Self-Esteem Tips from Donald Trump

LOS ANGELES - DEC 16:  Donald Trump at the NBCUniversal TCA Pres

We are three weeks into 2016. Your New Year’s resolutions “should” be a habit, now, correct?

Don’t feel bad if what you set out to accomplish on January 1 of this year hasn’t happened yet—or that you haven’t made any progress. You’re definitely not alone, as only 8% of people are successful at achieving their resolutions.

My job today is to make you feel better about yourself—whether you set resolutions or not. To do so, I’m drawing inspiration from the man many of us love to hate: Donald Trump. Yes, that’s right. Donald Trump.

So, take a deep breath and glean some wisdom from someone you think may have none for you.

New Year’s Tips from Donald Trump

(Is this disclaimer necessary? Doubtful but just in case . . . I have no idea what is inside Trump’s head, and I’ve never worked with him.)

1. You are awesome.

Trump’s belief in himself is stunning. It is the one thing I love about him. He displays an unwavering conviction that he is a remarkable individual of amazing intellect and spectacular business knowhow.

What would this year feel like if you took inspiration from Trump’s fantastical self-worth and devoted more energy to believing in yourself—your emotions, your words, your decisions—rather than faulting yourself for what you haven’t done?

2. People need to know how awesome you are. So tell them.

Trump thinks he is awesome, and he wants everyone to believe the same about him. From where he sits, everything he touches turns to gold, and he isn’t shy about stating this to us.

Trump’s strategy to convince people of his supremacy is one I want you to steer clear of: no need to declare loudly, repeatedly, relentlessly that you are the best.

Instead, start small by acknowledging when you are complimented. Most of us downplay the attention we receive for accomplishments with a humble response such as, “Oh, it wasn’t such a big deal.”

In its place, be ready to accept and relish attention you receive for good work. Say something like, “Thanks—I’m happy with what I did.”

Then, allow yourself to become more comfortable with sharing success. Bragging isn’t all bad. Accept congratulations and celebrate achievements.

3. Bold Steps. State them.

Trump has some bold ideas. Well, perhaps “crazy,” although subjective to me, is a more accurate way to describe his suggestions to make America great again.

Trump alienates many of us because his ideas for things seem outrageous. They seem too far-fetched, too impossible, too bold.

But they are daring. His plans are big and brave. He’s not thinking conservatively at all when he says what he will do if he is elected president. There is no moderation of bold steps coming from his brain.

Capture the energy Trump is channeling in some of the audacious ideas he shares. What are some of your “crazy” ideas? What do you want to do that feels outlandish or irrational? I’m guessing the censor in your head is telling you your ideas are foolish.

Well, compared to a 2,000 mile-long wall, your ideas about what you want to do or how you want to feel in 2016 are ones many of the people around you probably want to hear.

What other Donald Trump-inspired tips can you add to this list?  Leave a comment below.

Be More Like The Grinch than Santa This Holiday Season

Be More Like The Grinch than Santa This Holiday Season

Greenchy FaceI just got a call from the Grinch, and he is irritated that so many people lounge around this month. They don’t just join in the holiday spirit—they are the holiday spirit.

I told the Grinch to take a chill pill and that I’d handle it from here: no slacking on being a great leader in December. I have five ways to channel the Grinch’s critical nature and marry it with the jovial spirit of Santa.

1. No (or maybe just one) cocktail for you

Normal people often do stupid things when they drink. In a work setting, managers can do things that cost them a livelihood or a reputation when they drink too much.

Alcohol—“the great elixir of truth”—turns on the thoughts in your head that you haven’t yet shared with your team (all that feedback you’ve been putting off).

You share gripes about team members with the wrong people—most likely one of your own team members.  Wrong move.

Two or three cocktails into a company party, and you forget you are in charge. You’re thinking, I’m one of the gang! We’re all dancing together and gossiping and, wow, building teamwork! Go team!

Wrong. Lots of alcohol + inexperienced, incompetent, or insecure leader = loss of teamwork.

You haven’t been one of the gang for a long time and never will be again. It’s OK. Have one drink and then play with your phone.

Irked I’m cutting you off with one drink? Read on—you will get another chance for a cocktail.

2. Wrap things upbut nothing shiny and new

What has to get done before the year ends? What is already on your plate that has a deadline of December 31, 2015?

Realistically, you have too much on your plate all the time, so don’t try to super hero the holidays and fly out the door on December 24 with an exclamation of Yes, I got it all done!

Don’t start new projects—becoming bewitched by all the holiday lights around you.

The phrase “something shiny and new” fits perfectly here. Resist the distraction of a fresh task vs. a stale one.

If you haven’t started on an initiative by December 1, put it off until 2016. You won’t get it done. It’s a hopeless cause. It will become a distraction from the more crucial items that must get done in calendar year.

Make a list and check it twice. But add nothing.

3. Don’t give presents but foot the bill

I have two reasons why leaders can skip giving gifts: the first reason you know and second one you need to learn.

1. We all have enough stuff.  Resist the temptation to give for the act of giving.

2. You don’t gift well.  You think you do.

Your faith in your gift giving expertise guiding you towards the ideal item for every last person on your team will result in two remarkable gifts for two team members (your favorites—come on, you know you have them) and all the rest slogging home yet another item for the Salvation Army bag in the closet.

The Salvation Army wants your money—not your stuff.

In lieu of junk, take the team out to lunch and foot the bill. Kick off the celebration by ordering the first drink (yes, alcohol—told you you’d have another chance). Reasonable imbibing during the holidays reminds the team—and you—that you are normal, too.

4. Get the protocol right“Merry Christmas” doesn’t belong on the cup

I think Starbucks got too much flack for their solid red coffee cups, but the idea behind their safe decision is kosher.

News flash: not everyone celebrates Christmas or understands the spirit expressed by so many people at this time of the year. Isn’t that what the Grinch has been saying since you read the book or saw the show or movie the first time?

Your job this month is still that of a people leader—not a holiday caroler. Therefore, give yourself a 10-minute lesson  about the additional holidays being celebrated this time of the year.

Leaders who see getting to know the person a normal part of business are nodding now and will confirm I’m no longer channeling the Grinch.

You will build lasting teamwork by acknowledging and speaking to the other ways people on your team celebrate their lives and their homes. This is the concept expressed by #5 on Gallup’s 12 questions that best measure employee engagement: Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?

5. Expect people to be checked outand remind them that’s what PTO is for

The spirit of distraction surrounds us: so many holidays, parties, kids’ activities, etc. People come in late with hangovers, and they leave early to pick up sugar-loaded kids.

There is a purpose for PTO or paid time off aka vacation: to use it!

To stop a trending of people slowly checking out without checking email, remind them of the vacation policy. Encourage them to use it—and to let you know now when they will be available and when they won’t.

Your CFO will love you because he/she probably knows that unused vacation is an unwieldy liability for your organization. For US companies overall, Project Time Off’s research claims unused vacation time is almost a quarter of a trillion dollar liability. Or an average liability of $1,898 per employee.

So, back to the Grinch. He doesn’t want to hold that money in his account for employees to use vacation when they finally get around it to. He wants you to use it now. You don’t have to enjoy it (he’d prefer you don’t)—but he wants you to use it.

What’s your POV? Are you more like the Grinch or Santa this holiday season?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Wishing you a happy and productive holiday season and may you lead with ease,


Spring Cleaning for Leaders

Housewife With BroomHas Spring sprung for the embattled Northeast and Midwest of the United States or Europe yet? I’m seeing wet roads and capri pants vs. snowpiles and puffy jackets when I look at my Facebook feed, so I feel it is safe to say, yes, spring is here for the Northern Hemisphere.

Don’t worry—I won’t foist any Martha Stewart cleaning tips or Gwyneth Paltrow spring detox recommendations on you. Spring in the air makes me think about spring cleaning for leaders.

Yes, that’s right. Spring cleaning—the annual ritual once practiced solely by housewives with coiffures secured in kerchiefs—has a place on your calendar, too.

How can the concept of spring cleaning help a leader of people?

First, there is the obvious way to consider the part spring cleaning plays in a leader’s success:

The physical environment of your workspace: your office or cube (or wherever you work at home).

I know my physical workspace affects my productivity and well-being. My office is not as neat as I want it to be—and it’s not as organized as I need it to be.

Taking a few minutes to dust my desk and bookshelves is a welcome distraction that makes me feel efficient and tidy. One Kleenex does the job. You don’t need to buy dust wipes, but, sure, they’d do a better job.

  1. Dust to improve the look and clean of your desk and workspace.
  2. Pick up and move items vs. work around them: It takes less time to lift up that paperweight than work around it—and you’ll do a better job.

I think a dusty desk speaks to your brand as a leader. Dust says unused, not occupied, not present. Messy.  Being “too busy” to dust, throw out snack wrappers, cups of dried gummi bears, etc. is a lousy excuse. No solid leader is too busy to consider his or her workspace as a place to engage.

Once you’ve dusted off your desk, consider the figurative nature of the word “dust”:

In terms of EQ, are you muddled or focused? What do you need to let go of? Clear out of your head?  What to-do items are lingering?

These dusty items may be emails you’re not going to send. Or lunch meetings that simply won’t get scheduled for a quarter.

  1. Write down what is covered with dust—still lingering around, waiting for a decision.
  2. Use ten minutes to write down these tasks.
  3. Now, tackle or toss.  Which items—thoughts, feelings, worries, random little action items clogging your brain—can you dust away from your mental windscreen so a better view is possible?

Dust is a physical and mental distraction.  Clean your workspace and a bit of headspace, so you execute towards your goals vs. dwell upon what, *sigh*, is simply sitting there.

What type of spring cleaning are you doing or will you commit to doing over the next week?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Best wishes from the Bay Area,


Bouyancy and the New Year

Happy February!

Can you believe we are already two months into the year?  Last month many of us started off the new year with resolutions: What should I change? What should I do new? What do I want this year vs. last?

But then as the month’s go by, meetings pile up and illness creeps in these resolutions quickly get dismissed.  At least that’s the way it has been for me.  So rather than giving you more things to do, I am simply going to tell you a little story about a man I met a couple of years ago.

I met Daniel at my friend and client Kelly’s house. She holds a regular author and thinker salon, and it has been a cozy living room where I have met some amazing people.

I’m a huge fan of Daniel’s books (check out Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, and Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working for Yourself, and of course I wanted to have my photo taken with him. I asked him, “Nerdy or OK to take a picture with you?” He laughed, and said, “It’s cool. Not nerdy.”

The topic of Daniel’s newest book, To Sell is Human, is…well, selling. This subject is one I want and need to learn more about, and it’s one that scares me at the same time. Selling being “human” I can understand immediately: many of us do not consider selling a skill or tactic we willingly use regularly or want to employ.

Clients tell me I don’t sell them on my services. They do not feel as if I meet them with a proposal in hand and spend initial meetings together discussing what I can do for them.

This is always lovely (and a relief) to hear because I have no idea how to sell. And no training. And no desire to be selling. Yet it is something I do in many ways, to develop my role and business.

Daniel’s research opens our eyes to the numbers of people who engage in some type of selling every day of their role. It is not just a car salesperson who is selling to you. It is the peer who asks you to help him with a project. It is your manager delegating a task to you. It is your child asking you for TV time.

The ABC Daniel speaks of in his book stands for “Attunement, Buoyance, and Clarity” — not “Always Be Closing.”

I will focus on Bouyance this year. I do a fair job of it — bouncing back — but it’s not a strength. Rejection is not something I can dismiss easily.

I hope you read this book and select which ABC you will spend energy towards, as you sell — as a human.  And if you have already read the book, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Again, Happy February!

Kind regards,


Tough Conversation of the Month: Asking for a Raise

top-performerTough Conversation: Asking for a Raise

Highlight your strengths. This is a business discussion, so focus on how your strengths have added value to the business. Remind your manager of your key skills—hard and soft—and how valuable they are. Share what training you’ve done, the ways you’ve kept up and maybe ahead in your field. “Here are 3 examples of how my work this past year has increased revenue/market share/retained customers/built our brand . . .”

State what you want: the number. And, again, stick to business. Don’t bring the personal into the picture: buying a house or having a child isn’t a compelling reason to ask for a raise. In addition, don’t compare yourself to your peers. Do your
research on comparable positions and salaries—trying to get as many facts (not stories) as possible. “Looking at similar roles in this area of the country, I feel the salary that accurately reflects my contributions is . . .”

If the answer is “No,” don’t take the rejection personally. It’s OK to ask why the answer was no. It’s not OK to argue with your manager; doing so will almost certainly not change his/her mind.

Thank your manager for his/her time and thoughts and express your disappointment in carefully stated words: “I’m disappointed” or “I wish the answer were different.”

If you wish to broach the subject again, one strategy is to wait until review time, as that’s when most merit increases or raises are given. Continue to build your case of how you’ve dramatically affected the business.



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