The Success Story of the Owner of a Synergy HomeCare Franchise by Saili Gosula

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My name is Saili, and I am the owner of a Synergy HomeCare franchise.  My business is now 6 years old, and I’ve gotten to the point that I feel that I am running a real company, and that I can delegate and provide a living for a lot of people.  It’s like a real company now!  I even took 3 weeks away for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.  I did work some, for sure, but I was able to go to another country, spend time with family & friends, watch a bunch of soccer games, read 4 books, and get a tan.

I want to start at the very beginning – going back 50 years ago to a couple of different continents.  My parents are Indian, and I grew up in Brazil.

In Brazil at the time I was in high school opportunities for college were very limited, so they had a strict process for kids identifying their interest and then applying to college in that specific field. Admittance was based on a large test of all the subjects you ever learned in school, weighted based on the field you chose to study.

The problem is we were 16 years old when we had to choose what we would do for college, and changing majors was not permitted. You had to start over and get re-tested if you did that!  So being a math wiz from a math family, I decided I would study computer science.  I had never seen a computer in my life, but I’m a bit competitive. That was the most sought after field, with 30 slots for the entire state, and I was going to try for that.  I got in, started college in Brazil, but then ended up coming to the US. I moved straight from Brazil to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where I went for college.  I ended up with a double major in math and computer science, and a masters in computer science.

I got a job right out of school and worked in several companies over the next 20 years in several IT roles.  I started out as a programmer, analyst, then consultant, and then project manager.  I even did a 2-year gig in HR at one company because it had grown so fast under me, and the people trusted me with their problems.  I learned a lot in those 2 years in HR.  As a matter of fact, all of those different jobs I had over the years prepared me for what I do today.

In my last job in corporate America, I was director of inventory systems for Gap, Inc.  If my systems did not work, no clothes went to any of the Old Navy, Gap or BR stores worldwide.  It was a good job, with lots of recognition and visibility, but the product that I delivered was not exciting to me. The most important thing I did was getting jeans to the store on time.  As the years went on I kept thinking that what I was doing wasn’t really a good fit with the person I was becoming over time.

In the meantime, I started doing lots of work with non-profits, community organizations, and school PTAs – and I loved that stuff!  I was coaching soccer, a volunteer webmaster for a theater company, on the board of the theater company, and eventually president of the board of the theater company, creating yearbooks and playbills, and spending way too much time volunteering on top of my demanding job.  Even within Gap I used to lead all the volunteer events for our very large IT department, and planned all our social events.  I never stayed within my box.  The thing is that I loved being part of the community, and I would stay up all night because I believed in what I was doing.  I knew I had to do something different, but it is very difficult to leave a good paying job with lots of prestige, 6 weeks of vacation, and all kinds of benefits that large corporations provide.

And then I got laid off.  I was scared but also so excited!  This was the defining moment when I was free to reinvent myself.  I actually had been hoping for this opportunity because I knew I’d get a nice severance package that would buy me time to figure out what to do next. This was my chance.

I pretty much knew that I wanted to own my own business.  I felt that everything I’d done up to that point – the computer skills, the HR, the management, the team-building, the event-planning, the yearbook and playbill editing, the budgeting and project management, and the board experience at the theater company – it gave me enough of a well-rounded skillset that I could run a company.  But what was I going to do?  I couldn’t come up with an idea.  I knew I wanted to use my one greatest strength – my people skills.  That was the # 1 requirement.

So I ended up going to a franchise broker.  They reviewed my priorities, which were: community, seeing the impact firsthand, creating jobs, managing people, and finding something I could be passionate about.  They brought me a few ideas, and through a 60-day process I ended up buying into a Home Care franchise.

I am going to explain briefly what we do because I am not here to sell, but it helps to understand how this was such a good fit with what I was looking for:

I own Synergy HomeCare, which is a provider of 1-1 caregivers.  We provide caregivers that go into people’s homes and help them with the little things they can’t do for themselves, or that are difficult for them to do for themselves. The bulk of our clients are seniors, but we do serve people of all ages, including children. For our seniors, we help them with personal care such as bathing, meal preparation, medication reminders, transportation, errands, and going to the grocery store.  We do short, occasional visits, which we call respite, or we can be there 24×7, or anything in between.

So 6 years ago I decided to do something that I’d never done before, something I had no formal training in, and that my college education definitely did not teach me how to do.  The franchisor did provide training, but then you’re on your own to get your own clients and caregivers.

People used to tell me that I had a lot of guts to make such a change.  At the time I must have had this puzzled look on my face because I didn’t understand that.  To me, it was a matter of survival.  I couldn’t go on giving so much of myself to something I didn’t believe in.  I needed to feed my soul.

But it was really hard in the beginning!  Being a people person in IT, I was popular.  Mine was the office that people walked into all the time to talk to someone, or ask work questions. My phone was always ringing, and my email was always full.  Then I started the business, and I was in this tiny little office by myself.  Nobody stopped by, nobody called, and I questioned my decision. I felt a little scared . . . and lonely.

What I did to compensate for this was that I started networking.  I joined a networking group, and I have been with that group for almost five years now. It was a community of business owners, and I could trust the people in that group to actually provide services for me as well. I then felt that I wasn’t as alone.  And I loved to find reasons to refer business to other people in that group.

After that I tried a few other groups. Now I am also very active in the Chamber of Commerce for our city, and that is another wonderful group. I always look forward to talking with these people. I go to business mixers and chat with both people I know as well as connecting with new people, and now I am no longer lonely at all.

To be truthful, I’m a crazy networker.  It really helps!  It may be a little uncomfortable at first, but it grows your business, and you learn who you should partner with. And the more you go the easier it gets. Everybody is there for the same reason – to expand their network.

The other thing that was hard in the beginning was doing everything myself.  It was exhausting!  I was on call 24×7, and my mind was spinning from all the different things I was responsible for.  I started paying people right away to do things for me.  I was fortunate that my circle of friends included competent people excited to help me start my business. I paid them, but not what they were worth. I also started paying my high-school-aged son to work in our office.

Eventually I hired full-time staff.  I almost always hired the next person before I could afford them – I just knew that I couldn’t grow without them. And none of my office hires came to me in a traditional way, by applying for a posted job position. I would meet someone that was available and just know that this person would be a good fit for my team. I couldn’t afford not to have them! This enabled growth.

My staff is top notch. I can be out of the office all day and know that the company runs smoothly without me.  Oh, and gradually I’ve worked myself into a place where I am never on call anymore, though I am always the escalation point.

I now have five full time office staff that help run my operation. I always have a couple of part-time people that are available to help when needed.

Now we have about 60 caregivers working for us, another 100 that we consider active and available, and another 400 that have worked for us occasionally in the past who we could possibly call on again. In our 6 years in business we have served over 600 clients.

Advice

Find out what your strengths are, and find a career that uses those strengths. It will feel much more natural, and you will be better able to sustain your effort in it.  Me, I am a people person to the extreme, so I chose a profession that would have me always talking to people, connecting with people, understanding people and having them entrust me with their most prized assets – their parents. I can connect with all the different people that all different levels, and that makes me very successful in this field. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Saili Gosula is the owner and Executive Director of Synergy.  She had a successful career in IT until 2009.  Always an avid volunteer in the schools and local non-profits, focusing on people and the community eventually became more important to her.  She made a career switch.  She is passionate about her new career in home care.  She differentiates herself by her tirelessly giving and positive approach.  This has quickly helped her to grow her business and provided her with many loyal fans and followers, across clients, associates, and employees.
Saili@SHCSanMateo.com
www.synergyhomecare.com/SanMateo

 

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Never give up! by Inna Rosputnia

SS 2016 KW Inna Rosputnia pic2

Inna Rosputnia was born and growing up in Ukraine at a time when it was a battleground between communism and democracy. A personal experience of this conflict, including poverty, struggling and intolerance — as well as a personal fascination with philosophy shaped Inna’s thinking in later years and influenced her successful strategies in both finance and philanthropy.

Inna graduated from 2 Universities and have Master Degree in Economy and International Relations. She began her career in finance field in 2007. In 2008 Inna became a Head of Financial Risk Insurance Department at Alfa Insurance IC (Ukraine) that is a part of Alfa Group Consortium – one of Russia’s largest privately owned investment groups, with interests in oil and gas, commercial and investment banking, asset management, insurance, retail trade, telecommunications, water utilities and special situation investments. Inna began trading futures, commodities, and stocks in 2009. She is working with individuals and families as well as institutions and corporate clients. Inna also makes investments in commercial real estate in different countries. Her real estate portfolio includes office centers and hotels.

Inna has been active as a philanthropist since 2013, when she began providing funds to help women in Africa to attend Universities and start own business. In 2016 Inna joined Cherie Blair Foundation for women, where she is working to promote gender equity, the values of open society, human rights, transparency and empower women.

Inna is the author of a book “Basic Instinct of Woman-Trader”, published in Russian and English languages in 2016. Her articles and essays on markets, financial planning, politics, society, and economics regularly appear in newspapers and magazines, like The Business Woman Media, Financial Magnates and other.

Here is the link for online sale of the Russian version:  https://www.amazon.com/x41E-x441-x43D-x43E-Russian-ebook/dp/B01I1PCR3S#nav-subnav

The English version will be available in late September 2016. You can pre-order the book on her website:  http://ladyf-trader.com/my-book/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Inna Rosputnia – A futures trader and wealth manager, working with individual and institutional clients; founder and CEO of Lady F Wealth Management. I graduated from two universities and has a Master degree in Economy and International Relations.

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Smart People + Smart Leadership = Happy Customers? by Lucy Freedman

Interpersonal Intelligence for Technical Organizations

By Lucy Freedman, developer of the SYNTAX of Influence, co-author of Smart Work (the second edition of Smart Work: The Syntax Guide to Influence, is available at HappyAbout.com or Amazon. ).

Originally published at http://svforumelsig.blogspot.jp/

When I first started my business, a mentor quizzed me about what it meant to have a business. Does coming up with a great idea make it a business? Clearly no. Does having a product make it a business? What about an office, employees, marketing? No, no, and no, he said. You have a business when you have a customer.  Aha.

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In the world of technology, we can get so focused on the product or process that the relationship part of the business receives a minimal amount of mindshare. Sure, when we need to make a funding pitch, attract a key executive, or give a customer presentation, we put attention into those relationships. Even then, it’s typical of technologists to be mostly content-oriented and not so focused on tuning into the interests of their audience.  There’s room for growth.

While the ability to relate well with funders, talent, and customers is important for business success, the internal communication in a company is equally important. What customers and VC’s really want is for the product to work and meet their needs in a timely and cost-effective way.  For that to happen, managers and teams need to be able to get on the same page and come up with solutions and answers. Knowledge needs to be mobilized. Deadlines need to be met. Problems need to be solved. All this takes communication that is both focused and flexible.

The Challenge

The kinds of interpersonal intelligence that allow people and teams to collaborate well tend to be underdeveloped in engineering organizations for three main reasons.

  • Engineers are generally not drawn to learning “soft skills”
  • Engineering leadership is mostly made up of engineers
  • Most interpersonal skills training is oriented more toward personal growth than practical business interactions.

As a result, efficiency, accurate and relevant sharing of knowledge, and delivery to the customer are often hampered by turf battles, planning disconnects, and just plain miscommunication.

Is this just a depressing downer, condemning engineering organizations and their customers to clunky communication, relieved only by those special high-tech + high-touch individuals who can navigate well both technically and interpersonally? Although many are resigned to this state of affairs, there are lights flickering here and there.

Bright Lights and Good Books

In fact, at a past Silicon Valley Engineering Leadership Community meeting, Ron Lichty presented a “Crash Course” based on his new book with co-author Mickey W. Mantle, Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams  (Addison-Wesley, www.ManagingTheUnmanageable.net ). They address important considerations for people who move up the technical ladder from writing code to managing people.

Another new and highly recommended book on this subject is Team Geek: A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others by Brian W. Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman (O’Reilly Media, 2012). It’s very entertaining reading and addresses expanding circles of influence, from your own team to the organization to the user community.

A few years back,  Michael Lopp wrote the insightful and humorous book, Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager (Apress, 2007). Michael gives practical advice for many of the situations that recur in software development. He names some of the types of people you’ll run across – such as Mr. Irrelevant, Laptop Larry, Curveball Kurt, the Snake, and Free Electrons. Cleverly written, full of useful homilies.

What all of these books have in common is the practical experience of the authors, who have lived what they are writing about.  They share illustrative stories that those who follow in their footsteps will easily relate to.

De-coding How People Work

As an outsider who can’t code my way out of a paper bag, I have been taking a different approach for the past few decades of working as a consultant, coach, and facilitator for high tech companies.  Programmers understand the structure, or syntax, that is required for code to work. I have studied the structure, or syntax, that is required for human communication to work.

What I have discovered is that the smart people who know how to code have an easier time learning interpersonal skills when they have access to the proper syntax for communicating. Hundreds of engineers have experienced and applied the SYNTAX model to their workplaces. People who considered themselves non-people-oriented have shown that with several relatively small changes in their communication, they can achieve great improvements in their working relationships.

This is not about sentence structure or grammar. If you consider that people are pretty systematic in how we organize our perceptions and our behavior, it makes sense that you can detect each person’s syntax, and hence, get more predictable results with them. There’s also a structure, a syntax derived from studying outstanding performers, that makes communication work better. Our model, SYNTAX, represents that architecture so that people can easily learn it.

It’s explained in detail in the book Smart Work, which I co-authored with Lisa Marshall. If you are interested in getting a look at it, or even writing a review, please contact me at syntaxoffice@syntx.com and I will gladly share it with you.

Smart Leadership

When leaders in an organization start practicing SYNTAX principles, or some of the other excellent suggestions in the books listed above, they create a climate where it is much more natural for others to collaborate productively as well. It’s a matter of good design of human systems – whether writing effective, clean code for applications that will benefit people, or holding effective, clean meetings where work gets done and agreements are solid, it’s about designing intelligent human systems.

Whether through the stories and rules of the road derived from experience, or through applying a systematic, structured approach to interpersonal behavior, everyone benefits when a technical organization develops its conscious competence at communicating.

Engineering is about solving real-world problems and creating innovations that make a difference.  It takes smart people working well together to do this successfully. With smart people, smart leadership, and outstanding communication, you get happy customers. That, plus your satisfaction at meeting your own high standards, makes it worthwhile to master the softer skills.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lucy Freedman is Founder and CEO of Syntax for Change, working with change leaders in technology companies to spread collaborative leadership throughout their organizations and to their strategic partners. Lucy has trained and certified both internal and external facilitators who have implemented Syntax programs in companies such as Agilent, HP, Sun, Oracle, EDS, Tokyo Electron, Intel, National Semiconductor, and Cisco Systems. Visit SyntaxforChange.com for an explanatory video and to request a complimentary sample chapter of Smart Work: The Syntax Guide to Influence. Direct email is lucy@syntaxforchange.com.

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Good Job: How to Accept a Compliment by Mildred Lynn McDonald

AAEAAQAAScappy Women Mildred Lynn McDonald blog 2016-06-07

*This post was originally published in UCSC (University of California, Santa Cruz) Extension in Silicon Valley Project Management blog.

I’ve never had a problem accepting a compliment, so it came as a surprise to discover that many people find this basic interpersonal skill challenging and uncomfortable.

After a bit of reflection, I decided that cultural orientation aside, accepting compliments is second nature to me. Why? Because I don’t try to figure out the reason behind the compliment, other than the goodwill that is presented to me “in the moment”.

At first glance, this might seem naive, but I assure you that accepting these little bouquets of acknowledgment with a smile and a sincere “thank you” has served me well over the years with both friends and co-workers.

As author Maya Angelou once said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

I believe that this sage observation captures the essence of accepting a compliment exponentially because when a compliment is received with grace and generosity, both the giver and the receiver feel good. Really good. Hmm, perhaps this is because as human beings, we are simply “wired” that way. I’d like to think so.

Trouble Accepting a Compliment? Here’s a Tip

If you find yourself stammering, filling the air with pregnant pauses, or discarding many of the compliments that come your way, here is a tip: When receiving a compliment, try to clear your mind and focus on the other person rather than yourself. Think about it. If you focus on the other person, you are not making a judgement about your worthiness to receive a compliment, the accuracy of the compliment or anything else that might make this potentially enriching interpersonal exchange “less than” it is. Plus, and this is a big plus, you are now in a position to make another human being feel good.

We all know what it feels like to deliver a genuine compliment to a friend or co-worker only to have our words diminished by “Oh, it was nothing.” or “Anyone could do this.” or “It is OK, but I really wanted to do xyz.” It can make you feel so let down … just like a deflated helium balloon!

If you have trouble accepting a compliment and are asking yourself “how to” accept a compliment in a positive way, check out these scenarios by K.T. Bernhagen:

  • For a job well done: “Thank you. I was hoping this was what you were looking for, and I really like it too.”
  • For a speech, performance, article, or work of art: “Thank you. I really enjoy (writing, performing, speaking, whatever), and I’m glad you liked it!”
  • For your help: “Thank you. I’m so glad that I could help.”
  • If you caught a mistake that was missed by others: “Thanks for noticing. I’m glad I caught it, too.”
  • In any other situation: “Thank you. I appreciate it!” Enough said.

Here are a couple of other scenarios for your toolbox by author Jack Griffen:

  • If someone says “You deserve it”, consider replying with: “I’ve had a good example set for me. You have given me a lot of support. It’s meant a lot.”
  • If someone says “I don’t give praise lightly”, consider replying with: “I know you don’t. That’s why I am thrilled with your remarks. They mean a great deal to me.”

Like most things in life, all you will need to master the art of accepting a compliment with grace, generosity and goodwill is a little time, attention and practice.

I’d like to end on a comical note, so here’s a quote about compliments by the incorrigible Mark Twain: “I have been complimented many times and they always embarrass me; I always feel they have not said enough.” Ha!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mildred Lynn McDonald – Catalyst & Life Coach | Internet Radio/Podcast Host & Producer

Mildred Lynn’s life adventure whisked her across North America, through the industries of Health & Fitness, the executive halls of Fortune 50 high tech companies, and into the intriguing arena of Life Purpose, Energy Medicine and Environmental studies. She has an advanced degree in Science & Nutrition, training in Adult Education, graduated as a Certified Integrative Coach, and currently combines all three as a Healing Conversationalist.

The common thread has been a love of people and the sincere desire to help everyone live their passion, find balance, and experience life fully and completely. With a little time and patience, she transformed her passion, intuitive gifts, and coaching skills into a vibrant mentoring and life coaching practice. Today, it is her great pleasure to produce/host four popular Internet Radio shows/podcasts devoted to all things mind-body-spirit on BlogTalkRadio, iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and Podbean. Website: http://healingconversationswithmildredlynn.com

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How to Align Your Organization’s Strategies, Products, and Services to Address Climate Change by Marianna Grossman

Marianna-G20132016 promises to be a breakthrough year for global action to address the challenge of climate change. In December 2015, representatives of many of the world’s countries gathered in Paris and agreed to significant action for both developed and developing countries. Now the challenge is to make the changes to our energy systems and how we design, make and distribute products and services. This is the year to push for dramatic advances in the way we manage and use water and how effectively we protect natural resources and ecosystems, including forests and oceans.

We applaud the leadership of California’s Governor Jerry Brown in establishing the Under2MOU for states, provinces, counties, cities and others to dramatically reduce green house gas emissions (GHG) and to catalyze action for energy efficiency and clean energy sources.

Pope Francis authored an important call to action in his encyclical, Laudato Si. This inspiring document was issued on June 18, 2015 and urges all humankind to undergo an ecological conversion, to care for our common home. There is no business case for destroying the planet. And moral values require that we protect the precious Creation on which all life depends.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals issued in Sept. 2015 lay out a vision for a world that works for all people: to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.

The Climate Mobilization is new group working to raise the bar for climate action, recognizing that we are facing a global emergency and must act accordingly to transform our entire economy to be regenerative and to end use of fossil fuels, to protect forests and to ensure a habitable planet for all.

As the United States elects a new President in 2016, Minerva Ventures is working to bring climate action to the forefront of the discussion of our shared goals and priorities. Every business leader should be pushing Congress and our political candidates to put forth bold policies and plans for a rapid transition to a clean energy economy and a sustainable future.

Let us know how we can help you address the risk of climate disruption and how you can take more leadership to create a more prosperous and resilient future for all. Join us on 2/24/2016 for an event to discuss the Resilient Path.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/resilient-path-meetup-tickets-21282511565

Contact: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariannagrossman

Twitter: @MGrossmanSV

Website: www.minervaventures.com

Email: mgrossman@minervaventures.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marianna Grossman works with companies, cities and other agencies to align strategies, products and services to address climate change at the scale. For nearly 7 years, she led Sustainable Silicon Valley, a multi-sector network applying ingenuity to create a sustainable region and world. Formerly, she was Partner for Innovation and Sustainability at Minerva Consulting and had corporate roles in the automotive, computer and semiconductor industries. Board Service: Transportation Choices for Sustainable Communities, Sustainability Committee of the SF Bay Area Super Bowl 50, ILFI California Congress, Climate Music Project and climate advisory council for City of Palo Alto. Education: MBA, Yale University. BA, cum laude, with distinction in Policy Studies, Dartmouth College.

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Silicon Wellness was created to reduce the high stress and re-balance the energy by Linda Benn

Linda BennWhat is the scrappiest most outrageous courageous thing you have done?

Have you ever had a spontaneous thought to move to the other side of the world? Give away your business or job and every possession to start your business all over again in another country?

This is what I did 5 years ago in 2010. I felt guided to move to the Bay area where I left my heart many years ago when I was traveling the world. I always loved San Francisco and it felt like home. I love the energy of the city as it is so alive and dynamic.

I grew up in a small town on the east coast of Australia where you access the Great Barrier Reef. My family owns charter boats. As a child growing up we would go out to the different islands, reefs and beaches and explore the marine life. I remember as a little girl when we anchored at Lady Musgrave Island. I asked one of Dad’s friends “is there any sharks here” & he replied “no the crocodile ate them all”! Then all us kids would jump over board and go swimming.

Even though I grew up in one of the most beautiful areas in the world, I was always excited to travel and explore the rest of the world. I was born with a different spirit to my family, their belief system is different to mine and I never felt accepted. I was always searching where do I belong in the world?

My family has taught me emotional resilience and how to survive alone.

I made my decision to move here when I was living at the beach another beautiful area in Australia on the east coast where the whales raise their young. I heard the song when you go to San Francisco where a flower in your hair and I started crying, actually sobbing! San Francisco was calling me to come home. I then proceeded to pack up and let go of everything in order to leave the country. I organized a temporary home for my little dog- “Penny” who was a short haired dachshund.

When I arrived on a 90 day tourist visa, I was on a mission to find out how can I stay permanently and get a work visa. Tenaciously I overcame every obstacle and challenge to get my visa. I did all the research and paperwork myself without an attorney. I went back to Australia to have the interview with the US consulate and was approved straight away and left Australia 2 weeks later with my little dog Penny.

In the last 4 ½ years, it has been a whirlwind of events including moving 12 times looking for where am I meant to be to shine my light? Yes you read correctly twelve times I moved and dragged Penny everywhere with me!!

I now live in Redwood City to focus on corporate companies in Silicon Valley and worked at Rocket Fuel for 4 ½ years as their wellness consultant. I saw a need that this area needs healing with so much stress, worry, overwhelm and fear. I knew this is where I am meant to be, to share my gifts to re-balance and calm people down! Penny my little dog would come to the office with me. She worked with all my clients in Australia and did her healing work. In the office she would just look at people and you can see the stress melt away from their face. She helped people to connect with their hearts and come back to their true self and be their authentic selves. Unfortunately she passed in November 2014 at the age of 15 ½ years old.

Silicon Wellness website was created in 2015 to provide holistic wellness services to corporations introducing the model, the ‘rapid growth management model’ with 3 levels of Physical, Energetic and Organizational wellness. My model is designed to provide opportunities for other holistic gifted practitioners who are looking for more work and wanting to learn new skills through my training program called the BENN technique incorporating my 5 R’s. More about my work in the next blog story.

I feel blessed to have followed my guidance, follow my heart, have faith and trust, this is what has kept me going. My intention is to now inspire and teach others how to move, change and follow their hearts to create their dreams and embrace the Aussie philosophy of No Worries Mate!

I didn’t give up on my dream and feel so grateful for being here. I love the work I do and the positive impact it has on others.

What have you always dreamed of doing? Make it happen now.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Linda Benn and her team provide sessions in the Silicon Valley bay area from San Francisco to San Jose. They can come to you and meet you when you arrive in the country.
For an appointment email linda@siliconwellness.com or call 415-290 3793. www.siliconwellness.com

 

 

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11 Networking Tips to be Connected by Mari-Lyn Harris

ml_fresh2 copyTo meet new people is sometimes very scary, especially when you don’t like doing it or you are new to town or shy.

Let’s say, you have just moved to a new city what do you do?  This is a great question,  Mr. Wonderful on Shark Tank..asks this of people when there are offers on the table. “What are you going to do?”

When I moved to San Francisco CA,  I just knew I wanted to launch an idea/project here. Of course the weather and it’s beauty does help too!

What you need to do, is figure out who you want to meet..when I arrived I knew no one, even though people may say, “hey look me up and…” I think they just said this out courtesy don’t depend on them..some may actually  mean it, some really don’t. I was fortunate that my sister lived here for a long time and hooked me up with a few people..that I could meet or get to know. One of the gals was Liz –  Bette just said “Meet MariLyn for coffee and pretend it’s her (Bette).”  We did, we hit it off, and I always keep in touch or find ways that we can socialize.

I’ve been here for almost 2 years..boy it’s hard to imagine.. I have some great connections in the Food business and still finding ways to meet more people.

My 11 Networking Tips:
1. Pick a focus or vertical of people that you want to meet, this will shorten your time.

2. Go to each city’s Chamber mixers – just to get a feel for the people and the area your are in. Living in Fremont, my roommate would tell me about it, introduce people to me, it will give you time to discover who you would like to get to know better. Each chamber has it’s own focus.

3. Volunteer – I actually volunteered for an organization that I liked what they were doing – Community Gardens.. I was offered a contract for a Project Manager as they received a grant. I said, yes! I was just so happy to have something while finding my way.

4.  Go to Church – Normally it’s not something someone says..find a church that believes in the values as you do.  That will fill your spirit. Why? Because, you’ll depend upon your Spirit or your God within to help you on your new adventure or journey.

5. Check out Meet-Up.com, they have many meetings listed, pick a couple that could help you in your job search, for socializing or just interests. There are lots of business networking groups.

6. Take a class. Learn something new and meet people at the same time.

7. If you are looking for a Tech job, check out this website (www.techjobscafe.com) for jobs. One thing that is funny here, people post jobs on Craigslist.com. Also be active on LinkedIn. Search Indeed.com, you can connect using your LinkedIn account.

8. Be proactive in meeting new people, ask them where they go.  If they are active, they will invite you as a guest. When you find a group you like, reciprocate.

9. Be consistent in networking. I met this gal who was a financial planner I asked her how she keeps up with all the networking she does. Her answer was, she goes to a women group every month and volunteers for committees. The rest of the time, she has five groups that she attends once a month on a consistent basis.

10. Start your own group, whether it’s online or meeting in person.  You never know who you are going to meet. Or join a group like Rotary that would be of interest to you.

11.  Be a hostess/host of the event. Even if it’s not yours. It’s a great way to get comfortable, you are helping other people who are shy and you meet more people. Years ago, I was coaching a gentleman who wanted to meet new people, he was rather shy, I just suggested that he become a host of the event. He reported back to me, saying it worked really well.

Try these 11 tips out see how they work for you. I love to hear which tips that have worked for you.

You can also be a guest blogger by writing a blog about you or your business for this website:  http://www.scrappywomen.biz/blog

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
MariLyn Harris advises Food Startups – how to energize their Marketing. She blogs, writes about Marketing, Social Justice issues and a few things in-between.  Food 4 Social Change is a Producer Cooperative, provides many services to support food startups. A complete food-eco system. Check out http://food4socialchange.org

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How To Sell To Difficult People by Amy Walker

(First Published at http://amywalkerconsulting.com/blog/ on February 4, 2014)

Selling to the Stinkers

Ahhh, the Hecklers, the Know-It-Alls, and the Doubters.  They are not our favorite people to sell to.  I definitely prefer hearing, “This is exactly what I’ve been searching for!”  But in every event you are going to have a tricky person to sell to.  I know speakers and trainers who just let them go and work with the excited ones.  You can do that.  I also know that I have had some that were stinkers during the sales process and ended up being my most loyal and long running clients.  I’ve also closed stinkers who turned into stinker clients.  The key is to know which ones you need to let go and which ones really need you.

Why are they stinkers?

Most human beings are good and it is in our nature to protect ourselves.  When you come across crusty people, they are usually nursing some type of hurt.  Hecklers have often been through rejection or ridicule and had to laugh their way out of it;  Know-It-Alls often can’t handle being weak and imperfect; and Doubters have often been taken advantage of in the process.  The first step to handling a tough sale is to try to understand them and think of them as a good person.

shutterstock_114407182The Heckler: Makes Jokes, derails the presentation, asks completely irrelevant questions etc.

Remember that hecklers like to see you sweat.  They like pushing buttons.  The easiest way to handle a heckler is to get them on your side.  Laugh with them.  Joke with them.  Understand that they want to be seen and heard, and treat them with kindness.  When they like you, they will also sometimes be the most outspoken proponents of your products.

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The Know-it-All: Everything is great in their life, they don’t need help, every time you get close to finding their pain or problem they will block you

Know-it-alls have a hard time showing weakness.  They are usually strong and are used to doing things on their own.  They do not want to feel incompetent or wrong.  If you keep pushing to figure out their problems, they will put up wall after wall after wall.  When I come across these situations, I pull back and invite them to tell me what they see that isn’t working.  If they come up with nothing, I ask them what they want that they don’t have and then I ask permission to help them come up with solutions to get there.

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Doubters: Second guess you and your product.  Want proof.  Treat you like you are trying to pull one over.

NEVER sell this person into a product or service, you have to let them choose into it.  If you talk them into it, they will inevitable blame you for why their life has gone all wrong!  Ask them if they have had a negative experience before.  Listen to them and ask questions like, “What do you need from me so that this is a different experience?”  Keep asking them, “What else do you need to know before you can decide if this is right for you?”  Give them any type of reassurance they ask for.  If they want references, let them call your clients.  If they want facts, show them where to find it.  Your job in this situation is to inform where ever they need it and continue to invite them to get more answers until they have no more questions.  Then you ask for the sale.

When to RUN! 

Anyone that has worked with a pain in the butt client knows they make your life miserable.  Some of my favorite clients and people have fit into these 3 categories in the beginning.   But if they can’t pass my test, I will not work with them.  My test is simple.  Can they take accountability for themselves, or do they blame others?  If they blame others, they will blame me.  If they can take accountability I know we will be able to work together as soon as they are ready and I will move forward.  If not, I bust out of that sales call as soon as possible!

Happy Selling!

Amy Walker PicABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Walker is an International Executive Business Coach and CEO/Founder of Amy Walker Consulting.  As a Featured Professional Speaker she has shared the stage with some of the top names in the industry including Willie Jolley and Delatorro L. McNeal II.  Amy is a Master of Sales and has written sales scripts for billion dollar companies and organizations.  She has been regularly featured on television, radio, and print.  Amy is passionate about Women in Business, Making Businesses Thrive, and Balancing Business and Family.  She is the happily married mother of 5 boys.
Website: www.amywalkerconsulting.com
Facebook:  Amy Walker Consulting  – https://www.facebook.com/AmyWalkerConsulting
Twitter: @amywalkercoach – https://twitter.com/AmyWalkerCoach
Instagram: amywalkercoach – https://instagram.com/amywalkercoach/
Youtube:  Amy Walker Consulting – https://www.youtube.com/user/awalker2911
Linkedin: Amy Walker – www.linkedin.com/in/amywalkerconsulting

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The Cost of Business as Usual by Melissa Heisler

heisler9404Most individuals in current business environments have the feeling of being chained to one’s desk for an inhuman amount of hours, running to endless meetings, and being bombarded by constant emails and calls. Many employees are doing the work of two or more people these days. Associates are being held accountable for unrealistic sales goals. Everything is a crisis. The result is stress. And a lot of it.

The irony is that the more hectic our day, the more stress we experience and the less productive we become. When we are stressed, our fight-or-flight system kicks in, the same unconscious system which takes over if we are in physical danger. All of our energy goes into our muscles to help us run or fight. Our digestive, reproductive, and immune systems are turned off. The longer we are stressed, the longer our basic systems are turned off causing ulcers and other digestive issues, along with a host of other physiological problems. The fight-or-flight system runs on autopilot so our cognitive mind is cloudy. Since our minds are constantly cloudy our work is slower, inefficient, and ineffective.

One great way to combat our daily stress is to disconnect from our fight-or-flight limbic brains and allow our normal bodily functions to return to normal. We can do this by simply taking a walk once or twice a day, or getting up from our desk every hour to do a few minutes of physical movement. Many employees can also find relief using meditation during the work day to help them disconnect from their reactionary stressed-based minds and reconnect with their effective, intuitive, calm cognitive minds.

Changing expectations about communication reaction time can also make a big difference. Many employees feel a prisoner of their electronics. When the communication pops up, they stop what they are doing, read the email, determine it is not urgent, and go back to the original project. When the next email pops up, the cycle repeats. The result is being constantly busy but getting nothing done. Working this way is an amazing waste of time and focus. Instead of constantly checking in with communications, turn off notifications for email, texts and social media, and instead carve out time slots during the day to check communications. This allows for better focus, more efficiency, and less stress.

When you do take a moment to look at the communications, open each only once and act upon it in that moment. Choose to either Do, Delegate, Delay, or Delete.

  • Do: Respond and complete the request in that moment.
  • Delegate: Is this the highest and best use of your time? Is there someone else you can delegate this to?  Is there an automated system you can put in place to handle a specific type of email?
  • Delay: If the email does not need to be handled right now, but it does need to be done by you, add a reminder to come back to it. Don’t just leave it in your inbox as you may then open it again in the future only to delay it again. Color code the email as a “future” and set up a follow-up reminder.
  • Delete: Does this need to be done at all? Is there really anything you need to address with it? If you find you are constantly deleting emails from certain sources, you may want to unsubscribe from the list or remove yourself from the project.

Adding in movement, disconnecting from the day, and shifting your relationship with communication, can help reduce some of your workplace stress leading to more productivity and increased wellness.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Melissa Heisler is a stress reduction expert, Type Me coach, speaker, and the author of From Type A to Type Me: How to Stop “Doing” Life and Start Living It. She is committed to guiding entrepreneurs and professionals to improve their health, increase their mental clarity, easily deal with difficult people, find peace in their current jobs, and improve their business effectiveness all through reducing their stress levels.
www.ItsMyLifeInc.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissaheisler
https://www.facebook.com/itsmylifeinc

 

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Get From A To Z Faster! by Neil Love

Neil Love from A to ZGetting from “A to Z” 
You want to get from where you are to where you want to be faster – more clients, better clients, more satisfaction, less wear and tear.

My manager clients want to get from A to Z faster too.
Their journey from “A to Z” often involves one of these challenging transitions:

Manager Transitions

  • Moving from individual contributor to manager
  • Moving from managing locally to managing globally
  • Moving into cross-functional initiative management
  • Moving from a career flat spot to a career high

Organization Transitions

  • From struggling team to high performing team
  • From questionable initiative to strong initiative
  • From misfiring organization to thriving organization
  • From small company to big company

Let me write to you as if you were one of these managers.

What You Need
You need the right strategy for moving ahead. That requires knowing alternative ways for getting to where you want to be and which way fits best for you and your situation.

You will want to know what issues you will likely run into and how to deal with them. And, you will want to find ways to help you stay positive when things do not quite go the way you want them.

What Might Be Helpful
What could be attractive is behind the scenes support that is convenient, efficient, delivered in bite sized useable chunks, affordable and non-intrusive.  Support that includes someone who serves as your strategy partner and progress accelerator.  Someone who could give feedback on your thinking and your strategies, plans and issues.  And support that provides access to deep insight surveys, proven best practices tools and referrals to other resources that accelerate progress.

Your Thought Partner
The beliefs of who you partner with are key to your comfort level and your success.  Here are mine.

Have Fun
I believe people are more creative, clever and thoughtful and less stressed when they work and think in the pleasant, safe, fun environment.  I will create that with you.  Be forewarned, I like to laugh and make people laugh. I am hoping you do to or can expand that particular little skill.  The goal is to make our work together something you look forward to not just for help but for enjoyment. 

Make It Convenient
To make your support fit with your dynamic schedule, you can schedule 30 minute guidance sessions with me using the Online Appointment Calendar to pick the time slots that work for you.  No emailing back and forth to schedule or reschedule. And if your availability changes, no problem just reschedule yourself. 

Start Outside In
 The long term key to success is to sense and react to the priorities and trends of your clients and potential clients. What specifically is the tough situation they are in?  What are the specific attributes of the solutions do they want?  What makes them buy and not buy? How will they see you as different, unique, and best suited to work with them? 

Provide A Thought Space
You will want a forum where you can be more insightful and find your own answers not someone else’s recipe. There are business and marketing experts for hire who can offer you answers, but those answers may not be quite right for you and your situation. You won’t own them, feel comfortable with them, do them.   I focus on asking you the right questions so that you come up with your own best answers.  And yes, I do provide lots of suggestions, feedback and tools when I sense the right moment.

Learn While Doing
Moving from strategy to execution can be riddled with challenges, surprises and missteps.  You need someone who is your steady partner and provider of tips and best practices as you move through your journey.  A coach that can pull from over 400 assessments, guides, checklists, models, templates, processes and sample documents would enable you to make faster progress easier. You do not have to reinvent the wheel and can leverage proven best practice strategies and tools.

Beyond Tools
The support you need is more than a set of tools and processes. You want the opportunity to have important conversations where you are heard and get helpful insights.  You want someone to challenge your assumptions and ensure you are true to your commitments. And someone you can role play situations with to build the confidence and proficiency you need to get where you want to go.

Can I Help?
If any of this rings true for you, my online guidance sessions and deep insight tools can enable you to get where you want faster with less wear and tear.

I have been doing management consulting for over 20 years.   I have been fortunate to consult to a wide variety of clients in many industries and all levels.  I have served as an executive, program manager and internal consultant at VMware, Cisco Systems, Amazon Lab126, Sun Microsystems, Adaptec, HP, TI, and GE.  Client companies have included startups, small firms, mid-sized companies and the big brand companies.

I now serve as an effective and efficient teacher and guide for those who want to leverage this experience.  I would be happy to share with you the lessons learned and the skills I developed through twenty years of experience in making organizations, projects, managers and consultants more successful.

If you would like more information, you will find it below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Neil Love – For over 25 years Neil has been working with executives to improve performance and innovation in organizations, processes and initiatives. His most recent major clients have included Amazon, Cisco Systems, VMware, FLIR and Sun Microsystems. He has either led or been a core team member of $1M and $2M best practice programs that found the very best ways to make companies and departments more productive, more agile and more effective. One of these programs resulted in a savings of $75M and had over 50,000 participants.
Free Assessment Surveys

Neil’s Professional Profile

Progress Accelerator Program

 

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