Marketing and the Art of Asking

Before Asking, What Value Are You Giving Your Customers and Followers?

I had never heard of Amanda Palmer or her music before I read her book the Art of Asking. But whether you like indie punk rock or not, you will be a fan of Amanda Palmer and her ability to connect with her fans and ask for what she needs.   One of the most impressive facts about Amanda is that she was the first musician in history to get $1 million in funding for her music from Kickstarter.  And she has over 1 million followers on Twitter, all organically acquired.

Asking is All About Value, Transparency and Love

What lessons can we all learn from what she did?

    1. Get to know your customers, your fan base, your clients really well- even intimately, when you're asking.   Starting in Harvard Square as a still statue of a bride complete with white face makeup, she gave away flowers to those who donated to her performance.  The actual act of connecting with the person through the flower was amazingly intimate.  She gazed into their eyes and connected deeply.  She learned to form those same deep connections through Twitter and all her social media.


    1. Be vulnerable and real with your customers.  Amanda is utterly transparent with whatever is happening in her life.  She shares it all very publicly.  And as a result, she creates real trust.  After Kickstarter, she had to postpone part of her world tour because her dear friend, Anthony, had cancer and she needed to be near him for treatments.  She told the truth to her fans and they understood, so much so, they sent love and letters and gifts to Anthony.


    1. Asking specifically for what you need when you need it is key. Amanda toured the world by couch surfing while performing. Whether she needed to borrow an electric piano or a place to sleep, she'd ask her fans for it.  She's post on Twitter that she needed a place to stay that night, and someone would offer a sofa, a bed, or some other place to sleep.  She was always safe and she always had what she needed.


    1.  Love your customers and demonstrate that love in dozens of ways.  Amanda showed them how much she loved and trusted them by continually sharing, giving, expressing and reaching out.  She responded to comments, emails, tweets and shared her passion through love. . Her fans knew it was genuine and they responded in kind.


  1. The single most important lesson from Amanda about asking is to give incredible value back and loving her fans.   When she sold her Kickstarter packages, she gave so much more than the average artist.  She sold $5000 house party performances for no more than 50 people, and included $1000 worth of merchandise as well as performing for an hour or two.   And then she mingled and had one to one intimate conversations with her fans. They told her painful stories from their lives, they shared vulnerably because she had and because she loved them.  She accepted them.
    And she usually spent the night, so she had extra time with the hosts.  Love is a keynote to all her interactions.

What can you do to add extra value to every customer and client experience? How can you demonstrate more transparency and intimacy in the interactions you have?  How can you show your love for them before you do any more asking?  Think about it.

Wishing you great success, joy and love,

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The Destructive Force of Negativity

A negative thinker sees a difficulty in every opportunity and a positive thinker sees an opportunity in every difficulty- Anonymous


Have you ever seen a child trying something new and getting belittled? And then, as he fails, he is ridiculed and doesn't want to risk again.

That's how negativity works. It seeps into the consciousness and makes you doubt everything, especially yourself. We are surrounded by it. Someone called CNBC the Constant Negative Business Channel and most news is like that. It takes great courage to adopt an optimistic positive outlook and ignore the catastrophizing.

But it's so worth it! Optimism pays off in countless ways, at work and at home. Optimists live nearly a decade longer, they breathe easier and they sell 56% more than pessimists! They recover better from illness, are sick less often and are more successful.

How Negativity Destroys Success

• It's highly contagious If you have one negative player on your team, it can truly spoil the whole bunch. Instead of looking for solutions to client problems, a Debbie Downer will present gloom and doom scenarios and stifle progress.

• It disempowers people If you don't think there's a chance to win, you won't try. I recently coached an all star performer who was ready to quit her job because the system seemed rigged against her. We just had to brainstorm solutions and look for a way to make things work. She's back on track now.

• It creates a sour work enviroment No one wants to share good news because it gets shot down. People are afraid to achieve because others will heckle them. So business comes to a standstill.

• It Makes You Sick When you get a questionable test result from the doctor, instead of asking for more information or another opinion, you jump to the worst possible conclusion and make yourself sicker.

Channel Positivity Instead

• Fire the negative nellies If you have coached a constant complainer and they still won't change, let them go. They will poison your workplace.

• Reference past successes and use those to fuel future ones.

• Celebrate achievements visibly and often. Praise performers at staff meetings and be very specific. Celebrate team wins. Focus on the good.

• Be a shining example Demonstrate good will, positive spirit and optimism in your work style, attitude and behavior.

Use motivational tools, books, audios, videos. Keep your focus where you want to go.

October is International Fired up! Month- a great way to celebrate what gets everyone Fired Up!. For more information, see below.


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**Are Your No’s Holding You Back?**

How Often Do Say Yes to Possible Success?

How many times a day do you say no to opportunities, invitations, assignments, challenges, chances to advance your career, things that would stretch you out of of your comfort zone? If you say "no" too often, you could be holding yourself back.

Why Shonda Rhimes Made a Year of Yes

learn to say yesFor those of you who don't know Shonda, she is the sensationally successful writer and creator of the ABC Thursday tv night hits, "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal," "Private Practice," and "How to Get Away with Murder."  For one woman to dominate a night of network TV is extraordinary.  For a woman of color to do this is amazing and wonderful. And she created starring characters who were all female.  So she has truly been ground-breaking in her industry.

But until a few years ago, she stifled her happiness and her whole life success by saying no too often. No to big interviews, no to speeches, no to invitations to smooze with high powered people in her industry, no to socializing period. And it hurt her, in more ways that one.

An introvert, Shonda thought it was enough to write her scripts and raise her daughters.   She kept turning down chances to really get out there and make a difference. One day her oldest sister said, "You never say yes to anything."  And that really impacted Shonda.  So she decided to say "yes" for a solid year.

When her alma mater, Dartmouth, called her to do a graduation speech, she said yes. She was terrified, but she did it anyway, and was candid, funny, and effective.  She went on Jimmy Kimmel (not quite live.)  More and more opportunities emerged for her to inspire others and share her experiences, and she leaned into them.  And her life changed in a very good way.  She never had realized how miserable she had been as an isolated introvert.  And now that she was interacting with the world, connecting with others in meaningful ways besides her writing, her life became fuller, richer, happier.   So much so that she decided to extend her year of yes into a life of yes.

How to Change Your Life with More "Yes"

•  I'm not talking about saying yes to everyone who asks you to do their work or handle their problems.   Instead, look at the times in your life when someone has invited you to do something out of your comfort zone, where you felt you weren't worthy and you shrunk back and said no.  Next time, say "yes."  Next time, stretch and experience something new.

Emulate those you most admire.  Where do your mentors and role models go?  What events do they attend?  What kinds of conferences do they go to? Consider doing some of those things.  Consider attending an event that is way out of your comfort zone.  Get into Wonder Woman pose (those of you who have heard my speeches know what I am referring to,) psych yourself up and act like you deserve to be there. You do.

Take on new challenges at work, ones you're not quite sure of.  And then learn everything you can to be a smash success at them.  If you need to ask for help, do so.
Show them what you are truly capable of.  And show yourself.

You have so many gifts, talents and abilities that you don't even acknowledge.  Start saying "yes" to yourself and see how your life, love, joy and abundance expand.

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Can Yoga Cure the Effects of Aging?

"Yoga is invigoration in relaxation.  Freedom in routine. Confidence through self-control.  Energy within and energy without." Ymber Delecto

yoga from Stress Express by Snowden McFallThree bad car accidents over 20 years have left me with some tension, imbalance and misalignment in my neck and shoulders.  Chiropractic helped a great deal, but what really healed me and continues to is yoga.  Almost every day, I get up and do yoga stretches and postures.  The spinal twist regularly realigns my neck bones after shifting them in sleep.  Tree posture helps me keep my balance and I even do it while shaving my legs.  Warrior 2 helps me stay strong and plank firm my arms and belly.  I am in better shape than I was in my early twenties- all due to yoga.

Practiced for over 5000 years, yoga is a powerful and popular form of exercise that over 11 million Americans practice regularly. Last week was International Yoga Day, with good reason.

Is Yoga a Cure for Aging?

A study in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity found that 12 weeks of yoga slowed cellular aging!  Yoga , breathing and mediation was done for 12 weeks, 90- minutes a day 5 days a week.  Cellular damage was reversed and depression decreased.  A new study in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that a 3 month yoga retreat reduced inflammation and stress in the body. People who attended felt less anxious and stressed, and inflammation decreased.

Most of us cannot take three months to do a yoga retreat, but what we can do is incorporate yoga more in our daily lives.

The Center for Integrative Medicine of Thomas Jefferson University found that a 1 hour session of yoga lowered cortisol (the stress hormone) in participants with no previous yoga experience, even seven days later. Practicing yoga for 20 minutes increases your focus and ability to learn, far better than aerobic exercise.


• increases flexibility through stretching
• improves posture and tones muscles
• promotes better breathing
• massages all internal organs of body
• increases lubrication of tendons, joints, ligaments
• flushes toxins out of the body
• reduces depression, alcoholism and PTSD
• provides a deep sense of relaxation and boosts moods

How to Incorporate Yoga Into Your Life

• go to a beginner yoga class and tell the instructor you are new.
• use a yoga video from Gaiam or Yoga Journal and start at the beginner level.  Start slow and be gentle with yourself.  If something hurts, don't do it.  Go at your own pace.  Watch Rodney Yee- his videos are terrific.
• start stretching regularly.  This will make a big difference for you- guaranteed.
• incorporate meditation of some sort into your daily practice.  There are lots of great meditation apps.

Years ago, I watched a Dr. Oz segment on aging. All the exercises demonstrated that helped with aging were yoga postures!  So start now and revitalize your body!


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Have You Reached Your Upper Limit on Success?

Your next opportunity to be fired up!How Often Do You Unknowingly Sabotage Yourself with An Upper Limit?

All of us have internal upper limits -comfort zones built in from our childhood programming or life experiences that put a certain limit on how much joy, love, and success we have.  And when we expand beyond our comfort zones and begin to experience more, what often happens is that we sabotage ourselves.  We get sick, we make mistakes, we miss critical appointments. And then we miss that wonderful opportunity to go to the next level.  In his book, The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks addresses this very issue with great clarity.

Why Do We Sabotage Ourselves and Put An Upper Limit on Love and Success?

According to Hendricks, there are four main barriers which show up in our upper limits.  These are usually subconscious belief systems or things we say to ourselves that kick up when we are moving upward and growing with our talents and gifts.

  1. Feeling Fundamentally Flawed or Bad
  2. I Might End Up Alone or Be Disloyal to My Family
  3. Success and Abundance Might Be a Bigger Burden
  4. I Might Outshine________( often a sibling or spouse

So we sabotage our success with worry, criticism, blame, deflecting, arguing, getting sick or injured,lying, etc.  All of these make us feel upset or bad about ourselves and quick burst the bubble of expansion and excitement.

The good news is you can learn to stop those destructive behaviors, expand beyond your upper limits and start embracing more love, abundance, success and happiness. I highly recommend you read the book and step into a greater vision of what your life can be.   Hendricks talks about living in your Zone of Genius, and allow yourself to feel good all the time and have everything go smoothly in your life all the time.  It is possible.  Each of us has an incredible reservoir of wisdom, talent and resilience, which enable us to do much more than we think we can.

One thing you can do right now is observe yourself.  Let's say you catch yourself worrying.

•  As soon as you notice it, focus on something pleasant, like a scene in nature or something you feel good about.

•  Wonder to yourself, "What positive new thing is trying to come to me now?"

• Allow yourself to feel good, expansive and open.

• Then let it all go and some time later, a  new positive idea will present itself.

So much of our success requires mindfulness.  The more we pay attention to our thoughts, the more we can create greater love, success, joy and abundance.

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Are Your Emails Alienating People?

Do Your Emails Come Across as Rude?

Apparently, how you start and end your emails makes a big difference.  You may think that sending a quick, curt response without saying Hello or Thank You is the best way to work.  But that's not true.

Data scientists at Boomerang reviewed some 350,000 emails and found that tone in emails has a big impact on whether the recipient responds.

Here are the takeaways on sending emails:

Start with a friendly, informal tone, and always say "Hello, Hey or Hi."  They get a 15% greater response rate than "Dear." Surprisingly, "Hey" is the most effective!

End your emails with some kind of gratitude, like thanks, thank you, or In appreciation.  Using "Best" is the worst way to end an email (Woops- I've been guilty of this.)

Be very careful with CC's and group emails.  Nothing irritates people more than seeing everyone's trivial response to a non-essential email.

Try not to be too brief.  Always include something warm and friendly.  Something like, "Hi Bill, I understand. Thanks," is more effective than "Got it" which may come across as sarcastic, according to Travis Bradberry.

Avoid using Urgent or ASAP unless you've called them and not been able to reach them. Instead of using those words, say why it is urgent in your subject line: Ex: "Critical deadline for ad is at noon.  Please respond ASAP."

Never use email to berate someone in an email.  If you file a customer complaint, be specific and accurate.  Use positive language and suggest alternatives that will assist, not condemn them other person. "It would have been helpful if..."  "A good customer service agent does..."  If you are correcting am employee, talk to them in person.

You can make all your emails more successful and effective with these tips.  And if you have found something else that works especially well, please write me at



Update to Our Privacy Policy

As you probably know by now, the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has introduced new standards for emails.  We have updated our privacy policy, which can can see here.  We value you so much as a reader and an individual and we have never sold or given away our mailing list to anyone or any company and we never will.  We value you too much to ever do that.  Please consider this your notice of update.

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Could a Cold Shower Prevent Depression?

cold showersCold Showers Have Amazing Benefits

Cold showers and ice baths?  How could those help me?  About a month ago, I attended a 5 day workshop with one of the world's leading personal development coaches and speakers, Brendon Burchard.  He coaches Oprah and her team.

In sharing various techniques for maintaining energy and vitality, he explained how he took ice baths every night during the training, to reduce his inflammation and revitalize.  He said it made him feel twenty years younger.

Anthony Robbins plunges in a 57 degree pool for one minute every morning.
Famous athletes and performers like Lebron James and Usher use the same technique after events.

A bit horrified and intrigued, I decided to investigate.  I must say, I've been taking cold showers for a month and they really make a difference.  There's no question that you have to get used to them, and some days, all I want is a hot shower.  But even then, I finish with the bracing cold to get my energy up.  It works. . It takes a while, but it works.  Here's why:

How Cold Showers and Ice Baths Heal Your Body

1. They reduce inflammation.  Most all of us have it, believe it or not.  Pain, soreness, tense muscles, illness- all of that usually has inflammation associated with it.  Just like you put ice on a swollen ankle, cold water and ice baths lower inflammation levels significantly.

2. They get your circulation going, really.  Ask anyone who's done the Polar Bear dip in the middle of winter into freezing water.  Cold showers and ice baths boost circulation and reboot your system.  They help you be clearer and more alert.

3. They clear out lactic acid and toxins in your body, according to Dr. Ben Kim.  LeBron James says his legs feel much better and fresher the day after.

4. And yes- they do relive symptoms of depression. Cryotherapy releases endorphins, the feel good hormones, and creates an analgesic effect.

Check with your doctor before you start a cold water  shower or ice bath regimen.  Im still not ready for an ice bath, but I do derive great value from my cold showers.  Try it yourself.  You may well find that it becomes one of the most valuable tools to start your day.

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photo from Aweber library

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How to Have Greater Influence

"We're not who we say we are, we're not who we want to be.  We are the sum of the influence and impact that we have in our lives on others." Carl Sagan
How to have greater influenceWhen I was in second grade, I made it to the finals of the school poetry contest.  And I lost. I was devastated, but what got me through were kind words of encouragement from my second grade teacher, Mrs. Monroe.  She believed in me. Seven years later, when I received the Headmasters Award at that same school, she hugged me and said, "I always knew you were special."  Mrs. Monroe had enormous influence in my life and she made a big difference.  You have that same ability.

Tips To Create Greater Influence

 Ask for help with something.  You never know whether you have influence until you ask for help. Get better at asking for specific assistance and at phrasing your requests. Benjamin Franklin recommended asking an enemy for a favor. He believed it would turn the tide of how they felt about you.
• Set a tone for good.  No matter what is going on in your company or organization, highlight the positive.  Research shows that when people focus on solutions to problems, they innovate and overcome the paralysis of negativity. They are 20% more creative in developing answers to issues.
 Start the day with positive input.  Research done by Michelle Gielan and Shawn Achor uncovered that just 3 minutes of negative news in the morning ups the odds of your having a bad day by 27%! Give your team, your employees and co-workers good news in the morning and set their tone for success.
• Start each conversation with something positive. This is especially effective with doubters and naysayers.  Ask them what good things are happening in their lives. It changes their thinking,
• Champion others.  Support their causes and initiatives. Give credit where it's due.  Encourage others.  You never know the impact you will have.
• Teach people how to think. Brendon Burchard, in his new book, High Performance Habits, suggests you influence through questions like "What do you think about...?"  "What would happen if we tried...?" "How should we approach?" "What ideas do you have about..?"  Get others thinking and contributing.  Listen to their feedback and don't shut them down.  Thank them and consider what they have said.
 Challenge others to grow. Whether it's your employees, family members or friends, ask them what their next steps are, how they can get better at what they're doing, how they can treat others better, how they can improve.
• Be a good role model.  Think about those who have been role models for you.  How can you be a role model for others?  What can you do differently? How can you live at a higher standard of excellence and add value to others?
Influence is progressive and cumulative. By believing in others, sharing a positive perspective, encouraging them and yourself to be better people, you  influence more than you can imagine.  Demonstrate excellence and others will emulate you.  Learn from others and share your wisdom.  Champion others and add value to their lives. You will absolutely have an impact.
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Bounce Back from Trauma

Hurricane Irene brought trauma to many in Florida Sadly, in today's world, trauma is more common than ever.  Shootings at schools, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, car accidents, violent attacks, war, sudden loss- all of these create trauma and deep emotional stress.  All human beings are emotional creatures with deep-seated feelings, whether we acknowledge them or not.  Trauma can manifest in many ways and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) can show up years, even decades later.

Something recently triggered my feelings of PTSD from my childhood and it really threw me out of balance.  I am normally a confident, happy and expansive person, but this plunged me back into feelings of powerlessness and despair.  It took me a few hours, but here are some of the tools I used to bounce back.

How to Bounce Back from Trauma

1. Don't try to function as usual.  I cancelled my afternoon appointments and knew
I needed to take care of myself.

2. Acknowledge your pain to someone you can trust.  Explain your feelings and
ask for their help and support.  Close friends, therapists or counselors can all help.  If
they know you well, they know what will help- whether it's a hug, quietly listening to
you or just comforting.

3. Do something physical. I went for a bike ride.  You may want to work out, pound a
punching bag, or go for a run to release the trauma.

4. Ask for spiritual assistance.  Meditate, pray, be mindful. Walk in nature and take in the beauty. Be very gentle with yourself. Trauma is painful.

5. Take a nap.  This one of the most powerful ways to release trauma.  For me, everything is always better when I wake up.

6. Be ruthlessly impeccable about what you allow into your consciousness.  Later that evening, I turned on one of my favorite tv shows and for some reason, it featured something horribly violent.  I immediately turned off the tv and read an uplifting book. Don't compound trauma with more upset. Fill your mind with positivity.

7. Make a list of what you are grateful for.  When you focus on your blessings rather than the trauma, you see how good your life really is and that the trauma is over.

8. Do something you love with people you enjoy.  I was blessed to attend a women's networking group the next day with terrific people where I could be of service and connect with others. They lifted me just by their presence.  I felt whole and exhilarated.

All of us experience trauma at some time in our lives. Hopefully, we get therapeutic support at the time of the trauma.  But it can still show up years later.   Find techniques that support your health and well-being and allow the best of you to come forward.

Love to hear what your favorite techniques are for bouncing back.  Write me at

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5 Out of the Box Ways to Cut Your Stress!

Dramatically Cut Your Stress !

Yesterday was National Stress Awareness Day  in the United States. ( It probably has something to do with taxes being due.) And April is Stress Awareness month.  There's no better time to tackle stress, which is still rampant.  Over $300 billion is lost annually in American business due to stress, in terms of poor productivity, absences and illness.  Over 80% of all doctors' visits are due to stress.  So what can you do to cut your stress?

5 Out of the Box Ways to Reduce Stress

flowers cut stress1. Flowers in the workplace benefit everyone! Women who receive flowers unexpectedly are happier, even 3days later. Women with flowers have less anxiety and and are more innovative at work, whether the flowers were sent to them or not! (

2.  Listening to music 1 hour a day a week reduced symptoms of depression by 25%. Music, especially classical music, can cut stress dramatically. Anxious about an upcoming meeting or project? Listening to Pachelbel's famous Canon in D helps avoid anxiety and lowers heart rate and blood pressure. Music can also elevate mood, improve immune system function, reduce fatigue and improve self-acceptance in people. (Journal of Advanced Nursing study)

3. Screaming kids in the car? Vanilla oil soothes restless children. It has a positive impact on the limbic center of the brain, which controls emotion, according to Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. A few drops on the wrists of a child can transform a cranky, whiny child into one who is happy and laughing. Try this on your next road tri .

4.  Eat walnuts to cut your stress and treat depression. Harvard Science Review published a study citing that walnuts are powerful antidepressants!  Pistachio nuts cut inflammation, lower cholesterol levels, and improve your body’s response to stress. Just 1.5 ounces of pistachios provides a boost of energy and can slow the absorption of carbohydrates when eaten together.

5. Soak your legs to cut your stress and sleep better. A study from the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that women who soaked their legs up to their knees in hot water for 30 minutes slept better than those who did neither. No time for a bath? Try running warm water on your wrists.

"Stress spelled backwards is desserts." Loretta Laroche

Yes, we live in a stressful world.  But there are dozens of small things you can do today to cut your stress and the stress of others. Try these and let me know how they work for you.



photo credit:©Valerie Titoval/

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