by Michelle Porchia
The earth is preparing to rest from all the splendor (and turbulence) it gave us this year. It has been a year of extreme weather and extreme changes. Even more so, I encourage you to slow down and rest, relax, rejuvenate yourself.
"I just don't have time to do the personal things I want or need to do for myself."
Have you ever said that? If you have, it is time for you to take an Innergize Day. It is a day set aside for you. It is a time when you can devote some attention to your own personal endeavors—a "do anything you want to do for yourself" day!
My goal is to get people to start with one day per year, progress to one day per month, then one day per week, and eventually an hour per day. It is a time of "self-celebration" to be incorporated into one's daily lifestyle. Nowadays everyone is so busy going and doing instead of being. Below are five steps on how you can innergize. It is scheduled for the day after Autumn begins every year (this year September 23) because that is when the earth goes to rest. I want you to rest.
Step One: Give Yourself Permission (I've said this before). Give yourself permission to put yourself first and NOT feel guilty. When you take care of yourself, you are better able to take care of others. When you rest, relax, renew, rejuvenate, you have the energy and clarity to do what you want to do.
Step Two: Schedule an appointment with YOU. We put everyone else on the calendar. It is time to put YOU on the calendar. Start small; schedule 15-30 minutes a week to do something for yourself. Try to expand it to 15-30 minutes a day.
Step Three: Take Your Breaks. There is a tendency to skip lunch and breaks while we work or we eat while we work. It is important to take periodic breaks to rest your
body and mind. When you rest your mind, you are more productive
and creative. It is also important to eat properly (this does not mean eating at your desk and working through lunch).
Step Four: Entrepreneurs: You Are Your Business. Investing in taking care of your mind, body and spirit is investing in the foundation of your business. If you are not able to work, your business will suffer. It is crucial to make health and happiness a priority while developing your business. If you work 24/7, you will burn out. You need to schedule time for you in the same way you do for your clients. You can't give 110%, you don't have it to give.
Step Five: Celebrate. There were two very popular songs out this year, "Let It Go" from the movie Frozen and "Happy" from the movie Despicable Me 2. Both songs talk about being yourself and enjoying life. You need to celebrate yourself. Celebrate life. Celebrate the little things as well as the big things. You don't have to celebrate elaborately. You can do simple things like treat yourself to flowers, a new book (and allowing yourself to read it), buying a Pumpkin Spice Latte, going to bed early, watching a movie in bed, etc.
Your Comments Are Welcome!!
By Debra W. Gould, MS
I work for a company that is doing good things for people. I have a contract opportunity with a good balance of independence and teamwork. I’m working on projects that help to move the business forward. Then it hit me. I was happy in my business endeavor, and I wasn’t used to that feeling.
There are three important ways to keep employees happy in their jobs:
1. Recognize even routine jobs.
Employees are motivated when they can see the impact of their work. It can be as simple as email recognition to the team member who is always the first to the office or even the employee who cleaned out the coffee pot in the break room. People like to be recognized and feel valued.
2. Reward outstanding work.
Recognize those employees who do a great job or go above and beyond the call of duty. The employee will feel value and will set an example for coworkers to follow. So give kudos to the team member who went the extra mile to get an important RFP out the door. Please exercise caution against overemphasizing one employee though, as that can breed resentment, so be sure the spread the recognition around.
3. Understand what really matters to your employees.
Make sure those little feel-good perks actually hit home. Use surveys, focus groups and interviews to get information about the rewards that matter. For some employees, it's about money. Others are delighted by an evening out on the boss’s dime, or when they're treated to lunch. Earning a half-day off or the ability to have some flexibility in work time, when possible, can also be powerful ways to keep employees motivated to perform.
No work environment is perfect, but being happy at work isn’t so hard. It just takes some mental fine-tuning.
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: email@example.com and
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by Carole Copeland Thomas, MBA, CDMP
Last week I had the privilege of working with seven remarkable young teenagers who participated in a FREE week long workshop called JSHOP. Sponsored by the National Association of Black Journalists. JSHOP transformed these students from curious young adults to working journalists in five short days.
The vision of veteran journalist Russell Lacour JSHOP is in its fifth year, with a goal of bringing out the best in student critical thinking.
The NABJ JSHOP is an opportunity for high school students all over the country to experience a hands-on journalism workshop in conjunction with the NABJ national conference.
Held in Boston between the Hynes Convention Center and Boston University the students crafted story ideas, were given deadlines and covered key events during the 39th Annual Convention of the National Association of Black Journalists.
At the end of an intense week, the students completed a newsletter and several video clips featuring their personal profiles and the convention's Town Hall meeting.
I congratulate Russell and his team of seven faculty members, the parents who encouraged their children to participate and the students themselves who worked long hours to complete their assignments. No one dropped out of the program. Every student graduated! It was indeed a joyous opportunity to shape the lives of student power in action.
Visit their website and read the student articles and learn more about JSHOP:
To learn more aobut the National Association of Black Journalists visit:
Your comments are welcome.
By Michelle Porchia
We have four to five generations of women alive right now. In the workplace we have supervisors, mangers and leaders in their 20's responsible for staff that are older and have much more work experience. When I was a corporate trainer, I often advised more senior workers (work wise and age wise) on how to work effectively with their younger supervisors and colleagues.
This is not about generations though. I want women to understand the value of encouraging, teaching and sharing your experiences with younger women. Conversely, more experienced women can learn from the younger women as well.
I have had many mentees and our relationship has been mutually beneficial, as I would hope all mentor/mentee relationships would be. I’ve asked them what they wanted me to share with them, I shared what they wanted and more. I also learned tremendously from them. One thing I learned from my INROADS advisees was to lighten up. I have stayed in touch with all my mentees and many of my INROADS advisees. Several of them have brought me in to their organizations and/or companies as a speaker or trainer. They’ve also referred people (not just women) who became my coaching clients. When I moved to North Carolina, many gave me names of people they knew to network with.
I conduct workshops for youth. My two oldest granddaughters have given me ideas, information and helped me to understand so much about high school and middle school aged behavior and their thought processes. I have learned so much from my granddaughters and I have a great deal of respect for the two oldest. I have imparted much wisdom, knowledge and experience to them and I have gained so much from them. Again, during my transition to NC, when I was grappling with some things, my oldest daughter reminded me of some of the philosophies I have shared with her over the years.
There are more women in higher positions, in different industries and trailblazers than there were when I was growing up. In fact, when I was growing up, the only women I saw were actors and actresses. I was blessed to have good role models about life. My grandmother was even-tempered. My aunt Gerri taught me the importance of the image I projected by the way I dressed and took care of myself. My aunt (by marriage) Joan showed me that you could be assertive and graceful. She was (is) beautiful, worked in corporate America, had a great sense of humor, was (is) a wonderful cook and was able to stand up for herself. I still look to her for advice. My mother, though I struggled with our relationship as many mothers and daughters do, taught me the importance of education, having a strong work ethic and taught me about accepting cultural differences and exposed me to so many cultural aspects of life. My mother was a concert pianist and an opera singer who never realized her dream. She was a civil worker in Detroit and I don’t remember her ever missing a day of work for illness. I have developed wonderful relationships with some of my younger cousins and continue to learn from them. One cousin has pursued many of her dreams with much success. She has been a news anchor, a director of diversity and now is the president and founder of her own company, Lothery and Associates. Another cousin of mine is a cancer warrior and survivor. She was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in two areas of her body. She has gone through all the treatment, fought the battle and is now cancer clear. She did it all with style and grace and a smile. She now speaks to
women who have been newly diagnosed with cancer. The nurses and doctors couldn’t believe how she always came to treatments looking glamorous and with high energy and a positive outlook.
We have a responsibility to mentor, sponsor, and guide, encourage and support the women that are following in our footsteps and creating their own paths. We also, even as the older person, can learn from them as well...it’s not too late. We are our sisters’ keeper.
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By Michelle Porchia
In March I spoke at a Sisterhood Celebration weekend at a church in Raleigh, NC. I spoke on “Taking Off the Masks in Roles and Relationships.” This article is not a replication of my presentation; it is, however, another train of thought about our roles in relationships. I’m focusing on work relationships in this article, although I feel the points can also relate to personal relationships.
Connecting: We meet people under various circumstances. We never know what will come out of our meeting. There is a saying, “People come into your life for a reason, season or a lifetime.” I suggest that we are open to meeting people without expectation of the purpose of the connection.
Though I am a speaker, presenter and life coach, I am also a very strong introvert. People are surprised and don’t believe it when I tell them that. The point is, I understand that some of you may be thinking “I’m shy" or “I’m not comfortable meeting people", etc. I suggest that you just allow yourself to be open to whoever may come your way. When I go to events, I set a goal to meet at least three people I don’t know.
Communicating: Communication is very important. Think before you speak. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” (Stephen Covey) Set expectations up front as to how you are going to interact/work together. Listen. Many people don’t listen to understand, they listen to respond (you’ve heard this many times). Become a good listener. Be open to hearing, and clarify what you have heard.
Collaborating is being able to work with another and to cooperate. Basically, each person brings his/her knowledge, experience, skills, thoughts, etc., to a situation and, through connecting and communicating, infusing what each person brings for the benefit of the agreed upon goal.
Ebony Speakers came together in part by using this formula. We connected at several NSA conferences. We communicated what we were doing and where we wanted to take our messages/businesses. We collaborated and created the Ebony Speakers.
What makes all of this work together for the good is being authentic, open, honest and vulnerable. Collaborating is very prominent these days. Connecting, communicating and collaborating can open many doors, opportunities and possibilities.
by Debra Gould, MS
When times are tough, it's tempting for managers and business owners alike, to hunker down and wait it out. Competition increases, and tempers can get strained.
Instead of focusing on scarcity (scarcity of profits, customers, suppliers, etc.), there is another option: we could focus on confidence. We could reach out instead of pulling back.
Here are a few ideas to help get you started:
1. Form Strategic Alliances
Chances are your business is loosely related to other businesses in your area, servicing the same customers. For instance, customers who use a CPA probably enlist the services of a professional investment counselor, or a lawyer. The people in these industries could form a strategic alliance and offer customers a reduced rate if they bought "package" services.
Strategic alliances can equally be used in the workplace. Make sure to identify other people in roles that complement yours. This way, you can service clients (or even your employer) by using a tag-team approach. This can dramatically impact your or your business in a positive way.
2. Develop Joint Ventures
A joint venture is when two companies agree to share resources and capital in order to succeed as a team.
Why think about a joint venture? Well, joint ventures can be a wonderful way to increase your market share and revenues, develop new technology, reduce costs or eliminate barriers of entry into your market.
Most of the time joint ventures work much like strategic alliances. Often, however, competitors will form a joint venture if they can both bring unique skills or technology to the table.
The idea behind the joint venture? Don't reinvent the wheel, connect with the one who has!
3. Take Referrals to the Next Level
Are you acting on your referrals? It's surprising how many people let those gold mines go to waste, or don't actively try to get referrals.
Now's the time to take your referrals to the next level. As a business owner, offer incentives to your colleagues and customers to get referrals, and make sure you follow up within 24 hours once they start coming in. Make sure all your customers have your marketing materials to hand out, and make it a goal to provide exceptional customer service so that you keep getting those referrals.
As a manager or employee, keep up with performance reviews (especially the positive feedback). Encourage managers and peers that speak highly of you to document their feedback. Keep a file of your 'testimonials' for present and future opportunities. You never know when a better opportunity may arise, so it's best to dig your well before you're thirsty.
It can be tempting to think that there aren't enough opportunities to go around. But when you approach business and marketing from a "scarcity" mindset, that's exactly what you're going to get. Move forward and take action with confidence instead, and see what happens!
Book Debra, Michelle, Nancy or Carole for your next speaking engagement or training event.