By Debra Gould, MS
Part One In A Four Part Series
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
Nowadays more meetings are being held virtually—phone, webinars, Skype, etc. Below are suggestions on how to have a productive and effective meeting where people feel heard, understood, and time is used well.
People listen differently and hear differently. I'm sure you've replied "that's not what I said" to someone who has repeated what they thought they heard you say. I call this "different styles."
Main styles of communication:
Keep in mind that we all have elements of each style. What I am talking about are the main (strong) elements of communication styles. I am not labeling or putting people in a box. My intent is to help folks realize that it is often communication styles that impact our giving and receiving information, not our personalities. When we understand how we communicate and how others communicate, we can become more effective communicators and listeners.
For example: I have a tendency to ask a lot of questions. Some people saw this as interrogation. Others saw it as questioning them personally. I had to learn to adjust the way I asked questions and how many questions I asked. I also can be very direct and matter of fact and get right to the point. Some find this offensive. I’ve learned to “soften” my communication. It is not about changing who you are. It is about being heard and understood, and hearing and understanding others.
Phone Meeting Tips:
When we understand our communication style and how it impacts or off puts others and then we try to understand how others communicate, we can become more effective communicators and listeners. It will also help you to have more effective meetings.
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 Nancy J. Lewis, MS, PHR, RCC
In this fast paced, ever changing world where we must learn to do more with less, we must be grounded in who we are. To cope with the changing world of work, diverse customers and employees, the generational divide, rightsizing, downsizing, whatever the term used, we must have a strong sense of self.
Developing a better you requires recognizing that everything begins from within. We must remind ourselves of the unique gifts we possess that make us special. Too often, we focus on our failures and forget the successes we have had in life. Our failures help us grow because they challenge us to find a way to persevere until the victory is won. Our successes propel us forward to continue to run the race before us because we have what it takes to succeed.
1. Believe in yourself.
You must know that you are unique and decide to validate yourself. You must have positive self-talk and recognize that failure is not final, merely a steppingstone to greatness. Commit to measuring yourself with yourself and not someone else. I once read you can be a first rate you or a second rate somebody else. Affirm today, I am confident, courageous, and capable.
2. Surround yourself with positive people.
People with negative attitudes are energy draining and when your energy is zapped, you have to go and get recharged. Is it always easy to have positive people around? Absolutely not! We must continue to help others by suggesting sources of inspiration such as self-help books, motivational tapes, and spiritual literature. Then we must challenge individuals to be willing to take charge of their life and the things they can change. Often, you will find yourself spending less time with persons because you can see they really do not want to change. These negative people are often dream busters and if you let them, they will chatter your dreams. Be careful who you share your dreams with and do what you must do for yourself to remain focused and positive. Each you must decide to embrace life with an attitude of gratitude. Affirm today, I will focus on the positive things in life.
3. Visualize success.
In order to visualize success, you must see your dreams and goals with clarity and have a plan. Steven Covey states you must begin with the end in mind. The Bible states where there is no vision the people perish. Is it so important to have a blueprint to guide and direct your path as you work towards achieving your dreams and goals in life. Commit to developing a plan for the dreams and goals you have set for yourself in your personal and professional life. Affirm today, I will take one positive action that will lead me one step closer to reaching my goals.
4. Welcome and embrace change.
How many of you love change? Most of us resist change because of uncertainty and the risks it brings. The only constant in life is that things will change. Our ability to cope with change will help us reduce the stress change often brings. Many of us our currently facing some form of change in our lives, empty nesters, taking care of aging parents, family crisis, jobs being downsized or eliminated, mergers and acquisitions and the list goes on and on. It is vital we find ways to embrace and welcome changes that will take place on our personal and professional lives. Change allows us the opportunity to expand our boundaries and grow. Affirm today, I will welcome and embrace change.
5. Celebrate successes everyday in your life.
When you achieve a major milestone in your life, how do you reward yourself? Start a happy file, smile file, or success journal today. When someone sends you a note, an e-mail message, or a letter that lets you know they appreciate you, put it in that file. Start to focus on the nice things people say and do for you and help them begin their happy file by sharing with them in written form, a note of appreciation. When you start recognizing the successes and strengths of others, it is amazing how much more people start to recognize yours. What you send out to others returns to you. Begin the habit of rewarding yourself for the milestones that move you closer to your goals. These milestones may be big or small. It really doesn’t matter the size only that you recognize them. The important thing is to celebrate because small successes lead to big successes. Affirm today, I will start my happy file.
6. Love Yourself.
What kind of self-talk goes on in your head? What do you say about yourself to others? Learn how to look in the mirror and declare that you love the reflection you see. There is no one else like you in the universe. You are special and always remember that. Love you for the wonderful person you are. Affirm today, I value and love myself.
7. Maintain a winning attitude about life.
Life may not always deal you the hand you want, but learn how to play the hand you are dealt with a winning disposition. Maintaining a winning attitude means that when challenges come, you recognize there is a miracle in your struggle. When you are able to maintain a winning attitude about life, you draw people and circumstances that will be a blessing to you. In life nothing happens by chance, everything is divinely orchestrated. So go forward and keep your winning attitude about life and watch your garden of greatness grow. Affirm today, I will maintain a winning attitude about life.
Nancy J. Lewis is the president of Progressive Techniques, Inc. based in Fayetteville, Georgia where the theme of her company is
“Developing a Better YOU."
Nancy can be reached at (770) 964-5533 or email: email@example.com or website: www.progressivetechniquesinc.com.
Your Comments Are Welcome.
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
Often we are told to live in the moment. For the most part I agree with this. We are so busy multi-tasking, thinking about “what next,” etc., that we often miss the joy of what is happening now or miss the journey trying to achieve the goal.
There are times when we need to step out of the moment to gain a new or different perspective. Many times we are so caught up in a problem or things not going as we thought that we need to step back and see the situation with different eyes. I remember when I was growing up and I didn’t see something right in front of me, my mother would say, “You can’t see the forest for the trees." I think many times all we see are the trees and we miss the beauty of the forest and all that it brings.
Seeing With Different Eyes
Hearing With Different Ears
Sometimes we need to step back or step out of a situation to gain a clearer perspective, understanding or vision. When we do this, it can help us to move forward, adjust or change to gain a new momentum and/or a clearer vision.
Your Comments Are Always 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.
Your Comments Are Welcome
By Debra W. Gould, MS
Working in this economy can be challenging. Most of us fortunate to have jobs must do more with less and take over roles our descriptions never called for. It can all leave you feeling like someone else!
Here are some suggestions to motivate you and a call to action:
- You must know yourself to make your job work for you and help you get things done.
- Engage in conversation with others and ask the question, “What it really means to "be real at work" and why 90% of working people struggle with this idea?”
- Find interesting opportunities to dialogue and ask others, “How to get through your day, everyday, positively no matter where you work (or who you work for)?”
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 website: www.gouldassoc.com
By Debra W. Gould, MS
When you communicate, are you communicating with love, care, and service? Watch out for the language you use that speaks to your life. The language you speak to yourself determines your attitude.
Here are a few practical tips:
- Make your words "speak power" as a means of communication that will determine the action you take for your relationship.
- Avoid words like "I wish" because it means surrender. Do say, "I will" because it means you are determined.
- Your attitude determine your energy level
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 website: www:gouldassoc.com
Book Debra, Michelle, Nancy or Carole for your next speaking engagement or training event.