Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflections of A Leader

Observe the maneuvers of your critical mind (as well as your critics) and decide what role they will play in your Leadership Success.

Rather than working against your inner-critics consider observing them. Meditation is considered a powerful method for turning-in for clarity. However, in our ordinary (or extraordinary) waking moments the pointing finger, angry and doubtful voices cry out for attention.

By observing their manoeuvres, you can “distance from your (my) own inner condemning, critical voices, literally encouraging you (me) to "watch" these voices as if they had no more importance than other thoughts passing through your mind.” To be able to regard these critical voices as the "antics" of the mind, to train yourself to simply observe their maneuvers, you achieve greater peace of mind and leadership Success.

The wine enthusiast may want to venture out to Artesa Winery in Napa California to begin just such a journey.

Aretsa is one of the most architecturally stunning wineries in Northern America. Sitting on 350 acres, this ultra-modern winery offers panoramic views of Napa Valley, the Carneros growing region, and San Francisco Bay. Steeped in the property’s modernistic, minimalist look and surrounded by contemporary sculptures, fountains, and reflecting pools, the Visitor Center and Tasting Room are a delight to behold.

They are known for their sparkling wines, but the winery has since found its niche in still wines, especially their Estate Pinot Noir and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – according to Barbara Scott-Goodman author and fellow wine enthusiast.

Observe the maneuvers of your critical mind (as well as your critics) and decide what role they will play in your Leadership Success.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Planning 2010 Before Year End

What are you doing NOW to plan for 2010? 

At the moment you're planning what wines to serve with Holiday Meals and Parties.  I'm with you and have a good start on purchasing sparkling and other wines.  Years past we did not realize we could not get wine in PA grocery stores (remember I'm from CA) and Wine & Spirit stores were closed on holidays.  My husband knocked on a winemaker's door and we were saved.  Needless to say wine is first on our holiday event planning list.  As priorities go I highly recommend you add Create a 2010 Leadership Success Plan For Personal & Professional Success.

Wine growers and makers we can't predict what the crops for the next year but they work with what they already can.  They create marketing plans for their existing product, budget for new barrel, create goals for distribution and greater market share, etc.  And they can work on their overall VISION:  why did I start this business and what am I doing now to make sure my dream stays alive?

When you create your leadership success goals now, you can think about your plan of action.  What better time of year to share your vision with friends, family and associates.  Let them know you are already prepared for success in 2010.  Of course you'll need to take a little time now and get it out of your head and put it on paper.

I've got some suggestions to get you thinking - check them out.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What were you doing at twenty five?

Starting to turn that job into a career? Beginning to wonder if you’d get married at thirty? Maybe thinking about putting that tiny bit of stashed away retirement money into a really nice car? If you were Andrew Murray, the answer to the question “What were you doing at twenty five?” would be “being praised as one of the top winemakers in America.” (Woot Wine)

I wonder how you would answer the question.  Better yet, are you doing what you want to at whatever age you are today? .  How will you look back at this day 15 years from now?

It's never too late to start or restart leading your search for your personal legacy.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Attract New Clients: Lead With Wine

Prospering in today’s economy will require an extraordinary examination of your personal commitment to “the truth” as it relates to your industry in general and your own business or job in particular. In dealing with clients from many different backgrounds, I have noticed that, quite often, we do not make decisions according to what is true. Rather, we make decisions according to what we want to be true. Or what we wish was true. This is usually a recipe for disaster.

Consider the well established restaurant that's been serving food and drink since 1796. By now there’s been quite a turnover in clientele - graveyard conveniently located across the street. As time dictates the menus change as do the people they attract. Once again they felt it was time for a change. So what did they do to get attention and attract new patrons? Host wine events of course!

Until now I've only heard about the Ship Inn and driven past on many occasions. I've asked friends and neighbors; they too have heard about it but haven't been to "that old place on the corner."

New business developer, Terri Stevens, took a realistic look at how the area and culture had change and formulated a new approach. Each month they host a fabulous & affordable wine event. Each event raises money for one particular cause or another. Then she went about spreading the word. She went to the hottest women's groups in town and promised fabulous wine and food events in a classy atmosphere.

They are on to their third month. Each time the place is rocking and everybody’s talking about the "Classy Hot Spot's" next event:
"Traveling Through California Vineyards in Support of Lung Cancer." Proceeds go to the Cancer Center at Paoli Hospital

Notice what's working and what's not working. And when it's not working, change your approach. And keep changing until you finally achieve what it is you're committed to.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Coach Jake declares: Enthusiastic Leaders Enjoy Premium Wines

Be the enthusiastic leader in your life! Enthusiasm must be nourished with new action, new aspiration, new efforts, new vision. It is one’s own fault if enthusiasm is gone.

Remember it is the power of enthusiasm that leads others to act- so make it contagious. Our latest joys in Va La’s Enoteca (also known as a wine tasting room) illustrated the resounding response to our celebratorious enthusiasm.

My sister flew from California to Pennsylvania with only 36 hours to share and participate in a special religious event in honor of my son. We were full of life and joy in sharing this time together, brief as it was.

I insisted we visit some wineries on our way back to the airport. During our tasting we concentrated on the wines and intermittently recalled the previous day’s experience. We shared our stories with our server. She was engaged and our energy was quickly transferred.

We then mentioned our next stop was the airport. Surprise, surprise our now high energy yet empathetic server insisted on honoring my sister with a glass of wine from their premium wine list. We smiled, were truly grateful and suggested a premium chocolate would be the perfect pairing for a perfect farewell. The rest goes without saying.

Leadership includes sincere enthusiasm for a meaningful experience and a shared vision. There is truly no desire for resistance only assistance. Part of my job as a leadership coach is to help energize and motivate leaders to focus on those activities that invoke such enthusiasm.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Winemakers: Entrepreneurs, Artists, Leaders

Most of the winemakers I know started making wine in their garage or basement. Some inherited the family business which was also started in a basement or barn. All have the hearts of a true entrepreneur as they forge on to develop great wines.

Hobbyists beware of the words “you should sell this stuff.” BAM! The entrepreneur inside turns its creative mind to large quantity production and cool labels. But if they ever want to get it in your hands they have to do much more than create and bottle the wine.

While researching the newest winery in the region I met Lance and Valerie owners of Black Walnut Winery. I should add that they do have partners in crime (wine), Jack and Karen. These four are the classic wine enthusiasts turned hobbyists turned entrepreneur and soon to be leaders recognized for their award winning wines. I can not describe how much I enjoyed their wines and YES, their story.

[read Rob Kallessa's article bacause I could not have written it better:]

For the purpose of this blog I continue…

You see, we all have something great within us that we want to share. In each story there is a pivotal moment when they sought advice and expertise of other entrepreneurs they consider leaders. The spirit that drove them to ask for advice also encouraged them to act. About that time they totally become paralyzed. 

One winemaker I know said he got great advice and did do what he needed to trademark and begin selling the wine. When he finally had everything in place he freaked out! When the license to sell was in his hands reality hit; his dream had come true. Up ‘till then he was so busy following instructions and DOING.

I don’t know that we always see the shift from artist to entrepreneur when its happening. We experience the challenges and feel the anxiety about a particular task – but only after we allowed the internal leader to take charge. Its being a leader that helps us to get the do done.

So my fellow artisans I encourage you now to look back at what happened in your life just before you started DOING – that was your first defining moment. That is when you unleashed the leader in you. My bet is 50% of you were laughing over a glass of wine when it happened.

Am I right? Comment!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Location, Location, Location - for the love of wine!

I find my expectations around the taste and quality of wine vary depending on my surroundings or the location. Location can mean any number of places: countries, regions, large or small wineries, family-owned wineries, in a restaurant or at home.

Some of my favorite and most memorable experiences are those visits to small family-owned wineries in the middle of nowhere in foreign countries. Not to say I don’t have a fondness from family-owned here in the United States. It’s quite different… read on and you might agree.

While driving through Franconia, Germany, and we saw a small sign near a driveway that read “Wein.” We made a right turn and parked in front of a simple house with a typical wooden swing set near the house and a heavy wooden door with a doorbell, which we pushed. An old woman (OMA or Grandma) opened the door. Her face and hands were weathered from years in the fields. Her hands looked strong, a finger was missing and there was plenty of earth under her nails. She spoke German with a regional accent so strong we could hardly understand her. However we all spoke “WINEeese” without strain.

When we asked if we could taste her wine her face lit up! She was cute as she wobbled back inside gesturing for us to follow her. She opened a little refrigerator and pulled out bottle after bottle of wine, all sorts of wine. If I remember correctly the bottles were already open and few had labels. She poured wine for each of us including herself.

Our expectation for the wine’s taste and quality was low. We were CORRECT; it was drinkable and nothing we would buy in a store. BUT we were having a fabulous time just soaking up the old woman’s joy of sharing wine with strangers. We stayed for at least an hour. She doted over our daughter pouring her glasses of varying grape juices: red, purple, white. Hayden eventually went to play on the swing and we bought wine.

I can’t say whether or not we ever drank the bottles we bought. It doesn’t matter – it was a memorable experience.

Insight, I believe, refers to the depth of understanding that comes by setting experiences, yours and mine, familiar and exotic, new and old, side by side, learning by letting them speak to one another.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

By Appointment Only

When a winery or vintner states that tasting is “by appointment only,” GO! For years this turned me off because I assumed the winemaker pretentious. Growing up in an open-door policy lifestyle, I didn’t understand why they were closed to the public when all the other wineries were open. I changed my mind in the spring of 2000.

My husband and I were on a quest to taste ALL the wines of the California Central Coast before we moved to Germany. We had only a couple of weeks to hit all the wineries, including those that were “by appointment only.”

We discovered these to be quaint mom & pop set ups with a small inventory. We called on a winemaker located on the outskirts of Paso Robles. His wife was most friendly when we called and set a time within the hour. Just enough time for her to bake us a loaf of bread to enjoy with our wine.

When we got there her husband, a man in his 70s greeted us on the driveway. He was a retired engineer from Italy turned winemaker. After showing my husband his prized Alfa Romeo we were invited into his home to enjoy the fresh baked bread, wine and listen to stories from Italy to America. It was their story that brought the flavors of the wine to perfection.

I never looked at my watch. It didn’t matter that we had many more wineries on our list. By Appointment Only: “Wherever you are, be there.”

If you could schedule an appointment for somewhere special, where would that be?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Arbor Mist Bubbly White Zinfandel at a Wine Tasting?

When I moved to my new neighborhood my husband & I hosted a BLIND wine tasting party to meet our neighbors.  We sent out formal invitations and simply requested they bring a white wine.  I mostly drink RED wine but it was a summer time (think hot).

So anyway, my neighbor, Trish, said she didn't drink wine and wasn't sure of what to bring.  Immediate response:  What?  She said, she had tasted wine on occasion but did not like it.  Follow up response:  What!  After the initial shock I told her to pick ANYTHING at the Wine & Spirits store and I added that expensive did not mean better.

The whole idea of the event was to meet neighbors and share my favorite pastime: wine tasting/ consumption.  At the party neighbors tasted a variety of wines and were surprised to discover that one Chardonnay tasted different from another. Or that Pinot Gris tasted a lot like grass (the kind you walk on). And so on!  We played down fancy industry terms.

Back to the whole Arbor Mist experience.  Trish brought the one wine she knew: Arbor Mist White Zinfandel.  When I said, "pick any white wine" I should have added, "And White Zin does not count."  Can you imagine how funny it tasted after a sip of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc?  I was like, "Okay who brought the Bartels and Jaymes wine cooler?" No wonder she said she did not like wine.  Maybe if all I ever tasted was Arbor Mist Bubbly White Zin, I'd consider beer a better option too! 

LEADERSHIP TIP:  When you're asked for guidance by a newby, keep it slightly more specific and include absolute no no's.

What's the oddest or most surprising wine ever brought to one of your gatherings?  Do you have a similar story?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ready To Start Your Business?

Do you have the right stuff to start a business?

  1. Did you franchise your lemonade stand when you were 8 years old?

  2. Do you have "entrepreneurial" genes?

  3. Are your spouse, children and parents loyal?

  4. Is wealth a better reason to start a business than riches?

  5. Do you love your better mousetrap?

  6. Do you know when to replace passion with pragmatism?

  7. Ever doubled down in Vegas?

  8. Are you honest, trustworthy and committed to avoiding evil?

  9. Do you know a spreadsheet from a bed sheet?

  10. Do you have the tenacity of a pit bull?

Count your "yes" answers and see how you did ... Scores

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lost Keys ?

Did you know that 1500 sets of keys are turned into the Las Vegas International lost and found department annually? That's just one airport in one city in all the world (albeit many things stay in Vegas). There is a cool website, that helps you tag them and get them back.

What do keys have to do with leadership? Surly you know the term Keys to Leadership. It's all related.

I wonder how many clients or contacts you lose a year because you don't have anything to link them back to you. The care and keeping of your existing clients and contacts is more valuable than and takes less energy generating new ones. Never under estimate the value of tried and true birthday cards, newsletters, gimmicky give-a-ways and quarterly phone calls.

Never leave out family. Make sure they see you as the leader you are in your life. Keep them close and tuned in to your leadership activities. Last year I received a referral from my Uncle Paul. I haven't seen him in years but the birthday card I send (thanks mom for burning that one in my brain) and keeping him on my email list kept us connected.

Until someone develops www.return2(yournamehere).com , make sure you take the time to stay linked. You'll better serve your existing clients, keep channels open for prospects and generate leads.

I'm off to Vegas to search through 1500 sets of keys; this may take some time.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Leadership Speaks in Tones

Leadership has a tone of voice that is heard even in whispers.

An inherent change leaders experience as they develop confidence is in their tone of voice. A truly self-confident leader drives projects with precision. Clear thoughts result in verbal clarity and a fervent tone. The natural change is subtle to immediate co-workers creating greater performance synergy overall.

“I’m saying the same thing I always have only now my team is listening.”

Remember, how you say something is as important as what you say. Clear and respectful tones overshadow any former need to inflect authoritarian tones: pitchy, heavy-handed or dominant. Relaxed intelligence encourages leaders to literally speak up. It’s no wonder others listen more.

Leadership is a human experience. INSTEAD of concentrating on what you’re going to say, concentrate on developing greater self confidence and let nature take its course.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"Lead, follow, or get out of the way."

In the modern day world of leadership are Thomas Paine’s famous words, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

First and foremost, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense advocated an immediate declaration of independence, postulating a special moral obligation of America to the rest of the world. Not long after publication, the spirit of Paine's argument found resonance in the American Declaration of Independence.

Might Mr. Paine’s words serve to support your own mantra for independence and a moral compass for those people you lead? What is your obligation to yourself and the rest of your world? See what happens when you take some time to contemplate and actually answer these questions. It’s a challenge worth taking and here is why:
  • You are forced to consider how your thoughts and actions contribute to your personal leadership style: Am I leading, following, or in my own way?
  • You discover how often you hold yourself accountable.
  • You’ll know if you demonstrate leadership to others through your own actions.
  • It’s an opportunity for you to check in with yourself and come to terms with your own moral compass.
  • You’ll have an answer at the ready when life asks you to : “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Juggler's Balancing Act

What happens when a juggler attempts to juggle while walking a tight rope? Type A and Type B people in their own chosen element juggle with great success. They are more likely to thrive mentally and physically. When you combine the two you get quite the balancing act; you get the Type AB personality.

More and more women find themselves inside the Type AB parameters. She can be productive and efficient in the work or studies, although she can be calm in situations that require it. Sometimes she feels nervous. She relaxes more than a Type A person but not as much as a Type B person.

Back to the juggler on a tight rope. There is no either or, only AB. Her well rehearsed circus act relies on balance. Sometimes she may need to drop a ball in order to keep from falling. She CAN drop a ball and the show goes on. If she falls: shows over.

We ladies are resilient and flexible, persistent and determined, dedicated, diverse, courageous. We are wives and lovers, mothers and grandmothers, daughters and sisters, and we must juggle daily. A key to balancing it all is to know what ball you really CAN drop to keep moving forward.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How Leaders Deal with "Jerks"

It is not unusual for developing leaders to be challenged by the "Jerk." You know that person recognizing and threatened by your personal or professional development. You're getting ahead and they aren't. A common 'new' experience for a leader is an increase in Jerk encounters.

Developing the leadership skills to respond swiftly and effectively is really quite easy.I define a “jerk” as typically a person who verbally attacks fellow employees with blows non-related to work performance, is self absorbed, insecure and mean. The Jerk can be likened to a terrorist or a three year old on the playground.

Here are a few tips for dealing with a Jerk when his actions are directed at you:

  1. Don’t ignore them – they expect you to shy away and it empowers them to continue.
  2. Do look the Jerk in the eye and smile at them with pity. Recall the phrase “I pity the fool…!” in your mind.
  3. Don’t wait – time diminishes the power of your non verbal ‘higher road’ response.
  4. The proper response to their “What?” is a controlled, “I think you know what. If you truly are confused please come see me later and I’ll help you to understand." The later statement strips him of his power and requires him to respond positively under your terms. My estimate is that 9 out of 10 times a real Jerk will not follow up – they know exactly “What” they’ve done.
  5. Don’t negotiate or debate with terrorists or three year olds.
  6. Do immediately disengage and return to whatever you were doing before your encounter with the Jerk.

Enjoy the fact that the Jerk no longer enjoys behaving like one around you. Remember we can not change people, only their behavior around us.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Expand Your Network: Volunteer

No time for volunteering because you're busy networking to expand your business? Think again! Who better to include in your network than like-minded passionate yet diverse people. Most likely you will meet many people you would have never met. Remember everybody either knows someone or personally needs your services or product at some point.

Before you join yet another business referral network or a second Chamber of Commerce, consider donating that same commitment of time to a cause. It seldom, if ever, requires a monetary commitment. You can make a difference in the world and meet just as many people.

Tips when choosing a charity or special cause:
  • Look for a group or organization that may have had an impact on your life or someone close to you.
  • Choose an activity or role that you will enjoy. You want to shine. There are plenty to choose from so don't pick something you dread; it wont bring out the best in you.
  • Ask about opportunities that fit your time schedule. Some are long term project commitments and others don't matter when you come or go.
  • Pick an activity that exposes you to other volunteers.

Networking happens at all levels. I encourage you to diversify, create opportunities, and lastly go to sleep at night knowing you did something really cool for someone else.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Integrity as a Leadership Base

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it hundreds of times “Leadership is not any one method taught by an instructor. Leadership is developed from within with the support and guidance of an expert.” As a Leadership Coach I challenge people already in leadership roles, to reflect on integrity. That’s right; I want them to start with the core of what is most important.

Does it really surprise any of you that I wouldn’t sidestep the hard stuff? If you want to ruffle my feathers just question my integrity. When my client said, “Jake, Intention… Integrity… Ingenious!!! Thank you for listening & finding the “I’s” in me.” I opened an excellent Syrah and smiled. That’s how much I value integrity. It is the foundation for leadership – and we all have it in us!

”The glue that holds all relationships together -- including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” --Brian Tracy

Ahhh, well said Brian!

Here’s a quote you’ll want to read, wait, read again, ponder, re-read and then entirely agree:

”Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.” --Ayn Rand

See what I mean?

If you are struggling with work-life balance, use integrity as your starting point for your personal and professional development journey.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Life Leadership

When it comes to our daily lives I pose the question, "Who's leading you?" Could the answer be my clients, my kids, my finances, my staff, or even... my dog? When a client said, "my dog" I knew it was time to blog!

Laura has a lot going on her life. She is a mother of two children in elementary school. She is head of household with a husband that is 70% on the road. She is a school volunteer. She is an author. She is the owner of an adopted 5 year old dog. She believed she had some sort of balance in her life until the dog entered the picture.

Perception is reality and if you believe someone or something is running your life - then it is. If you believe that you have the authority to make your own decisions and control your perspective - you are the leader in your own life.

You decide to be active rather than passive. The busy mom decides on the compromises that often take place. The business owner decides to let a call go to voice mail while she completes the project on her desktop. The community volunteer decides just how much responsibility she will assume for a project. The wife decides how she will spend her time with her husband. The woman who is all of these decides if she will enlist the help of others. You decide to lead yourself enough to love yourself.

But what about the dog? Is the dog part of your family or a pest? It depends on your perception. How do you make decisions about your family, more specifically, your children? You plan meals, babysitters, playmates, doctor appointments and the like. You prioritize & compromise based on the needs of all those around you - including you. You decide if the "baby" is a burden or a blessing.

If the dog is a pest, do what you do with all other pests: get rid of it. Give someone else the opportunity to decide on the dog's behalf.

There are limits to how much we can do in a day. Knowing your limits allows you to actively make decision - to be a leader. Embrace the life leader in you, discover a life full of choices.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Quick fix for what gets under our skin

Every so often someone does something that is unsettling or annoying. I've been known to say something like, "Seriously?" That someone could be family, friend, client or coworker. Regardless they are still human. Here are some quick steps save your energy, recover, and move on to what's important to you.

Ask your self the following:
  1. Can I let it go?
  2. Will I let it go?
  3. When will I let it go?

Act with intention and concentrate on what matters in your life.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


"Treasure the one who is thinking of you when all others are thinking of themselves."
James Gunn

"This is your time -- call out to others and they will come."
Jake Tuschinski

Today was an amazing day in history. No doubt you have heard or read the words of our 44th President. No doubt you feel the desire to be a part of this world in which we live. Support your network and let them know how they can support you.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I love Mondays!!!

I love Monday because it represents the beginning of my workweek and the kids' school week. It is my fresh start. It's a new week! For that matter I can say the first week in a new month is equally exciting. Who doesn't like new - rhetorical question of course.

Tips for creating newness for Monday:
  1. Review your plans for this week and the events that will take place only this week.
  2. Create a NEW call list on Friday to begin on Monday.
  3. Observe that you have been away from the office for two days and the smell is different than last Friday's smell.
  4. Wear your into your business attire even if you don't have an appointment. You'll feel confident and stylish no doubt.
  5. You have 5 new days to accomplish something on your to-do, goals, or wish list. Decide what that will look like the prior Friday so you can jump right in and get started on Monday.
  6. Observe the heightened and fresh energy of those around you. They may not be aware of it but you are and you can FEEL it. It feels great, new & refreshing. Enjoy!

I wish you a great new Monday!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A little something for you!

It's a given that women lack the ability to be selfish. Women want to pamper themselves and be pampered. Have you ever seen a woman's magazine that does not include "ways to treat yourself?" Editors know that we fantasize about doing nice things just for us. Most women don't actually act on it.

Recently a group of successful business owner were given the challenge of doing something nice form themselves each day for a week. Assuming their dedication to discipline as required by their business ethic you would think this an easy task. Shocker... only one woman met the challenge.

Here's the kicker, they are big thinkers and dreamers so they thought it was necessary to do something significant. Significant resulted in unachievable when expected to occur daily. The woman who succeeded scaled down her ideas and was quite happy. One of her simple pleasures was to quietly step outside of her world and shave her legs. She tuned out the world and tuned into herself. She stroked her smooth legs and smiled as she shared her simple pleasure.

Give yourself the gift of a guilt-free simple pleasure each day of the week.