Friday, December 11, 2009


My good friend sold her beach home in Rosarito, so she asked me to join her and her daughter for the trip down there for the closing. While I had no concerns about my safety, others immediately went into a tirade about how I should reconsider. They had heard stories on the news about trouble at the border in Tijuana, which was our point of entry into Mexico.

When I woke up the day of our departure in Palm Springs, the sun was shining brightly. Clearly an omen about the adventure that was before us. She drove through the back roads all the way to San Diego. Along the way, we saw mountains, trees with fall colored leaves, vineyards, farms, and large retirement settlements.

Once we arrived in San Diego, we had to go to the Mexican Consultant office to pick up a special stamp needed for the closure of the real estate transaction. The place was packed and much to our surprise, we were in and out, with exactly what we needed within one-half hour. We walked out the door and there was her daughter who had flown in from the Northwest.

We crossed the border, drove for about half an hour and arrived at the beach house located right on the ocean. The picture is not of the house, but shows you the view off the deck. Note the sky and the amazing color of the water.

We settled into our rooms and then headed downtown. There were some places they wanted to show me that consisted of amazing furniture, fun curios, and most importantly a place that served fantastic fish tacos. Nothing like sitting out on a picnic bench is the brilliant sunshine and sharing stories while eating such fresh wonderfully flavored food.

That night we cuddled in with our blankets and shared stories about our lives and our dreams for the future. So easy and relaxed. The next morning I woke to the sound of the ocean and once again brilliant sunshine on the water—normally this time of the year the beach would be inundated with fog.

Now it was time to decide what would be taken home and what would be left for the new owners. A task that wasn’t as easy as it sounds since there was a great deal of sentimental attachment to things. The large CD collection was divided and special pieces of art were gingerly packed into the car.

Once that was done, we headed back downtown and braced ourselves for what could be a very long afternoon. We were warned that real estate closings could take anywhere from ½ hour to four hours. I am pleased to report, once again, things went so well we were out of there in 1.5 hours and all went exactly as planned.

After getting some coffee and toasting to the closure, we were off for our journey back to Palm Springs. Of course, there was a line of cars going across the border, but we were pleased that we did so within ¾ of an hour. Once again, we got through so much easier than we had anticipated.

During our snail pace to the border, we talked to vendors and laughed about the new curios that were suddenly adorning the dashboard of the car. Nothing like three little sheep sitting there and a hummingbird swinging from the interior mirror. Oh yes, the fleece-like blanket with a zebra on it is now keeping me warm as Palm Springs area is experiencing way below normal temperatures. Let’s just say there were many laughs and if you have to wait in a long car line, this is the way to do it.

Dinner was in San Diego…right on the bay. Nothing better than fresh seafood from Anthony’s Fish Grotto Holiday lights were up so it was amazing to see this wonderful city showing itself off in grand manner.

We got home about 8:00 p.m. marveling at how easy EVERY aspect of the trip had been. Careful planning on my friend’s part with the real estate agent certainly contributed to the success. Yet, she cannot take credit for the outstanding weather.

As for safety, there was no time that I felt that was even the slightest bit in danger. When you are down there and talk to the locals, you hear them lamenting about how the news media really has done so much to discourage tourists. Yes, the drug dealer have their own issues, yet the local citizen feels totally safe and only wish people would come back to enjoy their lovely country. No question business owners and real estate people are having a hard time making it though this period.

My regret…that I hadn’t had the opportunity to spend more time at the wonderful beach house before it was sold. However, I am proud of myself for grabbing this opportunity. My dad would be proud of me for in his later years he would often say, “Do it why you are able”.


When you are stuck about what you could write about on your blog, put a keyword into Google. You will be surprised at how an idea will flow from the titles you are looking at from the search.

Friday, December 04, 2009


Many people believe the time to build your business or find a new career will stop about a week before the holidays officially begins and starts again after the holidays. I have a different belief.

I believe there is no better time to build relationships and meet new people than during this period. Think about it. You are invited to open houses, holiday parties for businesses and the organizations you are members of often suggest you bring a friend. All of a sudden, you have a whole new resource for meeting fun, connected people.

You do need some tools:

Up-to-date contact cards (business cards)
Make sure you carry plenty of them with you—not the time to run out.

Note cards to send after you have met.

My advice, keep on your toes, keep asking questions to start conversations and enjoy learning about people. Follow up with a note, and have coffee with them after the first of the year.


When you are given a verbal agreement to say fix your car over the phone, make sure you write down what you heard them say and confirm with an email or fax.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009


I had been wanting to see this movie and just never got around to it. Today it rained for the first time since I arrived in Palm Springs on August 4th. Checked out the movies and there it was at a theatre that was charging $2 admission.

I got my ticket and then noted that I had gotten there an hour early. As luck would have it, I looked up and there was my gym, 24 Hour Fitness My gym clothes were in my trunk. There was no excuse for me not to spend the next hour working out.

After a good workout, it was time for the movie. I sat back with my bag of popcorn and my Dr. Pepper (the only time I allow myself to drink it). Determined that there were not too many movies I am looking forward to in the near future according to the previews that were shown. It was interesting to note that the theatre was filled with equal number of men and women.

Meryl Streep always seems to be having so much fun with her characters. One kind of gets the sense there is a giggle under her acting for she knows she is pretending to be the person she is portraying. Yet, she throws herself into the characters and becomes so believable.

Julia who decided to make all the recipes in “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” is portrayed so well by Amy Adams. Not only is she believable, she expresses the emotions of someone doing what seemed to be the impossible. She has a full-time job, cooking every night at least one new recipe and then taking the time to blog about her experiences---leaving nothing sugar coated.

Equally as interesting was the role the husbands played in their lives—supportive of their ideas and there when the two Julias really needed them. At the same time, the men showed their frustrations.

The movie was a wonderful example of communications. Communication between married couples, between friends and the difficulties it can be working with various businesses, whether the business are government entities or publishing companies.

It is not often one can find a movie that keeps your interest, and motivates you to start thinking about how much more you can accomplish. It worked for me; I came home and immediately sat down and started writing this article for my blog.


Carry a notebook with you at all times. One never knows when a brilliant idea will come up. Without making a note, that brilliant idea could be lost forever.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


It has gotten to the point that when you call someone, and she actually answers it is a surprise. No question emails and texting are becoming our major mode of communication. Frankly, I do not see us going back to using the phone as our main mode of communication. Generation Y lives by texting and their parents know that is how they can get their children’s attention. This generation is having a major effect on our communication modes.

However, some things help strengthen telephone communication.

When leaving a message:

Always identify yourself. Your family members often sound alike so make it easy – start with your name. “Hi, Donna, this is Lisa.”

State the reason why you are calling.

State when you will be available.

When leaving your phone number, speak slowly.

Repeat your phone number twice.

While talking to someone:

When you are talking and there is a phone call coming in, just keep talking. Your ID caller will tell you who is calling. Call them back after you have finished. Remember you were thrilled to have the person answer your call in person. Keep the focus on your present conversation.


Ask more questions. Do not assume your customer knows all about your product. Check in with their understanding. A few extra minutes, one-on-one, will help your customer AND it illustrates you truly do care about them as an individual.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


When I heard there was a rodeo in Brawley that I needed to go to for research, I was thrilled. My cousin lived there and I had not seen her in 30 years. Now 83 years old, she lives in the same ranch surrounded by her 300 acres much of which she rents out. Right next to her home is the field of organic lettuce, which is in the above picture.

My drive began in Palm Springs and I chose to drive through the entire Coachella Valley. It is always so fascinating to me to see how different the towns are, while connected and display their own personalities.

After leaving the “cities”, I entered an area where date palms orchards dot the county side. It is harvest time, so many of the dates were still on the trees protected by paper envelopes. At the moment, can’t remember if the cover is for bugs, sun, or birds.

Therefore, the orchards gave way to barren land. Before long, there it was the great Salton Lake. Actually, it reminds you somewhat of an ocean because of its’ immense size. I could not see to the other side.

Along the way, I stopped at a beach. Sure enough, there were the clumps of salt I had heard about. My first impulse was to break some off and take it home. Then I looked around, saw the dead fish carcasses, and decided that was not one of my better ideas.

I traveled along the lake for over an hour. Barren land, with lots of “washes” that obviously serve to protect the area when it rains. Remember the lake is below sea level so apparently rain rushes toward it.

Soon the land started having life to it. Large farms started appearing with buildings far and few between. This is one time I was VERY glad I had learned to trust my GPS for it took down many roads that went for miles. When the GPS announced the name of the road my cousin lived on there was both a sense of relief and excitement.

Turned the corner and there she was out her front yard. This spry woman was thinner than I had remembered, yet her smile gave her away. I was with family. Over the next five hours, we talked and share family news.

When she took me to my bedroom, there was a beautiful quilt on the bed. I commented on it and she said “Your Mom helped Larry (her son) pick it out years ago.” A moment that rather takes your breath away—Mom was right there with me on this amazing journey.

An early morning walk to view the rising sun and then off to a wonderful real Mexican breakfast. It was time to say good-bye. As I pulled away, I knew I had been given a tremendous gift of really connecting with someone and learning about life in what is considered California’s bread basket.


It is easy to get distracted with social media. My suggestion you build into your routine time to work with them. I have chosen to use LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


When I moved to Palm Springs, to work a project my routines were quickly eliminated. Exercise routine changed, and finding things became an interesting detective pursuit. All the touchstones of my life had been changed.

The first thing to go was my connection through social media. Before I moved here each day, I had been spending at least some time on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Now for some reason, I felt that was something that I could do later.

A check of my Google Analytics proved that visits to my website and blog had dropped. There was only one logical conclusion to come to---I wasn’t participating in the world of Cyberspace.

Lessons learned:

No matter what, figure out a way to go to sites and contribute. Note, I said contribute – Idle chatter about your day will not cause people to want to know more about you.

Keep your messages short and crisp. Recently articles are being posted that would require you go get a cup of coffee and settle in for the next 10 minutes to read them. People just don’t have time to read long articles on line.

Constantly keep your mind open to things that you can post of interest. When you are involved in social media, your whole environment is a resource of information that would be great to share.


Recently learned about Pokens --- the new contact card (business card). I am thinking this is one of the great new innovations in transferring our contact information.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I have never liked Halloween. My sister and I have talked about it and we are not sure why this holiday is our least favorite of all of them. We suspect we never really felt part of it because were raised 11 miles out in the country in Wisconsin. There wasn’t trick or treating in our neighborhood.

Now I found myself in a new environment. Kim, who has taken me under her wings many times, decided she was going to have a Halloween Party. The determining factor was that her friends from Vancouver were arriving on the 31st and they are totally into Halloween.

Therefore, I was trapped--for the first time in my adult life I had to come up with a costume. I knew I didn’t want to be scary, I am not into political figures, didn’t want to be an animal – the list went on.

Once again, garage sales came to the rescue. As we pursued our Saturday ritual of garage shopping, I spied the piece that would be the centerpiece of my costume. It was an amazing silver dressy hat. The minute I saw it, I knew it was perfect. I have been blessed with the ability to put on any hat and have it look right. The exception is a baseball cap—No really it is true, just ask my friends that once I put on a baseball cap they grin and say, “You’re right, it doesn’t work”.

Okay, I had the makings of a great costume. I was going to be a flapper! I mentioned the idea to my friend; Molly and she said, “Kath, I have the dress for you –complete with all the fringes”. A week later, the dress and some great fake long pearls and choker necklace arrived. I put the dress on – perfect fit.

I arrived at the party and Kim was astounded….she couldn’t believe my hat. Actually, a great hat that has NOT been relegated to the costume department. I’m thinking I can wear it some place for dress in the future.

Each time the door open, walked in people who had transformed their looks. Pilgrims arrived, a cowboy, the Blue Brothers, a farmer, a nurse –everyone had gotten into the spirit. Our host who normally has long beautiful blonde hair appeared in a red wig. Her red dress that she said was suppose to be reminiscence of fire (Just for the record that was a stretch) completed her look as the devil.

There was wonderful food and lots of laughter. Okay, I changed my mind. When you are with good friends, any holiday can be truly fun.


When you are leaving your phone number, make sure you say it slowly and give it at least twice. Then the person receiving the voicemail does not have to listen to the message again to make sure she has written down the correct number.

Monday, November 09, 2009


While working on a recent project, my role was to get the lay of the land and make recommendations to enhance a major project. Every networking skill I ever learned has been utilized.

I was plopped down in a community that I had only visited. Now I was integral part of a project that has major impact on the economy of the community. Questions needed to be asked, the answers collected and combined to make congruent recommendations.

Guiding principles that have been reinforced working on the project.

Ask questions and listen closely to the answer.
Not everyone will like you.
Not everyone will agree with you.
Honesty remains the guiding force.

No matter how difficult it may be to reveal information you have discovered, it is right that you do. It is only through trust that great things can be accomplished.


Make sure you have scheduled time in for yourself each day. Burn out results in errors.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Before moving to Palm Springs, friends had said, “Kath, you have to come down here and go to garage sales with us”. While I liked garage sales, it wasn’t high on my agenda to fly to Palm Springs and get up early Saturday morning.

Okay, I am hooked. Let me explain. Friday’s paper lists the garage sales in the Palm Springs area. If you wanted to branch out and go to other parts of the Coachella Valley, there are many more listed for other areas. Normal starting time is 7:00 and ending at 1:00-2:00 p.m. – remember it gets warm here in the afternoon.

Our routine is to meet at my friend’s house at 8:00 a.m. She has a car that will hold lots of “stuff”. Normally, there are three of us. With cash in our wallets and the route researched by our friend, we head out.

Invariably, on the way to the designated first stop, we see signs for still another garage sales. We pile out and check out the “stuff”. Yup, one of us will find something and then it is back into the car…..where we find still another garage sale before we get to our goal.

Last week, we went to a gated community that was opening its’ gates for garage sales. We learned this is a once year occurrence and since it was high-end homes we were convinced we would find treasures.

Within the gated community I found at first stop:

New toaster for $3
A folding wooden white chair like they use at weddings $3 (Looks great on my casita deck)
A glass cutting board with art design $1
New dishtowels for $.25
Foot stool for $1

Second stop:

I wonderful cloth tablecloth for $3 (Ironically, the woman was moving back to Washington State)

Third stop:

White icicle lights for my girlfriend’s house --they will probably wrap around ½ of her house. $8

Fourth stop:

The most amazing black leather sofa with not a flaw $160
A dining room, solid wood, with six great chairs $360

No I didn’t buy them….but boy did I try to figure out “why” I might need them.

I trust I have painted a picture for you—garage sales here --- ANYTHING you need can be found at a fraction of the new cost. Imagine what it is for sale when the snowbirds leave in the spring?

Oh, I forgot….look at the sky in the picture that I have with this blog….How could I not get up early on Saturday morning?


When you are thinking you are not accomplishing much in your day, start an activities page. Write down what things you have touched that day. I do believe you will be surprised at how much you actually have accomplished.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


There is not a person in the world that knows everything about every subject. Yet, we have all run into a person that has an opinion or feels he is an authority on any subject that may come up in a conversation. The trick is finding a person that has a background in the area for which you are seeking advice.

This week I had the opportunity to have breakfast with a man who was a capital fundraiser for a major University. (He is now retired) I am working out some dynamics for working with non-profits for my current project, Palm Springs Wild WestFest

I said “This is the issue, what would you do?”

He methodically explained his approach. I listened closely for I respected this man and the years of real experience working in the field. During the course of the conversation, my colleague arrived for a cup of coffee. He was able to hear the “why” the approach was sound from someone else other than me.

Once the retired fundraiser had explained his approach, I talked to him about my findings, which matched his advice completely. He smiled and said, “Kathy you did something really well. You did not tell me what you had decided, instead you asked for my advice. You didn’t put me in the position of having to tell you your approach was all wrong.”

As I drove away, I smiled. What a nice compliment. I realized that my business communication skills had automatically kicked in. If you ask for advice, listen first.


When you are going to be working on a project for any length of time, be sure you subscribe to the local newspaper before you arrive. You will learn the issues facing the community. In addition, you will learn about the restaurants and even activities that you might want to put on your calendar.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


My friend, Kim, was on a mission. She needed new merchandise for her stores called “Mario’s of Palm Springs”. We left Palm Springs, coffee in hand, and settled in for the two-hour drive to the garment district.

She had made this trip many times, so I sat back and enjoyed the scenery. This was the first time I had gone to Los Angeles without being the one to drive. It was interesting watching the temperature change, first warm, then cooler and windier, and then just pleasant as we parked the car.

Kim was on a mission. She knew exactly what stores she wanted to visit. As we entered the first one, the owner greeted her with a big smile. There I was standing among hundreds of garments. You want a slinky tank top? Imagine seeing hundreds of them (all different sizes) hanging together. Color? Your choice of probably about 10 different colors. Of course, there were matching skirts, slacks and jackets.

While Kim was putting together an order, I looked at things with a new eye. I discovered a couple of things that I thought would be great for her store. She looked at them and said, “I believe you are right. Good we’ll add that!” It seems we were working pretty well as a team.

Now the hunt was on for a stylish sweater. We headed to a store around the corner. Once again, the owner greeted with her a smile. It was interesting to watch the interaction—he was showing her new things and “why” he thought they would be good for her store. There it was the perfect sweater. She added them in three colors to her order.

Next stop, a jewelry store. As many of you know, I am always on the hunt for unusual jewelry. Kim sells a great deal of jewelry and her supply had been diminished. In addition, all of a sudden she was getting requests for pins.

Now let’s talk about jewelry. Imagine a store entirely full of costume jewelry. Earrings were arranged by color….thank goodness. (Interesting to note, I have wanted red, longer earrings and even here, there were only a couple of pair in the deep Christmas red).

Kim grabbed a basket and was able to move through the aisle at a great speed. I was so overwhelmed by the selections, I spent my time just looking and marveling at the wide-range of colors and styles.

Next stop, scarves. Yes, I know I am in a warm climate. Remember her clients come down here from cold places and they will be looking for holiday gifts. Let’s see what color of scarf would you like? How wide? What kind of fabric?

I looked at scarves that are perfect to serve as blankets and pillows on airplanes. Kim hadn’t thought of that as a selling point, so again our two minds working together were coming up with some new ideas.

As we walked out of the last store, and put many of the purchases in the car (Many of her purchases had to be shipped). I was feeling overwhelmed. On the other hand, Kim was full of energy and pleased about how the morning had gone.
As an Executive Coach, it was great to see Kim flourishing and energetic in her chosen profession.


If a person spends any amount his/her business time giving you some advice, send him a handwritten note. You are honoring him and his time. Trust me you’ll will be remembered with a smile.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Vetting Defined: Formal and thorough examination prior to grant of approval or clearance.

Words don’t cost anything. People can say anything they want—it is a free country. As a businessperson, you are judged by the company you keep. It is in your best interest to do your own due diligence before you enter into a contract with someone.

Some steps to consider:

Ask for a resume. Yes, I know many people do not have one. However, many people of prominence do have resumes. A resume provides a great deal of useful information. Often you may be surprised that you may have even more in common than you thought.

Ask people in the same field for their opinion of the person. Yes, it will/can be biased; yet, if you are good at reading body language there is much to learn from their peers.

Ask the person if there anything in is his background that you should know.

Ask at least one other person to accompany you on the final interview. I suggest you have one man and one woman interview the person. (I am a big believer that men and women make a great team because they think differently.)


Before doing business with anyone, be sure to Google his or her name.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Now that I am living in Palm Springs working on the Palm Springs West Fest, I am in within easy driving range of a number of interesting destinations. Since it was August and the new Ellen season was approaching, I went to her website to see if there were any tickets available. My friend, Kim, who I wanted to take with me, has Tuesday and Thursday off so I aimed for one of those two days of the week.

October 7th and 8th were available, so I choose the 7th. I used my Washington address feeling that might give me a leg up on tickets. Two days later, I got a call from her office asking if I would be able to go on the 8th instead for we would be guaranteed tickets instead of being on the Stand-by list. No problem.

Two weeks before the date, the letter arrived. Interesting, it said to wear “nice casual”, no Ellen logos, or logos of any kind and no matching shirts and no flip-flops. Anyone who has seen Ellen have people in some of the games knows why.

We arrived at the assigned time 1:30 p.m. and were given a number. We were 20 and d 21 and as we suspected it meant the order you entered the studio. After sitting in a non-descriptive holding area for 2 hours --- they showed the Ellen show that was on TV that day. We learned the staff was watching us like a hawk and chose 15 people to go a trailer. These 15 people were the ones that were being considered to play the game.

We were ushered into the Riff Raff Room—quite the impressive place, that also houses the Ellen Store that was stocked with things to support Breast Cancer. We were there for about 15 minutes and then Kim and I were ushered in – front and center five rows back.

The set is exactly as you see on TV – really beautiful and no fake walks. Tony was the first one to come out AND he looks exactly like he does when we see him on TV. A crew member was excellent at presenting the rules and explaining what was going to happen. He led us all into lively dance routines. We were pepped up to welcome Ellen.

She came out and much to our great joy, not only did Ellen look as we expected, her personality radiated throughout the room. She took the microphone and talked directly to the audience after the taping was done.


If anyone thinks a talk show host job is easy, think again. We watched Ellen change topics with each guest. She was phenomenal with a nine-year old who is sure to be a singing sensation for years to come.

During commercial breaks, she talked with the guests until a staff member urged her to move on. Then it was on to directions for the next segment. She was constantly on for the entire hour, and all the while, her famous smile was there. We also commented on how nice her staff was to everyone. Not the slightest hint of frustration and always smiles. Terrific customer service.

At the end of the show, we were told we could pick up our gifts: A CD from Joe Perry of Arrowsmith, IHome earphones/speaker for our computer, an accessory kit for the new Netbooks, and a new game “Bop” that taking the country by storm.

We went out the backdoor and hopped the cart to the Warner Brothers' gift shop and coffee shop. A word of warning when you go to tapings, be sure to take a sweater, it is freezing in there. Coffee warmed us up and then we marveled at seeing so much “stuff” related to TV shows that we were familiar with over the years.

The cart was waiting for us to take back to the entrance…the guide was terrific and drove us by many studio stages…one that sticks out is where the Mentalist is filmed. Alas, they were out on location for a shoot.

On the two hour drive home back to Palm Springs, Kim and I finally had time to talk about the day. The best way to sum it up is “There were no disappointments. It was day of relaxing, and learning how television tapings are done.”

PS We watched the show the next day on television. The only glimpse of us was the back of our heads at the beginning of the show—stardom obviously was not to be this time.


Networking means you are ALWAYS on your best behavior. You never know when the person you just met will become a big help in our profession or an opportunity to develop a new friendship.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


You are having coffee with Rae and she says, “You really should meet, Frank Brown.” Instead of letting the statement go, write the name down. It is unlikely Rae will have Frank’s contact information with her, yet you have captured a name.

Once you are back in the office, send Rae a note and ask for Frank’s contact information. This illustrates:

You were listening closely.

You are honoring Rae’s advice.

Once you have followed up with Frank, send a note to Rae. Let her know what happened because of you got in touch with one of her referrals.


Make sure to add referral names to your contact list. Include a note from whom you received the name.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


Working and living in Palm Springs since August has brought some interesting insights and reminders about how varied the United States is in form of geography, climate, and social norms. Even though I have traveled a great deal, the past two month have served as reminder about how much I do not know.

The Coachella Valley is a desert. Lawns are mostly white gravel and mountains surrounding the valley are barren and reflect the sun at various stages during the day. No matter how often you look up at the surrounding mountains, you cannot help but be in awe. The street that follows the edge of the airport gives one a majestic view of mountains on both sides of the valley. I take it as often as possible.

Last week I was to present at a formal meeting of the General Managers of the major resorts in the area an update on the Palm Springs Wild West Fest

I met my colleague in the lobby of The Parker Palm Springs When he saw me he said; “Now you got it, the Palm Springs look.” He was referring to my outfit that was flowing, classy and business-like. Quite different then my customary Northwest business attire that is fitted, much more conservative, though always contains a splash of color.

We were directed to the site of the 8:00 a.m. meeting. It was a beautiful morning. I was “surprised” to see that it was entirely outside. The patio was beautiful and surrounding gardens served as an outstanding backdrop.

Upon reflection, I have to laugh; of course, they hold meetings outside all the time in Palm Springs. My mind had not switched to the fact that I was in Palm Springs in October not the Pacific Northwest. In fact, now that the summer heat is behind us, apparently, people pretty much live outside.

This is an interesting assignment and with great anticipation, I welcome each day and marvel at how much I can learn by keeping my eyes and ears open.


It is proven that men and women’s brains are different. Men think to talk. Women talk to think.

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Many years ago a retire Army General told me one of his favorite ways to keep organized. He labeled file folders 1-31 and kept them in the bottom drawer of his desk. He started his day by pulling out the folder. In it were reminders of items that he was to follow up on that day.

When you are meeting people, often they will say, “Would you call me after the 8th? “ I make a quick note on my notepad “Call Jim after the 8”. That note goes into the file #9.

Personally, I would rather make the note on a hard copy. I find it distracting when someone pulls out his Smartphone while we are in the middle of a conversation, scrolls to his calendar and then enters the information. Personal interaction is becoming more and more valued. I would rather save that time for real interaction.

The folders also serve a depository for your airline tickets, theatre tickets and that all -important jazz concert. No more wondering where you put them.


Pick up the phone and make an appointment with someone you would like to get to know better. Suggest a coffee spot near her office so she can have a break from her routine.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


It had been quite the week. Home in Vancouver, Washington deciding what things I wanted to take with me to Palm Springs. I will be working in Palm Springs to help bring back the Rodeo after 22 years for the next seven months. At the same time, I will be keeping my speaking, training and writing career on track. In fact, already have some speaking and training gigs lined up in the Coachella Valley.

My next-door neighbor, Betty, made sure I was fed before I began the 1080 mile drive. Once the car was loaded, we walked to the newly remodeled deli at our condo complex. It was good to relax a bit and spend some alone time with Betty, who helped me out tremendously during the last week….even down to doing my last laundry.

Decided to drive on I5 --- hadn’t done that in years and even though people comment how boring the drive is in California, I was sure I could find something to keep my interest. I had forgotten how beautiful Oregon was and marveled at the mountains. Which triggered in a mental note, make sure you do not drive home in the winter time—the mountains could be a bear to get across.

I saw the Rogue River for the first time --- and noted all the businesses with recreational activities. No wonder people like to come to this area. Literally, the pine tree scent floated into my car.

I stayed in Medford, Oregon (near the California border) and it was there I picked up Harry. At first he frustrated me because he was constantly moving. It was like he wanted to be sure I was paying attention to him. Then he quieted down.

So the journey continued through more beautiful mountains. A couple of times we went off the road and drove through some historic western towns. In one town, I found the belt buckle that was perfect for me. If I am going to be a cowgirl part of the time, I need to look the part.

Our journey continued. Wonderful rest stops along I5 --- Well shaded, clean, though miss the coffee served by volunteers like we have in Washington and Oregon. Harry continued to bug me, yet, at one point glad to have his company because I was in need of afternoon nap.

Thought for sure he would want to get out in Sacramento, but he decided to stay with me and journeyed with me the Harris Ranch. I had heard about this place on “Sunday Morning” and was determined to get there so I could see the place and have one of the outstanding dinners they talked about.

We arrived about 7:00 p.m. Went to a dining room and decided to sit at the bar. It gets lonely sitting at a table all alone. Harry decided to stay in the car. Before long, Jon, sat down beside me – he was on a road trip to San Francisco.

Jon is a distributor of Belgium chocolate. His main client is Trader Joes’s. Now with a daughter living in Belgium you can imagine how easy it was to strike up a conversation. Before long we had agreed to exchange my book “It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask” for some chocolate. We shook hands and agreed that we would talk more about working out a way his chocolate could become part of the Rodeo events. As my Mom would say “There’s always a way.”

Harry and I drove down the road about twenty miles and found a nice place to stay. I had driven about six hundred miles and had filled my head with many new ideas.

This morning, I put my bag into the car and Harry greeted me. There he was all bright and chipper and I hadn’t even had my coffee yet. So looks like Harry and I will continue our journey all the way to Palm Springs. We should get there about 2:00 p.m.

At first Harry irritated me, I did everything to get rid of him. Asked him to stop bugging me and tried to shoo him out at each rest stop. Nothing worked. At one point, I just gave up and smiled to myself that I fortunate to have the company. Harry, my new friend, is a wonder, irritating and friendly fly.


When you cannot remember for sure what you heard in a conversation, write down what you thought you heard and send it to the other person for a review.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


So where is the Coachella Valley? Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, and Indio are all part of this valley that is surrounded by majestic barren mountains. This area is truly a desert. It is not uncommon to see front lawns of home covered with white rocks, cacti and other plants that are drought resistant.

I arrived August 4; right at the beginning of what locals say is the two hottest months of the year. You ask, “How hot is it?” I had the wonderful pleasure of being here when the temperature soared to 118 degrees—the hottest ever here. I had just left Vancouver, Washington where we hit 107 degrees – a record for there. Good thing I would rather be hot than cold.

When the heat soars, you quickly learn to run your errands as early in the day as possible. One day, I decided to go out about 2:00 p.m. – a mistake, I could hardly touch the steering wheel on the car. You would not consider leaving for any trip, no matter how short, without a least one water bottle filled.

Interesting I, thought that, perhaps, my stainless steel water bottle would end up sweating. Wrong, the humidity is so low here, averaging about 14 percent, there is never any condensation on anything. Yes, you have to make sure you use lots of lotion to keep your skin hydrated. Of course, it is imperative that you keep drinking lots of water.

Style in Palm Springs

Fortunately, friends immediately took me under their wings and helped me look like a local instead of the visitors to the Valley.

First thing – the small tiny earrings had to go. Sure enough, I looked around and earrings routinely are at least two inches long. Since I am one who always wants to know “why”, I kept looking for the reason so many people wore long earrings, since often they are heavy. Figured it out – it is too hot to wear necklaces, so the earring becomes the chief accessory of your outfit.

By the way, I have discovered Earlifts They are little seal-like patches that go on the back of your ear and the pierce earring goes through it—giving your earlobe support.

Cotton is the fabric to wear. Long flowing skirts are the norm. Our tops are often man-made fabric for we want a little more style than tank-like tops. Local men wear khaki colored pants and modern Hawaiian-like shirts. This time of year, at least, I have not seen a jacket on either men or women at business meetings. At formal meetings, men do wear a long-sleeved shirt and tie.


Since our lives continue to move at a fast pace, it is a good idea to place a phone call or send an email to remind people of a scheduled meeting. Especially important if the appointment has been made more than two weeks ago.

Friday, August 28, 2009


“Sound bites” capture our attention as we listen to the news or a commercial. They are short, crisp statements that are different from the ordinary dialog. Often they have a different pitch when delivered by the announcer.

“Eye bites” capture our attention when we are reading. Often they are italicized or set off from the rest of the paragraph by indenting. Short, crisp statements meant to capture your attention.

The phenomena of sound bites and eye bites have become more prevalent. Applications like Twitter and text messaging are becoming integrated into our lives as people. People are demanding information be received without fluff words (adverbs).

Writing a paragraph? Surveys have revealed that people do not read paragraphs in reports, resumes, or proposals that are longer than 4.5 lines in length.


If you are the first to arrive at a restaurant, and you know you will want separate checks, ask the server to prepare separate checks before the other guests arrive.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Since I am using my networking skills to help raise funds to bring back the rodeo to Palm Springs after 22 years, six of us were invited to see the inner workings of this nine-year old rodeo.

The day began with putting on an appropriate cowgirl-like outfit. Had the jeans and a top that would work, bought western looking earrings, and borrowed the hat and belt. I have a new appreciation for people who have to wear a belt every day…..not use to wide belts. The loops on my jeans barely accommodated the belt embellished with a great gold rhinestone buckle. Shoes, well we won’t get into that….my boots have not arrived.

Picked up my colleague and we made the two-hour drive to the rodeo grounds that was set in a valley, on a ranch, surrounded by magnificent mountains. We parked the car and the learning began.

First, we met with a woman in charge of all the vendors. Then we spent about an hour with the man who was “in charge” of the event. He let us in on unknown details and shared with us what they had tried in the past that hadn’t worked and why certain things work well.

The big white tent placed along the side the arena was filled with tables covered with white tablecloths and flower arrangements. Think of the feeling of going to a dinner theatre…only in this case, the rodeo takes place in front of you while you eat dinner. This area is reserved for the sponsors who dined on western barbecue complete with freshly grilled steaks.

We watched the stadium bleachers fill to capacity with folks who had bought general admission tickets. At both ends of the arena were the chutes where the real action always began.

At the appointed time, the announcer got our attention. About 30 people walked out with a 40 by 40 foot American flag and unfurled it before our eyes. We sang our national anthem under the brilliant blue sky and sunshine. Once that ended, three service members from the area were asked to come to the center of the arena…the crowd broke into an amazing applause.

While the service members were standing there, the champion cowboys were called to the arena and each one of them shook the service members’ hands. At the chute area, in front of us, the Rodeo manager, Cotton Rosser (83 yrs old) waited on his horse to shake every cowboy’s hand as he came back to the chute gate.

Then the action began. I have a feeling before long the names of the cowboys will start becoming very familiar to me as we develop our own rodeo Palm Springs that will be held March 12, 13, and 14, 2010.

When I arrived “home” that night, I thought about the day. I had been privileged to see and learn how a rodeo is put together. I saw the look of expectation on the cowboy’s face and watched as some of them limp from an injury they had received at a previous rodeo on the circuit. The filled to capacity stadium and dining tent help me understand the thirst to take ourselves out of our daily life routine.

My reasons for getting involved with this project was, in large part, the feeling that I could help people remember history and help others experience the western way of life that helped form this entire Coachella Valley. I look forward to this Palm Springs Wild West Fest & Frank Bogert Memorial Rodeo with great anticipation.


Do not go anywhere without a something to write on – your many brilliants ideas will be quickly forgotten if you do not write yourself a note.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Recently, I have been doing a number of radio interviews. Some of the interviews were on Intergenerational Communication and others on Networking to Build Relationships.

When doing the networking presentations, twice the interviewer was “surprised” by one of my responses. They asked me, “How many people should one plan to meet at a networking event?” I replied “No more than three”. Their next response was, “Really, I thought you were suppose to meet as many people as possible.”

Let me explain:

With the goal of meeting three people, the task does not seem as large as having to start a number of new conversations.

When you begin by shaking hands, saying your name and asking the question “What great thing happened to you recently?” you will not have to worry about keeping the conversation going. This open-ended question has a positive slant. When they answer it, and you listen to the answer, I can assure you will have material to ask the next question.

Asking questions helps you learn about another person, and you begin the building of a relationship. You know all you know, your goal is learn more about the person standing before you.

When it is time for you to move on, ask the person for his contact card (formerly called business card). Shake hands again, and say something like “It would be good to continue this conversation sometime in the future.”; “May I give you a call so we can continue this conversation?”

Finally, be sure you send each of the three people you met a handwritten note with your contact card included.


Enter the data from the contact card into your contact program as soon as possible after receiving it. It is much easier to write some notes regarding the conversation while it is fresh.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Found a place where things haven’t changed.

As a new arrival to the Coachella Valley, California, I realize there is much to learn. It had been a busy week, so decided Saturday that I would put career duties aside and head out to explore the valley that is majestically surrounded by mountains.

My goal was to revisit a place that provided fond memories. My parents had taken us there years ago. When I lived in San Fernando Valley in the early 70s’, a trip to this valley wasn’t complete unless one went to Shields Date Garden in Indio for dates. Even more important, was buying and savoring a date shake from their old-fashion ice cream counter.

Yes, the temperate was around 104 degrees. Keep in mind people in this valley know how to handle heat. I have quickly learned one would not consider getting into a car without one’s water bottle full. Locals, make it a point to tell you not to keep plastic water bottles in the car nor open it up and then close it up again and set it in the heat--apparently, germs love that kind of environment. Yes, I have added another stainless steel bottle to my “must haves” for my new life here.

Just as I thought I was not heading to my correct destination, I put Shields into my GPS. I smiled as it said I was .5 miles away from it. Sure enough there it was – looking exactly as it had all those years ago. Parked the car, walked in, and smiled for nothing had changed…even the bags full of grapefruit were in the same place.
Straight head was the ice cream fountain-hadn’t changed a bit. Even more surprising was the cost of the date shake -- $3.75 and we’re talking the grand size here. My shake was ordered and received and I sat down to watch the film on the growing of dates.

Two fascinating points:

95 percent of all dates grown in the United States are grown in the Coachella Valley

The dates outside the building are ripening and will be harvested in September.

Finished the movie and the shake, took these pictures and headed back to my “home” in Palm Springs…it had been a fascinating day, l had explored and learned. Life is good.


The way to get comfortable doing interviews, is to make sure you truly are an expert on your subject. You will be amazed how much you know that others do not.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


- A firm handshake. Make sure the two “Vs” of your hands meet. That way you can look the person in the eye and know that you are not crushing his hand. The pressure is equally distributed. (By the way, give your full name as you are shaking hands.)

- Ask the person a question. You know everything you know. Your job is to learn about something about the person with whom you are speaking.

- Listen to the answer. When you listen to the answer, you automatically have information that can lead to your next question. You can keep learning more about the person.

We go about our day, and often do not take time to acknowledge people. These three simple steps help build a connection. Technology is good and important—yet, our connection with people will always be needed.


Periodically, go through your email folders and delete emails. You will be surprised how many you no longer need.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go this event. It was an intimate group of 50 people who had gathered for lunch to meet John Dean. Since I knew no one when I walked into the room, I used my own networking skills that I teach. Found a woman standing all alone, extended my hand, said my name, and said, “What great thing happened to you recently”? She was beaming and said, “Well I work two jobs, and I found out I didn’t have to work this morning so I decided I wanted to come. I’m so grateful they let me come in with no reservation.”

Before the actual lunch started, I had met two more Rotarians and a woman who is a member of the Palm Springs Women’s Club. She immediately invited me to attend when she learned I was new in town.

John Dean began his lecture by saying I have decided I am going to tell you “why” I decided to update Blind Ambition. As my readers know, I am a big proponent of telling people “why” so I found myself smiling even before he began.

He went on to explain that the real reason was because of a lawsuit he was involved with for the last nine years. A person had written a book about him, John Dean, as the central figure. He learned that the book contains outlandish untruths about him and his wife. Through developing his case, he used subpoenas to obtain never before released papers and tapes about Watergate that helped him fill in the missing links. Thus, the book includes many of his new findings.

I couldn’t help being impressed with his candor, which sometimes you could hear the deep emotions in his voice. His willingness to share information about life in Washington DC was very much appreciated. While he now lives in Los Angeles, it was apparent; he is richly connected with the events going on in Washington, D.C.

It was one of the “richest speeches” I have heard in a long time. As I drove home, I thought to myself, about how right Tony Robbins is when he says, “Be sure to get yourself out of your industry and learn about others so that your creativity can be stretched".


Let your friends know what kind of events you would like to attend. You cannot possibly find them all yourself. A friend found an obscure mention in the newspaper about John Dean delivering this talk and she told me about this event—I would have missed it.

Friday, August 07, 2009


There is no place in the world that is not an “idea resource” for my blogs.
Recently, I made a decision to add articles to my blog twice a week. One of them will be personal stories, which lets people see how I live my life--experiences that often are the source of great renewal for me. The second one will be oriented toward my profession of writing, speaking, and training.

Today it is about my profession:

While reading through some of the questions on LinkedIn, I learned a way to focus on ideas for our blogs. Ultimately, we want to drive traffic to our website. Personally, I have answered many questions on LinkedIn and I was reminded I can expand my answer for a blog.

Another way to share information on your blog is to break down your own subject expertise into 250-300 word blogs. When you are speaking and training, you have your presentation broken down into segments. Don’t hesitate to share an article about the segment.

Worried about sharing too much information? Think about it, do you really think a 250-word blog is equivalent to the segment you train for two hours? My belief is that you will get the reader interested in your work and he will want to learn more about you and then will go to your website.


Carry a notepad with you so you can write down the email address and/or the phone number of a person you have connected with that did not have contact cards (business cards).

Thursday, August 06, 2009


Through many “coincidences”, I find myself writing to you from Palm Springs. It seemed only appropriate that the readers of my blog are the first ones I thought of this morning as I woke up to beautiful sunshine on the mountains.

View out my window of "home".

During the past two months, I have been setting things up at my Vancouver, Washington home to take an extended leave to move to Palm Springs. A project surfaced to serve as Fundraising Director the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) Frank Bogart Memorial Rodeo. The last rodeo held in Palm Springs was 40 years ago. Perfect position for me to use my networking skills to help make this happen. Imagine the stories I will have to prove my networking and business communication points.

Meanwhile, my career of speaking, training, and writing continues –just working from a different “home” base. For the next month living in a friends’ beautiful casita (separate living quarters from the house). As my Mom always said “Taking life one day at time.” So yesterday was the official arrival and greeting by two dear friends. Getting groceries and unpacking. Today, it is back to official work—well most of the day. It seems my friend has invited me to CD Release party at VIP reception at one of the local grand hotels. Hey, I’m networking.


Snap decisions can sometimes get you in trouble, if a life doesn’t depend on it, suggest that you tell the caller that you will call them back with the decision– give them a specific time. Gives you a deadline so you do not procrastinate.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Each Sunday or early Monday morning, I sit down at my computer and organize myself to find the “right” quote that I want to send out. The selected quote triggers a little discussion in my mind, which in turn becomes no more than four and one-half lines about “why” I thought the particular quote relative. Then the paragraph is followed by a question that is written to make you think about your week ahead.

Much to my surprise, I discovered I have been sending it out every week for the last seven years. It has never been a chore and find that between keeping my eyes and ears open for information to dispense on Twitter and my weekly ezine I find that I keep much more alert to things that are happening around me.

The distribution list is growing and all people on the list have opted in to receive it. If people unsubscribe, the comment usually is something like “I’m just too overwhelm with email.” I smile, for Weekly Wisdom is so short it takes no time to read, but it was a good way for people to let me down easy when they really mean it wasn’t serving them. Rarely, do I get these unsubscribe messages.

This blog was triggered by two emails I got yesterday. One woman wrote to tell me where she had met me and said, “I signed up for Weekly Wisdom then and I am so glad I did. Keep up the good work.”

The second email said, “Kathy, I am changing jobs and I want to be sure I continue to get Weekly Wisdom, would you change my address? It is so helpful to me and really puts me in a positive frame of mind as I start my week.”

Needless to say, I was smiling as I read them. Weekly Wisdom keeps me connected to people that I have met as I keep developing my wonderful life that is filled with adventure and growth.
Next week, I am heading to Palm Springs for an extended period of time to use my networking skills to raise funds to help bring back the Rodeo to Palm Springs after 40 years.

Weekly Wisdom will continue to arrive in your email no later than Monday morning.

I will have a new blog, in addition to this one, on my journey to raising funds in Palm Springs….I will let you know when that is up and running.

If you are not presently a subscriber to Weekly Wisdom, please do sign up The box is in the upper-right hand corner of my home page.

Do send me comments about your reaction to any given Weekly Wisdom—love to get your comments.


Stretch yourself by going to visit an industry that you know very little about. You will be amazed at the how a different environment might stretch your thinking.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Recently, I sent a woman I hadn’t seen in a couple of years and whom I admire, a note congratulating her on her outstanding professional achievement. It was no brainer for me to write the note since anyone in the professional world knows receiving accolades from your own industry is truly an honor.

Two days later, I got a call from her. “Kathy, been wanting to connect with you, let’s have lunch.” We set the date and I looked forward to it – we always have had stimulating conversations.

I had read that the particularly restaurant, where we were going to have lunch, was accepting books for donations for our local library foundation, so I went through my own library. Found three books that I was ready to let go. (Not an easy task for me.) As I entered the restaurant, I gave the books to the manager. What was great, is that he sincerely seemed pleased I had made the effort….it was a feel good moment.

My friend, Jan, arrived and the next hour and half was full of catching up, business, and truly connecting. We gave each other suggestions and ideas flourished.

It takes such a short amount of time to write a handwritten note. Yet, the rewards are far reaching.

What do you think? Do you have someone you would like to write a note that is important in your life?


It is never too late to send someone you know a handwritten note. It is appreciated more than you will ever understand.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


In my supply cabinet is an array of note cards. I have my formal printed ones with my logo, name, and address on the back. However, I have discovered in recent months, I tend to go to the note card that fits the personality of the intended recipient.

Handwritten notes can be used for:

Congratulations on an award.

Congratulations for the news article which included his quote. (Send the article so they have extra copies.)

Letting the recipient know you are glad you met.

Thanking a person for a special lunch or dinner.

Thanking a person for inviting you to a special event.

Thanking a person for giving you a great idea.

Thanking a person for supporting you at a meeting.

Thanking a person for a gift.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out – yet, I think we have gotten away from this simple gesture. All you need to do is write three lines. Then include your contact card (formerly business card) so that it is easy for the recipient to get in touch with you if they want to in the future.

A simple reminder that the human touch is very much appreciated.


When you have to change a business date, call the person up and give them the reason why. Then suggest some possible alternative dates. A quick phone call will be very much appreciated

Sign up for my Weekly Wisdom at (upper right-hand corner) and receive a very short email that will start your week out on a positive note.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


In a week, I will be going to pick up my daughter and her husband at the airport here on a visit from Belgium. Yesterday, it dawned on me that I was doing the things my Mom and Dad use to do for me when I visited them after I left the State of Wisconsin many years ago. Now I understand how exciting it was for them.

First of all, I marked off the days to make sure I made no appointments – I want to be available to share quality time with them. The only appointment I have made locally is dinner for all of us at our favorite lady-friend’s home who has become a part of our family.

Secondly, I checked with my daughter and she loved the idea of showing her husband the beach. I made reservations for two days at my condo timeshare at Surfside Inn in Ocean Park.We laughed on the phone together because we can’t wait to show him the Cottage Bakery downtown Long Beach. Then, of course, we will be buying fresh oysters on the way up to the end of the Long Beach Peninsula.

This will be a time for us to relax, get caught up on news, and take long walks on the 22- mile beach that we enjoy so much. Oh, I forget, one of my favorite things is the beautiful drive over there on the Washington side of the Columbia River.

Meanwhile, I have been diligently getting my home ready for them. Interesting how a special visit gets one to focus on the clutter…..that’s why I have been sorting in recent weeks. The clutter is now gone and I am proud to walk into any room—things are in place with their own home.

There is a pile of special newspaper clippings I am convinced they will be interested in, and items I have picked up for them that will, at last, be delivered. Smiling as I write this, because these are not big things—just things I know that will be meaningful to them.

Finally, I have started planning the food. I could hear my daughter smile when I said, “How about if we have egg salad sandwiches on the way to the beach? She said “Great!” Egg salad sandwiches were always packed for the first leg of any trip when they were little—even I smiled as I thought about stopping to eat them at the picnic grounds of the old cover bridge we will be going by.

Children do not fully understand how important visits are to parents. Now I can say with real understanding --- Parents love it when their children come home.

Have you visited your parents lately?


From experience, I have noted how much search engines like it when you make comments on other’s people’s blog. Don’t forget this important aspect of social media.

Friday, July 10, 2009


In 1994, I had an office in my home. It was a time when it was not “cool” to be working at home. People would go to great lengths not to let people know they were working out of their home.

Looking back, it is interesting the main reason I avoided having a “real office” was that I found I got awfully tired of the same space each day. I need a huge amount of variety in my life. Even when I worked in an office, I would find ways to hold meetings in cafes or outside around the outdoor water fountain in front of the office building. Just give me a change of environment.

The other night I was at a networking event and a woman quietly said, “I work out of my home”. I was standing with another woman and we both said “Good for you”. Immediately she had a big smile. Staying home working was new to her and she hadn’t gotten over the old norms that made it one feel like it is something to hide.

Let’s look at the negatives and positives of a home office.


You know your work is as close as the next room.
You probably lost a guest room.


Your know your work is as close as the next room.
No commute time.
Room is tax deductible.
No overhead costs – even cable only requires an extension.
Phones – Use your cell phone or get a phone with three extensions.
You records are always handy.
Schedule meetings together at your favorite restaurant or café.

Now I would go kicking and screaming if someone told me I had to stay in the same office. Recently I changed the artwork in my office an added a great rug. Easy to do when I have all my “stuff” in the same location.


If you need your office organized, here’s the person to get in touch with: Brandie Kajino

SIGN UP FOR MY WEEKLY WISDOM---A positive way to start the week out on my website – upper right-hand corner

Thursday, July 09, 2009


When I “tried” to shove still one more piece of wrapping paper in my hallway closet and things fell to the floor, the decision was made. The Fourth of July weekend would give me time to work on getting rid of “stuff”.

I pulled everything out of the closet and gingerly walked around the “stuff” as I either found new places for it or put it in a bag to be taken to a deserving non-profit for resale. My criterion for keeping it was:

Is it useful? (Pewter candleholders are always handy)

Does it bring me joy? (A knickknack that my daughter bought me Europe that always makes me smile)

Does it have special memories? (A potholder my Mom crocheted)

The bag of “stuff” grew and all of sudden everything had a home in that part of the closet.

Next, it was time to tackle the coats, scarves, gloves, and mittens. Yes, there were a few tears because there were two hats, scarves and a pair of mittens that had been knitted by Mom who is no longer here on earth. They have always been the ones I reach for when I go to the mountains or to the ocean in the fall. They have their own special shelf. let’s see. Started with my favorite ones those were actually in the back of the closet. Since I lost 20 pounds, they were now too big, yet no less appreciated by me for their uniqueness. Made the decision that they had to go – no point in keeping them AND I wasn’t about to gain weight just so I could wear them again.

Last but not least was the floor that contained an array of my father’s tools, nails, and screws. Gee, I have no idea of how they got all mixed up and strewn all over the place  With each tool I picked up I remembered my Dad using it for a particular purpose. Special memories.

Today I have put together a gift bag for a door prize. Smiling for I know right where to go to for the wrapping paper and ribbons.


When going into a one-on-one meeting, ask yourself, “How can I make this meeting a win/win/win?”

Thursday, July 02, 2009


You can quote me on this: “The person who mentions salary first loses.”
I was working with an executive woman who was transitioning into a new career. Her list of computer skills read like the “Who’s Who’s” of the computer software world. The most amazing thing was that she was self-taught.

She called me excitedly to say that she has an interview. Her interview skills needed brushing up, so she hired me for an hour to help her out. We met at our local coffee shop and we role-played.

She learned to answer the question “What is your biggest weakness?” by avoiding giving a personality trait such as “I tend to be a bit too detailed oriented.” Instead, she mentioned a skill needed for the position that she was not proficient. Then she talked about what she was doing to obtain that skill.

When it came to salary, I said, “Do not mention a salary figure, the first person that mentions salary loses”. Then we proceeded to work on answers such as:

“What do you think would be an appropriate salary for a person with my skills?”

When asked what her old salary was, the reply might be: “We’re really comparing apples and oranges here, what were you intending to offer the person in this position?”

My last piece of advice, “Do not take the job on the spot if it is offered to you – Ask for 24 hours to think about it?”

I thought she had gotten it.

That afternoon an excited woman called me, “Kathy, I got the job.” I was surprised and said, “You have already accepted it?” She said, “Yes, I did—I know you told me not to but I was so excited I did on the spot”.

This woman began her job and found out that her salary was $20,000 below that of the men in her department doing the same job. In addition, she had forgotten to negotiate parking. She was stuck with a $75 a month parking bill in a nearby building.

RECOMMENDATION: (1) Do not mention a salary figure first. (2)Ask for 24 hours to consider the job so you can think through the benefits you might want to change or negotiate.


My father taught me always to be a few minutes early. It is a trait that serves me well. If heading to a meeting in an unfamiliar place, be sure you know which parking lot to use and which door you should use to enter the building.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


During the week, I was pouring it on for my career. I was getting tired, yet, I knew that on Sunday I would be taking a friend of mine to Mt. Hood for the very first time. Love that mountain. I make the trek there at least once each summer. It is about a two-hour drive from my home.

She arrived at my house and we set off with a clouded sky. Crossed over into Oregon and we took Highway 26 East. This route is filled with interesting little shops. As you get nearer the mountain, ski rental shops become commonplace. Chalets and tiny restaurants are tucked in under the trees that are growing in height and density. You truly feel like you are getting away.

First stop was The Resort of the Mountain in Welches, Oregon. This turned out to be special stop for I was surprised to see the hotel had received an upgrade. Gone was the Scottish decor. Now it was contemporary in every way. We mistook the entrance of the restaurant for a spa – candles burning, flowers…nice.

We had brunch here and it was plenty—one of those places that you decide you are going to throw any diet or watching what you eat to the wind. We’re glad we did.

I showed her Government Camp – the last real sense of civilization before you head up the road to the actual mountain. No room for the terrific Huckleberry shake from the Huckleberry Inn http://www.huckleberry-inn.comNext time.

As we approached the mountain we looked up and there was not a cloud in the sky—perfect day to show off Timberline Lodge It was dedicated by President Roosevelt in 1937. The building has painstakingly been restored. You feel like you are walking back into time for it contains the original art. You actually sit on the chairs that were crafted so many years ago specifically for this building.

Snow is still right up to the big window that provides the perfect place to view snowboarders practicing their craft. Yes, there is still lots of snow. Mt. Hood is known for summer camps –people were in their full ski gear and sunglasses…truly a sight to see.

I am on the left with my friend, Molly.

We explored the Lodge and then headed down to one of my special places. Long ago, I went on a tour following the Oregon trail with experts on the subject. The picture below shows me at place where the wagon trains went through. Over the years, the ruts are starting to disappear. Note the huge tree that, apparently, they cut down for it spread too far into their pathway. If only those trees could speak.

We ended the day in Hood River-the wonderful town on the Columbia River. This city deserves its own blog – more on that another time.

Yes, came home refreshed. Now, my friend Molly, knows more about the mountain we can see from our community. I’m betting she’ll be going back and sharing it with her friends too.


Schedule a time each day to either learn more about social media or answer or post questions online. If you are not using social media, you are missing out on a way to make yourself or product visible.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Got my coffee this morning and turned on my computer. Overnight approximately 35 people started following me on Twitter. We tend to forget while we sleep the rest of the world is wide-awake and in the middle of its’ workday. Sometime during their day, people discovered me, checked out some of my tweets, and decided they wanted to follow me.

I check them out and make a decision to follow them or ignore the request. I choose not to follow people who do not have a picture, a profile or tweets that are just used to sell their product. My view Twitter is a place where you share your insights and retweet followers who have great links to interesting blogs and newsletters.

Since I am supposed to be writing the first thing in the morning, I questioned myself about whether or not I am making good use of my important asset….time. Smiling for obviously Twitter has given me a subject to write about. Twitter has caught the attention of millions of people.

Is it worth my time? My answer is yes.

Just this week I did a radio interview because Twitter follower Radio Suzy mentioned they would like me to discuss communication on their evening show. Turned out to be a great conversation about the use of simple words.

Twitter has provided me with book recommendations, blogs that have great information on communication and, believe it not, I am developing real relationships. Last week I picked up the phone and talked to a couple of acquaintances that I seemed to be connecting with through our tweets. The calls turned out to be delightful—glad I took the time.

Yes, I am hooked.


Messy office? You might want to sign up for my friend Brandie Kajino’s newsletter for some helpful hints.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Vancouver, Washington is located on the Columbia River directly across from Portland, Oregon. Seems simple enough, yet, over and over again citizens of our community have to explain that we are not in Canada.

Our Mayor’s flagstaff statement is, “We live in America’s Vancouver”. We were actually named by George Vancouver, an English Captain, who traveled by ship to this area. He named our city first, then went to Canada, and named it Vancouver.

Issues that keeping popping up:

When you tell a travel agent you want to go to Vancouver, you have to make sure that she routes you to the Portland/Vancouver International Airport.

A large music group was scheduled to perform in our terrific amphitheater. The plane stopped in Seattle and it was then the group realized they were heading to Vancouver, B.C. No tickets were available so they had to make a three-hour bus trip to our community.

When attending conferences in Seattle, we have to introduce ourselves by saying, “I am from Vancouver, Washington”. Otherwise the assumption is made we are from Canada.

When traveling, we have to make sure our suitcases are routed to Portland/Vancouver International Airport….not Vancouver, B.C.

When using search engines for Vancouver, Washington more than likely, it will include searches for Vancouver, B.C.

National news reporters say Vancouver—that normally means Vancouver, B.C.

Met a consultant through Twitter that lives in Vancouver, B.C – both of us have experienced getting calls for our services only to discover the person had us in the wrong country.

I received a call from a reporter asking my opinion on the subject of unemployment. I called her back and it took us bit to realize that she thought I was in Vancouver, B.C. – the end of the interview immediately.

Recently, I was on a plane and I said I was from Washington. The gentleman sitting next to me said “Washington, D.C.”?

Glad I know who I am – it seems my community continues to have an identity problem.


Keep track of your successes each day. You will be surprised at how much you actually have accomplished. In addition, you have a record of the date you performed the task.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Last night over dinner, we were discussing my recent visit to Palm Springs. I’ve been there three times in the last year and one-half. Two times taking care of my friend, Gary Galland, who has subsequently passed on from a brain tumor at the age of 53.

This trip was different; I was visiting his widow, Kim Galland. Since she was working when I arrived, I walked into the house that I had spent so many hours caring for Gary. Furniture had been rearranged and the quiet was practically more than I could bear.

I called the next-door neighbor who was part of my life while I was there on my other trips. She came over and soon the pain/hurt started to go away. It was apparent to me life in Palm Springs had moved on.

Kim came home and we talked, shared some tears, got that over with, and then planned for the party we had both agreed to the following afternoon. We had come up with guest list of the people that had come in and out during the times I was there – much to my great pleasure, every one of them accepted our invitation.

Sunday afternoon people started arriving. The smiles and the hugs were great fun. Conversations started out on the patio around the pool, around the breakfast bar in the living room. There was constant movement of people--it seemed as if we wanted to make sure we had time to talk to everyone there. Relaxed and easy can best describe the party. Perfect in every way.

Party was over and then Kim and I decided who we wanted to spend our time with during the next two short days I would be there. Each occasion was marked by easy conversation, genuine interest in each other and memorable moments. Like amazing fish tacos at ShanghaiReds, and relaxing setting for an afternoon at Café Koffi

Meet one of my new, friends--- A Bull Dog who is rated the fifth most outstanding Bull Dog in the nation. His ranking had not gone to head—he was one of the friendliest dogs I have ever met.

I drove out of town and headed to the site of the Leadership Trainer I was providing in Bakersfield, California. The day was beautiful and I smiled as I thought about the last four days.

During dinner last night, I told my friends how much I liked Palm Springs. All three of them were in disagreement with me—they found the city too pretentious and really couldn’t imagine living there .They were not even excited about visiting Palm Springs.

When I drove home last night, I thought to myself “I am blessed with some authentic friends in Palms Springs, who believe in living in the present.” They are risk takers and they do not take anything for grant it. “ Just my kind of people. Looking forward to going back as soon as I can arrange it.


Keep a folder handy to put coupons in so you can find them. Office supply stores often have excellent coupons for reducing costs of making copies.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Because I am considered an expert on networking, I am often asked, “What do you think of SendOutCards?” No, let me rephrase that – People raise their hands and say, “I use SendOutCards and send them out all the time even birthday cards to my clients children”.

My only recourse is to smile and say good for you keeping in touch with your clients. The conclusion I have come to is that if you are not good at using handwritten notes appropriately, you might have some real challenges making a good impression with these cards.

My belief is one of the reasons people are so excited about this system is that they see as it a way to make some extra money. They are becoming associates and each person they get hooked on this system becomes part of their multi-market down line network. I have been offered so many free trials I would have enough to use the system for the next year free.

With that being said, here’s my take:


I have to say I probably got a bit jaded on them because of the first one I received. It was printed upside down….clearly not the way to make a good first impression.

The next card I received had his contact card (formerly called business card) printed on the top half. No way, I could file that card or pass it on.

After years of appreciating the handwritten notes (saving every one of them), my mailbox is inundated with glossy cards and nice comments, and verses fit for a Hallmark card. Personally, I want those kinds of verses coming from my family and close friends.

The other day I wanted to email one of the people who sent me the card an article that I thought she would enjoy. I looked for her email….no email address.

Funny, the “handwritten address” is always the same…hmmmm.

For years, I have strongly suggesting people send handwritten notes…they will help build relationships. It is just sad to me people think these cards are accomplishing the same thing. I am convinced others will get tired of them and think, “Oh, here’s another one of those cards”. Then it will promptly be thrown away.

I was considering developing a class to teach people how to use these cards effectively. However, frankly, my belief is that is a short-lived fad. I am going to devote my time to other pursuits.

Right now I need close and send a handwritten note to a new friend that I had dinner with last night—she’s a real joy in my life for she stretches me in my career. She needs to hear that from me in the form of a handwritten note—not something constructed by my computer.


You have heard it before, yet, since I just learned how well it works, I thought I would remind you. Before you close down your home office at night, put everything on it in its’ home. The next morning your desk is clear.