Thursday, December 27, 2007

Year-End Reflection & Outlook

Hope you're enjoying the holidays -- and perhaps getting some well-deserved R&R. December has proven to be unusually busy for us at InStep Consulting (which is a good thing!).

Christmas came a little early for us this year -- last Thursday, in fact. Our gift was the fantastic performance at the second Debate Day hosted by Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow at the Brooklyn Marriott. Once again, OBT trainees overwhelmed the audience with thoughtful, persuasive speeches on current topics such as the war in Iraq and bans on smoking in public places. Not to mention the compelling arguments presented by over 10 trainees about a fictitious negligence case in the Mock Trial portion of the event. It was so inspiring to see these youth overcome their fears and take pride in their efforts. I'm so glad we had the opportunity to help OBT incorporate public speaking into their job training curriculum.

The winter solstice (December 22) is often a time for introspection and reflection, as is the end of the year. It's particularly poignant to look back now, as 2008 will mark two related milestones -- 10 years of operating the business and 5 years of my full-time dedication to building the company. I never could have imagined back in 1998 some of the things we have accomplished, including the launch of this online community!

I believe we have developed tools and programs that align with our mission:
To help [YOU] use [your] knowledge and abilities to achieve GREAT things.

And, I'm looking forward to many more GREAT things in 2008, including the launch of our Tools page, which will enable you to purchase assessments and workbooks directly from the InStep website. Here's wishing you health, happiness and continued success in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What Do You Want to Accomplish in 2008?

As we approach year-end, the buzz will soon move to discussions about New Year's resolutions. You know that, at InStep Consulting, we believe you will be more successful in achieving your goals if you:
  1. Plan ahead
  2. Create a roadmap
  3. Find tools and resources to support you

To help you begin the process, we've created an online Personal & Professional Growth Survey. And, it's a win-win for both of us. Not only will it help you with goal-setting; it also will help me know what are your priorities. Then, I'll know what types of events, programs and tools to create or recommend in the coming year.

It will only take 5-8 minutes to complete; but, the return on your time investment could be significant!

Monday, December 10, 2007

NEW Podcast on Healthy Holiday Eating

Now that the year-end holiday season is underway, many of us may be concerned about keeping our fitness goals on track despite the many tempting treats we will encounter at company and association holiday parties, family dinners, gatherings with friends ... etc. You know what I'm talking about! :)

Well, last week, I recorded a podcast with Amy Rivera, a weight loss coach with Keystone Life Coaching. She is also a founding partner of, an online resource for health and wellness. In this conversation, we talked about healthy holiday eating habits and tips to NOT offend your friends or family if their eating habits don’t coincide with yours.

Believe it or not, macaroni and cheese is one of my weaknesses. There is also a strong emotional-familial connection to that dish because it reminds me of my grandma. And, my choice to not eat meat (except fish) sometimes makes it hard to avoid overdoing it on carbs (mac/cheese, candied yams, stuffing, and/or rice). So, I will aim to practice a few of Amy's tips -- exercising before I go to Christmas dinner (pilates has become a near-habit) and eating slowly.

Listen to the podcast and let me know how you will eating healthy during the holidays!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

For What are You MOST Thankful?

As we approach the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I thought I'd engage us in reflection on the things for which we are most thankful.

I am most thankful for:
  • My family ... and my close friends who have become family
  • My health -- which enables me to do things I enjoy (including running my business)
  • My circle of colleagues/trusted advisors who keep me inspired (even when things don't go as planned)
  • My opportunities and challenges -- which help me to learn, grow and inspire others

... just to name a few things. How about you?

For what are YOU most thankful?

Spending time to reflect on and acknowledge the positive, helpful aspects and people of our lives can be a great way to reduce stress. It can remind us of our sources of support (both internal and external) for when we're dealing with difficult or challenging situations.

One of my colleagues shared a link to a great site to help you examine your attitude for gratitude: Women of Spirit Online. Please enjoy the site when you have a few moments to truly reflect on the questions that will appear in the introduction.


Friday, November 16, 2007

"You're So Articulate" and Other Non-Compliments

Hey there -- it was very ironic that a colleague sent me a link to today's DiversityInc article containing reader feedback on less-than-favorable compliments they've received. I don't know -- call it the laws of attraction or whatever, but it was a bit weird to have received the link today. Why?

Perhaps it's because I recently had a conversation with a new acquaintance about his comment to me remarking that I was "so eloquent." Our post-comment dialogue was actually quite interesting as he realized that it wasn't the most flattering or informed remark (without much feedback from me). It's rare that people who make the remarks actually pick up on how they might be perceived as offensive.

Or, perhaps it's because I returned this week from a conference celebrating 35 Years of Women at Dartmouth -- which made me recall occasional reactions of bewilderment I've received from people when I've mentioned that I attended the College on the Hill in Hanover, NH. Similar to one of the article respondents: "You went to Dartmouth? WOW, that's GREAT!" It hasn't happened in a while, but it's funny how your mind can free-associate with a certain stimulus.

I recall that I had thought of blogging about these situations when the original article appeared in DiversityInc back in 2006. I must have gotten sidetracked -- or perhaps I chickened out, since it was before the advice I received at BlogHer about being bold online and tackling the sticky subjects.

What occurred to me then, and still does today, is that our response to one of these comments in a workplace setting can sometimes become a career decision -- especially if the commenter is someone who has power/authority over any aspect of our career. I'm sure I've typically fended them off with the right degree of sarcasm or wit. But, who's to say what the real impact might have been -- especially if I didn't choose to engage the person in a Courageous Conversation (per Tim Mulvaney) to expose the elephant in the room.

While I sometimes love to play devil's advocate and challenge people to stretch their views (an oft-undervalued luxury of a coach/consultant), I'm also aware of how challenging that can be -- especially for those of us in employee roles. So, what do you think?

Have you ever received one of these compliments? If so, how did you respond?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What are YOUR Strengths?

Last Saturday, I exhibited at the first annual Essex County Health & Wellness Expo held at the Paul Robeson Center of Rutgers University-Newark Campus. It was definitely a right people, right energy event -- especialy given that providers, speakers and participants alike resisted our urges to stay inside on that rainy morning. However, by the time the clouds broke in the afternoon, we had already lifted our spirits and convened to share thoughts on how we can each improve our mind-body-spirit connection.

I thought it would be relevant to share one of the affirmation activities we participated in -- especially given we have entered fourth-quarter, a time when some may be planning for your annual performance review. Take a moment to complete three simple phrases with positive ideas to affirm your strengths and abilities:
  1. I AM ... [insert positive nouns and/or adjectives that describe you]
  2. I CAN ... [insert your positive skills or abilities]
  3. I WILL ... [insert positive activities or tasks you will do this week to help achieve your goals]
What did you think of? How did it make you feel?

This affirmation activity aligns well with the leverage your strengths component of the Competent Advantage TM program. Ironically, a career coaching video-tip I recorded for is now available on their website. Visit: for more ideas on how to position your strengths in a review meeting or interview.

Thank you to all who supported our Passionately PINK for the Cure team. You can still donate at:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Are You a Savvy Online Networker?

Well, the fact that you're reading this blog means that you're savvy about gaining information from the web to benefit yourself or your career. But, how savvy are you about putting information about yourself onto the web to enhance your online presence?

Last week, I recorded a podcast with Diane Danielson, founder & CEO of Downtown Women's Club (DWC). Since it's launch in 1998, DWC has become a great online social network and in-person community (10+ US-regional chapters) for business and professional women.

Diane recently co-authored a book with Lindsey Pollak called The Savvy Gal's Guide to Online Networking -- Or What Jane Austen Would Do. She and I shared tips and ideas about online social networks ...
  • Why we sometimes avoid using online social networks
  • How to pick the best online networks for you
  • How good "net-iquette" can improve your chances of making the right connections
Go to our Competent Advantage TM Gcast channel to listen or download the MP3!

PS -- it's not too late to support our Passionately PINK for the Cure team at:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Reminder: Wear PINK for the Cause

Hey there! It's halfway through the month of October, and I wanted to share a quick, friendly reminder for you to consider supporting our Breast Cancer Awareness project by wearing PINK sometime this month.

For each day that you wear PINK, I'd ask that you donate at least $5.00 to our Passionately PINK for the Cure team. Our site for donations is (paste the entire URL):

Since it was a bit cool here in New York last week, I was able to support by wearing my PINK pashmina scarf.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

We're Helping Youth to Communicate Effectively

While October will be a month filled with exciting spa events and wellness activities, we're also involved with our leadership development programs.

On Tuesday, we kicked off another cycle of Public Speaking & Communication Skills training for youth at Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow. In April, we developed an interactive curriculum to help trainees present themselves professionally and effectively in workplace settings.

For the next 10-12 weeks, another group of OBT trainees (in Bushwick and Sunset Park, Brooklyn) will learn the essentials of effective communication to make themselves more competitive in today's job market. Once again, the PSC course will conclude with a Debate & Public Speaking event, during which trainees will demonstrate the skills they have acquired in the course.

Our facilitators stress the fact that mastering the art of public speaking at a young age is fantastic because it improves one's overall confidence. Of course, it takes a while for some to fully grasp that concept -- and get over the fear of public speaking.

So, this makes me wonder -- when did YOU overcome your fear of presenting or speaking in front of others? Or, is this an aspect of your development that you're still seeking to improve? Truth be told, I've always enjoyed public speaking (from high school Mock Trial team). Yet, I sometimes get butterflies just before major presentations. Usually, I'm able to channel that energy to help myself be "on" in the moment. What techniques work for you?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Upcoming Events on Google Calendar

I've been wondering whether or not there was an online calendar that I could easily incorporate into my blog to keep you informed of upcoming presentations, seminars and events. So, I decided today to do a Google search and there it was -- Google Calendar!

It was really easy to create and embed on the blog -- scroll down and look on the right side toolbar for UPCOMING EVENTS and the Google icon.

I've included tomorrow's Stress Awareness seminar I'll be conducting at Teachers College in conjunction with their Graduate Student Well-Being Week. Tomorrow is National Depression Screening Day. It's great that TC is being proactive about offering strategies to help students ease their stress and anxiety.

There's also registration information for our Take Back Your Time SPA ESCAPE on Wednesday, October 24, 6:30-10:00 PM at Body by Brooklyn.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Fitness Tips and Talkcast Recording Online

Hey there, I've just uploaded the recording from our Women's Health & Fitness Day Talkcast to our Competent Advantage TM podcast channel on Gcast. (Click on the Gcast icon on the right toolbar of this site)

The show was great -- when you listen, be sure to stay tuned (we didn't end after Rebecca's HYTR updates) because we got some great questions and audience interaction -- for example, have you ever tried "hot" yoga?

Some tips we discussed included:
  1. Find a fitness activity you ENJOY -- you'll be much more likely to stay committed
  2. Include walking into your daily routine -- to get your lunch, as part of your commute (to/from parking lot or public transportation), or with a local walking group
  3. Use common household or office items/furniture for quick exercise breaks
  4. Don't overdo it -- build up to longer cycles and/or faster pace routines
  5. Discuss any changes or additions to your fitness routine with a qualified professional

In case you're interested in my fitness goals, I watched my pilates video this morning; and, I've signed up for a complimentary pilates mat class for tomorrow. I'm considering how I might do pilates in the morning and yoga at night ... not sure, but I'm making an effort. Thanks for helping to keep me on track! :)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Need Your Help: Wear PINK for a Cure!

Hi there, hope you had a FABULOUS weekend!

I'm writing to ask for your support of a worthy cause that has the potential to impact women around the globe. In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I've created a Passionately PINK for the Cure team on behalf of my company, InStep Consulting. This can be a fun way to support research and education by the Komen Foundation -- especially if you are a fashionista! :)

All you have to do is pick one or more days during the month of October to wear PINK. For each day that you wear PINK, I'd ask that you donate at least $5.00 to our Passionately PINK for the Cure team.

Our site for donations is (paste the entire URL): (or click on the icon on the right sidebar)

There are 31 days in October -- 31 chances to help find a cure! Thanks so much in advance!! :)
All my best, Colette

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Commit to Your Fitness Goals TODAY at 2 PM EDT

There are less than two hours until our LIVE TALKCAST on Women's Health & Fitness at 2:00 PM EDT. So, I thought I'd share my fitness goals with you (only fair, right?).
  1. Review both of the Pilates and Yoga videos I have at home to see which movements I prefer (within the next week)
  2. Take advantage of the FREE 1-Hour personal training session I got at my last college alumni event (call to schedule within the next two weeks)
  3. Commit to engaging in one or more of the above physical activities (within the next 30 days)

Wow, putting it down here on the blog really seals the commitment. Not only because this is a public space (i.e., you can check in to keep me honest); but, because it's the actual process of writing them down. To be honest, the videos have been on the shelf for a while. One even made it on top of the entertainment center (I thought maybe if it was within my eyesight ...). I pulled out the yoga mat and put it in my living room last week. Neither of those actions worked. You see? Like I've said before; even the coach needs some accountability!

So, tell me YOUR fitness goals -- post them here, or join the talkcast and either share in the chat room or call us:

Dial: (724) 444-7444, Enter: 30294 # (Talkcast ID), Enter: 1 # or your PIN

Rebecca and I can't wait to hear from you! :)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tell Me Your Fitness Goals: Sept. 26 at 2 PM EDT

Hi everyone, sorry it's been a bit "silent" here on the blog. But, I've been planning some exciting fall wellness events. I'm not sure if it's the back-to-school rush or the desire to keep our summer glow, but fall is a great time to renew your commitment to your health. And, there are tons of health observances over the next few months to keep you motivated!

Wednesday, September 26 is National Women's Health & Fitness Day (NWHFD). Join thousands of other women who will be exploring new fitness options in recognition of NWHFD.
Want to learn some enjoyable ways to work physical activity into your daily routine? InStep Consulting and Heal Yourself Talk Radio are hosting a LIVE talk show at 2:00 PM EDT: Make Fitness YOUR Healthy Habit!
Join the Talkcast from your computer and listen as I talk with Rebecca White about how your eating and exercise patterns can affect your stress level and well-being. We'll be taking LIVE CALLS so you can share your success stories!
Dial: (724) 444-7444
Enter: 30294 # (Talkcast ID)
Enter: 1 # or your PIN
Even small increases in physical activity can lead to better health. Take this opportunity to begin or renew your commitment to fitness and an active lifestyle! BTW, we'll be doing jumping jacks while on the air! (just kidding) :) Join us on September 26 at 2:00 PM EDT!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Attract World Peace

I received a link to this site from a friend and I thought it would be a fitting post for today -- a day of Rememberance, Reflection and Recognition.

Hope that you can find a few moments to watch the Attract World Peace Video and share with others as you feel is appropriate. It's based on the Laws of Attraction, and suggests we might change our situation with our thoughts -- on a global scale.

Take care and be well ...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A Change of Scenery is Good for the Soul

Hola amigos! Hello everyone! The coach is back from vacation. The picture above is from Isla Mujeres, at the eastern most tip of Mexico. The picture really doesn't do the landscape, vista, or the water justice. But, I thought I'd share for your viewing pleasure.

I was offline for 5 days and it felt good -- would have been longer, but I did check email on Saturday (mostly personal). I feel more refreshed and relaxed than after the first week of my vacation when I "cheated" by responding to emails. I've learned that in order to truly "unplug," I must be inaccessible and away from my office. Or else, the temptation is to check-in.

However, I was a bit surprised at the number of people who also checked email, etc. at the "Cibernet" in Playa del Carmen. And, also to witness the number of wireless-enabled locations throughout the Mayan Riviera. With some of the most phenomenal beaches I've ever seen, we all still felt compelled to spend time online. Of course, there was the cool option of burning CD's with all one's fabulous pictures.

And, who knows -- if I play my cards right -- maybe I'll be lucky to spend more time down there. I've already begun brainstorming about doing a stress management retreat in the area. If that means spending time in the "Cibernet," that's fine with me! :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Can You Release Your "Shoulds?"

Happy Monday! I must admit that I'm cheating a bit by writing this post today -- it's the first day of my vacation. I should be relaxing. Or maybe not -- maybe my action fits well with the theme of this post: releasing your "shoulds." What am I talking about?

All the times you say to yourself: "I should have done ..." or "I shouldn't have done ..." Often, these self-talk statements lead to feelings of guilt and anxiety about a situation. And, by saying them, you can't change the situation (because we can't change the past -- try as hard as we might!). So, you've made yourself feel upset and stressed out.

What if, instead, you gave yourself permission to re-examine the situation and think of how you might do things differently in the future?

Last week, I had a conversation about this with Rebecca White, host of Heal Yourself Talk Radio. We talked about how “releasing the shoulds” can help you reduce guilt and manage your emotional responses to stress. We also discussed being more aware of your behavior patterns and recognizing their impact on your responses to stress. Our conversation is available for download from my Gcast podcast site and also accessible on Rebecca's website.

So, if I apply my approach to today -- I'm going to release my shoulds ("I should have worked longer last Friday and written this post then.") and accept that I'm blogging today. I will not feel guilty about sharing my experience with my blog community. I'd already made a mental note that I would wrap up a few loose biz ends today before embarking on my break. It's OK and I'm OK! :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

NEW Podcast with Stress Management Tips

I'm having what could be considered a stressful moment due to the storm in New York City last night -- limited subway service, 20-minute delay in car service, possible re-scheduling of a prospect meeting. But, I'm taking it all in stride and am using this "free" moment to let you know about my NEW podcast on managing your stress.

I recently was interviewed by Tim Mulvaney, founder of the Mulvaney Group. His company's mission is to "help fix the unfixable via Courageous Conversations." We talked about how our perception of stressful situations can sometimes heighten the stress we experience. The podcast has been uploaded to my Gcast site, and is also available to download from Tim's website. Also on his website is a downloadable copy of the Stress Coping Skills Ladder -- a tip sheet I created to help you monitor how you respond to stress (from counterproductive activities through to problem solving).

So, I'm trying to take my own advice now and stay at the top of the ladder -- focusing on making sure everyone I'm supposed to meet is aware that I might be late; checking email to see if my afternoon meeting has actually been cancelled; and blogging. You know, the actual act of writing this down seems to be calming me ... I think! :) ... Gotta go and call the car service!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Come Be a "Social-light" at Tavern on the Green

Want to experience ultimate networking at New York City's ultimate restaurant? Then, join me tomorrow (August 7) at Tavern on the Green from 7:00 - 11:30 PM.

The outdoor patio at Tavern on the Green is an urban oasis in the heart of Manhattan. What better venue to learn more about our Stress Management and Career Development programs? Hear from representatives of NYC's top social and personal growth organizations in a casual and fun atmosphere.

Tavern on the Green -- Outdoor Patio
West 67th Street & Central Park West
7:00 - 11:30 pm
$10 admission for prizes, specially-priced drinks/food and fun people!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Tips from Coaching & Mentoring Session: Part 2

No, you're not seeing double. This is another post about the Coaching & Mentoring session. In my last message, I forgot to give a shout-out to ANOTHER live blogger at our workshop. Also capturing thoughts, ideas and best practices was Barbara Rozgonyi, PR expert and Founder of CoryWest Media. Click HERE to read her post.

Being the marketing extraordinaire she is, Barbara's feed from the session was also picked up by another cool resource: Real Smart Women Mentorship Network. Thanks, Barbara!

Get Notes from the Coaching & Mentoring Session

I mentioned earlier that there were live bloggers who attended sessions at the BlogHer conference. These were some fast-typin', super-listenin' gals who basically transcribed what people were saying. At our Coaching & Mentoring session, our super-fast-blogger was Shannon McKarney, Proprietess (don't you just love that title!) of the ThreeSeven blog. Thanks, Shannon!

So, click HERE to get the transcript from our session. It will almost be like you were there because Shannon managed to capture our thoughts and audience interaction. You'll get to meet Elizabeth Perry (teacher & mentor), Liz Strauss (blog resource expert) and Wendy Piersall (home business expert). I shared results from the survey on Coaching & Mentoring. Liz and Wendy discussed their experience mentoring each other. And, we all shared tips on how to find mentors and define the mentoring relationship.

There was also some discussion about what to do when the coaching or mentoring relationship is NOT working. Read more ...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I'm Giving Broads an Advantage on Aug. 6

I'm excited that I've put the finishing touches on my 10 Tips to Make Your Net -- Work presentation. On Monday, August 6, I'll be speaking to a group of fantastic undergrad "broads" who are participating in the Broad Advantage summer program.

Broad Advantage is a one-week immersion in the professional world. My session on Networking is just one of many offered by fellow 85 Broad members and other dynamic speakers to help prepare these women for leadership and career success. We get to share tips and exchange ideas with 120+ college women who were accepted to participate in either the NYC or Los Angeles program.

This is just one of the many fantastic programs created by Janet Hanson (former leader at Goldman Sachs -- hence the name of the organization, which is the NYC address) and her team at 85 Broads. Founded in 1999 as a network for current and former GS female professionals, 85 Broads now has over 17,000 members worldwide. Their mission:

85 Broads is for women who appreciate the importance of relationships and who use every opportunity to leverage their own powerful networks on behalf of other women all over the world.

I can't wait to be make some great, new connections on August 6!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Coach is In ... but Should I be?

After attending the BlogHer conference and hearing about the benefits of keeping it real on my blog, I'm deciding to share this quick anecdote.

So, it's about 6:30 pm EDT and I'm still in the office. Not late by any stretch of the imagination ... especially for a business owner. But, the reason is that a previously-scheduled meeting with a colleague was cancelled due to a family emergency. Why am I sharing? Because I actually felt guilty about shutting down / closing shop -- even though I'm prepared for my client meeting tomorrow afternoon.

Sure, there are many other things on my plate for NEXT week (a combo of prep for presentations, trainer interviews, meetings and even a quick out-of-county trip). What was my aha moment? I wouldn't have been able to do any of those things tonight because I would have been focusing on meeting with my colleague! So, why did I feel compelled to keep working when this time had already been "booked?"

Why couldn't I re-assign this time to ME-TIME? There was this tiny voice inside my head (we talk about self-talk in the Stress Management program) saying: "Maybe you can get ahead and do a little more." When, honestly, the thought of editing my presentation at this moment seems daunting because I'm not as fresh with ideas as I know I can be.

Last night on Life Coach TV, Marianna and I talked about ways to find balance. I've blogged here before about the challenges of "unplugging." And, I talk with Simone and her listeners on Own Your Power about ME-TIME. If nothing else, this proves to you that no one (not even your coach) is perfect. We all struggle to juggle our responsibilities.

Ok, so after this, I'm going to print a couple of invoices and then sign off ... promise! :)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Women Bloggers Rock!

I've just returned to New York from the BlogHer conference in Chicago and am INSPIRED and REJUVENATED! I met so many fabulous women bloggers that I couldn't keep count.

Keep an eye out on this blog for feedback and tips from my session on Coaching & Mentoring (they had live bloggers at the conference who captured key points from all the sessions!).

Also, keep an eye on the blogroll, as I'll be reviewing blogs of the women that I met and will add those I think are relevant to this community.

QUICK REMINDER: Tomorrow night (July 30, 8:00 PM EDT), I'll be chatting with Dr. Marianna Lead on Life Coach TV, a prime time live cable show in Manhattan that introduces people to the field of coaching. Tune in to learn more about my coaching practice and how I work with clients online at:

Friday, July 20, 2007

Be Well & Look Great on Thursday, July 26!

Ladies, if you're going to be in New York City on Thursday, July 26, I invite you to relax, network and socialize at our Girl's Night of Mojitos and Makeovers!


Thursday, July 26, 2007

from 7:00 - 9:30 PM

at Madame X

Three fabulous makeover artists (including Sephora's manager Amy Edelman) will be on-hand to give tips and makeovers.

For more information and to RSVP, visit:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Why I'm Not a "Cookie-Cutter" Coach

I recently met someone who asked me to share my Top 5 tips for reducing stress. (I'd already told the person that I am a Career & Stress Management coach; so, it wasn't actually that far-fetched). However, he became a bit miffed when I paused to think. Perhaps too many nights watching Dave Letterman's Top 10 Lists?

"Why can't you just come up with five "simple" tips?"

When I suggested that it wasn't that easy, my new acquaintance decided to describe a person-in-need to "help" me respond: "The person works 60-hours per week, has two kids at home, and is stressed by the competing work-life demands." OK, now we're getting somewhere!

I paused and asked: Is the person a man or a woman? "He is a man." As I was about to ask my next question (Does he own the business or does he work for someone else?), my friend lost it. "How hard can this be? I know the answers. For ME, it would be ..." That's when I realized -- I'm not a cookie-cutter coach!

Could I have shared five generic stress reduction tips? Absolutely! However, I attempted to ask questions so that I could learn more about the "person" and be able to share ideas that would be relevant and helpful. That's how I approach all aspects of my work, whether it's consulting, training or coaching. I ask questions to learn about my client's needs -- to get into their world -- so that I can provide informed feedback or resources.

We are all unique and, therefore, we experience stress in different ways. Responses to work-life demands vary between men and women. The work-life challenges of business owners are typically different than those of employees. It's with this knowledge that I resist providing cookie-cutter responses!

OK, I get it (I'm a New Yorker). You're still waiting for my Top 5 tips. I can share what often works for me:
  1. Listening to music
  2. Talking to someone from my "right people, right energy" team
  3. Changing my setting/perspective
  4. Aromatherapy candles
  5. Positive self-talk

What works for you? :)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Colette Joins!

I'm excited to announce that I've recently joined the team of contributors to! What is BeWell?

BeWell's mission is to empower people to take control of looking great and feeling great -- for life! We do this by offering a wide range of programs and events to make wellness accessible to the community at-large. We believe in educating and empowering people to take progressive steps to improving their health. The founders have created a collective of wellness professionals who will provide tips in six key areas:
  1. MIND

  2. BODY

  3. SOUL



  6. LIFE & FUN
I'll be sharing tips from the Competent Advantage TM program under the "Money & Career" section. I'll also be providing Stress Management information under the "Soul" section of BeWell.

Take a peek at the *new* website and learn more about Member-only benefits (special offers and cool discounts). Have a great week -- BE WELL!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Coach vs. Mentor: How do you choose?

Happy Monday to all!
I’m doing a little research to learn more about what motivates people to hire coaches as opposed to (or in addition to) seeking advice from mentors.

At the end of the month, I'll be leading a workshop on Coaching & Mentoring at the BlogHer ’07 conference (a cool gathering of bloggers from across the country). To help prepare for the session, I’ve created two brief surveys (no more than 6 questions) to hear from both “sides of the fence,” and I’d love to receive your input!

By the way, you can learn more about the session and how to register for BlogHer at:

Thanks, and have a great week!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Can You Really Unplug?

With today's much-anticipated release of the iPhone, I’m left to wonder: do we really need another communication device that helps us talk while we surf the Internet, listen to music, email our boss, and download the latest crazy video from YouTube? You all know I’m the queen of multi-tasking; but have we gone a bit over the top?

It’s so easy to get information and stay connected these days. As an entrepreneur, I recognize how important it is to stay in touch – with clients, colleagues, as well as friends and family. As a stress management coach, however, I often wonder how our wireless tools truly impact our ability to manage and reduce our stress. Do we really need to be reachable anytime, anywhere?

How often do you spend during the day without any communication devices? Could you make it through one day device-free? I’m talking about no phone, no mP3 player, no laptop, no TV, no PDA, no computer. Maybe it’s not a practical suggestion; but I invite you to take me up on my challenge for as long as you could stand it.

What would you do with all that silence? How about quieting your mind? It’s a quick stress-reducing exercise. Want to learn how? When you can, find a quiet space and then:
  1. Close your eyes and slowly relax your limbs to let go of the tension in your muscles.
  2. Slowly breathe in and out to the count of four.
  3. As you breathe slowly and relax your limbs, focus on a word such as calm, sky, ocean or peace.
  4. Concentrate your mental energy on your word as you continue deep breathing. If other thoughts come to mind, let them pass through. Refocus on your word and continue to breathe and relax.
When you’re ready, slowly open your eyes. You should feel refreshed and relaxed!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New Look & Feel

Summer greetings to all!

As you can see, the Competent AdvantageTM community has a new look and feel. We've updated the site with some fun new features including:
  1. ClickComments are those icons that will now appear at the bottom of each post. If you don't feel like writing a long soliloquy, you can click on the icon that best matches your feelings about the post.
  2. Blog Archive is a more organized way of keeping track of previous posts. I'll also continue to use labels so you can find posts that match your interests.
  3. Blogroll will keep a running list of our favorite blogs. If you have a blog that you think would be of interest to our community, send me the link and I'll check it out. Then, we can talk about exchanging links to add you to our blogroll.

Summer promises to be busy here at InStep. I have two summer associates (Farjana -- Brooklyn College & Julie -- Teachers College/Columbia) who are working on our training programs as they get an inside peek into the world of consulting.

Stay tuned for updates on July events -- another ME TIME segment on Own Your Power Radio and my panel discussion on Coaching & Mentoring at the BlogHer conference in Chicago!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Stressed about Getting Downsized? Tune in to Own Your Power TONIGHT at 8:00 PM EDT

TONIGHT, I'll be back "on the air" on the Own Your Power Radio show during the ME TIME segment. Once again, I'll be chatting with Own Your Power host Simone Kelly Brown. This time, we'll be discussing tips for dealing with the stress of career transitions -- when you need to make moves in or out of the workforce.

If these are issues you're facing now (or will be in the near future), tune in tonight at 8:00 PM EDT. You can either listen online for live streaming, or if you're in the Miami area, listen to NewsTalk WTPS Radio at 1080 on your AM dial.

You can also call us with your questions at: 877-825-1080. Visit:

Friday, June 01, 2007

I'm Back ... Mea Culpa & Update

I've been remiss in writing, and I apologize. I hope you'll indulge me and let me share an update of what I've been working on -- in the hopes that you'll forgive my absence! :)

May was a whirlwind full of exciting consulting projects (Public Speaking Course for at-risk youth & Business Writing Course for rating analysts) and two speaking engagements.

Flowing out of the Create a Buzz! component of Competent Advantage TM, I delivered two presentations on the Art of Self Promotion. The first was for the Manhattan Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women as part of their annual Re-Tooling spring seminar. And, I've just returned from Richmond, VA after speaking at the 33rd Annual National Conference sponsored by the Urban Financial Services Coalition.

The great part about being offline for a bit was the opportunity to meet some of you and hear first-hand some of the challenges you're facing related to self-marketing and creating a buzz. I'd like to bring a few of them back online to this community and invite your thoughts and comments, particularly in response to the following:

When we market ourselves and our ideas is their a difference in perception (especially along the Passive --> Aggressive continuum) depending on our:
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity/Culture
  • Geography

These items may seem obvious; however, I'm interested in your opinions and experiences. I was reminded of the last issue (geography) near the beginning of my presentation in Richmond, as participants shared experiences of how not "standing out" can be an asset in a more southern environment. As a New Yorker, I wasn't expecting that response; but the discussion was interesting and informative.

So, what do you think? What challenges have you had with promoting your ideas in the workplace? Any successes to report?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Network with Me in NYC: April 28, 7:00 PM

Hello everyone! Here's info on an upcoming event in the New York area.
  • Want to meet FUN urban professionals?
  • Want to talk with ME about Career Development or Stress Management coaching?
  • Want to learn about FUN, getaway ideas to ease your stress?

If you answered YES to one or more of the above, join me this SATURDAY, APRIL 28 at the New York Networking, Introductions & Activities Expo!

DATE: Saturday, April 28, 2007

TIME: 7-10 PM for Expo. 10 PM - 1 AM for Party

LOCATION: Columbus 72 at 246A Columbus Avenue at 72nd Street (Next to China Fun restaurant)
ADMISSION: $15 includes: Expo admission, complimentary beverage, light snacks and admission to DJ dance party

MORE: Following the Expo the exhibitors will take down their tables, and you are invited to stay for a night of DJ dancing at New York's Newest Fun dance club -- Columbus 72.

Over 20 top organizations specializing in bringing busy NY professionals together for fun, friendships, business and romance will be on hand with staff, displays and information for you. This includes: New York Social Network, Social Circles, Club Getaway, The Lunch Club, and
Meet Market Adventures.

For a full list of exhibitors, visit

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Stressed Out? Get Tips on April 15, 8:00 PM EDT

Hello everyone, hope you had a great holiday! I apologize that it's been so long since I've written. We've been busy planning exciting events to help you have a fun, balanced, productive second quarter!

On Sunday, April 15, I'll be sharing tips on dealing with stress on the Own Your Power Radio Show. After you file your taxes, tune in at 8:00 PM EDT -- either online for live streaming or NewsTalk WTPS 1080 AM in Miami! During the ME TIME segment, I'll be chatting with host Simone Kelly-Brown about how to manage your multiple roles and deal with stressful work and life events.

DID YOU KNOW that April has been designated Stress Awareness Month? Sponsored by The Health Resource Network (HRN), a non-profit health education organization, Stress Awareness Month is a national, cooperative effort to inform people about the dangers of stress, successful coping strategies, and harmful misconceptions about stress that are prevalent in our society.

Tune in April 15 online ( at 8:00 PM EDT!
Call in with your questions about stress! 877-825-1080

Thursday, March 22, 2007

"Reduce Stress-Focus Energy" March 27 at 8:00PM

On Tuesday, March 27, 2007 at 8:00-9:00 pm we invite everybody to join our FREE Stress Management teleclass. Learn practical problem-solving and relaxation techniques to help you deal with stressful work and life events. Want to reduce your stress and focus your energy on what's really important? Then, sign up NOW

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Free Career Development Teleclass March 21 at 8:00 PM

Hi everyone, believe it or not, we're almost through the first quarter of the year and I`m excited to announce a FREE introductory teleclass on Career Development. Learn how to develop an action-oriented career strategy and create a compelling professional pitch to get the job you really want on Wednesday, March 21, 2007 at 8:00 - 9:00 PM

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Job-Hopper or Re-Careerist: How Often Should You Switch?

Thanks, Ram, for sharing your thoughts. It's cool to know that this NY-based blog can "ping" people in India!

Your comments about people with "high competencies and knowledge" who "want to venture in life, try new ideas, bring creative thoughts, [and] implement them" with different employers made me think. I can remember back-in-the-day when HR folks used to label people who changed jobs frequently as job-hoppers.

This typically didn't convey a positive image -- the connotation was: "This person doesn't have the ability or stick-to-it-ive-ness to hold down a job." Job-hoppers often were pre-judged to have been the cause of their own "demise" -- be it an attitude problem (didn't get along with the boss), a skill-deficiency (couldn't do the work) or a work-ethic issue (didn't get to work on-time).

Not to belittle the importance of the career success factors I just mentioned, I believe the hypothesis about people with high competencies and knowledge [like readers of this blog!] may be correct. Perhaps you've changed jobs to find the right "fit" (with your manager, team or company). Or, maybe you've made lateral moves to gain a cross-section of experience within a company.

These thoughts made me recall an MSN article I read last year about re-careerists. It didn't offer an exact definition, but suggested that re-careerists "challeng[e] established ideas about education, jobs, and careers, and [find] new opportunities for personal and financial growth in the changing job market." That's what Competent Advantage TM is all about -- people who are proactive about building their strengths to secure positions that enable them to achieve great things.

I figure I'm in my 9th "job" (not counting my teaching or independent consulting gigs while working for other employers) in my career. How about YOU?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Outrageous Transitions: Career Twists & Turns

Thanks, Soni, for sharing your herstory with us!
Your comment about sudden stops and turns intrigued me. My career turns have been the transitions I've made across different industries. Over the years, I have transitioned from Law to Nonprofit to Corporate HR to Consulting to Entrepreneurship. It's been an exciting (and often challenging) journey!

One of the biggest challenges to overcome was convincing potential employers of my transferable skills (those abilities that would add value to their team regardless of the organization in which I learned them). I also had to become good at connecting the dots -- helping employers to understand the logic behind my career decisions.

But, enough about me! What about YOU? What outrageous career transitions have you made? What twists and turns have you had on your journey?

Or, have you had sudden career stops -- life or professional changes that caused you to leave the workforce? What was it like to come back? Share your experiences so we all can learn and grow!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Ever Made an Outrageous Career Transition?

While planning for the new year, some of my core advisors [thanks to AH, LSJ & SR!] and I were trying to come up with a slogan that would inspire us to keep focused on our goals. We all know how positive self-talk can give us courage to deal with various professional and personal obstacles. After some consideration and discussion, we decided to keep it simple. Our slogan is:
BE BOLD in 2007!

Each of us is free to use the slogan individually and share it as a gentle reminder to help each other press on despite challenges or naysayers. I thought I'd share it with you to begin a discussion that's been on my mind lately -- career transitions.

Have you ever made an OUTRAGEOUS career transition? You know, the type when you first told people the move you wanted to make they said: "What?!? No one's ever done THAT before?" or "Are you CRAZY? They'll never hire someone with your background?" I invite you to post your stories -- the good, the bad and the ugly -- and I will do the same. It's a great way to give encouragement and help each other avoid potential pitfalls.

Speaking of making bold transitions, my pal Diane Danielson (founder of Downtown Women's Club) would love to hear YOUR opinions on workplace issues like "opting out" out of the workforce. Take a few moments to complete her survey at:

Friday, January 26, 2007

Top 10 HOT Jobs for '07

It's 2-for-1 Friday! Actually since it's so COLD outside (brrrr!), I thought you might be staying in during lunch and looking for more interesting career info.

Fast Company has posted its take on the Top 10 HOT Jobs for 2007. Since one of the key components of the Competent Advantage TM program is Know Your Market, I thought it would be useful to share this with you. Two jobs that were of particular interest to me were:
  1. Viral Marketers
  2. Bloggers
They both have a similar underlying premise -- the ability to gain people's attention and convince them that they should listen to what you have to say. These jobs may make us all look differently at those who excel at spreading gossip around the office! :) Seriously, as you look back on your career (or even your personal life), have you been good at creating a buzz? Perhaps one of these jobs might be right for you. In any event, you may want to check out the linked article on using blogs to launch your career.

Fast Company suggests that "it takes a creative soul with an endless amount of determination and innovation to thrive in these [hot] fields." Review the list, and take time to envision your ideal career situation in terms of the role/position, environment and work/life balance. You might get lucky and find out that your Competent Advantage TM lies in one of these new growth areas!

Women can WIN in 2007

Happy Friday! I just came across a NEW blog launched by Deloitte & Touche USA LLP to support its Women's Initiative (WIN). The blog is designed to focus on work/life issues for women (and men).

It's hosted by Cathy Benko, Principal and High Technology Sector Leader for Deloitte Consulting LLP and National Managing Director of Deloitte's Initiative for the Retention and Advancement of Women.

What I think is cool is that the blog used to be internal; now, they've opened it up to enable other professionals to benefit from the dialogue and idea exchange. WIN was launched at Deloitte 12 years ago. As a woman who's spent the past 7 years in consulting (internal and external), that says a lot to me about their commitment to the advancement of women in the industry!

Ladies, what has your company done for you lately?

Friday, January 05, 2007

New Year, New Focus, New Stress?

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope you had wonderful holiday celebrations.

You can't turn around anywhere these days without seeing (or hearing) an ad about New Year's resolutions. Recognizing that it sometimes can be hard to settle back into "reality" after a holiday break, I wanted to take a bit of the pressure OFF as you begin to refine your focus for the new year.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm all for reflecting back to plan ahead (like described in the last post). By the way, if you haven't already, I'd suggest you take a look at as a resource for your goal-setting (you can get online reminders) for your action items.

I just don't want you to become overwhelmed by the magnitude of your resolutions. I did a Google search on "Stress & Resolutions" and came across some great tips on They include not taking on too much and congratulating yourself when you achieve something (a personal favorite because it's so easy to forget and move on to the next thing).

This year, we'll be talking more about stress and the impact on your professional success. After all, how can you Discover Your Competent Advantage TM if you're too stressed to take the first step?! Keep an eye out for more information on our NEW stress management program.

Also, be sure you've signed up for our newsletter so you can get the dial-in numbers for the Work & Money tele-series to negotiate a better 2007 Bonus on January 17 and January 23 at 8:00 PM EST.