Friday, September 30, 2011

Success Means...

At a recent Sterling Bank Women’s Business Initiative Luncheon, participants were asked what success means to them.  Though we are all unique, there was a lot of commonality in the 51 responses. Over three-fourths (78.4%) of the answers fell into the following four categories:
  • Helping Others –  35.3%
  • Achieving goals, dreams, potential – 19.6%
  • Happiness – 13.7%
  • Pursuing Passion – 9.8%
Other descriptions included:
  • Money
  • Peace – Inner or God’s
  • Strategic pursuit of knowledge
  • Abundance
  • Honesty
  • Relationships
  • Independence
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Prepared
  • Brave enough to risk failing
  • Meeting the President, Governor, Pope and Queen
What does success mean to you?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wicked Success

It's always marvelous to present a fabulous, crowd-pleasing speaker, and we did it again yesterday at Sterling Bank's Women's Business Initiative Luncheon in Houston.  CEO, Entrepreneur, Speaker and Best-Selling author, Vickie Milazzo shared the success strategies that earned her a place on the Inc. list of Top 10 Entrepreneurs and provided the inspiration for her newly released book, Wicked Success Is Inside Every Woman. Her definition of wicked is exaggerated or amplified, which challenges us to think, dream, plan and act on audacious (rather than small) goals. 

She reminded us that time is a precious gift and that though women can do everything; it doesn’t mean that we should do everything.  Thus, we need to carefully inventory time-sucking distractions and ensure that we are not saying “yes” by default.  We sometimes forget that each yes, is a no to something else.

Vickie’s vivid personal example of focusing on things that we can control hit a chord with many.  The business she pioneered had grown for 26 consecutive years, until the recession hit in 2008.  She couldn’t control the recession, but she could and did control her approach. By implementing internal financing options for their students’ education programs, they maintained market share and profitability. Once again, she thought BIG and won.

We too, can win BIG by energetically and deliberatively pursuing our passions.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Let's Have Lunch

Lunchtime is a prime time for business meetings.  We often benefit not only from the company of our luncheon companions, but also from the other folks we encounter when we are out and about.  Yesterday, I enjoyed a delicious and productive lunch with three colleagues at one of Houston's premiere restaurants.  My "everything's connected" reality was on steroids.  I knew and visited with everyone at the two tables nearest ours, greeted the owner and enjoyed watching my friends enjoy a superb chocolate dessert sensation sent by the owner.  And,  I knew, but didn't have the chance to acknowledge an acquaintance at the other table in our closest proximity.

Lunchtime is a perfect time to bolster existing relationships, create new ones and reconnect.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dealing with Irrational People

There are many ways to deal with irrational people including:
  • Don't
  • Be quiet
  • Listen
  • Leave
  • Call in reinforcements

Monday, September 26, 2011

How to Be a 10

There are many ways to be a 10 including:
  • Do the work
  • Create the scale
  • Change the parameters
  • Find someone who thinks you are a 10
  • Vary the field
  • Limit the field to 10

Sunday, September 25, 2011


We can easily embarrass ourselves by what we say and do and by what we leave unsaid and undone.  However, we can become victims if we allow ourselves to be embarrassed by the actions and inactions of others.  Only when we embrace the reality that we are only responsible for our own actions and inactions do we free ourselves from embarrassment that we don't cause.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

How Full is Your Glass?

Is your glass half full to overflowing as mine is? Or is it half empty to cracked and leaking like some folks I know. Though we all tend to be optimists or pessimists both groups often assert that they are realists. Regardless of our typical label, we have the chance each day to choose the way we'll view situations.

Friday, September 23, 2011


We all have expectations of ourselves. Some aspire to function, others to add value and some to lead.  Ideally, we have a combination of minimal, optimal, stretch and aspirational expectations.  Depending on the day, we are best able to function in a given quadrant.  When our core values are non-negotiable, we won't cross an unacceptable line.  Thus, we will always have the opportunity to meet or exceed expectations.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Strategic and Organic Networking

We've been instructed from early ages of the importance of addressing who, what, when, where, why and how in conveying information. Strategic networking follows this same pattern.

Who do you want to know and who can make the connection?
What do you know that others want or need to know? What information do you seek from others?
Why should you and the other party engage?
Where and when are the best forums to meet those you want to meet?
How do you engage?

Organic networking is more fun and natural, but also effective, with opportunities when ever and where ever others are present.  Organic networking requires a natural interest in others and receptivity to engaging.

Many interesting people are shy, so be willing to make the first step and actively listen to the responses. Hi, I'm Pam.  Who are you? How are things in your world?  What exciting things are you doing?  How are you connected to this host/group/organization?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Life's a Sales Call

Jack Warkenthien, the dynamic founding CEO of NextStep Solutions, radio personality and author of Life's a Sales Call: How to Succeed in the World's Oldest Profession energized our San Antonio Sterling Bank Women's Business Initiative Luncheon in San Antonio last week.

He shared his five part code for success:
  1. A sale is a relationship, not a transaction.
  2. People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
  3. The depth of your convictions is more important than the length of your knowledge.
  4. Have fun and a sense of humor.
  5. Stand out and be memorable.
He used fictional AM and FM radio stations to emphasize the importance of the other person in our relationships:
  • MMFG-AM - Make Me Feel Good About Myself
  • WIF - FM - What's In It For Me?
Though we all like to know the answers, he reminded us that when we don't have a ready answer, it gives us a reason to call back with the requested information.

Jack vividly portrayed the importance of action in stating that vision without a plan is a hallucination, and reminded us that a decision is not an action. Though others can inspire us, we motivate ourselves as captured in his definition of motivation - motive for action.

If you'd like a copy of Jack's handout, leave your contact information in comments or email me at

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Start the Process

A new project can be intimidating or energizing. One of my frequent comments in business settings is "It's easier to be an editor than an author".  An open-ended written query, "What do you think", doesn't always solicit the quality and quantity of responses we'd hope to receive.  Colleagues who will readily offer suggestions in a meeting or brainstorming session become silent when asked to put their ideas in writing.  Often, offering a written position and asking for feedback increases the quality and quantity of our responses, because we've eliminated writer's block and allowed our colleagues to become editors rather than authors.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Timing Connects Everything

Today, in San Antonio, my cab driver from the queue at the airport dropped me at a different spot at our luncheon venue than any other time I've arrived at this location.  As I exited the cab, I thought I heard someone calling my name, but also realized it could have been an attempt to connect with some Mam or a Sam rather than Pam.  In my "everything's connected" world, it was, of course, our terrific luncheon speaker, Jack Warkenthien, arriving at just that moment.  He was taking advantage of his very early arrival to visit with a colleague over coffee.  If I'd been dropped at my normal spot, I'd have missed the comforting early confirmation that my dynamite out-of-town speaker was on the premises.  A few paces forward, as I rounded a corner, I heard another personal greeting.  One of my treasured colleagues was arriving from my usual entry point at just that moment.

After our fabulous luncheon, I declined the gracious offers of my colleagues to take me to the airport.  My favorite airline, Southwest, keeps changing the San Antonio-Houston connections, and I had a long wait before my departure, so I decided to make a quick personal "retail therapy" stop before moving my mobile office to the San Antonio airport.   I opted to return calls on a bench outside a major retailer before ambling over to a hotel to hail a cab.  As I was making my final call, a friend (who is also a very close friend of our speaker) who'd attended our luncheon, and stayed to conclude a contract, drove by and spotted me.   Linda Elliott graciously offered to take me to the airport and we had the chance to consult about one of her pending engagements and our Women's Business Initiative.

I'm always amazed and delighted at how everything is beautifully connected.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Countless Options - Two Clear Choices

The International Ice Cream Association reports that 1.52 billion gallons of ice cream were produced in 2009.  Despite countless available flavors, the top two choices were vanilla (27.8%) and chocolate (14.3%).  When confronted with too many choices, it appears that more than 40% of us clearly opt for one of two traditional favorites.

My theory is that we all like options.  However, if these statistics are indicative, when the decision is important, providing limited versus abundant options may better drive a decision.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Speaking Loudly through Silence

When tempers flare, it's natural to verbally react.  Matching tone for tone and volume for volume are instinctive behaviors children embrace.  These behaviors didn't work then and they don't work now.  Silence and whispering speak far more loudly and effectively than yelling and screaming.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Taking Care of Others

Sometimes we are so busy taking care of others that we lose sight of bigger issues such as who should/could/would assume other responsibilities. It is in everyone's best interest to differentiate between:
  • what others need v. what we think they need
  • what they need v. what we need
  • what we can do to meet their needs and ours v. what they can do to meet our needs and theirs
When we view ourselves as we would others, we are better able to serve everyone's needs and interests.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Eye Can Make a Difference

One of my colleagues suffers from eye allergies.  Her red eyes and comments caused me to provide her the coupon I received from my (new) eye doctor for a significant discount for an over-the-counter medication.  She reported good results today from this new treatment.  Everything is connected in ways that we don't always initially see.

Friday, September 2, 2011


One of my childhood friends was murdered by her husband yesterday. The shock of senselessly losing someone special who has always been a part of your life leaves an enormous hole that is impossible to fill.  Thankfully a lifetime of my own wonderful memories and those shared by others who loved Katherine are flooding my heart and brain.

Faith, family and friends are always important.  With a devastating loss they are essential.