Missed Goals…The Best Opportunity for Success

And the winner is . . .

Have you ever wondered what determines who takes home the trophy? Who gets the promotion? Who lands the contract?

Is there something that losers fail to do that gives their opposition an advantage? Or is it something winners do that gives them an edge?

When it comes to reaching a goal, all things may appear equal, but they never are. People who experience success believe in themselves, develop the right attitude, and refuse to take no for an answer. People who experience the success they want and beyond do those things and more.

What is the “more.” Intentional success comes through the clarity of your mind, the understanding of your heart, and knowing the endurance of your body. If you want to be like a well-trained athlete who listens, learns, and follows the instructions of his coach to get the results he wants, then you must weigh the following:

1. The purpose of setting a goal is to keep you focused and to determine whether you’re creating what you say you want. Because goals only take into account raw data called outcomes, we as self-development experts don’t believe the achievement or lack of achievement of a goal is the complete picture of success.

The journey to achieving your goal can significantly enrich your life — increasing your confidence and introducing you to phenomenal things about yourself. This philosophy doesn’t negate the importance of goals; it only seeks to ensure that you don’t believe your self-worth is contingent on a projected outcome, because it isn’t.

2. Many factors influence the achievement of a goal. For the most part, achieving your goals depends on you. But when and how you achieve your goals can be influenced by external factors.

For example, most Olympians train from the time they’re 5 or 6 years old. Each athlete is well trained by a top coach. Each has pushed himself beyond his limits. Each has prepared himself to win. Each has set the goal to take home the gold — but only one will.

The reality of setting goals is that you will face defeat. The purpose of defeat is not to hurt or stop you or cause you to give up. It’s simply to offer you the lessons you need to sustain you when you reach your goal. Here’s how to deal with fail goals:

Try again. Believing in something when there isn’t any evidence that it’s likely to happen can be difficult, but your willingness to persevere and keep trying is the force that manifests it into reality.

Find an alternative. There’s more than one way to reach any goal — be creative. See the nearby sidebar, “Before they die,” for an example.

Improve your abilities. Some goals aren’t reached because you’re not ready. Keep practicing, improving, and building your skills.

Evaluate your focus, desires, and drive. Some goals require more than you expect. Make sure you’re giving it all you have and that you have the fortitude to go the distance.

Accept that it’s not meant to be. Positive thinking, affirmations, and practice won’t help you became a brain surgeon unless you are gifted in math and science and have an educational foundation that will support you. Although anything is possible, everything isn’t always practical.

This is an excerpt from the book Self-Esteem for Dummies. For my free 90-minute audio course sign up here, How to Create Buzz and Grow Your Life and Business. 

Copyright. All rights reserved. 2018 S. Renee Smith.

Feeling Devalued Means You Don’t Fully Understand Branding

“Any questions?” I asked. I had just concluded a 90-minute workshop on personal branding. The questions started pouring in when suddenly, everyone fell silent as we heard these words:

“Why can’t I get the promotion? I’m a great worker. I arrive early and stay late. I ace special projects, and I’m often praised for my work performance.” Pausing, he continued, “I shut my mouth, do my job, and go home.”

Do you ever feel that way — devalued?

Personal branding, in theory, is very similar to product branding. Products have a purpose. They have specific characteristics that make them appealing. They solve problems for targeted markets, which are also called audiences. When they bring the anticipated value, a buzz is created and demand increases.

Keep the following points in mind about branding:

1. Your brand is not identical to your reputation. When a group of people is asked the question: “Do you have a brand?” typically, the majority respond, “No.” The next question is, “Is your brand your reputation?” Most say, “Yes.” That’s partially correct. Reputation emphasizes your character. Your brand is your reputation and what people expect to get from what you do.

Here’s the difference. “He’s a good, honest businessman” is an example of reputation. “He’s a good, honest business man who sells quality, well-priced used cars to middle-class families” exemplifies a brand.

2. Image and branding are different. Many people are also under the impression that their image is their brand. Your image is the perception that people have of you as a result of seeing and/or having minor interactions with you. Your image is an opinion without any real understanding of who you are or what you do.  Your brand is a result of others having direct contact with you or a testimony from a reputable resource who has had an experience with you. Your brand has an image component, but your image doesn’t have a brand component.

3. People are clear about your brand, even if you aren’t. As mentioned, most people don’t believe they have a brand. Nor have they given much thought to personal branding. Although you may not know the value you bring to your business and personal relationships, that doesn’t mean the people you interact with haven’t calculated the value you bring to their lives. What they know about you is the barometer they use to determine which promotions, assignments, and invitations are extended to you.

This is an excerpt from the book Self-Esteem for Dummies. For my free 90-minute audio course sign up here, How to Create Buzz and Grow Your Life and Business. 

Copyright. All rights reserved. 2018 S. Renee Smith.

Communicate to Make People Feel Like They Matter

We live in a world driven by time lines, goals, expectations, and responsibilities. Nearly everyone is faced with the question “How do I manage, prioritize, and balance my life?” Stress is among the ill effects of a hurried society. In addition to wrecking your health, stress dilutes the quality of your communication experiences.

Time to communicate and connect is short, and you are often given short answers to complex problems. Meetings are filled with multitaskers who respond to email alerts while a colleague is presenting an idea. Relationships are plagued with silence while cyber games and Facebook feeds garner their mates’ attention.

Regardless of your schedule, when you fail to be fully present and only passively listen to a colleague, client, or family member, you disregard another human being. By making a task more important than a human being, you diminish your connection and ability to maximize your own performance by failing to create an amicable relationship with the person, whom you may need in the future.

Oprah Winfrey said, “People want to know: Do you hear me? Do you see me? Does what I say mean anything to you?” When you say yes to these questions and act on your yes, you validate a person’s existence, feelings, and opinions. When a person is speaking, it is imperative that they know that you are with them and that you compassionately understand what they are saying, even if you don’t agree with them.

The following four actions will improve your assertive listening and inter- personal relationship skills.

1. Ask “Is there anything else?” Listen until the person has completed their thoughts.

2. Ask Clarifying Questions Ask clarifying questions to solidify your understanding of what the person is saying. You can say, “For clarity, can you elaborate on what you meant by . . .” or “Help me to understand what you mean by . . .”

3. Validate the Speaker’s Feelings and Opinions Put the person at ease by validating that you understand what the person is feeling. Use compassionate statements like, “I can understand why you feel that way . . .” or “I can see how that could make you feel . . .” or “Under the circumstances, I see why you would think that . . .”

This is an excerpt from my book, 5 Steps to Assertiveness How to Communicate with Confidence and Get What You Want.  Click the link to order now.

Copyrights 2018 S. Renee Smith, www.srenee.com. For speaking or coaching services call 888-588-0423.


Corral Your Emotions to Avoid Conflict During Heated Conversations

Whenever I get upset, my husband says, “Just Breathe.” Here’s why.

Emotions are feelings in motion. Your emotions are influenced by how what’s happening in the moment impacts your comfort zone. Emotions can bring the brawny to tears and the gentle to screams. Although often judged because they can ignite fear and uncertainty about what a person will do, emotions aren’t right or wrong or good or bad. They are simply an invisible force that accurately interprets our internal belief in a situation in the present moment.

The challenge with emotions is that they can be deceptive, and because they come and go quickly, their long-term accuracy is debatable. You can’t always predict what will show up or when it will show up. Even people who have learned to contain their emotions have moments when a trigger is activated, an unexpected spontaneous outburst is released, and a cloud of anger engulfs a room. But emotions can also ignite a fire and flood a room with passion and love.

So why is it necessary to corral your emotions? Because most often they are temporary and can become the source of conflict and chaos when two or more people experience the same situation differently. An inability to harness your emotions can signal immaturity or even unprofessionalism.

1. Understand that fear has taken over the conversation. It doesn’t make sense to be scared when you go inside a haunted house at a carnival, because you know the characters aren’t real and will not harm you. Yet you’re still frightened. That’s the same twisted mind-set that people have when a conversation begins to take a downward turn. You know the conversation has gotten out of control and the person is irrational, but you still ght to have a rational conversation.

2. Focus on the bigger picture. The ultimate and most important goal of a conversation is a quality relationship. Don’t get sidetracked, even if the other person does.

3. Practice the power of silence. Stay in the receiving mode. Let the other person speak their mind without feedback. When you know what a person is thinking and feeling, you possess power.

This is an excerpt from my book, 5 Steps to Assertiveness How to Communicate with Confidence and Get What You Want.  Click the link to order now.

Copyrights 2018 S. Renee Smith, www.srenee.com. For speaking or coaching services call 888-588-0423.


Convert Anxiety to Empowerment Using Assertiveness for Weaponry During War

Not knowing how to act in a certain situation, and not knowing what the likely outcome will be as a result can certainly cause you to feel anxious. For instance, you head to your boss’ office for your yearly performance review, and you feel a knot forming in your stomach. Or you are having a discussion at a family dinner, the conversation turns contentious, and you become tongue-tied. Or you walk onstage to give a speech and your heart starts uttering and your hands get clammy.

We all have moments when we worry about the outcome of an event. It is unsettling when you’re uncertain about the future, or when a negative situation escalates. Whether the threat is a failed performance, a tongue-lashing, or a fault- nding critique, the anxiety exists because you believe that danger is lurking, which makes you feel unsafe and in need of protection. This feeling of helplessness may cause you to want to escape rather than boldly face the challenge. This reaction is disempowering.

Disempowerment is a result of you telling yourself that you are not equipped to properly handle the situation. You need to assert to yourself that you are the authority over your life. When you practice being assertive, you begin to expect your rights in the communication agreement to be honored.

Maybe you won’t get a good performance review; that’s okay, because you will assertively state your position to your boss, and you will leave the review with the feeling of being heard. Not every person you interact with will like or understand you. In fact, you may have to get up from the dinner table to opt out of taking part in a heated debate. But know this: Empowering yourself with assertive communication skills assures you that you have the capacity to courageously face any challenge with clarity and determination, thereby reducing the anxiety that arises from uncertainty.

5 Steps to Assertiveness

1. Know Your Starting Point: You have to know where you stand in the communication experience. Do you speak up for yourself? Do you often walk away from conversations wishing for what you would have liked to have happened?

2. Listen Assertively. Listen to what’s being said without judging it and funneling it through your issues.

3. Communicate Assertively Without Words. Body language is a very effective resource so use it.

4. Speak Up. Say what you want to say in a way that honors and respects yourself and others.

5. Face Feedback. You can’t critique yourself so let others help you get to where you want to go.

This is an excerpt from my book, 5 Steps to Assertiveness How to Communicate with Confidence and Get What You Want.  Click the link to order now.

Copyrights 2018 S. Renee Smith, www.srenee.com. For speaking or coaching services call 888-588-0423.


Pick Me! Why Do People Overlook You and How to Get Noticed

Juan sat on the edge of his seat at the conference table. The manager’s eyes scanned the room as she determined which of the technicians she’d choose to head up the team at the new building. Juan was screaming inside—“Pick me! I’m the best choice for this assignment!”—but he kept his eyes fixed to the folder on the table in front of him. When the manager called on the guy next to him, Juan slumped back in his chair. He was overlooked—again. It was as if he wasn’t even there.

Like Juan, do you wish your boss would take notice of you and respect you for what you can accomplish and what you have accomplished? It feels good to have the respect of others. Respect means being appreciated for who you are, what you do, and how you do it. It means being spoken to in a way that honors you. But how do you get to a place where people look at you with admiration and turn to you for knowledge and insight? You guessed it: assertive communication.

In addition to my work as a life and business coach, I’m also a branding expert. I help people build and protect their reputations. One of the pillars of my model is crafting and communicating a message that triggers a response from one’s audience. Assertive communication leads to success, and success garners respect from others. As you learn to confidently communicate with purpose and clarity, you’ll notice that people will pause to hear what you have to say. As more people listen, the greater the buzz will grow about how your talents, skills, and abilities can help them accomplish their goals. That’s how respectable brands are built.

By becoming an assertive communicator you learn how to speak with purpose and clarity, enabling you to successfully express yourself.

Keep the following in mind:

1. When you speak, you reveal your temperament, judgment, and understanding of people to your audience.

2. You disclose your secret beliefs about yourself and the world.

3. You draw people in or push them away.

When you communicate properly, your competency and credibility are a affirmed both by you and by others.

This is an excerpt from my book. Click the link to order now 5 Steps to Assertiveness How to Communicate with Confidence and Get What You Want. 

Copyright 2018 S. Renee Smith, www.srenee.com. For speaking or coaching services call 888-588-0423.

What Are Some of the Common Barriers to Effective Communication?

It is my experience and opinion that there is a core barrier to communication that creates every other barrier, they are called pain spots. Pain spots are emotions that are often connected to shame, guilt or fear. When a person is unsure about another person’s intention, perception and response to them, they will conceal their feelings for fear of exposing their weaknesses and becoming too vulnerable. When this happens, an authentic conversation is impossible because the person doesn’t feel safe.

In order for communication to be effective each person engaged in the conversation has to feel safe. They have to trust that you will hear and respond to them with respect and compassion.

Here are 3 tips to help you move beyond barriers to a more effective and healthier relationship through communication:

1.  Pay Attention: listen attentively and watch carefully to how the person is communicating. This will let you know if they feel safe and how to create a safe space for them to share their feelings with you.

2. Identify and Work Toward Common Goals: Never ignore “the elephant in the room.” To pretend that something isn’t wrong when you know that it is only confirms that you and the other person have an inauthentic, unsafe relationship.

3. Trust the Process of Communication: Communication works when you are open, honest and compassionate. Most people are reasonable and will appreciate your attempt to hear and understand them. In most cases, they will mirror your sincere attempt to improve the relationship.

S. Renee is the author of 5 Steps to Assertiveness How to Communicate With Confidence and Get What You Want (Callisto Media, May 2018)

Copyrights 2018 S. Renee Smith.

8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting Your Business

LinkedIn is celebrating its 15th birthday today.

They are asking their community of users to share what they wanted to be at age 15 (#WhenIWas15). I love that! What a way to engaging a community to be thoughtful about their lives.

At 15, I wanted to be a model. At the time it seemed every female teenager wanted to be a model–or at least look like one. It was the 80’s and I don’t recall conversations directed to females to consider fields like science, math and technology. If there were, I wasn’t a part of them.

As I reflect on being 15, I can recall wanting to be pretty enough to model, which I wasn’t but I was ambitious enough to start a cake decorating business. Yep! Entrepreneurship is in my blood.

Although I didn’t think of myself as a small business owner,  I got paid to bake and decorate cakes for weddings and special events. Sure hope the IRS doesn’t read this! 🙂

I can remember my first wedding cake earned me $150. I didn’t know about income vs expenses and my parents didn’t think to teach me. So I stashed it away and gave no thought of how much time I committed, the cost of my ingredients, electric or delivery.

Isn’t funny how even today many small business owners don’t count up the costs to launch and build their businesses. Or even run a new campaign. I wasn’t any different when I first launched.

After working for a bad boss (or perhaps I was a bad employee), I just knew I didn’t want to do that again–work in an environment where I didn’t feel valued. Are you feeling the same way? Stuck and stuffed in a position that suffocates you? Do you give your best, but it goes unrecognized?

Before taking the leap, here are just a few questions to ask yourself:

1. Is there an active market for what I want to sell?

2. Where is the market?

3. What do they want to achieve?

4. What are they willing to pay?

5. How much should I charge to create the income I’m looking for, plus take care of my expenses?

6. Who do I want to be in the marketplace–high quality or high quantity?

7.  How long will it take to yield a profit?

8. Is it best to continue to work a job and start building the infrastructure for my business or am I ready to go cold turkey?

Warning: Don’t get caught up with tactical marketing lingo, beautiful pictures of affluent life styles and promises for a quick 6 and 7 figure business. Nothing is quick to build that has longevity and anything you want to grow requires your attention.

By the way, I launched my modeling career after leaving a corporate position and worked as a freelance model for 10 years. The money earned was used to pay taxes :), purchase my first home at age 25 and buy my second car–#WhenIWas15.

Copyrights 2018. All Right Reserved S. Renee Smith. I offer practical advice and strategies for steady escalated personal and business growth and marketplace position. I can be reached at 888.588.0423 or here.