The Art of Stronger Leadership: 7 Leadership Lessons From Learning to Paint

Do you feel like you spend too much time in your head? Wish you had a creative outlet? As a leader you can get tethered to the office, your computer, the phone or the conference room and may neglect your more creative side. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been trying to bring more of my fun, imaginative side to my work. Many years of technical writing and presenting in academia developed habits that are hard to break. Now, as a trainer and coach, I want to bring more play to what I do for me and my clients.

And if what I see on social media is any indication, a lot of people are getting excited about flexing their creative muscles. Painting studios are popping up everywhere, as are craft nights, photography tours and workshops, dance classes and all kinds of opportunities to find the right fit to make time to get your creative juices flowing.

I’ve taken a writing and acting class ( that was fantastic (more about that continuing collaboration in another post about the Finding Your Voice) with free writes and acting exercises that really pushed me beyond my comfort zone while marveling at the talents of the others in the class.

I also took a watercolor painting class and LOVED it – I was even happy with my first piece of art: a watercolor painting of a rose.


I starting taking more lessons this year and have learned so much about painting, color and composition but also about myself, my style and how the creative process can inform my work as a trainer and a leader. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned about leadership from painting:

1. Get the right tools. Before I started, my painting teacher sent me a supply list of the types and sizes of brushes, colors and brands of paint and even type of paper I should invest in to get the most out of class. I went to a local craft's store, but they didn’t have a lot of what I was looking for. I picked up a few things, some better than others, and figured, “How bad can they be?”

Well, I answered that question quickly when one brush started shedding bristles almost immediately. The inferior paper didn’t take the pigment the way the good one did, and some of the paints weren’t as vibrant as others.

As a leader, you have to have the right tools too. That might be a computer program, a new piece of equipment or a new hire who’s the right person for the job. Never underestimate the importance of investing in the best tools to get the job done.

2. Get a mentor. With any new endeavor, it helps to have a guide who has more experience than you do. Mary-Gail King has been my instructor, teacher and mentor in all things painting. She shares the technical skills I need to learn but even more importantly helps me find my own style and strengths as a painter. She also shows me how to make my vision a reality and pushes me out of my comfort zone.

As a leader, you are a coach and mentor to your team. Helping to support them and their strengths is a key aspect of that role. But you also need your own support system- a mentor, a coach or a master mind group to give you that support and perspective to help you do your best. There's nothing like some objective feedback from like-minded people.

3. Be patient. Watercolors can be tricky. If you paint next to a part of the piece that’s still wet, paint can run into the next area. Sometimes this effect can be awesome; other times, it can feel like a disaster.

It’s so hard to wait-like watching water come to a boil or watching paint dry (Actually, it IS watching paint dry).

As a leader, you also need to be patient. Working on projects, learning new skills, reaching a goal, developing an employee, can take time. Patience is a virtue that may require some practice.

4. Get some distance. Every painting can benefit from stepping away to gain more perspective. You can get a whole new view of a painting, bringing to light where it needs some more detail, color, texture or shading.

As a leader, you can always benefit from a little distance. Maybe you need to literally step back from a situation and let others work it out. Maybe you need a break. Or maybe just a fresh set of eyes and objective ear to process what your next steps will be.

5. Take action. Sometimes you just need to start. When I sit down to paint, I don’t always feel ready. I chat and look at colors and play around before putting paint to paper. Often it’s better if I get something going.

In a recent class, I was hemming and hawing and realized I needed to be “a woman of action.” It was a perfect metaphor for a number of other things going on that I was pussyfooting around about and not getting accomplished. That conclusion released my productivity in so many other areas. I’m a woman of action. Woohoo!!

Every leader needs to be decisive, and some situations require fast action. Developing the confidence to make a quick yet thoughtful decision takes some practice, experience and the ability to listen to your gut. Painting has definitely helped me do that.

6. It’s ok to make mistakes. We all make mistakes, especially when trying something new. As a novice painter, I make plenty of them. I’m still not exactly sure about the color wheel and types of paints, so my work can go in an unintended direction. What to do?

  • Sometimes you can fix it. A little blot of a paper towel or wet brush can help.
  • Sometimes you just need to start over. My first still life included a bunch of beets that started to look obscene. When I showed it to my teenage daughter, we both laughed so hard we literally ended up on the floor crying. I had to take the loss and move on.
  • Sometimes you just need to accept a mistake and keep going. In a burst of excitement, I splashed some water on my favorite painting, leaving a mark in the sweet spot of the sunset. Oh well. Trying to fix it could result in worse, so I decided to leave it as a feature of the piece and put the brush down.

As a leader, it can be hard to walk away, to recognize when a situation is worth salvaging or needs to be let go. No matter what the solution, it’s always important to own your mistakes, learn from them, and move on.

7. Set aside time for growth. We don’t always make the time we need to flex our creative muscles, but it’s so good to give another part of your brain a chance to get a workout. Just like setting time aside to exercise, review financials or do performance reviews, it's important to set aside time to be creative.

I’ve committed to myself a few hours a week of a painting class, writing class or some other artistic endeavor to keep those juices flowing.

cambriaHere’s my favorite piece so far. I’m really proud of the work and feel like it does make me a stronger leader by being more attuned to the moment and more responsive to others. Plus the image just makes me feel good.

Do you want to get in touch with your creative side? Would you like to see how getting out of your head can make you a stronger leader?

I’m collaborating with two artists - my painting teacher, Mary-Gail, and Connie Schuh, owner of a local painting studio - to offer a new workshop: The Art of Stronger Leadership: Paint Your Vision.

This 3-hour course (June 4th, 6-9pm) will help you get in touch with your strengths as a leader through stories and art. We’ll use your leadership successes and dreams as a catalyst to inspire and fuel your creativity. You’ll come out with more confidence, a piece of original artwork and some of your own lessons about the art of stronger leadership.

Space is limited to 20, so check out the registration information here.

How has art inspired your work and your capacity as a leader? Please share your thoughts (or art!) below.

The Year of the Coach and Other Professional Development Trends for 2015

Wondering what’s hot in leadership development and talent management for 2015? I attended a webinar hosted by The Marcus Buckingham Company (TMBC), a leader in strengths-based professional development, and I’m excited to report the trends as predicted by TMBC founder Marcus Buckingham and CEO Jason Averbook. As a strengths zealot and longtime follower of Marcus and his work, I wanted to hear what these guys see as relevant for talent management this year. TMBC is calling for a radical shift in the way we manage people (more on The Year of the Coach below), and noted 5 trends for 2015.

1. Personalization – Remember how excited you’d get when you were a kid and found a little license plate or key chain with your name on it? Or how disappointed you'd be when your not so common name was nowhere to be found (i.e., Gloria)? And how super excited you were when you finally found one? Everyone wants a personalized experience, including in the workplace. It captures our attention, like those little license plates.

The personalization trend in talent development can be implemented by providing training and coaching that’s individualized, intimate and focused on the person, not the organization.

Buckingham gave the example of personalization in onboarding, which should be less about why the company is great and more about why the person is a great fit for the organization. We need to focus more on our people's strengths and let them see how they can be an asset to our organization.

Jason Averbook said it well:

Averbrook talent quote

This is the power of a strengths-based approach: it sets the stage for a personalized coaching experience, focused on the unique strengths of each individual on the team.

What’s your vision for increasing employee engagement this year? How can you get the best out of each member of the team with a personalized approach? What do you think would happen if you asked each person what would help them work at their best?

2. Focus on the team leader. You know that the team leader is the one who makes things happen. Without that local oversight and structure, a project can fall apart. The team leader sets the tone, creates structure and motivation and brings together performance and engagement.

TMBC suggests it’s time to go micro. If we’re measuring employee engagement, we need to be asking the right questions of the right people at the right time, related to the projects people are working on, the teams where people are functioning. And the team leader is central to this process of increasing engagement.

buckingham on teamsThe trend is to give team leaders the tools they need to function at their best and to offer personalized advice, coaching and recommendations for action to their teams. That's what will create more effective organizations.

#3. The shift from Big Data to the Right Data. Over the past year, big data has been a big thing, with technology tools enabling us to cull information across millions of data points. But that boils everything down to an average mass of information.

Remember trend #1? Big data is far from personalized.

Another issue with the data we typically collect is the amount of evaluation error in the multi-source performance appraisal (e.g., 360 degree assessment). We keep using these tools, assuming that with enough time and training, we can teach people to reliably rate others on their performance.

However, recent studies reveal that no matter how much time and training, we can never become reliable raters of someone else’s performance. Our ratings are considered to be part of an "idiosyncratic rater effect" which is more about us than the people we're rating. About 61% of a rating can be attributed to this type of bias (if you're interested in the research, you can access it here).

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That’s a lot. And makes you realize we need to rethink the tools we’re using. Again, a strengths-based, personalized approach can help us collect and apply the right data to help people work at their best.

#4. Feedback is not coaching. Thank you, Marcus! This is an important distinction to make. Feedback is typically focused on the details of what’s not succeeding in what you're doing now. It's threatening, typically unwelcome and evokes defensiveness. Not good!

Coaching is typically focused on the future, a productive process that looks at strengths, successes and solutions. It's the type of positive attention we all seek. Attention that makes us better.

In fact, Marcus proclaimed 2015 The Year of the Coach.

He said, "We'll see companies more and more realizing that coaching is the fastest way to excellent performance." Can you imagine a sports team without a coach? A musician without a teacher or conductor? We don't question that coaching helps elicit and amplify a person's talents. People flourish into excellent performance with an excellent teacher or coach.

So this year, TMBC sees the trend of providing coach training for team leaders (see #2). According to a live poll of the webinar viewers, about 85% of managers spend less than 25% of their time coaching. How can we improve those numbers to help each member of the team be more effective and get the personalized coaching he or she needs?

The Year of the Coach!

I liked Buckingham’s suggestion to establish a coaching ritual to get team leaders and members in the habit of regular and ongoing coaching. It can be as little as 10 minutes a week, as long as it’s focused on strengths and helping people reach their project goals.

How can you practically implement coaching at a scale that’s needed in your organization? TMBC forecasts training that consists of simple, quick and usable learning modules that teach coaching skills. I like it!

#5 – Technology. The final trend is technology, which is an integral part of our lives.  This is how we work now, so this is how we should be helping people be at their best.

Expect mobile technology that will provide relevant information personalized (there's that word again) based on a set of assessment results. Think of an autoresponder, where you can schedule and drip personalized content to people based on their interests. This is becoming widely used in changing behavior in many realms, including healthcare, with programs that push health information based on your specific medical concern, whether diabetes, obesity or heart disease. An app can send a pushed message about  making healthy food choices in the late afternoon, when someone is considering what to have for dinner.

For professional development, TMBC is already doing this with the StandOut assessment and program. And they recently partnered with SurveyMonkey, so no doubt more cool stuff is on the horizon.

I think these trends are exciting and spot on. The discussion was rich and full of examples, too many to mention here.

If you'd like to view the entire webinar, check out the recording on YouTube:

And come back for Part 2 of this post, “Putting Trends into Action."

Wondering how to implement these trends in your own organization? Give me a call at 805-482-1625 or send me an email at and I’d be happy to help you find the right solutions to be on trend in talent management in 2015.

Can $50 Worth of Stickers and a Mason Jar Make Your Goals a Reality?

Did you do any New Year’s rituals or activities to get prepared for 2015? The case on resolutions is mixed, with some statistics showing that 92% of people do not keep them, though other studies have shown over 40% success after 6 months. Some may feel more comfortable setting intentions or goals for the year ahead, which are well-articulated and focused on process and small steps. Look back and reflect on your accomplishments in 2014. Celebrate your successes and decide what you want more of in your life. You can pick a word or a quote for the year. You can also do a vision board or create a container for notes about gratitude or happiness.

I must admit, this year I’ve done a bunch of these. I’ve been revising my business plan in a marketing program and working on my goals for the coming year.

I’m attending a vision board workshop, where we'll create collages with words and images that reflect what we want in the year ahead. I bought a bunch of fun stickers for that and a New Year's craft project with my family.

Yeah, I’m serious about laying things out and creating a solid plan for 2015.

Another thing that caught my eye on New Year's Day was a hashtag on Twitter: #3words.  Basically a challenge to come up with 3 words that you want to define your year.

After some deliberation, I decided on Focus, Enrichment and Gratitude (Persistence and Compassion are runners up). And here’s why:

Focus: Candidly, this is one of my big challenges. While I like to “focus” on my strengths, I don’t always focus on the tasks I need to complete. I am a notorious multi-tasker, even though I know I do better work when I’m doing one thing at a time. I’m also easily distracted by social media (I’m a fun-loving, relationship-oriented extrovert, after all), which can really wreck my – ahem – focus.

One thing that worked for me last year was using a version of the Pomodoro Technique –  choosing a simple task to accomplish and working on it for 25 minutes before taking a 5 minute break; then coming back for another 25. The trick is to do this with minimal distractions and work only on that one task. It’s amazing how much more I can accomplish when I close my browser and email program and put my phone on airplane mode. I may need to get a picture of a tomato for my vision board….

Enrichment: Are you a lifelong learner? If you're reading this, chances are yes!  I’m always taking a class or reading an article or going to a show or something that enriches me. I’m also keen to enrich others, which is why I love being a trainer and coach. As a result, enrichment seemed like a good word for the year.

After last year’s enriching experience of taking a writing and acting01afc5939363da54c87fddf76a66872112c7784e9d class, one way I've decided to flex my creative muscles this year is by taking a watercolor painting class. I’m really excited to see what I can create under the expert direction of a local artist. Here’s what I came up with just playing around in her studio over the weekend.

Gratitude: As a student of positive psychology, I’ve been delighted to see the explosion of research over the past few years around gratitude and other positive emotions. There’s an entire research institute at UC Berkeley devoted to understanding how experiences like gratitude, compassion, altruism and happiness are related to education, relationships, career and health. It's so simple yet so powerful.

Even though it seems simple, we are so focused on fixing problems that we're not always grateful for our accomplishments or even the little things that lift us up. This year, I'm working to keep gratitude front and center for myself, my family, my colleagues and clients. I like the following quote too.

"Everyone wants to be appreciated. So if you appreciate someone, don't keep it a secret." -- Mary Kay Ash, Entrepreneur

Last week I went to a local craft store and spent some time in the scrapbook supply aisle with all the stickers (holy cow!!). About $50 later, I was out of the store with sticker sheets in themes I knew would appeal to my family: musical notes, guitars, graduation symbols, inspiring quotes, and more. We sat down and decorated our jars and have been doing a pretty good job reminding each other to add a note every day. As a new habit, it might take some time for us to keep up, but we're working on it!


If you're feeling you'd like a little extra help working on your goals, visit my website to download your free workbook, “Strengths-Based Goal Setting.” This series of questions and activities will get you thinking about your goals through the lens of your past successes, strengths and achievements. Check it out!

What are the #3words you'd choose to define 2015? What other steps have you taken to prepare for the New Year? Comment below!

Healthcare in a Minute

Where did you get your last flu shot? At the doctor’s office or at your local pharmacy? I usually go to CVS, where the wait is short, plus I get 20% off my next purchase (can be real savings with a teenage girl in the house who always has a CVS list). But have you ever had a check-up for a sore throat, cough or back pain at the drug store?

blood pressure,  healthcare, clinicWith changes to healthcare laws that are necessitating increased access to care, the “minute clinic” or retail clinic is becoming a popular and widespread concept. With nearly 1,600 of them across the country in drug, grocery and big box stores, estimates predict these numbers will double in the next few years.

I saw my first “minute clinic” last year in the back of a Duane Reade in NYC. I was immediately impressed to see a nurse practitioner at a desk, ready and waiting for a customer. What a great idea to bring healthcare to the people!

I talked to someone who recently used a minute clinic because she wasn’t feeling well, was heading out on a business trip and knew she couldn’t get in to see her regular doctor. She was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. The NP discussed the treatment, the prescription was filled right at the store, and she was on her way. The next day, she received a voice messages from the minute clinic to find out how she was feeling, make sure she was taking the medication and inquire if she had made a follow-up appointment with her doctor. Since she felt good, was taking her meds and had made an appointment, she did not return the calls. However, the clinic kept calling her until they spoke to her. They told her they needed to talk to her directly to be sure she understood all directions and was following up appropriately. Needless to say, she was impressed and spoke highly of her experience.

But not everyone is as enthusiastic. Physicians are concerned not only that these clinics eat into their market share, but more importantly that “stop and shop” medical services may not identify clues to larger problems.

The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against using these clinics for children due to concerns over “fragmentation of care” and missed opportunities to identify more serious problems that might stem from minor complaints.

Patients are concerned about continuity of care - that an NP may not be qualified or won’t know anything about them. Others have strong attachments to their primary doctors and don’t want to give up those relationships.


I appreciate these caveats, but I think the benefits far outweigh the costs. Over the past year, I’ve been involved in national training initiatives to help providers integrate telehealth technology into clinical practice to expand access to care. As more people get insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act, our medical systems will need to find ways to treat more patients with a variety of resources. The minute clinic can be effective with the following in mind:

Have a primary care doctor. Yes, everyone should have a doctor or clinic that has a record of your health care needs. Even if that’s your local urgent care (mine is also a family practice center), it makes good sense to have that “medical home” that knows and understands you. As noted above, this is especially true when dealing with children.

Regulations are key. There’s great potential for the success of these clinics as long as they are well staffed and regulated. I see a real opportunity for hospitals to collaborate and create partnerships or sponsor these types of clinics, providing another level of care important to consumers.

Take a collaborative approach. Retail clinics should adopt a collaborative team model with other physicians and the community. Medicine is often conducted in silos, but with technology and good practices, there is less fragmentation. The Electronic Health Record (EHR) will be required by all practitioners later this year, so having a more transparent system can start transforming the way we deliver care.

Nurse practitioners are great providers. Like any health care provider, training and supervision are essential. And a well-trained NP is an outstanding asset in any clinical setting. At my doctor’s office, I most often see the NP, and she’s great.  Also, there aren’t that many primary care docs left. The vast majority of students coming out of med school are specializing, not coming out to work with the marginally ill.

Manage Change. Change is hard, and this new model is a change in something very important: the way we get our health care. Patients, providers and the general public will all have to make some changes. So some of this is good old change management. How can we engage people to do something different, something that may make them uncomfortable or threatened? Having a champion of change can be very beneficial – someone who’s already on board, who thinks it’s a good idea.

It can also help to bring in an outside person to lead change: someone objective who can help an organization implement new ways of doing things. One of the main components of the telehealth technology curriculum I teach entails helping people understand how to implement a change process. Whether you’re in healthcare or any other industry and could use some support around making change happen, I’m happy to talk to you about options for consulting or training to meet your specific needs.

What’s your experience with the Minute Clinic? Have you used one? Would you visit one for your healthcare? Share in the comments below.

To hear an excellent story on Minute Clinics, you can listen to this On Point Radio show that inspired this post.

The Positive Post-It Project

You're walking through a crowded park on a beautiful spring evening, and a young women comes up to you with a smile and says, "I want you to have this." She hands you a large post-it note that says, "You're great." What would you do? Say? Think? This happened to me the other day in Washington Square Park in NYC. I was a little taken aback but when I saw what it was and the smile on her face, I said, "You're great too!" She walked away toward a group of people holding large poster boards. I had to find out what was're great

She was participating in an NYU student psychology project called #positiviepostitproject (yes, hashtag and all).

These students were in a class learning about positive psychology (WHAT?) and trying to put it into practice by giving a post-it with positive message to passersby and asking them to pass it along to someone else  in the park to see what the effect was.

Of course I was "in," and convinced my friend to do the same. I picked one that said  "You're Awesome. Rock on," so I decided to give it to someone I saw with a guitar on his back. I tapped him on the shoulder and handed him the note. He stood there for a long time looking at it but didn't turn back to me or say anything.

Ok. Not what I was expecting. But it's a stranger in a park in NY. You never know what to expect.

On the other hand, my friend gave his to a couple who loved it. I looked over at them and they were smiling broadly, clearly tickled by this positive message from a stranger.

I also was tickled by the idea, the students and that they were learning about positive psychology, a topic near and dear to my heart!

So if you're not familiar, here are a few facts about positivity from the book of the same name by Barbara Fredrickson, a psychologist who has devoted her career to understanding the effect of positive emotions.

  • Positivity feels good. I loved getting the “You’re Great” post-it, and the couple in the park loved their positive message.  Simple but true, positivity feels good.
  • Positivity changes how your mind works.  Do you think differently when you’re in a good mood? Numerous studies have found that a positive mental state results in more creativity, attentiveness, open-mindedness and expanded thinking.  Those are powerful results. Definitely worth the effort and focus on a more positive attitude.
  • Positivity transforms your future. When it comes to positivity, the effects go beyond the mental benefits.  Researchers at University of Pittsburgh looked at rates of death and chronic health conditions among participants of the Women's Health Initiative study, which has followed more than 100,000 women ages 50 and over since 1994.  Women who were optimistic - those who expeced good rather than bad things to happen -  were 14 percent less likely to die from any cause than pessimists and 30 percent less likely to die from heart disease after eight years of follow up in the study. Optimists also were less likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes or smoke cigarettes.
  • Positivity puts the brakes on negativity. Think about it. When you’re in a good mood, you close out the negative. It’s like there’s no room for that when you’re focused on what’s going well.
  • Positivity obeys a tipping point. Fredrickson’s research has also shown that there’s an optimal ratio of positive to negative emotions in order to experience true happiness:  3 positive emotions to 1 negative emotion.  This is not a Pollyannish view of the world.  Her model accounts for the naturally occurring negativity in all our lives but focuses on the need to skew toward the positive. People with this 3:1 ratio experience more happiness and life satisfaction. Good stuff!
  • You can increase your positivity. There are lots of ways to do so. Go for a walk. Enjoy nature. Play with a puppy. Look at pictures of kittens. Spend time with someone you love. Focus on what you’re grateful for. Compliment someone or give them a positive post-it! Focus on your strengths and successes. You get the idea.

How will you boost your positivity ratio? Let us know below! You can also search the #positivepostitproject on Instagram and see what those crazy kids are up to!

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Are Your Strengths Part of the Puzzle?

strengths collage I love facilitating workshops and retreats, especially with teams who want to make the most of what they're doing by focusing on their strengths: those things they do best and love to do most.

A strengths retreat, like the one pictured at left, can be a breath of fresh air for an organization and an opportunity to bring out the best in everyone.

This retreat for a local real estate team brought together agents, brokers, marketing staff, interns and lenders to spend a morning learning a lot about themselves, each other and creating a strategy to apply their strengths to achieve their sales and marketing goals in the coming year. Each person took Gallup's StrengthsFinder 2.0 before the workshop and came ready to explore and apply their Top 5 strengths themes with their colleagues.

In the "Your Piece of the Puzzle" activity, each person decorated a blank puzzle piece to represent their strengths. The finished product, pictured above,captures each person's unique, creative style as well as the how they come together as a whole. I framed the puzzle, which now hangs in their office as a terrific reminder of the day and their contributions.

What are 2-3 strengths you bring to your team? List them below. Not sure? You can learn more about your strengths by downloading my free e-workbook (see the upper right hand side of the page) . If you're interested in finding out more about a strengths-based workshop or retreat for your team or organization, let me know!


Do Resolutions or Intentions Make A Difference in Your Success?

A new approach to your 2014 goals I hope you appreciate my photo of one of the spectacular  winter sunsets we've been having here in Southern California. I've paired it with this thoughtful quote my Facebook friend and colleague Evelyn Kalinosky posted on New Year's Eve. I've always felt that resolutions are a trap, a set up for failure, and I resonated with the idea of instead focusing on intentions. Maybe it's just semantic, but the change in perspective might make a difference for you.

Another thing that could make a difference in your success with your intentions is to approach your goals with your strengths in mind.

To help you, I've developed a downloadable worksheet that will get you focused on your strengths and thinking about how you can leverage those gifts and talents to achieve your goals (or resolutions) this year.

Just visit my web site, enter your email and take the first step to start learning more about your strengths and using them to make 2014 your best year yet!

A couple of other resources to keep you on track:

  • On Victory Circles Radio, Cheri Ruskus interviewed productivity expert Jason Womack, author of Your Best Just Got Better, who shared some excellent tips to stay focused and productive. Listen to the recording here.
  • In this New York Times article, read 4 research-based tips to keep you on track to reaching your goals
  • I wrote a blog post about how to get things done in the last 100 days of the year. Many of the points apply to your resolutions as well.

What are your intentions for the new year? What is your plan for achieving them? By sharing them with others, you're more likely to succeed. Weigh in below!  

Telehealth Technology Expands Access to Health Care

Have you ever spoken to a doctor or nurse on the phone about a medical condition? Had a radiologist email your x-ray results to your doctor? Had a robot neurologist do a medical exam? Yes, a robot neurologist. And if you don’t believe it, here’s a video with one example of how technology is being used to provide care to patients who might not be able to get it otherwise.

This is an excellent example of telehealth. With the new health care laws and expansion of technology in clinical care, telehealth is here to stay. Let’s take a look.

Telehealth or telemedicine?

Telehealth and Telemedicine: What’s the Difference?

You may have heard both terms used, but there's a difference between telemedicine and telehealth.

According to the Institute of Medicine’s 2012 report, telemedicine is the “use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve patient health status.”

Most of us have had telemedicine be a part of our health care without even realizing it. Electronic medical records are a type of telemedicine that allow doctors to share patient records easily. Most radiology is telemedicine, with doctors receiving results from radiologists electronically. It’s pretty common.

That same IOM report defines telehealth as “the use of telecommunications and information technologies to provide access to health information and services across a geographical distance.” This can range from talking to a health care provider on the phone to getting a neurological assessment on an Ipad using Facetime or video conferencing to using an online treatment to gain greater understanding about your substance use disorder.

You can imagine situations when this could be extremely useful, especially in rural areas where people have geographical barriers to accessing care. 

Expanding Access to Care and Enhancing Treatment ServicesJetsons

Over the past few months, I’ve been working on two national projects focused on increasing awareness and adoption of technology to improve patient outcomes in mental health and substance abuse treatment. This includes using video conferencing, online chat, web-based interventions and regular old phone calls (yes, we've finally caught up to the Jetsons!).

In one project, I am delivering trainings for substance abuse treatment administrators and clinicians. In the other, I am on a team developing a training curriculum to introduce administrators and clinicians to research-based technology assisted interventions for substance use disorders.

I’ve learned a lot about the most current research, issues around confidentiality and ethics, funding and policy, as well as some excellent info on guiding change. Integrating telehealth into treatment programs will require serious change management.

What's your experience with telehealth? How have you been on the providing or receiving end of using technology in health care? Share your experience below.

If you're interested in learning more on the topic, sign up for my newsletter, where I'll be sharing the most recent information about telehealth with my readers.


5 Timeless Blog Topics

Over the past few months, I've had blogging on my mind. It’s no secret that blogging is a great way to show your expertise, drive traffic to your website and create a community or tribe of people with similar interests. Pad of Paper & Pen

But I still can’t seem to break through that two post a month pattern.

In October, I participated in a 30-day blogging challenge with the fabulous copy writer, editor and writing mentor, Dawn Mena of Captivating Copy. I was simultaneously working on a very time consuming project, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to meet the ambitious goal of daily blogging. However, I wanted to get Dawn’s expertise delivered to my inbox daily.

Guess what? I still did 2 posts in October. Old habits die hard. But I did learn a lot.

One tip was to host guest bloggers on your blog to supplement your expertise and expand your audience.

Great idea! So of course I asked Dawn to write a guest post for my blog (might as well go to the expert, I say).

Below is her guest post with 5 inspiring tips to get your blogging juices flowing (I’m working on #4 now, so watch for my next blog post on telehealth!).

Dawn Mena small headshot 2

Thanks again, Dawn, for the excellent blogging challenge and sharing your expertise here. Find out more about her below, and visit her web site for a helpful giveaway too.

5 timeless blog topics that will never let you down

Ever sit down in front of your computer to write a blog post or Facebook update and totally blank out? “What the heck am I going to write about today?” goes through your head, making it even harder to concentrate and you end up playing solitaire and wasting that valuable half hour you’d set aside for writing. I’m going to help make sure this never happens again by providing a list here of 5 easy writing prompts that will help you never have that blanked out feeling again. I suggest you print this out and keep it nearby on your desk or close to the computer where you do your writing. I promise, it’ll soon be one of your most valued resources for keeping you calm and confident as you share your expertise on your blog.

1. Lists: Everyone loves a list. Take your knowledge and experience and turn it into value or even entertainment for your readers by giving them a list. Ideas: If you are a florist, list your top picks for a seasonal bouquet. Beauty product representative? Give your audience a list of morning or evening activities and/or products they can use to kick up their beauty routine. Make it simple and make it valuable.

2. How-to’s, tips & tricks: I’m not telling you to give away the store here, but I know that you all have a massive amount of information for how-tos at your fingertips. Share instructions for projects, activities, etc. that your audience can use and that will build their trust in you as 1) a person who really knows what they are talking about and 2) someone they know will provide them with value and knowledge. Ideas: If you are an event planner, give instructions for making homemade invitations. Cupcake maker? Share how to pipe that cool frosting swirl on top.

3. Reviews: Read a good book that relates to your business? Recently attended a fantastic event featuring a great speaker? Tell people about it. Describe the event, the audience, the setting and the value you gained from it. Share some of the speaker tips with others. Recommend future attendance if you really liked it. And be sure to mention organizers, locations and featured speakers or guests, especially if you are connected to them through social media. They will appreciate it, and you will raise your visibility.

4. Current Projects: if it’s not top secret, share what you are working on. Maybe you are developing a new product – share highlights and even ask questions of your audience. Asked to speak at an event in the future, let people know what you are doing and what you’ll be talking about. Are you an artist? Share the steps of your creation – you can get a multitude of posts that way.

5. Answers: If you are still stumped, take 10 minutes to surf around and read what others are talking about within your field of expertise. There are bound to be some questions others are asking or talking about. Write a blog article that posts one of these questions and then provide your answer. Illuminate your brilliance and help others to find resolution to their problems, all in one. _________________________________________________ Strategic content expert Dawn Mena helps entrepreneurs and business owners make memorable impressions with captivating writing that helps them achieve their business and life goals. She specializes in crafting custom copy and mentoring frustrated writers, focusing on bios, blogs, websites and social media. Learn more about Dawn, and get your free copy of “Six Secrets for a Captivating Bio” at


Which of these 5 tips will you use to start your next blog post? Any questions for Dawn? Join the conversation by leaving a comment or question below.



Too Much on Your Plate?

Have you ever felt like you've got too much on your proverbial plate? Do you ever feel over-committed, overwhelmed, over-worked or overloaded?

Yeah, me too.


Like many entrepreneurs, and especially entrepreneur moms, I tend to take on a lot. I sometimes bite off more than I can chew. My eyes are bigger than my stomach. I have too much on my plate. 

And with so much going on, it's often hard to digest the experience, process it smoothly, avoid heartburn that comes with the stress of overdoing it.

Get where I'm going with this?

With all those food metaphors, I came up with an idea. A portion control business strategy.

Do you need to clean up your plate? Make healthier choices? Watch this 2 minute video for some ideas on how you can have better business portion control. 

Weigh in below (and that wasn't meant to be part of the metaphor-but it is now) and tell me how you might exert a little portion control for your business health.

gloria-miele-head-shotGloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, trainer and executive coach who uses a strengths-based approach to help individuals, groups and organizations achieve their goals and realize their greatest success.  She also offers training and coaching programs to develop tech-savvy leaders in health care. To learn more, visit where you can sign up to receive a free tool to optimize your strengths. 


Living a Double Life

SU training cropped I’m in transition: re-evaluating, evolving, exploring and reinventing a long career exclusively involved with helping people learn and better themselves. I started teaching piano when I was 15 and from there never stopped tutoring, mentoring, coaching, treating, educating, inspiring, motivating, connecting and supporting others. It's just what I do. It's what I've always done as a teacher, tutor, mentor, coach, psychologist, supervisor, trainer, speaker and leader.

Over the last five years building my coaching practice, I've continued to work as a training director and consultant on national research projects to develop and test effective treatments for people with addictions, something I've been doing in one way or another since 1990.

When I received my coach certification through the College of Executive Coaching, I imagined a 1-2 year transition out of research and into a full time coaching practice.

It hasn't worked out exactly how I imagined.

In fact, I've been living a double life.


Locally, I am known in the business community: the owner of Optimal Development Coaching, a vice chair on the board of the Camarillo Chamber of Commerce, Instructor for Women’s Economic Ventures Self Employment Training class, a master mind facilitator, speaker and workshop leader with a focus on strengths. I belong to a number of organizations supporting the arts, education and the empowerment of women and girls. I'm a Girl Scout leader and active volunteer in my area.

But to my colleagues in the mental health community I've been a part of for so many years, I'm known as a master trainer, conference and webinar presenter, published author, psychologist, clinical and research supervisor, grant reviewer, curriculum developer, workgroup leader and instructor of clinical psychology at Columbia University.

See what I mean by a double life?

sign picSo now I'm bringing it all together with a variety of different projects, all of which still involve training, educating and coaching. I’m working on national initiatives to educate treatment providers about telehealth, i.e., the use of technology to improve treatment outcomes. This is cutting edge, research-based work that has relevance for changes in our health system as we implement the Affordable Care Act. My goal is to develop tech-savvy leaders in health care.

I will continue to offer workshops and facilitate retreats and team building events focused on developing collaborative, strengths-based, emotionally intelligent people and organizations. I'm excited to collaborate with Susan Ross at the Good Vibe Studio, an amazing work, music and meeting space in Thousand Oaks, CA, a great option to tap into creativity at a personal or professional development event.

Susan and I are also students and zealots of the master mind, each coming at it from different, yet complementary perspectives. For the last few months, we've been running a master mind group at the Studio. What a joy it is to watch these business owners benefit from the collective genius the mastermind brings to brainstorm, problem-solve and create and reach their goals - even the audacious ones!

We meet the third Wednesday of the month, with a 3rd Monday group forming. It's perfect for small business owners who are looking to finish the year strong with a plan to hit the ground running in 2014. Through the end of 2013, a 3-month block of sessions, which includes the monthly mastermind as well as personalized follow-up and feedback, is $149. I'm happy to send more details.

I'm working on two books for 2014 publication. The Optimal Development Leadership System  will bring together work on strengths, emotional intelligence, team building and other important facets of being an effective leader. It's a collection of research-based best practices in effective leadership. 

The ABCs of the Master Mind is a collaboration with my dear friend and colleague Cheri Ruskus as a result of co-hosting Victory Circles Radio Hour on the first Wednesday of each month. We always develop an acronym to help listeners understand the different mindset principles that Napoleon Hill drafted in Think and Grow Rich.

As my path continues to evolve and shift, as I reinvent myself, I'm sure I’ll be updating you again soon.

Do you ever feel like you're living a double life? What's your recent reinvention? Any guidance for me on my journey? Questions about my changing path? I'd love to hear from you.

gloria-miele-head-shotGloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, trainer and executive coach who uses a strengths-based approach to help individuals, groups and organizations achieve their goals and realize their greatest success.  She also offers training and coaching programs to develop tech-savvy leaders in health care. To learn more, visit where you can sign up to receive a free tool to optimize your strengths. 


What Will You Do in the Next 100 Days?

100 Yes, there are just 100 days left in 2013.

Hard to believe, right?

Aside from your holiday shopping (yes, I said it!!), what do you want to accomplish before the year ends?

Here are a few things you can do to make the most out of the remaining days and weeks of 2013:

1. Review your goals from the beginning of the year. I'm sure you've been doing this all along, but in case you haven't been, pull out out that business plan, goal-setting activity or vision board you did at the beginning of the year, and see how far you've come! What goals have you met? Which ones have you exceeded? And what do you still want to accomplish before we say goodbye to 2013?

2. Choose carefully. If you still have a number of goals yuo have yet to achieve, be selective about what you want to get done in the next 3+ months. Definitely make your goals SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Thrilling.

Yes, thrilling. While you've probably seen the T in SMART goals referred to as Timely, and that's important, I believe that's covered in Measurable (e.g., I'll send one newsletter weekly).

Making your goals thrilling, that is exciting, to you will make it more likely that you'll achieve them. See if you can add some sizzle to your goals by making them focused on your strengths as well as your vision and long-range goals.

3. Make a plan. Take out your calendar and start filling in the blanks. How will you meet those goals and get to the finish line? Do you want to revise your business plan before the end of the year? Maybe tackle one section every week. 

Do you want to establish a better exercise routine before the new year? Mark off time to get moving 3 or more times a week.

4. Make a commitment. It's one thing to make a plan, but committing to it publicly and telling others about it gives you a much greater chance of getting it done.

So what do you want to accomplish in the next 100 days?

Share your ideas in the comments!

Ready, set, GO!!

gloria-miele-head-shotGloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, trainer and executive coach who uses a strengths-based approach to help individuals, groups and organizations achieve their goals and realize their greatest success.  She also offers training and coaching programs to develop tech-savvy leaders in health care. To learn more, visit where you can sign up to receive a free tool to optimize your strengths. 


Try Walking with Colleagues to Build Relationships and Think Outside the Box

What do Steve Jobs, Aristotle, Harry Truman and Sigmund Freud have in common? They all had meetings while they walked.

This idea is getting a lot of attention as people are focused more on their physical health and may feel long work hours prevent them from getting that 30 minutes or more of doctor recommended exercise every day.

In a recent TED talk, entrepreneur Nilofer Merchant discussed her use of walk and talk meetings. "Fresh air brings fresh thinking," she said, and points out the health problem with the way we work these days: "Sitting has become the smoking of our generation." And if you need more evidence that sitting is evil, check out this infographic.

Ouch! That makes me want to stand up and take a walk!  You can watch her full TED talk (less than 4 minutes) below.

Of course another benefit of walking is that it raises your heart rate, so more oxygen reaches your brain. This can lead to having more energy, more focus and improved engagement in the task at hand.

You can also take a walk to grow your business. Nancy Chaconas, Legal Shield Associate and outdoor enthusiast, spearheaded a networking group at our local Chamber of Commerce: Netwalking. Professionals meet at a local park once a month (3rd Friday), take a walk and learn more about each other's businesses.

Meeting in a more casual environment allows you to get to know people in a more relaxed setting and often at a deeper level than takes place at your standard mixer.


Interested in other ways you can improve your thinking? Listen to a recent radio show I did with Victory Circle's founder Cheri Ruskus on the master mind principle of Accurate Thinking. We talk about the impact that movement and environment can have on your thinking.

Have you ever had a walking meeting? Do you find physical exercise affects the way you think? Share your experiences below.

Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, gloria-miele-head-shottrainer and executive coach who uses a strengths-based approach to help individuals, groups and organizations achieve their goals and realize their greatest success.  Enter your email address above for more great, strengths-based resources to become a stronger leader.


Emotionally Intelligent Leadership

Given my training as a psychologist, I’ve spent a good part of my career attending to the emotional states and wellness of others.  As I transitioned into coaching, I was immediately drawn to the concept of emotional intelligence and its impact on business success.  As I reflect on my own professional success and that of my clients, I come back to the importance of strong relationships in business development.  EI is a powerful concept and tool in developing relationships that lead to business success.

When psychologist Daniel Goleman published the breakthrough book, Emotional Intelligence, he presented compelling evidence that Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a better predictor of success that IQ, creating a tremendous buzz in the corporate world.  When matched for cognitive intelligence (e.g., IQ) and job-related skills, people with higher EI outperform those with lower EI.  High EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) is associated with increased profitability, productivity, sales, morale, cooperation and employee retention.

What is EI and why is it important in being a good leader? 

Goleman defines EI as “the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others; for motivating ourselves; for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.”

In a teleseminar I led for a group of experts in leadership development, I asked them to describe the ideal boss.  The following characteristics emerged:  integrity, leads from head and heart; self-aware; they look at you while they listen; fully engaged when in a conversation; empathic; great mentors; lead by example; good communicator; visionary.  The majority of these qualities are elements of emotionally intelligent leadership – “resonant” leaders connect with and try to take the perspective of others, are supportive, understanding and have a clear vision.

You can basically think of EI as having four components: two relating to self (personal competence) and two relating to others (social competence).

EI table (2)

  1. Self awareness.  The core principle of EI, this includes emotional self-awareness, accurate self-assessment and self-confidence.  Leaders who are aware of their internal responses and are self-confident are in a better position to understand others.  Do you know your triggers and predispositions?  The more self-aware you become, the better leader you can be.
  2. Self management. The next principle in the personal competencies of EI includes self-regulation and motivation. Emotional control, adaptability, initiative and conscientiousness are qualities included here.  Good leaders pause, reflect then choose ways to act in a controlled, thoughtful way.
  3. Social awareness.  Moving into the realm of understanding others, good leaders are empathic and have an emotional understanding of and concern for their team.  They can hear the feelings behind what someone says.  On a macro level, this includes awareness of the emotional landscape and culture of an organization.  Leaders with high social awareness tend to use active listening skills and can find commonalities across people and situations.  They put themselves in the other person’s shoes.
  4. Relationship management.  Here’s where the rubber meets the road in a leader’s ability to influence, inspire and develop others.  Those strong in relationship management build collaborative, effective teams, know how to deal with conflict and give constructive feedback.

So what’s your EQ?  Do any of these areas resonate as being a particular strength or needing some additional work?  To take a quiz to learn more about your EQ and receive additional EI resources, email me - and put EQ in the subject line.

As usual, we can learn from Eleanor Roosevelt, an emotionally intelligent leader who said:

“To handle yourself, use your head; To handle others, use your heart.”

Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is a business development and leadership coach, author, speaker and gloria-miele-head-shottrainer who uses a strengths-based approach to help individuals, groups and organizations achieve their goals and realize their greatest success.  To learn more and receive a free tool to optimize your strengths, sign up to receive our free newsletter at

Are You a Servant Leader?

I recently asked readers to share how they volunteer in their communities, and now I'm sharing their stories with you. Holding Hands with Elderly PatientI love the passion that people have for their causes. I truly believe that as leaders we need to serve others.  There’s a whole movement related to Servant Leadership, a term coined by Robert Greenleaf in his 1970 essay

Are you familiar with the concept? From the web site: "Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world."

Young Man and Woman Giving Food and Water to Homeless ManA leader needs to be focused on the big picture, the bottom line and the greater good. She's someone who is a good and empathic listener who takes a genuine interest in the people on her team. He is a caring individual who considers positive outcomes that go beyond profit margins and invested in experiences that create purpose and meaning on a bigger scale. 

Here are a few of the ways people are serving their communities:

“I have been a volunteer fitness instructor twice a week for a Women's Ministry at a local church for over 20 years. I love it! :-)”

Rosanne MacDonald, C.Ht.,

“I learned about volunteering first from my parents and then from The Foundation of a corporation I worked for. My consulting business contributes at least 5% of total revenue per year in financial support distributed amongst several not-for-profits we've selected, and I donate at least 10% of my professional time (=200+ hours per year) to various organizations I support. I enjoy it and the organizations appreciate it. I recommend setting up a similar program, within the capabilities of the business enterprise, to any business owner interested in giving back.”

Gene Mancini, Environmental Scientist

“Although I haven't been able to spend time actually being with and volunteering for this group, I have a goal to do it soon.  In the mean time I have been raising money to help fund the program.  Achilles International's mission is to enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics in order to promote personal achievement, enhance self-esteem and lower barriers to living a fulfilling life.  My goal is to be a guide for runners and triathletes who are blind or disabled, and hopefully be a key player in bringing a chapter to Ventura County.

Dani Bansen,

 “I volunteer with, an amazing organization dedicated to helping offset veterinary costs for licensed animal rescues. We are seeking volunteers of all ages and will pair them with mentors who are community and business leaders. Learn more at our website. (And of course, Gloria Miele, with Scouts!)”

Bonnie Quintanilla, Corridor Communications

“[I volunteer] with my church, Crossroads. They do community outreach with the homeless in Oxnard, seniors here in Camarillo, and much more.”

Mary Gillette, Sewbella Memory Quilts

 “I mentor several people continuously, mostly positive psychology students or coaches, write reviews for others, and showcase their work, give to the poor, help out professional organizations, hug everyone I can, and I practice ‘pay it forward’.  As Positive Psychologist Dr. Chris Peterson said, ‘Other People Matter.’”

Judy Krings,

"Women’s Economic Ventures!"

Lisa Braithwaite, Public Speaking Coach, (and recent recipient of WEV’’s 2013 Volunteer of the Year award)

Don't you love it?

Some of my favorite volunteer opportunities are with organizations that support the arts, education and the empowerment of women and girls, including Girl Scouts, AAUW, CAPE Charter School and the Camarillo Chamber of Commerce.

What's your favorite way to serve others? What part of the world are you trying to make a better place? I'd love to hear about it below!

gloria-miele-head-shotGloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is a business development and leadership coach and Victory Circles facilitator in Southern California.  She helps entrepreneurs and other business leaders develop the mind set and the skill set to achieve greater business success through coaching programs, workshops, staff training, executive coaching and keynote speaking.  Visit her website at to sign up to receive helpful business development resources, including a free Strengths-Based Goal-Setting Tool.  You can also connect with us at

Breaking Even: The First Step to Profitability

Have you ever calculated the break even point for a product-based business?  A few years ago, I would have glazed over at the thought.  Luckily, I’ve received some excellent training from Laurie Taylor, creator of  Destination Greatness, an online business development program that has become a critical component of the Victory Circles Acceleration Coaching Program.   Of course teaching business planning for Women's Economic Ventures has been quite helpful as well.  money

I am so pleased to have a greater understanding of the tools and resources to help others become more profitable by setting a plan.  Of course, you first need to break even to move on to make a profit, so here’s a brief overview.

Basically, breaking even is when the Costs of running your business are equal to the Revenues you generate.  This is why it’s essential to know how much money it takes to run your business every month on the expense side of your Profit Plan (you may call it a budget, but we like to think of it as a plan to make your business more profitable).  Then, you can make adjustments in price and volume to move beyond breaking even to profitability.

Your costs can be separated into two categories:   Fixed Costs and Variable Costs.  Fixed costs are the expenses like rent, insurance, professional development, memberships, marketing, office supplies, phone, internet and utilities.  These costs do not vary based on the services or products you’re providing.  If you are strictly a service-based business, these may represent your total expenses.  In that case, you can calculate your breakeven point by dividing your hourly rate into your expenses.  Use the numbers below as an example to calculate the breakeven point for a month:

Fixed costs = $2,000/month

 Hourly rate- $50/hr

 $2,000/$50 = 40 hours

So, you need to work 40 hours in a month in order to break even.  Good to know and easy to calculate, right?  In order to make a profit, you need to bill more hours or charge higher fees.

 If you have a product-based business, or if you’re selling products related to your service business, you will have fixed costs as well as variable costs directly related to production.  For example, if you have a jewelry business, your variable costs are your supplies (e.g., silver, beads, gemstones, clasps), labor (e.g., part-time help at craft fair), packaging and any other costs related to making your product.  These costs vary directly with the products that you make.

The equation now gets a little more complex.  To calculate the number of units you need to sell to break even, divide Fixed Costs by your Unit Profit Margin (Sales Price – Cost per unit).

Fixed costs = $1,000/month

 Sales price = $30

 Cost per unit = $17

 1000/13 = 77 units

Pen, Calculator and Ledger

So, you need to sell 77 bracelets in order to break even.  Again, to make a profit, you’ll need to sell more bracelets or shop vendors for better deals on supplies or charge a little more for each item.  You get the drift (If you’re really into this number thing, email me [] for more information on how to calculate the break even dollar amount for a product-based business, too lengthy for the current post).

Now that you know how to break even, use your imagination to start making plans to be more profitable by increasing your prices and/or your sales, decreasing your expenses or coming up with a new product line that can generate more revenue.  These are the areas where your entrepreneurial imagination combined with good business sense can really propel your business forward.

Need to focus more on the financial aspects of your business?  We've got workshops in the next week designed to do just that.  Visit for more information.

Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is a business development and leadership coach, author, speaker and gloria-miele-head-shottrainer who uses a strengths-based approach to help individuals, groups and organizations achieve their goals and realize their greatest success.  She is also a Victory Circles facilitator.   To learn more and receive a free tool to optimize your strengths, visit her website and sign up for weekly business building tips and resources at



Last week, I attended the 2013 Camarillo Chamber Top 10 Community Awards, where I had the distinct honor of being named, "Woman of the Year."  I so appreciate the wonderful recognition of my work in the community.  The gala on March 22nd at Spanish Hills Country Club in Camarillo was a night to remember, with family and friends and nine other honorees being recognized.  I had a very special evening and am deeply grateful. Below is a video that includes my acceptance speech (written transcript below), preceded by a touching tribute to the late Michael Lavenant, a partner at Landegger, Baron, Lavenant & Ingber, the law firm that sponsored the Woman of the Year award.  Michael suddenly and tragically passed away in December 2012 at the age of 42 and would have presented the award that night.  He was an amazing humanitarian, dedicated to his family and community, and the recipient of Volunteer of the Year in 2009. He is greatly missed.  Associate Chris Moriarty, Esq., graciously presented the award.


"Thank you. What an honor, I want to congratulate all of the other award winners tonight. And thanks to the Chamber for throwing us an awesome party. I also want to thank the Top 10 committee and my colleagues who nominated me for this honor.

I really want to accept this award for the literally hundreds of other women, many of whom are in this room, in this town, who could easily be Woman of the Year. Women who run businesses, women who run households, women who run their kids all over town.  Women who volunteer in the schools, who lead Girl Scout troops, who serve on the boards and committees of the amazing service organizations that we have here. I've never been in a community where there's been such a spirit of service, and I share this with all of you ladies, for all you do in our community and for your families.

I also want to recognize my daughter, Natalie, who couldn't be here tonight because she's off living her dream with her high school choir in Chicago. My husband and I dropped her off at 3 o clock this morning for the bus, and honey, I think we look pretty good considering how sleep deprived we are.

And I do want to recognize my husband, Dave Epelone, the man with the camera.  To find a partner who can support an over-committed, over-achieving person like myself has been a real blessing in my life. So thank you honey, It's been nearly 25 years that you've been supporting me, through graduate school and everything else, and I couldn't do what I do without you.

I also want to recognize my parents: my father, Dr. Patrick Miele, who some of you might know. He was a really inspiring man and a business leader in town. And my mother, the original Gloria Miele. Mom, you've set a life long example of love, faith, family, education and community that has made me woman I am today, so thank you." -Gloria Miele, Ph.D., March 22, 2013, Camarillo, CA.


Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is a business development and leadership coach and Victory Circles gloria-miele-head-shotfacilitator in Southern California.  She helps entrepreneurs and other business leaders develop the mind set and the skill set to achieve greater business success through coaching programs, workshops, staff training, executive coaching and keynote speaking.  Visit her website at to sign up to receive helpful business development resources, including a free Strengths-Based Goal-Setting Tool.  You can also connect with us at



My Travel Adventure and a New Appreciation of Honoring Time

Tempus fugit - literally, time flees, but colloquially understood as time flies.  

Flight Schedule at Airport

I write this after an experience this morning that really highlighted how time flies, stops for no one and should be rightly honored. I had a 7am flight from LAX to DC on business and decided to take the airport shuttle. I also decided I didn't want to leave at 3am, so I told the dispatcher I needed to be at the airport at 6am. I figured they'd pick me up early enough-you know how those shuttles are. I got the confirmation call for a 4:30am pick up. Even if we have to pick up more people on the way, I thought, we should be fine.

The first surprise was that the driver was almost 15 minutes late. Dang, that cut right into my buffer. He let me know we had two more pick ups: one at the local university and the other in Malibu.

CSUCI is already off the beaten path, but Malibu? I was not expecting that. While PCH at 5am is pretty clear, it also adds time and miles to the trip, so I knew there was no way we'd be getting to the airport by 6. I saw the driver's GPS was estimating 6:20. I had already checked in online and paid to check a bag. Knowing the 45 minute bag check rule, I figured I'd never get on my flight.

So how are you feeling reading this? A little stressed? Then you can imagine how I was feeling: anxious, a bit nauseous and sleep deprived with absolutely no control over the situation. Two main themes were going through my head: blaming self and blaming other.

"I should have given a 5:30 airport arrival time. 6:00 was too close. What was I thinking? Oh no-I have to pee! I should have gone one more time before leaving the house. I shouldn't have had that other cup of coffee. I might have to ask him to stop. There's no time! " Alternating with, "If the driver hadn't been so late it would have been fine. Does he even know where he's going. He drove right by my house and didn't even see me in the street waving my arms. And why did they put me in a car going to Malibu?"

Feeling better now? Of course not! neither was I; I was just escalating. I knew I had to quiet my mind. This train of thought was nothing but derailing. Ironically I'm doing a 21-Day Meditation Challenge, but I couldn't clear my head. Instead I tried reasoning with myself. "There's nothing you can do about it now. Just relax and rest and see what happens. You'll deal with whatever happens when you get there." "I should have booked a 5:30 arrival. Man, I have to pee." "Just stop. Breathe, relax. There's nothing else you can do."

I was finally able to calm myself and rest a bit. Acceptance was helping and the only thing I could control. I started picturing myself spending hours at the airport (I had in my head there was an 11am flight), writing this post, thinking about how much reading and writing I'd get done in my down time, that if I had to wait even longer I'd call my friend who lives near the airport and try to meet her for a while. Yeah, everything would work out the way it was supposed to (this is something I generally believe anyway-sometimes it just takes me a while to get there).

The driver pulled up to the terminal, and I ran inside. The greeter told me I was too late for my flight and directed me to the full service line. The agent scanned the boarding pass I had printed at home and the luggage tag came out of the printer. "I can still make it??" It was now 6:30. He looked confused. He didn't think so but having checked in online helped. There were no more flights to DC until tomorrow (WHAT?). He'd check if there were any flights from San Francisco, but I'd have to pay to get there. I was seeing my business trip dissolve before my eyes.

"Let me see if he can walk your bag to the plane." I didn't know what that meant, but it wasn't no, so I was hopeful. He came back, told me it was taken care of, gave me a priority security sticker, and off I ran (my version of running anyway).

This was me, except for the skirt

I made it through security in under 10 minutes, got to the gate, and they were still boarding. I even had time to stop in the restroom (yes, mind over matter- I had held it all that time!). Have I mentioned how much I love Virgin America? I made sure to tweet them my thanks before the plane doors closed.

@virginamerica thx for getting me onto flight against all odds #108 lax-iad

I boarded the crowded plane. To my delight, there was a spot in the overhead bin right above my seat that was exactly the size of my rolling brief case, AND the middle seat between me and the lady at the window was empty.

You see? Everything does turn out the way it's supposed to.

I settled in and took out a book: The Law of Divine Compensation by Marianne Williamson. One passage after the next resonated: "The laws of time and space are more malleable than we think." LOL, you can say that again! "Mistakes and wrong turns need not throw us off. The capacity for correction is built into the universe." Woah. "Our problem is that we tend to have tremendous faith in the power of our disasters and far too little faith in the power of miracles."

You might say that making my flight was something of a miracle. Maybe getting to that stance of acceptance helped in more ways than I can explain.

But even with my faith in the universe, I can't ignore the fact that I could have done things differently. By not honoring time, I put myself in a stressful situation that could have resulted in inconvenience, lost wages, penalty fees and other unfortunate consequences. Right now I'm feeling gratitude for many people and things: the shuttle driver (he did get me there), the Virgin America staff, my personal resources to handle a stressful situation, Marianne Williamson's timely messages and those mysterious factors in the universe that worked in my favor.

All's well that ends well, right? Especially when there are lessons to learn. And speaking of lessons, I'm going to listen the Victory Circles Radio show I co-hosted last week to remind myself about some of the time honoring concepts we shared. Apparently I need a booster.

What experiences have you had when you didn't honor time and ended up feeling the consequences? Any tips for getting a handle on self-talk or other calming techniques during a stressful situation? Any other travel stories to share?


Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is a business development and leadership coach and Victory Circles facilitator in Southern California.  She helps entrepreneurs and other business leaders develop the mind set and the skill set to achieve greater business success through coaching programs, workshops, staff training, executive coaching and keynote speeches.  Visit her website at and sign up to receive helpful business development resources, including a free Strengths-Based Goal-Setting Tool.  We can also connect at

Is It Time to Reinvent?

Financial planner turned café owner, physicist turned financial planner, marketing executive turned astrologer. psychologist turned business consultant. Stories of professional reinvention are inspiring and becoming more common.  sign pic

But reinvention doesn’t have to be dramatic. It can be subtle. Have you shifted your focus in your career, business or relationships? Taken up a new passion or past time?

Over the last few years, many people have found themselves in situations that might be outside their control and require a quick shift to get some new momentum.

Working in professional development, I hear lots of these reinvention stories from people of all ages, especially baby boomers.

For the past 6 months, I’ve been working with colleagues from the fields of law, finance, mediation, nursing and travel to present a workshop, Reinventing Your Life after 50. Each session has been a full house, another indication of the popularity of the topic. Attendees have been a range of men and women, employed, unemployed and retired, volunteers or just interested in learning more about making a change.


As the keynote speaker, I present the overview of the workshop and considerations in reinventing In the workplace,  First off, there’s good news and bad news for baby boomers (I’ve resisted being considered one for years, but I’m starting to cave). The good news: the unemployment rate is lower in those over 50 than for the general population. The bad news: when people over 50 are out of work, they are out of work for longer. When they re-enter the work force, their salaries decrease by nearly 25%.

Whether or not you’re reinventing, and no matter what your age, here are a few important points to consider. Each has to do with understanding yourself, your preferences and your behavior (I’m still a psychologist after all). In the coming weeks, we’ll look more closely at each. In the meantime, here’s my 3-part recommendation:

1. Know your strengths. Yes, it’s my favorite topic. But as long as you’re thinking of taking a different path, you might as well travel on one where you’re using your key skills and talents as well as doing what you love to do. “Find out what you do well and do more of it.” Sound advice from the founder of strengths psychology, Donald Clifton. 2. Understand your values. Values are important beliefs, attitudes and philosophies that influence the way we live our lives. When you do things that are value-driven, they are more meaningful and ultimately attainable than those that may not match your value system. 3. Consider your unique personality. Also known as your character, traits and temperament, your personality is made up of a set of characteristics that influence the way you see, feel and behave in the world. You might be outgoing, detail oriented, logical, intuitive or a combination of these and a host of others. The important thing is to know your preferences and respect them.

What’s your reinvention story? Share yours below.  Mine can be found on the Bio page of my web site.  And watch for the next blog post about reinventing yourself based on your strengths.

Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is a business development and leadership coach and Victory Circles facilitator in Southern California.  She helps entrepreneurs and other business leaders develop the mind set and the skill set to achieve greater business success through coaching programs, workshops, staff training, executive coaching and keynote speeches.  Visit her website at and sign up to receive helpful business development resources, including a free Strengths-Based Goal-Setting Tool.  We can also connect at