How to Convince Someone to Change Their Ways

When I entered recovery over 26 years ago, I heard a zillion times “you can’t keep doing the same things and expect different results”.  So, when life throws me a curve ball, it is time to make a change.  With a little bit of effort and commitment, we can make the change in our life

BUT what happens when we want to help someone change their behavior?

I was social worker whose clients were addicts, chronically unemployed, and those who had a hard time seeing life could be different.  As long as they couldn’t see their life as any different, there was no reason to change their behavior.

There are two elements which are an absolute requirement for trying to convince someone to change their behavior:

  1. They need to understand the effect change will have in their life.
  2. They need proof beyond a reasonable doubt change will help them.

There was one young lady who I had the pleasure of working with and still keep in touch with today.  Let’s call her D.  She was a heroin addict who also had an AIDS diagnosis.  At our first meeting, I knocked on her front door to find her and her dealer getting high.  I opted not to go in and told her I would be back in an hour to talk with her.  Of course, an hour later she didn’t answer her door.  As someone who was early in their recovery, I knew I couldn’t save her, she would have to save herself.  She would have to want to change her behavior.

Over the next year, we had many run-ins over her drug use but every step of the way, I was able to show her glimpses into the positive effect not using would have on her life.  Would it cure her AIDS?  No but it could prolong her life.  She could feel better. The medicine wouldn’t make her sick.  With each little milestone – a few days clean, not sharing needles to not using needles – we celebrated.  With each little milestone, she saw glimpses of how her life could be different.

First, the restored relationship with family.  Was it easy?  No.  Did she slip?  Yes.  Each time she did, she remembered the positive impact the change had on her life.  Today, she still continues to fight the AIDS battle (27 years and counting ), has fought cancer and even went back to school to get her GED.  She is living a life she couldn’t even imagine 26 years ago.

Believe it or not, I use the same social work tactics in my business.  From helping team members reach their goal to working with colleagues to help them move forward when they are stuck.

The misconceptions about change are:

  1. It takes time to change.  Yes, it is a process but can happen as fast as you are willing to work to move forward
  2. Someone has to want to change.  We all talk a good game when it comes to making changes BUT are you really willing to reach down to the depths of your soul to make the change?
  3. Someone needs to hit rock bottom before they change.  I believe each person is different and for some, yes this is VERY true.

When you are ready to apply the two elements to the area of your life you want to change, AMAZING things can happen.  Want to make a change in your business?  Want to make a change in your relationship?  All things are possible when you embrace these two elements.

What do you want to change?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!


HIV/AIDS Still Exists

Today December 1st is World AIDS Day.  For some, it is just another day.  For others, it is a time to remember those who have fought the battle and lost, encourage those who continue to fight and educate to end AIDS in our lifetime.  Since leaving the field of HIV/AIDS many years ago, I seem to have become complacent about what was a passion.

Living with a chronic illness has brought back many memories for me. So today, I am reflecting on the lessons I learned when I worked for the South Jersey AIDS Alliance.  As a new “inexperienced” Social Worker and a recovering addict, I was the “crazy white lady” who stepped into Bridgeton wanting to help the world.  Yes, it is what many of my clients thought of me and willing shared as we got to know each other.  I didn’t see any of the people who walked through our doors as “diseased”, “hopeless” or less than.  I saw them as people who because of their bad choices were sick.  “There by the grace of God go I” was a constant reminder for me since I had made many bad choices over the years.  So what could I do in a little office (actually half a duplex) with little funding, the only paid staff, a handful of volunteers (who in many cases were also clients) and a heart wanting to save them all.  In those early years, AIDS was not a “manageable disease” for many it was a death sentence.  It took babies from their mothers.  Moms and dads from their kids.  It took people from all walks of life – yet no one talked about it.  I can remember the first few funerals where the family said “they died of cancer” because they did not want their loved one to be remembered for the stigma of HIV/AIDS.  This was the world I dedicated many years of my professional life too.  Belinda grew up joining me in this battle to end the stigma of HIV/AIDS.  She played with kids who were HIV-positive, she shared her toys, she helped with fundraising, as well as sorting and delivering holiday toys.  She grew up with a passion for helping people which I admire.

Fast forward to today when little is spoken about HIV/AIDS.  It is a manageable disease so we seldom hear the prevention message.  There are medicines to keep you going, so why worry, right?  The theme for World AIDS Day 2017 is “Now Let’s End It”

Globally, there are an estimated 36.7 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history. Only 1 in 4 people are making their way through the obstacles called health care and medications.  Let’s not be complacent.  Let’s continue to share how HIV can be transmitted.  Let’s all work together for a day when there is an AIDS-Free Generation.


World AIDS Day is important because it reminds us and government HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

What are you willing to do to help?  Today, I remember those who fought a great fight – Jackie Wise, Matt McCrossen, Sam, Maria and all of the others who walked through the doors of my office in Bridgeton and the other SJAA offices.  I honor those who continue to fight especially Jeff, Donna and Veronica.  They continue to inspire me with their strength and determination after 26 years.

Honor someone you know who is living with HIV/AIDS or who has lost the fight.  Share their names so we too can honor them.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!




Does Your Dream and Faith Go Together?

Many DREAM BIG!  For some it may be their own home, others it is retirement, maybe it is owning your own business or traveling the world. For some, they don’t know how to dream. I know it may sound crazy but I was one of those people (and some days still am).  The struggles of life get in the way and you begin to limit your dreams.  Or, maybe you don’t dream at all because you can’t see the forest for all of the trees.A DREAM is defined as “contemplating the possibility of doing something”.  Being able to envision it is the first step.  I DREAM BIG (most days) in my business and my personal life but I have to admit it is with hesitation.  No hate mail, please.  I second guess things all the time which leads me to FAITH.  FAITH is believing in things you can not see.  I know I have talked about this before but I think this is a new take on an old theme.

Some days, do you feel like you are a hamster on a wheel?  Running and running, doing the same thing day after day, the same way – expecting different results.  We dream of how we would like things to be but we continue to do things the same way – getting the same results and only occasionally reaching our DREAMS!  God (or your Higher Power) has dreams for us – he has a plan and despite our best efforts to do things our way, he will prevail.  Honestly, I am not sure what direction this blog is taking but I am hoping it touches someone’s heart.

For years, my professional (business) DREAM has been to mentor women connecting them with the resources necessary to help them reach their personal, professional and financial goals.  When I look back on my professional career, there are times I feel like I have reached my dream.  When I was at South Jersey AIDS Alliance, I worked with women helping them through the struggles of living life with their HIV status while raising their kids.  When I was at Bethel, working with an underserved populations, it was a little tougher but we were able to help many women grow and prosper in the community.  When I started my Thirty One business, and my blog, I wondered if the dream had changed or was there just another path for it to take?

Health struggles created fear and doubt in me – more than the usual. I am blessed to be a part of leadership with Thirty One.  Another opportunity to work with women and DREAM BIG. My definition of mentoring has changed slightly.  It has become more about inspiring others to dream, helping to build their confidence, setting goals (large or small) and then reaching for them.

The truth is dreaming with a lack of Faith is not a good combination.  I dream but those inner gremlins like to test my faith.  Dreaming combined with Faith will allow you to reach those dreams.  I am not saying there won’t be struggles along the way but those struggles are blessings in disguise helping you to reach your dream.  I tell my team all of the time “I believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself”.  Why is it so easy to believe and encourage others yet we find it so hard to do ourselves (or at least I do)?I am dreaming BIG but my Faith gets a little shaky.  I have heard if you CLAIM IT, it will be yours.  Do you struggle with this concept?  Do you feel like you “don’t deserve the dream”?  As I get ready for the next hurdle in my MS journey, I wonder where my dream will go.  

Do you have dreams?  Is your FAITH strong enough to help you reach those dreams?  TRUST and BELIEVE God’s plan will help you reach your DREAM as long as you have FAITH in what you can not see.

I hope this was blog strikes a nerve with someone and has helped you.  As for me, I am continuing to DREAM BIG, those Super Size DREAMS where my FAITH stands firm in God’s promise.

Any good words of wisdom on how to get off the hamster wheel and lean on FAITH to reach my DREAMS?


Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

What Will Be Your Legacy?

Today would have been my grandmother’s 104th (I think) birthday.  As I reflect on her life (what I can remember), I wonder what my legacy will be?  Have you ever thought about yours?

During a recent study at church, I was hoping to discover my spiritual gifts, personal style and God-given passion for serving.  I will admit, some of it was eye opening but it got me thinking about my past.  Now for those of you who follow my blog, you know memories are in short supply as a result of the MS lesions but I try to reflect often in the hopes, the gaps will one day be filled.

What will be your legacy?  

A legacy is “an amount of money or property left to someone in a will” but it is so much more.  I remember hearing once it is not the dates on a tombstone but the dash in between which people will remember.  On this Monday morning, I am wondering what my legacy will be and how it will be linked to my business.  

I want to make sure my business speaks to my passion.  Does yours?  I want to be sure “my dash” represents what matters most in my life, my passion.

When I am struggling in my business, reconnecting with my passion (or what I want my legacy to be) is a the easiest way to get back on track.

My degree is in Administration of Justice.  Yup, I bet you didn’t see that one coming, right? I wanted to be a lawyer, actually a public defender so I could help those who couldn’t afford an attorney.  I used it for a little bit when I worked for the Police Department and Security at the Claridge Casino many years ago.  During recovery from my drug addiction, I found a new way to use my degree – in Social Work.  It was the early days of HIV/AIDS so it was better known as “case management”.  It was there I found my passion.  My passion to make a difference in the lives of others.  Not sure what your passion is, here are some tips from a recent blog post I read:

  • Have kids? Ask them, “what does mommy/daddy do for work?” As you hear their answer, listen to your heart.  Do you beam with pride if they guess it right? Or do you feel pangs of disappointment when they guess things like “go shopping” when you really sit at a desk all day. For years, I’m not sure Belinda understood the work I did BUT she did get to know some aspects – Easter baskets for kids, special events, helping deliver gifts at Christmas & turkeys at Thanksgiving.
  • Once you have their answer, then ask what they think you should do for work. This could really be interesting.

Being in direct sales, I can pretty much guarantee when I am gone, my business will be gone.  No one to carry on the “purse gig”.  It wasn’t my intent to put a damper on your day!  I didn’t want to make you sad or think about things you had no desire in thinking about right now, but sometimes things come our way for a reason unknown to us.

Have you been thinking about changing jobs, starting a business or just feel there’s something bigger out there for you?  If so, know “life is short”.  You are not promised today or tomorrow, so why not live big? Why not put yourself out there and do exactly what you were meant to do?

Talk to your kids and see if they know what you should be doing!  I know it can be a little scary because you never know what they will come up.  Of course, it could depend on their age.  Put a plan in place to move towards your passion if you aren’t already living it.

When you sit back and look at your life, think about all of the lives you are touching.  I’m sure it is more lives than you know (or think)!

What will be your legacy?  Share it with us….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!


What Does Your Success Look Like?

Success is defined as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose” and is something different to everyone.  The true meaning of success is up to YOU.

A new year at Thirty One allows me to reflect on my accomplishments, where I stand on my goals for the year and define (or re-define) what success will look like for me.  When you think of success, you probably think of more money, maybe another car, travel – all tangible things, right?  In the past, I always said success was being debt free. I still want to be debt free, who doesn’t, right?  But will it alone get me up in the morning?  For some the answer would be yes.  For me, no.

I want my legacy to be more.  I want to know I have made a difference in the lives of others.  I want the ability to give to those in need.  Success to me isn’t about just being debt free, it is about what I can do with the money.  Don’t get me wrong, part of the reason I have debt is because I give to those in need and try to make a difference in the lives of others even when I don’t have it.

Do you have tunnel vision when it comes to what your  successful life will look like?  Are you focused on the tangible things or are you creating a legacy?  I have heard it said often “people may not remember the day you were born or the day you die but they will remember how you lived your life (or made people feel)”.  What will they remember about you?

Success isn’t a destination—it’s a progressive realization of a worthwhile dream or goal.  What is your dream or goal?  Dream BIG!

Years ago, I had a dream of opening a house – a place where those infected/affected with HIV/AIDS could come and enjoy life forgetting about their life struggles for a moment.  In the early days of my work in HIV/AIDS, I created a place like it.  For some it was my office to get help with problems, for the kids it was a place to play and get snacks, and for others it was just a place to forget for a moment how cruel life could be.  The last time I was in Bridgeton, I drove by what used to be “Hope’s House”.  The small office, long since closed and moved to a new location, brought back some memories I thought were lost.  I honestly didn’t know what I was creating.  I didn’t know I would make a difference but my passion to help others showed through all I did.

As I moved from HIV work to working with struggling addicts, chronically unemployed and single moms – the dream faded slightly but my desire to make a difference in the life of others was still there.  Since retiring from social work, almost 6 years ago, I’ve been searching to find the dream and the passion.  Despite my best efforts, the MS beats me up and steals my passion as a result of stealing my memory.  Some days I feel like it is an excuse while other days I embrace the reality and enormity of it all.

Do I still dream of making a difference?  YES!  Do I know what it looks like?  NO!  Success to me is seeing a smile on the face of a single mom struggling to provide for her children.  It is seeing a struggling addict believe in themselves if even for a moment.  It is seeing a smile on the face of someone enduring the pain of treatment of a chronic disease. In today’s busy world, I’m not sure how my view of success fits in.  I’m the eternal optimist, seeing the good in everyone and looking for a place to make a difference.  What is your dream?

While I continue to search for a place to connect, I will continue to give back in small ways.  This month we are again doing our FIGHT HUNGER campaign.  A chance for YOU to make a difference in the lives of a child.  You can sponsor a thermal tote which I will fill with healthy snacks and school supplies.  These will be delivered to children in need in the local area to bring a smile to their face.  My Thirty One team, the Rays of Hope, will be collecting thermals all across the country and delivering them to children in their area to make a difference.

Remember you can also help me to make a difference by nominating someone on my “Give Back with Me” page.  Each month, a someone special will receive a Thirty One product and words of encouragement.  Do you know someone who needs some “loving on”?

I know I squirreled.  When I started today’s blog, it was about defining success in your life and I’m not sure I have helped you to do it.

I challenge you to take a moment and think about what success means to you.  Think about what people will say about you when you are gone – how will they remember your life?  I would love to hear your definition of success….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!