Do You Make a BAD First Impression?

Over the years, I have learned to let my sparkle shine but sometimes the shine is tarnished. I used to worry about what people thought – what their first impression was of me.  When working in the corporate world, I dressed and acted to fit the part.  When I worked in the non-profit world as a social worker, first impressions were the key to success when working with new clients. Despite how uncomfortable I was, I played a role in the hopes of making a good first impression.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes they saw right through the facade.

Now I have my own business and I am so grateful the business world is more relaxed because it really fits my style.  Even though I find most people will accept you for your inner beauty and not the outward appearance, there are still people who make judgments based on first impressions. I love the advice of one of my favorite business coaches – Vanessa Coppes:

Being the kind of person YOU want to do business with is a karmic synergy. You’ll be more likely to attract more like-minded people to you and your business.

People who may be looking to partner, hire, or buy from you will carefully dissect you, specially if they are looking to engage and do business with you.

It’s what I am sure you’ve heard of: The KLT Factor (Know, Like, and Trust Factor).

So what do you do? Being in direct sales, I feel like I am always making a first impression – a walking billboard for my business.  So, here are some things I try to keep in mind whenever I leave the house.  These are my top pet peeves, what about you?

Inappropriate Attire.

Running to the store, or out with the kids – sweatpants, yoga pants, something comfy is all okay.  I mean we have lives besides our business, right?  Be careful not to wear something too revealing because you will get attention, but not the kind you want.  Business casual works great for meetings, home parties, networking and so much more. Not sure what “business casual” looks like for you?  Find a style which suits your personality.

I tend to say I am “shabby chic” but I’m never quite sure what it means except I’m not a fashionista.  I’m a jeans girl and yes, they do work 95% of the time with a nice shirt and shoes.  You should pick a style that fits you and your industry.  Your clothes should be clean and neat. There is a difference between intentional business casual versus someone who doesn’t wash or iron their clothes.

Excessive texting.

Are you one of those people who is addicted to your phone?  I’m learning to put the phone down and walk away.  Honestly, what did we do before cell phones?  Yes, I do remember those days!  I have always said there isn’t a purse emergency so why I am so obsessed.  It is definitely one of those addictive personality traits.  “Do Not Disturb” has become my friend on my phone.

Did you know if you can’t stop looking at your phone, or responding, you will send a signal you find no one more important than yourself? YIKES!  Is that the impression you want to give to others?  Being present in the moment has more value than you believe.

Body Language (Proverbial Eye Rolling).

This is one I have to work on CONSTANTLY!  My face is an open book to what I am thinking which is not a good thing in any relationship but extremely difficult in business.  Crossed arms show you are not open to what they are saying.  Multi-tasking when talking to someone is just plain rude!  Everyone wants to feel important and appreciated. Saying “what” or “I didn’t hear you” shows your disinterest.  “Be the type of person you want to meet and take a reciprocal approach. Be the first to offer your focused attention.”

Half Full or Half Empty

I am generally a positive person.  Yes, I have those days, we all do BUT when I am having one of them, I try to limit my people contact.  Did you know if you always see the glass as half empty, you are projecting you are a difficult and dissatisfied human being? Who want to do business with some who is always unhappy?  Change your mindset and see the glass as half full.  Happiness IS a choice.

The bottom line is you want to be the type of person you want to meet.  Remember the Law of Attraction….. we draw the people and business to us when we speak into the Universe.  What or who are you attracting?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

In The Eyes of a Child

Today’s is a re-blog of Vanessa Coppes

YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN FROM A MISTAKE IS IN DIRECT PROPORTION TO YOUR ABILITY TO GET OVER IT

Mistakes…We don’t like them, avoid them, blame them on others, run away from them…(sigh) but they happen. I am the first one to admit to imperfection and if I’ve learned anything in my 35 years is this: when a mistake has been made on your behalf, your opportunity to learn from it is in direct proportion to your ability to get over it. 

Quick example: My 5 year old son missed the school bus the other day. He was playing inside his new fort instead of standing by the window like he’s supposed to every morning 5 minutes before pickup time. His excitement to play in his new fort trumped his responsibility to be ready for school on time.

Now,  you may be wondering where was I while all of this was happening…Well, I was standing right there beside him.

See… I set a timer for him in the mornings because it helps us both stay on track. He knows how much time he has to play before school and I know when to crank up the heat. But he and I have had this “morning drama” more often than not. and since I’ve decided to steer clear from drama in my life, I realized he needed a consequence for his choice. I am trying to teach my son awareness and that there are good and bad consequences for the choices you make.

He heard the timer go off indicating him it was time to go, he ignored my request to go stand by the door… and a few minutes later, he heard the bus drive away from our house…all I could hear was a hysterical “NoOoOoOo!!!!!!”

Later that day, he apologized for not listening to me and said something that left in awe, “Mama, I am going to throw this day away and start with a better one tomorrow.” The next morning I did not have to say a word. In fact he was ready before I even asked him to.

Embrace mistakes as lessons in your personal development. Your opportunity to learn from it is in direct proportion to your ability to get over it.

How do YOU handle mistakes?  In my “previous life”, I was hesitant to admit my mistakes for fear of what people would think.  As we count the hours to the deadline for holiday orders, I pray I will embrace any mistakes I make.  When life gets crazy and we are rushed, mistakes happen… the question is, how will you handle it?

When I became a MOM many years ago, I learned it was important to admit my mistakes and take ownership of them.  I didn’t want my daughter growing up putting mom on a pedestal which could topple and crumble, leaving her filled with doubts and heartache.  It was a great learning lesson for me as I embraced my mistakes over the years.  I know it sounds crazy but some of those mistakes have made me the person I am today.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Blogging for Business

Are you scared to blog?  Are you wondering how blogging can help your business?  I will admit, I am not an expert BUT I do know as a result of blogging daily for over 4 years (OMG!) I have made a difference which is my purpose personally and in my business.

A simple challenge from Vanessa Coppes of ETTM, changed my life.  On those days I want to quit, I go back to the emails I received from readers and customers to see how something I shared has helped them.  Do I struggle some days finding a topic? YES!  Do I wonder if anyone actually reads them?  YES!  It is the occasional comment or message from a friend or reader which keeps me going, wanting to write more and share more.  I am always amazed how many people actually read my blog!  It is humbling to think people read AND share it with friends, family and team members.

The Sales MOMS Network actually did a story on Blogging for Direct Sales“.  There are some great suggestions in there on how to get started if you are in direct sales and are considering blogging.  It can be a little scary at first but the benefits far outweigh the scare factor.  They also shared a blog on “The 7 Tips of Basic Blogging”.

I remember the first time Deb Bixler included my name in a tweet – I was shocked, honored and for those who know me – yes, I cried just a little but they were tears of joy.

I know my blog is all over the place.  I go from talking about my business to sharing personal health struggles to organizing tips and product spotlights.  I have heard pros and cons about the best way to blog – focused versus general.  Most days, my blogs are about what I need to hear and I hope some where along the way, it helps someone else.

Are you considering blogging?  What have you got to loose, right?  Will it give you instant business?  Probably not.  Will it help you to develop relationships?  Absolutely.  I know for me, it has changed my life.  It has helped me step just a little further out of my comfort zone by sharing sides of myself very few people know.  I LOVE helping others to grow – personally and professionally to be the best they can be.  Remember “You can’t fail if you don’t stop BEFORE you SUCCEED.” Wise words from Mary Christensen.

I challenge each of you to move the walls of your comfort zone so you can grow.  If it isn’t blogging, maybe it is picking up the phone and making calls. Or is it sharing the gift of your business with someone you don’t know?  Whatever the wall is – step beyond it and experience the greatest gift of all – overcoming your own personal FEAR.  I look forward to hearing about the walls you are moving – please share.  If you are blog or are starting a blog – share your link below so we can all check it out.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.

How It All Began

I has been 4 years… four years of blogging daily sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences.  Sometimes I wonder if I should continue.  Sometimes I wonder if anyone would notice.  Then I think back to what started it all and the response I got from the first post.

This is my first blog post from March, 2013.  Thank you Vanessa Coppes for encouraging me to not only share my story but to start writing again.  I know in my heart, I make a difference to at least one person each day with what I write.

I just wanted to share how “bullying” can be hidden by our children. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent, it just means that you may have taught your child coping skills to help deal with the bullying from school mates. Bear with me as I share some background information..

As a single mom for 14 years who worked full-time trying to provide all of the things that I had when I was growing up and more for my daughter, Belinda. Isn’t that every parent’s wish – to give their child more? I moved to a double wide trailer in a trailer park in an area that had a good school district, lots of children my daughter’s age and it was affordable. My daughter was involved in a lot of activities outside of school – first competitive gymnastics, then field hockey then all-star cheering. This was my way of making sure Belinda stayed away from the “wrong crowd”. She went to public school until she was a Sophomore in HS when she asked to be changed to a private Christian school where our Pastor’s family taught and went to school. Her reasons made sense so we juggled the budget and Belinda graduated from Pilgrim Academy – smiling, happy, ready for college & still living in the trailer park. Belinda traveled 13 hours to go college – Western Carolina University. I was heart-broken that she was so far away but after the first semester, she excelled – graduated with honors in the Honors College program.

Here is when the “clueless mom” found out what had really been happening…My daughter is a social worker that loves working with troubled kids. As she was preparing her applications for grad school for her Masters in Macro-Social Work, she had to write some essays as to why she felt she would belonged in this field. Since I am a grant-writer, she asked me to review her essays (like she usually did) to check grammar, etc. This is when I found out the “horror” of my daughter’s school years….

Belinda recounts many tales of verbal abuse from school mates because we lived in a trailer park that as the years passed became like the “projects” of the Township. She only invited her closest friends back to our house for sleep overs, parties, etc. I never really thought about it since I was working, juggling her activities and making sure that her homework was done. The truth was very few parents wanted their children to come over because of where we lived – not necessarily our home but the neighborhood. Belinda talks about how people used to call her “trailer trash”. The outside sports activities along with my example of what a strong woman could do is what she attributes to her success. Some called her a “snob” because she was involved in outside sports. Then when she became active in church, more verbal abuse came. Some of her friends from the trailer park fell into the lives that people expected – sexually active, lots of unsupervised parties, drugs, alcohol and more. I was blessed, Belinda didn’t do any of that.

Many believe that if I was clueless about the verbal abuse, I would be clueless about everything else…My daughter and I had and still have an amazing relationship. When I asked her why she never told me, her response “I didn’t want to hurt you because I knew you were doing the best you could. The material things didn’t matter because you were always there for me”. My daughter has amazing attributes – self confidence, speaks her mind (sometimes without tack) and is forever looking to help the underserved youth in her community. She tells me on a regular basis how she hopes to accomplish all that I have both professionally and personally.

I wanted to share this to let people know that bullying isn’t always visible, it can happen to any child. As I travel back to our old hometown, I look around and ask my husband – was I that “clueless” about what life was like. His response is always the same – “You did what you had to do to make sure that Belinda had everything she needed even if it wasn’t always what she wanted. As a result, she is a bright, intelligent & confident woman who wants to take on the world to make it a better place”.

Since signing up to be a part of the Family Wellness & Beauty Day for Kickin’ It Kids AntiBullying, God has pressed on my heart to share this story. This is an amazing cause and I truly believe that children who are visibly and “in’visibly” bullied can benefit from this type of program.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

What Makes You Special?

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Today is WOOHOO Wednesday and we are going to CELEBRATE your uniqueness or those qualities that make you special.   I was inspired today to talk about this after reading a blog post by Lynette Barbieri.

If I asked you to tell me “what makes you special?“, could you do it?

It would be a struggle for me – shocking for some, I am sure.   Growing up, I didn’t want to be unique – I just wanted to fit in.  I didn’t want to be “special” because that meant that I wasn’t popular.  I didn’t know what was special about me.  I didn’t have that feeling in my gut that told me how great I was.  I wanted to hide in a corner and not be seen.  I lived that way for many years.  Then I started to squash those inner gremlins and embrace the positives qualities that are deep in my core.

In direct sales, I  often hear that you want to stand out from the pack.  I mean with thousands of consultants in your company, why would someone pick you above anyone else.  Why would they stay faithful to you?  I honestly didn’t know.  I always knew that I had a special purpose but I never knew how to express it.  Was being a good listener special?  How about helping others? Or giving to others even when you don’t have it?  I am crafty but is that special?  I can play (or used to) the piano, what is so special about that?

I am learning that all of those things are the qualities that draw people to me.  I am resourceful able to connect people with resources.  I get along with people from all different backgrounds.  I am passionate, and caring.  I want to make people smile.  I have lots of “stuff” (information) in my head but I don’t always know how to share it – just ask and I will share all I know.

The truth is that I may not believe that I have greatness inside of me BUT I DO believe that you have greatness in YOU!

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So, what about you?  What are your strengths?  I know I keep going back to that but when we lock into what those are, it will help us know where we are going.  We have to be willing to take risks to discover our purpose and to achieve greatness.  A life without risk is boring, right?

Maybe you know what your greatness is and you are afraid to share it?  You don’t have to hide it.  You don’t have to deny it.  You don’t have to worry about what other people say or think.  You need to OWN IT!

At a Leadership retreat, my mantra became “Own My Journey“.  Because the truth was that I was trying to follow everyone else’s journey.  I need and so do you to “own your journey” so that we can grow into the people sharing our gifts along with the way.  We all have our own journey.  What other people think is none of our business.

keep calm and sparkle on

As Vanessa Coppes, refers to it “your shining  light”!  By working with both of these ladies, I started to see my shining light and I learned that I need to let it shine more!

So, ladies, never let anyone dim that light.  Remember, life is a marathon not a sprint.

What makes you special? I would love to hear it! Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!