Monday, August 31, 2009

Going Through the Motions

I listened to a song today that I've heard many times over the last several months, yet I never really paid attention to the words. Until today. One of the lines really stuck out to me:

"What if I had given everything, instead of going through the motions?"

What a great question!

I once heard Oprah say that many people are living an unconscious life. That's what "going through the motions" means to me. Day in and day out. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year. All of it runs together. Have we gotten into such a routine, such a rut, that we look up one day and wonder "where did my life go?"

Of course we have dreams. Of course we have goals. Of course we have things we want to accomplish. Of course we make plans to do things that make us feel alive. Of course we want to experience all that life has to offer. But then comes work, long commutes, paying bills, and plain old lack of energy.

But "what if you give everything instead of going through the motions?"

If you are feeling that you are just going through the motions...the good news is that you can make a change. Just imagine.

Imagine if you went to work with a renewed excitement to do your job better. To focus on fostering relationships with other coworkers and being more engaged. To do what it takes to get ahead, make a real contribution, and have a serious impact on the success of your company. Imagine if you look for other opportunities - both inside and out of your company - that's more in line with what you ultimately want to do with your career.

Imagine what life could be like if you stopped being on automatic pilot when you got home in the evening - cooking dinner, dealing with the kids and watching TV. What if you tried a new recipe, spent quality time with your children - refusing to give in to video games, the Internet, or the TV (several years ago, we got rid of every TV in the house for almost a year).

Imagine if you set fear aside and did the things that you long to do. What could your life be like if you let your heart pound and your hands get sweaty, but went ahead and did it anyway (whatever your "it" is).

Imagine if you made your health, and the health of your family, your number one priority. Refusing to be swayed by easy, cheap meals or unhealthy snacks. Imagine if you went to bed early so you could exercise in the morning. Imagine if you skipped the local sandwich shop for lunch and went for a walk instead.

Imagine if you cut out time wasting activities and reconnected with your hobbies - the very things that bring you pure joy. Those hobbies where you lose track of time because you are truly loving what you are doing. Is it crafts, scrapbooking, baking, sewing, photography, collecting wine, doing home improvement projects, fishing, gardening, painting, or writing?

In this day and age, it takes a real effort to give everything and NOT just go through the motions. But what if you didn't just imagine what life could be - but you actually begin living it.

Here's hoping that you do!

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Another RADICAL Moment - In the Sky

As someone who promotes living a RADICAL lifestyle, it's no secret that I don't mind stepping outside of my comfort zone. Adventurous and curious by nature, I love to learn and experience new things.

Knowing this, my hubby planned a secret adventure for me today. Without a clue as to where we were headed, I was surprised, when after an hour of driving, our car turned into a private airport in Leesburg, VA. Getting out the car, I figured we were going to do an aerial tour of the Washington, DC area. Imagine my shock when after we checked in, the woman behind the desk asked which of us would be flying the plane today!

That's when my hubby pointed to me.

After a short lesson on using the instruments and going through the pre-flight checklist, I settled into the cockpit of a 4-seater plane with my co-pilot, Kelly (pictured on the right). In minutes, we were headed for the runway!

With my hubby in the back row, we hit the throttle and headed skyward.

Let me tell you, the takeoff was shaky! I thought I was going to hyperventilate as I tried to control the nose of the plane, but Kelly remained calm and talked me through it. After about 10 minutes, I was able to somewhat, kinda, sorta, relax as we flew out to West Virginia. But just when I thought I had gotten into the swing of things, Kelly asked if I wanted to turn upside down. Now, there's RADICAL, and then there's stupid. I told her unless she wanted to see me throw up, we need to stay upright. However, I did do a 360 turn with the plan almost on its side. That was enough tricks for me.

After almost an hour in the air, we headed back. Thankfully, Kelly handled the landing.

So what about you? What RADICAL adventures are you having in life? Are you flying high with advancing your career, furthering your education, taking that vacation of a lifetime, going scuba diving, starting your own business, asking for a raise, leaving your dead-end job, or simply getting in the cockpit of a plane?

Whatever you do...make it RADICAL.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tips for Starting a Consulting Practice

I can't take credit for the following information. I came across it on the consultant's discussion forum on SHRM. I think it's great advice for anyone looking to start their own consulting practice (or coaching, training, etc).

This was written by D. Kevin Berchelmann, President, CEO and principal consultant at Triangle Performance (with a little help from other posters). A highly acclaimed strategist and thought leader in executive and organization performance, he focuses on executive teambuilding, strategy development and compensation, individualized coaching, performance improvement, and retention.

Let me know if you agree, disagree, or have more to add.

Tips for Starting a Consulting Business

1. Clients first. Nothing else matters until you've got revenue. Hold off on spending any money on anything else until you have ONE paying client. The rest of this advice is for AFTER that client is on board.

2. Web presence. Ditch the local Internet provider, AOL, or Yahoo as your e-mail address and get your own domain. Purchase and hosting will cost less than a month on AOL. Besides, you can't sell professionalism from "" You just can't. Start with a simple web page or two, then build over time, as expertise, comfort and business builds.

3. Paper. Buy the BEST business cards and letterhead you can afford. Scrimp somewhere else, not here. It matters. Don't print them on your computer, and don't design them yourself. Hire a designer and have them professionally printed. Trust me, it does matter.

4. Network. Contact everyone you know -- even slightly -- and tell them what you are doing. No need to sell THEM, they now know; ask them for help, to refer someone they know who might need your services. And when you go talk to that person, ask them the same question. Networking is dynamic and iterative. You have to stay on it incessantly.

5. Be prepared to tell people "what you do." I'm not a believer in this "elevator speech" business, but you do need to be able to explain to someone who asks what you do, without taking 10 minutes to do it. Say your piece as quickly as possible, then ask about THEM, with lots of follow-up questions, since...

6. ...Remember, "it ain't about you." No one really cares about your background, credentials, prior VP jobs, or Mensa membership. They care about WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR THEM. That's it. The rest may -- later -- help with credibility when selling big dollars, but it won't get you in the dance to begin with.

7. Invest in technology. Laptops, smartphones/blackberry, good cellphones/service, reliable ISPs, etc. If you look and act cheap, you will be cheap. Can't separate the two; and you’ll need the additional help that effective technology provides independent consultants.

8. Write. Articles, books, white papers, surveys. Do it all the time; always have one or more in the works. Research (learn and use Google constantly), interviews, and put YOUR OWN STUFF in there so potential clients can get a feel for "who you are." A reality -- you cannot be all things to all people, so don't even try. Make it clear who you are and why you're different. Be a contrarian, over-principled, contra-culture, whatever... just take real stands on things that matter to potential markets.

9. Meet other consultants, and help them freely whenever possible.

10. Self assess constantly. Consulting is hard work, but potentially lucrative financially, personally, and professionally. But it's not for everyone, and you need to make sure it's "for you." No shame if not, but considering the diverse effort it takes to be successful, it would be folly to try if you weren't having fun.

11. Remember that consulting is the means to an end. You are a unique individual who consults, not a consultant who has other interests. Make sure that consulting is not your "whole life."

12. Too many consultants work too hard and charge too little. Don't be afraid to raise your fees. You're delivering a service that hopefully has far-reaching value for the client. It's important to help them see it. Besides, it's not good to be known as the "cheap alternative to xxx."

13. Work with clients that are interesting and challenging. Don't take on a difficult client because you need the cash. It's a recipe for disaster.

14. Another note on networking...speak to every community group that will have you. Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, etc. all have weekly or monthly meetings and are scratching to fill speaker slots.

15. SWOT yourself every year. Assess the environmental factors to figure out what you should be doing that you're not doing and what you need to stop doing. Another step in the self-development path.

16. Don't be afraid to take risks. The worst that can happen is you might lose some money and have a little embarrassment. So what? Risk-taking is what will propel you to the next level of success.

17. Have an informal board of advisers or some other entity or group of individuals that you can call on for advice, whether as a group or individually. Sometimes when you're in the thick of something, it's hard to see all the angles and make sound decisions.

18. Be gracious, generous and full of gratitude. Allow other people to make soft landings when they err. Be generous in praise for others. Give generously to your favorite charities, both with time and money. Express gratitude to those who have helped you become successful and who have been supportive of your endeavors.

19. And you can't say this enough.... Have fun, do good things, and make money. Done correctly – and successfully -- consulting is a great way of life.

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Doreen Rainey is a Professional Life Coach and Speaker who helps her clients Get RADICAL! To subscribe to her bi-weekly newsletter and receive 7 RADICAL Tips, visit her website. For a FREE 30-day membership to her coaching program, click here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

De-Motivate Yourself

As someone who likes to see the glass half full and believes that dreams can come true, I couldn't help but laugh at those who insist on giving me a dose of reality! I hope you enjoy these "motivational" posters as much as I did!

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Bumpy Ride or Smooth Sailing?

Is your life a smooth ride or a bit bumpy? One way to find out is to complete the Wheel of Life.

This is one of the initial exercises I ask my clients to complete when we begin coaching. While it's a short exercise, it’s a powerful way to give you a visual snapshot of how satisfied you are with where you are. The results give you a vivid visual representation of the way your life is currently, compared with the way you would ideally like it to be.

You'll be asked to rate 8 areas of your life:

  • Career
  • Money
  • Health
  • Friends/Family
  • Significant Other/Relationship
  • Personal Growth
  • Fun/Recreation
  • Physical Environment

If you want to see how bumpy or smooth your life ride is right now, do the exercise. But remember, the key is to be 100% honest with yourself and rate your level of satisfaction, right now, with where you are today and NOT where you want to be.

The information from this short exercise provides a wealth of information. It helps you see where you are and prioritize what you want to change. You can see where you may be out of balance or areas of your life you have been ignoring for one reason or another. Using this information, my clients and I decide what area(s) we want to focus on first.

So go ahead...take a few minutes and complete the wheel. Once done, you can see how smooth, or bumpy, your wheel is. You'll also get some tips on how to deal with the areas that need your attention.

Be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you learned!

Wheel Of Life Exercise

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Doreen Rainey is a Professional Life Coach and Speaker who helps her clients Get RADICAL! To subscribe to her bi-weekly newsletter and receive 7 RADICAL Tips, visit her website. For a FREE 30-day membership to her coaching program, click here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Do You Need to Shut Up?

Here's an article from my newsletter that ran about a year and a half ago. After having a conversation with someone this week, I thought the message of this bears repeating!
Being a friend, co-worker, manager, and coach, I have heard my share of complaints. Everything from "I have a terrible boss" to "I never have any money" to "She gets on my last nerve". As I listened to more and more people sing the blues, I realized that there was a pattern with some people. They weren't venting, they were chronic complainers.

Everyone has a bad day or a frustrating moment. When that happens, you sometimes need a listening ear to get it off your chest. That's called venting. However, if you have become like a broken record, singing the same sad song over and over and over and over and over again, you've now become a chronic complainer and are probably annoying everyone you force to listen to your problems.

Here's my definition of a ventor:
You are a ventor when "getting it off your chest" is all you need to re-energize yourself, put the situation behind you, or go back into a situation with a better attitude. A ventor is just looking for a quick break to regroup. But once they take that quick break, they are able to move on.

Now, here's my definition of a chronic complainer:
A chronic complainer is not so lucky. Your objective is to wallow in your misery - dragging other people with you! How often do we need to hear how unhappy you are with your job? How many times do we have to hear about your terrible boss? How many times do you have to tell us that you're broke? How many times do we want to hear that your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse has plucked your last nerve?

You spend your time reminding us of all the things in life you have to put up with. The burdens you have to bear. The idiots that you have to work with. The annoying people in your family. And of course, none of the problems you have are your fault. Nooooooo, the blame belongs with everyone else.

So the question you have to ask yourself is: Am I just venting or am I a chronic complainer?

To find your answer, take this short quiz:

1. Can people tell YOU your problems word for word?
2. Have people stopped offering advice and just listen, nod and agree?
3. Do you have a pattern of having the same conversations about your problems -sometimes with people you barely know?
4. Do you usually see the negative side of every situation?

5. Can you take any conversation and turn it into a discussion about your problems?
6. Do people find a polite (or not so polite) way to leave the room when you arrive?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions - guess what? You're a chronic complainer. Now, please know that I have found that some chronic complainers are in complete denial. So just to be sure, have some of your friends and coworkers take the quiz FOR you. Do their answers match up with yours?

If you failed the quiz, how can you break the complaint cycle? Easy. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
  • Find a new job.
  • Talk with your boss about how you can improve your working relationship.
  • Stop spending money you don't have.
  • Break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Get professional help.
  • Just shut up! (My favorite solution)

The people who have to listen to you moan and groan day in and day out really don't care what you do. They just want you to deal with it! And when you do - even if it's just a small step - all of us that have been forced to listen to you will rejoice!

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Monday, August 10, 2009

46 Years and Counting

Tonight, I joined my parents for dinner. Now, going out on a Monday is not something we normally do, but tonight we decided to make an exception. August 10th is their wedding anniversary - 46 years!

As I will celebrating 16 years next month, I started thinking about what it takes to have a successful relationship. I'm not saying that one size fits all, but I came up with my top 10 list.

1. Don't just decide to stay together - decide to stay together and be happy.
I hear about couples staying together for the kids or because they can't afford to divorce. Well, if you are going to be together, why not be happy together? Happiness is a decision. Once the decision is made to be together AND be happy, you start focusing your attention on doing things that lead to good times...and happiness emerges.

2. Don't be afraid to let the other shine.
Being supportive of each other's personal goals lets each person become the best they can be. Everyone has a purpose. Letting the other person fulfil that purpose makes them a better spouse. Also, having individual interests makes the relationship more interesting.

3. Be silly.
While my hubby will deny this, we get a little silly every now and then. Dance contests. Singing battles. Dressing my dog up (okay, that's just me). But you get the idea. Nothing beats a good laugh.

4. Take vacations.
Whether it's one night at the hotel down the street, a week in Aruba, or a month on the Amalfi Coast, plan getaways for just the two of you. Explore new things - even if it's just in your hometown. We live in the DC area, so there's a ton of things to do - museums, theatre, monuments. Make time for each other, even if you just take the day off and enjoy. And don't just enjoy the sites, enjoy being with each other.

5. Embrace the 80/20 rule.
I'm not sure if this was original when they used it in the movie Why Did I Get Married? But I like it. It says your spouse will only give you 80% of what you want. The other 20? You probably won't get it - but you can't go looking for it in someone else. Because if you do, you'll end up with 20% - but you won't have the 80%. Now, I'm sure I can identify some of the 20% my husband is doing without: I'm not the best cook or the neatest person. And I'm sure he could add a lot more to this list. But no matter how long each of our lists are - the 80% far outweighs the 20%.

6. Don't let your friends/family infiltrate your relationships.
Don't know how to make this clearer. You work out your relationship issue with the person you are in a relationship with - not outsiders. Family and friends may mean well (and sometimes they don't). If you do need to seek outside help (which I've known people to do and it has helped them tremendously), seek out a professional.

7. Have a mission bigger than the two of you.
I have a passion for helping others - both through my business and through the charities I support, such as the Innocence Project. My goal is change the lives of millions for the better. My hubby has a soft spot for the devastating drop-out rates of males in inner cities. As a couple, we know that the impact we want to have is bigger than us - so we don't want to waste precious time with petty relationship stuff.

8. Act like you love each other.
Love is an action verb. It should be demonstrated in the way you talk to each other, treat each other, talk about each other when the other person is not there, and the way you act and carry yourself.

9. Learn how to deal with conflict.
There will be disagreements - and they have to be resolved. You need to talk about how you will deal with issues around money, children, career, family, religion, money, money, money and money.

10. Be selfish - with your relationship.
Protect it. Be devoted to it. Care for it. Make it the priority. Put it above all else.

Well, that's all I got. Feel free to agree, disagree or add your own. I'd love to hear what makes your relationship a success.

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Meet My Health Coach

I'm so thrilled that my very good friend, Teleshia Delmar, has become a Certified Health Counselor, having graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. We've known each other for over 10 years and I've watched her passion for understanding the role that nutrition plays in your overall health and wellness grow. Now, she's turned that passion into a career.

Teleshia’s interest in the health industry began as she educated herself to address her own personal health concerns…fibroids, multiple miscarriages, gestational diabetes, and a family history of high blood pressure and diabetes. Teleshia also watched her mother fight a very rare form of cancer.

Teleshia understands the power of maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating right, maintaining regular physical activity, sustaining a viable career and retaining meaningful relationships. Her company, Resurrect Health, helps people achieve their health goals in areas such as weight management, food cravings, sleep, energy and digestion. She focuses on helping her clients understand the benefits of eating whole foods and moving away from foods that are processed, reengineered, or filled with ingredients that you can't pronounce. I especially loved her workshop on sugar. Very eye opening!

Her mission is to help people understand why they are challenged with weight or unhealthy habits and then coach and educate them so that they can make smart, informed decisions and reach their health, weight and lifestyle goals.

I love the name of her company, the tagline, and the logo. She explains:

"Each aspect of our distinguishing name, tagline and logo has significant meaning; not only to us, but also for our clients. We named our company Resurrect Health LLC because we are in business to help our clients (re)turn their lives to a healthy state. We promote this lifestyle change by feeding (not restricting) the body back to life. Our logo reflects the colors and images that help tell our story. The tree represents life. The color orange is not only our favorite color, but it is a healing color. It symbolizes energy and warmth. The heart shaped fruit embodies the spiritual, emotional and moral core of a human being. The fruit, orange, is a reminder to eat healthy foods...hence the bite."

Teleshia will be a guest contributor to and will be conducting special teleseminars for our members. She'll also be contributing some health and nutrition articles to this blog. But you don't have to wait...if you have a question for Teleshia, all you have to do is ask it in the comments section and you'll get your answer!

Teleshia & Jillian Michaels, Fitness Trainer and Life Coach from the Biggest Loser

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Show Your RADICAL Side

On the road to creating your own RADICAL Lifestyle, sometimes you need a little something to remind you to stay bold...stay courageous...and stay radical. Check out these fun reminders!

Click here to check out our full line of products.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

What 13.1 Miles Can Teach You

Yesterday was THE day. The day of my half marathon. The day I planned to run 13.1 miles.

When I decided to run this event almost 6 months ago, I had only one goal – to not get picked up by "the bus" because I didn’t finish in time. You had to complete the run in 3.5 hours or you'd get picked up by "the bus" and taken to the finish line. Well, with a grace period of 5 minutes (I finished in 3 hours 35 minutes and 17 seconds), I crossed the finish line to a cheering crowd and received my medal.

But it wasn't an easy journey and this entire process has taught me some valuable lessons that I'd like to share with you.

Lesson #1
When you set a goal that seems impossible, you will do more than you ever thought possible.

My goal was to run 13.1 miles. At the end of the race, I had done more walking than running, but even this was more than I thought I was capable of. Me - run? Someone who hadn't run a mile since high school was going to train for this in less than 6 months? But I truly believe that big dreams and goals always lead you to do more and be more. As my training progressed, I'd run 2 miles, then a 5k, then 5 miles. The more I ran, the stronger I felt and the more confident I became. And while I didn't run the entire 13.1 miles, I did more than I ever thought possible. Remember, if people aren’t laughing at you when you tell them your goal – it’s not big enough. Some people tried to contain their laugh when I told them about the half-marathon. That let me know I was on the right track.

Lesson #2
Being committed is only half the battle. Staying committed produces the desired results.

Early in this quest, I was a training machine. Running my miles. Doing my cross training. Getting the right shoes, socks, and equipment to measure my pace and mileage. Then, a couple of months ago, I started to slack off. And the 4 weeks leading up to the race, I wasn’t training nearly as consistently as I needed to. The result? I finished the race (and believe me, that was a great accomplishment and I’m very proud of myself), but if I had stayed consistent in my training, my time would have been faster and it wouldn’t have been so hard.

Lesson #3
Big goals are hard.

When you want something, the process to get it may be simple, but it won’t necessarily be easy. Want to run a half marathon? Run. Concept is simple, but it wasn't easy. Want a college degree? Enroll in classes. Concept is simple, but doing the work won't be easy. Want to get out of debt? Stop spending and live below your means. Concept is simple, but we all know that's not easy.

When you're going after your goal, you’ll have to make sacrifices. You’ll have to push yourself to stay focused, stay disciplined, and to keep your eye on the prize. Is getting a degree your goal? Getting a promotion? Starting a business? Getting fit? Running a half marathon? Whatever the goal, if it’s big, it’s not easy. But the good news is that hard does not mean impossible. So set your goals high and fight for it.

Lesson #4
You can't do it alone.

I was just coming up on mile 8, having run most of the first 6 miles when who did I see with the video? My hubby! (I was so glad to see him!!!) At this point, I was doing a pretty good pace walking, but he could see it was challenging and started encouraging me.

“Looking good!”
“Keep going!”
"You’re more than halfway done!”
"You can do it!"

Then, just as I was passing him by, he jumped on the course with me. As I was with one of the slowest pace groups, the "real" runners were miles ahead of me and some had already finished, so we were very spread out. Because of that, no one said anything to him.

He said he’d walk the next mile with me…then he walked one more…and he kept walking with me. Encouraging me all the way – and pushing me to keep my pace. He refused to let the clock beat me. And while there were many occasions when I wanted to tell him to “shut up and go away”, I kept quiet and kept pushing. He walked me right to the finish line! I won't say I would have given up if he wasn't there, but he helped me not just finish, but finish strong and receive my medal.

Lesson #5
It’s always worth it!

Whenever you set a goal and it gets hard, know that it’s worth it. Crossing that finish line, with my feet hurting and my shoulders stiff, was the best feeling in the world. The emotion was so strong that I cried – when I saw the finish line and when I crossed it. Was it hard? Yes. Did I ever want to give up? Absolutely. But whatever you want – that position, that business, that degree, that finish line – no matter what you have to go through to get the results you want, it’s worth it.

Here's a short clip of my start (you'll see me waving to the camera)...followed by my reaction when I crossed the finish line:

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