for a potential client to know where you would be a good fit.

Admittedly these are only five mistakes to avoid and there are many other pitfalls that await those who wish to start a business as an independent contract speaker and trainer.  

If you want to learn more about this topic, let me know and I will be happy to share how to be a successful speaker and trainer.


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Three Stories of Authenticity, Fear Busting, and Dream Making

I have a big birthday coming up in two days and I find myself in a reflective mood. I am taking stock of my life and my achievements.

I don't know if it is because it is a big birthday or because of something else. I had many new experiences in the last 12 months. Not the least of which is that I broke my wrist in the summer.  I had never broken a bone before.

I thought I would be healed by now, but three of my fingers are still not 100%.  

A few times last week I found myself filled with sadness. Then the Universe spoke to me and brought me back to my true self. 

I am once again optimistic, excited, and positive about the future. 

The Universe gave me a reality check. It kept putting things in front of me that said "everything is going to be OK! Not to worry," check out these awakenings:

Model Lauren Scruggs the model who walked into a plane propeller

Model Lauren ScruggsAs I felt sad about my fingers not being as they were before I broke my wrist, a story came on TV about a beautiful young model who exited a plane, turned left instead of right and walked right into the propeller. 

It damaged her face, took out one of her eyes, and chopped off her hand. 

It took awhile, but today she is as lovely if not lovelier and has an inspiring spirit with a positive outlook.  

She has adjusted well and says "I have a new perspective."  

As I watched her interview on television a voice said to me "don't worry about your fingers, at least you have your hand."


No arms no legs no problem 

Today as I have done for decades, I watched CBS Sunday Morning, and the Universe showed me another sign.  

The CBS Sunday Morning story included a very special individual.  His name is Nick Vujicic.  

Nick was born with no arms and no legs yet he has overcome that to live a normal and even extraordinary life.  Watch his video below. 

He golfs, he cooks, he skydives, he swims, he is a highly respected motivational speaker.  He is a husband and will soon be a father.

The Universe said to me "Don't worry about your fingers or your painful elbow, you have both arms."

The 104 Year Old Man 

My next sign was a 104 year old man who walks the mall every day for exercise. 

Everyone knows him.  He has been doing this for 12 years.  He hums and sings softly to himself as he does it. 

The Universe whispered "there's lots more to come. Stay tuned, remember to have fun and enjoy the journey." 

What makes us humans view birthdays the way we do? Is it because it reminds us of our own mortality? Is it because society is so youth focused? Is it ego? Or is it simply a time to take stock as I have been doing for the last week? 

I don't know the answer to that.  What I know for sure is that by being still, and listening to the Universe, I am reminded of how blessed I am in this life.  

My story is still being written. I have a lot to learn, and a lot to give.  I plan to do it with grace and continue to remain still so that I can hear the WORD when it comes to me. I live in gratitude.

Live 2013 in authenticity and stretch to achieve your dreams.  They are within your grasp and just waiting for you to reach out and grab them.

Your comments, as always, are welcome.

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Stress Can Take its Toll and Other thoughts on Death

Susan Jeffers

Death Comes Calling 

It started out like any other day,check e-mail, LinkedIn, and my Facebook page. That's when it happened in that short time span I learned that two people I know were dead.

I opened up my e-mail and learned that Susan Jeffers, author of "Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway" had died. I wasn't even aware that she had been sick. It shocked me, as she sent her newsletters as usual and didn't let us know of her illness. 

That book "Feel The Fear and Do it Anyway" helped me to take many leaps of faith to try careers that previously I might not have attempted. 

As she shared her experiences in the book of taking her leaps of faith, it gave me strength to try that myself. Now she's gone but she will always be special to me. 

Steve Starr Made You Look Good!

I surfed over to my Facebook page and learned that one of my favorite people in the world was dead. At first I didn't believe it. I looked all over to determine if this was one of those made up Internet stories. It was not. He was really gone.

Steve star, a celebrity photographer in Chicago, had gone out to lunch with friends and then as he stepped out on the sidewalk in front of the Drake Hotel he turned and said "I'm not feeling well."


Then he fell to the sidewalk and he was gone. Just like that. He wasn't sick he showed no signs of any illness. He was just gone. I know that Steve is in heaven if only for the heavenly shots he took of everyone he met.  He was truly gifted and I loved him.

  

View more videos at: http://nbcchicago.com.


Death comes to us all. It's a part of living. Sometimes it comes when you least expect it.

So I make this post after Thanksgiving as an entreaty to you. Live your life as if it were your last day. Tell people you love them. Give and accept hugs and kisses. 

Give thanks in gratitude daily, as you never know when your time has come.  

Steve had an event scheduled for 12/12/12.  Now instead of cancelling it, we will use it as a celebration of his life.

 I will miss his eager smile and easy way of welcoming everyone.

Your comments are welcome as always.

UPDATE:  As I sent this message I jumped to Facebook to post it and found a post from my son.  It said "Count your blessings and be thankful. A guy dropped dead of a heart attack today." 

Please share your comments on my Facebook Fan Page.  I love hearing from you.


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Indications that the Laptop is on its Deathbed and the iPad is King

Use of iPads is Increasing - Is the PC Dead?

A friend of mine once had to have her shoulder replaced because her laptop was so heavy that after years carrying it, she needed surgery.

I noticed a recent trend in my programs. Educators and corporations are moving to iPads for their workforce.

The use of iPads by educators is immense. When I attended school, textbooks included pictures of the  study subjects. Today, students can even visit the Louvre in Paris and view the art in 3D on their iPad.

Videos help teach biology and historical figures can speak directly to the student. This makes the learning experience interactive and memorable.

Any subject is better when the student can have a video version to look at, and learn from, at their own pace.

Corporations and the Tablet

More and more corporations are moving to an iPad, cloud based platform.  

There are many values to corporations for moving to this platform versus the usual computer. It is less expensive than buying a laptop and spares the shoulders and backs of their employees.

Using mobile devices to access corporate data is normal in today's world. Some of the small tablets that are not iPads, have added features that allow the employees and students to access files on a USB drive.

Even better is the ability to access data from the cloud when and where you need it, regardless of your location in the world.

Apple Computer recently delivered a new smaller version of the iPad and in my opinion it's because of consumer demand.

In the Marketplace

Ubiquitousness of the small devices signal a move away from PCs to the point where Microsoft recently announced that Windows 8 will be their last version. 

Microsoft also released their "Surface with Windows RT" tablet device to compete with the iPad (in my opinion). They realize they must do this in order to remain relevant.

Dell Computers was recently quoted in an article about why they were unable to invent the iPad themselves. They claim they were bound by the PC operating system and platform.

Google has a version of the tablet. 

Samsung has a tablet. 

Amazon has the Kindle Fire and the list goes on.

Here is a Short List of Tablet Devices

1.  Google Nexus

2.  Samsung Galaxy Note

3.  Samsung Galaxy Tab 2

4.  Kindle Fire HD

5.  Kindle Fire

6.  Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201

7.  Asus Transformer Pad TF300

8.  Asus Transformer Pad TF700

9.  Acer Iconia Tab A700

10. Surace Windows RT 

11. Of course there's the original iPad which now is available in two sizes.

Prices range from $199.00 to $700 or more for a tablet depending on the features you select.


What do you think of this recent turn of events? Do you believe this is a move in the right direction for corporations? 

Do you have an iPad?  Are you lusting for the smaller version now that it is available?

Your comments, as always, are welcome. 


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Looking Ahead Versus Looking Behind Gives Context to Our lives and Behavior

Karma's gonna get you

It's funny how sometimes we don't realize what can happen because of actions we took. Whether you help someone or hurt someone it returns to you in the circle of time. 

It's called, karma.

I was walking Across Michigan Avenue when I heard someone call my name. As I turned around to see who it was I was greeted by someone I haven't seen in a very long time. It was a colleague from my consulting days many many years ago, more than a decade in fact.

As she hurried towards me I smiled in recognition and she said "do you remember me?" "Of course I do" I replied. She introduced her husband to me and shared a story of something I did for her which I had totally forgotten.

More than a decade ago we were both working on a project in Connecticut when her uncle died. She was distraught and wanted to return home to attend his funeral. The project manager refused to allow her to leave. 

Then she said "Yvonne stood up for me." She said "it's not right that Diane should'nt be allowed to attend the funeral. We'll manage fine without her." 

In the end, she was allowed to attend the funeral. I went back to work and eventually forgot about it. She did not. As she told me that day, it was the first time anyone had ever stood up for her like that. 

I had forgotten the incident. She did not.

Today I was contacted on LinkedIn by a woman requesting a connection with me who forgot that we had already met. It was not a good experience for me. 

She started a networking group in Chicago and I attended to meet LinkedIn people off-line. It was not a good experience.

This woman, who I will not name, treated me in a condescending, dismissive, disparaging, and arrogant manner. I was appalled, as she looked and seemed professional until she opened her mouth.  It was disappointing, especially in light of the fact that this is her group, and I was there, by invitation, as her guest.

That was two years ago and the impression that she gave me is one I will never forget.

Everything that we do remains in time. Kindness will send you some more kindness and cruelty, harshness, and meaness will return in kind. You get what you give in this life.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” 

“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.” -― Kahlil Gibran

Your comments, as always, are appreciated.


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Welcome to the Cashless Society and The End of Paper Money

Square on phone

 
I can remember it like it was yesterday there I was in Victoria's Secret happily shopping for my trousseau. In that euphoric moment I thought I had everything under control then I looked down and noticed the flap on my purse was open.

I lifted the flap and sure enough my wallet was gone. I had hundreds of dollars in the wallet that I planned to use on my honeymoon. I was getting married the next day and now my cash was gone and so was my identification. 

As a Jamaican woman, I was still carring my Green Card and it was stolen along with my wallet.  

I had to jump through hoops to get to my honeymoon in Cancun Mexico.

As soon as I returned home, I became a United States citizen.

Recently I noted that some people are saying cash is going out of style and we will soon be a cashless society. Imagine that.

It seems a cashless society is not as far off as it may seem.  current trends indicate that the cashless society has begun and is already well integrated into our daily lives. 

Here are two products currently on the market that are part of the cashless society:

Square – squareup.com

This is a neat little device that allows you to Swipe all major credit cards with no additional fees only a 2.75% per swipe.  No contract required and no minimum. 

If you type in the card information manually, the fee is 3.5% + 15¢.  

It works with any of your devices iPhones, ipads, itouch, etc.  Just plug it in, sign up, and start charging credit cards immediately.

They make it easy for you. Square cost me $9.95 at the Apple store and included a $10 gift card. So essentially it's free. 

One nifty use for it is this. Let's say you're out to dinner with friends and some of them have no cash on them instead of having the waiter create separate checks you can swipe your friend's credit card for their portion of the meal and then have the waiter charge the entire meal to your card knowing your friends portion for their meal has already been deposited into your account.

Business owners who wish to accept credit cards can also use this method to get up and running quickly.  



You can learn more about how people and businesses are using Square at this link.


Level up – levelup.com

This one is a zero charge network that many stores have already put into place.  LevelUp is a mobile payment network. Customers pay with phones, instead of cards or cash. Not only is this fast, secure and convenient, it means we can offer a 0% payment processing rate.

All you have to do is link a credit or debit card to get your unique code and paying with LevelUp is just like using your own card only faster. You pay by scanning your own code at the counter. 

Many stores are already running campaigns to get customers to use it while providing rewards to the users. 

Yesterday's announcement that Starbucks has partnered with Square and announced the launch of a nationwide cashless payment system is a sure indication that a cashless society and cashless payments are here to stay 

Howard Schultz, Starbucks chief executive, will join the Square Board of Directors as part of the deal.

 


Twenty years ago I carried the cash for my honeymoon spending and it was stolen. Today I hardly need cash.  I use square.  

How about you?  Are you part of the cashless society?  Your comments are welcome.


Please share your comments on my Facebook Fan Page.  I love hearing from you.


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Unlock your perceptions - You hold the key and your response to life's events

Life is a Perceptual Experience - You hold the key to unlock your potential 

by Yvonne F. Brown

How You See Yourself Your mental programming, learned early in life, determines your mindset and your achievements.  

People often ask how I was able to have 10 careers and say "I wish I could do that."  Fact is, I was raised by my grandmother who told me "you can do anything you put your mind to" and I believed her.  Perception drives reality.

None of us views life, its events, conditions, or circumstances the same. We see life not as it is but as we are. Each of us has a mental perceptual filter through which we interpret events, circumstances and other people's behavior. Ten people can look at the same piece of art, auto accident, movie, sunset, or business opportunity and see it differently. This filter brings diversity to our lives and to our relationship with life's challenges.

One example I use in my seminars on communication is the idea of faults. Do you know of someone who has faults? Be honest now. Look closely at those faults for a moment. Aren't another person's faults what that person thinks, feels, believes or does differently than how you think they should feel, think, believe or act? 

The assumption you make when someone else has a fault, is that your way of feeling, acting, responding, etc. is either better than theirs, or the right way. Now isn't that just ridiculous? 

It usually gets a big chuckle during my Difficult People seminar when I mention that I have yet to have an attendee walk in and say "I am a difficult person, and I am here to learn how to change that." Someone else is always the difficult one who caused them to attend the program.

First of all, there is no right or wrong; there are only differences. The need to change the other person to your way of thinking because theirs is wrong, and yours is right, is one of the biggest issues that causes stress and conflict in personal relationships and interpersonal communication. 

Acceptance is one of the biggest hurdles people face in relationships and interpersonal communications. It is also a major issue when it comes to motivating ourselves on a consistent basis. 

If we fail to perceive life, its events, and people clearly, we tend to fall into a number of demotivating traps such as, guilt, blame, shame, resentment, anger and any number of other negative emotions. These negative responses color your response in tough situations, how you use your talent, and how you treat others or allow them to treat you on a regular basis.

One of the best indicators of someone who is happy, successful and living harmoniously with their world is how clearly in touch with reality they are, not their version of it, but true REALITY. 

Truth is indisputable. Our interpretation of it does not change anything, and yet many people believe that their truth should be everyone's truth.

Ping FuAt a recent conference I met a woman named Ping Fu. She is the Chairman, President and CEO of Geomagic, Inc., a company that attracted more than $8 million in capital from private and institutional investors. 

Her company increased its revenue by 381% in five years. But that is not what made her stand out in my mind. 

Her preception of events that happened to her, had a powerful impact on me. 

She came from the bleakness of totalitarianism to become an award winning entrepreneur. At age eight her parents were taken away and as she said, "the communists tried to crush my spirit, but I have a drive to be somebody." 

She was kicked out of China, yet whenever she found a door that was closed to her, a belief that "behind every door there's open spaces" helped her to press on.

When she arrived in the United States the only english words she knew were 'thank you, excuse me, and I'm sorry." She got her degree in Computer Science because (since computers speak in ones and zeros) that didn't need English and though there were persons trying to block her way, she focused on what she wanted to accomplish.

John Maxwell said, "The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of, and response to failure." 

Where are your perceptions about life, people, events, circumstances, your past, present, or future clouded?  Where do you need a clearer vision and more accurate perceptual integrity?

Failure is fertilizer. 

There's a saying in Texas, "it doesn't matter how much milk you spill as long as you don't lose the cow." You've got to see the bigger picture! Ping not only survived, she thrived. 

Just remember that "a cumulative effort is what makes tomorrow better than today." 

The biggest door is in your own mind and your perceptions of your life experiences. Be your biggest advocate, break through perceptions, start every day with a good attitude, and open the door yourself.

Please share your comments on my Facebook Fan Page.  I love hearing from you.

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Road Warrior Guide to Sailing Through TSA Checkpoint

 I travel a lot and have spoken in almost all 50 states, Canada, and Europe.  Sometimes I go through TSA twice or more in one day.  So I created a process to accelerate getting through the TSA line with minimal stress and all of my posessions.

It is well known that since 9/11 all travelers must use bins for certain items such as computers, iPads, and other electronic devices.  One of the new items at TSA is an xray machine.  

People are randomly selected to walk through, put their hands over their heads and wait for the machine to be ready, then stand on the other side as they wait for the results.

My experience is that while you are in the machine, your possessions are moving along the belt, other people at collecting their things, and you cannot move. 

If you try to look beyond the xRay machine, you are told to stand still so that they can get the picture that ensures you are safe to board an aircraft.

That has always worried me, as you are unable to watch your possessions while they carry out this procedure.

But I was truly surprised on Valentines Day, when I saw the video below on the news.  

Watch as a traveler steals a $6,500 Rolex watch from another person's bin.  

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


This is exactly what concerns me with those bins.  


Here are 5 things you can do to protect yourself:

1.  If you are wearing jewelry, hide it inside your shirt until you have gone through TSA.  No need to draw attention to yourself.  Yes you want to look nice, but do it after going through the checkpoint.

2.  Invest in a zippered jewelry case and put your watch and other jewelry in it then bury it in your carry on luggage.  Put the jewelry on after going through TSA.  

I stopped wearing my Rolex to the airport after the first time they made me remove it.  The watch did not set off an alarm, they just saw I was wearing one and made me put it in the bin.  

Better yet, I recommend getting 'airport jewelry' like me.  If they steal it, nothing lost.  It's just costume anyway.

3.  Use a system to get through the TSA. checkpoint  

- Collect all your bins

- Do a start spot with one bag (e.g. carry on) followed by your bins, and an end point followed by your suitcase.  

- That makes it easy to see where your stuff begins and ends and keeps them together.

4.  Keep your eyes on your bins.  Sometimes an empty one is put on top of yours which is not yet empty.  Always lift bins that are inside of each other to veryify nothing was covered up and the bins are really empty.

5.  Take the time to put all of your things back together and verify *before leaving the checkpoint"

Once I saw a business man who was in a hurry, pick up a laptop that looked exactly like his and rush away.  When I arrived at my gate there he was frantically on the phone, because his business laptop was in the hands of another traveler.   He had picked up the wrong laptop.  

Add a label with your name or initials on your laptop to ensure you have picked up the correct one.

Follow these five tips to make your trips go smoothly.  I also encourage you to create your own system that works for you and then stick to it.  You will soon find yourslf zipping through the TSA checkpoint as you fine tune and execute the system.


UPDATE:  The airport Rolex thief was arrested on February 17th while wearing the stolen Rolex watch!  

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Police said "Ramos answered a condo door while wearing the stolen watch. "I guess he didn't realize he was wearing a woman's watch," Leljedal said."


Your comments are always welcome.

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Ban on Email as Communication Tool Increasing in Corporations

You've got mail When email first entered corporations as a communication tool many people couldn't wait for the ding and the words "you've got mail."  There was even a movie of the same name starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks which was also a hit. 

Today we are so innundated with emails that there are software programs available to filter out those we do not want.

At first few people had an email address, soon the whole world was blanketed with so much spam that hosting services provide a spam filter to route them to the junk email folder.  I for one am grateful as I receive thousands of email a day.  Every store, prodcuct, supplier and vendor requests you email address these days and often in order to obtain the product you must provide them with your email. 

Recently I had to chuckle when a new grocery store opened in my neighborhood and required I give them an email address just to acitvate my store card. 

This has made me create a junk email address just for this purpose.  I never look at them I simply delete everything. 

Pick up a product in the store and you will find a website and email address on it.  Email is part of how we communicate today.

NO EMAIL FRIDAY
A few years ago a British company instituted "no email Fridays."  It seemed to be a radical step at the time and received a lot of push back.  The company owner said "people need to walk over and talk to others in the company."  This was as the height of the instant message craze and he complained that people would message or email someone in the next cubicle rather than walking over and speaking face to face.

I liked the idea and applauded his objective.

Fast forward to December 18th of this year and another company has instituted a ban on email.   Chief Executive Thierry Breton of Atos, a French technology firm with 74,000 employees in 42 countries has his doubts about its effectiveness.  He announced in November that he will "phase out Athos' use of internal email during the next 18 months because the volume is 'unsustainable' and only 10% of his employees' 200 daily emails are pertinent."  Breton wants employees to communicate via instant messaging, Wiki like documents, texting or face-to-face communication. 

The article titled "Email ban sending a message? Effectiveness of the common communication tool debated" in the business section of the Chicago Tribune instantly got my attention.

According to the article, Robert Half Technology's survey in August found that "54% of CIOs in the US firms with at least 100 employees believe real-time communication tools will surpass email in popularity within the next five years." 

Also cited:
95% of Americans  age 18 - 24 send / receive an average of 109.5 texts PER DAY - double that of 25 - 34 year olds, and 23 times more than for those age 65 or older.

I know from personal experience with thousands of attendees that texting is overtaking email as the preferred communiation tool of those 18 - 24.  They are in my class and during discussion I have learned that many grandparents are taking up texting.  Turns out this is the only way they can reach their grandchildren.  They are the ones teaching grandparents how to text them. 

Email versus Social Media GREAT!  Now everyone can spell poorly.

But back to the email issue.  It has become overwhelming. 

Let's consider for a moment all the ways we currently commmunicate.

1.  Facebook has messages from all your friends.  Often this is only way I communicate with my Facebook friends. 

2.  LinkedIn has groups and allows you to join up to 50.  Each one sends out daily, weekly, or monthly updates.  I recently received one with 95 people's comments.  I deleted it.  Time management precluded me from looking at them all.

3.  YouTube allows subscriptions and when people subscribe or comment, YouTube send you an email notification.  You also will be emailed when that person posts a new video.  Granted these emails are less (for me anyway) than the two previous examples.

4.  Twitter also sends and email whenever someone follows or direct messages you.

5.  If you use Goolge alerts they send you emails too.

6.  Regular email from business associates, associations, companies, alumni associations, family and friends gets added to the mix and the whole thing becomes almost unmanageable.


With emails coming at us from so many different directions, it is no wonder that many of us are overwhelmed, stressed and buried. 

So I commend Thierry Breton for taking matters into his own hands with his employees.  I just wish he were asking for more face to face communication.  That folks is a dying skill.  Many texters and instant messengers are such poor communicators face to face that I wonder if we are not losing ground as humans while gaining ground with technology.

Your comments are always welcome.

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A Generation Throwing Ice Water All Over their Ambition

The Corner Office I'm old school.  I earned my degree in Computer Science when few women were in the field.  My cohorts and I were focused on climbing the ladder to the senior ranks and breaking the glass ceiling.

Sometimes it was a concrete ceiling.  It did not deter us.  We are a determined bunch.

As we broke through the ceilings we proudly proclaimed that we we setting standards and paving the way for our children.  The new generation of women would find mentors and coaches along with lessons learned on the way to the top.

We though that is what they wanted as well.  

We felt that all of our hard work would pay off when our progeny entered the workforce and found the road map that we laid out for them.  It felt good.

Imagine my surprise when I recently read an article that indicates that many of today's young women are not interested.  They are forging their own path and it is not the one we envisioned.

A recent USA Today article by Anita Bruzzese put this way "Many professionals are tired of clawing their way to the top and are rethinking priorities."

In the article she cited Jane Seymour, Editor of More magazine "We're sliding backwards."

Some of the things that really got me is that two of three women reported that "they would prefer to have more free time than a bigger paycheck.  And two out of three said they would be willing to accept less money for more flexibility."

They said, "It's not worth it to have heart attack jobs."  You know what?  I get it.

Confident Business Woman We raised the new generation of women, and they experienced first hand how much we sacrificed to break through the glass ceiling.  

I consider it a quality of life choice.  The price for a certain quality of life is high.  The path to generating top level salaries is littered with sacrificed personal life.  

Many senior executive women travel often and the tragic secret is that often they only see the airport, a meeting room, and another airport.  It is not as glamarous as it appears.

In the article Anita mentions that "the trend of women opting out of high-pressure jobs will continue."  I agree.  

I often have the new generation of women in my classes and the vast majority are committed to their personal life.  This is not to say that they are uninterested in having a career.  This is the most highly educated generation in American history.

They are committed to both a personal life and a career.  They focus on what means the most to them and they know they have the right to decide what their priorities are.


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Three People That I Know Changed Their lives For the Better

Personal Growth Stories come to me from everywhere.  Some are about how to change your career and your life for the better. 

At any given moment one will walk right up to me and reveal itself.  That's how this blog post was born. 

That and the fact that in one week, I heard three authentic stories of empowerment and taking control of your own destiny.




I became a Nurse

So, I'm sitting on a bench in the terminal waiting for my train while reading an article titled "Influencing Your Boss."  

A voice said, "Can you really influence your boss?"  

I turned around to find a woman I had never seen before, we got to talking, and here's her story.

For 15 years I volunteered at the hospital across the street for one hour during lunchtime.  I really enjoyed it.  

At age 50+ I was laid off and couldn't get a job even though I was willing to take anything.  I heard the usual excuses, "you're over qualified, you're under qualified, we decided on someone else."

The nurses at the hospital encouraged me to go back to school and become a nurse, so I did.

It only took two years to complete it and today I am doing fulfilling work as a nurse.


I am a graduate I went back to school

I took the train to my workshop and pondered how inspiring Sayed's story was.  The first attendee to arrive started talking to me (unsolicited, mind you) about her journey and here's her story.

I worked in payroll for many years and one day a supervisor encouraged me to get my degree.  She said I was ready for the next level, but it would not happend without a degree.  

The supervisor found tuition reimbursement through the company that I don't have to repay as long as I get A's and B's on my classes.

I have been on the Dean's list for two years and because of my high GPA Phi Beta Kappa Society  and Alpha Beta Gamma society  both contacted me and invited me to join their organizations.  

After being out of school for 27 years, I didn't know if I could do it, and now, anything is possible.

I am a doctor  I am a Doctor

While on LinkedIn, I found a colleague I had lost track of and reached out to her to catch up and here's her story.

Over 50+ and a grandmother, she learned that she had to have hip surgery.  She called our client and was told "take all the time you need and get well soon."  After her recuperation she was told her services were no longer needed.

So she went back to school and earned her PhD.  

Then she started a consultancy called "Positive Outcomes Coaching"  She is also writing a book called "Falling In Love With Yourself" which will be published by the end of this year.  

These three people took control of their own future.  They could just as easily have whined and complained about their lot in life.  Instead, they grabbed for the brass ring and shaped their own destiny.  

How about you?  What are you doing to take control of your own destiny?  Don't hold back!  Go for your dreams!  Like these three women, you too can have your dream come true.

NOTE:  I am compiling stories like this for a new eBook.  If you, or someone you know, has a story like these three, send it to me at Yvonne at YvonneFBrown dot com.

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The Power of Facebook and OMG I Found You!

Michael I have not written a blog post for awhile because I was considering whether or not I should share a profound experience. 

I have been thinking about how I would write this post and frankly, I chickened out every time.

The final decision came to me as I remembered that this is the "Authentic Communications Blog" and in the interest of full disclosure, I must be authentic and even open about this. 

The truth is I am protective of my personal life and tend to avoid talking about it.

These things have a way of emerging when it is time and so it was with amazement during my radio show, that I found myself sharing the information with my guest.

Many years ago after my divorce from his father, my son was stolen from me.  It happened during one of my ex-husband's visits.  He was to pick up our son every other week for the weekend.  My mother was watching Michael when his dad showed up for his bi-monthly visit.  

Unfortunately, his father took him and never returned.

I frantically searched for them, but every time I located them, his father moved somewhere else and I had to start over.  Eventually I lost even the slightest way to find them.

Then my mom turned 90 and we all decided to throw her a 90th Birthday Bash!  The great grand children created a Facebook page "Mom's 90th Birthday" and used it to reach out to family members worldwide.  My nieces and nephews in the military could reach out from Iraq, our family in the UK could connect to us and this became birthday central.

Then the most amazing thing happened, someone, somehow, found Michael and invited him.  I couldn't believe it! 

For years I only had one picture of Michael and lo and behold, he had posted it on his Facebook page.  I was speechless.

As I excitedly browsed through his uploaded pictures, I found out that he had married, and I have three grandchildren.

Soon the phone rang, I recognized his voice immediately.  

"Do you know who this is?"  

"Yes, Michael."

Michael, Yvonne, Michelle We bridged the years in that call.  As we spoke I learned that he too had tried to find me.  

 We had both been trying to find each other, and now, mom's 90th Birthday Bash had put us together.

We connected on Facebook, and on LinkedIn.  We worked on building our relationship. 

We even had a Skype video call so we could see each other face to face.  

My son Charles connected to Michael too, and through Facebook we all got to know each other better.


Micheal & Michael III I connected to each of my three grandchildren on Facebook and got to know them a little. 

A few months ago, I was able to see my grand daughter Michelle's graduation pictures and vicariously watched my namesake's birthday party.

It's a lot to catch up on and I am still working on it.  I plan a visit to meet them all this Summer and we are all looking forward to it.

All thanks to Facebook. 


If you have found someone through Facebook, please share your story with us.

Connect to me at www.facebook.com/YvonneFBrown and let's start a dialogue.

He who was lost, has now been found and I am indeed joyful.

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CORPORATE AMERICA IS DEAD! THE RISE OF CORPORATE GLOBAL

THE RISE OF CORPORATE GLOBAL AND DECLINE OF CORPORATE AMERICA




As a child in Jamaica I grew up in a time when coming to America was the ultimate dream.  People from all over the world coveted the American lifestyle with its manicured lawns, beautiful homes, and happy healthy children playing in the yard or riding their bikes in the neighborhood.

Now all of that has changed and many Americans are moving to foreign lands just to find work, some are struggling to make a living,and feed their families.

Here are 5 things I learned from the economic recession:

1.  Corporate America is dead!  They are no more.  Listen to the news and the politicians and you can hear it clear as day.  The corporate leaders are thinking about business from a global perspective.  Corporate Global demonstrate through their behavior not just their hubris, but their lack of regard for America and her people.  The are only focused on themselves and more often than not, think global not about you or the country. 

2. If you have an idea work on it in private at home.  Start your own business.  Become an entrepreneur.  Your ideas are valuable and you could be the next Mark Zuckerberg.  You could create the new LinkedIn or Twitter.  Do not mention your idea to your company or your boss.  They will steal it from you and not even bat an eye or feel the least bit of sympathy as they crush you.  They will tell you 'it's nothing personal, its only business."

3.  Patent that idea and don't tell a soul until all the the pieces are in place.  Remember in the Facebook movie how Zuckerberg refused to tell anyone about his progress?  That's what you have to do.  If you share your idea even a little,  Corporate Global will steal it from you.

4.  Learn from Corporate Global and find staff overseas.  You can get great talent at affordable rates.  This of course entails a bit of vetting and cultural understanding, but it can be done.  I have several overseas staff that I have used for years.  They are affordable and their work is top notch.

5.  Maintain a global mindset as you execute on the strategies that will bring your ideas to fruition.  Use your social media marketing connections to get the word out, both about your business and your need for qualified affordable virtual staff.  Continue to extend your global reach through social media connections and go for your dreams.  

Like I said, Corporate America is dead but your ideas are alive, and who knows, you could be the next Zuckerberg!

As always, your comments are welcome.

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Social Media Integration and the Changing American Society



It hit me like a ton of bricks while at the Auto Show last week.  Business people who have not joined the social media bandwagon will be left behind.

Social media is is a relatively young medium, but has become the preferred means of communication and collaboration.  

Onstar, who provides the Social Media technology for the auto industry considers this one of the biggest social imperatives they have to solve for.

Video:  Onstar launches hands free Facebook voice status updates




Consider the following:

1. Facebook launched in February 2004 and as of January 2011, Facebook has more than 600 million active users.  Today its valuation is $59 billion and it boasts more than 600 million members.


2. Twitter was introduced publicly in 2006 and spun off into its own company in 2007.  By 2010 they has 20 Billion Tweets. They reached 10 Billion tweets in 4 years and 20 billion tweets in another 5 months!  Twitter has 165 million members worldwide.


3. YouTube was created by  former PayPal employees in 2005.  It was acquired by Google for $1.65 billion in 2006.  In June 2008, a Forbes magazine article projected the 2008 revenue at $200 million, noting progress in advertising sales
 
4. LinkedIn was launched in 2003 as a business oriented social networking site.  By July 2010, Tiger Global Management LLC purchased a 1% stake in the company at a valuation of approximately $2 billion.  With 90 million users, LinkedIn is ahead of its competitors and membership grows by a new member every second.

These four powerhouse companies embody the accelerated growth of social media at a global level.

Auto Show and Social Media Integration


The 2011 show was very exciting even more so than the 2010 auto show.  Here are some of the features and benefits that caught my eye.

1.  More cars come with an iPod docking station.  Forget about CD players, and just Satellite radio.  People want to listen to their own music choices while on the road.

2.  Cars have social media tools built in.  One of the takeaways from the auto show is that you will soon be able to use Pandora, Twitter and Facebook all from the comfort of your car.  In fact, GM has teamed up with OnStar to provide Facebook access for cars.

Video:  Facebook and Twitter in your car




At a time when there is a strong push to not text and drive, I find it interesting that this feature is being built into new cars.  We know the dangers and yet social media is so ubiquitous that manufacturers have added it to your vehicle.

I love social media because used well it enhances your personal and professional brand, extends your reach, and increases your career and business success.

If you are someone who has avoided social media in the past, I encourage you to take a second look.  Used properly Social Media is a powerful tool for your career and your business.

Do you have a Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or YouTube presence?  How do you use them to market your brand?  I would love to hear from you about it.  Please send me an email at Yvonne@YvonneFBrown.com
 

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THE SOCIOPATH, THE PSYCHOPATH, & THE BULLY AT WORK

Stressed Out Employee A Sociopath,  a Psychopath, and a Bully walked into the corporate office.  They were dressed impeccably.

The Sociopath was charming and glowed with charisma.  The Psychopath wore his Armani suit and Ralph Lauren Purple Label tie like a fashion model.  His hair was perfect.  The Bully seemed sweet in her pearls and understated St. John's knit suit. 

Women and men in the lobby paused to look at the trio as they entered the elevator on the way to their interview.  They seemed charming, self confident, and sociable.  Each appeared to be the perfect candidate, as they cruised through their job interview.  

The lobby security guard could tell from the smile on their faces as they departed, that they had aced the interview, and he would soon be seeing them often as they arrived for work.

The Perfect Environment at Work

In today's economy, with companies practicing lean management, flattened hierarchies, and tough management styles, boards and managers seek candidates who are able to make tough calls and unpopular decisions.   This is the perfect environment for the aforementioned personalities.  Truth be told, they thrive in this environment.  With their charismatic style and easy manner, they can charm even the most experienced interviewer into hiring them.  

They begin slowly.  They have to get the lay of the land first. 


As a consultant for a Big 3 organization, I worked right next to one of these types.  On his first day he said "who do I have to suck up to in order to get ahead in this place."  I never forgot it.  What a thing to say first thing in the morning, day one.  I watched him with uneasiness as he worked the system.  It was truly smooth and a wonder to behold.

The Sociopath Next Door  

In her book, "The Sociopath Next Door" Martha Stout, PhD writes that "1 in 25 ordinary Americans secretly has no conscience and can do anything at all without feeling guilty."  Martha, a practicing psychologist, trained at the famed McLean psychiatric hospital, and a clinical instructor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, states that we almost certainly know at least one or more sociopaths already. 

In helping her patients and their families, she has learned that "the damage caused by sociopaths among us is deep and lasting, often tragically lethal, and startling common."  Having worked with hundreds of survivors she has empirical data from which to extract the knowledge shared in her book.  This is not guess work.  This is real work.

In the book she asks, "Who is the devil you know?  Is it your lying cheating spouse, your sadistic school gym teacher, your boss, who loves to humiliate people in meetings, the colleagues who stole your ideas and pass them off as her own?"

According to Martha, "one in twenty five individuals are sociopathic, meaning essentially, that they do not have a conscience.  Without the slightest blip of guilt or remorse, one in twenty five people can do anything at all."  

All one has to do is watch some of today's reality shows, or read website comments, to see how callous some people can be.

I found the book intriguing, because of the increasingly mean spirited communication in today's corporations.  

Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work 

Psychopaths prosper in organizations.  They operate successfully in an employment setting.  With the chaotic change, they use their skills to manipulate people, while progressing their own career.  Perhaps you work for one of them.  They draw you in with their charm, while taking credit for your ideas and your work.  Management loves them and finds them charming.  They know how to kiss up and kick down.  They are often rewarded with promotions in the wake of the damage they inflict on their victims.

Psychopaths succeed in corporations because their psychopathic traits are mistaken for desirable characteristics.  The company believes that their style will get things done.  They know how to make people produce.  They are grandiose, impulsive ,and manipulative.  But they hide it well.  What the board knows is, things are getting done and results are what they are interested in.  

The psychopath is an expert in manipulation.  Don't even consider outsmarting them.  They have the lock on manipulation.  

We would all like to think that if we met someone with this personality trait we would be able to recognize them.  Actually, the opposite is true.  They are charming, beguiling, and charismatic.  Even if we were warned, we would still be taken in by them.  They are good at what they do.

"Snakes in Suits" is an excellent book written by Paul Babiak, PhD. and Robert D. Hare PhD. They note in the book that "the psychopath is a near perfect invisible human predator."
 
The writers also indicate that "they assess the value of individuals to their needs, and identify their psychological strengths and weaknesses. Second, they manipulate the individuals (now potential victims) by feeding them carefully crafted messages, while constantly using feedback from them to build and maintain control. Not only is this an effective approach to take with most people, it also allows psychopaths to talk their way around and out of any difficulty quickly and effectively if confronted or challenged.  Third, they leave the drained and bewildered victims when they are bored or otherwise through with them."
Perhaps you recognize someone you know in this statement.  I know I do.

Bullies at Work  

As a trainer in conflict management, bullies at work is a subject that I teach while providing the skills and techniques to survive their tactics in the workplace.  Often attendees seek me out in private moments to discuss what is happening to them in their organizations. Sometimes the bully is sitting right next to them in the seminar and is their boss.

Bullies are weak people with low self esteem who need to hurt others in order to make themselves feel better.  They not only bully their colleagues and direct reports, but blame the victims for making it happen.  They sometimes cause the group to take sides and at first reward their followers while tormenting their victims. 

Bullies cross silos in corporations and wreak havoc on people in other departments.  Sometimes they execute a rotation style that causes the victims to remain silent because "thank God they're leaving me alone today."

Truth is, I once had a bully in my seminar who tried to engage me in battle due to her discomfort with the mirror she looked in while I described the four bully types in organizations.  What she did not realize is that rather than engaging me in battle, she exposed herself as the true bully she is.  Attendees approached me later to apologize for her as they felt empathy for the situation.

What You Can Do About   

Sociopaths, Psychopaths, and Bullies abound in today's tough economic climate.  It is a worldwide epidemic that is being investigated to determine how to terminate this problem.  

I encourage you to purchase these books to learn more, thus enabling yourself the ability to recognize each personality type.  If you have a Kindle, begin by downloading a sample of the book as I did, just reading that short excerpt will encourage you to learn more.

If you work with someone who matches these traits, arm yourself with the knowledge of how to dodge their remark, recognize what is truly happening, and escape from their path.  Like any danger, forewarned, is forearmed.  

As always, your comments are welcome.  Share your comments at http://www.yvonnefbrown.com/contact to share your comments or stories.

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The Terminator is Coming to Your House - Are You Ready?

Technology is moving at a rapid pace.  It's ubiquitous & Ever Evolving. 


I just returned from a speaking engagement in Kentucky and had an epiphany during a session.   A Gen Y attendee responded to homework by saying "I'll just do it now; I can look it up on my iPhone."   Of course you can.   That's just one new development in the speaking business today and it reminded me of recent developments in the technology arena: the smart appliances trend.

As an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) for the eCommerce program, we predicted the smart appliances trend which was met with disbelief.   It seemed so far fetched at the time that our discussion on the topic was spirited to say the least.

Then a recent article in the Chicago Tribune about a Kenmore appliance that calls for service caught my eye.  I realized, that the future is here.

Washers & Dryers

For example, GE’s Profile Harmony Clothes Care System features a washer that talks to the dryer. The washer analyzes the fabrics, size, and weight of the load and delivers that information to the dryer through a computer cable. Source: appliance.com

People who have recently purchased washers or dryers from Kenmore may have bought a new feature they didn't even know existed: an appliance that can talk on the phone.



As seen in the video above, the new feature allows customers to hold a phone up to their washer/dryer and let the appliance tell a customer service rep on the other end what's wrong with it.  The customer service rep can then relay fixes to the appliance owner, or suggest that a repairman come to take a closer look.

The machines talk to each other when they emit a high-pitched computer noise similar to the sounds emitted by dial-up modems from the Internet days of old.   Some users purchase this new feature without even knowing it.  Source: Torontosun.com

Smart Refrigerators

   Some refrigerator models give you the option to leave voice messages.

Depending on the brand and model, the refrigerator will inventory what’s inside, then based on what you normally stock, create your grocery list and send it to the grocery store.  

If you purchase from Peapod, you won't even have to leave the house!  Just consume, replenish, and repeat.  Source high tech appliances


On Flight Check In

 Technology is taking over on flight check in as well.  

Often when boarding a flight to a speaking engagement, I notice that many passengers present mobile boarding passes via a bar code on their cell phone. 

As I present my paper boarding pass, I realize paper boarding passes will soon be extinct.   When checking in online, the option to send the bar code to you cell phone is just a click away.  

According to the TSA website,  "As of August 2010, the pilot is operating at 71 U.S. airports, plus Frankfurt, Germany, with five airlines: Continental, American, Delta, Alaska and United.


The Terminator

In the movie The Terminator, the world has been taken over by machines, and humans are on the run.  This post asks the question "are we on our way to that reality?" 

When smart refrigerators, smart ovens, smart microwaves, and other smart appliances can call and talk to each other, or make phone calls, what's next? 

Our appliances are becoming smarter and people seem less smart.  Could this be due to our reliance on technology?  Your comments are welcome.

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Cross Generational Mentoring Programs That Work

Bill Gates has a mentor, so should you and your people.  Mentors are more than upgraded coaches.  Mentors are people who share knowledge and experience with their mentees

Watch the video below to learn how mentors and mentees can work together successfully. 

Mentoring Partnerships that Work

At IBM the corporate mentoring program crosses generations and allows both mentor and mentee to share knowledge.   Seasoned managers are partnered with Gen Y associates to create a blend of the best of both worlds.  

Senior managers are able to share their industry experience and the Gen Y associates share their knowledge of today's technology.  This enables the company to extract the tacit knowledge which is a corporate asset and share it across generations of employees.

Junior Employees Mentor Senior Staff

At Edelman, a Chicago based Public Relations firm, baby boomer Janet Cabot, age 56 and central region president, is partnered with 23 year old Ashley Spohn to learn about online networking. 

As organizations focus on strengthening their online presence, they find that the best consultants are already on staff.  They are the 20 somethings who have grown up with the tools and use them extensively.   Putting these two groups together enables organizations to produce a lot of magic.  It also increases the trust between coworkers.

Reverse Mentoring

Many companies have found that this reverse mentoring pays off in relationship building, breaking down silos, and increased productivity.  As older workers learn the new online tools and integrate them into their workload, generational differences meld into a surprisingly seamless relationship. 

As senior staff gain expert guides to the online community building tools, they also learn how to manage their young employees.   The payoff then, is is a high trust environment with well adjusted multi-generational teams, better relationships and higher creativity.

Does your company have a cross generational mentoring program? If yes, please share how it's working.  If no, would you like to have a one?  Your comments are welcome.    I'd love to hear from you.

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Corporate Leaders Drive Team Dynamics

Leadership comes from the top down

To be a good leader you have to know who you really are and unafraid to share your story.  You need to be authentic.  Authenticity drives your vision through the organization and provides a touch point for the people who implement your organization's objectives.  

Your mindset is emulated by the leadership team and impacts team dynamics and departmental communication.  Organizations, like people, have values and those values form the culture in which people work. 

When the leadership team is reluctant to admit to being human, department heads and team leads are also reluctant to admit to project issues that might have an adverse impact on the bottom line. 

Without a safe environment to be authentic and honest, you create dysfunctional teams. 

Watch the video below as Patrick Lencioni, author of "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" describes what happens in that type of organization.





Practice Self Control

Let this be a word of caution to you if you are a new leader or supervisor.  Get to know your subordinates, spend time with them in social situations.  This presents you as a person, not just a manager.  It also allows you to learn what motivates them.  In today's multi-generational team settings, your employees intrinsic and extrinsic needs are varied. 

If your objective is to dominate them because you're in charge, chances are you will not learn any of the issues with your project until it is almost too late.  If they don't know you and find you authentic, they will be reluctant to bring you the information you need, when you need it. 

Remember You Can't Please Everyone

Yes, I know that's an old saying, but it's true.  As you reveal your authentic self, you will receive myriad responses from those around you.  But remember this, if you have a hundred employees, you will have a hundred reputations.  This is beyond your control because you cannot prevent this behavior.  Everyone sees you through the autobiography of their own experiences.  However, by being authentic, you can reach a place where you don't take it personally. 

With an authentic mindset you can create an environment where the "Five Dysfunctions of a Team" doesn't happen in your organization.

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Challenge Your Thoughts and Kill the ANTS in Your Brain


They Come Without Warning
.  You're going along minding your own business and out of nowhere... Ping!  You have ANTs in your Brain. 

Sometimes it takes minutes, sometimes, hours, often it's days before they're gone.  You try to shake it, but it lingers nevertheless.  You think of affirmations you have heard and still they persist.  Your brain is on overload, your 24/7 always available lifestyle just caught up with you.

What are they? 

They are Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) that sneak in without warning.


"A man should take away not only unnecessary acts, but also unnecessary thoughts, for thus superfluous acts will not follow after." — Marcus Aurelius: Was a Roman emperor and philosopher

Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs)


They can happen to anyone, at anytime.    When it happens it negatively impacts your work, your interaction with co-workers, and your productivity.  You find you're not in the mood to do 'one more thing.'  It feels as though the requests are non-stop and you have no choice.  You feel you cannot say NO so you accept that one more thing to do.  But it's breaking your spirit.   

Here are three things you can do to turn it around:

  1. Acknowledge their request.  Recognize that yes, the work needs to be done, and you'd be happy to do it.  You need to put it in perspective though.  Ask the question "When do you need this by?"  It could be your manager is just getting it off their desk and delegating it.
  2. Negotiate for time.  Determine if your manager is now re-prioritizing your work.  Ask the question "Are we changing the priority of my tasks?"  Inform your manager that you have been working on tasks based on priority as it was set at your last meeting.  You can also ask for help, or ask "which of the tasks is now at the bottom of the priority list"  Often when you clarify your circumstances you will find that, like Steven Covey mentioned in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the manager doesn't even remember how many things are already on your plate.
  3. Transform your refusal into a positive.  Recommend alternatives or say something to reaffirm your relationship.  "I would love to help, however I have other priorities.  Perhaps some other time."  If it's your manager you could say "I can get this done as long as we begin at the end of task 'X'."
Now the ANTs have new meaning.   You have a means of redirecting them.

Change Your Brain


 Thoughts are living things that manifest themselves into your relationships, your behavior, and your health.  When the ANTs take over your brain, your thoughts, lead to beliefs, that impact your behavior, and consequently the results you get. 

The Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) you have, can lead to stress headaches, stomach aches, and at their worst, high blood pressure and hear attacks. 

By taking positive action using the three steps outlined here, you can turn those thoughts around through assertive action.  You will be in control of your response to tense situations, at minimum by making your request, and having a discussion about the work to be done.  

Recognition of the ANTs when they strike, puts you on the alert to take action in a positive manner, by turning them around. 

Learn pattern recognition by taking note of the things that cause these negative feelings.  Then when they occur, you can take control of them, before they control your behavior.  You can then turn around a potential bad situation by transforming it into a learning experience.

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You Scored Too Low on the Ruthlessness Quotient!


"Underneath the beautiful exterior there was an element of ruthlessness and toughness that I had trouble either accepting or forgetting."  Hubert H. Humphrey

As the oil spill in the Gulf reaches it's 85th day, I am reminded of what a business colleague once told me.  She had climbed the corporate ladder and reached a certain level.  As part of her entry to the executive suite she was given a battery of assessments.  Upon conclusion, she excitedly entered the meeting only to be told "You Scored Too Low On the Ruthlessness Quotient."  Naturally, she did not advance to the executive ranks.

Listening to the leaders of the BP organization I realized that they, of course, scored high on the Ruthlessness Quotient (RQ). 

Intelligence Quotient - IQ is a measure of a person's intelligence as indicated by a test


Most of us have taken an IQ test in school or at some time in our lives.  It is a standardized test to assess intelligence.   It quantifies how well we will do in certain fields, industries, at college, and beyond. 

Those who score low on the IQ test are considered "not very bright" and are relegated to a special class. 

Those who score high on the IQ test are promoted to a honors class and provided with additional training suitable for their level of intelligence. 

Emotional Quotient - EQ is a model introduced by Daniel Goleman and focuses on EI as an array of competences and skills that drive Leadership Performance

Emotional Intelligence (EI) describes the ability, capacity, skill or in the case of the trait Emotional Intelligence (EI) model, a self-perceived ability, to identify, assess, and manage the emotions of one's self, of others, and of groups.   Emotional competencies are not innate talents, but rather learned capabilities that must be worked on, and can be developed to achieve outstanding performance.

Goleman's best seller Emotional Intelligence:  Why it Can Matter More Than IQ outlines the skill sets necessary to be a successful leader.

The Goleman model focuses on EI as a wide array of competencies and skills that drive leadership performance. Goleman's model outlines four main EI constructs:

  1. Self-awareness – the ability to read one's emotions and recognize their impact while using gut feelings to guide decisions.
  2. Self-management – involves controlling one's emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.
  3. Social awareness – the ability to sense, understand, and react to others' emotions while comprehending social networks.
  4. Relationship Management – the ability to inspire, influence, and develop others while managing conflict.

Thousands of companies, millions of employees worldwide, and myriad articles attest to the value outlined in his model.  A quick visit to Harvard Business Review provides extensive material in this regard.  I dare say that the four requirements of his model clearly matches what Social Media is all about today.

Ruthlessness Quotient is another matter entirely

In today's cult of the leader who has grown up in the "it's not personal, it's just business" mindset, there is a phenomenon where a leader is someone who can "come in and shake things up, to provide bottom line results rapidly, regardless of who gets ground up in the process."   The accepted notion is that a leader who uses ruthlessness to obtain results for the bottom line is all right.  "That's what is needed in these tough times" they say, as they look at the next quarter.  Their performance is judged quarterly, and they cannot look at the long term.

The result of this mindset is Enron, Worldcom, and BP oil company CEO Tony Hayward who proclaims after 11 people are dead that he "just wants his life back."  This man then proceeds to attend a sailing race in the kind of clear water that the Gulf will not see for years to come. 

Conversely, anyone who has seen the movie called "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" will remember the traders shutting down electricity in California while laughingly saying "burn baby, burn."  It mattered not to these sociopathic people with their ongoing disregard for, and ongoing violation of others, that families, businesses, and hospitals were without power.  They reveled in their ability to hold an entire state hostage while trading a utility as their personal commodity to make money.

Leadership Aspirations and the IQ, EQ, and RQ Conundrum


If reading this blog post has caused you to wonder if you have the ruthlessness quotient and the ability to lead, consider this.  There are many leaders in the world who are able to manage their organizations from the heart. 

There are companies that practice Servant Leadership which could never be confused with the Ruthlessness Quotient.  Your job is to determine which type or organizational culture you aspire to work in. 

Admittedly in these times leaders have to make tough decisions in order to ensure the survival of the company.  I agree that often it is not a popular decision.  However, it requires the organization to consider the resultant environment in which the survivors must exist on a day-to-day basis.  The human body responds to stress in negative ways, and your corporate culture will reflect your behavior. 

The totality of all these ruthless corporate cultures ultimately destroys their own environment.  They have to live in this world too.  Destroy the competition, and you will find yourself alone.

Take care, as you make these radical decisions, that you don't end up with a soulless organization that repels the best employees, repels customers, and ends up with a even lower revenue stream as the community backlash strikes you down. 


If you enjoyed this post please click the follow link provided under Networked Blogs (on the right) to be notified of future posts.  Thank you.

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The Quality of Your People Determines the Quality of Your Product


"The Object of all life is development; and everything that lives has an inalienable right to all the development it is capable of attaining." Now get out there and Live! - The Science of Success by Wallace D. Wattles

As a speaker I meet many people on my travels.  I love meeting people and learn from my attendees as I teach my topic.  Since I am a lifelong learner, I consider it a job perk.  Sometimes the things I learn leave me challenged to process what I am hearing.  Last week was one of those moments. 

A raised hand got my attention during my program and the question was: "What can you do when the people you work with aren't interested in growing anymore?"

The attendee said the people she works with say things like:
1.  No more learning.
2.  I've spent the bulk of my life learning and there's no need to learn anything else.
3.  This is who I am.
4.  This is the best it's going to get.
5.  I'm not interested in training on any new stuff.

... and they mean it. 

For a moment, I was speechless.

In a world where new innovative products and services are created on a daily basis, these people have stopped their personal growth.  Not only that, they proudly verbalize it for all to hear. 

Does your company have people who think this way?

As a business, your success in the marketplace relies on competitively marketing your products and services.   Innovation, ideas, vision and success comes from the people you employ.  If your people have authentically decided to stop growing, so will you and your company.

Truth is, at a recent event I sat next to an individual who suddenly sighed loudly.  "What's wrong?" I asked her.  "She replied, "I miss carbon paper."  She told me she had 5 - 7 years until retirement and didn't want to learn anything more.  She just wanted her job to stay the same as she finished her time and then retired. 

This is an RIP employee.  She has Retired In Place.  She's just taking up space while collecting a paycheck.  If she worked for me, she'd have to retire NOW!

Today's marketplace

In today's marketplace, there is no place for this impotent thinking.  Employees like these stifle creativity, kill ideas, and shut down other employees who have what you need to succeed in your industry. 

Contrast the above mentioned  employees mindset with Sony Corporation

At Sony, you can conceive of the idea in the morning, prototype it that day, and if it is not feasible, discard it at the end of the day.


I believe that organizational model is what brought us the Sony sneaker that wirelessly communicates with your iPod.  Imagine the moment when an employee suggested, that your sneaker could communicate with your iPod while you jog and change the songs to match how slow or fast you are exercising. 


My son, Charles, owns a pair of those sneakers. 

In addition, you can download your running information and share it with other runners worldwide.  Just visit Sony and check out all of the things you can do with that one pair of sneakers.  It's positively amazing.

Can you imagine the environment in which an employee can comfortably share an idea like that? 

It comes from the top down.  The ability to innovate must be encouraged!

At Google, employees are able to take time off to think and be creative. 

Other companies encourage employees to take a creative sabbatical and use the time to think and be innovative.

How about your company?

Can your employees share ideas without fear of ridicule?  Are you open to suggestions?   Would you have laughed off the idea of Wind Technology? 

Do you have employees like the ones mentioned in my seminar?  And if so, what are you doing about it?

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A Bully Returns and Receives an Authentic Response

"Character isn't something you were born with and can't change, like your fingerprints. It's something you weren't born with and must take responsibility for forming." ~ Jim Rohn

Female Bully

With the economy in its current state people often arrive at work worried that it might be their last day.  Sometimes the fear is so great you can see it in the eyes of the employee.  You can feel the stress in the air as you walk the corridor.  The stench of insecurity is pervasive from conference room to cubicle wall.  People are worried they may not have a place to work tomorrow.

Undercover Boss - There's a new show on the air called "Undercover Boss" where CEOs of major corporations go undercover in their own companies to learn what it's like for their employees and find out what happens on the front lines.  It has been an eye opener, not only for the CEOs, but for the employees, and viewers alike.

Often the CEO finds someone who is doing exceptional work, but they also find people in fear of their jobs.  Sometimes the CEO gets fired by the person they are working for undercover who is unaware the new guy is actually the company CEO.  In almost every instance of the show, people share their fear of job loss.

The program also reveals bad bosses who treat their people with disdain and bully them into doing absolutely awful things.  Case in point, the boss at Hooters. 

This bully had a special way he treated the women in his employ.  He puts out a plate of beans on the table in front of each woman and tells her she has to eat them all up with their hands behind their back. 

You can see the video of the hooters bully at this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_Z0c2Hxum8&feature=channel

The interesting thing is bully bosses treat people this way because they know they can get away with it.  The CEO, though disgusted, doesn't blow his cover.  Remarkably, at the end of the show, the CEO does not fire this workplace bully boss.  He just has a little talk with him. 

Bullies are in the news quite a lot these days.  From high school students who bully young girls into committing suicide to the Hooters manager, they are everywhere.  I think this is because teen targets don't know who to turn to and adult employees feel they cannot leave because jobs are scarce and they have families to take care of and support.

I have personal experience with workplace bullying.  Many years ago a board member stabbed me in the back and treated me in the most vicious way that to this day I have not forgotten and still find repulsive.  I later learned that she is a bully who does this to people all over the city.  It is her way of feeling better about herself because she has low self esteem.

With the advent of social media we receive invitations to connect with people we have not seen for many years.  I love that feature as it helps you to find people you haven't seen in awhile.  It's usually a joy to reconnect with them.

That's why last week I couldn't believe my eyes when the aforementioned cruel bully board member sent me an invitation to connect with them on LinkedIn.  I swear I couldn't believe that she had the gall to do that.  But I was not surprised. 

Bullies, you see, are often insecure sociopaths, ego maniacs, and narcissists with low self esteem. 

You don't have to put up with this bad treatment.  You don't have to live in fear and stress.  That will only give you high blood pressure, heart attacks and worse, negatively impact your family and friends. 

So to help you, I am providing a seminar to teach you how to deal with bullies in the workplace.  You can learn more about the program at http://www.YvonneFBrown.com/news

Save the date May 15th and join us there.  It's time to deal with those bullies, put the fear away, and live a stress free life.

By the way, I IDK'd the bully and sent her on her way. 

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You Deplete Me! How Energy Vampires Ruin Your Business

Your Revenue

Leadership and authenticity are inextricably linked.  If you are imperfect and yet authentic while also exhibiting the leadership characteristics of integrity, honesty, character and self respect, you will still have followers.  As humans, we are imperfect.  Followers know that.  But, with authenticity, at least on a bad day, your followers will bring you something soothing with a ‘she’s having a bad day” and forgiveness, while they ensure that the processes run smoothly and the tactical plan is executed. 

We all remember the scene in Jerry McGuire when the words “you complete me” were uttered.  It silenced protagonists and seized us in its emotional grip.  But what about when we meet an inauthentic jerk, do you experience a moment when you wanted to say “you deplete me!”

Emotional vampires are all around us.  They are easy to identify.  Note when you interact with someone and as they walk away energized, you feel drained.  In that moment, realize that your energy and motivation have been sapped, and you now need to find your own personal energy source and replenish yourself. 

Envision your corporation.  Mentally take a walk around.   What do you see?  Are people energized, excited and motivated?  Do they excitedly communicate about the company’s vision and your dreams for the corporation’s future?  Or are they in a dreamlike state just going through the motions.   If your company is an emotional desert or filled with people just going through the motions, then this should be a wake up call to your leadership.  In today’s market you cannot afford a leadership void.   Get everyone on the bus and moving in the right direction. 

Here are three things you can do right now if you have a “You deplete me” style of management in the organization:

1.  Root out the source of this management style and employ a "you deplete you pay" compensation plan.

2.  Provide a reporting mechanism for those who are being drained of motivation and forced to shut down and bury their ideas.

3.  Reward managers who encourage a collaborative management style that utilizes all the brains in the room.  You're paying for those brains, expertise, and ideas, so utilize them to the best of your capability.  Innovation need room to breathe so it can come to life. 

Here's the thing, Nike has a sneaker that wirelessly connects to the runner's iPod.  The skeaker and iPod work together so that the speed of the runner selects a slow or fast song.  Sound incredible?  Just imagine the conference room the day the employee said "I've got an idea!  What about a sneaker that wirelessly communicates with the runner's iPod?"  What do you think would have happed if the leadership at Nike laughed it off and caused the employee to shut down?

Hmm, I see millions of dollars with little wings flying away.  Don't let tha happen to your company.

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Shelf Help – Personal Preparation Brings Positive Results

"Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it's holy ground. There is no greater investment." - Stephen Covey

Shelf Help

The first month is almost over and it got me wondering how many people have taken action to make this year their best year yet.  Living your best year is screamed at us from magazine covers, in movies and on television shows.  When asked ‘who wants to live their best year in 2010?’ All hands go up.  We all mean it at the time, our hearts of full of good intentions at the time, we mean to keep our promise to ourselves at the time.  So what happens?

Life, priorities, that’s what happens.  I mean when you can’t even keep a promise to yourself there’s a bigger problem going on.

I am a professional speaker and a trainer.  That’s what I do.  Knowing how the brain works, I offer resources at the back of the room that help attendees continue to learn and grow long after the program ends.  Often the person purchases the product and that's it.

Shelf Help

There is a term in my industry calls “shelf help.”  It refers to people who are attracted to personal development and invest in themselves during the program.  After the program is over and they return to their jobs and their life, their personal development is pushed off the priority list and they never get around to reading or listening to the material. 

The product sits on the shelf and collects dust.  That’s why we call is Shelf Help.

What to do?

If that happens to you, here are a few tips you can use to fix the problem:

1.     If the product is an audio program, begin listening to it in the car immediately after leaving the program.  Then the next time you are on your computer drag and drop the tracks onto your iPod, Zune or other .mp3 player.  Now you can listen to it anywhere.  Why you can even listen to it while in the supermarket instead of the cheesy music they usually play.

2.    If the product is a book, begin reading it the day you purchase it.  Remember you don’t have to read the entire book in one sitting, you can promise yourself to read five pages a day.  Double sided, that’s ten pages and in ten days you will have read 100 pages.  This number can be even higher as the topic pulls you in and grabs you.

3.    If the product is a DVD, pop it in instead of a Netflix or Blockbuster video.  You’ve seen the commercials of the family around the TV, why not pop in a personal development DVD that everyone can learn from and then discuss it?  Many of the DVDs are very compelling and you might learn more about your children during the discussion of the content.

The Result?

Using these techniques you will find it easy to learn and grow from the materials you purchase for personal development.  You will even find as I always do, that each time you listen to the audio or watch the DVD you notice and learn something you missed last time.  Shelf help then is something others do while you use the tools to live your best life.

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Time to put Away 2009 & Move on to Bigger, Better Things

It's a new year and a clean slate for your career, your personal life, your business, and your dreams.  So the question is: What do your 2010 dreams look like?

2010 The Beginning

It starts with setting expectations for yourself, followed by taking action on the steps needed to bring your dreams to fruition.  Each new year is a fresh start, but after the balloons deflate, you dispose of the party hats, and the hangover subsides, there's work to do. 

What are your goals?  You can choose to focus on only one area of your life to make execution simple.  You can decide to work on one goal for each area of your life, and attract the people you need to help you bring it to fruition. 

Whatever you decide, (and it's totally up to you) here are three steps to help in your success. 

Use the P.E.P. formula of Possibilities, Expectations, and Persistence.

Step One - Possibilities

Review the Goals you have set.  Those are your 2010 possibilitites. You will need to review them with a "Plan, Do, Review" mindset as that helps you determine what you need in order to achieve your goals, and creates a measurement tool to track progress.  They say "a dream without a plan is only a wish" and "if wishes were horses, beggers would ride" so you need to create a plan which you will execute to ensure your possibilities become your reality.   You will need to arouse and guide your subconscious mind to use its creative power to attract to you the people and support structure you need. 

You have to "ink it to link it" in your brain.  This means you must write it down not simply think about it.  The very act of writing it down creates it in your subconscious mind much like quantum physics.  Writing it down awakens your subconscious mind to be on the alert when oppoprtunity crosses your path.  It sets the law of attraction in motion.

Step Two - Expectations

What expectations have you set for yourself?  The goals help you to define your expectations.  This includes balance for each area of you life - professional, financial, physical, family, spiritual, and lifestyle. 

Alan Dundes said "Future orientation is combined with a notion and expectation of progress, and nothing is impossible."  

Orison Swett Marden said "We advance on our journey only when we face our goal, when we are confident and believe we are going to win out." 

As you set your expectation, you begin that journey to achievement of your destiny in 2010 with high hopes. 

Pope John XXIII said "Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams.  Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfilled potential.  Concern yourself not with what you have tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do."

A key component to success in 2010 is to put your goals into action.  By doing so, you ignite your creative power and fine tune your subconscious attraction magnet to draw ideas, resources, and circumstances that align with your possibilities, to accelerate creation.

Step Three - Persistence

Louis Pasteur said "Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal.  My strength lies in my tenacity."  The same is true for you.  Without tenacity many give up often when they are closest to their goal. 

Thomas Huxley said "Patience and tenacity are worth more than twice their weight of cleverness." 

Chin-Ning Chu said "To succeed in life in today's world, you must have the will and tenacity to finish the job."

Plan to finish the job no matter what it takes.  Focus on your 2010 goals and work consistently to bring them to fruition.  A great program that can help you achieve your 2010 goals is at this link: Http://budurl.com/singlepayment - Receive three complimentary special reports valued at $250 immediately when you register.

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Authentic Communications: Getting Your Point Across Clearly is Key

Whether you're looking to improve your communication skills for business or personal reasons there are a few guidelines to follow.  Employees, employers, family, friends and other individuals have to improve their communication skills in order to efficiently get points across without causing oppositions. 

Authentic communications consist of methods that can be used to resolve conflicts and difficult conversations.  It can help with creating better understanding and greater teamwork.  These methods can be used for giving speeches, talking in front of a group of people at a meeting, or just speaking to another individual.  If you have problems with communication in your corporation, association, or as an individual, you can attend a communications workshop.

First it is important that you use the words "I" and "my" when making statements.  This authenticates that you're talking about yourself to your audience.  Then in order to effectively communicate, you will need to speak on a personal level, instead of abstractly or generally.  For instance, if you're speaking with business partners or someone close to you, you need to communicate what you're trying to say directly.  There shouldn't be any mind games or guessing games.  Be specific about your point - then when you're finished, your audience should be able to answer that you wanted and/or needed without a problem.  If they are unable to, then your request or idea wasn't communicated properly. 

Use the word "you" carefully.  If you don't think before you speak when talking someone, it could cause misunderstandings and could even make them become defensive.  The word "you" is a way to analyze or second guess; don't try to speak for someone else, allow them to take responsibility for themselves.

Communication is a two-way street, it requires listening and speaking.  Pay attention to yourself and when you feel the urge to say something.  Of course, you should wait until the appropriate time to voice your thoughts and opinions to avoid an agrument or misunderstanding.  Overall, you need to stay intact with your intuition.

Show that you're listening.  Respect others by carefully listening to what they are trying to communicate.  In order to comment, you have to know what you're talking about, otherwise there will be a big misunderstanding about what is being said.  Most of all you should think before you speak.  Paraphrasing what you think you heard to clarify helps ensure you received the message correctly.

Everyone has the right to their own opinion.  Your job isn't to change people's minds.  It's to ensure that you get your point across effectively.  Communication doesn't mean conversation only.  It's a way to express yourself.  Diversity of communication is a valuable skill.  If you have having problems in the workplace then one of those workplace seminars will help you.

In order to reach your objectives and goals for your personal and business life, you have to learn how to properly communicate what it is you desire.  Sometimes it takes talking with the right people to bring you a step closer to achievement of your objectives.  Do what you can to make these improvements.  As a coach, trainer and mentor that holds seminars for motivational meetings, management communication skills, and business or personal coaching, I can help. 

What's your communications challenge?  

Use the contact form at http://www.yvonnefbrown.com/contact to send me your question.

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It’s a New Year Soon, Will There be a New You?

The best thing about the New Year is that it represents a fresh start for many. You file your taxes, start a new career, mend a relationship or even look for new love. It’s a time when individuals can start off with a clean slate. As the new year rolls in, it is best to prepare for what you want to do. Make plans, so that you’ll have something to look forward to. Living the same life that you’re unsatisfied with isn’t healthy. A lot of people become depressed and even more unmotivated with life. This can cause a domino affect that can cause complications in your career, friendships, family and love life.

 

The first step you must take is to plan what your goals will be for the new year. The most popular goals involve personal/business relationships and self improvement. Prepare to work towards these goals. It is important that you know what it will take to achieve the plans that you have made for the coming year. Even more important, you should create goals that are realistic. It’s good to want to overachieve, but it could end up stressing you out and may even cause you to quit. So if you’re looking to start a new career or better your current workplace, write a list of things you can do to make those improvements. Having more than one way of achieving your goal can come in handy if one option doesn’t work out.

 

Next, you should remain positive at all times. When the new year rolls in and you start to act on your plans, don’t get bummed because things don’t go as wished. Think of back-up plans if something doesn’t go your way. Be optimistic; this is the best way to keep a smile on your face and life looking bright. If you can look on the bright side of negative and potentially negative situations, you’ll avoid downfalls in your plans. Just rethink things through to get back on the right track.

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Five Pitfalls Every Speaker Should Beware Of

Pitfall #5 - Tweeting & Texting During Your Presentation

A new occurrence for speakers today is tweeting during your presentation.  I know how you feel when that happens.  That’s why I have resorted to asking attendees to get in their one text before we start and during their breaks.

If you are speaking at a conference, be aware that the tweets and texts might be sent to the people currently  in your audience or on their way to the workshop. 

One conference speaker experienced this pitfall when they had low turnout for a seminar that previously had blowout attendance.  Evidently attendees tweeted “don’t come to this workshop, the speaker is not very good.”  On reading this many attendees decided to attend a different session and the speaker’s credibility was crushed.

Conversely, if you are a good speaker with an engaging style, the tweets would be “hurry up and get to this session.  The speaker is fantastic.”   This could turn a low turnout session into a blowout session and it’s all happening in real time.

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Five Pitfalls Every Speaker Should Beware Of

Pitfall #4 - Just Because I'm On My iPhone, Don't Assume I've Tuned Out

 

In a recent presentation I recommended a book that would be helpful to the participants.  As I spoke, I noticed a young man who was very focused on his iPhone.  This is a normal occurrence during today’s presentations.  There’s even a term for it “Absent Presence.”

 

As I left the room for the break, he called me over to show me his iPhone.  During the presentation, had downloaded a free Kindle® app for his iPhone, visited Amazon, purchased, and downloaded the book and was already reading it. 

 

What’s the point of this pitfall?  To inform you that just because they’re on their iPhone during your presentation, doesn’t mean they’re tuning you out.  Maybe they’re taking action on the recommendation you just made.

 

This brings us back to Pitfall #2 ‘verifying during your presentation.’  Today’s audiences are used to instant gratification and have the tools to get it.  So it is crucial that your recommendations and suggestions are correct.

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Five Pitfalls Every Speaker Should Beware Of

Pitfall #3 - I want role play – not to listen you go on and on 

 

Forget about slide decks with 30 - 50 slides.  To really connect with today’s audience you must have fewer slides and more interaction. 

Presentations should be lively so that the audience is energized.  They want to interact and role playing helps them connect the dots and have a more transformational experience.

Many members of today’s audience are Gen X or younger.  They are the highly stimulated generation from gamers to video creators.  Sitting in a chair listening to you drone on through a PowerPoint presentation makes their eyes glaze over.  They used PowerPoint for their school projects and need more.

Here are three ways you can engage them:

a.     After explaining a point, provide them with a case study that they can solve.  Then have them role play the techniques they used to solve the case study.

b.      Create a reality game or play “Jeopardy” with the clues including the tips you are teaching them or speaking about.

c.       Give them an exercise to create something or think outside the box.  They are very inventive and sometimes create something that knocks your socks off.  I once gave a group straws, staples, scotch tape and colored markers.  They could build anything they wanted.  The winning entry was a “Bridge over Troubled Water.”

Time will fly by and you will find yourself in the role of facilitator.  When they want the speaker back they actually request it.  This technique gets them really jazzed up and energized. 

Your job is to research and find fun examples for your role play.

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Five Pitfalls Every Speaker Should Beware Of

Pitfall #2 - Verifying facts during your presentation 

There was a time when speakers were looked up to as the experts who brought knowledge to the marketplace and helped people to be more successful.  While this is still true the game has changed significantly. 

With the ubiquitous access to the Internet speakers have a new type of heckler to contend with. 

For example, at a recent conference for the medical profession in Las Vegas the speaker referenced an article on the industry and mentioned several items for the audience. 

After the lunch break when the audience returned, an attendee raised his hand.  Thinking there was a question, the speaker acknowledged him. 

The attendee then said, “I thought the speaker’s remarks were incorrect earlier.  So while at lunch I surfed the Web, found the article, and verified what was said.  Sure enough the speaker is wrong.  By the way, here’s the URL to get that article yourself and get the facts right.”

Gone are the days when your audience simply took notes and accepted your expertise without verification.  So today it is critical to not only verify your material, but to also check for the most up to date information prior to stepping on the platform. 

Today the audience not only expects information, they expect the most up-to-date information possible along with where they can learn more if they desire.  So the night before a presentation, be sure to check online to ensure you have the most recent information.  While you’re at it, check article links as they may have been deleted or the website removed.  Google often has a cached version though and that helps.

 

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Five Pitfalls Every Speaker Should Beware Of

Pitfall #1 - Know your Audience

Today's audience consists of multiple generations each with their unique expectations from the speaker.  For the first time in history there are five generations in your audience.  One generation likes lecture style, another likes to share expertise.  The next generation likes you to ask their opinion & the youngest two generations prefer role play, videos and other media.

How can you tell who is in your audience?  Your best approach is to do an on the spot survey by show of hands.  A quick way is to ask:

1.  How many of you found work in job ads that said help wanted men, help wanted female? (Boomers & Veterans). 

2.  “How many of you were latch key kids or school mates who were latch key kids?” (Gen X).

3.  “How many of you prefer IM/ texting?” (Gen Y & Gen M). 

Now you know who is in the room.

If you are speaking at a conference you can include these questions in your pre-program assessment.  Often the meeting planner can inform you who the audience is.  In the event that is not a viable option, the above on the spot survey should suffice.

Armed with these results you can instantly customize your program to ensure you speak the language of your audience.  By providing information in the manner your attendees desire, you will engage and wow them.

Part two of this five part series “Verifying facts during your presentation.”

Learn about Understanding and Working Effectively with Five Generations in the Workplace http://budurl.com/5Generations

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What if you could find the least expensive price for your item in a minute?

Technology is helping us in many ways today and applications arrive so rapidly it's difficult to keep up.  Some apps are helpful while others consipire to keep you online until sores show up on your rump.  I love technology so I keep up as much as possible with the latest and greatest to determine if they've created a program to keep my calendar booked with speaking engagements at the optimum price point.

Well they're still working on that app for me but there is one new app that is helpful for everyone especially in this economy. 

There's a new Smartphone app that finds the best prices for any item you're purchasing and sends it directly to you.  Picture this:  You're ready to buy an item in the store but are not sure you're getting the best price for the item. 

What to do?  Well, scan the barcode with your Smartphone and it will search the area, find the least expensive price for the item, send it back to your Smartphone, and tell you if it's in stock.  Then it will provide you with a Google map to get you from your current location to the store with the item in stock for that best price. 

I don't know about you, but that sounds really valuable to me as I am always seeking the best price for anything I purchase. 

Watch the video as  KXAS's Kristi Nelson reports on a smartphone application that will look for the lowest price and local availability on purchases.

 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/32182174#32182174>

Let me know what you think.

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Class, Take Our Your iPhone and Get to Work

Colleges and universities across the country are taking notice that iPhones have apps for anything. So now they're offering courses in iPhone applications.

They've set a new path of study for many colleges and universities recognizing the longevity of smartphones and social media, college professors say.

Jeanette Der Bedrosian write of an iPhone Developer University Program launched due to the fee to create, test, and distribute (many times at a profit) applications for the iPhone.

Standford University is offering a course to 60 students taught by two Apple employees in app development technology. Students are liking this and its not wonder. I do not have an iPhone but my son does and he loves it. During a drive in his car this weekend I noted that his car radio connects directly to his iPhone and plays tunes from the ipod feature on the phone.

During a recent training program I recommended a book to the attendees. One student downloaded it immediately using the Kindle feature on his iPhone.

Yes, there's an app for that too. Intruiged, I requested a demonstration because as you know, I got a Kindle for Mother's day and love it. The student demo'd the book to me, showed how he can change the font, and can read the page in landscape mode simply by turning the device. "This is how I get my reading done on the flight" he said.

In the article, she mentions that "The first app Auten created was "Kids Be Gone," designed in Robertson's class, which emits a high-frequency sound only kids can hear. The app, as the name suggests, was designed to keep children away from the iPhone user. Auten says he experimentally provided the app at no charge for 24 hours and was shocked to see it downloaded by 2,000 users.

"It blew my mind," he says. "Most classes at NJIT are theory-based, but this one really gives you a way of making money."

Amazing. No wonder colleges are now teaching app development. The $99 fee is minimal and how you can have you app in the hands of millions!

Check the full article at: http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/life/20090721/iphoneapps21_st.art.htm

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A True Story to Share...

By Bianca Lundien Kennedy

      Mere hours before facing a bilateral mastectomies surgery, while battling breast cancer in late 2001, on the heels of a rigorous six-month course of chemotherapy, with my family at my side, my childhood best friend, Kelly, or “Tigger,” as she remains affectionately called, was right there for me, alongside my parents,  sister and husband.  In her inimitable way, she lifted me up during this difficult time, so much so, that I hardly felt a drop of anxiousness while we visited in my hospital room, prior to my rapidly approaching surgery. How did she manage to so elevate my spirits? Aside from just being her ever-fabulous self, she brought a big “boom box” into my hospital room, quite a funny sight! Yet, it was the sounds from the boom box that buoyed me. It was equipped with assorted favorite tunes from the Jackson Five and from Michael Jackson!

     We gleefully reminisced about how we had spent much of our adolescence together firmly enamored – okay, infatuated - with a young and vibrant Michael Jackson.  We had his posters on our walls and had each declared that we wanted to marry him, at the tender age of 15. Our years in junior high school and high school were filled with our listening to his incomparable music in daily – often hourly - doses. We even went to his concert together in 1981, during the Off the Wall (still my favorite album) tour, with his talented brothers backing him up. The tour was the first to feature Michael’s solo music as an adult artist. The show was billed as “The Jacksons, starring Michael Jackson.”  We both still have our sentimentally cloaked ticket stubs from the show. That once-in-a-lifetime concert was an authentic thrill, inviting us to witness the unveiling of a legend in the making. As we stood laudably cheering at the top of our lungs, letting the resonating dance beats keep us unrestrained on our feet, Michael’s performance was as goosebump-delivered as it gets!

     A year or so before that unforgettable event, it was Tigger, at age 16, who faced an emergency surgery, an appendectomy. When I visited her in the hospital, circa 1980, I brought her a pre-CD-era cassette recorder, with our favorite Michael Jackson tunes on it – a “mixed tape” – made with the purity of friendship.  Panning forward to just over twenty years later, in 2001, both of us then in our mid-thirties, while I waited for the nurses to come and get me to take me to surgery, that morning transcended the experience of the surgery itself, as my nerves gave way to an unexpected joy, causing any anxiety to dissipate, while we passed the time listening to Michael’s music with my family.

     When the nurses finally entered my hospital room, pushing the stretcher ready to take me to the operating room, they heard us reveling in the Michael Jackson music of our youth, and suggested that I ask my surgeon to play the tape in the OR. I was surprised to hear this – happily surprised. So, I did just that! I asked my doctor to do so and he happily obliged, putting on those thoughtfully assembled tunes right there in the OR. I was listening to Michael Jackson, more content and at ease than I could ever have anticipated, as I climbed from the stretcher to the operating table. Believe me, there is nothing quite like the surreal experience of listening to “Don’t Stop til You Get Enough” (oddly appropriate for a bilateral mastectomies surgery!), while drifting under the anesthesia’s influence.  I felt like I was at a party, rather than a life-altering surgery.

     Tigger was and is the best! Michael was and is the best!  Tigger and I touched base last night, after the news of his untimely death came over the ongoing broadcasts. We took comfort in each other’s joyful memories, long associated with that early chapter in our lives, dominated by our love of Michael Jackson and his phenomenal music. As we mourned the loss of this huge talent, we also mourned the loss of a piece of our childhood. We chose to disregard any thoughts of Michael that did not align with our magical memories of the legend, who, in death, will no doubt realize his biggest dream - to be ranked with the ultimate handful of iconic entertainment legends, like Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and John Lennon. I trust that Michael must somehow now be viewing our earthly world from heaven, witnessing the ushering in of infinite affection and the outpouring of love for him from around the globe, from across generations and from diverse ethnicities. Michael Jackson will be dearly regarded and dearly missed.

 

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What are you communicating to your employees? Can they tell the truth without fear?

I love my work.  I love teaching others, watching as they connect the dots and surmize how smart they already are about the topic.  So it was a revelation for me at a recent seminar when, while teaching how to tell the truth without fear, I learned that for some employees this is simply not possible.

Telling the truth without fear

I am always interested in the attendees response to the question "can you tell the truth without fear at work?"  Sometimes the response is unanimous that 'of course' I can tell the truth.  More often than not, I get no response but instead receive a look of incredulity, and a smirk of "you're kidding, right?"  Some time ago an attendee said that their CIO always wants the truth and so provided the department with a catch phrase that allows them to do just that.  It's "intellectual honesty" as in, "Bob, in all intellectual honesty..."  This phrase, I was informed, prepared the CIO for bad news while providing employees with a means of presenting even the most unpleasant news.

I like it.  Everyone's on the same page.  it even provides employees with a way of disagreeing with each other.  This is a crucial communication that Patrick Lencioni calls "engaging in good conflict" in his book  "The Five Disfunctions of a Team."  It is evident that being in a position where it is difficult to tell the truth without fear creates many problems.  This leads me to the second question in today's blog post.

What are you communicating to your employees?

A second question that I pose to attendees is "you are a project manager and your boss adds a new project to your plate.  You have neither the resources nor the time available to execute it successfully.  Do you discuss the issues with your manager and explain your reasoning?"

Imagine my surprise when I was told: "We can't do that."  We woud have to be quiet and take on the project.  "Even if you knew it would fail?" As I asked, I feared the response.  "Yes, even if we knew it would fail, we would have to take on the project anyway.  In today's market, if we don't do it, it is easy for them to fire us, find someone who needs a job and is willing to take it on, despite the fact that it would fail.  So, we would just do it, let it fail and continue from there."

WOW!  Is it any wonder then, that the economy is in its current state.  What this says is, given the worst circumstances, an employee will take a project they know will fail, their manager knows will fail, and the company knows will fail, because that's the company's culture.  It makes me wonder how many of today's organizations have this culture of lies vs. truth, and communication that encourages failure then rewards it. 

Do you work in a company that allows you to tell the truth without fear or do those who take on failed projects end up being promoted?  Send me your comments via the comment page at http://www.yvonnefbrown.com/contact

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A Mother's Day Gift that's Perfect for me

Today is a day to celebrate mothers everywhere.   It's one day that is set aside to thank your mother for all the little things she did to help you become who you are today.  Now I know there are some of you who will say "not my mother" and others who will agree wholeheartedly with me.

Regardless of the group you belong to, on this day our thoughts turn to MOM.

Whether you sent a card, took mom to dinner, or like my son, gave her a gift she will love you for it.  So, if you haven't already, do it now!  There's still some day left and you can fix that.  Remember, even if it is just a phone call, the point is you thought of her and are letting her know you're thinking of her.

If she is  no longer with us, visit her resting place and leave some flowers, if you have not money for flowers, just visit and tell her you love her and miss her.  Taking action is all it costs you today.

As for me, I got the surprize of my life when my son Charles presented me with a Amazon Kindle.   As a knowledge junkie whose latte factor is books, I'm practically being pushed out of my office by my books.  Well No More!  The Kindle holds up to 1,500 books and is thinner than a pencil.   It does everything I need and is so intuitive I started using immediately.  With my travel schedule, I no longer have to select which book I want to bring with me.  I can carry as many as I want :-)  - plus it just fits in my purse and is as light as a feather.

THANKS CHARLES!  You made this the best Mother's day ever!

Check out the Kindle by visiting http://www.amazon.com

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Would You Recognize a Potential Swindle?

Scams and swindles are on the uprise due to the economy.  Everyone's seeking ways to generate income.  Some are willing to practice unethical behaviors in order to stay afloat.   How can you tell what's a swindle and what's real?  This is the question posed recently to Marilyn of "Ask Marilyn."  Her response is the most straightforward and clear explaination.  She said:

"People who lose money to scammers aren't always at fault.  Here's a scheme that would be difficult for someone to spot in advance.

Let's say a financial con artist tells 1000 potential clients that a particular stock will go up on a given day.  He tells 1000 others that the same stock will go down.

Say the stock goes up.  The man focuses on the first 1000 people, as they think he got it right.  He then chooses a different stock and tells 500 of them the stock will go up.  He tells the other 500 it will go down.  No matter what the stock does, 500 possible clients think he got it right again.  So after repeating this a few times, the fellow winds up with a list of people convinced he has predictive powers - and ready to give him their life savings.

While this ruse isn't a pyramid scheme, it does illustrate how easy it is to concoct ways to trick people by preying on their wishful thinking."

A recent "ask Yvonne" question for my newsletter http://www.yvonnefbrown.com was from a woman who was duped into investing in a coaching program at a 'millionaire' seminar.  I also learned from an acquaintance that she was also scammed by a coaching program while attending a separate event.  These two stories are a reminder that we should be careful who we trust because like the financial con artist mentioned above, not everything is as it seems on first glance.

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5 creative and sneaky new car rental fees to beware of and avoid

Beware while traveling and renting cars.  Be sure to read the full receipt and check in advance to ensure this does not happen to you.  I noticed some of these charges recently and believe me they're buried.

The following article by By Christopher Elliott cites some of these insidious charges.

Look out for cancellation penalties. Beware of energy surcharges. And watch for facilities fees. 

To get an idea of how absurd it’s becoming, meet Jim Swofford. He found a mysterious $5 fee on his Hertz bill recently, which a representative described as a cancellation fee. Car rental companies typically don’t charge their customers for cancellations, so Swofford, who frequently rents from Hertz, said he didn’t want another car he’d reserved for later.

That’ll be $25,” the agent told him.

“So I jokingly said I would not cancel but just be a no-show,” he remembers. “She said that would result in a $50 fee.”

Or talk to Eric Hegwer, a photographer from Austin, Texas, who spotted a $1 “energy surcharge” on his Hertz car rental bill recently. “My previous rentals didn’t have one,” he says.

I asked Hertz about the two new surcharges. Company spokeswoman Paula Rivera told me the cancellation fee, which was added in December, applied only to prepaid reservations and is meant to “reimburse Hertz for the paperwork and billing involved with a prepaid reservation.” The fee also covers part of the company’s cost of holding vehicles for prepaid reservations. The energy surcharge, which was added in October, bills all rentals in most states an additional $1 a day “to offset the increasing costs of utilities, bus fuel, oil and grease,” she said.

How to stay ahead of these extras? Knowing is half the battle. Here are five of the newer charges that could sideswipe you on your next trip.

A fee for something you’ve already paid for
This is one of the more creative new ways of separating you from your money: charging you twice for the same thing. “Three times now, with three different companies, they have tried to charge me for gas when I’ve returned the car with a full tank and claimed it was an honest mistake,” says Sid Savara, a software engineer in Oahu, Hawaii. “It leads me to suspect they are just tacking the fee on and most people aren’t noticing or complaining about it.”

Boston-based author John DiPietro brought his own E-ZPass toll transponder when he rented a car in Massachusetts recently, but Budget billed him for the toll roads anyway. “We’re still trying to resolve it,” he told me.

Now more than ever, it’s important to be on the lookout for duplicate charges on your rental bill.

A fee for something that should come with the car
Such as tires. Enterprise recently charged one of Edgar Dworsky’s readers a $2 “tire fee.” 

Surcharge on surcharges
Scott Lerman found a “privilege fee” on his last car rental in Florida, which applied to rentals picked up within 48 hours of flight arrival. “Never seen anything like it,” says the Livingston, N.J.-based freelance publicist. (The fee covers the costs of operating an off-airport location.)

Seth Mendelsohn, the president of a food store in Boulder, Colo., found a $4 “downtown arena” fee on his bill when he visited Kansas City recently. “Apparently the city is trying to pay for part of the Sprint Center through car rental fees,” he told me.

Most of these fees can be avoided by pre-paying for your car through one of the “opaque” travel sites such as Hotwire.com or Priceline.com, or by buying through an online travel agency that guarantees its rates

Read the full story here.    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30033404/

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When are Caucasians Going to Get Over It?

The following article was sent to me by a colleague and after reading it I found it so compelling that I decided to share it with you.  It is an article by Andrew M. Manis, associate professor of history at Macon State College in Georgia who wrote this for an editorial in the Macon Telegraph. 

Andrew M. Manis: When Are WE Going to Get Over It?

For much of the last forty years, ever since America "fixed" its race problem in the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, we white people have been impatient with African Americans who continued to blame race for their difficulties. Often we have heard whites ask, "When are African Americans finally going to get over it? Now I want to ask: "When are we White Americans going to get over our ridiculous obsession with skin color?

Recent reports that "Election Spurs Hundreds' of Race Threats, Crimes" should frighten and infuriate every one of us. Having grown up in "Bombingham," Alabama in the 1960s, I remember overhearing an avalanche of comments about what many white classmates and their parents wanted to do to John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Eventually, as you may recall, in all three cases, someone decided to do more than "talk the talk."

Since our recent presidential election, to our eternal shame we are once again hearing the same reprehensible talk I remember from my boyhood.

We white people have controlled political life in the disunited colonies and United States for some 400 years on this continent. Conservative whites have been in power 28 of the last 40 years. Even during the eight Clinton years, conservatives in Congress blocked most of his agenda and pulled him to the right. Yet never in that period did I read any headlines suggesting that anyone was calling for the assassinations of presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or either of the Bushes. Criticize them, yes. Call for their impeachment, perhaps. But there were no bounties on their heads. And even when someone did try to kill Ronald Reagan, the perpetrator was non-political mental case who wanted merely to impress Jody Foster.

But elect a liberal who happens to be Black and we're back in the sixties again. At this point in our history, we should be proud that we've proven what conservatives are always saying -- that in America anything is possible, EVEN electing a black man as president. But instead we now hear that school children from Maine to California are talking about wanting to "assassinate Obama."

Fighting the urge to throw up, I can only ask, "How long?" How long before we white people realize we can't make our nation, much less the whole world, look like us? How long until we white people can - once and for all - get over this hell-conceived preoccupation with skin color? How long until we white people get over the demonic conviction that white skin makes us superior? How long before we white people get over our bitter resentments about being demoted to the status of equality with non-whites?

How long before we get over our expectations that we should be at the head of the line merely because of our white skin? How long until we white people end our silence and call out our peers when they share the latest racist jokes in the privacy of our white-only conversations?

I believe in free speech, but how long until we white people start making racist loudmouths as socially uncomfortable as we do flag burners? How long until we white people will stop insisting that blacks exercise personal responsibility, build strong families, educate themselves enough to edit the Harvard Law Review, and work hard enough to become President of the United States, only to threaten to assassinate them when they do?

How long before we starting "living out the true meaning" of our creeds, both civil and religious, that all men and women are created equal and that "red and yellow, black and white" all are precious in God's sight?

Until this past November 4, I didn't believe this country would ever elect an African American to the presidency. I still don't believe I'll live long enough to see us white people get over our racism problem. But here's my three-point plan: First, everyday that Barack Obama lives in the White House that Black Slaves Built, I'm going to pray that God (and the Secret Service) will protect him and his family from us white people.

Second, I'm going to report to the FBI any white person I overhear saying, in seriousness or in jest, anything of a threatening nature about President Obama. Third, I'm going to pray to live long enough to see America surprise the world once again, when white people can "in spirit and in truth" sing of our damnable color prejudice, "We HAVE overcome."  

It's gonna take a Village to protect our President!!!

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Andrew M. Manis is associate professor of history at Macon State College in Georgia and wrote this for an editorial in the Macon Telegraph.

So tell me, What do YOU think of the article?

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Deloitte Files Suit Over IBM Contract

filed a lawsuit against the United States regarding a contract awarded to IBM. The aim of the suit is to get an injunction regarding a 10-year contract, worth $193 million, that IBM has entered into with Housing and Urban Development. As per the contract, IBM would be modernizing HUD's computerized financial systems.

Deloitte, in the court filing, says the firm wasn't treated fairly in the bidding process for the contract in 2006, according to InformationWeek.

In that filing, Deloitte says that "HUD violated law and regulation by failing to follow the stated evaluation criteria, and also by engaging Deloitte in nonmeaningful and misleading discussions," and the firm is looking for government intervention regarding the contract until the matter can be resolved.

Stay tuned.

Source:  Consulting Magaine

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China's Net Users use online for interesting reasons.

With China using the internet mor I found this article of particular interest.  I hope you will too. 

According to the Associated Press, in Beijing "Vigilant Internet users spotted news photos of a housing official and posted heated online discussions about his $15,000 Swiss watch and $22 a pack cigarettes.  Two weeks later Jhau Juigen in Nanjing was fired.  He is under investigation for an apparent "lavish lifestyle" that exceeds his government salary, according to the state run China Daily.  "

It is interesting how different countries use this wonderful technology.  As the AP writes "While ethics on the internet have yet to be established" at least the Chinese are able to utilize this valuable tool. 

You can read the full article at USA Today under the title "China's Net users take aim online"

What do you think?

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OBAMA WINS THE PRESIDENCY!

Change has come to America.  The citizens have spoken not just for change but in a landslide victory for ONE AMERICA!


"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer" Obama

Barack Obama represents the best in all of us and displays the temperment that is truly needed in the country today.  As I write this from my hotel room in Columbus, Ohio, I am glad that I stayed up late to witness the historic moment when the people spoke loudly with their votes about their hopes and dreams for the future of America.

When I came to this country from Jamaica, I came seeking the American dream so well known worldwide.  I found it.  I appreciate it.  I am grateful for it.  And tonight I experienced another dream come true.  Barack had my vote from the start when my husband and I donated to his Senate run.  Even then we knew there was something unique about this candidate.  As I watched Barack's historic run for the office of President of the United States, I knew we had made the right decision to support him.

Congratulations to Barack Obama and his family!  We look forward to to your leadership of this our great country, the United States of America.

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Remember to Vote - I did

November 4th is fast approaching and I encourage you to remember to vote.  Know that it will take some time, but it's worth it.

As I am on the road again this week, I realized that I would have to vote early since I would not be in Chicago on November 4th.  The city had early voting places last week and so I went down to the polling place.  I was feeling quite excited as I took the escalator downstairs.  When I arrived there were so many people in line it was impossible to tell where the line began and ended.  Luckily, there were five to six line managers to show us where the end of the line was.  It curled around several times and had many breaks as doors could not be blocked.  We were told that it takes 45 minutes to an hour to get to the voting booths and they were right.  That's exactly how long it took.

Interestingly, no one seemed to mind.  Like me, they said "I don't care how long it takes, I'm here now and I'm going to vote!"  I struck up a conversation with some line mates and in no time at all was in the room with the voting booths.  There were over 50 voting booths in the room and countless workers behind the tables verifying our identity, checking our IDs and providing instructions on how the procedure works. 

Once in the booth my voting went smoothly, quickly and easily.  As I departed, I was glad I remembered that I would be in Ohio this week because I would have been broken hearted to miss the opportunity to vote. 

So, now it's your turn.  Get out there on Tuesday and VOTE!

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They're Eyeing Your Pension! Are 401(k)s safe from congressional Democrats?

If you (like me) have a 401(k) or equivalent retirement plan, you've probably been watching nervously over the past few weeks as your nest egg has shrunken owing to the current turmoil in the markets. 

I often remind you dear readers that you must be ever vigilant because if you don't you have no one to blame but yourself.  We've seen the $700 billion bailout of the banks and by now you know that it looks like you're going to have to bail yourself out.  So today when my son Charles called me to alert me that some politicians on Capital Hill were eyeing the end of the 401K as we know it I was intrigued.  So I searche dthe web to determine if he was right or not and sure enough I found the above titled article at the Wall Street Journal.  

They are seeking to take your 401K and roll it into Social Security and have at it.  Previous and current events clearly indicate how adept they are are losing our money while protecting theirs.  So I am compelled to direct you to the article so that you can read it for yourself and do what you can to protect your 401K funds.

To be sure they have not yet clearly outlined their plan, but fore-warned is fore-armed so I recommend you keep on top of the information.  Experience shows that once they start talking about it you should get ready for change.

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A Boorish Bully Boss Makes Work Unbearable

This month's copy of BusinessWeek has a series called Business @ Work - There are many stories of bullies in the workplace.  Below is just one of them.

Here is One Bully Story 

I should have known what kind of boss Jackie Pebble would be from the first moment I had contact with him, and maybe I already did. But the rent was due, my COBRA insurance had run out, and I was sick of interviewing. I needed a job—fast.

When I arrived at the appointed time for my first interview, for a senior editor job at a trade magazine for dermatologists, he kept me waiting in the lobby of the company's Manhattan office for 15 minutes. Then the receptionist handed me her phone receiver and said, "Mr. Pebble would like to speak with you."

"I can't see you today," he announced. "I'm too busy."

Calling HR to Complain

His rudeness left me momentarily speechless. Finally I managed to say, "I came all the way from Connecticut for this interview, so I'd really appreciate it if we could have it today."

"All right," he said. "But you're going to have to wait."

Wait I did, for about 45 minutes. He finally showed up, ushered me in, and gruffly quizzed me about my journalistic background for about 10 minutes, and the interview was over. When I got home that afternoon, I still felt annoyed about the discourteous treatment Jackie had doled out earlier in the day. So annoyed, in fact, that I called HR to complain. What did I have to lose? There was no chance I would get this job, I figured, and I didn't want it anyway.

The Worst Boss I've Ever Had

Gayle, the HR person I spoke with, was very nice. "I'm sorry to hear you had a bad experience," she said. "But on the bright side, Jackie was just up here asking if we could raise the salary for the job to meet your requirements."

I was speechless again. Maybe he is a good guy, I thought, and I'd just happened to catch him in a rare disagreeable mood. And money talks, after all. "Well, that does make me feel a little better," I said. I ended up accepting the job and starting work the following Monday.

By Friday, Jackie had established himself as the worst boss I'd ever had—a distinction he still holds. He would give me a project and bark a few directions, never explaining them thoroughly or giving me the info I needed. The first day, he threw a bunch of photos at me that needed to be returned to whoever sent them. But all they had was the person's name—no address, no phone number. This was back in pre-Internet days, long before you could simply type "David Stein" and "dermatologist" in Google and come up with some clues.

A Toxic Corporate Culture

All the experts Business Week consulted said a solid option would simply have been to start job-hunting after two months of her start date, once it became obvious Jackie wasn't going to change.

"She needed to get out of there," one expert said. "'My boss talks to me that way all the time' is a hard line to hear. This person is saying that the culture here is that most people are jerks."

The bad behavior started even before the job started and only got worse. Could anything have been done to change the situation?  What do you think?

*This story is true. The author's name and other names and identifying details in the story have been changed.

I teach people how to deal with these bullies in my Bully Busting Seminars.  To learn more about the seminars send me an email at yvonne at jadcommunications dot com.

Read more about this story at www.businessweek.com

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How to prepare for requesting a business loan

Billionaire Bill Bartmann recently shared some of his knowledge on how to prepare for a business loan.  I learned many valuable techinques for ensuring that you obtain the loan you need to grow your business.  While some of the information is elementary, having the material presented in a way that helps as a checklist will prepare entrepreneurs for success.  

Here are eight things to do in preparation of requesting a business loan

1.      Get an Intellectual Property attorney.  Get some references and vett them.

2.      Know that lenders are specialized like doctors.  Be sure the lender provides the kind of loans that fit your purpose.

3.      Always pre-qualify your lender before you see them.  Ask them:

-   The size loans they are responsible for to ensure they match the amount you are borrowing.

-   Tell them what industry you’re in

-   Tell them what region of the country you’re in 

4.      Understand that you only competing against the other potential borrowers

5.      The person taking your application can’t say yes.  They are screening the borrowers. (they can however say no)

6.      The first meeting with the lender is only the first date (if they like you they’ll want more information).  Don’t bring lots of stuff.

7.      Remember the 4Ps.  Be Punctual, Professional (look the part), Prepared (have the right answers to their questions) and Prompt.  Get in and get out.  No more than five minutes.  Give them the proposal and leave.

8.      What to bring to the meeting: 

more...

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I Spent Time With a Billionaire Last Week

Last week I took a few days for personal development.  So I went to the Caribe Royale resort in Orlando, Florida on invitation from Bob Burg.  Bob is someone I really respect and as you know his book “Endless Referrals” is a recommended title on this blog.  I expected the event to be educational but it was much more than I ever imagined when I left Chicago and I am glad I took the time to learn techniques to grow my business.  

Billionaire business man Bill Bartmann www.billbartmann.com was a speaker at the event and he shared the three essentials for success.  First, you need a vehicle to get you from where you are to where you want to be.  Second, you need fuel.  This can be your money or other people’s money.  Third, you need a guidance system, a sense of direction and where you want to go.  One of my favorite quotations from Bill is “If you follow the herd, there won’t be anything else left when you get there.”  Bill charges $10,000 per hour for his coaching program so I was thrilled to learn about business success from him.

Donna Krech  www.donnakrech.com  founder and CEO of Thin and Healthy Total Solution www.thinandhealthy.com shared the seven motivation assassinators.  I loved her “praise brings life more than anything” shout out and especially the “slow motion movie” style of keeping track of how you’re doing.

Stephanie Frank the “accidental millionaire” http://www.stephaniefrank.com/ taught us that the way to "Win in Business Without Losing Your Mind" is to use a system to shortcut your success.

Simon T. Bailey helped us to release our brilliance.  This past Disney executive was high energy, unique and his program was content rich.   Check him out at www.simontbailey.com

Gravitational Marketing gurus Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller were hilarious and had a great tag-team approach to speaking that I have never seen before.  They are all about customer attraction and retention and they're good at it.  Learn more about the science of attracting customers at their small business marketing website by visiting and downloading the free customer attraction starter kit at www.gravitationalmarketing.com.  

Bob Burg spoke of course, as did many other speakers.  Each and every one of them was great.  There was one speaker though who really helped me personally after I sat in the “hot seat” and I’d like to thank him and introduce you to him.

Dave Lakhani is Mr. Persuasion.  He is the founder of www.boldapproach.com and author of “Subliminal Persuasion” teaches people the art of persuasion.   I had an opportunity to have a one-on-one discussion with this millionaire and got some great ideas from him that I will be implementing soon.  One truly inspiring moment was when, after I told Dave some of my personal story that I have kept secret for many years, he crafted it into a powerful story ‘on the fly’ that just blew me away.    

So by taking that trip, I was able to spend time with and learn from a billionaire, meet millionaire women and connect with them and get personal advice from a millionaire who will be featured on “The Big Idea” with Donny Deutsch tomorrow night.  Make sure you tune in, I know I will. 

Next time Bob Burg has his Extreme Business Makeover event, I will send you an invitation so that you too can learn from the expert millionaire how to bring your dreams into fruition and make your million.  Just send me an email indicating your interest.  In the meantime, visit www.burg.com and get a copy of the recording.

Oh yeah, Thanks Dave Lakhani.  Your advice was truly helpful and I’ll keep you posted on the results as I implement them.

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Internet Gossip can ruin your career, Reputation website helps you take back control of your online presence

Take control of your online reputation.  Who you are online is as important as who you are offline. Naturally, professionals, parents, college applicants, graduate school applicants, job seekers, and employers have raised serious and legitimate concerns about how to deal with this change and with the ever-increasing amount of information about each of us on the Internet. The Reputation Defender has products to search and destroy negative information about you on the internet.  

It’s easy when you’re in college to run with the crowd, go with the flow and think certain things are funny.  After graduation though when your potential employer searches the web as part of your background check what will they find?  Were you a schmuck on You Tube?  Did you feel safe behind your computer screen and say and do things you now regret?   

Are you a parent who wonders why your child cannot get a decent job even after thousands of dollars have been invested in their college education?  Check out the “My Child” version and see what comes up.   

They even have a global “do not call list” called “My Privacy” with a personalized MyPrivacy dashboard, that allows you to control how and where your information appears online.  Check it out today at http://www.reputationdefender.com and then share your thoughts.

Just send me an email at yvonne@jadcommunications.com

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Gen 'Y' Baby Boomer Love Fest Secret is out and Harvard is Talking About it

I love Gen Y.  I really do.  Their energy is infectious and I enjoy spending time with them.  I thought my secret was safe and I could spend time with them alone.  But now the secret is out and Harvard Business is talking about it. 

Yes, it's true I've made it a point to seek Gen Y out and pick their brains about how their generation's perspective on current events .  Remember, this is the most educated generation in history.  Never before has so many new hires entered the workforce with an MBA in hand.  So I thoroughly enjoyed reading Tamara Erickson's article about Gen Y recently.  In the article Tamara states:

"Y’s, when faced with a new challenge, tend to function like a heat-seeking missile – single-mindedly pursuing the person in the organization with the most relevant experience. In many cases, this person is a Boomer – often in some distant part of the organization, or several hierarchical levels removed. This approach reflects how Y’s like to learn – from an expert, just-in-time, and in response to the specific challenge they need to address. And it reflects their comfort in relating to Boomers on a peer basis, developed over an adolescence of friendly interaction with their parents and parents’ friends."

I have found this to be very true and got a kick out of the executive who shared his love of Gen Y like a guilty pleasure with Tamara.  He said he "found himself spending a high proportion of his time these days with the Y’s several levels down in his organization." 

There's more to Gen Y than meets the eye.  You can read the full article here http://discussionleader.hbsp.com/erickson/2008/04/the_boomery_love_fest.html  Some of the article comments are acutally fun as well.  No wonder Gen X feels so left out.   :-( for them :-) for boomers!  Maybe Gen 'X' could learn from this what I mentioned in my April 11th post.  Boomers and Gen Y are sharing the stage, Gen X just needs to change their attitude and they can take their place on stage too.

Madonna and Justin Timberlake are all over the media with their musical collaboration and video.  That is just another example of how Boomers and Gen Y can work well together successfully for their careers and their companies.  Hey, Wake up Gen 'X', and get with the program.

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OMG! - Generation 'Z' Codes their Written Communication

It's happening more frequently and is so inculcated into society that commercials are using the jargon.  The post Gen Y group of communicators aren't interested in nor adept at writing skills. You've seen the commercial where the mom tries and fails miserably at understanding her daughter's "IM of her BFF Jill" and grandma smiles while also speaking in this new shorthand language.  Yes, it's funny but is becoming less so.

A few weeks ago Eric Zorn, a writer for the Chicago Tribune, wrote an article titled "If kid is not answering e-mail, send txt msg, K?"  In the article, Mr. Zorn tells the story of about his 18 year old son Alex trying to contact the freshman son of a family friend via email, and consistently receiving no response.  When they finally sent a text message, they received a response immediately.  It turns out that Generation 'Z' finds email to be antiquated and Passé so they simply ignore it.

Fast forward to three days ago you will find the volume of articles regarding the lack of writing skills in term papers and resumes.  A recent article in the Tribune's Red Eye reports that a study co-sponsored by the National Commission on Writing at the College Board, the non-profit group that administers the SAT and other placement tests has found that:

  • 50% of teens surveyed say they sometimes fail to use proper captialization and punctuation in assignments
  • 38% have carried over IM or email shortcuts such as LOL
  • 25% of teens have used :) and other emoticons
  • 64% have used at least one of the informatil elements in school

An April 24th article on MSNBC titled "Teens use :-),  LOL, in school writing" mentions that The Pew Internet and American Life Project, in a study released Thursday, also found that teens who keep blogs or use social-networking sites like Facebook, or News Corp.’s MySpace, have a greater tendency to slip nonstandard elements into assignments. The results may give parents, teachers and others a big :( — a frown to the rest of us — though the study’s authors see hope.

“It’s a teachable moment,” said Amanda Lenhart, senior research specialist at Pew. “If you find that in a child’s or student’s writing, that’s an opportunity to address the differences between formal and informal writing. They learn to make the distinction ... just as they learn not to use slang terms in formal writing.”

A recruiter recently voiced her frustration and concern with resumes that are poorly written, and the most painful read in her long career.  The spelling is atrocious and Gen 'Z is unable to even write full sentences.

What this means to you and your organization is the downgrade of communications to a level never before experienced in a professional environment.  So prepare yourself, add some professional writing courses to your corporate training programs.   

And, if you are the parent of a Gen Z, start teaching them at home not only the difference between formal and informal writing, but the impact poor writing skills will have on their careers.  Then check their assignment before they turn it in and have that 'teachable moment' at home.  You might even find yourself LOL while bonding with your children.

Read the MSNBC article here - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24294592/

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Gen X Tells Boomers to Get the Hell out of the Way

Well it had to happen sooner or later.  The Generation War has officially begun! 

So I’m at my hotel this week and as usual picked up my copy of USA Today and there it was in black and white.  The headline said “”X” marks its spot in the cultural limelight”  and the subtitle of the article is “Author kicks boomers aside.”

I’ve watched for years as corporate America pushed the boomers aside and hired the younger generation because ‘they’re energetic’ and knew that the time would come when these youngsters would speak out about their feelings.  Truth be told, some seminar attendees have told me from time to time that their younger colleagues have even actually said “why don’t you retire already and get out of my way?’  So I saw it coming.  Did you?

In the article, Jeff Gordinier author of “X Saves the World:  How Generation X Got the Shaft But Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking” claims he wants to make it perfectly clear that he is not whining.  “I’m just weary of hearing about them. Let’s move on.  Who Cares?  Stop!”  He claims “we’ve accomplished more than we get credit for” and cites everything from “green” architects to Pulp Fiction, to YouTube, Google and The Colbert Report.  Well good for you.  If that’s all you have to take credit for then YOU step aside buddy.  While those are fun its not enough to keep the economy or society going.

Gordinier, editor at large at Details magazine says “the boomers have hogged the limelight for so long it’s hard to even get on the stage.”    Speak for yourself buddy.  Lots of Gen “X” and Gen “Y” people are on the stage doing their thing right next to the boomers.  He claims that Gen Xers have been ignored in society’s’ eyes.  I disagree.  We’ve been paying attention from the moment you entered the corporate world declaring that you “wouldn’t choke yourself with a tie” and bringing business casual into the workplace. 

It’s your presentation that needs help.  All Mr. Gordinier has to do to understand what’s going on is to inspect the name of his book.  “Sucking?”  Pathetic.  And he calls himself an editor.  Stop whining, grow up, demonstrate leadership and you will find the credibility and success you seek.

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Looking for a Job? Here's the new twist on Background Checks

Background checks for new employees is a key component in the hiring process.  It protects employers from poor employee choices and employees from negative forces entering their ranks.  It is critical that this is done and I heartily agree with this aspect of the hiring process.

There is a new twist in the marketplace, however, that you need to be aware of.  According to today's Chicago Tribune, in addition to drug screening some employers are taking the process one step further by requiring genetic testing of new employees.  These tests detect an employee's predisposition to possibly acquiring certain diseases during their lifetime!   Naturally, this has sparked huge legal and ethical debates.   What does this mean?  Do employers now intend to say "your genetic coding reveals a propensity for diabetes or cancer and so we cannot hire you?"  

The law firm Pepper Hamilton recommends that employers stay up to date on federal and state discrimination laws and request written permission from the employee before engaging in such practices.  I recommend that you arm yourself and your loved ones by also staying on top of this controversial new practice and be prepared to protect yourself from this practice.   Remember that it will be on file with the employer into perpetuity.

The potential exists for gross misuse of this type of background check.  What do you think of this new practice?  email me at yvonne@jadcommunication.com and share your thoughts.

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NO ONE IS MINDING THE STORE!

Just two days ago I added a blog post "Whos' minding the store and where's my 401K funds" about monies lost by rogue traders.  At the time I ended my post by stating that "it sems the banks have learned nothing since 1995" and posed the question Have YOU?

Today, just 45 minutes ago in fact, the Associated Press Posted the following article: 

NEW YORK - A rogue trader at MF Global Ltd. rang up $141.5 million in losses on the broker's account this week, the company said Thursday, a black eye that cost the company almost a fifth of its market value.

The Bermuda-based broker said on Wednesday morning it discovered Evan Dooley, a trader at the company's Memphis, Tenn., branch, trading wheat contracts in amounts that exceeded how much he was allowed to trade.

MF Global fired Dooley and liquidated the wheat contracts, which led to a $141.5 million loss. An entry-order system that should have blocked the trades failed, the company said.  The story continues that "MF Global brokers options and futures contracts for 130,000 clients at 70 exchanges like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade and the New York Mercantile Exchange. The company said the trading loss does not threaten the $19.5 billion clients have in their accounts."

The SEC needs to step in DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS.  If the trading companies are held accountable responsible and have to PAY BACK the monies that their rogue traders "lose" perhaps that will make them more vigilant during the ackground checks for employees.  I would also make them execute the checks and balances on their traders on a more timely basis. 

So far this year alone, we have the trader at Societe Generale who rang up more than $7 billion in losses on his company's account by placing unauthorized bets on European stock indexes and now this trader at MF Global Ltd. rang up $141.5 million in losses.  When is it going to stop? 

Here's the thing, when you lose while betting at the casino in Las Vegas, the casino has the money.   In this instance, someone has the money as well.   So I ask you again, do you know where your 401K and retirement funds are?  Do you know where the fund managers are investing those monies?  You'd better check right now.

You can read the rest of today's Associated Press story at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23388778/ - I also recommend you read my blog post from February 27th below to get a full story regarding gambling traders.

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Scan My Phone So I can Get Going

Don't know if you heard the latest but... There's a new way to get your boarding pass and airport information.  American Airlines has made it easy to get the information you need for your travels regardless of where you are.  Those of you who talk on the phone in the bathroom know what I mean.  :-)

Some of the features that got me excited are:

  • Check in for your flight
  • View your travel Itinerary
  • Confirm your departure gate
  • Flight Status and Schedules
  • Delayed Baggage Status
  • Destination Information: includes weather and airport information
  • Admirals Club® Lounges: find locations, purchase one day passes and memberships
  • Change your flights
  • Book your car

All you have to do is simply type www.aa.com into your cell phone or other Web-enabled mobile device and get connected. I hear they will even scan the flight check-in barcode directly from your mobile phone!  Now how cool is that?  I love technology!

To learn more about this visit http://www.aa.com/index_us.jhtml

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Whos' Minding the Store and Where's My 401K Funds?

Well it happened again and personally I don’t know how a company can lose $7.2 Billion dollars through one employee.  Especially after what we all learned from the Bearings Bank debacle.  I guess of you live long enough you will see companies do really stupid things and not learn from mistakes.

Bearings, a 100 year old British bank, was brought down by rogue trader Nick Leeson.  In 1995 trader Nick made $1.38 billion in unauthorized trades that brought Bearings Bank to its knees.  The bank was ultimately purchased by a Dutch bank for $1.   

This latest $7.2 billion loss by French bank Société Généralé who today find themselves with rogue junior trader Jérôme Kerviel at the helm of a string of bets that at one time had $50 billion of their funds on the table is troubling.  When the dust settled their final loss was $7.2 billion.  I can almost hear their sighs of relief that the loss was smaller than originally thought.  

My question is, where were the internal checks and balances that should have prevented a trader with a gambling habit from running wild?  How does it get so far out of hand?  It is especially of concern to me since I recently watched the movie “Rogue Trader” starring Ewan McGregor.  When Nick Leeson brought down Bearings bank I was a bank officer at what is now J.P. Morgan Chase bank.  As a member of the banking establishment I listened and watched as my bank made decisions and added controls so that it wouldn’t happen to us.

Interestingly, trader Jérôme Kerviel scoffs at the bank for missing the elementary sign that something is wrong.  He only took four days off last year.  “It is one of the first rules of internal controls:  a trader who does not take vacations is a trader who doesn’t want his books to be seen by others” he said.  It seems he considers them responsible for not executing the checks and balances created to prevent just this behavior.

Leeson wrote the best selling book “Rogue Trader: How I brought Down Bearing Bank and Shook the Financial World.”   His life was made into the above mentioned movie, he did his few years in prison and today he is a highly paid public speaker.  He’s now written another book titled “Back From the Brink: Coping with Stress.”  Bringing others to financial ruin apparently has its rewards.

The way I see it, this is a wake up call for us when we decide where to put our 401K or savings.  These people are using our funds to do the trades.  They are responsible and have a fiduciary duty to ensure our life savings are protected and that our pot of gold grows.  We should be ever vigilant about the trustees we put our money with.  

I recommend that you watch the movie “Rogue Trader” then contact your 401K people and make sure your savings are safe.  Banks only create money by using our money.  How well are they watching over yours?  Is someone minding the store are are the checks and balances crumbling as I write this?

It seems the banks have learned nothing since 1995.  Have you?

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Making History - Woman of Color First Black Female Owner Of A Man’s Pro Basketball Team

Well we here go again making history!  N'digo magazine is one of my favorites in Chicago because they cover the news in a unique way for people of color.  I love them so much that I interviewed and included N'Digo publisher Hermene Hartman in my book Self Creation: 10 Powerful Principles for Changing Your Life.  An excellent example of a self creator, Hermene was recently on the O'Reilly Factor sharing her ideas with America.

Hermene's N'Digo magazine cover article extolls the virtues of Alexis Levi-Scott, the world’s first Black woman owner, CEO and general manager of a professional male basketball team –– the Las Vegas Stars of the International Basketball League (IBL) Expansion Teams. “As a child, I’ve always known that I was going to be someone special. I was blessed with the gift of envisioning the future, so I knew something would happen,” recalls Alexis.

Don’t place her on the list of famous immortals yet, because just like many single Black mothers today, Alexis is a hard worker. A registered nurse for 14 years, this dedicated and devoted parent inspired her sons to play basketball and in return they inspired her to become more involved with their activities, which catapulted her greatest achievement thus far. 

Read the story about this incredible woman's journey to achievement of her destiny at  http://www.ndigo.com/coverstory.asp - Be sure to sign up for the N'Digo newsletter while you're there.  Tell them I sent you!

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Give the TSA a Piece of Your Mind - Via their new Blog

I am happy to share that the TSA has finally given road warriors like me a chance to give them a piece of our minds.  Yes, folks, they've started a blog that says  "This blog is sponsored by the Transportation Security Administration to facilitate an ongoing dialogue on innovations in security, technology and the checkpoint screening process." 

Previously we just didn't have a way to get these brainstorms to TSA administrator Kip Hawley and the other decision-makers. 

But last week the TSA added a blog to their website in order to “facilitate an ongoing dialogue on innovations in security, technology and the checkpoint screening process.” Titled the “Evolution of Security”  the blog invites us to post comments, questions and complaints about TSA issues.  And we certainly have.  In the first 48 hours, more than 1,000 comments were received. Now you can add yours as well.

A visit to the blog reveals a flood of postings from irritated travelers along with responses from the TSA.   I know you want to give them a piece of your mind.  So here's your chance.  Just visit their blog "Evolution of Security" at http://www.tsa.gov/blog and tell them what you think, ask your questions, and get a few things off your chest.

:-)

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YES WE CAN - A New Day Dawns

"No one can stop an idea whose time has come.  Nothing can stop and idea whose time has come."  So said Victor Hugo.

Today the JAD Woman Talking Blog announces our support and endorsement of Barack Obama as the next President of the United States.  Please take a moment to visit the link below to learn what happens when creativity and an idea whose time has come fuses together. 

The Yes We Can Song was written by will.i.am and performed by many artists who are also moved to express that YES WE CAN!

Just turn on the sound on your computer and click this link to watch the video of the song Yes We Can -  http://www.dipdive.com/

I am filled with emotion and HOPE.

PEACE  -  Yvonne F. Brown

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Go RED! Join the movement

February 1st is National Go Red Day. Your support is a vital part of the movement.  JAD Communications supports the campaign and encourages you to visit the  Go Red For Women website at http://www.goredforwomen.org/index.aspx and support the cause throughout the month by shopping for Go Red products! 

Remember to sign up and join the movement.

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How Secure is Your WiFi Connection?

If you're like me and prefer to use a laptop than a Blackberry then at some point or other you will use your laptop in a public place.  Blackberries are useful, but not very productive for certain kinds of work.  

There has been lots of talk for years about how unprotected your information and data is when using WiFi hotspots and in public areas.  If you have ever been on a business trip and had your flight delayed or been stuck at the airport you must admit that you fired up that laptop and got to work.  Consultants are especially suceptible to this open use of computers as every minute of your time is billable.

To help you better understand how easy this is, I refer you to an article by David Pogue who put a note up on his blog seeking a guest who could appear on his show and show him the 'hacky' ropes. He found John Baer, a technical consultant who seemed just right for the part.  

They met in a WiFi coffee shop and David fired up his laptop.  That's all it took. Then John turned his laptop around to reveal the following:

* Every copy of every e-mail message sent *and* received.

* A list of the Web sites David visited.

* Even, incredibly, the graphics that had appeared on the Web sites David had visited.

The most astounding part is that no special software was needed and anyone can do it.  Scary Huh?  So be careful out there.  I recommend you hop on and hop off the WiFi in public areas.  Just download your mail and then disable the WiFi, then fire it back up to send your responses and disable it again.  There is no guarantee that you won't be hijacked, but at least the window of opportunity for a hacker is only open for a very short time.

Read David Pogue's full artice at this link http://tinyurl.com/24zxg8

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New Year - New Website - I'm Going for the Gold!

The first month of 2008 is almost over.  By now you should have written your New Year’s Resolution and began working on them.  Or maybe by now you have decided to change some of them.  Regardless, they are your resolutions and it is your choice to implement or discard them.

2007 was a good year for JAD Communications International but I was restless.  I was ready to move to the next level.  So, one of my New Year Resolutions was to create a new website for my speaking and coaching business.  JAD Communications International will still function as it has always done, bringing you news and views related to advocacy for women.  The new website is a means of providing people and companies who need a speaker for their conference, or a coach for their career, with one source for that information.  The new website is www.yvonnefbrown.com and I would love your feedback regarding ease of use, look and feel, and content.  That said, I am asking you to take a visit and tell me what you think.  

As thank you for the feedback, I will present you with a complimentary membership in the JAD Communications network valued at $79.   I will also give a copy of the book “Proven Ways Women Overcome Obstacles and Succeed” to anyone who responds by February 28th, 2008.   All you have to do is fill out the form on the contact page of www.yvonnefbrown.com with your comments and send it.

“You’ve got to take life by the lapels and say, ‘Baby, I’m with you’!”  - Maya Angelou

Yvonne F. Brown

www.yvonnefbrown.com

www.jadcommunications.com

www.jadcommunications.com/Blog

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Verizon Customer Service Gone BAD

I am on the road again as always but this time I had an incident that just riled me.  First of all, the charger for my cell phone simply stopped working.   When I plugged it into the outlet there was no juice.  After lots of testing, I determined to purchase a new one as I had a conference call at the end of the day and did not have time to charge the phone in the car.

That's why I went to Circuit City.  It was the closest store that sold my charger and I had less than an hour to get it done.  So I jumped in my car and drove over. 

Behind the counter was a young man who made me wait while he completed his cell phone call.  No problem, perhaps it was important.  During our discussion regarding my purchase, this Verizon salesman picked up his cell phone and started reading an instant message then actually decided to respond to it while I (the customer) waited. 

I not only called him on it, but informed him that I would write about it on my blog.  That's when I suddenly became important again and he begged me not to write about this awful experience.

We all have our priorities and this is mine.  If you're in Oak Brook, avoid the Verizon store in Circuit City.  They don't care about your business unless you IM them.

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Don't EVER Drink From Hotel Glasses

If you travel often as I do, or even if you travel only occasionally, it is imperative that you view this video that shows what you may be in for. 

Warning, you might not like what you see.

 http://www.bestviral.com/video/6629/dont_ever_drink_from_hotel_glasses

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New Year - New Beginnings

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a prosperous 2008

May you have good health, career success, prosperity, and a year filled with abundance.

Yvonne F. Brown

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Batteries banned on Flights Beginning January 1st 2008

I travel a lot and I really enjoy it.  I mean really, I've finally got the TSA thing down to a system that works for me.  I understand the need for safety and I am willing to do my part.  But today I learned that they're ready to make another change come January 2008 and I find it ridiculous.

In an article titled, "Baggage Ban on Batteries" they report the following:

To help reduce the risk of fires, air travelers will no longer be able to pack loose lithium batteries in checked luggage beginning Jan. 1, the Transportation Department said Friday.

Passengers can still check baggage with lithium batteries if they are installed in electronic devices, such as cameras, cell phones and laptop computers. If packed in plastic bags, batteries may be in carryon baggage. The limit is two batteries per passenger.

The ban affects shipments of non-rechargeable lithium batteries, such as those made by Energizer Holdings Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co.'s Duracell brand.

I'm a professional speaker and I bring more than two extra batteries every trip.  Consider this.   The tools of my trade include a wireless microphone and digital camera.  These two devices alone require more than just the two batteries allowed per passenger.

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Best Christmas Ever - Making Peace with My Mother

It's the day after Christmas and I am truly feeling the spirit this year and here's why. 

I spoke with my 87 year old mother on Christmas day!

I know that some of you are saying so what?  But you don't know the whole story.  Whan I arrived in America at 17 years old it was the first time that I was able to live with my mother for any period of time.  She left me with my grandmother in Kingston, Jamaica (West Indies) when I was only 3 months old and the next time I saw her I was in high school.  She came back to Jamaica for a visit, and that was the first time I saw her in person.  So when I got to the United States we didn't know each other very well and like all teenagers I thought I knew everything. 

We didn't get along at all!  So by age 18 I moved out and never returned home.  I was miffed at her and rarely spoke to her for years.

On her 80th birthday I made peace with her and attended her birthday party.  We have had a fair relationship since then.

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Making a Difference When You Least Expect It

Last week I bounced all over the country for my speaking engagements.  On Tuesday I spoke in Tupelo, MS, Wednesday I spoke in Birmingham, AL, Thursday I spoke in Columbus, OH and I closed the week out in Burlington, VT.

As always, I really enjoyed meeting the ladies and teaching them about leadership.  Each location provided me with opportunities to help individuals on a one to one basis and do what I do best which is helping women to achieve their objectives.  One woman in Birmingham, AL wrote on my evaluation "This seminar is the best thing since the creation of Lays Potato Chips.  I just can't have one. I need more of these seminars!"

At the end of my session in Burlington, VT two women came up to me. That's when it happened.

One woman said to me "you were sent here today for a reason.  You are a Miracle!  You've never been to Vermont before have you?  When I arrived today and saw a woman of color at the front of the room I just had to sit in the front row."  As her eyes filled with tears I realized the sincerity of her comment, and that without even realizing it, I was making an important impact on her that would make a positive difference.  We connected and had a good discussion.

It meant a lot to me because that's my mission and purpose in life.  I help women on the Journey to Achievement of their Destiny.  In that moment, her journey and mine had joined together and I will never forget her.

I am grateful that she took the time to share the experience with me.

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You're Kidding Me Right?!

Now I've heard everything and the world can stop spinning around.  Today on MSNBC I saw a report that K-FED (that's Kevin Federline, Mr Britney Spears) is on the cover of Details Magazine as one of the 50 Most Influential Men under 45. 

That's right folks, I'm not kidding.  The man who abandoned his pregnant girlfriend to cavort with Britney Spears, make two other children, and then leave her with her life in shambles is being touted as someone we should look up to.

Mothers, protect your daughters.  Fathers, protect your sons.  This is what the media is foisting upon our children as the role model to aspire to.  It's like picking up a rock, turning it over to the wiggling worms on the bottom and then saying "kids this is what we want you to become."

It's bad enough that they have him on the most influential list, but to put him on the cover is just plain ridiculous.  Get him out of our face already he's scum!

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Integrity By Any Other Name is Fraud

It's always the same.  The onus is on you to check and clarify everything.  You can't take anything at face value, especially today.  Between the media and spin doctors it's difficult to tell what's factual and what they made up.  That's why the recent exposure of fake Enron whistle blower Lynn Brewer was so interesting to me.

Lynn Brewer has delivered 200 speeches at $13,000 per appearance (which equals millions of dollars) by billing herself as the whistle blower.  She even went so far as to create a company called The Integrity institute.  Adding insult to injury, Ms. Brewer is listed with Nobel Peace Center Exhibition  She is considered a star and is a founding member of the Open Compliance and Ethics Group.  She delivered the keynote address at a Sarbanes Oxley conference hosted by the New York Stock Exchange.   She has spoken all over the world and at universities on the importance of Ethics. 

The recent article in USA Today that outed this unethical woman includes interviews with her former co workers who know her only as a back office researcher. 

Sherron Watkins, the REAL whistle blower bears a resemblance to Ms. Brewer and I can see how those who did not do their homework might mistake the two.   As  professional speaker and member of the National Speaker's Association (NSA) I find her behavior unforgiveable.  But those who hired her for speaking engagements should have done their homework better.   One can only wonder how those who heard her speak about Ethics feel today knowing they were listening to a fake and a fraud.

To read the full story on USA today, follow this link http://www.usatoday.com/money/companies/2007-10-11-enron-lynn-brewer_N.htm?csp=34>

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African American Market Proves Its Clout Again!

Many new movies were released this weekend.  Michael Clayton starring George Clooney didn't have the expected turn out.  Neither did Cate Blanchett's "Elizabeth: The Golden Age."    We have informed businesses for years about the power of the African American market.  The have not listened.  This weekend Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married" with an ensemble cast that includes Janet Jackson, Malik Yoba, Jill Scott and writer-director Perry, debuted as the No. 1 weekend movie with $21.5 million, according to studio estimates.

Sadly, rather than recognize the buying power of the African American dollar, they decided to attribute this tremendous success by saying:  “Tyler Perry is a mogul,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers. “There is a built-in audience base for Tyler Perry’s movies, no matter what time of year, no matter what the subject matter.”

Michael Clayton the movie came in 3rd with only $11 million and Elizibeth: The Golden Years came in 6th with only $6 Million a far cry from what the critics expected. 

Imagine that!  Was it only last week that Halle Berry told an interviewer how difficult is for Black actresses to get scripts and good movie parts?  Wake up Hollywood, check out the numbers and start courting ths intapped market.

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Wage Wars - An Update from Philadelphia

I continue to monitor the news for anything related to workers and overtime pay and just yesterday in USA Today I found another article regarding it.

The article title is Wal-Mart workers win pay ruling - Walmart workers in Pennysylvania who previously won a $78.5 million class-action award for working off the clock will share an additional $62.3 million in damages a judge ruled on Wednesday, October 3rd.   About 125,000 people will receive payment under a state law.

Stay tuned, and stand up for your rights.

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Does Your Boss Owe You Overtime? - Here's How to Get Paid

As I mentioned in my post on Labor Day, there seems to be more and more people working longer hours and not being paid overtime.   In my opinion, this is an unfair business practice.  So imagine my pleasant surprize while walking through the airport recently upon spotting the October 1st issue of Business Week with the feature story Wage Wars - Billions are at stake as companies are forced to pay up.

I purchased my copy immediately and plunged into the article.  The story on page 50 talks about the many white collar workers who are mounting lawsuits against big business and demanding their overtime pay.   If you are one of those who have not been paid for overtime read on.

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Laboring Your Life Away

Today is Labor Day and I have mixed thoughts about it.   First of all, how much labor should a company expect from employees?  A recent article on MSNBC discusses a new company policy that orders employees to "use the lunch hour to check and respond to emails and return phone calls."  Whatever happened to the legal lunch hour?  To cap it off this work through lunch is done without compensation.

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Travel HELL

I've been traveling a lot lately and thought I had adjusted to the rigors of the work.  Then this last week really took the cake.  It began with me awakening on Monday morning at 4:00 am for a 6:00 am flight to Michigan.   The flight was late departing.

On Tuesday evening I had to take a connecting flight to get to my next engagement.  To make a long story short, I didn't arrive at my hotel until 1:30 am.  Got to bed at 2:00 am and arose at 5:30 am to deliver my Leadership Skills for Women seminar.   I was welcomed by the attendees and received positive feedback from them.  If only that was all for the week.  But no there was more to come.

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League of Black Women, the Baroness & the Astronaut

The League of Black Women 2007 conference "Strategic Power Plays" started with a wonderful reception and a presentation of the 2007 Black Rose Award to NASA Astronaut Joan Higginbotham. As she shared the story of her journey from her hometown of Chicago, Illinois to the Kennedy Space Center, I realized how far we have come as women of color.

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Vitriolic Valentines Must Go!

OK!  Enough is enough.  I know that the times have changed but a valentine that promises to kill me does not make my heart grow fonder.  Who wants to open a card and find a sentiment that reads "It's Valentines Day and I'm so happy we're together.  But if you ever leave me I'll kill you.  Like literally, I'll stab you."

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CEO in 'relationship' with consultant - is that a Conflict of Interest?

Cynthia Passmore, CEO of Enesco Group Inc. surprised a group of employees last week with the revelation that she’s having a personal relationship with a consultant she hired to help turn around the struggling knick-knack company.

Ms. Passmore delivered the news at a hastily called meeting with middle managers on Thursday, according to an employee who was there. After revealing that she is going through a divorce and apologizing for being distracted at work, Ms. Passmore disclosed that she has become involved with someone who “makes her happy,” according to the employee who was there.

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The Yuppies give birth to Yeppies

I've been watching the next generation with great interest for many years. This especially because my son Charles is one of them. I thought I was the only one who noticed that many young people today are idealistic and confused.

A recent intelligence report indicates that the current 20 somethings don't aspire to a job in finance and a BMW in the driveway. Rather, they quit their jobs to go backpacking, are slow to commit to relationships, and are idealistic but confused. more...

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U.S. stages massive mock Internet attack - 'Cyber Storm' tests how government would respond to online assault ... from Bloggers?!

First we had to deal with the U.S. spying on citizens and now this? What the Heck is going on? The Constitution gives Americans the right of free speech and bloggin is just one of the ways that we are able to do that.

In fact, because of bloggers many of us American get the truth behind the 'spin' that goes on in every medium in our society. So when I read the AP article about the government checking up on blogers it got me hopping mad! more...

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Working Girls are Fighting MAD in the UK and the US

I just returned from a 18 day tour of the UK speaking at women's conferences from Plymouth to London while I enjoyed the tour some things are very troubling.  My usual antennae for women's news was tingling particularly on my birthday. 

The January 15th Sunday Times News Review section 4 had a cover story called Working Girls.  It chronicled the troubles of six high flying women who are suing their employer for more than $billion and their complaints about treatment as professional woman in the city and Wall Street.

Let me highlight some of the more troubling things I found in the article.

1.  A female employee left a box of sweets on her desk at haloween and boss said loudly in front of her colleagues "You should move that or men will have their hands in your box."

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2006 The Year to Face Your Fears

Another year is over and a new year begins in less than 12 hours.  Last year I wrote a letter to myself listing all of my accomplishments of 2004.  With so much negativity bombarding us in the news on a daily basis, I endeavored to focus on the positive aspects of the year.  I cannot express how surprised I was when I read the letter.  

Was that only a year ago?  It seemed so far away that I took the time to verify and sure enough

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Wake Up and Smell the Breakfast Pizza

Folks sick of soggy cereal and bland bagels soon may get a morning pie-in-the-face: breakfast pizza. That's right, pizza with your morning coffee.

There's no tomato sauce. Toppings are more typically scrambled eggs and bacon, not pepperoni and mushrooms. But they're baked with pizza dough in pizza ovens.

Papa John's is testing Omelet Pizzas in the morning at downtown locations in five cities. Happy Joe's Pizza, a regional chain in Iowa, is about to move breakfast pizzas out of testing and onto permanent menu boards at some stores.

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Solar handbag powers all your gadgets

Most women are lucky in that we carry a purse that holds all of our gadgets and tech stuff.  Now men are carrying handbags too thanks to Joe Hynek who invented the bag.

He may get some guff for carrying a purse, but he says it's all in the name of science: He has designed a solar handbag that can power small electronic devices like cell phones.

The black purse is covered with laminated solar panels and is designed to power any small device that uses a USB port.

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Run out of Gas? They Track That Too!

I am adding this to my blog because it's just another of those insiduous things that are happening today that I think you should know about.  If you're like me you will find this truly disgusting.  The source for the article is listed at the bottom of this post.

You're running on empty, racing around town to get a last minute Christmas gift, and you make a grave but innocent error.  You forget to gas up, and your tank registers "E", and now, you're stuck on the side of the road.

But you thought ahead.  You signed up for roadside assistance with your auto insurance company, so with one phone call, help can be on the way - for free!

Not so fast.  Summoning that "free" help can end up being an expensive mistake.  It could lead to higher insurance premiums or even rejection of insurance coverage.

Huh?

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Be Careful Out There! Don't step off the curb too soon

When my son Charles was still living at home and even through his teens I would always tell him "Be careful out there" just as he left the house.  It became a ritual and he would sound a bit irritated as he responded "I will mom!"  I wish my friend John had been more careful too.

A brilliant man, a split second in time, and a life is forever changed

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Let's Cut a Hole in the Side of an Airplane and Study the Universe in the Infrared Spectrum

As a professional speaker, women's advocate and leadership trainer I travel a lot. One of the reasons I enjoy traveling is the opportunity to meet new people. The downside is that sometimes I return to a major airport on a 'puddle jumper' from a small airport that might close down or cancel flights simply because of the weather. It was on just such a flight that I met Don Gillespie.

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Meet Valarie, She's a Domestic Android

Hey, I'm a Busy Woman & I Could Use a Helping Hand

Are you a busy woman like me who could use a helping hand around the house? Well, this innovation may be just the thing you need.   Meet Valarie.  Valerie is a domestic android.

Valerie will clean your house, change light bulbs, wash the dishes, do the laundry, check the sports scores for you, book plane tickets and call the police if there's an emergency.  She speaks English but more importantly, understands English and hence can be programmed by non-programmers.  Valerie went on sale Christmas of 2004 for US$59,000 with a two year warranty...

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Stopping the Naysayers and Building a Successful Business to Boot!

Shirley Gross-Moore says "Stay Focused and Confident"

When Shirley Gross-Moore entered the Chrysler Corporation’s newly instituted minority dealer development program in 1986, she encountered many who believed women, especially African-American women, had no place in auto dealer ownership.

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Volvo Seeks Permission to Drink and Drive!

OK, hold it right there people! Where do you think you're going with that drink in your hand? You're going for a drive? In Sweden? Volvo said it's alright?!!

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Attack of the Weasel Words - Reminds me of my Buzzword Bingo Days

Enough with the corporate speak already! Just say what you mean for Pete's sakes. Many years ago while a technology officer at a top 10 U.S. bank I noticed that there were a group of words that were consistently used in conversations by staff members. It got so bad that we devised a game to use during meetings. We called it "Buzzword Bingo."

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Popular Parkinson's Drug Linked to Gambling - Side effect includes Sex and Shopping Addiction

CHICAGO (July 12th) - Joe Neglia was a retired government intelligence worker with Parkinson’s disease when he suddenly developed what he calls a gambling habit from hell.

After losing thousands of dollars playing slot machines near his California home several times a day for nearly two years, Neglia stumbled across an Internet report linking a popular Parkinson’s drug he used with compulsive gambling.

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How Stella Lost her Groove and Found Herself

Like almost every woman who saw the movie "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" I fell in love with the romantic notion the plot was built around. The fact that I am a Jamaican woman who came to America at seventeen notwithstanding, the movie at least portrayed a Jamaican family in an upper middle class setting.

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Move Over PDiddy, Watch out 50cent

Now I've seen everything. Move over PDiddy, watch out 50 cent, I just saw the "Mideast Hip Hop Faceoff" on the news.

Much like when the Russian communists found and embraced Rock and Roll, the Middle Easterners have found another American means of self expression. They are now creating Hip Hop Rap music in their own language.

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Microsoft Channel 9 Gets Social with Developers

Back to business! Just found this article at Infoworld and thought you would find it as interesting as I did.

Microsoft's Channel 9 gets social with developers

By Joris Evers, IDG News Service April 06, 2004

Microsoft has quietly expanded its Microsoft Developer Network with a Web site that combines a host of social networking technologies in a move to improve communications with outside software developers.

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Menopause The Musical

Well I went to the off-broadway hit called "Menopause the Musical" with my neighbor last night and Oh my Lord it was a hoot!

I laughed for 90 minutes and couldn't believe when it was over that 90 minutes were up because it was so much fun!

If you have the chance to see this play I highly recommend it.

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Bluetooth Rules at My House

Finally got the bluetooth keyboard and bluetooth mouse. They are really cool. Love the keyboard the keys feel great. The mouse though is really nice. It sits in its own little cradle and never needs batteries. This mouse is recharged whenever you put it in the cradle.

OK, so now I have a bluetooth phone, Erricsson T68i, and a bluetooth PDA Compaq iPAQ plus this mouse and keyboard.

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Sounds Like a Hoot!

Got invited by my neighbor to a musical tomorrow evening called "Menopause the Musical" - Never heard about it before but it sounds like a hoot!

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Linkdump

Entries posted in the linkdump category will appear in this column.

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