Since January of 2020 the United States has been suffering under the cloud of a global pandemic known as COVID-19 aka the coronavirus. Business owners and entrepreneurs all over the country have watched their businesses be disrupted, at best, and shut down completely, at worst. No one has escaped unscathed. As the state and federal mandates have advised six feet of social distancing, business owners realized that they had to change the way they were doing business immediately in order to remain relevant and to stay in business. Restaurants no longer could bring customers in and serve them, they had to adapt with delivery and curbside pickup. Business meetings looked to technology to connect face-to-face over their computers rather than shoulder to shoulder in a conference room. Mass gatherings of any kind went away completely. Now after the horrific death toll and physical impact this has had on our country, we are trying to assess the economic impact and trying to figure out how to do business in this “new normal.”
Entrepreneurs and business leaders in America have always been innovative and creative and this virus, although formidable, will not quell the American dream. First, we need to accept that the world, as we know it, has changed, then adapt to those changes, and implement new systems to thrive. Sounds easy? Maybe not – but totally doable.
As I write this article, I acknowledge that some industries will have an easier time adapting to the new normal than others. We will find a new path to navigate and still achieve our desired results. Other industries, who have a harder time changing the way they do business, should reach out and unite with their industry groups, organizations and colleagues to find new ways to acclimate.
Let’s dive into the sales process since that’s where my expertise lies.
Whether you’re at the pointy end of the spear in lead generation or the tail end of the process in customer satisfaction there are technologies available to help you adjust your sales processes in this new world.
Lead generation. As consumers, we are being bombarded with media on a daily basis. Buying habits are almost exclusively online. Social distancing is preventing the personal one-on-one interactions expertly delivered by the sales professional making it more challenging to get their customer to “yes.”
The need for compelling content is greater than ever. Thankfully, there are technology companies readily available to help you create that content via video, audio, and digital marketing, without having to be an expert to fill your pipeline with a steady flow of leads.
Sales presentation and closing. Once your pipeline is full of leads you now have to adapt to the new world conditions of presenting your products and services and converting prospects to satisfied customers.
The day of sitting across the table speaking face to face may be over. Technology to the rescue — video conferencing, digital signatures, interactive websites, video sales tools, AI applications, and cloud-based business practices all enable us to create a rich customer experience.
Post sale. What makes your company stand out is a satisfied customer after the sale. By using technology and remote working environments you can provide impeccable customer service, fast shipping fulfillment, a simplified return process, and accurate tracking.
It’s time to embrace technology and prepare for the new way of doing business in this post-pandemic economy. Now let’s roll up our sleeves and get back to work.
Scott Sullivan, a life-long entrepreneur and professional salesman, brings his 30+ years of sales and marketing experience to Inspired News Radio. Hailing from the Bluegrass State of Kentucky, Scott shares his insightful knowledge with a touch of Southern charm.
The founder of Scott Sullivan & Associates, Scott has an infectious energy and enthusiasm paired with his expert networking skills that drive his passion for coaching and mentoring the next generation of sales professionals and entrepreneurs.
Scott's two podcast radio shows, “Sales with Sully” (for sales professionals) and “Mind Your Own Business” (conversations with influential entrepreneurs) can be found at www.InspiredNewsRadio.com. Follow Scott on Facebook and Twitter @saleswithsully and on LinkedIn and his website: www.ScottSullivan.biz.
Since ancient times it has been known that sporting practice helps the maintenance of cognitive functions and, today, it becomes so actual and important for the holistic well-being of the person and professionals forced to work constantly from home.
Several studies have proved how physical activity allows our muscles to unload toxins and harmful substances accumulated by the body, reducing the level of depression linked to stress.
Regular activity, combined with a healthy diet, can be a miraculous for your emotional and physical well-being
Indeed, doing physical exercises increases the production of natural antioxidants and improve skin health and, in addition, activates the body's self-protection mechanisms thanks to the biochemical changes. Similarly, it reduces the feeling of pain and helps to sleep better.
Physical activity is a fundamental for our well-being but is often neglected for work commitments.
Recently, in parallel with the huge affirmation of smart working several companies have implemented courses of “virtual gym” available to their employees: these sessions became real occasion the of sharing and training having sporting sessions of yoga or pilates.
Health, nutrition, fitness and lifestyle are not only closely connected, but they determine each other, largely defining the quality of life.
Giving relevance to these themes means promoting both personal and environmental well-being, which means transforming the office, although it is virtual, into a real wellness environment.
In Sweden, for example, having physical activities has become a contractual obligation, as in the case of Kalmar Vatten, Stockholm's water management company, or as the company created by the famous Swedish tennis player Bjorn Borg, in which employees have to go to gym, once a week.
Predominantly in Asia, industries have been ‘obliging' their employees to have physical activity in the workplace and in Japan there are several companies that have entered calisthenics programs, which are asked to participate indifferently both in workers and employees, as well as top executives.
An increasing number of companies is focusing on employee health by encouraging physical activity within the workplace itself: studies and best practices show how in this way productivity increases, absenteeism decreases and promoting wellbeing develops a concrete sense of belonging and it also increases social relationships within the workplace.
The University of Laughborough found a correlation between physical activity and well-being not only in individual results but also in group and team performances: indeed, researchers found that a high state of well-being has a positive impact on many aspects of life of the worker by helping cardio-respiratory system, physical, mental (behavioral) health and well-being in general together with colleagues performances.
Sport, indeed, can make a substantial contribution by strengthening self-confidence, enhancing decision making skills, increasing speed of action: training and competitive play are the leader's greatest allies.
For example, playing sports with colleagues means giving up the hierarchies for at least a few hours, destroying the barriers between different positions and roles and it becomes a good way to promote communication and involvement of all team members, stimulating the sharing of ideas between them who are also professionally distant.
In these conditions, it becomes much easier to orient the members of a team and an entire company towards common goals, both in the game and in the work.
Whatever the position you hold in the company, it is always important to associate the ability to work in a team with leadership skills, which can prove decisive on several occasions.
Motivation, leadership, team sense, concentration and endurance are just some of the values that go hand in hand between management and sport.
A true leader must be highly motivated and determined, always focused and on the piece, strong and resistant to stress and tension and must be able to believe in teamwork, so as to be able to guide one – or more – to success.
According to the sociologist David Le Breton, the current trend to practice high intensity sports disciplines such as Triathlon, CrossFit, Trail and Endurance is becoming increasingly popular among professionals and top managers.
Among the sports practiced by managers there is no shortage of tennis and some love free climbing, but it remains a sport that often ends up not being practiced constantly, due to the complex search for suitable structures.
On the other side, another practice that is increasingly widespread, especially among professionals constantly on the move, is to find emotional stability that can relax the mind and improve the oxygenation of the body through yoga.
University Sport Management Lecturer
Sport Industry C-level Manager
Paolo CARITO is a Doctor of Law graduated from the University of Bari in Italy. After moving to Rome, he completed his studies with a Postgraduate Diploma in Communications & Public Relations and after a few years, with a second Master's Degree in Economics and Politics of International Relations at the LUMSA University.
From September 2019 Director of Strategic Development, Sales & Marketing in Lega Pro (Serie C) he is responsible for drafting the 2020-2023 business plan and setting the overall positioning strategy of the third-highest division in the Italian football league system.
At the same time, he has been appointed as Health City Advisor of the city of Chianciano Terme (Tuscany) in charge of supporting the city council in defining the main strategy for promoting healthy lifestyles and enhancing sports policies.
Currently he is a Visiting Professor of Sports, Ethics and Managerial Skills at the Luiss Guido Carli University and of Organization and Project Management of Sporting Events at the 24 Ore Business School. Over the years he has carried out an intense activity of Lecturer being recognized as one of the leading experts in sports economy and management of sporting events.
Marketeer & Sport Industry Expert
We can’t escape it, we have a forced ‘moment’ of pause in different ways. Whilst there is undoubted reason for concern for so many businesses, many are taking solace and drawing on the positivity of the opportunities… like opportunities for the earth and nature to ‘reset’ and revive, or the opportunity to learn more skills or do some of the things that we felt we never had time to do before. While I feel that we can effectively do the same, I advocate for an approach that is responsive to you. This time can be utilised in the right way, but it has to be the right way for YOU. A focus, in a way that works for you, on Mind, Body and Business, (MBB), can help you get through, and emerge stronger.
So, MBB… it’s all understandably connected, but let’s talk about each of these in a bit more detail shall we?
If I’ve not heard it, I’ve seen it shared on social media hundreds of times over the last few weeks… ‘I’m losing my mind!’ When considering that we’ve been hit by a very sudden forced halt to our everyday way of life, and when you couple this with the uncertainty around health, our loved ones, our livelihoods, and add to the mix, the panic around commodities and even more primally, survival(!), this is no surprise. There is valid reason to be concerned, but we can only do as much as we can do, and now more than ever we need to take care of our psychological wellbeing. When we’ve gotten past the initial shock, it’s boredom that sets in, or the feeling that we have to be doing something productive every day, or there’s a sense of loss of purpose, or if we work from home and are now also taking care of the kids, there’s an added level of juggling, strain and stress about getting everything done. The only thing we HAVE to do, is to take care of the things we can, the best we can. We have to allow ourselves and find the time to take a breath, to maintain perspective, and to figure out what is best in our context. For some that will be time to reflect, to learn or do something new, to plan and lay the groundwork for what is to come afterward, or to simply and gently at times, do nothing. Decide what is important for your mind and spirit, more that endlessly browsing news and social media feeds to determine how you should be spending your time based on what others are doing- decide what’s best for YOU.
Now onto our bodies. Never in my lifetime have I experienced a situation where so many, globally have felt so vulnerable and afraid for their physical wellbeing. It’s important to be aware that the ‘stay-indoors’ lifestyle, can also be sneaky and act against our longer-term health. Repeat ‘trips’ to the food cupboard, streaming shows or being on our phones for hours, and the lack of mobility and exercise, can very easily start to affect not just our fitness levels and general health, but our psychological well-being too. To guard against this, watch your eating habits more carefully and if you need help use an app that helps you keep track of your food intake and exercise. Also do a bit of research on what’s possible for at-home fitness in the space that you have. There are a growing number of online groups and webinars that allow you to get into a routine with these, also allowing you to connect with others in the ‘class,’ and reduces the isolation somewhat. There are literally thousands of options available, and ranging from free to higher end price brackets, it is highly unlikely that you won’t find an option that works for you. So take the time to find options, set yourself some goals, (however small), to keep focused on, and set a routine that works for you. Your body will thank you.
Finally, let’s talk business. I’ve been consulting with a few companies as they try to pivot in these trying times, and aside from advising on adopting a holistic approach which pays attention to the mind and the body as well, we’ve been assessing opportunities that present themselves. While it may not seem like it, those opportunities do exist. Make a list of the things that can help your business moving forward, as well as everything that you’ve wanted to work on in your business, (and still do!), but didn’t have the time, or the know-how to. Consider what you can do yourself, and also look at skills swaps with other entrepreneurs for what you can’t, (if resources are an issue). Complete a review of your business, and look at what works, and what needs to change. Start drafting action plans and dependencies for that, and if your business doesn’t already have a remote working and online trading offer or angle, start thinking of what that could be, even if it is in partnership with others. Start taking the time to truly, genuinely engage with potential collaborators, supporters, clients and partners. Finally, bring all of this together for a firm foundation moving forward, and if you need to, get an accountability partner to help keep you on track.
We are moving into a new normal, and if nothing else, we can try to make the most of this forced reset, taking time to assess what best for you, all of you. We may be practicing social distancing, but we can take the time to really connect and reconnect with ourselves and our potential, as well as with others personally and professionally. Let’s move beyond just liking, commenting on and sharing posts, and move toward meaningful conversations, and reflective consideration, planning and action that helps to nurture our mind, body and business. Try it, and you may be surprised at the results!
Noleen Mariappen is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and strategy & operations consultant whose industry expertise is both far-reaching and wide-ranging. She is a self-professed lover of people and business, and despite her own business interests, continues to consult with entrepreneurs and non-profits to assist with their strategy and goal-achievement. In her mission to extend support further, she has also launched a community interest initiative, Inspiration For Good, which strategically aids the work of non-profits and community projects globally.
This morning one of the first things I did, even before I made coffee, was go into my laundry room and check on the Mallard ducklings in residence. Just two mornings ago there were no ducklings in my laundry room nor was there any plan percolating. And yet here we are.
It’s not just the ducklings that weren’t in my plans. All my life I’ve been sometimes dazed, sometimes struck dumb and alternately dazzled by life and its weird twists and turns. This is not what I had in mind, I’ve thought on more than one occasion.
These are strange times, to be sure, and I’m not just talking about the ducklings. As a world community we are gazing at an unknown horizon, often with masks on our faces and we’re wondering, “What’s next?”
If you’re like me, you’re tempted to get out what I call my “Feel Good Tool Kit,” a range of tools I use when life starts to feel weird and uncomfortable. This kit spans from my childhood go-to of Chick-O-Sticks and Diet Coke, perhaps some legal substances or, and this is the more likely choice, I will head straight to a gratitude practice.
It’s well known in the “feel good” industry that gratitude is scientifically proven to elevate one’s mood and can trigger a bit of dopamine. Spiritually speaking gratitude is a nod to God, The Universe or the Collective Consciousness that says, “Hey, I’m glad to be alive.” While gratitude is a powerful tool, its effects reach far beyond what the lowly Chick-O-Stick might provide, the result of misusing that tool can run the gamut from irritating to unfortunate. Let me explain.
It’s a wonderful life when one is open to the miracle of breath, beauty and connection. Standing in the presence of Life is humbling and delightful but doing so perpetually is neither sustainable nor desirable. We are created for more. Gratitude for the sake of generating “good feels” can turn into an unhealthy coping mechanism where we think nice thoughts and end up playing an elevated game of naval gazing.
In our pursuit to feel good, forcing gratitude may give us the false idea that goals, dreams and comforts are for those who are never satisfied. We throw the ducklings out with the duck-water when we judge our desires and goals as shallow or materialistic. I have been guilty on more than one occasion of goading myself with, “You should be grateful for what you have,” or the more cynical, “Stop whining, most people would be more than happy in your circumstances,” when what I simply meant was, “This is great, but we didn’t quite hit the mark.”
Human beings are created to grow. To reach the mountain top of our goals can be a lofty and intoxicating height. In addition, it’s key to note that when we meet that peak, our delight is temporary and will wain rather quickly. That’s just the way it works. When we judge what to some might seem like a lack of gratitude, we are tempted to imagine we’re a lone, insatiable traveler of the world. We are ungrateful and may never feel “complete.” But that is the illusion.
If you don’t like where you are, move. You’re not a tree.
To reach new heights is cause for joyous celebration. And knowing that each celebration is temporary and the natural order, is to soon ask, “What’s next?” in delicious anticipation. This is not the sign of an insatiable soul, but of a curious traveler, an explorer, a seeker of truths and a soul in gratitude.
Before the pandemic, well preceding quarantine, each of us encountered disappointments. Perhaps it was a divorce from the love of your life, an unexpected loss of something or someone precious to you. Betrayal is an inevitable part of life, using gratitude with our longing and hunger helps us mourn our losses even as we look ahead and hunger for the “more” for which we are created.
Knowing disappointments, losses and longings are important ingredients to be honored, mourned and used, we are then inspired to create more of what we love. In gratitude.
Feeling a little inconvenienced about the motherless ducklings in my laundry room is a reasonable feeling. This is not what I had in mind and honestly those cute little puff balls are keeping me from some of the things I did have planned. This is a truth. Another truth is that there are ducklings to keep alive in my laundry room. The Littles in our family will be delighted and I am truly in a state of excited curiosity. I’ve yet had the pleasure of giving time and attention to something wild and being a part of the growth. There is so much to be learned and cherished in the little things. Gratitude is a go-to, and that’s okay. But using it along with all the other emotions makes everything sweeter can inspire us to our next, new height.
Michelle Pierson Young has spent her life learning about people, personality styles and entrepreneurialism. Finally landing in the personal development arena, she is certified in multiple coaching programs and continues to study the leading authorities in the industry, placing herself in the position of being a cutting-edge presenter, teacher and coach.
Michelle’s 30-year career, running various organizations and working with diverse teams, has informed her teaching and coaching style extensively. Today her clients are women as well as men. Her communication style bridges the differences between sexes and brings groups and teams to common ground.
Most importantly, Michelle’s unique experience in a collaborative, 33+ year marriage informs her work at the core level. Together, she and her husband Aaron share 4 children, their children’s partners and 6 sassy grandchildren.
In business, we characterize conformity as a situation when everyone politely agrees. Similarly, we label deviance in situations when our rules or opinions are challenged. To be a good manager, we need to understand the value of the rainbow.
Imagine a full, vibrantly colored rainbow that graces the bright blue sky. It begins where the skyline ends and gloriously streaks across the sky where it disappears near the other side of the horizon. Now let’s get a little nerdy – visualize the shape of that rainbow and think of it as a graph. Imagine that the height of the rainbow (Y-axis) is actually a measure of productivity. Meaning, the peak of the rainbow demonstrates high productivity, and the bottom points of the rainbow reveal low productivity. Then, envision where the two points of the rainbow meet the horizon (X axis). Label the first point conformity; the other point is deviance. The distance between the two points is actually a scale that assesses the degree of agreement within a group in a given scenario.
If you stand right in the middle of this vibrant rainbow and look up, you see the peak. In this metaphor, it’s the optimum productivity. As a manager, when you can create a healthy balance between conformity and deviance on your team, you hit the jackpot.
When too much conformity exists in an organization, employees seek to satisfy. They don’t challenge the norm, push to innovate, or question decisions. When deviance dominates the culture, employee morale drops. Professionalism and respect disappear, and trust is lost. The work environment becomes unpleasant, and stress and anxiety become prevalent.
Good managers trust their employees. They hire quality candidates, set realistic expectations upfront, and both encourage and allow their employees to showcase their talents. They ask for feedback by setting aside time after a project to understand (from an employee perspective) what went well and what can be improved upon in the future. They don’t judge feedback; they appreciate it.
Good managers slowly groom their employees to partake in the decision-making process. They provide guidance and immediate constructive feedback throughout the process in a supportive manner, with encouragement. The swifter a manager can transfer the bulk of the decision-making process to the employee (i.e. doing the due diligence), the more time they will have to focus on strategy and other initiatives in the future. Thus, increasing productivity.
This means, if you want to have more time to focus on your organization, if you want your projects to turn out better than you expected, if you want your employees to feel valued and enjoy their workplace environment and capitalize on their skills and experience, then understand the value of standing in the middle of the rainbow. Don’t accept an environment where everyone agrees with you. Encourage your employees to respectfully and professionally present other alternatives and to critique your solutions. If you hired talented people who are valuably contributing to your organization, then respect and allow their opinion. To control the situation, you could appoint someone to play the Devil’s Advocate, that way everyone in the room understands that you want to create a flawless product, and this is a manner of seeking constructive feedback. You don’t have to take action on every piece of advice, but as a good manager, you do have to create an environment where feedback is encouraged and where employees want to showcase their strengths because you collectively want to deliver a better product to the marketplace. When you do this, you will enjoy the beauty of the rainbow with optimum employee productivity.
Dr. Mary Kovach, Associate Professor
Dr. Mary Kovach is an Associate Professor at Miami University and teaches Business Management courses. Her research interests include leadership, motivation, and power, primarily in business contexts.
LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-k-ba6ab96/
As a State, National, and International Executive Director of Pageants, I have had the rare privilege of meeting the people that make the final product worth the wait. From lighting directors, to set designers, choreographers, hosts, writers, photographers, and videographers, it’s their special talents and expertise that I most appreciate working with. My guest this month is a videographer whose innate talent takes the audience, the viewer, on a journey beyond where one expects to go. And when we go back to watch the videos months, and even years later, everything about that memory comes to life, with all the meaningful moments captured as memories to treasure forever. So, once again, relax and enjoy my conversation in a CLOSE-UP… With Patrick Stephens.
How did you your love for capturing moments as a videographer begin? Was there a prior journey that brought you to this moment?
I think the love for being behind the camera was in me since I was young. My father turned his hobby of film making (yes, film – 16mm and 8mm) into passionate storytelling and training films. He produced the first 16mm training film to teach the intellectual and physically challenged how to swim as part of his employment in the State Developmental Hospital system. Ironically, swimming and just being in the water, is my happy place.
High School was not so easy for me. I struggled to concentrate through my education at the private all boys high school in Anaheim, California, Servite High School. It was during my senior year, that the administration saw an opportunity to give me a purpose (and to remain on good terms with the Dean of discipline); to record the football games used later to review for training purposes. I was forced to concentrate and think by securing the best location, finding power, changing out tapes, not missing plays, and returning the equipment as I found it. By having a purpose, I then volunteered to film for the soccer and water polo teams (when I was not in the water playing.) Twenty-three years later, I have turned my hobby into a fun and successful business that continues to bring smiles, turn heads, and allowed me to develop friendships and professional relationships with people all over the world.
What was it about this line of work that you found exciting or satisfying … or perhaps challenging?
The most exciting part of event videography for me, is going LIVE. When you flip the switch (click the mouse) to go live, everything changes for me and I am in the zone. Its game time. The margin for error is small and all eyes are on me. I have to talk to my camera operators, communicate with the house, and depending on my crew size I must operate graphics, video roll-ins, audio controls and camera switching. When I am behind the camera of a live production, I enjoy the freedom and creativity of a mobile camera. Nothing tells a story better than an operator in the middle of it all with eyes and ears in the scene and close to the action.
As a Pageant Videographer, I know you’ve worked with women of all ages from around the world. Is there one thing in particular that you look for, or perhaps that you envision, as your creation of the final product?
There are several micro films, or video roll-ins that are produced for a live pageant or for marketing highlights that I find most enjoyable to produce. There are short windows of time for a small crew to capture these moments and edit them during pageant week for the prelims or final coronation. At a national and international competition level, I enjoy gathering the reigning queens for one last on location farewell video. They have traveled from all parts of the world to gather one more time to be together. Let’s make the best of it and complete their journey where they earned the crown. A song is chosen sometimes months in advance and yes, I obsess about it; listening to it nearly every day up until production day. I have every shot and scene storyboarded and perfected in my head and then it gets transferred to paper for a second by second shot list. I listen to the message that the pageant director gives the year they were crowned and create an energetic and creatively shot final product that reflects their passion or journey. The bottom line – there is not much time to get this all done. Budgets can be tight, but that does not limit where my mind can go.
When not working in “pageant land”, your creative talent is also working on different projects and locations. Tell us what your “checklist” is when taking on a project.
The most important thing for me to know when going into a project is to have an understanding of what the strategic message is; to know what story the client wants to tell. This will help me check the right boxes for gear, crew and the creative thinking cap for the project. From a talking head interview, boxing match, football game, corporate, and government video to pageantry, there is a message to be given. I tend to be a little extra prepared when on location even with the non-video related supplies. I bring plenty of water, snacks, proper shoes and an extra set of clothes. Sometimes a location shoot can lead to an adventure that you definitely want to be prepared for.
What advice would you give us, the reader, who would like to create some memorable family videos?
Making family and vacation videos for me may be a little different than the average person. The basics still pertain when just using a phone and a drone like on my last vacation on a 7-day canal cruise in England. There are a few basics that I consider the most important. Telling a good cohesive story and having good audio are the ingredients to an enjoyable video. If you are putting together B-roll, shots that do not contain a person talking on camera, choose a nice music track that accompanies your message to edit your video to. When using your phone or DSLR camera to capture someone talking, try to get as close to the subject as possible, maintaining a medium close up shot. Audio can make or break a video. Compose your shots with the basic methods of starting out wide, go in for medium shots and then go to close ups and detail shots. Using simple editing software will enhance your final product. Products like Adobe Rush can be a nice alternative to many other free products available on the App Store and Google Play such as Splice or Moviemaker. Look for a highly rated program that is compatible with your mobile device if that is your primary hardware for editing.
I can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at (909) 286-4348. My website is www.iehdproductions.com
In these interesting times of the unknown, we are constantly reevaluating our lives, our thoughts and our choices. Every day, every moment, every second we are creating… consciously or unconsciously. Depending on our awareness and belief system we choose and operate in a certain reality and attract such reality that matches our vibrations. In any situation, even such as a global pandemic, we CAN choose how we react, we CAN choose what information enters our minds and we CAN choose how to act upon it. Depending on what we choose, we attract more of that because we are tuning into that vibration.
When you understand that you can be in control of your life and you trust the Universe to always guide you in the right direction, you don’t allow fear to enter your mind or your reality. You either control your life or you accept to be controlled and having no choice but to drift. Drifting through life means going with the flow and not really thinking for yourself. It is easy to fall into drifting because that is how many people operate on this earth. They turn the TV on and follow what they are being fed constantly, which is fear. Pulling people into a state of fear means being in control of their minds. If you think for yourself, you are not a match for that vibration. You now are connecting with the great storehouse and the information of Infinite Intelligence; you are feeding your awareness and not your fear.
Just before the global pandemic, my business and I was on the rise in so many ways: I was invited to film and interview for Donna Drake show in NYC about my green and environmentally conscious brand Violeta Lucce, I got our hand-painted masterpieces into the most prestigious gallery in Miami, I was meeting and getting ready to sign contracts with multiple hotels for our soon to be published children’s book on plastic pollution in the oceans, I was invited to more events I could possibly attend showcasing our art couture… and the pandemic happened. Everything changed so drastically that I was in shock not even knowing how to move forward in this situation. The gallery went bankrupt and was forced to close for good. The hotels stopped their operations, the book got postponed and the sales went to zero.
In such situation it is easy to fall into a lower frequency that operates based out of fear. In Napoleon Hill book “Outwitting the Devil” Devil says: “One of my cleverest devices for mind control is FEAR…”
“Recognize the truth that fear generally is a filler with which the Devil occupies the unused portion of your mind. It is only a state of mind which you can control by filling the space it occupies with faith in your ability to make life provide you with whatever you demand of it”. Napoleon Hill
In this moment I had a choice, to fall victim to fear and allow it to control my mind and my life or to rise above and trust that the Universe is always providing us with new opportunities.
Being an advocate for green and conscious fashion and the clean, plastic free oceans, I always strive to bring awareness and find solutions to reduce plastic pollution.
During this pandemic, I instantly noticed a major problem: disposable masks and gloves being thrown everywhere in the parking lots and on the streets, left in the grocery carts. This is another huge plastic problem that will make its way into the oceans. I had to find a solution of how to fight this plastic monster. So, I did it… I changed the ugly look into the beautiful look by creating hand-painted on natural 100% silk face masks that I call face accessories that can later be worn as scarves with the silk bag for storage. As soon as I posted the very first Violeta Lucce face mask, it sold in few minutes. Women absolutely loved them and the idea that they can still look beautiful wearing a face accessory rather than an ugly disposable mask. This was the moment when I realized that I will not allow fear to take away everything I have created; I just had to shift few gears and look for new opportunities. I learned in life that when you look for the opportunities, the opportunities show up, you just must recognize them and take an aligned action. Being aware and being able to adapt saved me from drifting. Today we have more custom orders than we did before and while I am doing this on a small scale, I am eliminating disposable plastic and synthetic masks and creating art that women can wear and feel beautiful not having to hide under the ugly plastic shield.
Founder / CEO at Violeta Lucce
Renewal brings with it hope. Each spring we see life renew itself and perhaps you also feel renewed in spring – more clarity, more focus, more plans as the energy of the earth energizes you. I hope you wake each morning looking at the world with awe and wonder and feel a renewed sense of purpose – your purpose each day.
This year, rebirth of the earth has a more nuanced meaning. The air may even seem lighter, as we celebrate the longer days and the sun rising higher in the sky. Spring and summer offer us a time of change and reassessment – looking forward to renewal.
Rebirth is a natural cycle of things, as well as a time for us to think about how we are renewing ourselves personally. This is a time to recognize our own resilience as we look to the future. It is a time to connect with who we are and all that we have learned about ourselves and our community during these past few months. It is a time to awaken to new possibilities.
You are also experiencing a renaissance and awakening to the moment. Allow yourself to bask in the quiet of the moment. Breathe into it. The breath always brings us into the present moment. Allow the breath to support you now. Breathe consciously with full awareness of your presence in the world.
By bringing yourself into stillness daily and by using silence to deepen your awareness, even for a brief time, you renew yourself each day. The practice of meditation helps us in this way. It allows you to go deep within yourself, without expectations, and to observe and recognize yourself in the present moment. The breath and mindfulness go hand in hand as you use the quiet to center and ground yourself in each new day. You bring your awareness to the present moment without any judgment. Your daily practice strengthens you and with time you become more resilient.
Today, why not try a walking meditation? Begin with a five-breath grounding practice outside. Simply stand tall, dignified, and feel your connection with the earth beneath your feet, even with shoes on. Close your eyes if you are comfortable. Feel deeply connected to the ground beneath you, through miles of earth to its very core. Take five deep breaths in through your nose and long exhales softly out your mouth. This might be a count of 4 on the inhale and a count of 6 or 8 on the exhale. Notice how you feel afterward. You can repeat this grounding practice as many rounds as needed to bring yourself into a calmer state. A longer exhale enables you to calm your nervous system and make it stronger.
With this walking meditation, which you can use at any time, you will walk slowly and purposefully. It can be around your yard or around your neighborhood. Without identifying anything, walk with your eyes open to the newness of colors and patterns. A walking meditation forces you to be present in each moment, as you place one foot in front of the other. Feel the air against you skin. Look at the patterns of leaves, tree branches, flowers, sidewalks, etc. Hear the natural sounds around you. Breathe normally. And enjoy the walk.
This walking meditation can be done for about 10 minutes. The connectedness you feel with the natural environment is very real, nurturing, and calming. Deepak Chopra suggests we go outside each day, preferably in bare feet and feel the energy that connects us to the earth.
When you have returned to where you started, use the five-breath grounding practice again to regain your center. Stay in the stillness around you, before returning to your day and all that you have planned. And the day will, I hope, hold more serenity and clarity for you. This grounding breath can be used at any time when you might feel anxious or off-kilter. By centering yourself and calming your nervous system, you are always ready to move forward.
One of my favorite poems, by Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Renascence”, written in 1912, inspired this article.
The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,—
No higher than the soul is high.
I know not how such things can be;
I only know there came to me
A fragrance such as never clings
To aught save happy living things;
A sound as of some joyous elf
Singing sweet songs to please himself,
And, through and over everything,
A sense of glad awakening.
Founder, Mindful By Design
Donna Isaac is an international consultant, facilitator, teacher, and writer. As a trained public art administrator, she also works with communities, non-profits, and boards to effectively use public art as an economic driver and to bring communities together. Donna is certified as a meditation teacher and coach and is the founder of Mindful By Design. She teaches mindful practices and meditation to individuals, teens, and corporations.
After abuse, the trauma you’re left with is like a gaping hole on the roof of your house. You can either cover it with a cheap plastic tarp—a fast and easy, though only temporary, solution—or you can begin the slightly more time-intensive work of building a stronger roof that you feel safe underneath. Learning healthy coping strategies will not only help you feel stronger mentally and emotionally, but can also lessen your chances of being deceived by another abuser in the future (yay, boundaries!).
Unhealthy Coping Strategies
- Ignoring Your Feelings. It’s not unusual for survivors to deny they were abused or to avoid talking about it all together, either while it’s still going on or after they’ve left the abuser. This may be the fallout of the social stigma that surrounds abuse, or it could be the result of psychological mind tricks by the abuser.
“Anything that leads to you not being able to admit the full scale of what occurred is going to be a barrier to your healing,” says Nickia Lowery, licensed professional counselor and CEO at Optimum Purpose Counseling and Education in Atlanta.
When you’re ready, talk to a domestic violence advocate, counselor or a good friend. Just being able to say it out loud—this is what happened to me—is going to jumpstart your healing, and possibly be the impetus for your escape.
- Taking on Guilt and Shame. In the midst of abuse, survivors may think: Maybe I did do something to cause this. Afterwar, it’s, Why didn’t I see the signs? How did I get so far into it? What you need to remember is trauma-related guilt is a liar. “When I work with survivors … I teach them to practice self-compassion,” says Beverly Engel, licensed marriage and family therapist and author of It Wasn’t Your Fault. “If they can turn their attention from the abuser to themselves and emotionally connect with their own suffering, they soon discover that their trauma-related guilt subsides.”
- A Codependent Relationship. This doesn’t necessarily mean a romantic relationship. A survivor may latch on to a parent in an unhealthy way because they’re looking for security. And sometimes it is jumping right back into a relationship with a partner, and not always a safe one either. Survivors may think that just because they found someone “nice,” they’re good to go.
“Everyone you date, you should expect them to be nice. So the fact that they’re nice to you does not mean you’re compatible,” says Lowery, who advises against survivors dating right after leaving an abuser. The marker for being ready to date again? Ask yourself if you’re ready to face the things you’ve been through. Are you ready to talk about it with someone new?
Healthier Coping Strategies
- Setting Loud and Clear Boundaries
Here’s a simple example: Say you tell a new partner you’re busy Tuesday night and can’t see them. They come over to your house anyhow and ring the bell. They’re not respecting your boundaries or your personal space. “What’s next if you allow that?” asks Lowery. Setting boundaries means being able to self-advocate, being able to clearly communicate your needs, and calling out red flags.
- Cleaning Out “the Closet”
Mindfulness activities means being alone with you, your mind and nothing else. This could look like journaling, meditating, drawing, practicing yoga or prayer. It’s healing to give your thoughts, memories and feelings a space of their own. Think of it like organizing a cluttered closet. Lay everything out so you can see it clearly and go from there.
- Rebuilding Relationships
There’s nothing an abuser hates more than their victim having relationships with supportive people. Most likely, abuse burned a few bridges with people in your life, but it’s never too late to try and rebuild them. Don’t be surprised if you’re met with a bit of cautious skepticism though, says Lowery. Support persons may have heard you promise before that it was over, only to painfully watch you return to someone they knew was hurting you.
- Forgiving Yourself
It wasn’t your fault. Remember when Robin Williams repeats over and over to Matt Damon in Goodwill Hunting after Damon tells him about being abused by his father? Eventually, Damon breaks down in tears, finally believing it to be true. Channel Robin Williams. It’s not your fault you were targeted by an abuser. “They’re not just perpetrators, they’re predators,” says Lowery. “They thought this out, they knew exactly what they were doing.” Allow yourself the same grace you’d give to a best friend who disclosed abuse—it wasn’t your fault.
Amanda Kippert is an award-winning journalist, domestic violence advocate, freelance investigative reporter for the HuffPost and editorial director of the national nonprofit DomesticShelters.org where 4 million people a year seek help and information regarding domestic violence.
Quite often, people ask me how they can get more phone calls or booked appointments.
The answer is simple. Get more visitors to your website. Ideally, the RIGHT visitors. People who really want or need what you offer.
More website visitors = more more calls and booked appointments.
But, not all visitors are ready call or book an appointment with you today. So you need to be bringing more and more visitors back to your website every day.
This brings me to “the proof is in your numbers”. From your historical numbers you should know how many people visit your website AND how many of those resulted in phone calls or appointments. Google analytics gives you your visitor counts. You just need to track and count the calls and the bookings.
If you have an online calendar, visitors can book an appointment with you. People really do love handling their scheduling themselves. Then it's easy to count your bookings.
For the phone calls, if you have a different number on your website (different from your normal office number) then you can count those too.
Now you are set. You can see how many visitors it takes to get a certain number of calls and booked appointments.
The numbers don't stop there. You always need to be increasing your visits. Where are you telling people about your services or your offer online? Where are people coming from to visit your website?
Google Analytics can help here too. You can see how many people are coming from the popular sites to learn more about you, your offer or your services. So look at your data. How many visitors did you have during the past 30 days from …
- Google Search (organic searches)
- Google Maps
- Bing Search
- Yahoo Search
- Emails you sent
- Google ADs
- Bing ADs
I like to see where the most visitors are coming from. Then I do more on that platform, since there is already lots of interest there.
Did you know Google Analytics can email your numbers to you? Would you like them weekly or monthly? You get to choose when it’s setup.
Often, people are only thinking about Google. How can I get more people finding me on Google?
Yes it's great to get clicks from google. Here are some more numbers to watch, to help improve your google results.
How many words are on your website? It takes strong, well-researched, helpful and BETTER content on your website to squeeze out someone else, to make room for you in one of the exclusive spots on page 1 of google. It’s unlikely that you can provide a better answer or solution with less words than what is already there. In most cases, your page will need 1000 or more words. Simply check the word count of the website in position 10 of your search. Then create YOUR better content with more words.
This will count the words on a webpage => https://wordcount.weglot.com
Can google see your page is MOBILE FRIENDLY? The scoring here is either yes or no. If it's no, then you want to fix it. Check your page => https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
Lastly is your page fast? Does it display within 3 seconds?
You can find out here => https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
If your score is colored red or orange, it needs to be faster. You want to see a green score.
Is it even possible to get a green score? Yes it is… put this site into pagespeed to see it => https://YourWebGeeks.com
There is one additional “speed” site I like. To see how a website is performing at 12 locations around the world. This is great if your clients or buyers are international. If you are only interested in US visitors, 5 of the 12 locations are in the US. This gives lots of numbers. “First Meaningful Paint” is the best number to look at.
First Meaningful Paint, often called FMP, is the time it takes for a page’s primary content to appear on the screen. Coined by Google, FMP is often used as a primary measurement for user-perceived loading experience. Paint refers to the time at which the browser displays web page content onto a user’s screen. A first meaningful paint suggests that the content of the page, versus a header or navigation, is shown to the user. This is the site to see your speed for all 12 locations => https://www.fastorslow.com
Can you see the proof in your numbers? Are your numbers showing you where to fix things and where to focus more effort to improve your results?
If you want help improving your numbers or want help getting your numbers from Google Analytics, contact David Johnstone, 480-444-2520. [email protected]