Category Archives: Lead Article

Good Stress

RockClimbingBy Greer S. Kirshenbaum PhD

Decades of research have taught us that high levels of stress can damage our body, brain and mind. As a neuroscientist I spent years observing how long-lasting stress leads to physical illnesses like heart disease and obesity, changes in brain function and structure, and poor mental health like anxiety, depression and addiction. Given that most of us experience unavoidably high amounts of stress on a daily basis, this information can make us feel hopeless about our health, happiness and success. Fortunately I have some exciting research to share. It flips around the view that all stress is bad, and could make us feel better about our experience with stress. Amazingly, some new research shows that by changing our minds, specifically the way we understand and view stress, we can protect ourselves from the perils of stress. We need to start thinking that stress can be helpful.

Understanding that the stress response is necessary to accomplish tasks is the key to protecting ourselves from some negative effects of stress. Stress motivates us and drives us to overcome and meet the daily puzzles and demands of life. It mobilizes the muscles in our body and the circuits in our brain, so we can respond quickly and appropriately to life’s challenges. Without stress, we would not get much done, so we should actually be grateful for it. The physical sensations of stress, including increased heartbeat and breathing, narrow vision, racing thoughts and stomach butterflies prepare our body, brain and mind to respond to our environment. Next time you feel the sensations of stress, however unpleasant, think about how the response is helping you to meet the demands in your life. Understanding that stress is helpful and necessary can protect your body, and perhaps your brain and mind from being hurt by that same stress.

An exciting study measured the cardiovascular responses and cognition of people performing a stress-inducing test. One group was taught what we reviewed above; that the physical sensations of stress are not harmful and they have evolved to help us respond successfully to challenges. A second group was taught to ignore their feelings of stress and shift their visual attention to a neutral object. A third group got no instructions. Incredibly, the first group, who had the knowledge that you have now, showed the healthiest cardiovascular response and best cognitive performance during the stressful test.  Knowing that stress can be positive benefited the performance of the heart and mind.

Another study looked at beliefs about stress and mortality. People who believed that stress was harmful and experienced high stress, had an increased chance of mortality. However, people who believed that stress was not harmful and experienced high stress did not have an increased chance of mortality. This is more evidence that the belief that stress is positive and adaptive can protect us from harm.

These studies are just the beginning of inquiry into this phenomenon. I am curious about what factors inform beliefs about stress being helpful or harmful. I wonder if an individuals’ lifetime experience with stress biases their view of stress. Take a minute to examine your own thoughts and influences; what are your ideas about stress and health and what has influenced them?

I also wonder if understanding that stress is helpful can impact mental health. If you are inclined to take up the challenge, and embrace stress as helpful, then notice if your mood changes over the next few months. Does this shift in thinking improve your life?

The idea, that if the mind views stress as helpful, it benefits the body, is a powerful example of the profound influence of the mind over the body. Once a crazy idea, we now see that our thoughts and perceptions physically change our brains and bodies. We are living in an astonishing time. Science continues to provide incredibly helpful and useful tools that can enhance our life and our health. So, remember, it really is mind over matter. Stay tuned for the next idea!


More information

I got the idea for this article from a TED talk by Dr. Kelly McGonigal


Studies I mentioned

1) Jeremy P. Jamieson et al., “Mind over matter: Reappraising arousal improves cardiovascular and cognitive responses to stress,” Journal of Experimental Psychology, August 2012

2) Abiola Keller et al., “Does the perception that stress affects health matter? The association with health and mortality,” Health Psychology, September 2012

Emotional Intelligence and Ethical Decision Making

Dr. Andrea Silva McManus


First, I want to thank fellow Alum of Castleton University Art DeLorenzo and a founding partner for MYT LLC for giving me the opportunity to write an article for Maximize Your Talent’s March Newsletter. I’ve chosen to focus on my interest in Emotional Intelligence and Ethical Decision making. Proper ethics training I believe reduces stress around complex decisions and increases productivity.

When I teach ethics courses I start with two fundamental concepts I want my students to learn and carry forth in their personal and professional lives The first is the concept of Emotional Intelligence and its role in ethical decision making and the second a concept developed by my Doctoral Advisor at the University of Vermont the Moral Conversation which states that how we talk to each other is as important if not more important then what we are saying to each other. The moral conversation allows you to be an equal participant regardless of the level of knowledge you have or the ability you have to express it.

Like leadership, I believe emotional intelligence comes more naturally to some then others. It can however be cultivated through using MYT’s content and Nash’s Framework for Ethical Decision making. I love to cook and I taught Ethics, Leadership and Philosophy and Food courses among other subjects at the New England Culinary Institute. The best metaphor I can think of for this framework is it is a recipe for ethical and moral decision-making. When done well you have a great ethical decision, just like when you cook well and have your Mis En Place in place, a French term for everything in it’s place and it is the center stone of all professional kitchens. All your ingredients prepped on hand, a firing list of when to cook what all results in an excellent dish. Using your emotional intelligence to help you make ethical decisions is like having your proverbial ducks in a row. You know what you want, why you want it and what influence it will have on others around you.

Making crucial ethical and moral decisions, even leadership decisions requires a deep understanding of the emotions and the feelings that are behind these decisions, how they formed in our families, workplaces, religious institutions etc. Finally, we have to understand what the greater impact of that decision is going to be in the greater world around us.

I am of the opinion that most Ethics training is devoid of opportunities to explore deeply ones own personal beliefs, which drive the ethical and moral decision-making. If we don’t know how we feel about something how then can we really make a good ethical and moral decision. This is the central theme in my ethics teaching. Time and time again my students tell me this was some of the most self-reflective work of their college careers. I still get contacted years later from students telling me about the latest ethical dilemma they’ve faced and how they used Nash’s Framework to make a decision they thought was best.

Ethics, most people would agree, are an important part of professional and personal life. Unfortunately, ethics are often only paid lip service as we get caught up in the rat race of day-to-day life and the desire to outperform those around us. Ethics, or the lack thereof, are only mentioned as a sound bite or cursory comment as we move onto the next issue. I believe ethics and ethical training need to be incorporated meaningfully into daily life now more than ever.

You have to know what your background beliefs are, how they formed and how they will have an effect on others to make the most informed ethical decisions possible. You have to know yourself before you can even begin to understand or relate to another in the best spirit of the moral conversation. And, again this requires emotional intelligence to seek the spirit of a barn raising in our conversations rather than a boxing match, which is so prevalent in Higher Education and many corporate cultures.

As a faculty member who teaches ethics to undergraduates I see an urgent need for ethics training in professional fields When, I ask a basic question of my students such as “Do you know what underlying values and principles guide your ethical decision making?” I get blank stares. A few students look at the floor or out the window and ultimately someone blurts out an answer to break the uncomfortable silence. Then they get angry that nobody has asked them this question before. Students tell me they are angry because they haven’t had these discussions anywhere in their educational experience. I truly wonder how many people reading this article have experienced this kind of ethics training.

They want to know why they haven’t. I tell them these are good questions to ask. I tell them I was angry too because I didn’t study ethical thought until I was a doctoral student. This is where my motivation to teach ethics originated. I believe we aren’t educating students fully if we don’t equip them with the tools to think ethically to face our complex world rich with ethical dilemmas. I assert that we can’t truly be pluralists or appreciate difference until we develop these skills and self-knowledge.

.           Students come to the classroom as champion arguers and debaters with a skilled knack for verbally knocking each other out to make their points. They yell. They gesture. They roll their eyes and sigh. They shut down. They do not enter as moral conversationalists, but at the end of the semester, they leave with a foundation of ethical thought and how to converse about difficult topics, which again requires emotional intelligence. Pleasingly, I’ve heard often that this was their favorite class of their undergraduate career. Is it my teaching? Maybe in part, but I believe this was the first and possibly the only opportunity they have had to engage in such deep and meaningful conversation and to recognize their own EQ levels.

They learn that body language matters and that their job in the classroom is to make the other student look good; in doing so, they look good. I take this a step further and say they are doing ‘good’ when they listen more than they speak and are able to draw out stories and meaning from each other that helps them better understand difference and varying points of view. These are essential skills to have in our complex world.


Concluding Thoughts                                                                                                             

Ethics training, including ethical decision making and the ability to engage in the moral conversation are crucial for both undergraduate and student affairs professional practice programs. Current world events and the increasing interconnectedness of cultures around the globe all necessitate that students and professionals know how to talk about difficult topics in a reasoned calm matter. They need to seek to understand the other first searching to find common ground before disagreeing, to know how to use their emotional intelligence wisely. They need to learn to agree to disagree and change the subject if common ground is not found. Given the growing diversity of higher education, including religious pluralism and our more prominent commitment to social justice, I believe it is unacceptable and illogical to neglect the realm of ethics any longer.

Dr. Andrea Silva McManus lives in Moretown, Vermont where she continues to teach, provide ethical trainings and consultations, write and provide care giving to Senior Citizens. She can be reached


Nash, R, J. (2002). Real world ethics: Frameworks for educators and human service professionals. New York: Teachers College Press. 39.

Nash, R. J. (1996) Fostering moral conversations on the college classroom, Journal of Excellence in College Teaching, 7(1), pp. 83-106.

Nash, R, J. (2002). Real world ethics: Frameworks for educators and human service professionals. New York: Teachers College Press, 39.

Fight or Flight: Setting the Emotional Agenda

athleteBy Alan B. Bernstien, LCSW

A number of years ago, David Brooks quoted the philosopher Reinhold Neibhur: “Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore, we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.” This quote intrigued me deeply as it came close to a perspective I have been exploring for a number of years: how to express ourselves emotionally in an active rather than a reactive manner.

Let me explain: when someone is rude to us, for example, we have an instinctive desire to respond in kind. This is rooted deeply in our primitive emotional makeup. We do not “choose” to be rude in response, what occurs is a spontaneous emotional reaction. Similarly, if someone accuses us of something, especially if the accusation has elements of distortion or misreading, we instinctively feel defensive and reactive. There does not seem to be a choice—we spontaneously experience ourselves as being taken over in response. Without miring our discussion in biology, we could argue that the experience feels so “natural” that it is biologically based in preserving our safety. We spontaneously sniff the surroundings to decide whether to fight or flee.

So why would anyone explore what feels spontaneous and natural? And why would anyone—even if they wanted to—control an impulse?

The reason I bring this up is based on my belief in psychotherapy as an avenue for studying and exploring ways to expand our opportunities for making choices in our lives. This is not to diminish spontaneity. Instead I see “choosing” as an expansion of character where spontaneity can coexist with setting an emotional agenda.

Let me give you a recent example from my personal life. I go to a yoga studio which is friendly and low key. Having forgotten my shorts one day, I asked if there was a pair I could borrow or buy. There was none for sale, but the young lady at the front desk suggested I look in the laundry room as frequently people left shorts behind. Alas, there were none, but another member of the studio had an extra pair which he lent me. The next time I returned to the studio, however, the owner confronted me aggressively, saying no one was allowed in the laundry room and he didn’t want his shorts lent out in any case. I was both stunned and dismayed by his tone and approach—after all this was a “friendly” place. I began to react defensively but decided to hold off. I merely assured him that I hadn’t intended to use his shorts. However, after I returned home I began to rethink the encounter. If I defended myself the next time I saw him, and pointed out the mistakes in his understanding of what had taken place, I would be prolonging a state of discomfort for myself—and probably for him as well. In fact, my connection to the studio as a place of comfort and nurturance would be disturbed.

I decided that the next time I saw him I would reestablish the pleasant rituals we ordinarily followed and see what happened. As I said hello and shook his hand warmly he seemed visibly relieved. He apologized for his outbreak and we slid back to our usual connections of yoga related duties—signing in and paying for a mat. He informed me that others had “borrowed” his shorts in similar circumstances and not returned them and that had predisposed him to jump into action. As I thought about our encounter I surmised that he had been nervous about his behavior and not sure about how to approach me. By restoring a tone of civility I enabled both of us to find our true voices. In effect, rather than responding “instinctively” through defensiveness and sarcasm, I had the opportunity to reset the emotional agenda to one that was truer to our connection.

As I understand Neibuhr’s comment, the more we approach our impulses as guides to action, rather than commands, the closer we come to operating in a state of thoughtfulness, and potentially, love. This requires the desire—and the skill—to operate with a tolerance and interest in our impulses as well as the maturity to choose ones which bring us closer to our emotional agendas.

Alan Bernstein, LCSW, has written about careers and transitions and served on the faculty at New York Medical Collage and New York University’s doctoral program in psychotherapy. 

An Attitude of Gratitude

by Jodi Baretz

letting-go-real-lifeBeing charged with writing an article on gratitude I was forced to think about what I am truly grateful for, and what I could possibly write about on this topic. Of course, I am grateful for the obvious things, the ‘big things.’ I’m grateful for my loving family, my supportive friends and my growing private practice. However, I think it’s just as important to recognize the ordinary moments in daily life, the little things.

I can recall a moment when my kids were small and I was bringing them for haircuts, which was not an easy task. Once I finally got them into the car, my two precious children proceeded to fight as per usual. As I was driving and listening to this free for all in the back seat, I would occasionally interrupt with a “stop it” or “enough already!” When that didn’t seem to be effective, I started getting annoyed, and then for some reason, amidst all the noise and frustration, I just gave up. As I drove and the boys continued to yell, I just listened to them exchanging insults. I became amused by the banter instead of being annoyed with it. It struck me that these two little boys were not going to be young forever, and I realized how lucky I was to spend these precious moments with them. Suddenly, I made this major shift, a total reframe of the mind that filled me with gratitude.

Once you get the hang of the gratitude attitude, you can apply it to almost anything. Take a look at something small in your daily life. I just sat down to write this article after visiting my local shopping area, where I realized how lucky I am to live in this wonderful, supportive community. From the people I ran into who smiled and were helpful, to the new businesses that are coming to town to make my life a little easier. Here are some examples:

  • I am so grateful that a speciality market is coming to our town. I love feeding my family fresh meat and produce, and now it will be so much more convenient.
  • I am grateful that local businesses can still make it in this small hamlet, such as the local drug store, nail place and dry cleaner, and not everything is a big box store.
  • Last but not least, I am especially grateful for my local coffee place. There are many wonderful places in town that I frequent, but the cafe is a truly special place to me. I go there daily for my tea, but the best part is those who work there know my order, my name and always greet me with a hearty “Hi Jodi!” It’s like Cheers without the alcohol. In addition, I usually know at least 3 people there who are also getting their caffeine fix. Being a part of a small community makes me feel connected and supported.

Once you keep noticing these small things to be grateful for, your own shift will start to occur. It will become habit. You will feel happier and that feeling is contagious. Practicing gratitude is one of the top indicators of happiness, in addition to having many other benefits. Besides improving emotional health, it can have a positive impact on you physically. People who are grateful experience less aches and pains, according to a 2012 study published in “Personality and Individual Differences.” Gratitude also improves your relationships, self- esteem, fosters empathy and decreases aggression. It even helps you sleep better, as if that is not reason alone.

So, how do we cultivate this all important skill? Gratitude does not have to only be after something huge like getting a promotion, or having awesome kids, it can be as small as your morning coffee at your favorite cafe. Noticing the small moments and truly appreciating them will help change your mind. A gratitude journal is proven to be a great way to hone your skills, but if you’re like me, you won’t be taking the time to do that so often, so being mindful of what you are thankful for throughout the day definitely helps. I love the idea of a gratitude jar, especially with kids. It involves writing what you are grateful for on a piece a paper and putting it into a jar and reading them when your sad or at the end of the year to inspire you! Now if we can extend that attitude of gratitude all year, we will be happier, healthier individuals and as a community.


Jodi Baretz, LCSW, CHHC is a psychotherapist, mindfulness and holistic health coach at The Center for Health and Healing in Mt. Kisco. NY.  Jodi is the founder of the program and upcoming book, “Mindful is the New Skinny” and speaks to various groups, schools and organizations on the topic of mindfulness. She lives with her husband and two boys in Chappaqua, NY. You can reach her at, or for more information.

2017 MYT Group, LLC Outlook

2016 was another solid year for us and our infrastructure has solidified on many levels. EQ & Mindfulness is creeping into the highest levels of corporate America and it is being pushed ironically by the appetite of small to medium sized companies. The evidence that this stuff matters is now overwhelming and you can read more about this phenomena when you review the section in this newsletter called “What we are Reading”. It was forwarded to us by alumni Hector Reyes and for this we say a big thank you.

#1) We have developed a Preferred Client Program for existing clients who continue to send their people to our EQ Not IQ: Mastery™ Open Programs. We sent an initial draft to those in this category and surveyed many of them to determine its veracity.

#2) A Preferred Client Rewards Program will be initiated in the 2nd quarter to continue our focus on supporting our most cherished clients.

#3) We have been training two new professionals to help us tackle the anticipated increase in EQ Not IQ: Mastery™ Closed Programs in 2017.

Norm Arslan has over 30 years of experience providing psychotherapy and counseling to couples, families and individual adults and children. I have been a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since 1980 and a member in good standing with the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (CAMFT) since 1989.

Michael Stanton is a Licensed Clinical Health Psychologist and Assistant Professor. I split my time between my duties as a professor, scientific research, and clinical work. My classes include a variety of Health Sciences courses including Health and Wellness and Theories of Health Behavioral Change. He has clinical and coaching expertise in the medical/healthcare, tech, social services, and higher education industries. My clinical work in health psychology integrates mind-body skills such as mindfulness and hypnosis with cognitive behavioral therapy to treat health problems including obesity, hypertension, chronic pain, insomnia and depression. My coaching clients come from a wide range of fields, including business, marketing, HR, software development, engineering, non-profit, healthcare, and R&D.

#4) Joining our existing staff of Susannah Buck, Associate Director of Operations and Terri Keech, our versatile bookkeeper is intern, Jackie Widmer. She is a graduate from The College of Charleston, Charleston, SC with a Bachelor of Arts, Psychology. She will be assisting Susannah in following up on requests for information and scheduling appointments.

#5) Our Group Program prospect list has never been deeper. We have proposals in the hands of a number of Fortune 500 companies, numerous hospitals, and organizations who want to partner with us to bring our work to their people.

#6) There will be 3 EQ Not IQ: Mastery Open Programs again in NYC

March 03rd is the first
Late- May will be the 2nd
Mid- November will be the 3rd

#7) Our EQ Not IQ: Extension™ Program for our Mastery alumni has been re-engineered in two ways.

  1. The sessions have been increased from 9 to 10 and the time frame has been changed from monthly to every other week.
  2. A women’s program has been in R & D since last summer and will be rolled out in mid-January.

We continue to be grateful for the warm welcome so many of you have extended to us. Your enthusiasm for our work is deeply appreciated and we cherish every opportunity to enhance your experience with us.


My best to you always,


Why Bad Moods are Good

By Susan David, PhD

emotionsMany people embrace happiness but try to push aside sadness and anger. Our culture encourages this—books about how to be happy frequently find their way onto best-seller lists, and “the pursuit of happiness” is written into our Declaration of Independence. Sadness and anger are viewed as problems to overcome on the road to happiness.

But these so-called “negative” emotions can be useful. Here are some of the powerful benefits of bad moods and how to use them to your advantage…

Bad moods make us more careful and less gullible. When people are happy, they tend to have an “everything will be all right” mentality—which can get them into trouble when everything is not all right. When people are ­unhappy, on the other hand, their minds are on a higher state of alert, carefully analyzing what they see and hear. That’s a useful mind-set to have when digging through potentially important details or dealing with slick salespeople.

What to do: If you soon will need to be detail-oriented or skeptical—for ­example, if you’re on your way to negotiate a major purchase—you can intentionally put yourself in a negative mood. Recall an unhappy but not devastating memory, such as a time when your career hit a rough patch. Or listen to a piece of music that always makes you feel melancholy—Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” may be a good choice.

Bad moods make us more convincing. People who are in negative moods are better able to formulate arguments that sway other people to their points of view, according to a study published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. This is probably because people are more detail-­oriented and attentive when they are in bad moods, as noted above, and thus more likely to provide convincing evidence and respond effectively when doubts are voiced. When people feel happy, they are prone to overlooking such details out of potentially misplaced optimism that everyone is sure to see things their way.

What to do: Do not just give yourself a pep talk before you make a presentation (or write a letter or a report) that is intended to bring people around to your way of thinking. Think about the challenges that your position could face. Who might disagree? Why might they disagree? Focusing on the challenges that lie ahead tends to temper overly positive moods.

Bad moods boost memory. Ever wondered how a spouse who cannot remember where he put his keys can remember every detail of all 393 arguments you have had in the past 10 years? It’s because human memory is sharpest at times of unhappiness. A study published in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that people’s memories were stronger on gloomy-weather days than on sunny ones, for example. This finding likely stems from the fact that memory was most crucial for the survival of our early ancestors during their unhappiest moments. If an early human was about to be attacked by a predator, for example, his life might have depended on being able to remember which defensive tactics worked best against that predator in prior attacks…and if his watering hole dried up, his survival might have depended on remembering where else water could be found.

What to do: If you are struggling to remember something, allow yourself to experience sadness or anger, perhaps by recalling a sad memory or listening to a sad song. If you still cannot remember, do something relaxing and mind-clearing such as taking a warm shower or a quiet walk in nature. The period of transition immediately following a sad mood is another common time for “aha” breakthroughs.

Bad moods encourage perseverance. When people are in good moods, they see little reason to push themselves hard—why bother when everything a­lready seems great? Unhappy people often are more likely to put in extra effort because they see problems all around them and are motivated to do what it takes to make things better.

What to do: If you catch yourself about to throw in the towel on a tough task when you’re feeling happy, use the sad-memory or music strategy mentioned above to reset your mood, and then give it another go.

Bad moods make us more polite and empathic. When people feel happy, they can become so caught up in their own positive moods that they may fail to fully notice the needs, deeds and moods of the people around them, leading to an apparent lack of empathy and politeness. A happy person might fail to ask his friend, “What’s wrong?” because he missed the slight quiver in his friend’s voice that would have alerted him to the fact that something was wrong. People who are feeling unhappy (but not deeply depressed) are more likely to notice ­details such as these.

What to do: When you are in a good mood, make a conscious effort to evaluate your initial interpretations of other people’s words and actions.

Bad moods can help us come to terms with our priorities and ­problems. Bad moods can be like beacons shining a light on core beliefs and key concerns that we might not yet have fully acknowledged.

What to do: When you find yourself naturally feeling sad or angry, take the time to explore why you feel this way and what you could do about it. For example, perhaps you feel deeply hurt because you did not receive as much recognition as you expected for a good idea. Does the person who didn’t give you your due chronically fail to do so? If so, it might be time to confront this person or bring your good ideas to someone else. Or maybe the problem is not with this person but that you feel generally undervalued. Perhaps volunteering in your free time or serving as a mentor would help.


Susan David, PhD, psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, Boston, and cofounder and codirector of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. She is ­author of Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life. If you want to assess how effective you are with your moods and emotions, a free quiz is offered at

How to Make the 4th Quarter Your Best Quarter

Empty asphalt road towards cloud and signs symbolizing success a

by Todd Colbeck

Don’t wait until December to make your end of year push, start now. The worst feeling is narrowly missing your end of year business goals when you know it was just because you lost focus. The best feeling is hitting them earlier than expected. In this article I will introduce you to 3 quarterly campaigns that can ignite your 4th quarter results so you can coast into December and not struggle.


The 3 campaigns are:

  1. The “Low Hanging Fruit” campaign
  2. The “Good News” campaign.
  3. The “After the Holidays” campaign.

The thing with campaigns is it helps you focus and focus is the key element in having a good result in any quarter or year. Let’s start with the Low Hanging Fruit campaign.

As a financial professional you likely have clients that have not implemented all of your recommendations. If you do financial planning it his highly likely some of those (all of those?) plans have not been fully implemented. If you don’t do financial planning just get a list of prospects you met that you didn’t convert and clients that have not implemented all of your recommendations. Collectively I call this low hanging fruit because these are ideas that clients may already be familiar with and at the time you just did not implement. The 4th quarter is the time to revisit those clients. After you make a list of people with unimplemented strategies next start scheduling appointments. Ideally schedule those appointments before December. Then meet with the clients and start by reviewing what has been going well in their account. Ask them how they feel and then remind them that they could be doing better by implementing whatever strategy you identified as needing to revisit. Present the strategy and implement and you are well on your way to having a great 4th quester.

The next campaign is a lot of fun; I call it the Good News campaign. The good news campaign focuses on meeting with clients that are happy working with you and the results they are getting and then getting referrals. It is very fun and you just need to begin by reviewing your accounts and looking for what has worked well this year. The better the result the more fun the campaign. For example, do you have any stock positions that had good moves? Any type of good news announcements related to an investment? You really want to find one of your recommendations that you can showcase. Next make a list of clients that got good results because of that recommendation. Then pick up the phone and start calling. Begin by sharing the good news about their account or investment and then ask their opinion about it. Hopefully they like the experience and that is great. All you need to do next is remind them that they might know someone who would appreciate a courtesy call so you can let them know what is going on in regards to your future recommendations. Remember, this is just a courtesy call and people can decide for themselves what they want to do. If they are happy why wouldn’t they want to let their friends know right?

Finally, there is one thing we all dread about the 4th quarter, procrastination. How many times do we hear the phrase “After the Holidays” when trying to do business in December? That’s what brings us to the “After the Holidays” campaign.

You already know that December is generally a month for people to put things off until after the New Year. To begin this campaign, schedule the bulk of your meetings for October and November in advance. You already know there is a December roadblock so try to “drive” around it rather than straight into it. If you must meet in December, you need a way to remove procrastination before it even comes up. Let people know that you MUST meet before the New Year and this is why you are scheduling the appointment. Certain financial strategies need to be implemented in this calendar year in order to benefit from them such as tax loss harvesting. Let them know the importance of implementing before the New Year to help remove that typical December lethargy.

So in review we I have discussed three 4th quarter campaigns to help you focus early and close the year strong. The Low Hanging Fruit campaign focuses on driving sales and reducing risk for clients who have not implemented your strategies, the Good News campaign focuses on growing client loyalty and generating referrals, the After the Holidays campaign focuses on removing procrastination as an obstacle to meeting with clients/ Choose the one that best suits your needs and run with it.

If you want to kick off your campaign on the right foot feel free to drop an e-mail to me at I have templates and worksheets available upon request. Good luck!

Extraordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things: New Ground Rules for Decision Making in Business


By Rosie Kuhn, Ph.D.

My clients are extraordinary people. Each is invested in expanding their breadth of wisdom, only in service to bringing the fullest expression of their essential self to their profession, and to their life in general. Each is engaged in what seems to be high-stakes ventures, and they understand that, in order to fulfill their vision, they have to think outside their current paradigm. This sounds like you – Right?

Most of us believe that the inherent gifts and talents found in extraordinary people are what make them extraordinary. It is so much more than that!

Extraordinary people empower themselves to generate the outcome of their vision. This is only possible by cultivating intelligence – including emotional intelligence, a practice that supports, among other things, emotional blockages and the removal of bankrupt interpretations regarding who they are and what they are doing in the world of business. This sounds like you too – Right?

You see, extraordinary people, as you know, because you are one, already, acknowledge that they have been gifted with their talents. More importantly, they experience gratitude for these gifts. Because they do not take their gifts for granted, they cultivate and nourish the environment within themselves so that they can expand into the fullest expression of their essential nature.

Fulfilling a company’s vision isn’t based on action alone. It is based on actions that come from cultivated awareness. Extraordinary people willingly challenge limiting beliefs that interfere with the fullest utilization of their gifts and talents. They do this by willingly immersing them in the discomfort of emotions that stop them from taking the smallest risks. They do this because they know there is effortless access to a wisdom far beyond their comprehension. They know fulfillment is readily available only by getting out of their own way. Getting out of their way requires them to look beyond their thoughts and engage the wisdom of their emotional intelligence.

Extraordinary people, when meeting ordinary experiences, are stymied and stumped, just like us ordinary folk. The difference is that they willingly penetrate and explore the edge of reason of their current paradigm. They face personal demons in dilemmas that surface throughout everyday life, and they choose to not only see things differently, but explore the emotions and bodily sensations, that either block success, or empower them to realize their potential.

It isn’t because extraordinary people are fearless and courageous beyond measure; it’s that they are curious to know what lies beyond the signpost that reads: “DANGER: EMOTIONS!!! DO NOT ENTER.” They want to expand their repertoire and capacity to choose differently when facing unknown territory and perceived dead ends. They comprehend that there is a wisdom beyond their own level of intellectual expertise that will guide and assist them into more expansive and effective leadership. They are scared, just like the rest of us; however they act regardless of the fear.

Every individual is extraordinary – I truly believe this to be so. Those who risk crossing the line of Mental Intelligence and enter the domain of EQ – Emotional Intelligence, empower themselves to take into their own hands the fruition of their desires. Art Delorenzo, Maximize Your Talent, talks about what has been considered Soft Skills – some of which are: Self-awareness, Self-regulation, Motivation, Empathy and Social Skills. As Art writes: “The development of EQ is essential to arrest this decline and enhance performance at home and work.” Our current paradigm of business has relegated Emotional Intelligence at the back end of their practice – though it may be articulated on the front end. I believe that those of us who are willing to go for the extraordinary, empower ourselves to leave no stone unturned, to uncover every possible shift that they can make, in service of their highest expression of themselves, in every aspect of their lives.

Every one of us is invited to acknowledge our God-given talents, and to nurture them into full expression. Some of us do and most of us won’t. What empowers choice-makers, like you, to see more clearly how you choose to choose what you choose, in regard to the work you do, the people you work with and yourself? You are utilizing your emotional intelligence in ways that others fear to try.

While in your work environment, there is never a time when you are not making choices in relation to these three aspects: You are always juggling, prioritizing and reprioritizing in order to feel a sense of balance, progress and fulfillment.

When we are able to distinguish the many aspects of life and work to which we are committed, we are then able to make sense of the competing emotional factors that pull us in opposing directions and puts us in a dilemma. Normally, we don’t know what to choose or how to choose to choose. So, we sit on the fence, at the choice-point, waiting and hoping for something to steer us in the right direction. Regardless of your work, in this moment, you are most likely sitting at a choice-point – waiting and hoping. You are either looking at the underlying emotions that are tugging and pulling you in both directions, or you are in Head-In-The-Sand 101.

We generally ignore the presence of our emotional and human self, with all its various influence in our lives. Until we feel powerless, helpless and hopeless, desperate, sick or crazy. Then, and only then, do we begin to pay attention to who we are beyond our thinking minds.

Understanding that we are not our circumstances, nor are we our choices, nor even our humanity, we are given an opportunity to be with the questions – “If I’m not that, then what am I? And, if I’m more than what I appear to be, how do I access, utilize and optimize this higher wisdom and intelligence?”

It’s not as though this conversation isn’t going on inside you without your knowledge or consent. It actually never stops! It’s just that your hierarchy of commitments may obscure the ongoing conversation you are having with this higher wisdom; to the degree that it’s barely a whisper among the din of circumstances, survival needs and pleasures sought.

What I’m sharing with you here is much of what I share with all my corporate clients. I empower them to empower themselves to acknowledge the current dilemma that has them have to choose between what they say they want, and those conflicting commitments which they also want. My clients, more often than not reveal to themselves emotions, and the choices they make based on these emotions. They had not allowed themselves to reveal their true perspectives until they found it safe to do so. Its big work!

How to choose to choose what to choose, while at this choice-point, is just a practice of acknowledging what is, in the given moment, regarding thoughts, interpretations, emotions, and body sensations. Extraordinary people are curious enough to not take themselves or their gifts for granted. They allow themselves to reach beyond their own normal for what to others may seem impossible. Truth is they are showing us how possible it is, given a little curiosity and pinch of daring.

Founder of The Paradigm Shifts Coaching Group, Dr. Rosie is considered to be a preeminent thought leader in the field of Transformational Coaching, Coach Training and Leadership Facilitation. She is the author of the popular book ‘Self-Empowerment 101, Dilemmas of Being in Business.

Consider attending her upcoming workshop: Who’s Running My Business, August 10-11, in Brainerd Mn., or New Ground Rules for Decision Making in Business: Transformational Tools for Entrepreneurs, Visionaries, and Creatives, Aug 6-7th in Madison WI. For more information on these workshops click here!

Career Development Is a Constant, Not a Change


By Michael V. Stanton, Ph.D & Paul J. Stanton, M. Ed.

As a Millennial I grew up focusing on one career choice or two since high school. In college, that narrowed down to one field, Psychology – if I didn’t make it big in the music industry after being the lead singer of a college funk band. Now nearly fifteen years and three degrees later, I haven’t strayed far from the path I selected in college, but I now perceive the path to be much wider than I had thought. This fall, I will be working in corporate consulting and teaching mindfulness in a Health Sciences department.

It is critical for our generation to expand the perception of career options that match our skills and interests. In future job climates, we will not merely change careers at major crossroads in our lives, but we will be required to constantly develop new interests and skills in order to remain both viable and engaged in our careers. My father, a Boomer in his sixties, talks about the pressure he had to select one career to span his working life. He selected education and has spent nearly forty five years in various teaching and administrative positions in education.

But, our generation will need to be more flexible over the course of our professional lives. The skills I attained in my first few years after college are of little use to me (or anyone else, for that matter) any more. The life cycles of technology are becoming shorter and shorter. Think of the career span of TV vs. VCR vs. DVR repair.  The more specific our skill set, the faster the trip back to the unemployment line.

But this article is not about despair; it is about hope. Career development needs to be a lifelong commitment that involves aspects of planning, education, and training. And, it all starts with a perspective of the need to work on our careers, even when we are well-trained, well-suited, and well-compensated for our current positions. So many of us started out in career-exploration mode, by performing internships that paid little or nothing but that helped refine our areas of interest. I worked one summer for a Fortune 500 company that went out of business less than ten years later. But the experience was positive in that it forced me to think about how I would choose to utilize my skills and in what environment I could I do that and still be engaged.

Our society needs to create more educational opportunities between degree programs on one end of the spectrum and vocational training programs on the other. And those opportunities need to be available to a broad spectrum of our society without screening people out on the basis of socioeconomic level or previous education. And, our generation needs to keep stretching our skill platform in order to contribute to the workforce for the remainder of our working days. If the social security forecasters are correct, those days will stretch for five or six decades.

Michael V. Stanton, Ph.D., is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Researcher at Stanford University and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Healthcare System.

 Paul J. Stanton, M. Ed., is a career educator and administrator with more than twenty years of experience each in both secondary and higher education. He currently serves Tufts University as Dean of Student Services.


Relationships Matter: How successful suppliers move beyond the sales process to engage, win, and grow with their customers

By Dave Stein and Steve Andersen

The “Great Recession” that began in 2008 irrevocably changed the way that companies buy from and sell to one another. Almost a decade later, many corporate sales organizations are still grappling with the impact of the new paradigm, which includes empowered procurement departments, accelerated business cycle times, and customers who have easy access to an unprecedented wealth of information online. B2B salespeople, conditioned for decades to focus their time and energy only on the sales process and the active opportunity, can find themselves losing to competitors whose main advantage comes down to being the low-cost provider. Unfortunately, when buying decisions are based solely on price, and not on value creation and co-creation, both buyer and seller lose.

If your job involves making or influencing purchasing decisions, consider this: what percentage of your time do you spend actively engaged in buying from any one provider, even one that you consider important or necessary to your business? Again and again we’ve asked executives this question and they respond consistently that they spend 40 hours or fewer per year engaged in buying. That’s 2 percent or less of a work year that is generally understood to be approximately 2,000 hours, and in many instances, considerably more.

So, if your supplier only shows up when there’s an active deal on the table and an opportunity to sell you something, how much value can you really expect them to offer? Sure, they can review and respond to a list of requirements you and your team have developed, but if they don’t understand your world—the external drivers putting pressure on you to take action, the business objectives that you will put into place to respond to those drivers, and the internal challenges that could prevent you from reaching your objectives—it’s unlikely that they will be able to develop and offer solutions that will help you reach your goals, or meet and exceed your own customers’ expectations.

Mutually successful, long-term business relationships are forged when your supplier truly understands what’s at stake for you as you make your decision, when their team is able to align with your objectives, when their offerings fit your needs, when you truly understand the unique value they can provide to you and your organization, and when they deliver on their promises. The best time to make this happen is not when there’s a deal on the table, because that’s when you’re under the most pressure to produce and all of the potential suppliers are clamoring to be heard—how can you expect any one of them to stand out? How will you be able to discern who can create real value for your organization

Buyers and sellers who neglect the time periods before there’s an active deal on the table and after a sale has closed are making a critical error, which has real potential to negatively impact the value they can create and co-create together when there’s a real or urgent need to take action.

Beyond the Sales Process

Before the Sale: Engage

The most effective salespeople become “students of their customers” before there’s an opportunity. They do research to extend and expand what they may already know about your business and the forces affecting your world. They use what they’ve learned to initiate a dialogue, to find out what you care most about, and to identify your areas of interest; they give you a reason to engage with them. Rather than having that predictable conversation about how their offerings meet the requirements you’ve laid out, they focus on how you define success both professionally and personally. Few salespeople will take this step, but the ones who do so will be able to talk to you with a level of understanding that their competitors cannot match; they earn your trust because they’ve done their homework, even when there’s no opportunity to sell anything.

During the Sale: Win

When your organization decides to take action, your provider will take steps to understand your needs at a deeper level through discovery. Through value-focused questions, they will look for “actionable awareness,” or information and insights that they can use to take appropriate action on your behalf. They will recognize what’s important to you and what isn’t, and they will use this awareness to align to your needs and your wants. During the sale, all of your suppliers will be competing for mindshare and attempting to differentiate their value. Clearly, the provider who already understands the complexities of your world and where you need to go, will be able to respond by developing solutions that meet your needs.

After the Sale: Grow

After the contract is signed and your organization has had an opportunity to realize the value that your provider promised, your salesperson has a unique opportunity to measure and validate the impact of what they’ve delivered. They can apply the “lessons learned,” adapt to accommodate your changing needs, and begin to look toward your future success. A supplier who has proven their value to you in the past will be likely to provide greater value in the future, and may even become important, necessary, or essential to your business.

No one wants to feel that they’re being coerced, controlled, or manipulated into making important buying decisions. Salespeople who go beyond the sales process to truly understand their customer before, during, and after the sale can build lasting relationships that serve as true collaboration between partners who create and co-create real value together. And everyone wins.



Dave Stein and Steve Andersen are the co-authors of Beyond the Sales Process: 12 Proven Strategies for a Customer-Driven World. The book’s website is Single copies can be bought directly from For bulk sales visit