Sour Milk and Leadership

I know. It’s completely un-lady-like to drink milk straight from the container. However, occasionally when I’ve needed an ibuprofen for a headache to get to sleep and to put a little something in my stomach, I’ve reached straight for the container so as not to turn on all the lights or make too much noise. The last time I succumbed to this primitive, dreamstime_xs_56462260nocturnal behavior, I was already in mid-gulp before it registered on my taste buds and hit my brain… this carton of milk is sour!

Even though I rinsed thoroughly and downed an entire glass of water to clear the nasty taste… it lingered, perhaps just in my mind, and I swear I could still smell and taste it the next morning. The sour look on my face as I poured my first cup of coffee must have belied my nocturnal antics to anyone else in the room.

At a recent team meeting of a very large group practice, I swear that 90% of the attendees seemed to have the exact same look on their faces. Sour and frowning, they reminded me of people suffering from a mild case of constipation… slightly uncomfortable and largely irritated. With every issue someone raised, they were mostly resigned and negative, or worse… silent with only mild eye-rolling to communicate their lack of enthusiasm. Except for one.

She was relaxed but alert, soft-spoken but with powerful intention and clarity. It would have likely been easier to “join the crowd” than to stand out in this group as a positive beacon but she seemed un-phased by her colleagues’ attitudes. She raised bright ideas and alternatives, and asked questions directly to different team members like, “What if we could find a way to introduce financing to every patient without sounding salesy? Would you be willing to try it and report back at our next meeting as to the results, whether improved or not so we could adjust from there?” “How could we support you in finding a way to use the camera more in your operatory?” Or she would make encouraging statements such as, “We’ve overcome much worse in the past. I’m positive we’ll either find the answer ourselves or between all of us, find someone who can.”

At one point, as the tide of attitudes slowly started to turn in her favor, a teammate tentatively ventured out to offer an idea to a challenge and she offered with a smile, “I’d rather try an idea like yours and fail (at the least we could rule that one out!) than to keep doing what we’re doing and continue to be frustrated? What about all of you?”

It was nearly impossible to continue to look like you’d just tasted sour milk against the onslaught of her verbal leadership and optimism. She had chosen great “words” and communicated them well, but more importantly she had chosen those words from a platform of immense leadership. This emotional framework from which she spoke assumed that there was no challenge for which there was no answer or relief, that resources for finding help and ideas were abundant, and that her teammates were not “wrong” for being frustrated or disagreeing. She had no need to be “right” but was never swayed from a positive expectation of the future or the team’s ability to navigate it.

THIS is the emotional intelligence of great leadership. It’s a set of assumptions that reframes communication so you are open, appreciative, non-threatened and nonplussed when others around you are speaking from a negative perspective. It is a courageous stance of standing your ground and believing that everything serves and all is well.

This week, don’t wait for the leader in your group to show up and communicate strength, passion, optimism, and resourcefulness. Be that one. It’s often all that it takes to turn the tide.

And always smell the milk before you drink.


This week, while Katherine joins fellow speakers and consultants at SCN’s annual meeting, we are recycling a favorite MMS from a few 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.



It’s a jungle out there!

Whether you manage 2 people or 200, join Katherine Eitel Belt, the Unscripted Communication Expert, as she takes us through the jungle of effective leadership, management, and training skills and demonstrates how adult learners make real and lasting change. She’ll share lessons on coaching teams that will forever impact the way you teach important information and the way you create consistency and accountability to ignite employees’ ultimate potential. 

Click here for more information.

This 2-day workshop is a must for
Practice Administrators, Office Managers,
Team Leaders, and Trainers!

Sign up today!
July 12-13, 2017
November 2-3, 2017
San Diego, CA

Regularly $1500
Early Bird (Nov):  $1200


Proudly Sponsored by

“Good leadership includes the art of making problems
so interesting and their solutions so constructive
that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.”
~~ Paul Hawken

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Music Monday: Happy People

I’m breaking a promise, I know. I promised to continue this week with our breakdown of how to be exceptional on the telephone, but I totally spaced off that it would be Music Monday (always the first Monday of every month), and I’ve been waiting all month to feature this great new song, “Happy People”, by Little Big Town. So, get over it and… be happy!

I’d describe my Dad as one of the happiest people I know. He doesn’t live a perfect life, but he’s happy pretty much no matter what happens. I’ve always dreamed that I could learn to live my life so that people would describe me that way. I think it would be a great epitaph at the end of a life well lived.

Based on a boatload of research over the last few decades, we know that the more we feel genuinely happy, the more we enjoy better relationships, improved health, and more prosperity at work… not to mention, just a better quality of life. So why are we surrounded by so many unhappy people?

You can feel a truly happy person when they walk in the room. They light up the atmosphere, not in an overbearing, attention-grabbing way but rather as a satisfied, relaxed, energetic force. I love the atmosphere that I can visibly create when I’m feeling truly happy inside. The trick is feeling this way even when things aren’t going your way.

Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect in your life or that things always work out for you. I don’t always feel happy, but I have developed a practice of reminding myself when I’m feeling out of sorts that I do have a choice and that it’s only one person’s responsibility to make sure that I make that choice…me! It requires me to do the one thing that defines great self-leadership: take responsibility for my own state of being.

Next, my practice is to focus on the two things that are the quickest roads back to happy: gratitude and faith. Gratitude brings balance and perspective and usually minimizes my angst. Faith settles my fear and helps to stifle the internal voice of worry and stress by reassuring me that things always work out and that, “I never lose. I either win or I learn.”

A recent Harris poll determined that only one in three Americans say they are very happy and that we are less happy as a nation than we’ve ever been in history. What a shame that 1/3rd of our work force, parents, friends, and family are living mostly unhappy lives.

But, if their happiness is not our business or responsibility, then what’s there for us to do about that fact? Tune them out, cajole them, or avoid them altogether? I believe the best thing we can do is to live our lives as a shining example of self-leadership and as people who understand the art of managing our internal experiences no matter the external circumstances, not in an arrogant or disconnected way but rather with the intention of bringing a peaceful example that all is well, good prevails, and happiness is within our control and reach at all times.

Little Big Town’s lyrics capture it pretty well, I think: Can’t buy it, gotta make it. You ain’t ever gonna be it by taking someone else’s away. Never take it for granted. You don’t have to understand it. Life is short and love is rare… and we all deserve to be happy while we’re here. If you don’t find yourself smiling and feeling a little happier when you watch the music video below, then you might need to check your pulse.

Leaders go first. And self-leaders know they’re in charge of their own experience and degree of happiness. I’m wishing you all a week ahead where, if asked, you would say you were “very happy” and that others who know, work, and live with you would agree based on the amount of joy that you bring to your interactions with them and the degree to which you light up the room as you enter. I hope they begin to describe you as one of the happiest people they know.

Little Big Town – Happy People

“Happy people don’t cheat
Happy people don’t lie
They don’t judge, or hold a grudge, don’t criticize
Happy people don’t hate
Happy people don’t steal
Cause all the hurt sure ain’t worth all the guilt they feel 

If you wanna know the secret
Can’t buy it, gotta make it
You ain’t ever gonna be it
By takin’ someone else’s away
Never take it for granted
You don’t have to understand it
Here’s to whatever puts a smile on your face
Whatever makes you happy, people 

[Verse 2] Happy people don’t fail
Happy people just learn
Don’t think they’re above the push and shove
Just wait their turn
They always got a hand, or a dollar to spare
Know the golden rule or what you’re goin’ through
Even if they never been there 

These days ain’t always easy to find
They’re the ones that you want standing by your side
No time for greed, if they need some, give ’em a slice
And we’ll all be happy people 

Well, life is short
And love is rare
And we all deserve to be happy while we’re here”



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Building Relationships

As I write this, Tom and I are on our way home from a quick but marvelous NYC getaway where we celebrated our second-year wedding anniversary. In three days, we took in Central Park and an outdoor lunch at Tavern on the Green, a rainy afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum trying our best to absorb the beauty and wonder on display there and, the following day, had a thoughtful visit at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Our evenings were spent eating hot dogs at Yankee Stadium one night and prime steak at Del Frisco’s the next night just prior to enjoying Sara Barielles on Broadway, starring in Waitress. All-in-all, a fantastic way to celebrate our second year of marriage and seventh year of relationship. Life is certainly richer when you build and enjoy long-term relationships with people you love.

Business is also richer when you know how to create and sustain professional relationships. At LionSpeak we are dedicated to helping professionals communicate more effectively in an authentic and unscripted way. We focus on coaching three main types of communication interactions: 1) Client / Patient Communications (such as telephone skills and financial conversations), 2) Team Communications (such as team culture and agreements, meetings, leadership, and accountability), and 3) Audience Communications (such as executive speakers coaching and adult learning / training methods).

In the client communications arena, we train frontline service professionals to handle incoming and outgoing telephone calls effectively and with a high-level of consistency without a script. In addition, we offer a mystery shopper call service as an extension of our coaching to offer real-life feedback and opportunities for growth. We do this very, very differently than our competition. We train first and test second. We never record anyone without their permission, and we involve our students in the development of their training, working hard to help them truly “shine” on their mystery shopper call reports. We want them to see these calls as a way to advance their skills and careers, not as threat of being fired.

Because we take such an intentional and thoughtful approach to these calls, they’ve become extremely popular and we’ve been doing A LOT of them lately. We’ve noticed some consistent trends and mistakes that are so common that we’ve decided to dedicate the next few Monday Morning Stretches to what we’ve learned and how you can elevate your results very, very quickly.

The LionSpeak Telephone Skills System for converting new client calls is really very simple. We’ve broken it down into four easy steps: Relationship, Discovery, Solutions, and Details. In this week’s Stretch, let’s start with Step #1: Relationship

This is one of the easiest and most crucial steps in the process, but it’s also one of the most overlooked in our mystery shopper call reports. There are two ways to quickly build relationship with a potential client or patient: One is connection and the other is empathy. What distinguishes them is the client’s level of urgency. If the patient does not appear to be in pain or have other urgent concerns, the best way to build connection immediately is to get their name and begin to use it right away. Another way is to listen for any opening to connect with them on a personal level such as details about where they live, where they work, or their relationship with who referred them. For example, if someone says they just moved to your area, ask them what brought them here or how they like it so far, etc. If they mention a co-worker referred them, ask how long they have worked at the business and how closely they work with their friend, etc. This communicates to the potential client that you listened to and heard them and that you actually care about them as a human being … not simply a dollar bill or an appointment.

Another way to connect with a caller is to officially welcome them to your practice or business. Statements like, “Let me be the first to welcome you, Mr. Douglas,” or “I’m so glad you called us, Sara… welcome to our practice!” work really well. It’s a bit of an assumptive statement but one which we’ve found works exceptionally well to paint the picture of a future, long-term relationship.

If the client’s urgency level is high, the second way to build relationship is using empathy. It only makes sense that a client who is in pain, highly agitated, or has a high degree of anxiety will not want to spend time connecting with you on a personal level. They do however appreciate someone who seems to hear and understand their problem and appears committed to relieving it as soon as possible. To communicate empathy, you simply need to acknowledge that you understand the problem and appreciate the client’s level of concern or worry. Here’s an example: “I’m so sorry to hear that your tooth has been so painful, James. That sounds like it’s really been hard for you. Let’s see what we can do to get you feeling better quickly…” Statements like this express empathy, make a human connection, and begin the process of building relationship and trust.

More often than not, in an effort to be efficient, we hear frontline professionals moving quickly into gathering contact, financial, or insurance information before taking a second to connect with the caller first as a human being. This doesn’t have to be (and really shouldn’t be) a very long part of the conversation. It takes just a few seconds to connect on a personal level.

People engage, refer, and purchase at a higher level with people they know, like, and trust. If you feel you know, like, and trust someone … you are in relationship and the process of building that relationship should start from the very beginning of your phone call. Make sure you don’t skip this part and that you do it with a measured pace, upbeat tone, and beaming smile.

Next week, we’ll look at step #2 in our process, Discovery. Until then, have fun practicing connection and strengthening relationships.

“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” 
~~Paul J. Meyer

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Acting Lessons

My kids were so impressed when they found out that I had been a cheerleader three out of my four years in high school. It’s apparently a big deal when there are hundreds of kids in your class and thousands in the school but when you have less than 50 students in your graduating class and only 8 try out for 6 spots on the cheerleading squad… well, you just don’t have to be all that good.

Don’t get me wrong though… it was a lot of fun and formed some of my fondest memories in high school but not my most memorable one. That one had nothing to do with the essentially individual sport of cheerleading but rather occurred when I won a spot on a small competitive drama team in my senior year.

The newly formed drama team was to compete for the first time in a sanctioned one-act play competition with other high schools in our division. There were only 10 on the entire team plus a drama coach (who, as it goes in small schools, was also our band teacher): six actors and four support students helping with everything from costumes to curtains to set construction. The play was a touching short story called Goodbye to the Clown about a young girl whose father has died and who, in an effort to cope with her grief, has created an imaginary character, the clown.

I played the girl’s mother who, dealing with her own grief, becomes increasingly fed up with her daughter’s constant attention to the “clown” and her insistence that he be given the same things as a real human being with a place setting at the dinner table, food on his plate, and inclusion in all conversations. In the end, the little girl is guided by her uncle to say “goodbye to the clown” and accept the death of her father. The tender final scene left not one dry eye in the audience when she sits with the clown (who is seen by the audience the entire performance) on the front of the stage with their legs dangling over the edge and thanks him for his friendship, lets him go, and finally makes peace with her loss.

Maybe it was the deep emotion embedded in this story. Maybe it was the nature of theater performance and losing yourself in the lives of other characters. Maybe it was being in the last few months of our senior year and subconsciously knowing that we were about to say our own goodbyes to friends, teachers, and coaches for the last time. Or maybe it was the new experience of participating in something that was impossible to accomplish individually and could only happen if everyone on the team not only did their jobs well but created a safe space for all of us to be vulnerable, take risks, and give or receive support if a mistake was made. But whatever it was, my participation in this small group effort was life changing for me. Being a cheerleader, each of us were always in the spotlight. But with this tiny drama troop, I was a small but integral part of a much greater story and we absolutely depended on each other to lose ourselves in our characters and give 100% on stage to succeed in the competition. We bonded as a team in a way that I had not experienced before (and rarely since.) I now know that’s what happens we people band together, work hard at high level, fully trust each other, and enjoy the work of art they create together… and I didn’t want it to end.

We won our division but fell just short at the regional competition with a few of us taking home honorable mentions for our performances and making the All-Star Cast. But, the loss did nothing to taint the memory or the lessons learned about teamwork and trust.

In about a month, I’ll fly to Texas and attend my 40th (gasp!) high school reunion. We’ve not had one in 30 years. It will be wonderful to reunite with old friends and hopefully a teacher or two. I’ve got my fingers crossed that some of my drama troop teammates will be there. I’d love the opportunity to tell them now what I couldn’t know way back then about how that experience formed me and how I now spend my life doing much the same work of uniting teams and helping them raise the level of trust and excellence in their work.

This week, consider your contribution to your own team experience. Do you foster trust? Do you make it safe for others to try new things, make mistakes and learn from them? Do you quickly jump in to support when they “forget their lines?” Do you acknowledge backstage, after the day is over, a job well done. When you do, you not only create a great experience for them but, trust me when I say, you create a meaningful experience for yourself as well.

“What’s beautiful about the actual acting class environment is that you can use it to push through everything: push your voice, push your inhibitions, push your fears, push your confidence, push your vulnerability, push your silences. ” 
~~ Dawn Olivieri
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Leadership and Learning

John F. Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” That’s because leaders are not born but rather developed. So, they are constantly trying new approaches, analyzing the results, and adjusting their strategies along with way.

In the healthcare, dental, and veterinary fields, we are experiencing a seismic shift in our industries with an increase in consolidation and growth of group practices. This has created a huge and almost instant need for managers and team leaders who not only understand the industry but also how to lead, inspire and train their people. Most often, managers and trainers are promoted or hired into these positions because they were good at their jobs and have mastered the technical skills needed. The trouble is that these skills are only part of the job. The far greater part is the ability to think, problem solve, communicate, and inspire like a true leader. If no one has ever modeled how to do this well or they’ve not learned from another highly-developed leader, new managers tend to stumble trying to gain traction with their team or at the very least their progress is slowed because they don’t know how to quickly adjust their strategies to move a team forward.

Even if you are a private or solo practitioner, you must exemplify extraordinary leadership now more than ever. The smaller the team, the more critical the need for every player to master self-leadership.

Whether you want your management team to grow their people and push them to their fullest capabilities or you simply want strong leaders in every position on your team, you have to invest in the training necessary to teach them how to think, speak, and act like great leaders. Consider starting a leadership “Book Club” and selecting a book as a team that you’ll read and discuss at your team meeting. I’ve listed a few of my favorite below. Another option is to attend together or send your managers and team leaders to a leadership workshop or program with the agreement that they will make a full report on the things they learned and plan to implement. (We have a great offer to attend our Leaders of the Pride Workshops below!)

Growing self-leaders as well as leaders who know how to build strong teams is a requirement if you’re going to be competitive in today’s marketplace. The side benefit is that the world becomes a better place too.


Great leadership reads from Katherine’s bookshelf: 

  • The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell 
  • You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader by Mark Sanborn
  • Upside Down Leadership by Bob Spiel





It’s a jungle out there!

Whether you manage 2 people or 200, join Katherine Eitel Belt, the Unscripted Communication Expert, as she takes us through the jungle of effective leadership, management, and training skills and demonstrates how adult learners make real and lasting change. She’ll share lessons on coaching teams that will forever impact the way you teach important information and the way you create consistency and accountability to ignite employees’ ultimate potential. 

Click here for more information.

This 2-day workshop is a must for
Practice Administrators, Office Managers,
Team Leaders, and Trainers!

Sign up today!
July 12-13, 2017
November 2-3, 2017
San Diego, CA

Registration $1500
Register before June 1 and receive
50% off a November workshop*

*November 6-7, 2017 | *November 8-9, 2017


Proudly Sponsored by


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All Things Being Equal

I’ll probably only buy one white rat for a 10-year-old boy in my entire life. Primarily because I don’t intend to have another 10-year-old boy nor another caged white rat if I don’t absolutely have to. Because of that, it doesn’t really matter that I feel one way or the other about the person who made that sale to me. I’ll likely never ever see them again. All things being equal, I just wanted the cheapest little white booger that I could find because I was sure it would either not live that long or escape its cage and run loose in my house … which was essentially the same thing.

Most of us, however, sell something that we are hoping is not a one-time event. We are actually not as interested in the sale as an end result as we are in developing a long-term relationship with what Mark LeBlanc calls our “perfect-fit” clients. Most of us quickly see the efficacy of having a smaller number of long-term ‘perfect-fit’ clients rather than a ton of ‘bad’ or even ‘decent’ fit clients. Common sense, really… and a whole lot more satisfying.

Case in point: The word EAT for most of us means to consume food to sustain our bodies. But the acronym E.A.T., to almost every citizen of Temecula, California, means Extraordinary Artisan Table… which, translated further, means consistently exceptional, locally-sourced food served in a friendly, communal-style atmosphere. The owner and chef, Leah DiBernardo, is a community advocate for “slow food” and the riches of relationship that can develop from the cooking of good, clean, healthy food and the enjoyment of those meals around a table with family and friends. Leah showcased this idea in her local Temecula TEDx talk, A Small Kitchen, a Large Table, and Big Conversations.

Tom and I had brunch yesterday at E.A.T.’s as we have many times in the past. The restaurant is situated in Temecula’s Old Towne right next door to our local Saturday farmer’s market so you count on having to wait a bit for a seat even at a community table at E.A.T.’s on Saturday mornings. We took the last two chairs at the bar which overlooks the bustling kitchen activities. I think it’s the best seat in the house. From our birds-eye view we could enjoy all the conversations, hand signals, and other various forms of communication which flowed between the wait staff, food preppers, and chefs who all moved like ants in an anthill… always looking like they will crash into one another but somehow managing to navigate in and around each other in perfect harmony. And of this under the watchful eye of the Italian visionary proprietor, Leah.

Not only are customers expected to sit with others and enjoy community while they dine but also Leah and her team mingle and chat and are extremely knowledgeable about the ingredients and local sources of every item on the menu (each employee is required to work at least 8 hours a month at one of EAT’s supplying farms and ranches.) You get the distinct impression that they are like one big, fabulous family complete with occasional fussing’s, high expectations of themselves and each other combined with a sincere desire to support the team and keep a sense of humor.

At one point, an interaction between Leah and a young female server caught my eye. Catching an imperfectly prepared bowl of soup heading out to the floor, Leah took the dish from the tray, corrected whatever was wrong and instructed the server (with a quick comment to the chef nearby) that this was not how it was to be served. Ever. When the server mumbled something under her breath, I was surprised to see Leah swat her on the head as she turned in my direction. “Don’t ever hire your own children… they’re the only employees that will talk back at you,” she said to me with a wry smile and a quick wink.

She made a quick, sweeping glance around the place, making sure all was well, and then meandered over to us at the metallic bar where she chatted with the couple next to us, asking after their careers and families. She cheerfully answered my questions about the ingredients of a delicious Paleo Bowl sauce and local source of the microgreens and eggs. And then she moved on to all the others…. making us each feel that we knew her and she knew us and that we could have just as easily been sitting around her ‘small kitchen, large table, enjoying a big conversation with the DiBernardo family.” We repeatedly go to E.A.T.’s, as much for that feeling of connection as for the fresh and delicious food.

Leah said in her TEDx talk, “It takes time, hard work, and careful choices to produce good, clean, healthy food in an environment where people can really come together… which some say makes it expensive. But what about the cost of not being connected, of us being divided, and being pushed further apart and becoming isolated as a community?” E.A.T.’s success is about quality, but even more it’s more about community and relationships. It’s about slowing down even in a busy place of business and making people feel at home and cared for – making eye contact, joking, and including them in the passionate experience. This is what creates long-term relationships with perfect fit clients.

This week, focus on relationships, not sales. Don’t get so busy that you forget to smile, connect, chat, and engage with your clients and patients on a real and authentic level. This is what creates life-long clients who refer everyone they know.

“Internalize the Golden Rule of sales that says: All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.”
~ Bob Burg

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Music Monday: Be Here Now

There is absolutely NO END to it… the incessant distractions of the modern world – cell phones, social media, text messages, emails, voicemails, calendar reminders, streaming TV, Pandora music, to-do lists, Amazon deliveries, deadlines. As a result, we’ve become master multi-taskers, but we’ve also become flops at being 100% present in almost any situation. I swear some days I can talk on the phone, listen to music, load the dishwasher, jot notes, compose a blog post in my mind, brew a cup of tea, and flirt with my husband all at the exact same time.

Lately, I’ve been focusing on the opposite of multi-tasking… being singularly focused on this moment and the people in it. As a skilled and practiced multi-tasker, I’m far from perfect but I’m getting better. 

I read recently about a firm whose company mantra is “Be here now.” They have it posted in their team meeting room and start each day and all their meetings with this request, allowing a moment for everyone in attendance to halt their racing thoughts, unpack the layers of multiple attentions, and focus on “being here now.” I LOVE this idea and the company value it declares. I’ve decided it is not only a worthy request but also a mantra from which I could gain a great deal. 

And it really requires nothing more than a firm decision and the discipline of practice. Whether it’s dinner with my husband, a phone conversation with my son, a client call, a training session, an educational seminar I’m attending, or a meeting with my own team… being here now is the greatest gift I can give them and myself. When I do it, I notice that singular focus reduces misunderstandings and demonstrates respect and true empathy by engaging all my senses with the end result of higher quality work, better decisions, and a greater sense of service and connection. 

When I adopt this approach of being present in the moment, I’m less inclined to even think about multi-tasking, but it takes some getting used to. I have to continuously remind myself to be here now when I start to wander in my mind or become distracted by emails or cell phone pings. It’s definitely a re-training of my brain. 

For this week’s Music Monday (always the first Monday of the month), I chose Little Wonders by Rob Thomas. His lyric, “Our lives are made in these small hours, these little wonders, these twists and turns of fate,” beautifully reminds us that life is made in the now. This week, don’t be somewhere out there and miss the right here and the right now.

Rob Thomas – Little Wonders

“Let it go
Let it roll right off your shoulder
Don’t you know
The hardest part is over?
Let it in
Let your clarity define you
In the end
We will only just remember how it feels

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders
These twists and turns of fate
Time falls away
But these small hours
These small hours still remain

 Let it slide
Let your troubles fall behind you
Let it shine
Until you feel it all around you
And I don’t mind
If it’s me you need to turn to
We’ll get by
It’s the heart that really matters in the end

 Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders
These twists and turns of fate
Time falls away
But these small hours
These small hours still remain

 All of my regret
Will wash away some how
But I can not forget
The way I feel right now

 In these small hours
These little wonders
These twists and turns of fate
These twists and turns of fate
Time falls away, but these small hours
These small hours, still remain
They still remain
These little wonders
These twists and turns of fate
Time falls away
But these small hours
These little wonders still remain”


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Big Visions

Last month, the newly reformed and rebranded LionSpeak had its first official Vision Calibration Retreat at my Ranch in Southern California. We were mostly new to each other and so the first order of business was to get the group acquainted before we jumped into my presentation of the new company vision and began our strategy session for what it would take to see it all come to fruition. 

I asked everyone to tell about their background and what brought them to be sitting at this roundtable today, what they felt their talents were and contributions could / would be, an interesting fact about themselves, what drew them to LionSpeak and what they loved most about the work we do. Their responses were intelligent and warm, witty and moving. I felt like the luckiest girl on the planet with this team sitting around my table. 

I then presented the new LionSpeak brand along with my 5-year vision, updated company values, and specific goals for the next year. I then asked each member of the team, after considering what they had just heard, if they felt they were ready to fully align with this vision or whether they might need some time to consider its implication to their own life vision. Lucky for me, it was a unanimous and resounding “Yes!” I then asked for each to share, given this alignment, what their big dreams are within the LionSpeak vision and, since several have other ventures they are committed to, what their big dreams are outside of LionSpeak. 

The very first person to answer was Stacy Svellis, our new dental communications coach. Stacy is a beautiful woman, always immaculately dressed with a beaming smile and infectious energy and bright blue eyes that twinkle with intelligence and maybe a hint of mischief. She practically leapt to speak first, but instead of her usual effervescent style, she leveled her gaze on me, lowered her voice a little and said, “My big dream? That would be to become so good that it makes total sense for me to be the next owner of LionSpeak… I mean, when you’re all done, of course, Katherine.” 

There was a moment of silence as that big dream landed on the table and in my brain … and as it made its way down toward my heart, a great big smile broke out across my face, and I realized that this is why we do this. This is why we gather our team every year and recalibrate our visions, both professionally and personally. The realignment of those two visions is what makes smart professionals step up and step into building amazing companies with self-motivated, super-charged people who are on fire and on purpose. With this big personal dream and life vision clearly and strongly connected to the big vision of LionSpeak as the vehicle in which to make it happen, Stacy will most certainly be self-motivated, creative, and passionate about our work together… exactly what every business person hopes for in their team members. 

When you help your people connect your business vision as a direct connection to how they can achieve their life vision, you’ve got yourself a purposeful employee. Don’t hold them back. In fact, set them free (and maybe even offer a little push) to dream as big as they can and to use their employment with you and service to your clients as a way to achieve their personal goals. A team made up of intentional people like this can creatively solve almost any problem and face any challenge. 

If you have not yet experienced a well-organized, well-facilitated Vision Calibration Retreat for your team… there is no time like the present to get one on your schedule and watch the magic start to roll.





Give Your Team the Gift of Shared Alignment and Strategies!

Whether you manage 2 people or 200, join Katherine Eitel Belt, the Unscripted Communication Expert, as she takes teams through the process of realigning the entire team around the owner(s) vision and produce strategies for accomplishing that vision with clear action items, team commitments, and accountability processes.

These retreats are held at creative off-site locations (such as climbing gyms, adventure courses, wineries, racetracks, etc.) and breathe new life and an elevated spirit back into teams and create new clarity around vision, values, goals, and strategies.  They can also address roadblocks for teams and create real breakthroughs in terms of inter-team communication skills, culture, and teamwork issues such as gossip, negative attitudes, lack of accountability, and disengagement.


Katherine Eitel Belt brings years of experience in dental and healthcare coaching as well as excellent group facilitation skills to help practices raise the bar for team alignment, business growth, client attraction, and patient service.
Schedule your team’s Calibration Retreat today!
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Tip of the Spear

You’re waiting. You just wish it was different. You wish your teammate helped out more. You wish the meetings accomplished more and were more fun. You wish you’d get a raise. You wish your office manager would let go of the one mistake that you made months ago. You wish your spouse was more romantic and spontaneous. You wish your team was more committed to the vision. You’re waiting.

And while you’re waiting, leaders are charging ahead… doing it anyway. Leaders don’t wait. Leaders go first, carving the way and showing it to others. They are what we call the “tip of the spear” … always doing the hard work of breaking the barriers and demonstrating what courage and leadership really looks like with their words and actions.

You wish it was different but leaders make it different. You wish your teammate helped out more but leaders have already started helping that person out more as an example of what good teamwork looks like. You wish meetings accomplished more and were more fun, but leaders are making suggestions and raising their hands to volunteer, and they are the ones who surprise others occasionally by showing up with fresh juice and bagels. You wish you’d get a raise, but leaders have already facilitated the meeting and are bringing evidence of their contribution in addition to enthusiastic ideas about how they can help the business continue to thrive. You wish your office manager would let go of a mistake, but leaders have already forgiven themselves as well as their manager for holding the grudge. You wish your spouse was more romantic, but leaders already lit the candles, wrote the love notes, planned the surprises, and bought the nighty. You wish your team was more committed to the vision, but leaders are showing up so on fire and amped up every morning, ready to fulfill on their vision that no one can miss or mistake what the vision is about.

You’re waiting and leaders go first. You’re the tail feathers on the arrow, and leaders are the tip of the spear. The tip of a spear opens the space for the rest, breaks through the barrier, and is never, ever a victim.

This week, go first. Be the tip of the spear that slices through the mediocrity, gossip, blaming and complaining of most people and charges forward, showing the way by your very own example.


You don’t have to hire a trainer to make every team meeting
deliver a huge dose of skills improvement and productive changes.


These simple but dynamic exercises will breathe life
back into your tired, dysfunctional meetings and help you:

– Review material without lecturing
– Find a fun way to see what’s missing, misunderstood, or simply not being done
– Get everyone involved and contributing without feeling picked on or singled out

Learn more


“You have to be brave with your life so that others can be brave with theirs.”
~Katherine Center,
The Gifts of Imperfection

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Evolutionary Adventure

I recently heard the term, evolutionary adventure, describing a documentary program about the evolution of carnivorous plants. While I didn’t jump to add that title to my Netflix favorites, the term rattled around in my brain for a few days and I grew to love the idea of applying it to our own adventures in life and business… because they certainly are an evolutionary process.

Webster defines evolution as a process of formation, growth, or gradual development in which something changes from a simple to a more complex or better form; an unfolding. Seems a perfect definition of what has transpired over time for me as a businesswoman, speaker, wife, mother, friend, and citizen.

Leading and living well is like residing in the same home for years. The rooms become more and more familiar the longer you live there but when nighttime and darkness descends, you still have to put your hands out and feel your way through… and even then, sometimes you stumble. Eventually the light always returns and you see more clearly and understand more deeply where the obstacles are and how to master the path between them. It’s an evolution of knowledge and experience; a true unfolding.

There is an Egyptian proverb which says that the archery marksman hits his target partly by pulling and creating tension and partly by releasing and letting go. That’s what personal and professional growth is… a continual process of pulling at goals and ideas, creating the tension of plans and action, steadying your aim and then releasing and letting go. Sometimes we hit the bullseye and sometimes we overshoot the target and miss completely. Either way we are learning and evolving.

The piece I’m working on remembering is that this is an eternal process with no end point. We’ve been evolving since we entered the world and will be long after we’re gone. So, if there’s no perfect place for which we’re striving but only the constant state of evolution then perhaps we could relax into the process more. How much more enjoyable might life and work be if we could remember going in to an effort or new situation that “we never lose… we only win or learn.” We only hit the bullseye or evolve. How much more fun would that game be to play

This week, play the rich game of learning and evolving versus simply winning or losing. Lean into the process with me of unfolding into a more complex and better form in this great big beautiful evolutionary adventure we’re all on together.


Have you ever glimpsed someone greater inside of you?
Every glimpsed it in someone else?
Bring Out The Leader in You!
DVD logoJoin renowned international speaker and trainer, Katherine Eitel, as she takes you on a journey of discovery into the wilds of your own potential, through the jungle of effective training skills and helps you master a simple principle that is key to unlocking the instinctive greatness within yourself and others.


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