Category Archives: Communication

Not Enough Reason to Break a Commitment

It takes a special type of person to keep a commitment when life events happen.

We often talk about the essence of High Stakes Mastermind Groups being confidentiality and commitment, and  the closeness that it creates. So when a member has a life changing event, we have the first-row opportunity to envelop them in love and support. In the last few months the HSMmG family has had several “moments” with our members. We welcomed a grand-baby, an engagement, a family move and more. This past Saturday one member became a citizen of the US. After years of giving her talents, and her heart to America.  That’s commitment!

A couple months ago one of my members contacted me and said she needed to speak privately. It turns out that she was going to move several states away. But she said right away, “Don’t worry I’m not leaving the group. I plan to Skype into the meetings.” She’s taking her in-person membership virtual. That takes huge commitment.

What is major to some people is not a lot to overcome for others

If that weren’t enough this member was already pregnant at the time. She had her baby in December. And with the new baby, she’ll move across the country, and with no job prospects in sight, she is still remaining a member of High Stakes Mastermind groups.

It amazes me to have this happen, and to see this kind of commitment to The Mastermind group. That an individual would remain a member of our discussion forum, to be a sounding board to other members, while she takes care of a brand new baby and gets herself established in another state. Whew! That’s a lot!

We have seen a couple members leave before for much less dramatic reasons. Once or twice a member will leave simply because they couldn’t keep themselves accountable. It does take a special type of person to have that kind of commitment to remain a peer advocate for the other members and want to maintain in the peer-to-peer relationship that High Stakes Mastermind Groups provides for them.

If I only had a Crystal Ball

It’s not always possible to know ahead of time if members are not committed. Going into a Mastermind people will tell you exactly what they know you want to hear, and what they want to believe about themselves; that they’re all-in.  But then over time things may change. They don’t show up for every meeting. They make excuses why they didn’t the do the actions and achieve goals they set for themselves.

I had this happen with one particular member.  I would describe this person as a “professional student” always going to workshops, conferences, and seminars, and enrolling in a plethora of classes – all in the name of learning more about their business.  Sounds good.  But the reality is they they got so busy in the appearance of being busy that they never actually did any of their work.  They farmed out their clients to other consultants which meant they had almost no control of the end result, and spent about 40% of their gross earnings to pay sub-contractors.  Naturally their business goals were never met.  They left the group.  As painful as it was at the time, the members ultimately felt better when they knew 100% of them were 100% committed.

I couldn’t be more proud of these members who are so committed – to their own personal growth and to the other members of the group. If someone can have a baby and move out of state at the same time and still remain committed anyone can. Would something like this would benefit your own life and your business growth?

And while the members are of our groups are absolutely very special people, they are still people. Human beings with hopes and dreams and aspirations, just like you. All looking to take the “silo out of solo”.  Our members are empowered, energized, respected, trusted and valued. And I have to admit with this kind of commitment from my members, so am I. And grateful every day for that.





The Power of “Ding!” – What a Timer Will Do for You

Photo by Veri Ivanova

What a Timer Will Do for You

Do you have a list of “to-dos” and you’re having trouble maintaining your focus so as to get things done? Or maybe you find yourself jumping from one incomplete task to the other or skipping from one project to another. Have you tried setting a timer to help you in accomplishing your list of to-dos?

Well, a timer may just be the solution you need to help you stay focused and get done with, with your list of to-dos.

Most times our excuse for being less efficient is limited time. But the main reason why we’re often less efficient at getting tasks done is that we spend too much time on a single task or project. Setting an alarm could just be the magical solution you need to help you stay focused and spend limited time on a particular task from your list of to-dos. All you have to do is prioritize your tasks and decide how long it will take you to accomplish each of them.

Chances are, you’re most likely going to accomplish the task within the limit you gave yourself. If you were unable finish with that particular task. Or schedule a “meeting” with yourself on your calendar for another working session on that project.

Nothing can motivate you more to be more effective at accomplishing your projects than setting a time limit for yourself.

My timer for this article will soon be up. So, without much ado, below are three reasons why setting a timer is so effective

  1. It gives you speed

Without a timer, you can spend time which would have been enough to accomplish two tasks on accomplishing one only. For instance, I could spend more time developing this piece, but for the fact that the time limit I set for myself is almost up, I need to look for a way to round it up. The implication is that I’m getting this article done at a faster pace than I would have if I had not set an alarm for this task. So, setting a limit for yourself will motivate you to accomplish the task at an incredible speed while resisting distractions.  Since goal accomplishment is the primary objective in High Stakes Mastermind Groups, I not only have to help our members achieve their goals by coaching them to find solutions like this one, I have to model it myself.

  1. Work becomes more like a game challenge

Nobody can say he or she gets tired of playing and winning his or her favorite game. The moment you set a timer to accomplish a particular task, it becomes as though you are playing your favorite game of which your primary goal is to win. Beating the timer you set for a given task is like winning the game in the sense that you feel happy about it.

  1. You Work With More Focus

Setting a timer for 15, 30 or 60 minutes will help you tune out distractions; this is because you know you need to stay focused in order to complete your task before the time runs out. And since you already know what you need to accomplish during that time frame, you won’t waste time trying to multi-task.

Okay, my egg timer just went off, so I think it’s time to wrap up this productivity tip! You should try using a timer today and see how it goes. Personally, I use either a simple egg timer or the timer on my phone. And if there are so many distractions, then put your phone in airplane mode and get to work!  I also don’t allow my email to flag a notification, or make a sound for incoming messages.

So that’s it, now you know how beneficial using a timer can be – it really helps in keeping you organized as you’re able to check off each and every task on your to-do list.

Five Benefits of Being in a Group of Positive Thinkers

Positive Group Positive Benefits
There’s a famous quote:
Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching?

It’s famous for a reason – because it’s true. You can pick up the attitudes of others, and be influenced by the moods of those around you – your family members, your colleagues, your bosses, and even the woman working at the checkout at the grocery store.  Make sure when you pick up and attitude it’s a positive one.

Positive Attitude

Think about it – someone’s can-do attitude about a difficult project will give you a more confident feeling about the work you’re about to take on, while the checkout lady’s crummy mood can put you in a bad mood as well. Studies show that even your health can be influenced by your attitude. Someone with a sunny, positive attitude, positive vibes, and a good outlook on life may very well enjoy better health than an eternal pessimist.

Think of an instance at work or an event at home that turned out the way you wanted it to. Now try to imagine your attitude at the time. In each case, your attitude was likely pretty positive. You can bet that that very attitude led you to make the choices that ended in your success. Conversely, negative attitudes defeat us, even before we begin.

Psychologists agree that in order to live a happy, engaged, and meaningful life, you have to think positively. Optimists see the bright side of things, and believe that changes can be made to improve a situation.


As a business person, someone in a leadership position, someone who has the power to influence others, or as an entrepreneur, you need to surround yourself with positive people. This becomes especially important when you are self-employed and don’t have traditional support from professional superiors within your company. When you make connections with people who are positive thinkers, these people become the ones who will help you on your path to success.

Where do you find these positive people, who have similar ambitions, aspirations for success, and beliefs that a positive outlook can change your trajectory in life? Look no further than a Mastermind group.


These groups, who are full of people just like you – smart, strong, forward-thinking, open-minded, progressive and positive – are here to support you. Whereas naysayers might put down your ideas, your peers in the Mastermind group will be the ones to urge you to develop your ideas, explore your options and think outside the proverbial box. They are the ones who are excited about change, instead of resistant to it. Ultimately, a positive thinking Mastermind group will add value to your life.


These people didn’t get to the top in their executive roles for no reason. The people in Mastermind groups got there because they typically have a different way of thinking than the average working person. Imagine if you had them act as each other’s allies, colleagues and collaborators?

In addition to influencing the way you approach your business (and ultimately, your life) Mastermind group members help each other solve problems, give opinions and help you see things from a different perspective, energize you to do your best and motivate you. They will challenge you to rise to the top (and stay there) and give you the momentum to reach your goals, whatever they are. They will improve your communication skills, introduce you to other people and to new ideas and methods you can apply to your company.

You Become Who You Associate With

Remember, you can’t always control the outcome. There will be times that you will fail. But you can control your attitude, which is the filter through which you see the world and a tool with which you make decisions. Choose a positive attitude by surrounding yourself with positive people, and watch your rate of success rise.

Remember that in order to be a high-stakes thinker, you need to surround yourself with like-minded people. If the people you surround yourself with are positive, confident and open-minded, you will start thinking that way too.

After all, you become who you associate with.


The Truth About Diagrams

Let’s be realistic, if you were to get a text from your mother and she sent a little heart to you in the text, you would know that she loves you. But you wouldn’t really feel the love as much as if she verbally told you.  There’s no interaction. It’s just a diagram.

If your orthodontist gave you a graph of your kid’s two-year course of braces without talking you through it you’d get an mental image but no real assurance of how the process would go, and no way to ask questions.  Still no interaction. It’s just a diagram.

Diagraming your business or personal goal plan is no different.  Having it on paper – essential.  No doubt about it. You’d know what it represented, but it’s not the same as if somebody actually talked you through it, guided you and coached you through it.

Mastermind groups provides the coaching and the feedback.  Not homogenized and stagnant like what typically happens with one to one.  Living, breathing, experience and support from a group that has your back. Real interaction. Diagrams are great, and you wouldn’t do without it, it just doesn’t have the same impact as your mastermind group talking with you coaching you supporting, offering tools and resources and asking Socratic questions to ensure you clarify your thinking.

Find out what’s available to you.

Even though “a picture is worth a thousand words”, a picture can’t say a thousand words.

What’s more valuable to you?

“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.”

C.S. Lewis, author and essayist.


11 People Reveal the Best Business Books to Fuel Your Brain – and the Importance of Reading

Me with a few of my favorite business books
Me with a few of my favorite business books

There are many benefits to being a solopreneur. Being your own boss can be very rewarding. In addition to making your own hours and knowing that all the success is yours alone, you can make important decisions and focus on what you believe to be the business and your personal priorities.

But one thing that’s missing in solopreneur venture is someone to bounce ideas off of. Working on your own venture can be great – but let’s face it, a little bit of outside insight and experience never hurt anyone. And one great way to get that is by reading business books.

I reached out to folks in my professional community and asked them to name their favorite books.  It was really great to get their input and I truly appreciate their participation.  Here’s what they said:

Tracy: Tony Robbins and Wayne Dyer – “Both authors are amazing at getting you to move forward.”

Sande: Books by Patrick Lencioni “Each book addresses some function of business and he weaves it in story form along with info and charts in the books and his website.”

Wale:  The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written: The History of Thought from Ancient Times to Today (1998) is a book of intellectual history written by Martin Seymour-Smith (1928–1998), a British poet, critic, and biographer.

Mary Dee:  Emotional Intelligence, Why it can matter more than IQ by Daniel Goldman. “Goldman shows the factors at work when people of high IQ flounder and those of modest IQ do surprisingly well.”  Emotional Intelligence includes self-awareness and impulse control, persistence, zeal and self-motivation, empathy and social deftness. Firm believer that anyone who works on refining or just finding their emotional intelligence they will be successful in life.

Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, Ph. D:  “This describes a revolutionary program that shows you how to develop your unique talents and strengths – and those people you manage.”

Crucial Conversations -Tools For Talking When Stakes are High by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler.  “Helps you communicate when the stakes are high, helps transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialogue.”

The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner: research based with enduring wisdom and practical insights that are needed for success as a leader in challenging times.

Encouraging the Heart by Kouzes and Posner.  “This is my favorite in learning how to positively reward and recognize others in your organization.”

Laurie:  Drive by Daniel Pink. “He talks about incentive programs and how they don’t work — recommends that it’s Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose that results in ongoing behavior. And there are YouTube videos where you can get the cliff notes.

Pause: 52 Ways to Shift Any Outcome in Less Than a Minute, Jennifer Sellers, et al. “This one is about Mindfulness and has a matching card deck. You shuffle the cards, then look up the card in the book for more info, plus an action and affirmation. Great for when things are stuck.”

Ryan:  J.K. Lasser’s Your Income Tax

Bill:   Anything You Want by Derek Sivers

Roseline Good to Great by Jim Collins,

The Go Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann,

The E-Myth, The New Relationship Marketing by Mari Smith

My faves:, (Lynn, & Cindy agreed!) Malcolm Gladwell:  Blink, Outliers, The Tipping Point and David and Goliath and What the Dog Saw.

Reading is an important part of business for everyone. No matter who you are, from the unpaid summer intern at the bottom of the totem pole to the CEO, it’s important to read the latest books in your industry. Every industry changes, and books allow you to keep up on the new theories and practices out there. Books also allow you to learn from the experiences and mistakes of others. That’s why, when you work alone, it’s even more important to keep up on your reading. You’ll get different insights from experts and authors, and get new ideas for methods and even new ideologies from others that you may not have considered before.

In business and in life, it never works to live in a bubble. Open your mind to new ideas, experiences and others’ thoughts – you never know what it might change.

Humming bird only teeny tiny