By Debra W. Gould, MS
Making sure you have a foundation you can build on.
Falling in love is one of the most glorious experiences in life. It feels like a miracle to find that person who makes you even happier and stronger than you are on your own. That person who inspires you to be your best self.
There is no doubt true love is a force of nature, one to be protected, exalted, and sanctified by commitment.
But before you take the step of making vows, you may also want to consider the many hard lessons learned by couples like Joe and I who have been married for decades. These are lessons that can help you avoid pitfalls that can derail even the deepest love.
In my experience, the number one thing you have to know before you get married: yourself.
You must know who you are, why you are like you are, what you want from life and, just as importantly, what you don’t. Understanding yourself, your priorities, and your motivations – the good and the bad – will help you know whether you and your partner are truly right for each other.
Once you fully understand yourself at this stage in your life, you can move on the next foundation of commitment: shared values.
It doesn’t matter if your partner likes a different kind of music, a different kind of food, or has an old friend you don’t care for. More important is whether your partner sees your life together the way you do. Make sure you have similar attitudes in all the important areas: money, faith, children, and family. You need to know that you’re both envisioning the same future and believe in the same goals -- otherwise you may never reach them.
And finally, the thing that all relationships should be based on: respect.
Speak with respect, listen with respect, treat each other with the patience, generosity, and kindness that show respect. This is what will keep love alive, especially through hard times.
I promise you, if you do all three of these things, you will lay the foundations for a happier, healthier, more supportive marriage.
Debra W. Gould, MS is the president of Debra Gould & Associates, Inc. based in New Orleans and provides management consulting and training services to commercial and government clients. Debra is one of the founders of The Ebony Speakers and co-author of the book, Real Women, Real Issues - Positive Collaborations For Business Success.
Debra can be reached at: (504) 244-6576,
email: firstname.lastname@example.org and
By Michelle Porchia
I hope 2017 was all you wanted and more. It certainly was an "interesting" year. The weather has been breaking all kinds of records. Those of you in the path of the arctic blast, I hope you are keeping warm and safe. Please reach out and check on neighbors, friends and family, and also be on the lookout for homeless people and animals in this cold weather.
As I mentioned above, 2017 was an "interesting" year. I noticed several situations that caused people to be annoyed, disturbed or downright angry. Some would say these situations were nothing to be so upset about. I think since so many are experiencing heightened emotions, going into a new year is a good time to reevaluate our interactions on a daily basis.
Let's revisit some areas we know, yet may have forgotten or gotten away from.
The Three C's:
As we leave 2017 and walk gently into 2018, let us take time to reflect.
Relax and ease into 2018. If you need help filling your tool belt, please let me know.
Nancy J. Lewis, MS, SHRM-CP, PHR, RCC
A new year is always a time to take stock of how you will take the lessons learned from the previous year to make this your best year ever. Consider the following tips to help you make 2018 a year you determine in your heart that you will SOAR!
1. Renew your mind daily. Commit that you will begin each day with a blank slate and allow God to provide you with the paintbrush to create the life you were destined to live. Get out of your way so you can see your life transformed.
2. Reflect on the things that serve you and can help you go to the next level as you walk in greatness. Evaluate relationships and remember that some people are in your life for a season. As you reflect on where God is taking you; be willing to embrace new people for the new season in your life. Forget those things which are behind you and reach forward with expectancy for the things that are ahead of you.
3. Reposition yourself. Have you been in the same spot in your business and career for too long? Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone because that is when you really grow. Strive to cultivate and build strong relationships, choose to walk in integrity and BE INtentional with your words and actions. Let authenticity radiate in everything you do.
Commit to making 2018 a year where you put the extra with ordinary to have an EXTRAORDINARY year. Happy New Year!!
By Carole Copeland Thomas, MBA, CDMP, CITM
Listen To Carole's Radio Podcast Below
Focus On Empowerment can be heard every Thursday at 1pm Eastern.
Log Onto: www.blogtalkradio.com/globalcarole
Listen LIVE or Download Anytime At This Blog Post. Each broadcast can be replayed immediately following the show.
Shockwaves reverberated across America with the downfall of both NBC’s Matt Lauer and Minnesota Public Radio’s Garrison Keillor in one fell swoop. Yes, we outsiders were shocked, but insiders who knew these men weren’t surprised. What’s even more damning are the scores of their defenders, after they release statements admitting their actions.
Sexual Harassment is widespread, global and a daunting declaration of power and dominance over unsuspecting victims, both female, and male. Announcements about someone getting fired because of sexual harassment triggers incidences that happened years ago, tucked away never to be presented to the light of day.
Sexual Harassment is a PROBLEM. And today’s show will tackle five key issues you should know about when confronting sexual harassment both on and off the job.
From Congress to the break room at work, we all must face the issues of sexual harassment so that it can be contained and eliminated wherever possible.
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Carole Copeland Thomas Offers A Complete Sexual Harassment Training Program To Large & Small Companies Nationwide. Learn More By Clicking Here.
By Michelle Porchia
The time will come when you will become eligible for Medicare. Honestly, it wasn’t something I ever gave much thought to. I just completed the sign-up process for Medicare and various healthcare insurance coverages. I hope to share some information with you that may help you to have a smoother transition into the world of Medicare.
What is Medicare?
“Medicare is a federal health insurance program for those 65 and older…Before turning 65, most people get health insurance through group plans offered by their employer or their spouse’s employer. People who are self-employed or who don’t have health insurance through their job may buy individual policies on their own.”
“When you turn 65, however, you’ll likely be eligible for one of the largest group health plans in the world.”
Medicare consists of several plans or “parts.”
When you become eligible for Medicare, you will be able to choose between:
About 6-12 months before your 65th birthday, you will start receiving information about Medicare supplemental plans, prescription, dental and eye care plans. I was throwing them out. You may want to at least read through them. Many say the same thing; it is more about who has the best cost for a plan.
What I Learned:
Don’t wait until the last minute. I suggest you start researching at least 6 months before your 65th birthday. Mine was all in place by October 1. Even though I found some good premiums, it still blew my budget.
There was so much I didn’t know and discovered I was not alone, which is why I was asked to write this article. I wish you smooth navigation into Medicare.
By Nancy J. Lewis, MS, SHRM-CP, PHR, RCC
I am dismayed at the level of customer disservice that seems to be the norm of the day. When you go to business, too many times you are treated like you are an inconvenience. I ponder in my mind, "Aren't we the reason you are needed here?" When you go to the gas station and want to pay at the pump; only to find that it doesn't work. You enter the station and the cashier is on the phone talking to someone and never acknowledges you with a hello, or I am sorry you had to come in. Really!! This is unacceptable in an age where consumers use the video part of their phone as quickly as they will send a text. Now your bad service goes viral, and you have to spend time and money fixing your PR. How about simply investing in training your staff with basic customer service skills that help build a culture of service?
When I am talking to clients and encouraging them to provide basic customer service skills; they tell me it costs too much. They go on to say why invest in employees because they will be leaving soon. I remind them of the following comments. Someone once said, "What if you train them and the leave?" The other side of this question, "What if you don't train them and they stay? Keep in mind the employees are the face of your business and your brand. What messages are employees sending to your customers that you don't even know? How much business are you losing because of poor customer service? Smiles are free, professionalism is still a good thing to exhibit and engaging the customer while they visit your business is simply good manners.
I still experience great and amazing service, but I encounter poor service way to often in person or on the phone. One of the most bizarre experiences I had that should make it into the Hall of Fame for poor service is the following story. I called an online company seeking information about a problem I was having. It was a major ordeal just to finally get a person on the line. In my communication with the representative, I asked her to contact me with the department or manager that could answer my question or guide me through the maze. She said, "We work in silos, and I can't help you." I told her I understand that, but can you transfer me to someone who may have more knowledge on the manner? After 5-10 minutes of conversing on this topic, she replied, "I can't help you, and I am getting ready to end this call." In other words, she was letting me know I am getting ready to hang up on you. I was shocked and simply hung up first. This was the first time I had ever had a customer representative tell me something like that. How could someone have the nerve to say that to a customer? I persisted, and through research and diligence, I found someone in the company to help me and let them know her name, time of day we spoke and our conversation. I also made some recommendations on the need for retraining or releasing that staff member.
Consider the following basic strategies that are still in style for customer service.
1. Greet the customer with a smile and hello.
2. If they had to wait, thank them for waiting. (It doesn't matter how long they had to wait; acknowledging this diffuses frustrated customers).
3. Ask them how you can help them and then let them talk.
4. Don't interrupt the customer when they are talking.
5. Be professional at all times.
6. Focus your attention on them. (Don't text or pull out your phone)
7. Remember the customers are the reason you are there.
8. Know the procedure for dealing with angry customers, so when it happens, you are aware of the process to follow.
9. Thank the customer for their patronage.
These are just a few customer service tips that are helpful to restore what seems to be a lost art...great customer service.
By Joe and Debra Gould
Please join Joe and Debra for an engaging conversation at STTC on www.Zoom.com every Tuesday @ 7:30PM CST for 25 minutes.
Mission: This program is about marriage relationships that works even through the challenge.
Purpose: STTC is really for anyone who wants or have a strong relationship. We talk about what can possibly create a strong and sustainable marriage and relationship that works. In addition, we ask for feedback from others on what works for them. Every week we will invite guests to join the program to share information about their relationships and listen to the engaging conversations.
We will have engaging conversations with our guests to share information on how they are making their love and marriage relationship work even through the challenge. What message can they share with others? What do they do to stay together during the tough times? The good times? We want to invite guests that will tell it like it is and keep it real from young to mature adults.
Building a strong relationship means not simply going through problems but growing through problems…..as your relationship grows you develop your strength through the challenge. Our relationship success comes from doing what other people unsuccessful relationships are not willing to do. We don’t wish it were better. We work on the possibility of a better relationship.
It was absolutely a great time to connect in an engaging conversation with couple friends that we highly respect and have known for many years. We consider them to be some wonderful people, couples to hang out and socialize with at events, friends helping each other, and a support system in our network.
Below are a few questions we talked about during our Tuesday night of September 5, 2017 STTC interview with friends.
2. Do you seek out to surround your marriage with good role models and couples who will keep you honest? (Milton and Sheila Brown)
Milton: Yes, we make it a point to surround our life with like-minded individuals that help us to grow as a couple.
Sheila: I prayed to God for this specific prayer many years ago to bring couples into our lives that are Christian people, kind, friendly and enjoy travelling. I can honestly for sure say we have found those friends and family members in our network and we have FUN together.
3. In your marriage relationship, “How do you agree to preserve peace and harmony in your home? (Ronald and Voris Vigee)
Ronald: Communication is the key. When we disagree as a couple, it is so important to address the concerns head on and talk it out.
Voris: I have learned that “Compromise” is #1 in the household. That’s what makes the peace and harmony that works all the time.
4. Is it easy to thank God for your partner every day? ALL Couples
Clinton: Exceptional easy to say that I thank God for Kelly. While I don’t get on my knees to pray and I pray in bed I’m thinking about how blessed I am to have her in my life. I was married once before and this time around I know it is a right fit for my life. Together we have a beautiful daughter we are so proud of and we are great together.
Kelly: As we are aging we are taking inventory of what we are grateful for in our lives. I’m thankful for Clinton and our family. Life is wonderful with him and yes, I thank God for him.
Milton: One couple pulling in a separate way is not going to make it at all. I can say we are going in the same direction both Milton and Sheila Brown. Thank God for blessing me with a loving wife and partner every day.
Sheila: Honestly and we are being open in this conversation. It is not easy every day. Every day I do it to say "I love you" to Milton Brown because I mean it from the bottom of my heart. My first marriage was very bad and I will leave it at that. There will be no other man after Mr. Milton Brown.
Ronald: I love everything about Voris. She is an incredible woman and I love her and adore our kids.
Voris: Nothing is easy. Everything in a marriage relationship requires work. I love my husband and so happy and proud to have our three kids we have together. Ronald is the love of my life.
By Carole Copeland Thomas, MBA, CDMP, CITM
You Are Cordially Invited To Register And Attend
Book Debra, Michelle, Nancy or Carole for your next speaking engagement or training event.