Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What are the Top Qualities of a Senior Leadership Team?

In this NEW video -- one of a series of six videos I've produced on Teamwork & Motivation -- I share the top 6 characteristics I feel are important for senior leaders like you to develop as you lead your companies and teams into the New Year and today's ever-changing marketplace.

Qualities of a Senior Leadership Team
  • Which qualities are most relevant to you? 
  • Did you learn these traits 'on-the-job' or acquire them in other ways? 
  • What was the most challenging characteristic for you to develop? 

Let me know your thoughts and experiences here in the comments or tweet me on Twitter.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

What I'm Thankful For This Year

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I'd share some things for which I'm grateful that have happened in 2013. It's been an interesting year of wonderful surprises and unexpected challenges. Here are just a few that come to mind:

I'm thankful for ...


  • My parents -- for their continued support and encouragement, and for their sheer presence at this stage in our lives 
  • My friends -- both my "golden oldies" who are always there for me, and my new-found acquaintances and colleagues
  • My journey to becoming a runner -- both my Couch-to-5K training and my first race taught me so much about extending beyond my (perceived) physical limitations. I'll never forget the jitters I had while riding on the F train to Coney Island to run my first full "Turkey Trot" 5K in 20-degree weather, and how my fingers were freezing while waiting for the race to begin. Nor the doubts I overcame even while jumping up and down to stay warm waiting on the boardwalk! My finish time now gives me a goal to achieve in 2014 -- running under a 10-minute mile!

Pre-Race: Coney Island Sports Fdn Turkey Trot 5K


    • My trip "down under" to Australia -- not only because of the miracle of traveling to the other side of the world (I will never forget the landing in Sydney, AU) but because of the internal/external work that was involved in me getting there. There was no guarantee that I'd be going on the trip -- I had to push beyond my (perceived) professional limitations to sell enough registrations and attract enough mentors, sponsors for the event to be viable, before my ticket was even purchased! 

      Sydney Opera House: Sydney, AU
      This year's "1-Word" for me to operate by was SURRENDER. I believe I'm still learning and internalizing the definition of that word: "trusting that God, the Universe, or a higher intelligence can accomplish anything, even when you can’t foresee the outcome of a situation." -- Deepak Chopra

      At some of my lowest or scariest moments this year, I've been able to surrender to the higher intelligence even when I didn't know how things would turn out. Often, it's been that I've realized after my experience that my perseverance is in itself a form of surrender -- a sustained focus on my intentions, with trust that things will turn out for the best (on a larger, universal level). 

      I'm learning to be grateful for ALL of my experiences because of the lessons they teach me. It really isn't about the destination, but about the journey. So, on this recognized day of Gratitude, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

      Would love to know what YOU are thankful/grateful for? Tweet me or share in the comments below.

      Thursday, October 17, 2013

      My StrataRx Ignite Presentation: Fitbit - You Had Me at Smooches



      As promised, here is the video from my September 2013 Ignite talk at the Strata Rx conference about my quantified self mission to track my Couch-to-5K runs with Fitbit. I'm proud to have accomplished this communication 'challenge' given that the Ignite format is pretty prescriptive.

      Take a peek and let me know what you think! Share your comments here on the blog or you can tweet me on Twitter. Always excited to hear your health, fitness, and wellness success stories too! **Smooches**

      Wednesday, October 16, 2013

      This is MY Moment: The Girl Declaration

      "I was not put on this earth to be invisible. I was not born to be denied. I was not given life only to belong to someone else. I belong to ME. I have a voice and I will use it."
      These are the first few lines of The Girl Declaration. So empowering! Even more inspiring when you hear Yaweta Chavula and Laiba Shahzadi announce the initiative on behalf of Nike at the Clinton Global Initiative. Watch until the end of the video below to see how they steal some of the thunder from Chelsea Clinton!



      On this Blog Action Day, I've decided to write about Girl's Rights, since the health and well-being of girls has been shown to be an indicator of how well all humans are doing. You could argue that if we protect the rights of girls that we are protecting the rights of all people.

      I'm inspired by this Girl Declaration as a woman and as someone who didn't always believe in the power of my voice. I've since learned how important it is for me (and all girls and women) to speak up for that in which we believe. The words of the Declaration are based on research and consultation with over 500 girls, ages 10-19, living in poverty in 14 countries around the world. It was written with girls, for girls. I think this Girl Declaration should be posted in every classroom to remind girls of the power in their voice. Of course, that presumes that girls are allowed and encouraged to attend school in their community!


      The goals of The Girl Declaration are so powerful in their potential to impact everyone -- given that there are close to 600 million girls aged 10-19 living in the world today or approximately 8.5% of the population. [UNICEF State of the World's Children 2011]

      GOAL 1—EDUCATION
      Girls reach adulthood with relevant skills and knowledge to participate in economic, social and cultural life.

      GOAL 2—HEALTH
      Adolescent girls have access to safe, age-appropriate health and nutrition information and services, and possess the confidence to make healthy transitions to adulthood.

      GOAL 3—SAFETY
      Adolescent girls are free from violence and exploitation and are supported by enforced laws, child protection systems and their communities.

      GOAL 4—ECONOMIC SECURITY
      Adolescent girls know how to build and protect their economic assets and earn a safe income. Governments, communities and the private sector uphold girls' economic rights.

      GOAL 5—CITIZENSHIP
      Adolescent girls have equal access to services, opportunities, legal rights and personal freedom, and are able to fully participate as citizens of their communities.

      The Girls Declaration was written because girls were left out of the original Millennium Development Goals to eliminate extreme poverty around the world by 2015. Now that girls have been included, what will we do to support the growth and development of girls around the world? What can YOU do to support a girl in your family or community? Share your thoughts and ideas here in the comments, or you can always tweet me on Twitter.

      This is OUR Moment!

      Friday, October 04, 2013

      I Traveled 8 Hours to Give a 5-Minute Talk About My Fitbit

      Data Makes a Difference was the tagline for the Strata Rx 2013 conference on using "Big Data" to drive innovation in Healthcare.  In my opinion, so does community ... and, of course, so do we as empowered patients ... make a difference, that is. This was an underlying theme for my #Ignite talk last week -- Fitbit: You Had Me at Smooches!

      This is me speaking below. You can hardly tell that I had just traveled 8 hours to get to Boston ... from New York! I was so fortunate that the Amtrak train delay/power failure en route didn't cause me to miss my 5-minute appearance.

      Strata Rx 2013

      For those not already familiar with #Ignite talks, the format is you have only 20 slides and 5 minutes to tell your story. Even more fun for presenters is that your slides are automatically advanced every 15 seconds!

      I've previously shared my journey to becoming an "urban datasexual" who has become part of the Quantified Self community by tracking my steps (and often my sleep) using my Fitbit. In fact, my June blog article was the basis for my #Ignite talk -- given the first time in Denver at the Healthcare Unbound conference (July), and last week at Strata Rx.

      What's changed since July is that I'm now in Week 8 of my Couch-to-5K training, sustaining runs of at least 25 minutes long. As a result, my distance/steps have increased to an average of about 7,000 steps per run. My personal best day is 14,123 steps and 6.65 miles in one day in August. I've noticed that my motivation to run is also changing.

      I'm still motivated by the personal challenge of running; yet, I'm also inspired by the "likes" I get on my Facebook page whenever I post my latest accomplishment. That's why I believe that community makes a difference in health care and our overall well-being. I heard that sentiment echoed in many of the Strata Rx presentations -- that our social connections impact our decisions and health behaviors. Observing our friends and family making positive health choices can lead us to do the same. And, of course, the opposite is true -- we're, perhaps, even more strongly influenced when we observe others making unhealthy choices.

      I'll share the link to a video of my talk as soon as it's available. In the meantime, I'm curious about what makes a difference for your health? Do you have a "health posse"? What health behaviors are you looking to increase (or decrease)?

      Thursday, September 12, 2013

      Detox & Cleanse this Fall for More Energy, Less Colds this Winter

      Fall is a natural time of transition and new beginnings. It's also the perfect time for a natural, gentle detox cleanse to reboot your mind, body and spirit to prepare for a winter of wellness!

      "Ayurvedic health educators say it's important to slow down, support your liver's natural ability to remove toxins from the body, and take stock of the influences that you allow into your life—from the kind of food you eat to the amount of time you spend in front of an electronic device." Yoga Journal

      Beginning September 23rd (and continuing through mid-October), I'll be hosting my 7-Day Fall 2013 Cleanse. You can pick which week works best for you!

      I'll be providing support and guidance throughout the week -- we've got an online community so you can share what you're experiencing and receive feedback. In just 7 days, you'll discover the gentlest cleansing herbs, most nutritious foods, and easiest stress reduction techniques so you can still do all of the things you love to do while getting your body in shape for the winter season. That's right, NO harsh diuretics and NO fasting!

      Why not give yourself the ultimate ME-time gift to rejuvenate yourself -- mind, body and spirit! Visit the 7-Day Fall 2013 Cleanse website to complete your (free) registration and to learn more about the PURIFY Ayurveda cleansing kit ... the same one used at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing during their retreats!

      Let's get Back to School, Back to Work, AND Back to Healthy Living this Fall!
       

      Monday, August 19, 2013

      Could an Empowered Patient Environment be the Catalyst for Women Healthcare Leaders to Thrive?

      In today's Health 2.0, the patient is empowered. It's the patient's right to be kept abreast of what's happening with their health, so they can make informed choices about their health care. And, still, we've read and heard about too many instances when patients' concerns, interests, needs, and priorities have been minimized by a healthcare system that often values efficiency over empathy.

      According to a Harvard Business Review report Women Rising: The Unseen Barriers, "... women’s leadership potential sometimes shows in less conventional ways—being responsive to clients’ needs, for example, rather than boldly asserting a point of view—and sometimes it takes powerful women to recognize that potential. But powerful women are scarce." Or are they?

      This statement caused me to wonder: Could an empowered patient environment be a catalyst for women physicians and other female health practitioners to thrive?

      There is data to support a difference in leadership abilities and traits between men and women. According to a 2011 survey of more than 7,000 leaders by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, women were voted to outrank men in 12 of 16 top leadership competencies.


      These top leadership competencies include the ability to:

      • Display high integrity and honesty
      • Inspire and motivates others
      • Build relationships

      I've teased out these three competencies in particular as they correlate well not only with creating an empowering environment for their fellow colleagues, but also one for their patients. Equally important are other competencies in which women were viewed to excel in this survey, which one may argue could help to change the landscape of the healthcare system on a broader level, including the ability to:

      • Take initiative
      • Develop others
      • Drive for results
      • Champion change

      Sounds great? Perhaps ... until we explore deeper to uncover the one competency in which women were ranked to excel less than men: the ability to develop a strategic perspective. Why were women perceived to be less strategic?

      Is it a result of long-held stereotypes? Is it because of a lack of women in top leadership positions? Or, perhaps, both of these factors have led to a phenomenon called second-generation gender bias? As suggested by Herminia Ibarra, Robin Ely, and Deborah Kolb: "This bias erects powerful but subtle and often invisible barriers for women that arise from cultural assumptions and organizational structures, practices, and patterns of interaction that inadvertently benefit men while putting women at a disadvantage."

      Is there a second-generation bias in healthcare? To answer that question, I suggest we explore the proposed criteria and any data that may support or disprove this assertion. Some of the data can be found in the 2013 XX in Health report: The State of Women in Healthcare.

      • A paucity of role models for women

      While 78% of the healthcare industry are women and 70% are administrators, only 19% are hospital CEOs -- and there are NO women CEOs that lead Fortune 500 healthcare companies

      • Gendered career paths and gendered work


      In addition to the above, women are not represented well at the board level -- where they would have more opportunity to make strategic decisions about the direction of their organizations and the industry at-large


      • Women's lack of access to networks and sponsors

      Many women are not perceiving the healthcare workplace to be supportive of their career goals -- 39% reported leaving their previous employers because of the company culture.

      • "Double binds" 

      Ibarra, Ely, and Kolb describe this concept as: "The mismatch between conventionally feminine qualities and the qualities thought necessary for leadership puts female leaders in a double bind." Perhaps this explains the low ranking for strategic abilities in the Zenger-Folkman study.

      So, what do you think -- is there second-generation bias in healthcare? If, so will it impact women healthcare leaders ability to thrive and succeed?

      I've written this article in recognition of XX in Health Week, to explore the issue of gender diversity in health leadership. I welcome your thoughts and reactions to this information as well as what you see happening in your organization. I'd encourage you to continue the dialogue here -- and to participate in (or initiate) discussions about this gender diversity in your city and community.

      Monday, June 24, 2013

      Fitbit: You Had Me at Smooches

      We KNOW we're more creative, productive, and fulfilled when we're NOT stressed out, exhausted, overwhelmed, or overweight. We KNOW it's easier to focus on our goals and dreams when we're not concerned about our health.

      Yet, somehow, "life" gets in the way!

      Then, this tiny device clipped to my pants looks up at me (OK I know, it doesn't really have eyes) and "says" SMOOCHES COLETTE on the screen! And, somehow, I think ... "If it loves me THAT much, maybe I CAN go for that run later today."


      True story! That's the feeling I had on the first day of wearing my Fitbit One -- and I did go for my run. Not to mention the elation I felt later that same day when I received my first "Top Badges" for making 5,000+ steps in a day and climbing 10 floors. I was hooked!


      And, yes, I've been training for the past month and a half using Couch to 5K podcasts. I go running in Brooklyn Bridge Park ... although in Week 4, it's been a combination of power walking with an increasingly longer run.

      As a certified life and wellness coach, I know that a solid support system is essential for achieving and maintaining good health, optimum wellness, and a stellar lifestyle. I help people like you explore the connection between your choices, thoughts, and behaviors and your physical and emotional health.

      Over the years, I've seen that for each client, the level of readiness to take new action and the motivation to make healthier choices is different. Now, I'm really eager to explore how mobile apps, gaming, and social media can increase our levels of readiness and motivation.

      I hope you'll follow me on my journey using my Fitbit and other apps to uncover new revelations about my own mind-body health and motivation, so I can find new ways to support you in your health and overall well-being. So, this curious mind wants to know ...

      What fitness devices are you wearing? To what wellness communities do you belong? What has been the impact on your health and well-being?

      Tweet me or share your thoughts in the comments section below. Look forward to hearing from you! Now, I've got to get moving so I can get more love from my Fitbit!

      Monday, June 03, 2013

      Why I'm Focusing on Your Health & Wellness

      As I prepare to attend the Health Datapalooza conference in DC, the fourth annual national conference designed to liberate health data. The conference is a forum that features the newest and most innovative and effective uses of health data by companies, start-ups, academics, government agencies and individuals. (their words)

      My registration has been gifted since I applied to be part of the consortium’s Consumer & Patient Circle. I shared in my application what I've been working on and how participating could benefit my target audience. I thought it would be appropriate to share with you more context for my application and my commitment to wellness services. You can view this as a manifesto of sorts -- revealing my intentions and vision for where I'd like to see my business to head.

      The "Magic Bullet"
      I've mentioned before that in 2006, I went to the doctor for a routine check-up while experiencing chronic indigestion and stomach pains. At the time, all other tests were "normal." The doctor gave me a Rx for over-the-counter acid re-flux medication. When I asked him how long I'd need to take it, he said: "We'll see." I felt I was too young for a pill/day for the rest of my life for a non-life-threatening condition.

      Soon after, I got word of a certification program in Coping with Work & Family Stress TM at Yale University School of Medicine. I signed up not because of my condition, but because I thought it would be a good addition to my business toolbox. It hadn't been a great year, and I was looking for the "magic bullet" that would reinvigorate my business.

      It's so ironic to me now that I hadn't even considered the connection between the stress of running my relatively new business and my own condition. Little did I know that the "magic bullet" was really about improving my own health and well-being so I could help others do the same.

      My A-HA! Moment
      My A-HA! moment came as I didn't bring enough of the Rx with me for my weekend stay after my certification program, and I ended up going off the medication accidentally (although we know in life there are no real accidents).

      I'd spent time in the course learning more about the link between our thoughts and perceptions of our life/situation and our physical and emotional responses -- and finally it hit me: maybe there's some connection between my anxiety/worries and my condition ... I know, DUH! :-)

      That was the beginning of my mind-body-spirit odyssey that's taken me from stress management certification, to Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT/Tapping) training, and now to Ayurveda nutrition/science with Zrii.

      My Commitment
      Being human, I still have my missteps and uncover new revelations about my own mind-body-spirit alignment.

      And that makes me even more committed to help others like you achieve your BEST health and manifest your BIGGEST dreams.

      The path is sometimes blurry and unclear. Yet, I know I must continue to learn how to let go more quickly, wait more patiently, trust more deeply, and believe in our collective journey -- which will lead us all to:

      Better health (eliminate diabetes, cancer, hypertension, etc.)
      Better relationships (reduce anger to eliminate mis-communication and violence)
      More peace -- inner (from reduced stress, anxiety) and outer (from reduced violence)

      Will you join me? 

      Wednesday, May 01, 2013

      Tuesday, April 30, 2013

      Startup Founders Get Lean in Sydney

      The past few months, I've had the pleasure of planning, organizing, and launching the second Lean Startup Machine Workshop in Sydney, Australia! The 3-day workshop was held 19-21 April at Fishburners, a local co-working and tech start-up space.

      Now that I've recovered from my jet lag, I thought I'd share an inside perspective on what it can take to truly test your start-up or business idea BEFORE writing a line of code, or buying any inventory, or hiring your first person, or ... you get the idea. Here's a sample of what went down ... down under!

      The Stats

      • 56 entrepreneurs
      • 20 mentors
      • 10 ideas
      • 5 speakers
      • 5 judges 
      • 2 winning teams who benefited from over $2,500 in prizes
      The Story
      We started on Friday evening with the high energy of ideas being pitched and teams being formed -- 20 app, product, and service ideas were culled down to 10 teams based on group voting. 
      Natasha, Pascale & Coach Colette

      Lessons from launching successful start-ups were shared in our Fireside Chat by Sydney entrepreneurs Pascale Helyar-Moray (founder StyleRocks) and Natasha Rawlings (co-founder StreetHawk App & Springboard Australia member).

      Teams spent the remainder of Friday night beginning to define their problem and customer hypotheses, and initial customer assumptions using the Validation Board.

      By Saturday morning, 10 teams had become 9 as one team of three people disbanded because a team member decided not to return to the workshop. Just like in the real world, when you think you've got everyone on board, someone jumps overboard; and then you have to either reiterate, pivot, or (in this case) abandon ship.

      We encouraged teams to spend the majority of Saturday 'getting out of the building' to have real conversations with real potential customers. Teams begin to learn that their ideas are essentially useless until they're validated (or invalidated) by customers who are actually living/dealing with the problem. 

      My 'Saturday-tough-love' coaching to any team who was resisting going out and yet still struggling to find "the 'right' answer" was: "You're not going to find it in here standing in front of the board, talking to yourselves. Get out there and ask some more people some more questions!"

      Sebastien Eckserley-Maslin on Customer Dvpt
      Hamish Barney on MVPs
      Shihab Hamid on Landing Pages
      Lean Sydney 2013 Mentors
      In addition to hands-on coaching from me and our 20 mentors, teams heard relevant presentations on customer development, building MVPs, and launching landing pages to solidify their understanding of Lean methodology.


      The Breakthrough
      On Saturday night, the energy was much lower as many teams seemed frustrated by the feedback they were receiving from target customers. Perhaps their perceived problem wasn't really a problem at all, or maybe it wasn't an urgent problem that their proposed customers cared enough about to solve. These are not uncommon experiences for an entrepreneur -- it just doesn't often happen in a 24-hour period!

      How an entrepreneur responds to this feedback is crucial: do you continue to hold onto your idea (e.g., it's such a great idea, and did I tell you how I came up with it) or do you listen to your customers? We witnessed this struggle through Sunday morning, until some of the teams had the breakthrough as described below:
      ".. we stopped trying to change the customer to fit [our] solution (wasting time), and started ACTUALLY looking for [their] pain points." 
      The Finale
      On Sunday, it was all about making last iterations and pivots; and collecting data from online MVPs and landing pages to find out how much validation (e.g., signups, pledges, and/or letters of intent) each team had gained.

      We told the teams how they could win Lean Sydney 2013 -- by sharing their findings in a short, yet compelling presentation that demonstrated how they apply the methodology and validated (or invalidated) their key assumptions.
      Tom Frazier on Pitching Tips










      Our Lean Sydney 2013 judging panel included renowned Sydney entrepreneurs Jodie Fox (founder Shoes of Prey) and Matt Barrie (founder Freelancer.com), and Lean Sydney 2012 founder James Nathan (Food Orbit).

      And, the winners were .... @pixcapp (helping online retailers create better images) and GoTix (helping business travelers find last-minute tickets to shows and sporting events). The grand prize included a cloud hosting package from Ninefold, marketing plan consultation, and free desk space at The Hive (co-working space at Pollenizer).

      To practice what I'm preaching, here's feedback from one of the attendees to validate the value of the Lean Startup Machine workshop experience:
      "It teaches you really good techniques for validating business ideas, so you can see if you have a valid business before wasting lots of money on it building a solution."
      I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Sydney -- getting to know the start-up ecosystem there, and seeing a bit of the city. I'll share more about my personal adventures in Oz soon!

      Wednesday, March 20, 2013

      NEW Podcast: Stop Searching for the Perfect Diet

      Still searching for the “perfect” diet? Truth is, it doesn't really exist. Whether you’re an all-veggie eater, meat-and-potatoes lover, going gluten-free or even eating raw, it can be hard to find the right foods to boost your health AND keep your taste buds happy.

      Enter ... The Clean Plates Cookbook (available on Amazon)



      In this NEW podcast, I interview Jared Koch, Founder of Clean Plates.com, the restaurant review guide that takes the grunt work out of eating healthier. Jared is a nutritional consultant and certified health coach. He recently released The Clean Plates Cookbook, a collection of easy-to-follow, nutritious recipes from celebrity chefs including Jamie Oliver, Iron Chef winner Marc Forgione, Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern, and Ann Gentry of Real Food Daily.

      Tune in to the podcast for practical tips to re-boot your eating habits and take back control of your health. You will be a health and nutrition warrior after listening!

      Friday, March 08, 2013

      Share Knowledge. Take Action. National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2013

      Did you know:

      • Women make up 24 percent of HIV diagnoses among adults and adolescents in the United States.
      • At some point in her lifetime, 1 in every 32 black women and 1 in every 106 Latina women will be diagnosed with HIV.
      That’s why the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health will sponsor the eighth annual National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on March 10, 2013. This year, participants are invited to Share Knowledge. Take Action.
      National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day seeks to galvanize the women, public health advocates, and communities fighting this disease. Although the observance is March 10, the Office on Women’s Health encourages organizations to hold events and activities throughout the month of March. 

      Getting involved is easy. On March 10 and throughout the month you can:

      Take Action
      • Get tested for HIV by visiting a local event.
      • Invite a friend to attend an event with you.
      • Contact your local government and ask them to sign a proclamation to declare National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day an official day in your community.
      Share Knowledge
      By participating in National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, you will unite with others in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Feel free to share what you're up to here in the comments or tweet me on Twitter.

      Friday, March 01, 2013

      Why Female Founders Should Speak Up


      As a Female Founder, Why Should You Speak Your Mind?

      Otherwise, nothing will get done; deals will pass you by; you won’t get what you want or what you need. Perhaps it would be better to answer the question with the words of an old African-American proverb: “A closed mouth don’t get fed.” If you don’t speak up, speak your mind, and ask for what you need for yourself and for your business, you run the risk of being malnourished … possibly, in a profound, life-altering way.

      Believe it or not, I didn't always recognize the importance of speaking my mind. There have been many times in my past when I have held myself back, dimmed my light, and silenced my voice. Very early on … when I was in Kindergarten and the first grade … I began to perceive messages that it wasn't always OK to speak up. I was a stronger reader than some children in my grade. The teachers did their best to keep me occupied and motivated with the resources they had at their disposal. Yet, my childlike mind couldn't help but wonder:
      “Maybe it would be better if I just read at the same level as everyone else. Then, no one would have to make a fuss over finding more books and I wouldn't need any special treatment. Maybe I should just keep quiet and read what books are available at school.”
      This message to “keep quiet” continued into my adolescence; when, in middle school, I was occasionally picked on for being smart. I share this part of my story not to blame the other children; more to reveal how much I’d (unknowingly) internalized the “keep quiet” messages, which had a significant impact on my willingness to let my light shine. When I was a senior in high school, I won a national writing award. My English teacher appeared to be more excited than I was – she couldn't wait to announce my accomplishment to the class. I can picture her actually jumping up and down with the notification letter in her hand.
      And, all I could think was: “What will they think of me now? ‘There goes Colette, showing off and bragging about how smart she is.’” I had adopted the habit of keeping my wins a secret (keeping my mouth closed) so that fewer people would notice me or make a big deal about my accomplishments. 
      Perhaps it’s from those early experiences of holding myself back that I've developed my passion to empower other women to speak their minds, even when others tell them “it can’t be done!” or “that will never work!” Now, I proactively seek out compelling, innovative ways to share what I've learned with other women who can benefit from my lessons to improve their lives and their businesses.

      I believe you can develop a positive and strategic mindset to achieve your biggest dreams and be more fulfilled. It’s a matter of “flipping your script” to counteract any negative self-talk, and replacing those thoughts with more inspiring messages. You must give yourself permission to reveal your positive mindset; first to yourself, and then to others if you so choose. On your founder's journey, you may encounter a few pessimists or “Debbie Downers” that will want to share their negative outlook or try to distract you from your purpose. Yet, I believe you can choose how you respond, and choose whether you will allow their perspective to hold you back from speaking your mind.

      So, now, as the woman who coaches other women to tap away their stress and communicate for impact, when I hear my own negative self-talk and begin to doubt whether I should speak my mind, I can flip my own script:
      "If I’m not willing to speak up, speak my mind, and ask for what I need, how can I ask others to do the same? It’s time to get my voice on, because this mouth needs to get fed!”
      What do you think? Are there times you hold yourself back or silence your voice? What has that cost you? Share your comments here or tweet me your thoughts on Twitter.

      Thursday, January 31, 2013

      NEW Podcast: Is Your Stress Making You Ugly?

      You know that stress isn't good for your health, but does it play a part in how you look? You bet it does! Want the good news? It IS possible to "de-stress your skin."

      Learn how in my latest podcast with guest, Gorgeous Lifestyle Expert & Celebrity Makeup Artist Nicole Lundy, founder of Ne`lani Beauty.

      Your body responds to pressures by releasing stress hormones (such as cortisol, epinephrine and nor-epinephrine that increase your blood pressure, speed your heart rate, and raise your blood sugar levels. This "flight or fight" response is usually self-regulating and likely will subside when you return to a calmer state of mind. Yet, when your stress becomes chronic or constant, it can aggravate and worsen skin conditions, such as acne or eczema.

      Tune in to the podcast to hear the telltale signs that stress is having a negative impact on your skin and learn some healthy beauty habits. Not only will you feel a lot better, but you will look a whole lot younger too!

      Nicole’s signature 6-step Gorgeous Living Success System is at the core of all of the beauty programs, classes, and products that she creates. She specifically helps professional women to transform their entire beauty regimen, master their makeup techniques, and adopt a skincare regimen that caters to their exact skin type.

      If after listening to the podcast, you're interested in learning more about Nicole's NEW 3-Month Gorgeous Living Program, email me or follow/DM me on Twitter and I'll let you know the inside scoop!

      Tuesday, January 15, 2013

      Bring on the Goal Setting: January 29 CRAVE Chat

      I'm really excited to kick off 2013 with the upcoming CRAVE Chat: Bring on the Goal Setting! on Tuesday, January 29 at 6:30 PM.

      I love the focus of our event -- it dares you to bring on the visioning time (a look forward) and also the reflection time (a look backward) so you can manifest your wildest dreams in 2013.

      To kickoff your brainstorming process before the event, I thought I'd share some thought-provoking questions here to get your juices flowing and wheels turning!

      Looking Back: Reflecting

      • What 2012 accomplishments make you the most proud personally?
      • What 2012 accomplishments make you the most proud professionally?
      • Which 2012 accomplishment(s) would you most like to boost, expand, increase, or build upon in 2013?

      Looking Forward: Visioning

      • What values are most important to you that will help shape your 2013 experiences and goals? 
      • What personal accomplishment would most excite and inspire you if you were to achieve it?
      • What professional accomplishment would most energize and motivate you if you were to achieve it?

      If you're able to join us in NYC on January 29, I look forward to hearing your responses. And, if you can't join us LIVE, feel free to tweet me your thoughts and/or share your feedback in the Comments section below.

      And, if you want even MORE help setting your 2013 intentions, I'm offering 3 BONUS gifts to anyone who buys my Focus on Your Vision book (only $2.99 download!) before February 1 -- including the How to Make Your 2013 Resolutions Stick workbook. Check out this site for more details.

      Look out 2013, we're going to BRING IT!

      Wednesday, January 09, 2013

      From 3 Words to 1 Word for 2013

      Happy 2013! Here's hoping the year is off to a fantastic start for you. I realize there's been a little radio silence here on the blog. Kind of got wrapped up with my wellness event, closing out 2012 projects, and then the holidays. Now, I'm ready to get out there and make things happen!

      So far in 2013, I have:

      • Kicked off the year with a 3-day detox that has rejuvenated my taste buds and (hopefully) helped me to let go of any last physical toxins from 2012
      • Started exploring co-working spaces so that I can connect more closely with the NYC start-up and entrepreneur community
      • Wrote my 2013 vision boards ... so far, they are two flip-charts posted on my wall -- I started with a WHY? column this year so that I can connect all of my goals (or WHAT's?) to themes and values that are important to me. These include: "Grow my business" "Experience synergy" "Heal the World" and "Open my home to those I love."

      And, now for my 3 Words tradition -- which, this year, I believe has become One Word. For some reason, I've resisted writing about it (which is SO ironic when you see what my word is), as if I've been questioning the universe whether this word was to be my true focus for the year. As in years past, the word came to me during a silent moment towards the end of 2012, and kept resonating with me as we moved into the new year.

      So, what is my 2013 word: SURRENDER

      Now, you see the irony in all of my previous resistance. First, came thoughts of the (usually) negative connotations of the word: give up, give in, forfeit, forego. And, I began to question: How could I have my focus and vision for the year be so powerless and defeating?

      Then, I began to look deeper ... on a more spiritual level for alternative meanings of surrender. According to Deepak Chopra, "Surrender is trusting that God, the Universe, or a higher intelligence can accomplish anything, even when you can’t foresee the outcome of a situation." Imagine that for a type-A person like me (you know the Coach keeps it real!). It's not like I don't know I can't control everything. It's just a reminder to step back, let go, and trust once I've done all I can in a particular situation.

      Deepak goes on to say, "By surrendering to Spirit, you end the struggle, freeing yourself from fear and doubt and releasing the obstacles your ego has created." And, I've realized that that's what my spirit is craving -- freedom from doubts, fears (False Evidence Appearing Real), and blocks from flow and ease.

      I had the pleasure of hearing Marianne Williamson speak last December on her new book: The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money and Miracles plus to receive a copy of the book. I've been reading portions of it daily to inspire and motivate me on my journey of SURRENDER, including one of her prayers:
      Dear God, I surrender to You my work and my desire for work. I surrender to You my fear, I surrender to You my money, and I surrender to You my debts. I surrender to You my sense of failure and I surrender to you my shame. I surrender to you my dreams and my visions and my hopes. Amen.
      Right now, I'm eager to continue on my journey as I know it will not only benefit me but will benefit those with whom I come into contact through brainstorming, chatting, coaching, dining, exploring, hoping, loving, networking, sharing, training, traveling ... and whatever else 2013 has in store for us!