Posts Tagged ‘change agent’

Part 2: The Currency Required to Create A Business That Thrives

September 10, 2010

To Read Part 1 go to the Blog Post:

When was the last time you told a colleague or competitor about a plum resource?
When have you passed an opportunity along to someone who would be a better fit for it? Have you lent a hand to another manager who was having difficulties in getting work accomplished for no other reason than to be helpful?

These are little everyday ways you can be a go-giver rather than merely a go-getter.

In business, there are people who understand the concept of giving at a much higher level. They leverage their leadership to create opportunities for others on a community and/or global scale. These people understand that what they have—whether power, influence, or resources—are here to be used for the betterment of others. Bill and Melinda Gates, who together established the Gates Foundation, are wonderful examples of the giving principle intertwined with the leadership responsibilities that have already been outlined. The fifteen guiding principles for the foundation clearly show they understand the basic operational outline of being a go-giver instead of a go-getter: Use your resources to be of assistance to others. Operate with respect, integrity, and accountability. Partner with and collaborate with others who advocate for change.

While it may not be within your realm of influence to give to others on a global scale in the way the Gates and others can, you can give where you are—in your workplace and community. Giving is energetic currency, which has a greater value than any dollar amount. This is your most powerful currency.

Where and how are you giving to others today? Beyond money…..

We’d love to hear your comments, experiences and inspirations!

Part 1: The Currency Required to Create A Business That Thrives

September 8, 2010

September 8th, 2010

Most people believe giving is only measured in terms of money, but there are no-cost ways to give through expressing and demonstrating your internal abundance. This is your real currency and which you use to leverage your gains, success and forward motion by helping others along the way. All of which creates businesses that thrive, expand and become a plus to the communities around them. Your positive thoughts, deeds, service, encouragement, resources, opportunities, and kind words all have value to the recipient.

Giving makes you feel part of something bigger. You might not feel that way initially, because the ego self will protest that you don’t have enough to spare, and that you’ll suffer if you give away too much. But generosity is an intrinsic part of who you are. By reactivating this part of yourself, you awaken to your higher self and curb the tendencies of your ego self. The real currency is in discovering “How can I give today?” rather than “What can I get today?” This isn’t difficult but it will take concentration and commitment to thing this way.

• It is part of your divine biological programming to want to help another person without having a hidden motive to get the better end of the deal.
• Share information about a resource with a colleague or friend to help her complete a project.
• Lend a hand to anyone who needs it, even if it means getting your hands dirty.
• Listen to others without interrupting, offering advice, or judging the situation.
• Nurture and empower others by reminding them of their resources and strength.

All of these behaviors will strengthen your organization and boost morale, even as they inspire others to operate from the higher self as well.
On the most basic level, offer a smile to a stranger on the street. Say “good morning” to a few of the other caffeine-needy folks in line at Starbucks. Give a seat to a mother struggling to juggle her children on a bus. These things cost absolutely nothing but have such enormous value.

Part 2 will be aired on the Change Agent Blog on Sept 10th

Stop Focusing on What You Don’t Have!

September 2, 2010

We have enormous amounts of money, resources, and power within our businesses.
Most of us are far wealthier in terms of material goods than many in the world. Although we rarely acknowledge and appreciate what we do have.

How quick are we to tell ourselves a story of all that we lack?
How many of us feel we have nothing to share, but in fact who we are and what means we do have is so abundant?

In trying times, we tend to hyper focus on the exterior situation rather than the interior climate. As you continue to shift your consciousness, choosing to alter your beliefs so they are in sync with the core values of your higher self, your interior climate will change. It has no choice but to follow.

Remember, the starting point for healing all relationships: business and professional starts with YOU. You’re the common denominator after all : D

Do You Fear Looking Foolish?

August 26, 2010

Many of you have been following the latest shift in my gym regime on Facebook.  I’ve been in search of a new, more energizing workout that is more fun and rewarding.  The operative word is FUN.  I work hard. I am sure you do too.  So more F-U-N is required.  Especially when spending so much time in the creative process and working with my wonderful clients.  We’re usually in problem solving mode, resolution strategy or working on some aspect of creative brand expansion.

  • Having fun is a way to disengage your brain.
  • It’s a way to trick it to stop focusing on the things that you may not feel like you’ve achieved while you’re in that all important process towards achievement.
  • It’s important because when you’re not focusing on the task at hand or the problem that seems insurmountable you’re giving your brain time to rest and find another pathway.

Over the past few days I’ve tried Kettle Bell training (a world of hurting afterwards!) and last week my boyfriend Val and I went to a Zumba class together.  Both were so much fun. I sweat my guts out. I laughed at myself as my feet got tangled up during a meringue transition into something resembling a belly-dancing move. I think. I’m not sure. What I do know is that I sure didn’t look good doing it. Professional. However, the trio of 65-year old women behind me encouraged me to keep trying and to come back to the next class. “Don’t worry honey, you’ll get this!” one chimed.

Years ago I would have recoiled at these experiences for 2 reasons.

  • First, I thought work had to be all work and no play. Work hard….and harder to get the job done otherwise you’re not serious. I didn’t realize that playing time, time for fun and enjoyment actually helps a person think more clearly when then return to the task at hand.
  • Second, I would have NEVER allowed myself to look foolish because I couldn’t excel at the FUN-Activity immediately!  I would feel embarrassed or silly that I couldn’t do it as well as others. Or as well as those lovely older gals.

Fear of looking foolish, more than the work ethic issue, would prevent me from trying lots of new things.  Now, that’s saying something because I was always seen as adventurous.  Being adventurous is different than looking foolish because you’re putting yourself out there on a limb. To be judged and criticized by others.  To have someone point at you and say “what an uncoordinated person” or “doesn’t she know that a 46 year old woman shouldn’t be doing THAT!?”

If I’d listened to them or the voices in my own head I’d never have any fun. I’d never try anything new. This goes for business as well.  Where do you want to go that you fear to go because you think others will judge you harshly?  What is the dream and desire in your heart that you’re afraid someone will call you foolish for moving towards? What change do you want to make immediately that you cringe at even mentioning for fear that someone will think your daft?

What is this fear costing you?

A Little More Information:
Maria Gamb ( is an author, speaker and business leadership mentor.  Her first book ever, “Healing the Corporate World” will launch on Amazon Oct 12th, 2010. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY with her partner Valen and their 2 cats TigerLily and Livie.

Our FREE GIFT to you today is instant access to a 3-part series “Pathways to Success” w/ the amazing Greg S. Reid and Ernest Chu on the power of persistence and understanding your real currency in the world.  Get ready to be inspired! Enjoy! And join us in creating a MOVEMENT in ALL businesses today

[Spotlight Interview] Ann Lauren- Brains, Beauty & Confidence in Business!

July 29, 2010

Maria:  Ann it’s so great to have you here today!  I am particularly excited to have you as a [Spotlight] guest because the essence of what you do contributes to and challenges the societal norms of beauty, self-esteem and worth.

Before we fully get into what you’re doing TODAY as a powerhouse female entrepreneur and executive, I would love for you to share how you became an entrepreneur.  You started at age 16…where did this bug come from?

Ann: I started out competing in modeling and beauty pageants style events.

That is when I began to experience “height” discrimination in the entertainment and modeling industry.  Many events and televised model searches have height requirements that prevent those under 5 ft 8 from competing at all.

Maria: How did this prompt you to become an entrepreneur?

Ann: It prompted me because I thought there needs to be a change in the industry itself.  I realized having the USA Petite Model Shows would give me the opportunity to present petite women in a positive manner. At the time I also thought it would be wonderful to launch a fashion magazine as well.

There were so many things I wanted to do.
I had a list of goals and I wanted to try to achieve them over the years. So I started out by producing the USA Petite Model events.  That was as a teenager – 16, 17, 18, 19. I went to college and just did a bunch of stuff at the same time.

Maria: You have a background in marketing both online and offline marketing & publicity. How has that helped you on your journey?

I was the Public Relations Director for the NBA Lakers Happy Hairston Foundation, which is specifically for under privileged kids and putting them through college. I also handled the publicity for Celebrity Gold Tournaments working with top sponsors such as the Hosting Country Clubs, Toyota, Callaway Golf, Evian, Titilist, Nike, Lacoste and ESPN programming. My responsibilities included coordinating the celebrities’ press schedules, tee times for the tournaments, and coordinating television-programming schedules for the celebrities.

I learned so much about events, event promotion and publicity! It was amazing! I was working as an independent consultant at the time.

Maria:  So you’ve never ever done the 9-5 thing?

I never did! It’s actually against my religion! Are you kidding?! I think I’m driven to be an independent thinker, to think outside of the box. I think because I don’t have a set regime in the respect I find it constraining when you work 9-5.

Maria:  I’ve noticed you’re very creative. Very innovative and always looking a new solutions.  Do you think this is a learned behavior or just part of your innate entrepreneurial spirit?

I think it’s from having an entrepreneurial spirit. I have always been creative. I love drawing. I’ve been dreaming about having my own clothing line since I was 12 years old since nothing ever fit me! Shopping for me has always been a challenge. I’d always be making my own clothes. I think I was stuck in Home Ec from 7th grade to 11th grade. I literally know how to draw clothes and make my own patterns- I’ve always been creative in that sense.

Maria: What is your mission with Belle Petite?

I’m looking to create industry acceptance and create a paradigm shift away from what the old standards are; 5’9 or more are really what’s considered fashionable in the clothing and modeling industry. What I think needs to occur is, petite women need to have recognition in the market place. That’s one of the only ways we will see clothing designers actually focus on designing for that marketplace. By having positive representation via vehicles like this magazine that deals with petite clothing issues and concerns. It’s much about changing that ideology. Yet they have a double standard while many of today’s celebrities are in fact petite sized women. But we don’t see them on the runways. It’s kind of strange to me.

Maria: Those situations present their own challenges don’t they?

We have a lot of women running around with confidence issues.  They are literally not happy about being petite. In countries like China they have a complete inferiority situation where people are extending, breaking their legs, cutting their bones to grow themselves taller. That comes from looking at American fashion magazine.

Maria: Do you feel like this is an empowerment issue Ann, to help women resolve their self-esteem issues?

Absolutely, there are many petite women, too many shorter gals who walk around not thinking they are attractive because the are 5’2. They want to be that 5’10. That’s what they grew up looking at in fashion magazines.

Maria:  What advice would you give these women?

Embrace them selves.
Sure tall women are beautiful but petite women are also beautiful. Equally as beautiful. We can wear our clothes every bit as wonderfully as the taller girls; as long as they are proportioned correctly. It’s really just a scaling issue.

Maria:  What is your POWERFUL WHY? What motivates YOU?

I love interacting with women and producing events all around the country.  I love the camaraderie of it.  I enjoy watching women become happy with themselves. Embracing the way they are and the positive things they have to offer.

Beauty is a wonderful thing but intelligence, honor and being authentic is the complete package. You can’t be a one-dimensional person. I think the more confident a woman is, the more beautiful she is.

Maria: You are one of those women who are not only making a change in your local community but on a global scale.  It’s really inspiring and amazing!

Yes the amazing thing is we have so many people jumping on board to support this project. Such as Nia Peeples who is our lifestyle contributor. Guest such as designer Alex Mardikian, author Michael McMillian (“Pink Bat Thinking” & “Paper Airplanes”) have been part of my radio show. Also other contributors are celebrity fashion photographer Peter Baratti and beauty expert, Shonda Chase.

Maria: Can you tell everyone how you are delivering your message?

The Bella Petite Hour Radio show is every Tuesday at 10am PST/1pm EST. It’s fashion, entertainment and lifestyle focused – we have professional individuals, celebrities to experts who are featured.

The magazine is online and presented in a digital format. We are looking to officially launch in October of this year. I decided to keep it 100% digital because this is the way the industry is moving.  The digital mediums allow us to archive everything. is the web community – it’s not the magazine so everyone can see what we’re up to!

Maria: If people want to learn more about you and follow you how do they do that?

Just join me at or on the Bella Petite Radio hour

Reflections on this interview:
I always think it’s important to acknowledge the courage, persistence and fortitude of the entrepreneurs out there who have such vision.  Ann is a woman to watch.  I have no doubt in my mind that she will continue to build this media empire and influence women in a positive manner.  I myself had spent many years in the fashion industry.  And when it is all said and done, it is a business about helping people look and feel good about themselves.  Ann is bringing awareness to a piece of the market that has been neglected for far too long.  My 5″3 self salutes her!

[Spotlight] Change Agent #44 Dossier – Stephanie Gunning Changing the World…One Book at a Time!

May 19, 2010

Maria:  Stephanie thanks for being part of this series highlighting people who are out there being a Change Agent in the world.  This segment is really about helping people meet and understand how others are actively being a catalyst for change in the world by the way they working; either in a very direct way or simply by the way they are “being” in the world.  My intention for this series of [Spotlight] segments is to share how everyday people can and do make a difference!

You are a book consultant, editor and peace activist. An amazing combination of ingredients!  Can you tell me a little bit about how this all came about?

Stephanie: I always had a love of books: as adventures, experiences and expressions.  Books have been my friends, my companion and inspiration for years. No matter what is happening currently in the publishing world, there is nothing like opening up a book and smelling the print, opening the spine and entering into the experience that the author offers you.  I just loved them and still do.

The point being when I was 8 years old I wanted to be a writer. I didn’t know any writers and I certainly didn’t know anything about editing. I grew up and that was always my dream. I went to college and still didn’t know any editors. – I was still to shy to write for the newspaper. I wrote one article for the newspapers. I was confused when I graduated.  I had a job working with autistic kids for the last 2 summer in college.

Maria: So what was the turning point for you?

Stephanie: Eventually, I ended up getting offered a job at Harper Collins – Harper & Row at the time. That job was very entry level. There was something very fantastic about it. I was hired as the assistant to the managing editor. That hub of the wheel includes production, editorial and business. This woman was the traffic cop between all departments. This was prior to computers being introduced to publishing in a modest way.

I was this shy super intelligent girl who people would forget I was in the room. So people would say stuff around me.  They would always say the most amazing things.  I learned about inventory systems, budgets, production management and cover design. When I was finally promoted to work with an executive editor who is renounced editors in the field. I worked for him for 9 years.

Maria:  This sounds like an incredibly opportunity to really get a solid foundation for your work!

Yes! I took all the attitudes I’ve developed in my first job and used it to frame my work. I began with this more global thought of editing than others had and advanced rapidly.  I left HC in 1995 when I was head hunted by Bantam Double Day Dell because I put a previously self published book on the best seller list “Mutant Messages Down Under” by Marlow Morgan.  It was a book that followed on the heels of “Celestine Prophecy”.

Having seen this massive marketing successful campaign that hit 4 or 5 on the best seller.  I was a rising star and recruited to start a list of health and spirituality books at Dell at age 32. Which is very young!

Maria:  Amazing Steph! So what caused you to leave your glamorous career with prestigious traditional publishing houses and venture out on your own?

I saw that publishers would entice authors with promises of all kinds of marketing. It wasn’t that marketing wasn’t done. But it felt that the author was a secondary author in the process. I felt so personally aligned with the writers and creates. They were the people that excited me. Discussing with me what they are doing for marketing.  I was already consulting my authors on the inside, rather than on the outside.

It was the sensibility of the authors that I wanted to improve.  I had an epiphany.  I realized that I would “Love this idea, love this author” and there’s something they cannot do for themselves that I can do!  I became a ghostwriter then I became a marketing expert.  It was through wanting to market my own projects that I discovered I was really good at it.

Maria:  Now you’re working with people as a book consultant and editor.  What kind of material/projects do you enjoy working on and why”?

I work with spirituality, new thought, complimentary or integrative medicine and self-help.  My bestseller authors are Greg Braden (“The Spontaneous Healing of Beliefs” and the “Divine Matrix”) and Hal Dwoskins (“The Sedona Method” also Hal appeared in “The Secret”).  People in those categories gravitate to me because of my past experience and they understand my personal interests related to spirituality.

One of the defining points for me to say YES to working on a project has to do with very much it’s originality and also with the sense of that person having a clear mission in the world: to contribute something of lasting value.

Maria: Why is that mission and need for lasting value important?

I believe we’re all called to something and you know you’re calling because it lights a fire in your belly. You feel more excited and happy when you think about it.  It’s pretty much effortless for you. It’s your talent and calls forth from you what you’re to do. I have an ability that is innate to me, to look at a person and know their higher potential. And even to see some of the steps in between that are blocking them.  To hold that vision for that person.  To be their companion as they step forward to their calling. I believe my calling is creative.  When I say creative I mean I believe life and everything in the world is a creative process and if you remove obstacles all you get is creativity and expansion.

Maria:  We’re talking about books that change the world.

Yes, which means you move beyond the problem. If disease, poverty or hatred were eliminated n the other side of these problems would be the state of interactive dynamic web of life, which we’d all be participants and our full value, would be expressed. With each person living on their purpose.

If I can affect 1 writer then I can affect millions.  I see that as my work, as a powerful influencer…on a good day. LOL

Maria:  You’re basically interweaving this personal growth and development in order to create peace in the world.  But you also have a specific peace project that you developed with millionaire entrepreneur Richard Aronow called “Stop Thinking Now”.

This is an annual program that we developed to be held on Gandhi’s birthday.

In 2006 I met a capital investor named Richard Aronow, who runs his business according to spiritual principles, we decided we wanted to do a book together. Every time we spoke we just laughed and laughed and felt uplifted. And we realized that both of us had the same kind of conversation with other people. There are certain kinds of conversation that uplift people. It occurred to us that we could create a certain kind of conversation to uplift the world. The way to do that is to uplift people one at a time.

Drawing on my vast contacts in publishing we put together a free 30 day home study course on the internet to teach people different tools and tech by which they could be more peaceful within themselves. Mediation is one way. It’s not the only thing we teach.

Maria: So this becomes your way of bringing profound change and peace into the world.

Yes to live beyond the problems.

Now I have a vision of gathering a thousand or more writers who are changing the world for the better. To gather these people together for a common purpose: peace and creativity in the world.

Maria:  What’s coming up?

My new book “You Are a Spirit” is coming out on May 19th: With the launch comes a lot of really amazing gifts for people who purchase the book on the launch date. So I suggest people take advantage of this right away.  I’m extremely excited about this project! There will be a series of events and workshops.  I will be in Denver and Massachusetts to talk about “Think Out” and spiritual publishing.

Maria: You spoke at the UN recently! I was honored to be there!  What was that like for you?

It was great!
I realized that I have a lot to say and offer. It helped me to organize my thoughts.  It felt like an affirmation that I was on the right track in combining research on brain science with quantum science and metaphysics. I felt like I was really getting at the heart of what I am here to do and teach people.

Maria: If people want to learn more about you and follow you how do they do that?
@audaciouseditor on Twitter
Fan page on FB: Get A Book Deal

Something people might be interested to know if that my spiritual practice of the moment is tango! LOL

Maria: Why?

For the sense of connection to another person. For the sense of presence. You always know your current condition when you’re dancing with a partner. Because you can’t actually stay on balances and move fluidly in connection with another person unless you’ve found your center.

Maria: That’s a great metaphor! LOL

Stephanie thank-you for sharing what you do, why you do it and HOW you do it with everyone here today.  You’re truly inspirational to many people out there in the world.

It’s my pleasure!

Taming Angry Mobs, Complainers & Shrews!

April 15, 2010

Recently a corporate client of mine mentioned to me that she was having a really challenging time with her team feeling angry and resentful. She and her team had both been working very hard over this past winter.  Being the exceptional client that she is, Mary-Anne, practices her leveraging skills in her work on a daily basis.

“Nothing seems to be working,” she lamented

“They’re just miserable and I feel really badly about this because they’re such a great group of people.  They work hard but no matter how much I verbally appreciate them they don’t hear me.”

After much discussion I asked her if her team were actually appreciating themselves.  “Are they recognizing, acknowledging and celebrating their daily success’?” Stumbling and stammering Mary-Anne finally came to the conclusion that they actually were not.

“They’re too busy to see the forest through the trees most days.”  Which in essence, I pointed out, means that they are not looking at everything they had accomplished.

They were focusing solely on the negative and were not giving themselves or others on their team the appreciation or gratitude they required.  You can say this all very “touchy feely” but the reality is as human beings we all want to be acknowledged for a job well done. We all want to be “seen”. Having this kind of appreciation helps to shift the group’s focus to things that are more positive and away from it’s feeling of anger.

Please don’t ever underestimate the power of gratitude. It a sure fired way to move people from the fog of doubt and despair to being hopeful and positive again.

But how do you shift the energy and focus of a group of anxiety ridden corporate types???? They are not unlike an angry mob mentality if you’ve ever seen them.  Some times it’s just not a pretty situation.  I conveyed to Mary-Anne a story from my corporate days and shared the exercise I used myself.

With great excitement I pitched it to my team.  Much to my dismay, I was nearly egged on the spot.  “I already have too much to do!” said one.  “I don’t need another thing that will make me feel badly about what I do here!” quipped another.  Other notable reactions ranged from: “you’ve gotta be kidding me?” There were many sets of eyes rolling and deep huffs exhaled.

Determined not to be discouraged I smiled at all of them and very sweetly said “I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to see how excited you all are about acknowledging not only your success but the success of your fellow team mates.  I can see how excited you are! It warms my heart! I’ll see you at 5:30pm today to kick this process off.” (Yes, sarcasm works wonders especially when you use it to completely ignore negativity! Ha!)  The tension was thick for the entire day as I witnessed the team, in less than veiled whispers, talk about this task with contempt.

Each team member was asked to:

a) List 5 successes from the day

b) Determine the reason why it was a success for them – personally or professionally

c) Then detail the next step they will take

By doing this they are focusing on the success and what needs to be done next rather than getting stuck in the mire.  (PS this is not a to-do list!)  This also allows the individual to see how they are really contributing to the process.  Often times people feel no matter what they do it’s not really contributing to anything other than busy work.

The first day was tough, the next day a little easier but then finally they all got into the process. All of sudden they were realizing just how astounding they were.  They saw they were empowered and appreciated by me, the vice president, as well as other teams within the organization.  The everyday tasks that seemed so mundane started to take on more meaning for them as they could finally see where they sat in the big picture of things.  Even the members of the team with the least experience started to realize their importance and meaning to the people around them.  This shifted their focus to more positive things and they all began to feel more fulfilled and happy.

The exercise ended after 30 days but the impact was pretty amazing. On the toughest days I’d hear them saying to each other “ok, don’t get discouraged, tell me about a success you had today.”  Or talking to themselves they say: “What was my success today?”  It’s subtle and gentle but it is something that helped to shift the workload anxiety to a higher, more productive and lighter place.

The “not-so-angry mob” continued on their way using the tools they resisted so fiercely.  They learned that sometimes it takes a little longer than expected for the big picture to come into focus.  Yet, along the way, they began to mark every small step as a progression to greater success.

Appreciate yourself and the people around you! Don’t underestimate how powerful the right mindset can be!  It’s pure fuel for an end result.  Create what you really want!

How Serious Are You About Success?

March 22, 2010

This week I was at a local networking meeting for Executives and Entrepreneurs here in NYC. It was a great group of women who I truly admire and respect for all that they want to achieve in this world.  They shared personal goals and dreams for success and abundance.  For sure, they were all compelled to improve their lives.  But I also noticed that the capacity of their business and professional affiliation had several things in common.  They want to change the world.  They want to empower others and really truly walk into those powerful leadership shoes they have been given.

Just this morning I was speaking to a woman who has been relocated to Manila.  I said to her “there is no mistake that you are there now, no matter what the circumstance, you have been put in this position to make a difference to others around you.” She got emotional and realized that in fact this is true.

The point is this;
No matter where you are, you ARE here to make a difference.
Who you are being makes a difference.
And we are moving into a time where leaders are being asked to move with compassion for others like no other time before.

So what’s the problem?
Most are afraid to own their own personal power.

If so you are part of the [Change Agent] community already I’d like to ask you to help us update our database and RESUBSCRIBE to the weekly ezine by clicking here:

The [Change Agent] ezine is completely fr**e and is for people who are serious about making a difference in the world by re-gearing themselves, their mindsets and behaviors for success. You will receive tools, tips and resources that will help you to;

Navigate challenges in building or engaging in business at any level you’re at currently
Repositioning your own leadership with practical skills that inspires others to follow you loyally
Overcome your own fears and shortcomings yet move past them to do what needs to be done
Open you up to understanding that YOU MUST BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THIS WORLD
Move past your insecurities and trepidations to being that Change Agent (that means doing things differently!)
Embrace your own innovation and creativity that revolutionizes ANY business and boost profitability

So I am inviting you to reaffirm your commitment to YOURSELF, YOUR WORK and YOUR PURPOSE here by re-opting back into this newsletter.  It’s quick, easy and simple.  CLICK ON THE LINK: to confirm your fr**e subscription.  You’ve got until April 7th to make this choice.  I look forward to serving you in the months and years to come.

YOU TRULY ARE the inspiration, intelligence and power that the world needs today!

Monthly Journal Notes: Are You Feeling the Void?

February 24, 2010

Here we go!

It’s time to wrap up the month of February with my personal journal notes for the month! Thank you everyone for your feedback and telling me that you enjoy these little missives that I share with you.

It’s Chinese New Year! Where you aware that it began auspiciously on Feb 14th?  My many years of working in Asia has made this part of my own celebratory calendar each year.  I absolutely love it! Why? Because it is a beautiful ritual; it calls for each person to review past behaviors and decide what’s really important.

Ok it’s also a time when I allow myself to enjoy the awesome food of the holiday too!  If you don’t know this about me yet, I’m a total foodie! : D (Dim sum anyone!?!?!)

I share the importance of Chinese New Year with you because I see that so many people are actually doing this; mostly unconsciously.  What is it that they value? What is important to them? And they are actually realizing their own importance. It’s all an extension of what’s truly valuable in each of our lives and within our self.

The visual I get is that I am standing in a doorway.
Behind me, is the old me. The person who has experienced great highs and great lows in her life.  It’s the Maria who has spent so much time carrying unnecessary baggage and fighting battles that never really existed except in my own mind.  I call those my “Don Quixote” moments – battling imaginary windmills! LOL

In front of me, through the doorway, is a giant void.
Darkness and black.
Nothingness that sometimes is frightening for a few seconds.
Other times it feels peaceful.
Then in those special moments there is a wave of exhilaration.

I’ve spent the past few weeks looking back over my shoulder and realizing that I am no longer that person.  Then looking forward and wondering what’s actually in that field of possibilities.

So many clients, friends and colleagues have shared this very similar feeling and experience recently.  They are dropping things that no longer serve them and recreating the boundaries of their personal and professional lives.  They have expressed that while the void seems, well, void.  There is an excitement for what’s to come.

Are you there too?

We are all experiencing a rapid transition from old paradigms to a new beginning.  We are about to enter what I have come to realize is the “Spring” within the Cycle of Change. Where new ideas, new passions, beliefs and ideals begin to emerge.  Also new, wonderful ideas begin to sprout from the fertile soil of our minds.

That void may feel uncertain and strange. But it’s all part of the process of learning to trust what is within rather than looking outside our self for security. For me, taking a walk on the snow-covered beach recently helped me tremendously to remember this.  It reminded me that in all of this rapid transition, there is peace, if I choose to embrace it.

What are you choosing?

A Lesson from Winnie Ho: The Art of “Being” in Business

February 15, 2010

Winnie Ho is a petite Chinese woman in her late forties who works for a large company in Hong Kong.  I would regularly go to Hong Kong to work with our vendor base – Winnie was my partner at these meetings helping me to navigate language and business pitfalls.

On one particular trip I was in a fully distorted arrogant state.  Just 31 and doing my best to pretend I knew it all.  We’d been given the bad news that something I had wanted to do with a specific vendor was no longer possible at the price that had been agreed to. In front of the vendors management team I simply said “no, the price is nonnegotiable” and walked away from the bargaining table.  I was the customer after all.  Full of my own self-importance I refused to budge an inch.

Later in the office that evening Winnie, her boss Estella and I were going over the situation.  I was really mad.  I couldn’t go back to the head office with this news. It would cost us a lot of money.  I continued to explain this to Winnie & Estella.  Then Winnie tells me that they are willing to hold the price if I am willing to accept an increase on another project that had not been confirmed as yet.  That would help both of us to get what we wanted. Fair enough.

I was livid.  There was no way I was going to do that and let her know in my very animated manner that this was completely unacceptable. Allowing me time to express myself, she then quietly and gently walked up to me and placed her hand on my forearm.  Which caused me to quiet down immediately.

She tilted her head and said “Maria, the world is round.” Smiling at me. “Do you understand?”

“What is she talking about?” I thought.

I paused and responded “Do you mean to say that what goes around comes around?”

Winnie shakes her head no. “The world is a circular place Maria. Where you choose to enter the circle is a reflection of your character.”

This made the pit of my stomach fall to the ground.  My mouth gaped open. “Where do you choose to enter the circle here?” She smiled and walked away.

The lesson that Winnie taught me is that one must look at who we are being in the world and enter from a point of giving, understanding and compassion.  Rather than only thinking about getting what we want. It is the ability to enter the circle from an attitude of abundance being on the “offensive” rather than entering the circle in a state of lack and self-serving which is a “defensive” stance.  No partnerships or relationships can be built on defensive sand. If they are, they are unhealthy and lack stability.

This bit of wisdom has stayed with me for more than 15 years.  I hear her sweet words and feel her warm smile.  It is at those times I am reminded to consider who I am being in the world.  Realizing that the words I choose and the actions I take are a reflection of my character.  In the Chinese culture the word “character” means values and the metal of which you are made.

Where do you choose to enter the circle today?