Motivation

8 Incredible Lessons I’ve Learned From My Cat

cat in business suitI’m always amazed when people say cats aren’t as smart as dogs or cats are “sneaky.” I would question both of these statements if they made sense, but since they don’t, I’ll continue. Cats don’t seem to be valued like dogs. They are often left behind when someone moves or thrown out to fend for themselves. Despite being mistreated, they can forget and forge ahead, oftentimes alone. They are among the most charming of the earthly creatures.
I think I would rather have a cat than a dog as a business partner. For starters, a cat will always let you know where you stand. Additionally:
1. Cats know enough to cover up their trails. I never knew any cats that didn’t know how important it was to keep their “business” covered up. They will continue to dig until it is either covered or they’ve thrown it into another room. They don’t leave things around that will incriminate them or get them in trouble.
2. They are masters at follow-through. If you can’t find something, most likely, the cat knows where it is and will eventually find it for you. They don’t forget where things are; they know how to hide things from everyone but themselves. They stay with the task – even if it’s endlessly chasing an elusive laser dot.
3. Cats have more patience than the rest of the world. My cats can watch a fly on the wall from 5 feet below until they find the right time to pounce. They don’t get rattled and know the value of a good stakeout.
4. When they want something, they’ll let you know. One thing about cats: Being subtle isn’t their MO. If they want to sit on your lap, they will let you know, and if there’s a keyboard in the way, it will have to go. If they love you, they’ll let you know. I remember when I traveled a lot; my favorite cat got in my suitcase and left her mark in front of me. She wasn’t sick, but it was obvious she didn’t like me leaving and needed more love.
5. They know enough to hold a grudge. If you mistreat cats, they will never forget it. They would rather move out and fend for themselves than stay with an abuser.
6. Cats respect intelligence. It has nothing to do with age; it has to do with who has decided to be in charge and make it happen. They often change roles, but only if it’s to their advantage. The treats go first to the cat in charge no matter who you give them to.
7. Cats know the people who love them. Cats have favorites and will let you know. I have a cat who loves one of my friends. When my friend comes over and calls the cat’s name, the cat comes from out of nowhere to get pet.
8. Cats know enough to take naps when they’re tired. They know the value of a good snooze and the importance of conserving energy for the tough stuff. They don’t get cranky or get moody; they just go to sleep.

Never underestimate any earthly creature.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been coaching businesses and training for over 20 years. To schedule a consultation or have her speak to your team, reach her at 518.495-5380 or Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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By |December 16th, 2014|beliefs, Blog, Motivation|2 Comments

Getting Unstuck in Life: Advice from Someone Who’s Been There

50 Ways to get Unstuck

50 Ways to get Unstuck

I recently wrote a book, “Birds Don’t Get Caught in Flypaper: 50 Ways to Get Unstuck in Life.” I wrote the book as I was reflecting on where, in my life, I had gotten stuck over the years. Rather than forgetting those tough points, it’s important to keep track of them.

If you start taking a closer look at all those sticky points, it’s likely there is a connection between all of them. While I was writing the book, I realized a common theme: Many of the events that I had once viewed as conflicts – were conflicts that didn’t really exist! Wow, won’t that keep you from moving forward.

Let’s use, for example, your need to be accepted and liked. You might not want to admit it – or maybe you don’t even realize it – but it likely permeates every decision in your life. Rather than take on an injustice to yourself or someone else, you find ways to make excuses – well-sounding ones for sure – that’ll get you away from conflict.

I was talking to an electrician friend of mine the other day about a problem. (I think it had something to do with where to hold a birthday party and what to bring.) He said I should stay away from such conflicts. I didn’t even see it as a conflict; I saw it as something that needed to be discussed.

A birthday party sounds like it should be a piece of cake (pun intended), but it was quickly becoming a major event, with the drama centering on who would have the best idea and who would appear to have done the most work. Frankly, I didn’t have time to do all the work, and I knew the person would just be happy that someone had done it for her. Things sure do get gritty, though, don’t they?

Getting unstuck is not that hard.

Getting unstuck is not that hard.

I hope you’re not one of those who like being stuck. You’re probably asking, “Who would like that?” but getting stuck is easier than you might think. Not being stuck means taking responsibility for every move you make and leaving nothing to chance. Every trip to the mailbox, to the grocery store or even across the street has meaning. I have learned there is great value in not only what I do but also why it do it.

We all have a face that we want the world to see, and we go to great lengths to protect it. We never want to look out of character for ourselves. If we want to appear organized and someone comes to our house while it’s in disarray, we get upset. We might even put it back on the person knocking on the door by saying, “It’s more polite if you call.” It’s harsh, I know, but I had a close relative who felt this way.

Many of us who need to be liked already realize it, but instead of dealing with it, we become defiant. I love that word: defiant.
Defiance is a mechanism people use to make other people think they are independent. The problem is that they wind up being defiant in situations that make no sense. Here’s a great story to illustrate my point: My cousin said her mom saved every nickel for her when she was growing up, and since she couldn’t get all the things she wanted growing up, she was going to spend it all! She couldn’t have what she wanted then, so she was determined to get it now.

So what’s your story? Take down some notes, and recreate the chapters to bring you success.

To have Lisbeth talk with your team or book a free consultation, call 518-495-5380, EST. “Birds Don’t Get Caught in Flypaper, 50 Ways to Get Unstuck in Life” is available at Amazon.

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By |November 8th, 2014|beliefs, Blog, Motivation|0 Comments

5 Ways To Get Your Salespeople Connected To Customers

connecting-with-customer-service-advisorI have been doing sales training for over 25 years, and I am always amazed when I see a salesperson having trouble building rapport. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:

 “Rapport is one of the most important features or characteristics of subconscious communication. It is commonality of perspective: being ‘in sync’ with, or being ‘on the same wavelength’ as the person with whom you are talking.”

In other words, rapport is when we ‘get each other’. It’s as simple as that, but it becomes complicated when we believe that everyone should think like us. Not only do we think it, we spend time trying to convince the other person of our position. If you’re spending your time convincing, it shows a lack of understanding of communication. Building rapport is part of customer service and the customer experience.

In order to be a good salesperson, you have to give up your position of having to be right and hand it over to your customer. Remember, if you want to be right to win, that means the customer has to be wrong. In any transaction or relationship, no one wants to be wrong.

  1. Before conducting any type of sales training, I always suggest we do a standard sales training inventory – a test that will show the person how they communicate, who they communicate best with and what gets in their way. The one I like the best comes from BEST Instruments. It is short but conveys lots of information.
  2. Learning about your communication style makes it easier for you to absorb new information and understand how it will help you. This is why school is so difficult for many; they can’t understand why they need the information and how it will help them. Once you do some communication testing, people will open up and want to learn.
  3. Building rapport is the concept of connecting to your customer. Instinctively, we know how to communicate with people like ourselves. If you ask people why it works, they often say, “We just click.”
  4. You can click with anyone. Isn’t that amazing? Instead of passing on a customer because you don’t like them or just don’t get them, once you learn about yourself you can make adjustments in your communication style.
  5. Great salespeople are in control of their communication. They know why they connect and what makes it work. On the other hand, amateurs leave it up to fate. Another great line is, “The customer just wasn’t ready to buy.” Building good rapport has little to do with the customer buying your product; it has a lot to do with whether the customer buys you!

Give a gift to your salespeople: the ability to understand their communication and sales skills. It will benefit them and your business many times over.

To schedule Lisbeth to speak to your employees or schedule a consultation, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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Are you a Victor or Victim of the Environment?

American novelist.

American novelist.

Today I attended a Weight Watchers meeting. What started out as a “fact-finding mission,” has turned into a lifetime membership. I’ve been attending for a year; weighing in weekly and often staying for the meetings. I never thought I would stay, but I find the people and the meeting inspiring. Today we discussed things in the environment that we can’t change.

I went out to eat the other night and noticed that everyone was taking home more than I was eating. There were mounds and mounds of food on everyone’s plate. I kept thinking, if I ate all that food I would just continue to gain weight, but the food looked so appetizing. I heard a little voice say in my head, “It’s not for me.” I guess that’s what going to Weight Watchers for a year will do for you.

You become what you hand around.

You become what you hand around.

Is your environment unhealthy? Here are some tips for staying on top of it.

1. Remember stress of some form will always be in your life. You may choose to see it as stress or change it to excitement. We may not be able to change the stress but we can change how we react to it.

2. Have an escape plan. If things get too much for you, get out. One of the men said he was so overwhelmed by the food at an open house; he just left via the back door. Occupy your mind with something different. I have a friend who “worries it forward.” Instead of waiting for the “think to happen, “ in her mind, a “possibility that it might” means it has. According to a poll on the health site, for example, roughly 70% of readers find themselves ruminating quite often, and only around 5% find that they are able to let things go almost immediately. To ruminate is one way to think or exercise the mind or one’s power of reason in order to make inferences, decisions or arrive at a solution. Instead of getting done with it, you think about it over and over.  Do you think you’re prone to “ruminating?” Take this test and find some helpful tips to get you away from this habit.

3. Distract yourself from the uncomfortable thing. This will help you forget about it and put together a new plan. You can read a book, turn on the television or take your dog for a walk. Be a good friend and look for positive people.

Get some exercise

Get some exercise

4. Be mindful of your situation. Instead of going off into the “what if,” become grounded in reality. Reality might not feel like the safest place to be, but you will have more options there.

5. If you’re stressed, make sure you get enough sleep. Without the proper amount of sleep, things look a lot worse. Consider a short nap to perk up your stress coping abilities.

6. The best way to lessen your stress is to go for a run or exercise. Exercise raises your endorphins and will give you energy. The environment continually changes giving us more things to deal with. The better we are with coping the more pleasant our lives.

Lisbeth helps businesses improve their customer service and the customer experience. To have her talk to your team or schedule a call, reach her at 518.495.5380.

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Success Is Not All About You

Success is about everyone.

Many of us grew up wanting to conquer the world. We didn’t want partners; we just needed challenges.

There’s a point where you realize that true success is when the team achieves success and everyone gets what they want.  Unfortunately, there are many who don’t want to share success, they want it all for themselves. As a “mostly” only child, my sister was six years younger than me. I always felt I was the star.  My parents doted on me and everything I did was wonderful. My one good quality as a kid was that I shared my toys until my sister came along.

 

Many of us are “self-starters’ or entrepreneurs. The good news is we “can do it by ourselves,” the bad news is we only want to do it alone. The key is to recognize that it’s a lot easier and quicker if we join forces with others. We also have the opportunity to learn from others and improve our “vision” of the world.

How do we make it happen? First, we have to realize that every employee brings different skills and attitudes. It doesn’t mean everyone is great, but together they can shine and  produce something awesome.  It’s like being the team captain and loving the results.

How do you build a great team?

If you’re the team captain, forget about all those well-rounded employees. It’s doubtful that you have them. Instead look at everyone’s strong points and figure out how to use each of their skills. Maybe some people have considerable interpersonal skills and get along with everyone. Some people have great attitudes. Support those with the skills and help them get better. Make sure you find something that works for each of them.

Know your goals and what you’re trying to achieve. Give each person a spot and help them succeed. Some people need more support and praise then others—give it to them.

Maybe its attitude, or interpersonal skills, or teamwork, or a specific skill set… whatever it is, that attribute is the foundation for individual employees and for your team. Training can fill in the gaps, but this is the attribute almost every employee must possess.

Look at your puzzle. Can you take weaker people and help them achieve and shine? Long term it’s a lot less work if you can get others to do it for you. Once they have their maiden voyage, they will get better. I worked with a group that decided to create a cookbook for their customers. The first year it was so much work that several times the leader wanted to tell all of them to leave it alone, and she would do it. The next year it was like “a walk through the park” as they say. Everyone knew who they could depend on and what each person was capable of doing. Now they’re working on the third year and they are getting incredibly creative. Everyone learned from this event, especially the manager who was able to continue her work while everyone found their place. For some interesting ways to motivate your employees, check out how to motivate employees.

Lisbeth A. Calandrino is a high energy inspirational speaker who brings practical ideas that can immediate applied to the workplace. She combines real life stories and cutting edge strategies to support organizational change. To motivate your organization, Lisbeth can be reached at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com

 

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By |January 12th, 2014|Blog, Motivation|2 Comments

Will 2014 Be Any Different? Forget the New Year’s Resolutions.

Do something different this year.

About five years ago I discovered some New Year resolutions from about twenty years ago.  First on the list was get organized! I was horrified. It was like I had just discovered some flaw in my life. What in the world did it mean?

Resolutions are like stones in your shoes. You tip toe around them and hope they’ll fall out or stop bothering you.

Look at it this way.

What could you do that will cause a change in your life and give it some serious thought? Sure you can vow to clean up your house but who honestly cares? Does it matter in your life? If it did you would clean it once and for all keep things in place instead of keep messing it up. If someone is visiting maybe you want to clean up. If you drop dead and the place is a mess, someone will say you were a bad housekeeper. When you’re deceased who will care about your house?

Do you want to build your business? Make a list of what you want to happen and determine what tools you will need. Don’t know what you’ll need, hire someone who has the answers to these questions.

Seek out opportunities. They are out there; you must know what you want and where it can be found.

Hire a coach to keep you on track. A friend of mine asked me why I hired a personal fitness coach when I was a PF coach. I told him successful athletes all have coaches. Great golfers have coaches; actors have coaches, and Olympians have coaches. If you really are serious about change, hire a coach. Someone who will kick your butt and not care about your excuses. Their job: help you win.

Take a good look at your fears. What keeps you from sleeping at night? Maybe you spend too much time worrying about your fears instead of focusing on your strengths. Write your fears down and tackle them, now.

Help someone else get ahead. Maybe this sounds stupid but I gave my friend one hundred dollars to get a tutor to help her with her math classes. I told her if she didn’t pass she had to pay me back. The other day she came to be glowing with her grades; she passed them all and several with A’s. She is in her seventies and hadn’t been to school in forty years. I think it took a lot of guts to go back to school. I think it was a good investment. I heard that Traveler’s Aid needed coats for the cold winter nights. I brought up a nice coat, with mittens and gloves! It looked so pretty that the social worker said she wished it would fit her. Just because someone is poor doesn’t mean they have to look bad. So whatever you can for someone—your way. It will bring you comfort and lower your blood pressure. (I think.)

Get committed to something. You don’t have to tell the world what you’re doing—decide what matters and do it. Maybe it’s being nice to someone in the supermarket, enjoying the world outside your own thoughts.

Act as if you matter because you do. When you do down memory lane what will you remember? It will be the people you’ve met and the experiences you’ve had. There’s no time to start but the present. If you need some additional ideas, try these.

Don’t get bogged down.

Happy New Year!

Lisbeth helps people get off their butts and accomplish their goals. Lisbeth’s resolution is to spend more time providing  valuable information that will make her clients successful. She can be reached at www.lisbethcalandrino.com.

 

 

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By |December 31st, 2013|Blog, Motivation|3 Comments

Whether You Win or Lose, the Sun Will Rise

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Whether you win or lose, the sun will shine.

Like many of you, I was glued to the television to watch the President’s Cup. It was the third straight President’s Cup that Woods won the cup-clinching match — all three with Fred Couples as the captain. Golf looks easy when the pros play but it’s so hard.

I missed the woman who streaked across the course naked, I don’t think she was  worried about winning or losing. A little levity can’t hurt anything, can it? I think Fred Couples was the only one who laughed.

I think most of us take life too seriously, myself included.I have friends who worry about everything. One of my friends just started school and worry’s about taking tests that haven’t been scheduled. Instead of preparing for them she worries about them.

Yes, I understand if you’re a playing a competitive sport  you have to win or they won’t let you play. If you’re in business, you have to outwit your competitors or you won’t be in business. In the game of life, you can still play, even if you don’t win.

I believe it does matter if you win or lose. Yes it’s great if you have fun in the process but winning is more fun than losing; don’t you think? In order to win you have to work hard, be uncomfortable and push yourself. That doesn’t guarantee winning but it’s part of achieving.  I grew up in a time when you were taught to compete and winning was important. Unfortunately winning was everything.  I took me years to realize I didn’t need to win everything. I found out winning doesn’t guarantee friends in fact it alienated many people.

If you decide to compete, there’s always the possibility  you won’t win. Losing  is the chance you take but that’s life. When people choose not to compete, they lose out on the opportunities to test themselves. They don’t get to take chances and shine.

Winning is the end result of a competition. If the only thing we remember is winning, what about all the time spent in between?

Life is just a series of events; we probably spend more time practices and preparing than we do competing.  Suppose we never get to win? Does that mean our life has been wasted?

We must always have the will to win.

Winning doesn’t always mean  being first.

You can win by setting and beating your own goals. It’s called setting your own pace and playing your own game. Winning can mean just trying. I love running 5 K races and it’s been 10 years since I’ve taken first place. Now it’s just fun to run.

What a better world we would have if we set goals together and decide we could all win. Wouldn’t it be great if we could agree on a common goal for the world?

Yes the sun will come up if you lose,it just might not feel as bright. In the long run, does it really matter? As they say, “pick your battles.”

Lisbeth helps individuals and businesses win at their own game. Do you need a coach or a speaker? Lisbeth can be reached at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

 

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By |October 8th, 2013|Blog, Motivation|2 Comments

Do You Make Bad Choices because you’re Desperate?

Are you desperate?

It’s fun to listen to people who have just started a brand new relationship. Everything about the person is great; they even use words like ‘soul mate.’ Five months later, the description is quite different.

I think it’s interesting how we ‘omit’ important information at the beginning of our relationships.

I have been watching one of my friends look for a mate on Plenty of Fish. At first, I felt envious; everyone she met was so caring, understanding and easy to talk to.  All the relationships started the same way. Within a week, she and her latest love were inseparable and talking about moving in together. A few weeks later it was over. Whenever I ask her about how she missed the signs from the beginning, she called me a dream stealer.

Asking the tough questions isn’t all bad. First why spend time with someone who isn’t really a good fit long term? I know I love the water and could stay in it for hours. I went out with a man who was very fair, and no matter what suntan lotion he used he got terrible sunburns. He also didn’t swim that well so he certainly didn’t want to Jet Ski or para sail.

This reminds me of people who hire the wrong people for their business. They seem to like people who are like them and can only see the ‘matching’ traits. Just because the traits aren’t matching doesn’t mean it’s a bad fit. However, it’s easier to talk about it before you hire the person. If something is very important to you and your business—get it out of the way. It’s costly to hire and train a new employee—it’s even more expensive if the employee isn’t very good.

I was working with a business owner who hired, what appeared to be a capable interior designer. Unfortunately, the designer didn’t want to price the products, had trouble learning about flooring and was generally not willing to do what it took to be a good salesperson. She never thought she would have to sell the design job—she didn’t think that was her job. The employer was quite taken with the employee’s good looks and sharp credentials. Actually, I think the employer is a bit intimidated by the employee, so she might still be working.

I think whether you’re finding a mate or an employee, there are a couple of things to you might want to do.

First, have some sort of plan. Know what you’re looking for and ask questions that give you this information. If you’re looking for ‘marriage material’ it’s best to find out if the person has been married and what they liked and didn’t like about it. Asking the question about marriage during coffee will probably get you nowhere. (You have to be a bit cagier to get this answer.)

Hiring an employee can have the same pitfalls. Depending upon how desperate we have a tendency to omit certain facts and make excuses for others. (They got lost and were late for the interview. Of course, it happens to all of us. )

It’s smart to ask the employee how many times they were late on their last job. This is probably a question they never expected and might yield some interesting information.

When hiring an employee, ask the person what he/she thinks about your ‘conditions of satisfaction;’ and if they have an example of when they showed those particular skills. “

You know there’s nothing worse than going to the grocery store when you’re hungry.

Lisbeth Calandrino, associate publisher, Fabulous Floors Magazine and trainer helps business build profitable connections to their existing customers.  Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com

 

 

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By |June 9th, 2013|Blog, Motivation|0 Comments

Decide To Walk Through Your Life: One Step At A Time

Life is in the present

Although we know life’s journey is one step at a time, we all have a tendency to hop, skip and jump through the journey, don’t we? We go to the past, jump to the future and rarely think about the present. I was with a friend today whose husband died about six months ago after being sick for three years. During that time, she had met a nice man whose wife was also dying. They became very good friends through their heartfelt discussions and have remained friends since their spouses have passed. It hasn’t been easy. Everyone seems upset by their friendship, commenting: “what would your spouses think?”

My friend made a conscious choice to live in the present, not in the past. The journey through life happens by putting one foot in front of the other and enjoying the scenery. She’s doing her best on her new journey.

Several months ago I was interviewing a possible coaching customer. The first question I asked was “What is important to your life?” He looked at me astonished and said no one had ever asked him that question. All the questions they asked were about his business.  I explained without clear values, it was easy to make a mistake.  He said making time for his seven-year-old daughter was very important.  I pointed out that originally he said he would do anything to be successful; now, it appears, we have a values conflict.

I think Garth Brooks said it well in his song “The River.” Should you care to sing along, here are the words:

You know a dream is like a river, ever changin’ as it flows.
And a dreamer’s just a vessel that must follow where it goes.
Trying to learn from what’s behind you and never knowing what’s in store, makes each day a constant battle just to stay between the shores.
I will sail my vessel ‘until the river runs dry.
Like a bird upon the wind these waters are my sky.
I’ll never reach my destination if I never try.
So I will sail my vessel ’til the river runs dry.
Too many times we stand aside and let the waters slip away.
Till what we put off ’til tomorrow has now become today.
So don’t you sit upon the shoreline and say you’re satisfied.

Thanks to my wonderful friend for sharing her thoughts as we journey through our lives—together.

Lisbeth Calandrino helps businesses build loyal customers through sales and customer service training. Her book, Red Hot Customer Service can be purchased on her web site.

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By |June 21st, 2012|Blog, Motivation|0 Comments

Is it Possible We Think Too Much?

Is thinking good?A friend of mine said that I thought a lot. I didn’t ask what he meant I just thought everyone did. Maybe they don’t .

Could it be that most people don’t think?  Spending time thinking is one of the great past times of life, isn’t it?

I had a therapist who once said you can’t get chocolate milk from a turnip field. Now, she was talking about relationships — but the rest of life is like that too.

Think about business; it doesn’t happen from your living room or your showroom. It comes from you thinking about it and then making it happen. Wondering how everyone is getting business won’t help you unless you go talk to them and find out what they know that you don’t. Relationships don’t happen in your living room either.

Thinking everyone knows more than you won’t help either.  Don’t you remember friends from your school who were smarter than you and didn’t become much? I have a better story about Jim Deitz; I’ve changed his name to protect him from all of us trying to find him. Remember when they asked you in high school what you wanted to be when you grew up? Well, Jim said he didn’t want to work and wasn’t planning to. That didn’t make him very popular with the girls or the teachers. Well, the short of the long story is he didn’t work, or at least not like the rest of us, and he became a millionaire.  Winning was his plan and he bought lottery tickets every day. It was his plan for 10 years. It looks like he thought about it.

What motivates us? Could it be thinking? Here’s a good blog post from the Harvard Business Review about motivation.

Maybe it’s better you think alone. And sure as heck, don’t discuss your hair-brained schemes with others. What’s hair-brained to one is a fortune to another? When I was breaking up with a boyfriend some time ago he reminded me of my hair-brained schemes; somehow he forgot I was supporting myself with those schemes!  A scheme to one is a plan to another.

Remember Mark Victor Hansen, and Chicken Soup for the Soul? As the rumor goes, his book was turned down 63 times before it was published.  So he went out and asked all those who contributed stories to his book to commit to buying a bunch of books prior to publication. By the time he was done, he had enough prior sales that he was into his second publication! What publisher wouldn’t want that deal?

I took a class on book publishing and the first thing the instructor said was, if you have a following it doesn’t matter how bad the book is — they’ll buy it because it’s yours.

Don’t ask what other people think, who cares what they think? Could it be we spend too much time worrying about what other people think and not enough about what we think? As they say in North Dakota, and recently in Alaska, “you betcha.”

Excuse me while I go back and think some more. I’m not sure about what but I’m sure I’ll find something.

Lisbeth Calandrino helps businesses build loyal relationships with their customers through customer service and sales training. Need a speaker? She can be reached at redhotcustomerservice@nycap.rr.com. Lis is also the co-author of CONTAGIOUS OPTIMISM!  Learn more at www.contagiousoptimism.net (publisher: Viva Editions).  

 

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By |June 1st, 2012|Blog, Motivation|1 Comment