The Hero and the Guide


Because we are Verizon Wireless customers, we were able to subscribe free for one year to the new Disney+ movie channel. It not only has all the recent Disney movies the grandkids love, like Frozen and Moana, but also the ones I remember as a kid, like Cinderella and Lady and The Tramp. In addition, it owns Pixar, National Geographic, Marvel, and the entire Star Wars Empire.

I loved the Star Wars movies when they came out back in the late 70’s but lost interest a few years later when I began raising two small boys and started my career. Now, we’ve been reintroduced to a whole new line of stories in the Star Wars saga. And I must say, for the most part, it’s a fun, well-told story where the good guys always seem to triumph over the Dark Side in the end.

Disney knows the magic we love. The settings and characters are different, but the storylines are often the same: A character faces a challenge and experiences a crisis of confidence or skill. A guide appears to help the character discover a truth that gives him what he needs to ultimately triumph over the challenge and emerge as the hero. Think Karate Kid and Mr. Miyagi. Katniss and Haymitch. Mr. Banks and Mary Poppins. Luke Skywalker and Yoda. The hero and the guide.

This reminded me of a business communication lesson I learned a few years ago at a StoryBrand workshop by Don Miller: In your business communications, you shouldn’t be the hero to your customers but rather the guide who helps them become the hero in their own story.

At LionSpeak, our SuperStar Telephone Training Program is booming. People tell us it’s because we have a very unique way of bringing out the best in professionals on the frontline of a practice or business and helping them to expertly guide their patients and clients toward an outcome they love.

For example, in a recent coaching session with a large dental team in the Northeast, we were reviewing their calls and noticed they were doing a much better job this quarter than the last on proactively and appropriately promoting their doctor and practice to potential new patients on the telephone. However, to get to the next level of skill, these administrators would have to turn the promotion of the practice into the ability to showcase the practice strengths as the way for the patients to get what they want and to feel great about their decision. In other words, we needed to help them shift from being the hero in their practice’s story to becoming the expert guide who helps the clients become the hero in their own story.

Compare the two statements below. They are essentially the same in content but radically different in context.
“We are really good at implants and cosmetic dentistry. Dr. Jones has a lot of advanced training, and we are known all over lower Manhattan for the quality of our work.”

“Mrs. Smith, based on what you’ve shared, you’ve definitely called the right place. It’s a big decision to have implants and cosmetic dentistry done, and you want to be certain you have a skilled and experienced dentist whom you can trust to do a great job. Dr. Jones is highly trained and exceptionally skilled with implants and cosmetic dentistry. You can feel confident about the care you’ll receive here, and I’m positive we can restore your smile in a way that will make you so happy you chose our practice.”

The first is all about the skills of the business and, while that’s better than no promotion at all, it’s basically a list of accomplishments and strengths. The second version expounds upon how those same skills can help the patient and allow the patient to feel like the hero in their own story by making a great decision.

There is a reason that clients reach out to us. Something is wrong, missing, broken, embarrassing, unhealthy, or seems hard or unsuccessful. When we help them imagine themselves in a story where their decision to choose us fixed the problem, filled the gap, restored health, made the hard seem easy and brought them long-awaited success… they love us, do business with us and refer more business our way. Not because we’re great but because we help them to be great. Become your clients’ guide and help make them the hero of the story.

Call us here at LionSpeak if you’d like to help your folks shine big and bright this year. They can be outstanding team members, exceptional managers, terrific with customers, and brilliant business builders. We love watching people become SuperStars and seeing their businesses and careers thrive because of it! And, we’d be honored to be your guide.

May the force be with you.

“Hard times don’t create heroes.
It’s during the hard times when the ‘hero’ within us is revealed.”

~~Bob Riley

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Everything is Energy

The only thing I like better than tasting excellent red wines at a quaint little boutique winery on a Saturday afternoon with good friends is having them poured for me and explained to me by the adorable, passionate, young Argentinean winemaker himself, Damian Doffo. ( Forever diligent and alert for Monday Morning Stretch material, Damian reminded me of something that I firmly believe but often forget: Everything is energy.

The fermentation of his wines is a chemical energy exchange. The aging of the wines in the barrels or bottles is an energy process. The way in which he markets and speaks of his wines is a personal energy exchange. The growth of his vines in the vineyard is all about energy renewal and conversion. He even spoke of how he plays classical music via outdoor speakers for the vines, noting that (interestingly enough) the vines closest to the speakers were the healthiest, largest, and most prolific producers… Because everything is energy and it’s all about the exchange.

If you struggle with time management, project management, fiscal management, weight management or any other kind of management in your life, I suggest the one that makes all of them easier is “energy management.”

Energy management is about how good we are at maximizing the high-frequency energy available to all of us, all the time. Instead of trying to figure out how to get the impossibly long to-do list done, focus on doing the things, thinking the thoughts, listening to the music, reading the books, participating in the activities, and spending your time with people who actually increase your energy.

In 2010 when I first met Tom, many people commented on how much more alive, energetic, and youthful I seemed, and most chalked it up to being newly in love… and that may have certainly played a role. But, when they asked about any secrets I might be willing to share, this was my list. These are the things that still help me maintain and maximize high-frequency energy and vitality every day in my life… Eat, Pray, Love. Let me explain:

1. Eat: Fill your frig, pantry, car, desk, and plate with healthy, beautiful, delicious food from the “power foods” list:

17 Power Foods for Your Heart
15 Power Foods To Boost Your Business

Celebrate your ability to enjoy a big glass of clean water upon rising, at every meal, and before and after exercising.

2. Pray: Meditate or pray for a few minutes upon rising and as you lay down to sleep at night. Be sure to count your many blessings and give thanks. Remind yourself that everything is working out just as it should … even if you can’t quite see it… and let it go. Remember that how you feel is your point of attraction so those that feel abundant tend to be “luckier” in life.

3. Love: Kiss and hug someone, looking them square in the eyes and being totally present when you do it. You’ve got to give love to get it. Simple as that.

Simple: Eat, Pray, Love. (Corny, I know…) Here’s the rest of the story:

4. Sleep: 8-9 hours of good sleep. Embrace that you’ll never get it all done… that’s not really the point anyway. The same to-do list will be there tomorrow. Let it go. Reset your counters. Rest and refill your bucket.

5. Exercise or be active for at least 20 minutes every day (usually an hour +). Take the stairs. Park at the far side of the parking lot. Try a new activity or sport.

6. Sunshine: Sit or walk in the sunshine for a few minutes. (Walk your dog. Work on your laptop in a sunny room or out by the pool. Roll the window down in the car.)

7. Avoid Toxic People: Limit your exposure to fearful, fretful, hateful people… and for the ones you can’t avoid: send them love, peace, forgiveness and gratitude that you are in different space. Surround yourself with loving, generous, passionate, smiling people.

8. Do What You Love: Constantly question your motivation for doing everything: is it because YOU want, love, or are drawn to do it or is it because you think someone else wants you to, it’s what’s expected or necessary, that’s the way it’s always been done, or you don’t have any other options (rarely true!) I use the “lightness” test: If it feels heavy to me emotionally or intuitively… I generally say “no.”

9. Filter Information: Fill your mind with books, articles, and information that inspire you, uplift you, soothe you, or just flat out make you belly-laugh! If it doesn’t, get rid of it. I haven’t watched the news in almost a year and haven’t missed a thing. I still hear what’s going on and feel lighter and happier than any other time in my life. I believe it was an addiction that has now been replaced with higher-frequency material which gives me so much more energy to manage! Again, use the test: Do you think others expect you to know what’s going on in the world or does knowing it actually inspire you, interest you, and make you feel more energetic? Lighter or heavier? Inspired or depressed? How you feel is your point of attraction… so guard it with all your might!

10. Sing: Listen to music and sing out loud. Research shows that people who whistle, hum, dance, or sing out loud tend to be happier and have more energy overall. Doesn’t matter if they do it well. It only matters that they do it regularly.

* * * * * * * * * *
This week we are recycling a favorite MMS. Our new subscribers will enjoy
Katherine’s story and the lessons she took from the experience. And to all of our
MMS readers who have been loyal subscribers from the beginning… you’ll remember
why we love seeing the world of business and life through the eyes of The Lioness.
* * * * * * * * * *

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.
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The High-Wire Act of Life

Years ago, I visited a rock-climbing gym in Sacramento with my good friend, Melinda Heryford-Elston. The gym provided belays (people who manage the climber’s rope on the ground) for children who climbed. While Melinda and I were getting in some cardio on the treadmills, we watched as one of the belays, who was taking a break between climbers, jumped up on a tight rope that had been strung between two posts in the gym. A young, fit man, wearing the soft, flexible, gripping shoes of a climber, initially sat quietly for a moment on the tight rope, apparently finding some internal center. After a few moments, he slowly stood up, finding his physical center of gravity and proceeded to walk the tight rope toward the other end.

Fascinated, I watched him glide across the bouncing, shifting rope and expertly make it to the opposite side. He moved quickly and efficiently but didn’t seem in a hurry. As he moved, he would occasionally start to lose his balance, and I watched as he stopped, centered himself internally and then responded to the tilting imbalance with a commensurate, deliberate, counter-balance move. If he tilted to the left, he closed his eyes, carefully finding his internal center and calmly responding by lifting his right leg and arm. He stood still, almost peacefully, until he felt his mind and body come back into perfect alignment. Then he proceeded again… until the next imbalance: Lean to right, close your eyes, find your center, slowly respond and regain your balance. No panic. No fast motions. No knee-jerk reactions. Just slow, deliberate responses to the off-centeredness he felt and a peaceful standing until he regained his balance.

Responding versus reacting.

And so, it is for us. We jump on and walk the tight rope of our lives, careers, and families, and we glide along beautifully until we hit an imbalance that threatens to send us tumbling off the wire — bills we can’t pay, a child’s bad choices, an unhappy or non-compliant client, co-workers making the same mistake for the umpteenth time, an infidelity, skinny jeans we can’t zip…. And then, most of us react. It’s a reaction usually produced from panic, fear, impatience, or anger. How much better would it be if, like the young man on the tight rope, we could feel the imbalance coming on, stop and find our center, and carefully, calmly, and confidently respond to it? I believe, rather than falling off the tight rope altogether and having to expend triple the energy just to get back on it… we would “right” ourselves more often than not.

We react from a place of fear. We respond from a place of calm and strength. When we respond, we are intentional instead of panic-driven. We are acting and communicating in the same way that most of us like to be communicated with. When we intentionally respond, others feel our personal certainty, confident faith, and loving strength, and more importantly, we feel it… reassuring ourselves and refilling our own buckets again and again because every time we do so, we build confidence in ourselves and faith in our abilities to manage our crazy and beautifully unpredictable lives… and stay on the tight rope.

By the way, when the young man reached the end of the rope, he smiled a small, slightly mischievous little grin, flexed his legs and jumped up in the air, twisting his body 180 degrees and, now facing the opposite direction, landed on the rope which almost touched the floor with the weight of his body as it landed. I gasped out loud watching him do this! He teetered deeply to the left, then the right and even dipped forward, trying desperately, and ultimately unsuccessfully, to regain his balance… he fell. As he landed on the soft, cushioned floor, he rolled to his back quietly laughing, seeming to understand that he had definitely pushed the limits of his tight rope skills and, after a long moment… he got up and went back to work… only to return again later (I can just imagine!) to try his hand at conquering that last jump and taking his ability to respond, rather than react, to the next level.


“Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
~~Viktor E. Frankl

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A Little Bit of Heaven Everywhere

Francesca Battistelli is one of my favorite artists and her song, Heaven Everywhere, has become one of my favorite holiday songs. Because she is right… “You just can’t help but love this time of year.” It does seem to bring out the best in us. We give more. We love more. We smile more. We share more. We connect more.

It’s easy to spot the magic as she points out in this lyric:

“It’s the smile on a man who has finally found hope, it’s the tears of a mother whose child has come home, it’s the joy that we feel and the love that we share, there’s a little bit of heaven everywhere.”

But I think Francesca also wisely notes in her lyrics, “It’s funny that it takes a holiday, to show us how the world could truly change, if we all took the time to really care, there’d be a little more of heaven everywhere.”

As we head into Christmas week, my goal is to recognize the magic of Christmas and how it feels to be in that joy and to hold on to it beyond the holidays — to find a way to replay it, recapture it, and embody the spirit of it in the months to come.

Enjoy Francesca’s video performance and enjoy your holidays. Feel the joy and hold on to it as long as you can as we step into 2020 together.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah from the Belts and all of us here at LionSpeak!

Francesca Battistelli – “Heaven Everywhere”

(Christmas – Live from Fontanel)

“I hear the bells, they’re ringing loud and clear
You can’t help but love this time of year
It’s Christmastime, there’s something in the air
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere
Somehow there’s a little more of love
And maybe there’s a little less of us
Or maybe we’re just slightly more aware

There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere
It’s the smile on a man who has finally found hope
It’s the tears of a mother whose child has come home
It’s the joy that we feel and the love that we share
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere

It’s funny how it takes a holiday
To show us how the world could truly change
If we all took the time to really care
There’d be a little more of heaven everywhere

It’s the smile on a man who has finally found hope
It’s the tears of a mother whose child has come home
It’s the joy that we feel and the love that we share
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere

It’s the grace that we show to a world that needs hope
It’s giving our lives knowing they’re not our own
It’s the joy that we feel and the love that we share
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plain
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains
Hallelujah, hallelujah
It’s the joy that we feel and the love that we share
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere
Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plain”

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A Fresh Start with a Fresh Heart

In two short weeks, we will step into 2020. Sobering for some. Thrilling for others. For a few of us, it’s a little of both. One thing I know… you can’t step fully into your future, still holding on to the past.

If you’re like me, 2019 had a ton of good days and some definite hard moments. I had successes and failures, made some great decisions and a few poor choices. I realized a few of my goals and had several I didn’t even start. I made mistakes, learned some lessons, and had a couple of proud moments.

Looking back, I’d do some things differently, but most of it I wouldn’t change. Because all of it added to who I am today and to the person who will be stepping over the threshold of the New Year.

We can’t change the past. We can learn from it, but we can’t change it. Dragging it around with you only prevents you from becoming who you hope to be.

If I’ve learned anything at 60, it’s that everyone (no matter what they project) has a story and a past. Because I own a small company, write a weekly blog, and speak on stages, people tend to put me on an undeserved and unrealistic pedestal. But, I’m just like you and everyone else.

People have done me wrong. Business associates have betrayed me. Lies have been told to me and about me and stories spread that simply were not true. I’ve been hurt, judged, and stolen from. If I hold on to any of that, it doesn’t affect them one bit… only me.

But I’ve also done things of which I am not proud… ashamed, really. I’ve let people down. I’ve made bad choices and mistakes. I’ve hurt people’s feelings. I’ve been dead broke, both financially and emotionally, while keeping up the outward appearance of great success which was a big, fat lie. I can learn from all of these, but if I drag around my shame, guilt, or regret, it will weigh me down and prevent me from being better and doing better.

Who do you need to forgive? Who do you need to step away from in your life? From what do you need to learn and grow? What do you need to forgive yourself for so you can move on?
It takes courage to leave the past behind and step into your future. It takes a quiet strength to decide to forgive and stop holding other people or circumstances responsible for your current state. It takes guts to decide that, no matter what you’ve done or not done in your past, you are worthy of success, respect, and happiness and that your next year will be better than your last.

Join me in the decision to let go of the past and step into 2020 as a fresh start with a fresh heart. Let’s begin 2020 as a better version of ourselves, one that has blessed and embraced the past and is now excited about what we will learn, how we will grow, what we will contribute and accomplish, and don’t forget… all the fun we will have!

“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power
than defending or hanging on.”

~~Eckhart Tolle

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Your Business Lifeline… the Telephone!

If you run any business, especially a dental or discretionary healthcare practice, here’s some staggering statistics you should know about:

  • The average conversion rates of new patient phone calls in the US and Canada are only 34%.
  • The percentage of calls that go unanswered in a dental office is between 40-50%.
  • Out of those missed calls, 80% will choose not to leave a voicemail.
  • If they do leave a voicemail, you have approximately 5 minutes to return the call before the patient moves on and calls another office.
  • Mondays and Fridays have with the highest number of new patient callers.
  • 11:00 am – 2:00 pm are the busiest call times for new patient callers.

This information comes from a company who has recorded and analyzed calls for hundreds of dental practices in the US and Canada over the last several years. As we looked at their data to help us improve our SuperStar Telephone Training program… we were stunned.

If you assume the average dental patient represents about $1200-$1500 in revenue to a practice in the first year alone, then do the math. It’s a lot of missed opportunities, for the practice and for the patients.

So how do you fix it? Try these tips to improve your conversion and patient service perception:

  1. Ongoing training: Make your training a regular commitment. It’s not a one-and-done kind of process. Pre-schedule time to give and support telephone training in your practice.
  2. Easy to learn: Make your process easy to understand and to implement. Don’t give your people 20 steps to a great new patient phone call. We’ve simplified our process down to 4 easy steps so it’s easy to teach and remember.
  3. Tools: Give them the tools to guide them. Make a call intake sheet that mirrors your training process so your team is always guided to be their very best. (If you’d like a free copy of ours, just send an email to and ask for the complimentary VIP Intake Form… it’s completely customizable!)
  4. Know Your Numbers: Monitor your incoming calls and conversions to appointments. You should be converting between 50-90% of all calls coming into the practice (depending on how patients find you). Set specific and reasonable goals for improvement with your team.
  5. Test for training: Consider a call monitoring and/or mystery shopper service to help analyze when you’re missing calls, how calls are handled, and where you have training gaps and opportunities for growth.
  6. Expand your telephone hours: Consider companies who offer well-trained, live administrators to answer your calls during peak times when your practice is closed or unable to answer calls. (We can recommend some, if you need a referral.)

New patient callers are the lifeblood of your business. You’ve invested a lot of time and money to get them to call you whether that’s through a well-designed website or social media presence, direct external marketing, or through amazing patient service that has gained you a strong reputation and a high number of direct referrals. What a shame to waste these precious opportunities to help the very people you’ve spent a lifetime learning to help! Don’t take it for granted that because you handed a telephone to someone, they know what to do with it. Get them the training and support they need. They and your patients will thank you for it.

Our skilled LionSpeak training team is standing by and ready to help if you need us!

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Hot Tea and Full Cups

And just like that… it’s December. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Funny how time seemed to drag to a near stop before the holidays when we were children, and now it just seems to be an unstoppable train on a downhill track, picking up speed with every year that passes.

One of my favorite wintertime pleasures is wrapping my hands around a steaming cup of hot tea… morning, noon, or night. I love trying new flavors and types of teas, but mostly I relish the instant calm that seems to immediately pour through me when I take that first refreshing sip, inhale that blissful scent, and feel that deep warmth from the hot liquid seep into my bones. Ahhh.

And speaking of cups of hot tea, I have a little fable for you this week:

Imagine you’re holding a cup of tea when all of a sudden someone comes along and bumps into your arm, causing you to spill it everywhere.

Why did you spill your tea? You might say, “Because he bumped into me!”

Wrong answer.

You spilled tea because tea was in your cup when your arm was bumped. Had there been coffee in your cup, you would have spilled coffee.

Whatever is in your cup is what will spill out when you are bumped, rattled, or jarred. Just as in life. When life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is sitting inside you will come spilling out. It’s easy to fake it in the good times, when everything is going well. But, when life goes wrong and you are rattled, angry, scared, disappointed, or treated unjustly… before you even know it, what you’ve been filling your cup with on a daily basis will come spilling out all over everyone and everything around you.

So, ask yourself, “What’s in my cup?” If I were bumped today, what would automatically come spilling out?

Would it be anger, frustration, bitterness, fear, scarcity, insecurity, jealousy, and pride? Or would it be joy, gratefulness, peace, humility, tolerance, patience, and love?

Life gives us an empty cup. WE choose how we will fill it and what we will fill it with. It matters that we are intentional about what goes into our cup on a daily basis, especially on the small, uneventful days of our lives because when the big, eventful days are suddenly upon us… we’ll be better with a full, positive, loving, and secure cup from which to pour.

This week, as we fill our morning cups with our favorite hot beverage, let’s be equally intentional about filling our emotional cups with heaping portions of gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation and kindness, gentleness and love for others.

And then… may our cups runneth over.

“I am building a fire. And every day I train, I add more fuel.
Then, at just the right moment, I light the match.”

Mia Hamm

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Music Monday: My Thanksgiving

I’m invoking author’s privilege and publishing Music Monday a few weeks weeks later in the month in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday… because I have the perfect song: Don Henley’s, My Thanksgiving.

What we like in music is such a personal choice, but, in my humble opinion, Don Henley is one of the greatest songwriters of our time. I’ve contended for years that his songs are like poetry put to music. This one is no exception.

There is much to recommend in this song, but one of my favorite parts is the bridge which says, “Have you noticed that an angry man, can only get so far, until he reconciles the way he thinks things ought to be, with the way things are?”

We all wish for so many things in our lives. It’s the substance of our dreams and aspirations; however, if we spend all of our time wishing for what we want in the future, what should be, or ought to be… we will likely feel very dissatisfied with our present. Thanksgiving is a day that reminds us that, no matter what we’ve achieved in our lives to date, there will always be someone who has attained more than us and always some with much less. Always. Gratitude for what is, right where we are, is the great leveler. It helps us to stop the comparisons and rejoice in what we have right now. The Thanksgiving holiday can allow us to feel full and satisfied in more ways than one.

So, this week, join me in appreciating and identifying with Don Henley’s lyric:

“I’ve got great expectations,
I’ve got family and friends,
I’ve got satisfying work,
I’ve got a back that bends,
For every breath, for every day of living…
This is my Thanksgiving.”

In addition to our Don Henley performance video, I’d also like to share this short but sweet perspective video, which so beautifully encapsulates this idea of true thanksgiving. Enjoy as you head into this holiday season with family and friends. All of us here at LionSpeak are wishing you a lovely Thanksgiving holiday celebrated around a table of delicious food and even more delicious loved ones.

Don Henley – My Thanksgiving

“A lot of things have happened
Since the last time we spoke
Some of them are funny
Some of ’em ain’t no joke
And I trust you will forgive me
If I lay it on the line
I always thought you were a friend of mine

Sometimes I think about you
I wonder how you’re doing now
And what you’re going through

The last time I saw you
We were playing with fire
We were loaded with passion
And a burning desire
For every breath, for every day of living
And this is my Thanksgiving

Now the trouble with you and me, my friend
Is the trouble with this nation
Too many blessings, too little appreciation
And I know that kind of notion…well, it just ain’t cool
So send me back to Sunday school
Because I’m tired of waiting for reasons to arrive
It’s too long we’ve been living
These unexamined lives

I’ve got great expectations
I’ve got family and friends
I’ve got satisfying work
I’ve got a back that bends
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

Have you noticed that an angry man
Can only get so far
Until he reconciles the way he thinks things ought to be
With the way things are

Here in this fragmented world, I still believe
In learning how to give love, and how to receive it
And I would not be among those who abuse this privilege
Sometimes you get the best life from a burning bridge

And I don’t mind saying that I still love it all
I wallowed in the springtime
Now I’m welcoming the fall
For every moment of joy
Every hour of fear
For every winding road that brought me here
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

For everyone who helped me start
And for everything that broke my heart
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving”

This week, while we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, please enjoy a recycle 
of one of our most popular MMS’s from several years ago.  Our new
subscribers will enjoy Katherine’s story and the lessons she took  from the
experience.  And to all of our MMS readers who have been loyal
subscribers from the beginning… you’ll remember why we love 
seeing the world of business and life through the eyes of The Lioness.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
~ Melody Beattie

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Transform Your Meetings With Questions

coffee morning meetingA few years ago, I observed the most “by-the-book”, point-perfect morning meeting in a client office I had ever seen in all my years of consulting. Everyone was there on time with big smiles, bright “Good Morning’s!” and upbeat attitudes all around. Every patient chart had been reviewed the day before using the chart checklist I had given them. They also utilized the Morning Meeting Flowchart I had given them to keep the meeting on track and complete.

In the meeting, they discussed several patients who had pending, uncompleted treatment as well as a new patient with a tooth that was bothering him. One of the newest members of the team even shared that one of the day’s hygiene patients, Sherrie, was her manicurist. She relayed that on a recent visit to the salon the patient had raved about how happy she was with the teeth whitening procedure she had done at their office and the team member suggested giving the woman some business cards, practice brochures, and encouraging her to send referrals.

They were superstars! I was so impressed. And then, the morning unfolded.

The patients came into hygiene without anyone discussing the pending treatment before the doctor came in to do her exam. The new patient was greeted at the front office, in the operatory by the assistant and the dentist with the same basic question: “Why are you here?” And the worst of all… Sherrie came and went without any cards, brochures, or ever being asked to send referrals.

What happened? How had such a spot-on morning meeting resulted in no real, tangible actions?

It was in that afternoon training session that these three critical questions came to me:

1) What?
2) So What?
3) Now What?

Business seminar“What?” They had answered this question brilliantly. But it was the follow-up “So What?” and “Now What?” questions that would have made all the difference.

So What that the new patient had a toothache? Now What do we do with that information?

So What the manicurist was ecstatic about her white teeth and was in such a perfect position to send referrals to the practice? Now What will we do with that information and who will do it?

No one wants to take the time to compile great information or generate great ideas only to have it reported but never result in anyone doing anything with it.

What? So What? Now What? These are the questions that will transform your morning meetings, monthly team meetings, review of practice statistics, and even your one-on-one employee conversations from simply a report of raw facts and basic information to real decisions about what, when, how, and who will actually do something with that information.

So this week, don’t just “report” … ask the questions that make the facts mean something and affect the changes for which you are hoping.

This week, we recycled one of our most popular MMS’s
from several years ago. Our new subscribers will enjoy Katherine’s story
and the lessons she took from the experience. And to all of our MMS readers
who have been loyal subscribers from the beginning… you’ll remember why we
love seeing the world of business and life through the eyes of The Lioness.

“Who we are and what we will become is determined by the
questions that
animate us, and by those we refuse to ask. Your questions are
your quest. As you ask, so shall you be.

~ Sam Keen, Philosopher

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Hands Up and Hang On!

One thing about roller coasters… once it starts, you’re along for the ride, like it or not. Once you’re strapped in, how you handle the ups and downs, fear and excitement, twists and turns will ultimately determine how much you enjoy the ride.

If you stand on the ground and look at a roller coaster from a distance, you can see that the coaster starts out slowly climbing its first hill going up and up and up until it reaches a peak and then, after a short moment of stillness, it plunges back down toward the bottom before it levels out and begins the climb back up for round two. It’s a thrill on a theme park roller coaster. It’s often terrifying on the roller coaster of life.

What if you’d never ridden a roller coaster and had no idea that as you started your rapid descent toward the bottom you were not going to actually hit the ground and you were not going to die? But, it could certainly feel that way until you got the hang of it.

Often, I see people in my business and life who are experiencing some kind of trauma, stress, anxiety, downturn, or roadblock and they feel like they are headed toward certain disaster and permanent failure. It’s rarely true. They are simply on the free-fall portion of the roller coaster ride of business and life.

When I coach business leaders and professionals who find themselves in the freefall, I remind them that if they didn’t know how the roller coaster works, they’d want to jump off and never get back on. But, if they knew that they would eventually return to the upward trajectory, they’d hold on and ride it out.

The only reason to ride a roller coaster is for the thrill of the ride, up and down. And, the best way to enjoy it is to know that you will survive the freefalls and find yourself once again on the rise upward. You’ll always have a much better experience when you don’t hold on too tight or squeeze your eyes too much. When you relax into the flow of the ride, confident in your ultimate safe landing, you will enjoy the thrill and joy of the full experience.

This week, remember that when you find yourself in a free fall, when you can’t get your footing and you feel scared, anxious, lost, or any other negative emotion… just hold on. Don’t jump off. Your coaster will turn and head back up at some point. Relax, trust, and know that this is what you strapped in for… the whole ride. Scream, laugh, cry, smile, cringe and feel whatever emotions you’re faced with. But whatever you do, throw your hands up and enjoy the ride!

“Roller coasters would be so dull without their strange mysterious tracks.
I guess our destiny tends to like this idea a lot.”

~~Yash Goenka

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