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?