Cindy Novotny

Moving Forward

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One of the most challenging obstacles in life, is learning how to move forward after significant loss or conflict that we all inevitably encounter.  Losing loved ones, and attempting to go on with life in the same manner as we used to, just doesn’t seem possible.  To make those instances even more difficult, we all deal with grief in a very unique way.  It is an extremely personal and intimate process and often we would never know how our reaction to such a crisis would be, until we are forced to go through that actual grieving process.  I have found that ‘moving on’ is not an option because our hearts, make that impossible.  What I have discovered, is that slowly, over time, we can move forward.  The thing about loss, is that it teaches us how precious life truly is.  It reinforces the love and the bond of family, friends, and those that we hold close.  Maybe moving forward is the best thing we can do in order to process grief.  Bringing a piece of those with us, that we have lost along the way, is what saves us.  I don’t feel that it’s possible to lose the relationship with a loved one who has passed.  I believe the relationship only changes, it transforms.  This is similar to the pain we feel….does it ever go away?  I don’t think it can, but it does become different, it changes, and morphs into something we can bare, something to reflect on, because that feeling is what reminds us of the love we were fortunate enough to share with that person.  It reminds us, we are alive, and we are moving forward, carrying them with us, every single day, in our hearts.

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Think Before You Act!

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This week my quote on Thursday got a great deal of attention.  I have never received more emails, texts and phone calls about the subject of trust, loyalty and professionalism.  So, it seems, I am onto something. 

I have always been very clear about my expectations of people on my team, my family and friends.  Just be open, honest and trustworthy.  How hard can that be?  However, I also have learned over the years that trying to play by my rules, doesn’t often apply to others.  People will act in a way that suits them, and it won’t make one bit of difference, how it makes others feel. 

I am softening though!  My mantra used to be, “don’t get angry, get even!”  Now, I am just creating my boundaries that will allow me to only live my life with those who share my values of honesty, trust and openness. You don’t have to agree with me to be in my circle, in fact, I love a good debate.  These attributes will always remain a constant for those I surround myself with, you need to be open and honest.  I am amazed at how challenging this is for some people. 

As you get ready to move into a hectic holiday season where work and personal lives collide, remember how to stay cool, know your boundaries, and learn how to deal with frustration and anger.

In business, I learned long ago, that when a deal suddenly falls through, or an associate doesn’t handle something correctly, I shouldn’t get angry or indignant. I try not to blow off steam and instead, step in to save the ship, if the ship is sinking. 

Keep your cool. Remember, you have the right to ask questions, you have the right to share your concerns and you do have the right to part ways with those that don’t live your core company values. 

When bringing on new team members, it is important to understand what motivates them. Create a ‘quid pro quo’ sheet. List what they want on one side, and on the other the side, list what you need from them. If one party doesn’t live up to the agreement, then we all get to move on, without drama. It is what it is!

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A New Way to Clean

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As we enter the month of November, we are approaching the end of the year, which brings the excitement of a new beginning, a fresh start.  Everyone loves the idea of starting anew, however, not everyone takes the steps to truly make that possible.  Whether your last 365 days was unapologetically flawless, or maybe, you would wish nothing more than to wipe your hands clean of it, holding on to the past only clutters your future.  Yes, I literally mean “clutter” but even more importantly, you must rid yourself of emotional baggage, less than savory experiences, and vow to yourself that you will purge those old ideals, expectations and standards! 

As you start making your to do lists which may include, raking the leaves and cleaning out closets, put down long term goals and dreams that you still want to accomplish.   Don’t just focus on the activities of cleansing your surroundings and getting rid of tangible items.  Jot those dreams down!  Dare to put it in writing and let the manifesting begin!  Sometimes, when we let a thought out of our mind, and onto paper, it becomes real.  Your dreams and aspirations, don’t have to be a fantasy.  Purge the idea that a dream, can’t be a reality.  If you are reading this, and your previous year truly was fantastic, you may think, “there was nothing I would have done differently.”  If that is your thought, consider this, you don’t necessarily need to find something wrong with the past year, in order to make the next one, more incredible.  Pinpoint what worked, why you would do it again, and how you can apply it to other scenarios in the future that you haven’t thought of.  WRITE IT DOWN!  There is always room for improvement and growth, not because you need to be a “different” you.   Instead, plan to be a “better” you.

 

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Taking Over as The New Leader

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You have just been promoted or taken over a new role as the leader. Before you head in and begin making immediate change, learn the company, learn the culture, learn the team. Take good notes on all your observations of how the current environment and all components involved, effect the bottom lines of the business. I always suggest giving yourself 90 days before you begin implementing your new vision and ideas. The reason being, is you will take five steps forward and three steps back if you jump in too soon.

I usually suggest keeping a journal and writing down everything you question during your first 90 days. At the end of this three-month period, you will have a much more thorough understanding of the organization. Therefore, you will find yourself crossing off half of the items on your list, because now you have more clarity and knowledge about the inner and outer workings of the business. Then, you may begin making changes.

Experts say a new leader has a 50% chance of leaving the organization within 18 months, if they try to implement too much sudden change. Ultimately, leaders should know the direction of the team in the future. However, you need to understand the reasons why you were put in this position, to begin with.

Spend your first 30 days asking questions and listening – really listening! Talk to employees, colleagues and customers. What is working and what needs improvement. If people ask you what your strategic vision is for the organization, don’t be afraid to say, “I am asking, learning and listening now, so ask me in 3 months and I will be happy to share it with you.” To lead your team, you have to get down in the trenches, be part of that team first, observe and become connected! Your goal should always be focused on helping your team soar above the rest, not yourself, as a leader. Get ready to roll your sleeves up!

You have a very short window of time to create dynamic change, so don’t blow it in the first 90 days!

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Retiring at 35

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Retiring at 35?  WOW!

I recently read an article about how an increasing number of individuals in their 30’s and 40’s are  retiring early, claiming they are too stressed out.  There is even a group categorized as FIRE (Financial independence, retire early) that is supporting this trend.  This group is primarily made up of self- proclaimed exhausted and anxiety-ridden, young workers.  Are you kidding me?!  Seriously, where are we going with this type of attitude in the future?

I guess I should plan on seeing you early retirees clipping your coupons, meeting your other retirees at the local coffee shop for your morning ‘networking session’.  There, you will begin to discuss rising costs of medical.  You will address not being able to take that bucket list trip to Iceland and blame the recent increases in airfare.

Don’t get me wrong.  I realize that waking up every morning, knowing you don’t have to go to work, might sound quite enticing.  However, you need to face the reality of what this future looks like if you end up running out of funds.  The real issue is that 10 years comes and goes so quickly!   When you retire at 35 and don’t plan on working in the future, how will you be prepared for any unforeseen expenses you might incur?  Everyone needs to be prepared for that possibility!  By the time you are 45 and need more money, getting back into the work force you abandoned, will be much more of a challenge than you realize now.  Previous co-workers will have surpassed your expertise, your skills, and your experience in the workforce.  They will have created new positions and new opportunities, and you will become dated in your usage to employers. 

So how do you catch the FIRE?  Let me paint a picture on how this future looks, and the requirements to live it…

1.       Tell the boss ‘see ya!’

2.       Move in with some friends or your parents

3.       Invent an APP which will make you a millionaire

4.       Start the math – to arrive at your ideal wealth number, you calculate your annual spending (not your current income), then multiply that number by 25.  From that amount, you will be pulling 4% annually to live on

5.       For example, if your annual spending comes to $40K each year, you would need $1,000,000 to be able to retire early.  A 4% withdrawal would equal your $40K (source Transamerica)

6.       Cut back on your living expenses NOW!

7.       Oh, now I understand why all the ‘Little House Fixer Upper’ shows are so popular!  Tiny Houses!

8.       This will only work for the most disciplined millennial who can live very minimalistic without buying the Jimmy Choo shoes and designer bags

9.       Based on Transamerica research, one in five American adults (21%) have NO retirement savings at all and even Baby Boomers (those closest to retiring at 65) have an issue.  One out of three (33%) only have between $0 - $25,000 saved for retirement

10.   The good news is that you will have more freedom, but will you have the money to enjoy the freedom?


“Enjoy the Journey So That The Destination Means So Much More” Cindy XO

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You Never Know the Impressions You Leave on Others!

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When Jessica was at Tesoro High School in Orange County, CA she had a lot of friends on the football team.  Many of the kids ‘hung out at our house’ and we made it a fun place to be when you are 16 years old.  One day one of the football players, Xander Clark a good friend of Jessica’s, called her and asked about her parents donating to the school football program.  The rest of the story below was written this week, by Xander and posted on Facebook……Enjoy the story time!

Story Time by Xander Clark

“My greatest accomplishment in high school was not just about GPA or taking the prom queen to prom or being on back to back CIF championship football team, it was the following story.

It was summer 2005 going into my senior year. Every football player was required to sell $300.00 worth of program ads in the football program. We offered different size ads in the back of the football program to local businesses. The smallest ad was for $50.00 and the largest package was $5,000.00.

After Coach O’Connell handed out the packet and gave us instructions, I went to his office and asked if I could have a minute. “WHAT DO YOU NEED XANDER?!” I replied, “What’s the most anyone has ever sold in program ads?” He told me that a kids Dad had bought the $1,000.00 package the previous year. That’s when I knew I could do better.  “Coach, if I sell a $5,000.00 program ad, will you pay me $500.00 in commission?” To which he replied, “If you can convince someone to buy that package I’ll cut you that check immediately no problem but I guarantee you won’t do it.”

 I left his office determined to make it happen and knew exactly who to call. I reached out to Jessica Kane (Novotny) to get her fathers’ (Lefty) telephone number.  Lefty and Cindy Novotny run a very successful business that focuses on leadership, sales and service training called Master Connection Associates and Lefty loved football as he was a kicker for The University of Iowa.  On top of that they’re just great people. He was the perfect prospect.

I set the appointment and put on my best dressed clothes and went to meet him at his house. I was sweaty and gassed by the time I got to the top of the driveway. (Long driveway.)

We chatted for a bit, discussed the packages and then I went for the close. I remember the feeling when he wrote me a check for $5,000.00 like it was yesterday. It was one of the best feeling I had ever had. I drove straight to the school and handed my coach the envelope with the check enclosed. He opened it, pulled out the check and said “You’ve got to be sh!tting me!”

He told me to get another 5K and he’d write me a $1,000.00 check. I sold a few more packages with a grand total of $7,800.00 in program ads sold. The last day of summer camp he presented me with the check. I remember thinking to myself “You know how many hours I have to work at the tree lot to make $500.00?”

Now today, I am in sales and I have been chasing that feeling and closing deals ever since.  Don’t give up on your dreams – you can do it!”

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I Broke the Rules to Show My Daughter the World!

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We have all heard this on the news this week – New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern made history bringing her baby daughter to the UN Assembly.  I love that this is going mainstream because at 3 months old my daughter Jessica began her world tours.  Yes, 30 years ago I broke the rules and took my daughter to work and never looked back.

I will never forget the first corporate meeting I took Jessica to.  She was 3 months old and I was a Director of Marketing for Westin Hotels and I was attending a SITE Meeting at The Arizona Biltmore.  We boarded the plane with all the baby stuff you need and the nanny and headed to the meeting.  I received a few glances from other Directors, but no one said a word.  She didn’t attend the meetings but every lunch and at the end of the day I would go play with her at the pool or in the room.  It was the beginning of ‘living with no balance and loving it.’

Then there was the big corporate meeting that Lefty (my husband) had to attend at Disney World in Orlando.  Disney -how great.  Jessica was about 4 years old and a perfect age to go to Disney.  As we began to plan how we would go and then see Lefty after his meetings, we got the memo that no children could GO, only spouses.  I was so mad.  I immediately did what I do best and started planning my way around this.   Yes, we would go, and I would book a separate hotel where Jessica and the nanny would stay and then I would attend a few ‘spouse programs’, duck out and hit the parks with my daughter. 

Jessica would continue to travel one week a month all over the world with me.  She would visit Europe, Asia, the Middle East and more.  When she applied to colleges the paper she wrote was ‘My Ticket to The World.’  Her global experience was priceless and is to this day. 

I love that both women and men can involve their children in their work and their travel.  Don’t limit their education with books only.  Every ticket to a new destination is worth thousands of pages from a book. 

So, I broke the rules 30 years ago but since I was just ‘Cindy’ it never really hit the news.  I am happy to see a Prime Minister making headlines by doing it her way.  But this is not just a story for moms, it is a story for dads as well.  Get out of your box and realize that letting your children see the world and appreciate your work will help give them a better foundation for their future.  After all, there is just so much you can learn in school or at home, you need to learn by living!

Fall Clean-up!

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I always want to give some ‘real life’ tips that make life just a bit easier.  Today’s blog is about organizing your life.  I was pleasantly surprised to come into our corporate office and see that Carla Michael from our team completely re-organized my office space.  In addition to de-cluttering it she decorated my desk for fall and boy, what a difference it made.  Thank you, Carla XO.

Organizing your life takes time and effort.  I have a very organized travel life.  Everything for my suitcase is in perfect order. But the few times I make it home, I seem to empty all my bags, pouches and files... and yes, they pile up.  No more!  I am going to keep myself organized by packing less ‘stuff.’

So here are some of my new habits – give them a try:

1.       Put things in the perfect place every time

2.       Organize your lists by the date you will accomplish them

3.       Get rid of the pile that says ‘to be filed’

4.       Lighten the load – I carry so much stuff on the road no wonder I have back problems

5.       Go digital with all that you can

6.       Organize your desk so that it looks clean and fresh

7.       Plan your week and then every night look at the next day

8.       Take your desk drawers and dump them out and start over

9.       Tear out articles you want to read and throw the rest of the magazine away

10.   Finally – REWARD yourself with a treat for all your hard work

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Act Local and Live Global!

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The beauty of my job is that I get to travel the world and experience life as a local.  Although I stay in some of the most incredible hotels around the globe, I always ask the locals what they do for fun, what the best food to eat is, and where they go for entertainment after work so that I can get the full experience myself.  This week while working in Marrakech we wandered around the Medina, shopped in the markets and enjoyed watching the snake charmers in the square.

One evening we went to El Fenn’s rooftop bar which is the spot to be at sunset.  Magnificent views and cocktails to celebrate the end of a perfect day.  As the sunset became the most amazing backdrop to our evening we spent time talking to local Moroccans about life in Marrakech.  Some of the tips they gave can apply to any bustling city.  So, as you travel around the world remember these do’s and don’ts and enjoy the local life!

DO:

·  Always embrace the spirit of the destination looking for hidden paths and doorways

·  Sip the local tea (in Marrakech the mint tea) while listening to the local music or call to prayer

·  Learn to ‘haggle’ with the shopkeepers but always be fair

·  Get lost (with a map) and don’t stick to such strict itineraries

·  Know the local pricing – how much you should tip (or not), how much a guide or a taxi               costs before you start out

·  Mind your manners but portray a confident approach

·  Take in a local treatment at a spa (my favorite) – don’t always go with the normal Swedish         Massage

·  Talk to the elders in the community – hear their stories and pay attention to old customs

·  Travel off season to enjoy the destination without the crowds

DON’T:

·  Stay on your phone while missing out on the experience

·  Check your emails until the end of the day

·  Don’t let the ‘hawkers’ make you nervous – just stay focused and keep moving

·  Don’t stress that you can’t see your local news

·  Don’t dress too casual – blend in

·  Ignore local laws and customs

After spending time at El Fenn Rooftop, I heard so many great stories.  The hotel is owned by Richard Branson’s sister, Madonna had her birthday party there and much more.  All the tales led to great conversations that night at dinner.  What a difference it makes to enjoy your journey and live the great life of the ‘road warrior.’

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Short Getaways to Re-energize Yourself!!!

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I can’t believe that it is Labor Day Weekend and for those of you not in the USA, I am sure it is a bank holiday of some sort.  How did this summer go so fast?  Time flies they say.

I was very fortunate to take the month of August and work from our beautiful cottage in Northern Michigan.  Although I was working a bit, I wasn’t on a plane, in a hotel or a meeting.  I was on conference calls, working on my book and talking to clients and my team all the time.   There were mini breaks throughout the entire month that helped re-energize me to take on the last 4 months of the year where my travel schedule kicks back in to gear.  Starting with Morocco, Dubai, London, Ireland, Paris, Mexico and not to mention the stateside travel from sea to shining sea.  

I think mini getaways are so much more relaxing because taking one 2-week vacation can be exhausting.  The tours, the museums, the dinners and the shopping can wear you down.  Planning for a vacation is also overwhelming – where to go, where to stay, etc.  A quick getaway takes less planning.

So how do you make this work?  Take off a few Fridays throughout the year and a few Mondays and make a 2-day weekend turn into a 4-day getaway.  Or you might take a single vacation day and use it to reconnect with friends, family and just doing errands around the house.   

These short breaks give you a chance to disconnect, breathe and jump back into work without a lot of stress.  As you plan for the upcoming holidays – take my advice and ask for some days off.  You will be glad you did.  

 

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So, You Don’t Give a ‘Rip’…. Neither Do I!

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It simply amazes me how people can act.  Even people you know very well.  When things are going their way, the world is perfect.  The minute things don’t go their way, the shift in attitude is so transparent.  For years I used to let things like this bother me.  I would have a stomach ache over relationships that were not going well, situations that needed to be addressed and just worrying about the next conversation.

Those days are over.  I have worked my tail off to deliver results to our clients, MCA team members, friends and family.  I only ask that I get the same commitment in return.  So, when I don’t get the best of those around me both in business and my personal life, I am just going to move on.  You don’t care, why should I? 

There is no reason to be negative, no reason to argue every issue and no reason to surround yourself with those that don’t have the same commitment as you do. 

As you are reading this ask yourself a few questions about those you consider important in your life –

1.       Do they bring out the best in you and others on the team or in the family?

2.       Do they contribute to the relationship whether at work or home as much as you do?

3.       Are they a team player or in it just for themselves?

4.       Do they constantly create havoc in your life?

5.       What would happen if they were no longer in your life?

These are simple questions to answer and ones that should be discussed with those in your circle.  I believe strongly in living this life to our fullest and those that don’t want to be in the game should move on.  Most of us know that during tough times your real friends and family show up, the ones that don’t are only in your life for their selfish reasons.  Who needs them?  I don’t.  I want to share my love, support, mentoring and leadership with anyone who wants to be part of my team. 

This state of mind creates freedom!  Once you make a commitment and stick to it, you are free to live your whole life.  Enjoy this wonderful ride of life and don’t let anyone drag you down!

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Pc: Pinterest

Attention Leaders – What is your ROI?

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I am asked every day the same question – ‘What is the ROI on your training, consulting or coaching?’  We provide validated analytics and even more proof in a money back guarantee that our processes work.  But, what I want to ask leadership everyday is what their ROI is.

I have been on all sides of the business.  Sales, operations, leadership and now organizational development.  I have had to prove my ‘worth,’ or ROI from the beginning.  You don’t make your quota – done!  But lately, I am wondering who is really stepping up to provide value to their teams and organizations.  Why do we have to discuss accountability of leadership in each session we facilitate?

I think the answer lies in the fact that too many leaders continue to look at the scoreboard and forget to play ball.  The buzzwords of today bring clarity to this:

·         Dashboard

·         Employee engagement surveys

·         NPS (Net Promoter Scores)

·         Board approval

·         TripAdvisor

·         Cvent Analytics

The list goes on and on.  I speak to sales people everyday in my one-on-one coaching sessions and hear virtually the same thing regardless of what company they are with.  ‘I don’t get much assistance or coaching from my leader.’  This is not right.  A leader is hired to lead people to success, not manage a spreadsheet.  If you find yourself spending more time in closed door meetings, analyzing the reason your team is not as successful as they should be, then it is time to step out from behind that desk and conduct your own audit.  What ROI did you provide today?

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Scoop up Summer!

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As many of you know I try very hard to take a bit of a ‘summer break.’  Most people call this vacation.  For me it is just a break from jet fuel.  As a business owner and consummate sales person, I really can’t take the ‘get away from it all – unplug vacation,’ but I can take a break.

My summer break is doing my work on my front porch overlooking Betsie Bay which leads to beautiful Lake Michigan.  My mornings start with a freshly brewed coffee, doing emails, working on finishing my 2nd book and early morning conference calls.  Then a walk on the beach, going to the farmers market and getting what I am going to make for dinner.  This is truly a break for me.

It is so easy to get pushed and pushed along your life without realizing that everyone needs a break.  But as I always say, what is a break to one is not to another.  It is true bliss for me when people take the time to stop and visit with me on my porch, sharing stories and laughter.  What I don’t consider pure bliss is running to my next flight to make sure I get to my next destination on time. 

Do yourself a favor with the bit of summer that is left.  Find your special place, grab a book or even your iPad and enjoy what you love – even if it is work!  Now is a great time to start your planning for 2019.  What are your personal and professional goals?  Where are you now and where do you want to be next year?  There are only 4 months left in 2018 – make a strong start to 2019 by planning NOW!

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There is Always Hope!

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Never believe that all is lost in your life either in business or in your personal life.  There is always a possibility for a new beginning.  When a sales professional loses a client or a bit of their business, get out of your rut and find new business.  Sulking will get you nowhere.

The same thought applies in your personal life.  Hope can jump start and re-set your day, month and year.  I am amazed at how many people I run into that are ‘downers.’  Nothing is ever right.  It doesn’t matter that the economy is better than ever, these people find reasons why life sucks!

Hope is also not a strategy for success – you must put actions behind your hope to make sure you change behavior.  Only you can give yourself hope and only you can take it away.  There are opportunities everywhere – you just must get out and find them.

What are you waiting for?

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Take Responsibility for Yourself!

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What has happened to our world?  Too many people expect to get a free ride in business and in life.  I was raised to take responsibility for my actions and my future.  Growing up, I didn’t have things handed to me and have worked extremely hard for everything I have now.

I am going to share a story that happened in my early 20’s to give an example of how I was held accountable of my actions.  It was summer at the time and I had a good job. I ended up being laid off and decided that I was going to claim unemployment.  After I got home, I decided I was going to lay out in the sun and while doing so, my father came home early to find me not at work.  Yes, you guessed it.  It was less than 30 minutes, that I was up, showered and out looking for a job.  There would be no excuses, and there would be no free ride.

Last week in Scotland I met a gentleman on our plane who was from Dallas, Texas.  He’s a father of 4 young adults and came from a family of 5 kids.  His dad was a physician and they lived a nice life.  His father told all 5 kids, ‘I will put a roof over your head, I will keep you fed and clothed, I will pay for all of your education and I will protect you.’  But the next statement is what was interesting.  He then said that at about 10 years old he asked his dad to buy him a bike.  His dad looked him in the eyes and said again – ‘I will put a roof over your head, I will keep you fed and clothed, I will pay for all of your education and I will protect you, but I don’t buy bikes!’  ‘If you want a bike, get a paper route, get a job as a golf caddy, wash cars and save your money to buy a bike.’

Now not that I agree or disagree with this, but it does make me think about how different it is today.  I’m not just talking about young people, it is about people from all backgrounds and ages.  What makes anyone think they deserve a free ride. 

My fear is that if people keep taking advantage of employers, friends, churches, family because they feel entitled - our future will be dim.  We need to raise our kids to work hard for extra things.  When it comes to work, we need employees to accept the job and salary and if they want more, they have to do more. 

Stop sitting back in your easy chair watching life pass you by.  Get out there and make things happen!  Ownership of your life is key – so take accountability, step up to the plate and hit that home run!

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The Art of Perfection!

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I have been working in London all week and when I am in any country I love to live like I am a local.  Last night we went to Notting Hill and visited The Distillery which specializes in all things Gin!

Gintonica, Ginstitute, Portabello Road Gin and many other tiny board rooms and bars are all within this fabulous establishment.  Now, I have never been a gin drinker, but again, ‘when in Rome…’

We sat down to an enormous menu of Gin Cocktails.  I went for the Botanist.  The bartender said to me, it is time you learned how to perfect a proper G&T.  And then I became a connoisseur!  It is all about perfection. 

So, let me take you on my journey.

1.      Start with the right glass – not a tall Collins glass but a balloon glass (like a wine glass).  It is the best way to savor the taste and flavor in glass that has a larger surface for you to smell the aroma

2.     Many people think that a lime goes with a G&T, but most ins have a lemon peel in the mix.  My Botanist had green apple, mint and juniper berries.  Fantastic taste!

3.     Fill the glass entirely with ice and use chilled tonic.  Not just any tonic, but Fever-Tree Tonic.  For my Botanist we used Fever-Tree Tonic with Elderflower.

What seemed like a simple drink now became art and perfection.  Loving every moment of the experience.  As I continued to learn more about The Ginstitute it got even better.  It began its life as London’s smallest museum above a building that is ingrained with an alcohol-sodden past.  N. 171 Portobello Road, a public house since the 19th century.  Outgrowing its diminutive home and combined with the desire of the Portobello Road Gin team to bring production of the gin back to its roots, in 2016 they moved a few doors down London’s most famous street to No. 186, where lies a building that has housed drinking establishments since 1867.  Most famous were The Colville Hotel, known as the ‘Pisshouse.’

Perfection should be in everything we do – all day, every day.  Pay attention to your life, business and future.  Don’t waste a minute on average.  Do it right the first time!

 PC : Minted

PC : Minted

Mystified!

cindynovotnyComment

It is Friday the 13th! Wow, how exciting. It is a great day for me as it has always been a lucky number in our family. So why are so many people confused about this day? According to the Stress Management Institute in Ashville, NC, 17 to 21 million people suffer from anxiety on this day.  I am mystified at that statistic. To me it is just a day. I have had days filled with anxiety that do not fall on the 13th where I get caught in emotional conflicts and can’t seem to find the right words, answers or solutions. Many times, this confusion clouds my judgement and causes me undo stress – again this could happen on any day of the year.

I am a strong believer in mentors, counselors and friends who can help support me during confusing and tough times – do you? If not, learn to seek the advice from others, make a pro/con list and action steps to give you the ability to move through the confusion.

I am mystified at how so many people live their life in a confused state for way too long. Find ways to maintain a positive and consistent way of life to stay on your path to success. Don’t get caught up in superstitions or confusion. Move beyond your fear and embrace life. It is meant to be lived!

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Stop Meeting Madness!

cindynovotnyComment

It is time to get down to business.   And what I mean by that is to free ourselves from boring, non-eventful and unproductive meetings.  I speak to employees from countless different companies all over the world, and they all share the same thing with me – ‘our meetings are a waste of time.’  Every time I hear that statement, it gets me thinking.  Why am I hearing this but the leaders running these meetings are not?

It’s simple – no one focuses on the objective of a meeting. 

So today, I have decided to share with you a couple of tips to make your meetings more enjoyable, more productive and how to make your employees stop thinking that you are wasting their time.

1.       Survey your entire team on what they would like to see in the meetings, how often and how they should be facilitated.

2.       Interpret the results from your survey together with the entire team and make some  collective decisions.

3.       Have a set agenda and goal for each meeting or do not have the meeting.

4.       Monitor all goals at meetings.

5.       Rotate who facilitates the meetings.

6.       Debrief bigger issues after the meeting in smaller groups.

7.       Move the meeting place around.

8.       As a leader don’t dominate the meeting.

9.       Keep the meeting motivational, positive and engaging.

10.    Always start and end on time.

You don’t have time to waste, so take these tips and put them to good use.  I promise it will make a difference in your meetings and how your employees view them!

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Did You Learn Anything as a ROOKIE?

cindynovotnyComment

Why is it that the name ‘rookie’ is mostly used in the sports industry?  A rookie is anyone who starts a new profession, new opportunity or doing something that they have never done before.  But you never hear anyone use that term, do you?  Whenever you are starting a new venture, taking on a new career, job, role or leadership position, you go back to being known as a ‘rookie.’  As anyone who is doing something new for the first time, you need a coach or mentor to guide you along the way.

The world is full of ‘know it all’ people.  I am sure you can name several right off the top of your head.  They have done it all, read it all and have solved every problem.  But look at it this way, there is a benefit in being a rookie.  You don’t know what you don’t know, and your objective is to learn!

But no one starting a new job or new business will learn anything if they don’t admit or come to terms that they are a beginner.  Education, age or status has absolutely nothing to do with it.  It is about losing your ego so that you are open to learn and grow.

If you have taken on a new position or more responsibility, make sure you are open to feedback, growth and learning.  Do not sit back and wait to be told what to do.  Take initiative, jump right in, ask questions, let people know that you are new to what you’re doing and that you still are learning.  With this mindset you will never fail, and not only will your team will prop you up along the way, they will respect you more as well.  Have FUN being a ‘rookie’ and get ready for success!

FUN FACT: Master Connection Associates loves their mascot dogs and our newest member is named ROOKIE!  See below!

Zero to 260 mph

kaite bissinComment

As many of you know, I am the type of person that goes from zero to 100.  I like to get on with it and love getting things done as quickly (and as efficiently) as possible.  Life is so busy for most of us, but it is worth it when we stay productive and on top of it.  The most successful people are the ones with the go-getter mentality!  I’m talking about those who push through, don’t give up and those who use their failures as lessons of growth.

But what most of you DON’T know is that at a very young age, I was able to visit the pits at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  And let me tell you, it was such an incredible experience.  It was right about the time when electronics became more reliable for the teams to use two-way radios for better communication.

The reason I bring up that story relates to my blog today. This week I was able to work with the amazing Capitol Auto Group up in Salem, Oregon.  It is so much fun to spend a few days with a client who really “gets it.” In addition, I even got to enjoy my love of cars and racing as I spent time speaking to over 300 employees about drive, commitment, sense of urgency, enthusiasm and ambition.

But to top off the night, one of the service managers invited me to visit Gregg Lawrence’s (www.greggracing.net) garage where he and his team of mechanics were taking apart an A/Fuel Dragster.  I was able to watch these talented men work for an hour and see how quickly, yet efficiently they move.  The car that I watched be taken apart has to be back up and ready in two weeks to race.

As I spent an hour just in awe, I also learned about the incredible amounts of money that is put into this.  I mean hundreds and thousands of dollars go into just the tools!  This is the kind of hobby that can only become a business if you WIN.  What most people in this industry are trying to do is figure out how to make money in a hobby like this, while knowing that it is also an extremely competitive sport.

When you invest your own money into a sport or hobby that will bring you nothing in return unless you are first to cross that finish line, it can be an extremely scary thought.  But how will you know if you never put yourself in that situation?  Sometimes you do have to take a risk to be able to do your best to win the race and accomplish what you wanted from the beginning.  It’s the same way with your job today.

Do you have the drive, ambition and guts to make that final push as the car does as it comes out of the pit?  Because in all reality, in a race like the Indy 500, pushing yourself to make it through the 500 miles with your timing on point is crucial for you to win.

So do you have what it takes to push yourself in your 500 mile race when you get out of bed tomorrow?