Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cleaning the Forest Floor

Photo credit:
I remember when I was little and fishing with my Dad up on Mooselookmeguntic Lake, I looked up at one mountain range and noticed one mountain was bare and black.  "Dad? What happened to all the trees?"

He looked to where I was pointing and said "Oh, that looks like the Ranger Service conducted a managed burn..."

"A managed burn? What's that?"

Dad went on to explain that a couple years prior, a windstorm hit the area, and toppled down all the trees, making it impossible for anyone to get through the area - including the wildlife like moose, bear, and deer. The Forest Rangers deliberately set fire to areas of the woods  to "clean the forest floor." By doing so, they prevent uncontrolled wildfires, they make it easier for larger wildlife like to re-enter the woods, and it allows new growth to come in and heal the damaged and scarred areas from the storm.   Sure enough, a couple years later we came back to the same place, and I looked up and saw a green and lush mountain.

photo credit:
This year, I lit a match.    No, not to the woods - that would be highly irresponsible and illegal unless I was a trained Forest Ranger.   No, what I am talking about is the business I had been building for the past five years.  My business, much like the mountain range I saw with my Dad all those years ago, had taken a large hit.  Medical and financial set backs had weakened an already fragile ecosystem.  My business had become overgrown with wild ideas and half completed goals.  I had no clear vision of where I was going.  I was going in circles, trying to climb over toppled debris, and working way too hard to get on the right path.  It didn't make any sense, and because of that, I wasn't attracting clients, and wasn't experiencing any new growth.  No matter how hard I tried, nothing sustaining would ever come from that mangled mess.  I stopped creating new programs, stopped taking on new clients, and stopped working on a plan that wasn't working.  I lit a match and watched it burn.

I am allowing what was meant to be
to spring up from the ashes.

At first, I was devastated.  It had taken a long time to grow my business - I mourned what was, and what might have been.  But, just like the burned forest, I now have a blank slate, I can allow for new growth.  I discovered I am not growing a completely new business - I am allowing what was meant to be to spring up from the ashes.  Best of all, the ashes of my previous experiences are acting as nutrients for my new direction.  Just like the forest, nothing needs to be replanted - it is replenishing itself because of the vast amount of potential that was laying dormant just waiting to blossom once it had the space to flourish.

Starting over is never easy - even for trained professionals.  There can be many variables and unknowns, and it can be scary.  But, when you plan a managed burn and regrowth properly, and with the right people to assist, you can grow back stronger, more resilient and better than before.  Sometimes when you are trying to Open Doors to Reach Your Key Potential, you need to Blaze some Trails.

What space in your life do you need to clear in order to grow?  If you need help - I have a match.

Please come visit me in my new neck of the woods -

Until then, Hit the Heights!
Priscilla Hansen, CPC - Business & Leadership Guide
Blazing Trails Coaching

Monday, June 24, 2013

Laughs and Lattes - Coffee with the Masters - Tim Ferrell, Before You Speak

Coffee with the Masters -Tim Ferrell
OK, I admit - I was a bit nervous setting up this coffee date.  Why? I'm not sure.  Mostly because Tim Ferrell has been someone I have been wanting to chat with for a long time, and now, I finally had my chance.  I have admired Tim's work ever since I watched MyHoney take the stage nearly five years ago in the Portland's Funniest Professional Contest, knowing that Tim was the man who coached him, and I laughed until my sides hurt.  More importantly, I was impressed by the students - ordinary average people - who had become brave, funny, bold and daring in just eight short weeks.  This guy, I knew, was not only a Master of Laughter -but he is a Master at transforming people into performers.

I've been in Toastmasters a long time, and have studied professional comedians as they deliver their lines.  Quality writing, timing, impromptu, laugh counts - it's all a beautifully orchestrated event, and when done properly can leave an audience in stitches and repeating one-liners for days, weeks, even years to come.  There isn't a person alive who doesn't know Who's on First.  So, to be able to sit and pick the brain of the Master of Comedic Delivery and Performance - Tim Ferrell - was indeed - a treat.

Funny thing was (excuse the pun) - Once I finally got the man behind the mic in front of me, I drew  a blank of all the things I wanted to ask him and was just enthralled to sit and listen to his stories - his incredible stories that paint a picture of lessons learned, pitfalls to avoid, triumphs, ah-ha moments, and success.

Tim Ferrell
Tim started out just like any other success story, really.... on a dare.  I mean - don't we all start out that way?  His friends dared him to get up on stage, try out a few lines, and he said "sure."  He grinned slyly as he leaned forward and admitted to me "getting a couple laughs was addictive"... The rest is history.  He went on to to perform comedy in clubs all over NYC, and then began managing one.

"Thing was, as the comics got off the stage, they would always ask me how they did.... so I would tell them.  After a while, I became known as the guy who gave pointers on how to make their sets better.  Finally, someone said to me - you outta do this for a living"  So, he began running comedy workshops, and has been transforming ordinary, average people into humorous, bring-down-the-house, confident laugh creators.

"It's just one of my passions to see other people do well."

Tim - what are the most valuable keys to success you want people to know? (Finally - my star-struck self started to remember some questions I wanted to ask!)

"Be willing to fail - because no matter what, you are going to make it.  The audience, your clients, your family and friends WANT you to succeed."

What do you tell people who think they wouldn't be any good?

"Give yourself permission to suck - a little bit.  No one is brilliant right out of the gates - work on yourself, and don't take criticism personally."

Laughs & Lattes - Coffee with the Masters

What do you tell people who get disheartened and want to give up?

"You need to pay your dues - You need to ask yourself, 'what can I do today to move forward' - even by just a little bit.  A good comedian makes stand-up look effortless, but it's work.  At the end of a set, an audience won't even remember your name.  They will remember you by material you said. They will say things like 'remember the guy who said the thing about the cat....'   You have to be willing to be THAT guy.  Be willing to take a chance."

Be the doorman for when opportunity knocks, be willing to take a chance, pay your dues, and no matter what - don't take yourself too seriously.  Keys to Success from the Master of Laughs - Tim Ferrell.

After we wrapped up, I walked out to the parking lot and sat in my car to review my notes.  For an interview with an amazingly funny man, I have a lot of serious business building material here.  He gave me pointers on how to improve my own stage presence.  He recommended always stepping out from behind the podium so you are in front of your audience.  He gave me pointers to improve my video blogs - such as to never sit down when presenting (unless you are being interviewed), keep your eyes on the camera (or person you are talking to), and simplify your message - "less is always more" Tim said.  I was excited for my next chance to get on stage to try his tips and techniques that would really bring my audience in... and for me, that is no joke. 

If you are interested in learning more about Tim Ferrell, and how adding humor to your presentations can boost your business - watch his presentation on Vimeo:

If you would like to learn how to work with Tim Ferrell either via workshop or one-to-one coaching -check out his website:

"Laughs and Lattes" is an installment of  the "Coffee with the Masters." Series.   If you are a business owner in the Greater Portland Area who would like to chat over cup of coffee to share your keys to success and how to reach your Key Potential - please contact me.  I'm buying!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Make Your Summer Sizzle

AH... Summer in Maine... the sweet smell of cut timothy and clover as I drive down the country roads brings me back in my mind to the hot summer days I spent throwing hay bales on my dads farm.  Summer meant hard work, but it also meant swimming, fishing, and biking.  It was a perfect mix of work hard and play hard.  Perhaps my up bringing is where I first tapped into my passion of work-life balance because nothing brought me more pleasure than finishing up  a hard days work and following it up by an evening of swimming, barb-b-ques and baseball.

Its natural for many business owners to slow down in the summertime -the weather is perfect for the beach, kids are home from school, and there are many summer outings like family reunions, graduations, and weddings to attend.  So how can you keep the momentum of building your business up, while slowing your personal life down?
I have comprised a list things that you can do this summer to keep your business sizzling while you cool down.

1) READ. Summer is the perfect time to grab a cup of coffee in the morning and start your day out on the deck with a good book. I have a few summer favorites this year - including:

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg ... Take the time to read this book.  Sheryl explains why women aren't rising to the top -and the answers may surprise you.

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo.  This came highly recommended to me by a friend, and it hasn't disappointed.  The author brings us through step by step how Steve Jobs put together his presentations so that his audiences were begging him to sell them his products.

2)  Write - Summer is a great time to grab your journal and head to the beach and dream.  Dream about where you want to go, what you want to do, and what you want your business to provide for you, your family, and your lifestyle. Once you are back from summer vacation - bring your ideas to your coach so you can get them implemented.  What a great time to clear your mind.

3)  Network - With all the summer barbeques and open decks at your favorite cantinas are open - don't miss an opportunity to build relationships.  Is there a prospect you've been dying to do business with, but haven't had a chance to get five minutes with him?  Invite him out for a lively game of golf, a cruise of Casco Bay, or a walk around back bay.  Summer is a great time to connect, because chances are, the people you want to connect with are eager to slow down too.

4) Check In  - Check in with your accountability partner.  Sounds like work doesn't it?  But just like when kids are out of school, if we get into "vacation mode" too long, it can be hard to bring yourself back.  Do it gently by making plans to stay in touch with your coach, mentor or accountability partner through out the summer months.  

Summer sessions are still available at Key Potential Coaching - and coaching can be done from your chair on the beach!  To check availability, or to get a free summer session - click HERE

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Family That Picks Together, Sticks Together...

That was my Dad's mantra for our family business for years.  When I was 8, the mantra would irritate me more than the ragweed that made my eyes water as we hunched over the 14 acres of rutabagas and hand weeded each row.  Once weeding was done, we would pull in around 1300 hay bales before finally calling it a day.  With sore muscles, tanned faces, and dirt under our nails, we would join around the dinner table and eat the casserole my mom creatively stretched to feed her family of five, plus at least five more of the hired hands.  The crew ate with us so often that I actually thought one of them was my brother, and was heartbroken to learn that he just worked for us .. but really, in a family business, more often than not, the employees become just as important as each family member.

Mornings began with tight muscles and high expectations.  Nights fell with a satisfying empty field, and the anticipation of having to do it all over again tomorrow. Dad would recant the day with us at the dinner table, and I always felt important when he discussed the crew members with us -the challenging ones, the funny ones, the non-memorable ones (what was his name again?)... I felt grown up, and part of the management team.  I think even my Dad had a hard time remembering we were, in fact, just kids.

As I watched my Dad lead, I learned to be a leader.  I watched him handle the disputes of disgruntled employees and hot and bothered hay customers.  At market, I watched him humbly hop back in his truck and drive back to the farm with a load of rejected produce. (rejected only because the buyer screwed up the order)....  I beamed with pride when I witnessed my Dad throw in a few extra rutabagas or vegetables into a person's car when he knew they were having hard times.  I smile to this day when I pull into the door yard and see my Dad walking up from the fields, and pause as he gets lost in thought as he gazes at the rolling green hills which are his pride and joy. 

And now, as a business owner, I marvel at his ability to weather the storms that washed away his hard work, his strength to keep going despite setbacks, and his faith to keep praying for rain, and just enough sun.  Often, I reach down deep to pull out some of that Hansen stubbornness and tenacity that has kept my Dad going for nearly 50 years as a business owner.  I apply his principles of customer service, pride in your product, humility, humanity, and family values to my own business every day.  I can safely say, it's made me not only a better person, but a better business owner myself.

So, while my Dad's mantra is "A family that picks together, sticks together...." I have to say not only is that true - but also, a Dad who teaches his daughter to lead, will help her to succeed.  Thanks Dad.

Did you grow up in a family business?  What life lesson's did you learn that you'd like to share?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Picture Perfect - Coffee with the Masters - Joanne Lee, Joanne Lee Photography

Almost seemed silly calling this coffee date "work" because when you get together with Joanne Lee, of Joanne Lee Photography, you are getting together with a friend.  As soon as I walked into The Local Buzz - Cape Elizabeth's newest hot-spot for coffee lovers, I got a warm hug from Ms. Lee.  It's been way too long my friend since we have got together.  I had the pleasure of first meeting Joanne Lee when she photographed me and MyHoney's first family portraits, and my first professional head-shot.  Our dogs were charmed by Joanne, and despite the fact that all Lexi, my little white Shepard-mix wanted to do was sit in her lap, she got some amazing shots.  |

So here is the deal.  I am a blogger who writes about getting together with local amazing business owners and chatting over a cup of coffee to discover how they reached their success - their Key Potential.... and I have decided to quit drinking coffee. Irony right?  After watching the barista make an amazing latte with a glorious leaf design for another patron, I gathered up my will power and ordered a lovely salad - and a water.  I walked back to the table and joined Joanne, and girl talk commenced for another 30 minutes as I munched on my salad, and got caught up with my old friend.

Pushing my plate away, and looking at my blank notepad, I realized I needed to get to the interview  - even though Joanne had already given me so much to write about!  Joanne is interesting, funny, and so talented - she adores her family, her face lights up when she talks about her hubby and two boys,  and how she loves to watch them play baseball.  Her eyes sparkle when she goes back into her memory and talks about a couple she recently photographed who had been searching for each other for 40 years before finally getting together, and getting blissfully married after all these years.....   I could see it all, and she never showed me her portfolio, or any of her photographs.  She didn't need to - the way she described it, I was there.

"It's not just about the photographs - it's about the story...."  I nodded as she smiled, and I felt emotional as she continued to describe the magic she encounters behind the lens of her camera.  "I'm allowed into peoples most intimate moments... from the bride having that last talk with her dad before walking down the aisle..... to taking a newborns first picture - I take that privilege and honor very seriously." 

Joanne's clients are not just clients - they become family.  "They invite me to photograph their wedding, then their first, second and third babies - family portraits, graduations... "  She told me that once a bride and groom took her to the Bahamas to photograph their wedding because there were no quality photographers they knew, liked or trusted there - so she went along with them to shoot their wedding.  Joannes personality is so comfortable and relaxed, I can see why that arrangement would be so comfortable for both her and the newlyweds.

Leaning in, I inquired  "Joanne, what do you contribute to your success?" 

"Well, obviously hard work and dedication - but also I listen.  I listen to the needs and wants of my clients, but I also listen to their story.  It is my job to capture their story - I won't be there later to narrate - the pictures need to speak for themselves - their story needs to come out of the photographs in a way that is moving and meaningful.  My favorite thing to hear when someone is looking at a picture of their child and they say "OH - that is SO Joey" or Justine....  That means I captured the very essence of their child.  It's important to spend time with my clients to get to know them, listen to their story, and capture it so it is reflected back for them to see for themselves"

"What is the key to being able to do that, Joanne?"

"I am always learning.  I have mentors that I think highly of, and ask them to give me feedback on my images.  I take classes in the newest techniques of lighting, contrast and art.  It is very important to me to continue to grow as an artist.... but most importantly - I like to take pictures for fun..."

She went on to tell me about renting a photo studio just to take photographs with her niece as the model - when asked by another photographer the motive for the shoot, Joannes response was "Oh, we are just having fun..." Puzzling the fellow photographer because of all the production and art that Joanne had brought to the shoot.  "It was just for fun.  I need to be fulfilled as an artist to grow as a business owner." 

Joanne - thank you for sharing your keys to reaching your potential.  Listening to your clients so you can capture their stories, continually learning as a business owner and as an artist, and having fun, so that you remained fulfilled so you can continue to grow.  That, right there, is the picture perfect formula for success. 

"Picture Perfect" is an installment of  the "Coffee with the Masters." Series.   If you are a business owner in the Greater Portland Area who would like to chat over cup of coffee to share your keys to success and how to reach your Key Potential - please contact me.  I'm buying!

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Cup of Awesome, with Jennie, from Blossom... Coffee with the Masters - Jennie Stancu

When I saw her posts on Facebook announcing her new health and wellness coaching programs, I knew my next Coffee with the Masters interview needed to be with Jennie Stancu of Blossom Massage.  After all, I know the power that coaching provides for my business clients, but I was intrigued to know how Jennie was using coaching to transform her clients from being "a mess and under stress... to feeling awesome"  as her tagline says. 

As I pulled my trusty stead Ru the Subaru up to the parking meter on Commercial Street and fed the meter some quarters, I inhaled deeply the salt air.  Gulls laughed as they dipped down to the bay, and the sunshine sparkled on the waves.  I looked over at the coffee shop "Crema" which was our rendezvous, and wondered how hard it would be to twist Jennie's arm to get our coffees to go and sit out on a park bench to soak up the sun.  Apparently, not hard at all, Jennie is a Yoga instructor, and very flexible.  Her face lit up when I mentioned the suggestion, and we stood in line at the coffee counter getting caught up with each other.  She is newly wed, and I am newly engaged - so exciting, stressful, and wonderful at the same time.  It felt good to be in the company with a fellow businesswoman who "got it."  ... Come to find out, Jennie lends an empathetic ear quite easily about any subject, and is very easy to talk with. 

At the counter, Jennie ordered a cup of "Wisdom Woman" tea.... and even though this is "Coffee with the Masters", I ordered the same, and found it very suiting we would have "Tea with the Wise Women" instead.  We walked out into the May sun, and noted a cool breeze coming in off the bay.  Once we settled in on a park bench we made no hesitation on chatting... the hour we had on the meters ticked by quickly... she is such a joy to be in company with - I don't know about her, but my stress of the day was instantly gone as she told me about the exciting new ventures she has going on at Blossom.

"I've always played a coaching role with my clients - I need to know where they are when I give them a massage, and I bring them to a place they need to be...., but it got so I was doing more and more talking during massage, rather than them just receiving the massage - so I decided to offer the coaching as a separate service, so they can come receive the massage, and I can hold them in their space."  she gestured with her hands as she spoke, placing her hands to her heart when saying "hold them" and smoothing the air in front of her gently when she said "receive" ... I noted how beautiful and comforting she was... even though the ocean breeze was kicking up and sending shivers through me, I felt warm when she spoke.

"What brought you to this work, Jennie?"  She looked up to the sky with contemplation and ease, and said "At that time (she went through tragedy and loss) I needed to be touched in a safe way... I just needed to be soothed"  And that is what she provides for her clients - a healing, soothing, touch.

"What are you providing with coaching?" 

"I provide a space for women to give themselves permission to be the divine blessing that they are, how to deeply relax  their body and minds, and how to truly receive the simple pleasures of life."  Jennie explained.

I know by personal and professional experience, that is a recipe for successful health, wellness, and stress relief.  Anything would be possible with that mindset.  Jennie has something amazing to offer here -the combination of coaching, deep relaxation and touch is a powerful catalyst for long lasting mind and body transition.   Awestruck, I almost forgot to ask the most important question of the interview... "Jennie, what are your Keys to Success?" 

Without hesitation she answered "Consistency, Self-Care, and following my heart."  Again, talking through her blue eyes, and gesturing with her hands in a gentle way, that made me want to lean in and learn more... but the wind picked up, and we both realized we needed to go rescue our cars from being ticketed.

We separated at the sidewalk, and I hopped into Ru and warmed up, taking the last few sips of my "Wisdom Woman" tea.  Not sure if it was the tea, the conversation, the sunshine, or the combination of the three... but I felt more enlightened.  Actually... I felt awesome.  Thanks Jennie!  You are certainly a Master of Health, Wellness, and Calming Energy... Namaste!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Working on Your Fitness

Having grown up, and lived in Maine my entire life, I know a lot of small business owners who have seasonal businesses that ramp up in the summer.  DJ's, photographers, landscapers, farmers, retail shop owners, restaurants owners to name a few.  

From my experience, I have seen first hand the effects of not working in a balanced plan of nutrition, proper exercise and self care, and downtime to offset the effects of a busy rush time.  Working 12-15 hour days to get the job done, or "make hay while the sun shines," can take a toll on your body.  I have also learned that with proper planning, you can have healthy snacks, plan time for activity, and have the energy to not only service your clients, but spend time with friends and family.  Want to learn how?

In May, I will be sponsoring some events that focus on small business owner health, well being, and time management, and I hope you can join me for as many events as possible.  Summer will be here before we know it - it's time to get game ready!

MAY 8TH, 2013 - "Healthy Happy Hour" - Jessica Champagne Story will be hosting a special evening to teach 8 special VIP Business Owners how to:

 This is a special "by-invitation" only event - click HERE for more information.

MAY 9TH, 2013  "Seasonal Business Survival Tips" - Free Tele-CHAT for Business Owners -
If you are a small business owner whose peak season is the summer months, you will not want to miss this call.  You will learn tips and solutions to:
  • Stay hydrated, nourished and rested 
  • Maintain your energy 
  • Stay focused 
  • Organize your schedule to meet demands from family, friends, and clients!
Click HERE to register!

MAY 1ST - MAY 31ST - Free "Life Balance" assessment and action planning - regularly valued at $99.00 (1 hour phone-only session)
Schedule a complimentary "Life Balance" assessment to review where you are "off kilter" and learn some immediate action steps you can take to bring yourself back to alignment.  Includes a followup call, 2 weeks of email guidance and ability to access the "private client" website for even more support.   Click HERE to schedule

NEXT MONTH - June's "Coffee with the Master's" highlighted business owner makes you feel awesome - even when your life's a mess and you're under stress - so stay tuned!

How are you getting ramped up for your busy season?  What has worked for you? I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cafe Della Casa - Coffee With the Masters - Hydie Knuckles, Bello In Home Salon

Typically, when I have Coffee with the Masters, I meet up with my interviewee at a local coffee shop or cafe.  But not when you are meeting with Hydie Knuckles, of Bello In Home Salon.... no, she is most comfortable chatting with you where ever you happen to be - whether it be your home, your office, or your community center.  Hydie is more than used to bringing the beauty to you, and I was more than happy to reciprocate and bring the coffee to her.  So with my Starbucks in hand, I sat down with Hydie Knuckles in her home in Saco, and we chatted about what it takes to be a successful female entrepreneur.

At first glance, you would never guess  that Hydie, once upon a time, used to get good and dirty up in The County- picking potatoes on her family farm... but that is just at a glance.  At first glance, you see a beautifully poised and polished woman.  Once you sit down and get half way through a cup of coffee with her, you realize you are talking to a hard working, industrious woman, whose labor of love is to bring beauty services to her clients.

"I really enjoy working with all kinds of people," Hydie explains..."from senior citizens who can't leave their homes easily to get their hair done, to people who may be recovering from an illness or an injury, or even professional women who are just too busy to leave their office, and find it more convenient for me to come them."

Hydie isn't your typical "hair and nails" beautician.  She really understands what it means to a woman's self-esteem and self-confidence to be polished, professional, and to put your best face forward.  Hydie is also Mrs. Maine United States 2010.  "It started out because when I was a child I had meningitis -I had to learn now to walk, talk, and gain motor skills all over again, so my mom enrolled me in activities that would support my fine motor skills.  She first signed me up for baton, and I loved it.  So she entered me in my first pageant when I was 5 years old - the 'Little Miss Potato Blossom' Pageant.  I did pageants all through my teens to get money for scholarships, and I did my last one when I was about 19 or 20."

So what brought you to compete in Mrs. Maine 2010? 

 "I just needed something at that time in my life.  I was turning 40, I had lost my corporate job, and it was really just a low time for me.  I had lost alot of myself working in that corporate career, and when it didn't work out I felt really lost.  A friend of mine pointed it out to me, and it just felt right.  I submitted the application on my 40th birthday! Little did I know, I really needed the boost - I needed to feel empowered, and ... ME again."

"When I walked across the stage in my bathing suit I was SO nervous! BUT I DID IT!"  She humbly beamed.  "After Mrs. Maine, I had the confidence I needed to start my own business.  I really want other women to feel beautiful, pampered and appreciated."  So she brings her services of hair, make-up, manicures, pedicures, and pampering to her clients - women who either can't physically get out to come to her, or to professional women who are too busy to schedule appointments outside of their office.  Personally, I have had Hydie come to my coaching office and she masterfully was able to cut my hair - WHILE I was chatting on my cell phone - talk about productivity and multi-tasking, and I looked great for the networking event I was going to that evening!

About halfway through our coffee date, Hydie's nine year old daughter Kiera came home from school.  Kiera also has performed in pageants and eagerly ran to her room to fetch her sashes and tiaras to show me. "I don't push her to do the pageants," Hydie said as Kiera dashed out of the room..."I mention when there is a pageant, and if she wants to do it, she does it... she really enjoys the talent part the best.  I only like her to do the shows for charity."  Kiera returned and showed me each of her prizes.  It was a very impressive collection, and she always places in talent - her talent being singing. 

"So Hydie, what are your keys to success?"

"OH! Can I answer?!" Kiera's hand enthusiastically flew up to answer my question.  Seriously, who can resist a nine year old beauty queen who is wearing a tiara and munching on an apple?

"Sure.... Kiera, what are your keys to success?"

"Well...." she put her finger to her lips thoughtfully....."You have to have a good product..."

I admit... I was blown away with her understanding of entrepreneurship.  "May I quote her?" and Mom nodded in approval.  "And... you have to have a good luck charm."  she added.

"What is your good luck charm Kiera?" I quizzed.

"ME!"  she bounced as she answered.  Wow. This kid has it going on! 

"What else do you need Kiera?"  Now, I am curious to know the entrepreneurial mind of a nine year old girl....

"You need a good family to support you... and lots of love."  OK. Time out to squeeze the kid!  After getting a good hug, I continued my interview.

"Wow, Kiera, that is very true - to run a business you need lots of love and support from your family." 

"YUP! AND You need to be CUTE - because CUTENESS SELLS!"  and with a flip of her hair and a giggle, she bounced out of the room, leaving Hydie and I to wipe our tears from admiration and adoration of such a great kid.  I noticed Hydie's mascara did not run... Hmmmm...

"So ya, a good product, a good luck charm, a family who loves and supports you - and being cute!"  Love it!

"So, Hydie, do you have anything to add to that?" 

"Oh my! How can I top that?!  But seriously, hard work, determination, treat others the way you want to be treated, and most importantly have faith in yourself..."  Her eyes spoke more than her words, reflecting her own story of self-made confidence.  Confidence is what she brings to her clients... confidence in the guise of beauty services and products.  

Driving home, I reflected on our coffee visit.  Hydie just has a magic about her that radiates beauty inside and out.  I noticed I was smiling as I drove.... and realized her love, sense of family and dedication to empowering beautiful women to be dazzling and brilliant is infectious.  Cuteness may sell, but inner beauty shines.  Hydie is indeed the Master of bringing out your inner beauty.

Thanks Hydie and Kiera for the warmth, laughter and a lovely cup of coffee....

"Cafe Della Casa" is an installment of  the "Coffee with the Masters." Series.   If you are a business owner in the Greater Portland Area who would like to chat over cup of coffee to share your keys to success and how to reach your Key Potential - please contact me.  I'm buying!

Monday, April 15, 2013

I fought the technology, and the technology won...

Copyright (c) <a href=''>123RF Stock Photos</a>
Last week, it seemed I had a technological jinx on me.  Every piece of technology I count on to run my business, communicate with clients, and promote my thoughts and masterpieces to the world - failed in some way.

The technological meltdowns were not necessarily within my control.  My website hosting went down for a day, so no one could sign up for my teleclasses (which I was paying to promote - UGH!), then the conference call line went down an hour before my call began. 

It was like one of those dreams (nightmares!) when you are trying to dial a phone for help, but suddenly you forgot how to dial a phone, or the buttons fall off the phone, or the phone melts right in your hands... ya... it was like that in my panicked mind... but in reality, I knew how to dial a phone, just the conference call lines I was using were down.  UGH!!!  Still, it was a nightmare.

I flew into action, sending out emails to the participants to change phone lines, and tried to reign everyone in despite the phone malfunction, but alas - it was too late - people got a busy signal, and that was that.  Disappointment isn't a heavy enough word to describe how I felt.  I had written a great lesson plan, I was excited to talk to the business owners who WANTED to be on my call.  The planning, the prepping, the practicing.... all amounted to nothing.  I know technology had failed me, but I couldn't help but to feel like the failure.

This is where walking the talk really comes in handy.  After an amount of time (really a little longer than I care to admit) ... I brushed myself off and got onto another telecall a fellow coach was presenting.  I spent an hour listening to her be marvelous, and I hung up feeling inspired.  I posted to a few chat boards my woes of technology, and fellow coaching colleagues and workshop leaders not only lent out some VERY useful advice on how to advert crisis in the future, but they said "Hey, that's happened to me before".... just reading that other people I know, respect, and look up to have had their battles with technology and lost, made me feel much better.

So I got the bright idea that I would provide my lesson plan in a video so the valuable information I wanted to get out to the world would still be available. This day would not be lost!  I suited up for another battle ... and I got beaten up pretty badly.  Inexperience was the reason for my technological punches this time - I had never created a video before - everyone else around me makes it look so easy...  Glitch after technological glitch prevented me from getting the result I wanted in getting my message out to the world.
photo credit: -

Battle weary, I asked MyHoney to help me edit the video, and finally produced a finished product that I can proudly say, will become my "wow, I've come a long way since my first video" story .... but we all start somewhere, and I wasn't going down without a fight. 

If you have 26 minutes, take the time to watch my video, keeping in mind  I may not be up for a Grammy, but I am still proud to say I did it my way...

Until Next Time,
Hit the Heights!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dial In Your Potential! (check out my first video blog!)

OK, I'm going to take a moment and pat myself on the back... in the meantime, enjoy my first video blog :)

REGISTER HERE for Dial In Your Potential - FREE Business Tele-CHAT

If you are on a mobile device - check it out on YouTube

Saturday, April 6, 2013

There is no such thing as a "Solo-preneur!"

Here is my Saturday morning rant that has been festering for a while.  When I am asked who I coach, I usually say "Small Business Owners"... I like that term, it fits.  However, I am usually asked to elaborate - and I further explain "I coach small business owners who do not have any employees - the one who wears all the hats, makes all the decisions, and is the sales, operations, customer service, and plays every role of their company"... and, the person I am talking with typically responds "AH - the 'solo-preneur!'"  While technically correct, I cringe at that title.  First of all, it's a made up word.  Secondly, if you are in business for yourself, by yourself, and work only with yourself - YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.  I guess I actually DO coach solo-entrepreneurs, but teach them to be "Collaborative-preneurs - or, if we want to use words that have already been invented - a "collaborator"

What is a collaborator? The dictionary defines "to collaborate"as  " To work together, especially in a joint intellectual effort."  I can say right now, a business collaborator will experience far more success and ease than the "solo-preneur"..  This person makes more money, provides more value in their service, and impacts their community in a far more meaningful way.  This person not only works on building their own business, but recognizes that by helping other people attain what they want, they themselves will get what they want.

What does a "Business Collaborator" do that is so different?

They EDUCATE:  A small business owner that practices collaboration instead of solidarity finds creative ways to support other business owners while growing their business.  They may offer classes, meet-ups or mastermind groups.  They freely and willingly share their knowledge and expertise.  In return, they are viewed as an expert and the "go-to-person" in their industry.

They SHARE:  A collaborative small business owner does not have competition.  They view the world as abundant.  They create strategic alliances amongst competing businesses and often refer potential clients to other sources they can't help themselves.  As a result, they are often given referrals back, and are viewed as leaders in their industry.

They LEAD:  A collaborator creates a team of support.  They may be in business for themselves, but recognize the importance of having a good support team.  They create a support team of well trusted professionals that will enhance their business.  Often times this team is comprised of a CPA, a lawyer, a coach, a book-keeper, a marketing expert, a web-designer, and copy-writer.  A  successful business owner calls their team together periodically to discuss strategies on how to grow their business, and the businesses of his team.

They DELEGATE:  Collaborative business owners recognizes that they simply can not do everything by themselves.  It is neither cost effective nor efficient.  A successful collaborator finds trusted professionals to delegate tasks to such as marketing, book-keeping, writing, and other tasks that are better done outside of his realm of expertise or understanding. 

So, in short, my clients may start out with the mindset of a "solo-preneur" but soon learn that their lives would be much easier by shifting their mindset to one of a collaborator.  I know, as a small business owner, we are are fierce "do-it-yourselfers" and taking things off your plate and trusting others can be scary.  I help my clients identify where they are most efficient, and where there may be some collaborative opportunities. Together, we create systems and processes on how to build collaborations to fast track them to success. 

So, are you a solo-preneur or a collaborator? 

Want to learn more?  Join me for my FREE Monthly Business Tele-CHAT "Dial In Your Potential" (see, an opportunity to collaborate already!)  Click HERE to register.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Play Ball! Is Your Seasonal Business Ready to Get in the Game?

Are you a small business owner whose business is coming out of hibernation?  Many small businesses in Maine are seasonally run, depending on the sun, summer, and tourists for their prosperity.  Many businesses operate year round, but find their "busy season" is summer - such as DJ's, photographers, landscapers, and restaurant owners.

So how do you make the transition from downtime to showtime?  For some, the swing can be pendulous, and it takes all your energy to get back into the game. 

My Dad ran a seasonal business - a family farm.  Every year, while the fields were still blanketed in white, I would watch him pull out the Johnny Seed Catalog, and a map of the field.  He would carefully plot out what he wanted his yield of harvest to be, and how many seeds he would order as a result.  The key to success for my father's seasonal business was careful PLANNING.

My friend Nick runs a successful landscaping company. 
He starts contacting his condo andcommercial owners in February and March, asking them how their winter went, and if all their needs were met..  He corrects any issues that may come up, and he makes sure they are satisfied before launching into a new season.  Nicks key to success of running a  seasonal business is COMMUNICATION.

Michael owns and operates a Event DJ & Entertainment business.  All winter, he networks with other DJ's, vendors and venues and fosters strong working relationships that will make working together under pressure easier and more fun.  By building a strong network of wedding industry vendors, he provides his brides top-notch referrals and becomes a trusted resource.  Michaels key to success of running a seasonal business is RELATIONSHIPS.

Are you game ready?  If not, no worries - you don't have to go it alone.  In six weeks, you can learn all the basics for attracting clients, fostering relationships, and getting prepped for the big leagues.  Register for my "Six Week Business Tele-CHAT" and you will be ready to knock it out of the park!!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Cup of Healing ... Coffee with the Masters - Bambi Thompson

When I originally set up a coffee date with Bambi Thompson, a Non-Medication Anxiety Specialist... I have to admit... I was skeptical.   I am not a big follower of metaphysical healing, or what I affectionately call "Woo-Woo" Coaching... but something told me I needed to meet this woman and learn why she is referred to as a "A Master of Transformation."

 We met at Coffee By Design in Freeport in the LL Bean Flagship store.  She said her favorite place to sit was near the rocks because it was peaceful.  My first notion was even in the midst of shoppers, coffee drinkers, and the hub-bub of a very busy location, Bambi still managed to find a corner of the cafe that provided peace and tranquility. I was later to realize that it is Bambi herself who carries peace and tranquility with her every where she goes. 
As we chatted I discovered not only am I not into "Woo-woo" coaching or "manifesting your destiny" nonsense... neither is Bambi.  Quite the opposite in fact.  Educated as an occupational therapist and deeply studied in quantum physics, neurophysiology, and bio-science, I was soon learned there was nothing "woo-woo" about what Bambi does to transform her clients mental, emotional and physical states to the core of their being at the cellular level.  My analytical and logical coaching mind was very impressed - and relieved.

As she sipped her tea, Bambi enthusiastically told me about her story.  At one time, she was not the bubbly, cool and collected, humorous and irreverent woman sitting before me.  She once suffered raging panic disorder - ravaged by anxiety attacks.  Her only refuge was pills and therapy... but as she explained "No one was there to console me at 3am when I needed it most"...

"How did you discover you had a gift for healing?" I asked. 

"I became a friends 'chemo-buddy'" Bambi reflected  "I would go with my friend to her cancer treatments..."    Her friend told her that the chemo-treatments were her favorite part of having cancer - because she got to sit with Bambi for those hours.  Her friend told her "You should do this for a living".... and after a while, it came to be that Bambi discovered she had a gift of not only helping others heal, but she also learned she could heal herself.  More importantly, she learned she could teach others to heal themselves.
Coffee By Design - Freeport, ME
Bambi shared a technique she discovered that helps women who have had children bring peace and calm into their bodies within minutes.  She tells them to connect with the memory of the 3 AM breast-feedings - where the world is asleep and it's only she and her beautiful baby bonding, loving, and touching.  They are to remember the tactile sensations, the smells, the sounds...every aspect of it that they can re-call.  In this experience, the brain doesn't know the difference between reality or fiction and so the body immediately begins to shift into the energetic and emotional state of that peaceful and blissful time.  Her clients immediately report that their bodies relax, their thoughts slow down, the anxiety or stress melts away, and they feel grounded and peaceful and full of love.

photo credit:123RF Stock Photos
At first, Bambi didn't know WHY it worked, she only knew that she had a gift to bring anyone suffering from illness, anxiety, depression, and un-ease to a state of health, vitality and calm.  She was offered an explaination when she attended a nueroscience seminar, and a doctor confirmed the body can be tricked by the mind. If you tell your body something is true, it believes you, and "the bar-tender of the brain" gives you a chemical cocktail of what ever is needed for coping or survival. "Every emotion has a different chemical component" she explained. In the case of the mother visualizing a 3am feeding, her brain released oxytocin - also known as "the hormone of love".  When you are able to ask your brain to release the chemical needed for calm, stress relief and meta-physical healing, you become a very powerful self-healer.... and Bambi can show you how.

Bambi being a very savvy business woman not only provides her gifts to clients through face-to-face sessions, but has created a downloadable home study course  so she can be with you at 3am, when you need her the most - a need she had when she went through her bouts of anxiety attacks years ago, that she now provides for her clients.

Bambi brings all her gifts to a healing session so that your mind is opened through every portal possible.  She brings her gifts of intuition, compassion, knowledge, and most importantly, her gift of music.  Bambi's piano music is created divinely just for you during an energy healing session.  She doesn't use sheet music, it is not rehearsed, nor does she know exactly where it comes from.  "I've tried to replicate (my music) by having sheet music print while I played - but when I went back to read it - I couldn't -  despite being an accomplished musician who has read sheet music for years"

As I sat and listened to her share with me her gifts, I marveled that she didn't come across as bragging.  Her demeanor was that of an old friend - her language was candid - often throwing in a cuss or two - making her humor and irreverence shine.  I felt so comfortable in her presence. She wasn't being boastful, or even implying that she had something no one else had.  She was actually quite surprised and amazed she had this ability - "It's some amazing shit right?!" she beamed... and I whole heartedly agreed.  Amazing shit indeed. 

"So Bambi, what do you think your keys to your success have been?"

Eyes sparkling at the opportunity to share .. the teacher in Bambi took over as she answered.  "Tools.  Tools are HUGE.  I teach people the tools so they can transform themselves.  Secondly, my key to success is my music.... My music is my biggest gift I bring.  And most of all - ME - I am my brand.  When people hear my story, and when they see me now, they fully understand the power of the mind"

The keys to success, according to Bambi Thompson, are the gifts you are blessed with, and your ability to recognize them, accept them, embrace them... and most importantly - share them with the world.

At the end of our time together, Bambi  with brought  out her iPad and played a piece of her music.  Every note comes through her in an unexplained, Divine way...

Take 2.54 minutes to listen... and get to know Bambi as I did in the two hours I spent sharing a cup of coffee with her - she is Divine, she is a powerful, humorous, beautiful energy.   She is a Master of Healing, a Master of expressing her gifts, a Master of Transformation.  Give her a call, and she will inspire you to be a Master too.

"A Cup of Healing" is an installment of  the "Coffee with the Masters." Series.   If you are a business owner in the Greater Portland Area who would like to chat over cup of coffee to share your keys to success and how to reach your Key Potential - please contact me.  I'm buying!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Coffee With a Kick... Coffee with the Masters - Jim Bouchard

Jim Bouchard, Think Like a Black Belt
Jim Bouchard -
How does a Black Belt drink his coffee?  One sip at a time. 

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting with Jim Bouchard "Think Like a Black Belt" - Author, Speaker, Motivator, Coach, and most importantly - Black Belt.

What I expected from our meeting was to learn more about Jim, how he became so successful, and how he has built himself up today to an inspiring entrepreneur from a drug addict living in a run down trailer in Windham Maine. 

Instead, I learned all about myself.

Jim is a straight shooter.  If you ask him a question, expect a brutally honest answer - an answer that may not comfort your ego.  If you share your problems and challenges with Jim, never expect a "There, there.... " and an "everything will be okay..."   Expect to get a kick in the pants, and be told to buck up. Expect to take a deep look within, and acknowledge your own truth.  Expect to be told to honor your Wisdom, and go with your gut. Expect to be told to shake it off and get back in the ring.  Expect to be told that your only enemy is you, self doubt, and buying into fear.

(Cue the Karate Kid "A-HA moment of self-realization here)

And he is right.  The only thing getting in the way of your success - is YOU.  You need someone like Jim to answer the hard questions with a tough answer.  You need to feel uncomfortable - because once you are good and uncomfortable, that is when radical change happens.  Be ready to have the doors of opportunity kicked wide open. 

So, Jim-  what does it take to be a successful entrepreneur?  "Drive, diligence, ambition, discipline, focus."   Yes, you guessed it .... the same qualities it takes to become a Black Belt.  Add in some blood, sweat and tears ... you have a formula for some kick-ass success. 

One point Jim drives home is that "Perfection is not a destination, it is a never ending process."  Meaning, just because he earned his Black Belt, doesn't mean his art will always stay perfect.  No, every day requires the same amount of discipline and focus.  Every day, he practices his art, stays focused, commits to be determined, and still may shed some blood, sweat and tears -  and that is what builds Mastery.  He no longer strives for a Black Belt - he IS a Black Belt. 

"A project is complete when it starts working for you, rather than you working for it." -Scott Allen

Jim believes the best investment you can make is in yourself.  "Learn Constantly, Practice Consistently, Develop Continually"

I walked out of Starbucks with my head buzzing from the coffee and the incredible conversation, and with a new energy from the realization that the keys to potential are already in our hands.  Now, all it takes is the determination, drive, discipline and focus to unlock the doors. 

Bring it on.  Let's kick it.

"Coffee with a Kick" is the first installment of "Coffee with the Masters."  If you are a business owner in the Greater Portland Area who would like to chat over cup of coffee to share your keys to potential - please contact me.  I'm buying!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fuel up on Self-Care ...

photo credit:
Racing from one business meeting to the next, I hopped in RU (aka, my trusty Subaru) and turned the key.  She roared to life, but diligently reminded me she was running low on fuel by flashing the warning light.  I groaned. I don't have time between appointments to fill up - hopefully "E" in this case means "Extra 10 miles"... Back at my office, I conducted a client session, a tele-call, and wrote session notes for both.  By the time I exited the building, the sun had set and the temperature had dropped at least 20 degrees.

Hopping in RU once again, I turned the key.  She protested.  It was too cold to start up on fumes.  I begged and pleaded with her, pumping the gas pedal frantically.  She whimpered and started, but she didn't like it.  "Please RU - just ONE mile, and I will fill your tank - I promise!".... and we limped along to the gas station where she promptly sputtered and died as I pulled up to the pump.  I stood shivering in the cold, lamenting that I should have filled up during the day when it was sunny and warm.  I realized that we entrepreneurs do this all too often -we get too busy for self care.  Things like eating, exercising, stretching, and spiritual practice get pushed aside so we can get to the next thing on our to-do list - when really, these things belong on our to-do lists, otherwise, we will just run out of gas, just like poor RU here.

How often do you run on empty?   How often do you push yourself just one more mile, one more task, one more thing to get done and I can rest?  How efficient are you when you are running on fumes? How do you feel when you push yourself - anxious? Frantic? Nervous?

"If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?" John Wooden
Photo Credit:

We run our days like Nascar drivers - as soon as the starting flag is waved, we are running 100 miles per hour.  How do professional race teams do it without running out of gas or breaking down?  Here are four racing tips to keep you on track:

1)  Get in the Groove  -Take a few moments to plot out the best route around the race track. Take out your calendar and block off time for meal planning, grocery shopping, walking, meditating.  Make a firm rule with yourself this time is not to get overscheduled with other activities.  These activities are just as important to your business as billable hours.  Without this time, there is no billable time - after all, its difficult to bill hours from a hospital bed.

2) Take a caution lap - Carve out 20 minutes in the morning to visualize and plan your day.  Now I know what you are thinking - "She's crazy, she's asking me to take a 20 minute time-out when I don't even have 10 minutes to take a shower most days."   I encourage you to try it... acknowledge the discomfort of changing pace, and practice stillness.  Visualize your day in your mind - see yourself being productive - see yourself checking things off your list - see yourself walking at noontime, eating a healthy lunch, and returning to productivity in the afternoon.  Review your daily calendar and make sure you have blocked time for self care. Without visualizing the track, your heading out blind.
"You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.Indira Gandhi
 3) Don't just "splash and go"...  Yes, you are a busy entrepreneur. Yes, you are striving to achieve your goals.  Yes, you have a full plate.  However, you are also water, air, energy and Being.  Without properly nourishing your entire self, you will eventually not fire on all cylinders.  You will become unbalanced and inefficient.  If you ignore the air in your tires on your car, eventually they will run flat, no matter how full the fuel tank is.  Your car needs complete maintenance to run efficiently, as do you.  Make time for walks, breathing, fun and enjoyment, and make time to play. 

4)  Create your own "Pit Crew"   When racing full speed around the track, even Nascar drivers know the importance to pull off the track for maintenance, and they only take on average 15 seconds to get the driver back to the race.  When you have professionals such as a Chiropractor, a personal trainer, a massage therapist and a professional coach on your pit crew, you have a team that is professionally trained to keep you running at top speed, and they can get you back on track faster than you can on your own.  Imagine if the driver at Nascar jumped out of his car, fueled it, changed the tires and washed the windshield by himself - he'd be there forever! Be sure to schedule regular appointments with professionals that support your self-care goals.