WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE, I THINK

Whether you are an Oprah fan or distant observer, you’ve likely heard the statement, What I Know for SureWhat you might not know is that Gene Siskel, a film critic with the Chicago Tribune, stumped Oprah during an interview when he asked, “What do you know for sure?” 

Is there anything you know that should remain unquestionable? 

I don’t know about you, but the forces of movement and change are so constant that I have to stop and regroup so that I can reengage based on what I think I know for sure. As I listened with enjoyment to Oprah’s book, What I Know for Sure (2014), I began to wonder if there is anything I know with absolute certainty. Meaning, is there anything I know that should remain unquestionable? What about you? Does your truth about anything remain the same?

I believe that it’s the questions, not the answers that elevate our thinking, truth, and existence. 

 As a trainer, coach, speaker, and author, I give advice but most often, ask questions and support people as they find their answers. I believe that it’s the questions, not the answers that elevate our thinking, truth, and existence. Some questions require solutions, while others are met to stimulate curiosity about our significance in the world. Other inquiries challenge our stalled thinking and antiqued beliefs about ourselves and others. And some inspire us to recognize our brilliance and power. That’s what I know for sure. 

S. Renee Smith is the author of Harness the POWER of Personal Branding and Executive Presence: Elevate Your Life and Career NOW! This book guides you through the process that increases your confidence and helps you design your brand and develop your executive presence. It’s available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle ($6.99).

ARE YOU TAKING ENOUGH RISKS?

PHOTO BY LOIC LERAY

RISK. 

What does that word mean to you? Does it give you a positive or negative feeling? By definition, it means a situation involving exposure to danger, harm, or loss. That sounds a little too intense for me, so I like to think of risk as the impact to “possibly not getting an anticipated result.” This gives me the courage to pursue opportunities that I would otherwise talk myself out of. 

Amazon’s Founder/CEO/President Jeff Bezos has been credited for saying, “Unless you are taking risks you aren’t growing or thinking big enough.”  That statement has stuck with me. It has made me question whether I’ve taken enough risks. And if the chances I take are big enough. It’s made me wonder if I could gain this level of success, what risks would I have to take to get to the higher vision I have for myself and my career.

As leaders, we have to be an example to those who are looking at our lives and hoping they’ll find something to emulate. I’ve concluded that how I perceive my responsibility to myself and God’s divine plan for my life is of a higher consequence then what may happen when I challenge myself in new ways.

The next time you desire to take a risk that you know deep inside will render you staggering results or, at least, brilliant lessons that you will make your path clear, remember there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re just growing into the big vision you’ve set for your life–I know, I will. 

If you are seeking to elevate your thinking about yourself and your career, pick up a copy of my new book Harness the POWER of Personal Branding and Executive: Elevate Your Life and Career NOW! Now, in ebook format for only $6.99. 

26 MILLION…WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH IT?

What would you do with 26 million minutes? If you are 50 years old or older, you have lived 26+ million minutes. 

Twenty-six million minutes! Marinate on that for a moment. It’s a sobering thought, isn’t it? It makes you pause and ask, “What have I done with 26+ million minutes?

These questions came to mind recently while reflecting on my life in San Antonio, Texas between meetings. In my silence, the answer came from a deep place within me. Time doesn’t go fast, as we often assert. We spend our time doing the wrong things with the wrong people creating a gut-wrenching feeling that we are missing out on something. With each passing day, there’s a feeling of loss. The swiftness of time is an easy criminal to point to.

The truth is this: The refusal to acknowledge, seek answers and take responsibility for unanswered yearnings, mystical dissatisfactions, and unhappiness points to our lack of confidence, courage, and willingness to embrace our competence is the real culprit of loss time.  

Time doesn’t go fast. It escapes those who disregard their power to use it wisely.  

I can’t tell you how to spend the next two seconds, minutes, hours, months, or years. But I can tell you this: without a clear mission and a plan on how you’ll achieve what you want, you’ll be close to where you are right now. If that works for you, don’t do one thing to change. If it doesn’t, and you have difficulty taking a step in the direction of your dream, let me help. 

In my book Harness the POWER of Personal Branding and Executive Presence: Elevate Your Life and Career Now! I give readers the strategies for change and then remind them of their ability to change by encouraging them to answer these questions.

  1. Think about a time when you had to change. Why did you need to change?
  2. What did you need to change?
  3. How did you feel when you realized you needed to change?
  4. How did you feel after the change?
  5. What steps did you take to embrace change?
  6. Write a statement about your ability to change and the value you get from changing.

So you see, you’ve changed many times in the past. You can do this. Don’t waste another moment with people and situations that are below your competence for success. Click here to order your copy of Harness the POWER of Personal Branding and Executive Presence and start building a plan for personal and professional success.

2019 © All Rights Reserved S. Renee Smith. S. Renee is a nationally recognized self-esteem, branding and communication speaker, author, and coach. You can learn more at www.srenee.com

SCARS REMIND US WE CAN MAKE IT THROUGH ANYTHING!

A former client and reader of Harness the POWER of Personal Branding and Executive Presence, Mona Andrei sent me an email today. She asked me to share this with you. She wrote, “I LOVED your analogy on scars (Page 12). I bookmarked it.  🙂 I think this little nugget of wisdom will help a lot of people.”

I hope she’s right. Here it is. Enjoy!

When I was three years old, my mother and I were visiting a neighbor. They had a blind dog. At the time, I was afraid of dogs. As the dog approached me, I ran. Sensing my fear, the dog ran after me and attempted to bite me in the face. My mother held up her arm to protect me. The dog bit her wrist instead. She was taken to the hospital, and a doctor closed the gash with stitches.

My mother still has a faded scar on her wrist as a reminder of the lesson we both learned, but the scar doesn’t hurt. Scars are reminders that you can make it through anything.

I want to make this information applicable to your challenges by differentiating between pain and a scar. When you conjure up your past feelings from some painful memory, you’re pulling yourself into the pain of the past; this behavior blurs the lines of truth, and you fail to see the facts.

When you can look back on a situation without emotion, you’re able to see that it’s a fading scar and you’re able to process the current challenge better. For example, my mother being bitten by the dog didn’t intensify my fear of dogs. Instead, my parents gave me the information I needed to interact with dogs more successfully, and the incident helped me better manage my fears.

What experiences of the past are you allowing to run and ruin your life, relationships, and career opportunities? Whatever they are, they don’t have to.

This is an excerpt from Harness the POWER of Personal Branding and Executive Presence: Elevate Your Life and Career NOW! Visit Amazon today to purchase your copy.

S. Renee Smith is an expert, speaker, trainer and certified professional coach. You can learn more about her work at srenee.com.

WHY SOME PEOPLE’S MISTAKES DON’T MATTER: Overcome Your Flaws By Communicating, Connecting and Committing

We all have flaws. Some more forgiving than others; regardless, they are flaws. However, why is it that two people can make the same mistake, yet suffer a different consequence?

While each may experience a backlash, one will have an active group of supporters that will come to their rescue compassionately justifying their actions. They’ll call on the community for backing while the other person will lose their career and life–as they know it. So why are the consequences so different? Politics, you say? What would you say if I told you that I believe that a person’s likability factor is at the core of their ability to escape condemnation?

Studies show that there is a connection between the level of punishment people believe you deserve and how likable you are. The New York Times article To Be Sued Less, Doctors Should Consider Talking to Their Patients More is just one example of how communication and connection increase your likability factor.

So how can you increase your likability factor?

Communicate: Don’t you enjoy a conversation about you or a topic that is important to you? Of course, you do. That’s why you join specific communities. You want to connect with people who will talk about subjects that are close to your heart.

And we all appreciate words of affirmation or encouragement. They remind us that we have a purpose, we’re making a difference, and someone sees us. Open up and have conversations with people, even the tough ones. As SHRM is leading the charge to ignite conversations that will change the workplace, we all must start with having a conversation with ourselves about ourselves. Consider my new book, Harness the POWER of Personal Branding and Executive Presence: Elevate Your Life and Career Now to start an internal dialogue.

Connect: This is why I’ve decided to partner with SHRM–because their message is courageous and bold–we have to connect with each other to create better workplaces and world. But, what does connect mean? I believe to sincerely want to know, understand, and like another human being. When we know and like ourselves, that charge is more desirable and easier to achieve.

Commit: We need one another to reach unimaginable levels of success. Being open to helping others reach their potential will undoubtedly help you reach yours–that’s what I know for sure.

If you enjoyed this article share it with others. Thank you!

S. Renee, the author of Harness the POWER of Personal Branding and Executive Presence: Elevate Your Life and Career Now, is a nationally recognized self-esteem, branding, and communications speaker, talent development trainer, and certified professional coach. Book her for your next event by calling 888-588-0423 or visit www.srenee.com.

It’s Not Complicated! Questions to Assess If You Have the Right Mindset for Success

There’s a saying; It’s complicated. Yet, nothing is as complicated as we make it. In fact, for the most part, life is predictable.

We know that how we see ourselves and the world determine our mindset. Our mindset determines our choices. And our choices determine where we end up in life. We are sure to die one day; we just don’t know when. And we know that there are a few moments that we can’t predict that requires our faith. That’s life in a nutshell.
With that being said, if you pay attention to what life is teaching you and make choices based on where you want to go, it highly likely, absent from an uncontrollable interruption, you’ll get there. It’s important to note that most moments aren’t interruptions; they are stepping stones. However, when you see a perceived barrier, you panic, go in a different direction, and lose momentum. 

I want to encourage you to get off that train. Today, decide to own your power to make choices that will put you on the path to the life and career you want. Throughout my new book, Harness the POWER of Personal Branding and Executive Presence, I have about 40 exercises that I call, Mind Elevation. They are questions, fill in the blank, mediations, and steps that help you map out your plan. 

Here are 11 questions from page 11 that will help you determine if you have a mindset that will help you get from where you are to where you want to be. 

THE STATE OF YOUR MIND

Ask yourself the following questions to disclose your mindset. Write your answers in your journal.

  1. What do I believe about my ability to achieve what I want?
  2. Does my behavior align with the opinions I say I have of myself?
  3. Do my daily choices reflect my beliefs?
  4. What do my daily choices reveal about my ideas of myself and my abilities?
  5. What evidence do I have to support the beliefs I claim I have of myself?
  6. What do I believe about people?
  7. How does my behavior reflect those beliefs?
  8. Overall, are my beliefs and reality in alignment?
  9. Am I moving in the right direction?
  10. If not, what do I believe is hindering me from achieving my dreams?
  11. On a scale of 1 to 10, one being least likely to get you there and ten being most likely, how would you rate your mindset?

Join over 400 other people who have purchased their pre-launch copy Harness the POWER of Branding and Executive Presence for half price ($9.99). July 1, the price increases to $19.95.

2019 © All rights reserved S. Renee Smith. S. Renee is a nationally recognized self-esteem, branding and communication speaker, author, and coach. You can learn more at www.srenee.com.

I CHOSE COURAGE; WHY YOU CAN TOO!

Do you ever have doubts that you can achieve the success you desire? Do you want to take advantage of opportunities, but don’t because you fear you aren’t ready? I know how you feel, I’ve been there.

I received the call in 2014 to consider co-authoring, Self-Esteem for Dummies. I couldn’t believe it. Me? Really? Wiley? Wiley is one of the top publishers in the world, “Do I have the writing ability to meet their standards? I’m not on that level,” I thought. Being fired from a job 15 years earlier for allegedly being a poor writer didn’t help my confidence.

I remember, all the negative emotions within me surged from the place where I had suppressed them. Have you ever noticed that past hurts often haunt us at a time when our past successes should empower us? At the time of the call, I had produced two self-published books and had been on the speaking circuit for nearly a decade. I was being hired to develop and present many self-development programs for organizations, coach hundreds of one-on-one clients, share national platforms with international leaders, and give advice to the readers and viewers of media outlets. My measurable results for clients were indisputable, plus a 98 percent return-customer rate made my brand credible. Still, I didn’t think I was qualified to write for the world’s best-selling reference brand series.

The thought of putting my writing under a microscope for industry experts to judge made me feel vulnerable. As I battled these demons, I secretly wanted to accept the opportunity. For weeks, my faith in myself and my ability wavered.

Have you ever been in that situation? You want to go to the next level, and an opportunity has been extended to you to get there, but fear paralyzes you? Despite my doubts, I decided to move forward. The book’s co-author and I submitted the requested writing sample separately. After reviewing our submissions, the acquisitions editor asked me to write the introductory chapter for the editorial board’s review. Our literary agent said, “Never in my 20 years in the business have I seen an introductory chapter approved by an editorial board on the first submission.” I exhaled.

I learned some treasured lessons from that experience. I want to share a few with you:

Nothing is arbitrary. People don’t deliberately make stupid decisions. Whether on a job or in an industry, no one pulls your name from a hat. Either a reliable source highly recommended you, or in their search, they accumulated a substantial amount of evidence about you that led them to believe you have the ability to help complete a task. They’re connecting with you because they believe you can make them look good.

Challenges set you up for success. Challenging experiences set you up for great opportunities. It was a long and hard journey for me to move past the mental, emotional, and physical impact of working for a boss who bullied and then fired me. She wasn’t a good leader, but her insults challenged me to be a better writer.

Mental shift. It’s a mental leap. When you’re standing on the ground and looking up, the sky looks vast, endless, and unreachable. From an airplane, although still amazingly massive, it appears to be within your grasp. Did the sky change, or did your position and angle change? Of course, it was your position and angle.

Now is the time for you to build a mindset for success and a plan for your brand. Consider Harness the POWER of Personal Branding and Executive Presence. You can pre-order your copy for half-price at www.srenee.com/author. Join S. Renee at SHRM’s Annual Conference for Powerful Leaders: Transform Your Personal Brand and Executive Presence or MEGA SESSION Defining and Communicating Your Personal Brand to Increase Your Visibility, Credibility and Career OpportunitiesR

© 2019 All rights reserved S. Renee Smith. S. Renee is a nationally recognized self-esteem, branding and communication speaker, author, and coach. You can learn more at www.srenee.com.

Does Your Brand Have Staying Power? How to Make Sure It Does

According to the Small Business Administration, 50 percent of small businesses fail during the first five years and 66 percent during the first 10. I feel blessed to say I’ve been in the self-development industry for nearly 14 years. Before becoming a speaker and author, I was in the entertainment industry for 11 years.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a business owner or employee, keep reading. The approach to maintaining your staying power is applicable at work and in the marketplace. Outside of praying, these are the two essentials I do to ensure my brand doesn’t vanish and my business doesn’t fail.

I stay relevant by watching how the market is moving and decide what role I want to have in it. This often requires a redesign of my brand. For example, in 2005 I was an image consultant, motivational speaker, author, and columnist. Around 2007, I dropped the title image and replaced it with branding. My first presentation on branding was at the University of Delaware. It was an audience of about 300 people. From that presentation, Bank of America called for me to present on the topic and the rest is history. Note: I did more than change my title, I’ll share that in another communication.

The second most important decision I make to keep my business on a continuous incline is building significant, influential, and mutual partnerships. My first partnership was with Dr. Randal Pinkett. He’s the owner of BCT Partner, a multi-million dollar research, consulting and training organization. You may remember him as season four winner of The Apprentice. The goal was to collaborate with a powerhouse name for added credibility while diversifying my portfolio. In return, he got a reliable brand.

As I expanded my brand and grew my business, I received a call from Steve Harrison. He’s the marketing mind behind launches of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Rich Dad Poor Dad, and Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus. He was creating an online Speaking for Money Program and looking for six proven speakers with established brands. The founder of Chicken Soup for the Soul Jack Canfield and I were among the six.

Being on his platform of over 60,000 people significantly increased my brand’s visibility. After recording the program, he extended an offer to coach his clients. I accepted. For five years, I help hundreds of speakers and authors clarify their mission, craft their message, and assess the value of their brand. And the intellectual property I offered in his online program led to an unexpected call to sign my first book deal with Wiley. What did he get? A bankable brand that helped grow his organization by helping his client create results they were seeking.

Today I’m partnering with the Society for Human Resources (SHRM). I’m with their Speakers Bureau, speaking at their annual conference, and we continue to have ongoing conversations about additional ways to partner to make workplaces better and serve their 300,000 members.

Did you notice my gradual progression? Are you wondering, “how can I make myself appealing to a potential partner?” Consider the following:

Build a bankable brand. Astute business people make critical decisions every day that advance the strategic plan of their organization. Having a track record of continuous growth and success signals, you’re likable, marketable, and credible.

Communicate Your Value. Craft your message that communicates who you are and what you do in a way that pique’s interest to want to know more about you. It should be clear and concise with an appetizing value proposition.

Package, Position, and Promote Your Brand. Before there was ever a partnership offer, there was a reputable, relevant well-packaged brand. I met Randal at a speaking engagement. He spoke in the morning, and I spoke in the afternoon. Being on the same platform, leveled the playing field and created an opening for conversation. I came in contact with Steve at one of his workshops. When he called three years later, he said, “You are unforgettable.” I knocked on SHRM’s door.

Remember, before there will ever be a partnership, there has to be a bankable brand.

S. Renee is a nationally recognized Self-Esteem, Branding, Communication, and Executive Presence Expert, Speaker, and Coach. She is author of There Is More Inside: Personal Essentials to Living a Power-Packed LifeThe Bridge to Your Brand: Likability, Marketability, CredibilityOur Hearts Wonder: Prayer to Heal Your Heart and Calm Your Soul and 5 Steps to Assertiveness: How to Communicate With Confidence and Get What You Want(Callisto, 2018). She is the co-author of Self-Esteem for Dummies (Wiley, 2015). Visit her website at www.srenee.com.