christine e. middleton

By day... dot connector. consumer strategist. practitioner. coach. helping executives find new ways to expand + grow their bottom lines.

In between hours... student of life. passion for inspired living + wellness. truth seeker. advocate of level playing fields. fan of creativity, art + design.

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Strength doesn’t come from what you can do…

Have you ever walked into a room where there’s just been a fight? You can tell because there’s an energy of tension in the air.  

What about being around someone who carries a lot of anger? Whether they are smiling or not, you can sense something is forced or “off” about them.

Never under estimate the power of energy… and what vibe you might be putting off.

Many of us are unaware we are sending signals all the time about things we think we are hiding well. 

How do you change the vibe? 

Do not spend time associating with the negative record that plays in your head.

Do not plot out scenarios of getting even in your mind.

Do not spend time beating yourself up over that thing you said you wish you hadn’t…

Instead, say you’re sorry, let it go, forgive (yourself and others), move on.

Do so over and over… and over, and over.

Why?

When we choose to focus on the negative, what’s wrong, the flaws in others, we end up hurting ourselves most of all.

We lose perspective thinking we are justified and right, and then we grow angry. But we can stop this process - even reverse it. 

If we don’t, we give more power to our hurts and broken parts, than what is right and good. We choose being stuck.

It’s not about half empty or full. It’s a choice of darkness over light; associating with hurt vs. desiring to heal and become stronger.

We forget there is always another side. Information we didn’t know. (It’s not always about us or done to us.)

And everyone makes mistakes.

Move away from being narcissistic. See yourself different from what your ego wants you to believe. 

If you can do that, your world will open up. You will move from scarcity into abundance.  Train your mind to focus on what’s good, what you are grateful for, and what’s here right now… now, now.

Your mind will revolt. Do it anyway. Practice. Breath. Feel the sun. Feel the breeze. Feel the pain, joy, boredom. Be thankful you can feel.

Most of all, keep forgiving everything/everyone - even over the big stuff so that you can live in a place grounded in peace, freedom and joy.

AND, with that you communicate to the world just how attractive and powerful you are… 

Leading the way is never easy. But you can change the world if you start within.

Endings are really just new beginnings… It’s our job to let go.

When in business, we all have customers.

Internal AND external.

Both matter. 

One of the worst things we can do to hurt our success (and business) is to limit ways for our customers to reach us.

Taking a look at external customers first…

Here are a few pieces of (adapted) advice by a hotel industry blog – an industry in the business of customer service – to help us all do better at building positive reputations, especially in a digital age:

  • Remember that people do business with people. Be available. Making ourselves available is critical. Hiding behind technology (we can only be reached through emails or voice mail exchanges) will ultimately take away from our future success. Cold, lazy or uncaring is the takeaway on the other end. 
  • Websites need to be designed for the customer’s needs… and not how your/my company may be set up internally. Make websites easy to navigate and simple to understand BY THE END USER. Get into their heads. Create positive experiences (do not be so cheap you deter sales/success). Test and get feedback continuously to make sure what is being provided what is most efficient and useful. 
  • Be accessible through multiple channels. In other words, your company may have a great call center, but providing choices is critical. Make the investment — not all customers are alike. Remember, multitasking means making calls when running between meetings or using a mobile device while waiting in line to order lunch. Therefore, make digital platforms both user-friendly and multiply channels available, such as email, texting, Facebook, or Twitter.
  • Make contact information available on every page of a website and in email signatures. Make it easy for a customer to call, email, or connect with customer service teams instantly.
  • Keep telephone hold times to a minimum. It can be frustrating for a customer to have to wait for extended periods of time. It sends a message that the company doesn’t care enough to staff properly. As an alternative, consider technology that will let the customer know how long the wait time is with the option of an automatic call back. And whether through a social channel or other means, always respond quickly – which means minutes, not hours or days. 
  • Share social proof. Use testimonials from happy customers to help increase trust and a customer’s confidence to do business with us. 
  • Ask customers to post online reviews. This shows that we have confidence and will take care of our customers and are dedicated to delivering a great customer service experiences by taking care of any problems that may arise – in such a way that will earn us glowing online reviews.

By applying these in large part to internal customers as well - boss, managers, peers, vendors, - we will also see traction in our reputations. (More on that in my next post.)

Four behaviors of innovative leaders… are you one of them?

"I’ve learned that I can’t have a packed work schedule and a packed social schedule and a packed personal life; I need to just have time to myself to sit and breathe and unwind.”

Kim Cattrall

Perpetual rushing, pushing, doing, going is toxic to the body and mind. It causes stress that leads to disease. 

Experience Life recommends:

"Find moments of silence and contemplation where you can just be. Create margins of sanity. Practice the defensive art of scheduling breaks and vacations."

Read how you can create more time and space to go the distance as our best selves.

The secret of her continual success? 

"You go through any door that opens… and you don’t know which is going to be the one."

Example? 

Fashion Police on E!

"I didn’t want to do Fashion Police. I thought this is stupid. It’s beneath me… (vomiting sounds). Who wants to talk about fashion? …It has taken off."

It’s good she followed her own advice.

NPR’s Fresh Air has put together a compilation of interviews with Joan Rivers over the years. 

"Vision is not enough; It must be combined with venture.

It is not enough to stare up the steps; we must step up the stairs.”

- Vaclav Havel, Last President of Czechoslovakia and First President of the Czech Republic 

"Three Rules of Work:  Out of clutter find simplicity;  From discord find harmony;  In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

— Albert Einstein

A Japanese proverb

"Men make up the rules [in venture capital], and the woman who want to play ball are forced to abide by it - or get out of the game.”

This is true in any industry, business, or situation when there is a majority of one type of race or sex. The minority will be overlooked and drowned out. (Think of a man surrounded by all women.)

But, when it comes to women being the minority, sexual harassment is part of the equation.

If you are a women in business trying to “lean in,” work at the top, or work in highly political or competitive environments, you have experienced this one degree or another. 

To change these dynamics:

1.There needs to either be more diversity overall AND more women (in venture capital, science, corporate boards) for their voices to be heard and rules to change. 

2. Women need to take note from cultures around the world - stand up for your own - and that means standing up for other women every time you can. STOP seeing other women as your competition. (It’s what keeps us weak as a whole.)

But almost as important, if not more so: 

3. Men need to “wake up” to the dynamics their actions play into what leads to harassment…. ESPECIALLY silence.

Silence, deferring, ignoring supports groupthink among other men. (After all, groupthink includes self-censorship - doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus are not expressed.)

To read more: fastcompany:

Faced with rampant sexism and ageism, female venture capitalists only comprise about 4 of the industry. Here’s how women can rise above.

"The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.”

 William James, American philosopher and psychologist

Whether you understood her or not, Joan Rivers spent her life trying to make people laugh about difficult issues. Her work ethic unmatched.

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is God’s gift, that’s why we call it the present." 

"I’ve learned from my dealings with Johnny Carson that no matter what kind of friendship you think you have with people you’re working with, when the chips are down, it’s all about business."

"The first time I see a jogger smiling, I’ll consider it."

Another sad loss.

"I decided it was go big or go home."

- single, broke mom who listened to her kids and became CEO of PackIt

I love it! Desperation is what led Melissa Kieling to bet on herself and become CEO of a $16 Million company almost overnight.

THAT – falling and failing – is usually when things happen because we either do or die.

We bet on ourselves!

(Why don’t we do that sooner and more often?!)

Melissa got some traction about her idea to make a better lunch box that kept the food cold vs. mushy. But it wasn’t until she had to make a decision about investing in an infomercial things got scary

… and suddenly exciting.

Her bet on the infomercial investment paid off.

"Our annual sales went from $150,000 to $6 million from 2010 to 2011. That traction helped us get distribution in stores such as Target, Walmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond.

… in a way, I always knew this idea would work. It just made sense—a cooler that actually cooled.

Plus, my idea had to work, because I had no fallback plan. It was a matter of survival.”

What if we each took a chance and bet on ourselves?

(Full Inc. article thanks to CEO.com)

It’s no secret women typically prefer to be “ready” - gain more experience - before accepting (or even thinking about) a new opportunity. 

According to Ashley Merryman and Po Bronson, authors of Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing,” women calculate probability of success vs. failure when approaching anything with the tint of competition.

This ability is what makes women rock on Wall Street.

But this same ability keeps us from walking through new doors when they open.

"Women tend to be really good at assessing their own odds, while "men are good at ignoring the odds.”

This can be a good thing, though, author Po Bronson says: “There’s times in our life that ignoring the odds is crucial.”

(Perhaps we can learn from each other?)

Men and women alike: In order to “get ahead,” achieve goals, it requires being uncomfortable - living with the feeling of not being enough.

In other words, IF opportunities don’t have your nerves jittering, that might be because they are a lateral move. 

Why? Being comfortable means you aren’t growing.

(And waiting to feel ready enough is the shackle that will always keep you behind.)

Consider Richard Bronson - his response to what scares him: “To feel nothing.”

Profound. 

Here is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time and his fear is not feeling.

In other words, Bronson wants to feel all emotions, including fear… and look how far it has taken him.

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