Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Don't Just Take My Word

Want to hear about the conference from someone else's point of view? Check out a couple of other blog entries from some women who attended:

Hartke Is Online - She really outlines the points in Jillian's message.

Tawana's FitChick Blog - She gives a great overview of the day.

And check out some more photos:

You might be wondering what these ladies are doing. Well, they are shaking their boombsey as they get a sample of the Kukuwa Dance Workout. See, I told you we had FUN!!!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I Finally Gave Birth!

My baby finally arrived!

Not the baby you carry home wrapped in a blanket and tucked secure in a car seat...I'm talking about the first annual "Get Radical" Women's Conference!

I've been working on this event for over 7 months and it was FANTASTIC! Women from all across the country, including Florida, Massachusetts, Illinois, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado, West Virginia, North Carolina and Delaware, had a day of learning, networking and FUN.

The speakers were incredible - Barbara Stanny, Valorie Burton, Brenda J. Smith, and of course, the amazing Jillian Michaels from NBC's hit TV show The Biggest Loser. And for those participants who attended the VIP Luncheon with Jillian, they enjoyed some personal one-on-one time with her.

Here are just a few photos and over the next couple of weeks, I'll be posting some of the tips and strategies that the speakers shared, as well as more pictures and videos.

Thanks to everyone for coming out and making this event a HUGE success. We hope to see you next year!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why I Give

When times are good, people are usually in a "giving" mood. Charity donations are up. Volunteerism is up. And people are more willing to lend a helping hand. But when the economy tanks, people lose jobs, and begin to worry about their mortgage and other bills, thoughts of helping others can fall by the wayside.

But I want to encourage you to continue to help those in need and continue to support the charities and programs that help people who are homeless, abused, mistreated, hungry, sick, and just plain down on their luck.

This month, I was the featured donor in the newsletter of a charity I support. I just wanted to share it with you.
Reprinted Article from the March 2009 Innocence Project Newsletter.

Why I Give
Doreen Rainey
Professional and Personal Coach
Bowie, Maryland
I learned about the Innocence Project from a friend who works as an attorney. She and I talk frequently about the racial and socioeconomic disparities in our criminal justice system and the need for immediate reform.

While the suffering caused by a wrongful conviction is impossible to imagine, I believe these injustices are the tip of the iceberg and point to deeper problems in the system. It’s obvious to me that poor people and members of minority groups are more likely to face injustice in our courts and prisons, but we’re a soundbite society and the problems with courts and law enforcement often fail to enter the public conversation. Thankfully, wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing have raised the level of this discourse and have contributed to real reform. The common-sense solutions supported by the Innocence Project are inspiring and could provide a platform for change throughout the system.

I always want my donations and efforts to have as big an impact as possible, and sometimes this stops me from making small gifts. I think I was holding back from supporting groups like the Innocence Project because I couldn’t afford to fully fund an individual case or make a major contribution. My friend helped open my eyes to the power of every dollar. I started making a monthly donation to the Innocence Project, and now I realize that every gift has an exponential impact. This is the first time I’ve set up an automatic monthly gift, and I’m proud to say that the Innocence Project can count on my continuing support. In these economic times, consistency helps organizations be as effective as possible.

My career is focused on helping others maximize this opportunity called life. I like to think that the Innocence Project does this as well - it helps give new lives to people who have lost their most precious asset - their freedom. My support of the Innocence Project means so much to me, because now I realize that even when you can’t do something big, it’s doing something that matters.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Is she black? Is she white? Can she sing? Can she dance?

These are the lyrics to the upcoming single by Jamie Jones, a singer who is managed by X-Posure Entertainment (owned by my hubby!).

The song is called Whatever and I love it because it challenges people to look beyond the things that keep us divided - especially race - and get to know people for what's on the inside.

This country loves to label people - blue collar, white collar, middle class, white, black, native American, fat, skinny, poor, privileged, smart, and the list goes on and on and on. We have all been guilty of looking at someone and making snap judgements - assuming we know their story because of what's on the outside. I believe doing that sometimes causes us to miss out on getting to know the REAL person - and possibly making a lifelong friend.

After all these years, the common saying still holds true: Don't judge a book by its cover.

Below is the promo for Jamie's upcoming video release for Whatever. Check it out and hear what she has to say about the lyrics behind the song.

Prelude To My WHATEVER Music Video Release

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wealth of a Nation

I was interviewed today on Wealth of a Nation - a talk radio show in the DC area. We talked about the upcoming conference and how women can improve their finances and career. Here's a few clips:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Deliberate Practice

So you want to be great? You want to be successful? You want to be one of the best in your field? Really? Is that so?

Whether it's a sport, art, music, writing, your career, or your business, you've had dreams and visions of being #1. Winning it all. Achieving the ultimate top level.

But the truth is, it doesn't matter what you say you want - it only matters what you do to get what you want.

Think of the people who have been, or currently are, at the top of their game. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Warren Buffet (his company's stock, Berkshire Hathaway, though down, is still trading at about $82,000 per share), Michael Phelps, Beyonce, Bobby Fischer (chess grandmaster at 16), Serena Williams, or Bill Gates.

What do all of these people have in common? How about commitment, dedication, and countless hours of studying and practicing. Now think about your situation. How much time do you dedicate to your goal? Think back over the last three months - pull out a pen and a piece of paper - write down how much time you given to your goal. Was it at least 3 hours a day? 2 hours a day? Twice a week? Once a month? Does the time you've devoted to your goal reflect the fact that you want to be the best - or at the very least improve?

But I want to be clear. Studying or practicing for the sake of studying or practicing isn't the goal. Check out this portion from an article written by Geoffrey Colving, senior editor-at-large at Fortune Magazine:

The best people in any field are those who devote the most hours to what the researchers call "deliberate practice." It's activity that's explicitly intended to improve performance, that reaches for objectives just beyond one's level of competence, provides feedback on results and involves high levels of repetition.

For example: Simply hitting a bucket of balls is not deliberate practice, which is why most golfers don't get better. Hitting an eight-iron 300 times with a goal of leaving the ball within 20 feet of the pin 80 percent of the time, continually observing results and making appropriate adjustments, and doing that for hours every day - that's deliberate practice.

Consistency is crucial. As Ericsson notes, "Elite performers in many diverse domains have been found to practice, on the average, roughly the same amount every day, including weekends."
Evidence crosses a remarkable range of fields. In a study of 20-year-old violinists by Ericsson and colleagues, the best group (judged by conservatory teachers) averaged 10,000 hours of deliberate practice over their lives; the next-best averaged 7,500 hours; and the next, 5,000. It's the same story in surgery, insurance sales, and virtually every sport. More deliberate practice equals better performance. Tons of it equals great performance.

So what is "deliberate practice" for you? Whatever your field, I encourage you to get serious and fill your days with deliberate practice.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

4 Months, 23 Days

There are many milestones in life. Your first steps. Your first kiss. College graduation. Marriage. Children. And then... the big 4-0. That's what's happening to me this year. It seemed like yesterday I was celebrating my 35th birthday for the 4th time. Yet, time is ticking and the day is drawing near.

I've always been a "birthday" person, meaning I LOVE to celebrate them. Dinners, parties, trips, gifts, party hats, and streamers! You name it...I want it. But as thoughts of how I'd celebrate this year raced through my head, I started thinking of what I could do that would be a very personal accomplishment. And while I came up with something that isn't that original, it's something that will give me a great sense of achievement - I want to run!

For those that follow this blog, you know I've spent this past year getting in shape, losing weight and taking better care of my health. But with all the exercise I've done, I haven't been a runner. Over the next several months, that will change.

Now, a good goal to set would be a 5k. A challenging goal to set would be a 10k. But the RADICAL goal? A half marathon. Which is exactly what I've decided to do to celebrate my birthday. I just signed up for the Chicago Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon taking place on August 2, 2009 - 1 day before my b-day!

As I shared this with some people, I could hear the laughter. That told me I was on the right track, because, as you know, I believe that if people aren't laughing at your dreams, they aren't big enough. And believe me, some people are howling, crying, and doubled over with this one. Looking at me today, there are very few people that would think that I'll be ready on August 2nd. But I don't care. This isn't for them. It's for me!

What about you?

With all the challenges the country is facing - jobs, investments, the economy, and health care - people are revisiting and refocusing on the things that are truly important and looking for ways to achieve more of their personal goals.

Why not take on a personal challenge that will give you an inner sense of accomplishment? It might not be to run a half marathon, but perhaps you want to learn a language, take up sowing, write a book, or pick up a hobby you put down long ago. Whatever it is - I know you'll do it well!

Friday, March 6, 2009

This Opportunity Called Life

I had the honor of being interviewed by The Innocence Project this week. I financially support this organization and they periodically feature donors in their newsletter. This non-profit works to free wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing. Many of the people proven innocent and released from prison spent over 15 years serving time for a crime they didn’t commit.

Having no personal experience with this type of situation, the interviewer asked why I’m passionate about supporting the work that they do. I’d like to share with you what I shared with him.

My mission and purpose through my coaching practice is to help individuals maximize this opportunity called life. Especially now. Times are tough. People are losing jobs, homes, retirement funds, college money, and for many people, they are losing hope. But as long as you are alive, you have the opportunity to not just survive - but thrive. The same can’t be said for those who The Innocence Project helps. Their opportunity has been stolen from them as they sit in jail cells wondering if the truth will ever come out.

So what do I mean by “this opportunity called life”? Let’s break it down.

Defined as an identifier. Which means that this life…your life…is it. It’s the only one you get. There’s no use in wishing that you were someone else because it’s not going to happen. As they say in poker – you gotta play the hand you were dealt. The good news is, with the right strategy and approach, this life – your life – can be filled with passion, contentment, fulfillment and success.

Defined as a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal. A good position, chance, or prospect for advancement or success. As long as you have breath – you have opportunity. The key is to be open to new ideas, new perspectives, and new thoughts about what’s possible for your life. However, to recognize and seize opportunities, you must also being willing to let go of old baggage, past disappointments, and the feeling of lost for what wasn’t.

We all have a purpose. A reason for being here. And that purpose is not just for you - it's for someone else. Your calling will give you the outlet for your purpose and it will have a positive impact on others – whether it is one person or 1 million people. Tapping into your calling helps the “opportunities” become more obvious.

This is not a dress rehearsal. There are no second takes. Your life is the sum of your experiences, relationships, choices, dreams, hopes and fears. Learn from your experiences. Nurture positive relationships and sever ties to those toxic relationships. Make smart choices based on your values, beliefs, and what’s right for you – not on what your family, society, or outside influences think. Dream big – always. Never lose your hope – it’s what keeps you going when all else seems lost. And since no life exists without fear – face them. As the saying goes – feel the fear and do it anyway.

Here’s to you taking full advantage of this opportunity called life!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Are You Doing Your Best?

How easy can it be to take a shortcut?
How easy is it to do just enough to get by?
Do you work differently when your boss is around?
Do you go to work only doing enough to ensure a paycheck?
Do you cut your reps shorts if your trainer isn't watching?
Have you ever done only enough to get a passing grade when you were in school?

All of these questions bring me to the last agreement:

Agreement #4 - Always Do Your Best

But before you commit to this agreement, let's first understand what it means to always do your best.

Does doing your best mean being the best? Absolutely not! You don't have to have the highest grades, come in first place, make the most money, be the most liked, or win at everything you do.

Is doing your best measured in time? Absolutely not! Sometimes we get confused and think that the more time we give to something, the more it demonstrates our commitment to excelling at it. But don't be fooled. Look at the example Ruiz gives using meditation. However, you could replace that with anything.

Ruiz writes: “You are not here to sacrifice your joy or your life. You are here to live, to be happy and to love. If you can do your best in two hours of meditation, but you spend eight hours instead, you will only grow tired, miss the point and you won’t enjoy your life. Do your best, and perhaps you will learn that no matter how long you meditate, you can live, love and be happy.”

So how can you measure whether you are doing your best?

Ruiz writes: “Under any circumstance, always do your best, no more and no less. But keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next. Everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be high quality, and other times it will not be as good. When you wake up refreshed and energized in the morning, your best will be better than when you are tired at night. Your best will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick, or sober as opposed to drunk. Your best will depend on whether you are feeling wonderful and happy, or upset, angry or jealous.”

By doing our best, we can look back on the results and be free of guilt and self-judgment from thinking that we haven’t done enough. It's only when we cheat ourselves that we can become filled with regret.

Also, doing your best is being in action. But it's the kind of action you take that determines whether you are living out this agreement. Ruiz says: "When you always do your best, you take action. Doing your best is taking the action because you love it, not because you're expecting a reward. Most people do exactly the opposite: They only take action when they expect a reward, and they don't enjoy the action."

So there you have it - the four agreements:

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
2. Don't Take Anything Personally
3. Don't Make Assumptions
4. Always Do Your Best

No matter where you live, what you do, or how old you are - this isn't a bad way to live your life!