This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Peace and compassion

I just got word that a family member is dying. If you know anyone who is dealing with an addiction, of any kind, and is in need of extreme healing, as my family member is, would you set aside a few moments today to pray for peace and compassion?

Thank you.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My book: Backroads & Byways of Arizona

Kermit Hummel, editorial director, Countryman Press, had this to say today about my book (so I am told by Kim Grant, the acquisitions editor):

"...just went through the proofs for Backroads & Byways of Arizona. What a splendid little book. It just makes the place incredibly interesting and varied. Great job on this by Jackie Dishner."

You must celebrate your successes, so as they say in Twitterland, "Woot!"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Women in transition: how to move forward

To transform your life in transition, no matter what obstacles you're facing at the moment, take advantage of my BIKE philosophy. In a nutshell, this is how it works:

Part 1:

Decide what it means to be your Best self.

Part 2:
Believe that you can draw on your Inner strength to deal.

Part 3:

Trust those Killer instincts of yours (that's your inner guide) to show you the way.

Part 4:
Use your Expressive voice to ask for help as needed.

Each Part of my BIKE philosophy requires Awareness. You must know who you are at your core. The four parts of the mental BIKE will tell you who that is. It's about awareness. Ultimately, awareness leads to healing, healing leads to growth, growth moves you forward.

It can be that simple.

Your thoughts, questions, concerns?

(Photo above taken by Jackie Dishner at the mine museum in Jerome, Ariz., 2009)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Domestic Violence: coming to a workplace near you

As people continue to lose jobs, default on mortgages, and hear about their neighbors shooting their families--or strangers--dead, can you tell domestic violence is on the rise? Just read the papers, and you can see the toll this economy is having on the American psyche. What the papers don't talk about much is that domestic violence doesn't stop at home. If you think it's not affecting the businesses where you work, shop and play, you'd be wrong, says a business consultant who helps companies create policy that can save lives--and save those companies millions of dollars.

Meet Stephanie Angelo. You can call her a hero. After learning more about her work from an interview she did with personal safety trainer Larry Kaminer, I know I do.

The cost of domestic violence in the workplace is hidden in a lack of productivity, which costs more than $700 million to corporate America, says Angelo, who experienced domestic violence in her own home as a child, and is also the author of Bringing the Darkness into the Light, a book of stories, safety information and resources.

When you think about the work that she does--for example, skills training/role playing that helps managers become aware of the symptoms--it makes sense that her work is needed on the job. Who can focus at work when your body is feeling bruises, your mind fears what's going to happen later at home, and you have no one to turn to for help? Or, even if you did, you wouldn't feel safe asking and might be too afraid to speak up: people might judge you; you might lose your job. Management doesn't necessarily know how to deal with domestic violence. You don't take a class on it in business school. So management may not even know how to approach an employee about it. They wouldn't know what to say if they did. And they worry about the legal ramifications.

That's where Angelo comes in to save the day. She helps companies create policy that answers all of these questions and more--and helps them make sure it's sustainable, that is, that it's long-lasting. She offers on-going consulting services to make sure that it is.

And that's why I wanted to know more about what Angelo does because one part of my BIKE philosophy involves speaking out, using your Expressive voice, being able to ask for help when you need it. It's not only the domestic violence victims that need to do this, it's also the company president, the VPs, the managers, and also the employees needed to get the job done. No one is signaled out in her training services, so even if victims or abusers are present, no one has to know. They just need to know there is something both can do about it.

Angelo does face her own challenges in convincing companies her work is needed. So after I listened to her interview with Kaminer, I invited her to answer a few more questions for me so that I could share them with you. Here's what Angelo had to say about domestic violence in the workplace today:

Do you work with mostly large corporations, or is this something smaller companies buy into as well?

My clients have ranged from 150 – 600 employees. But I think that’s more a matter of coincidence. I could work with any size company and one thing I talk about is that it exists in companies of all sizes, like the one I mentioned in the interview that only had 8 people.

What kinds of issues are you dealing with most recently, since the economy has tanked? Has that brought out more of these domestic violence situations? Are companies stepping up? Or not?

The economy has hurt every one of us. So many of my contacts are saying they want to wait until 2010. Even then I have no guarantees the work will come through. It seems like everyone is waiting for everyone else. At the same time, I have several paid speaking engagements this fall and some client trainings and webinars.

In terms of how the economy is affecting DV occurrences – they have increased and worse is that the perpetrator seems (in my opinion) to take more family members out with the relationship partner. It seemed in the past that it wasn’t that often that they killed, or severely hurt just the relationship partner. [They didn't hurt] the kids and/or extended family. Now, it seems more often they kill a group. For example, the case of singer Jennifer Hudson’s family, or the man in California who dressed as Santa and killed 9 people at his wife’s house, or the man here in Phoenix who killed everyone and then himself. This is serious – and companies need to understand the offenders are our employees too.

In his interview with you, Larry Kaminer mentioned three things--apathy, complacency, denial--as key roadblocks in this kind of work. How do you overcome them?

I’m not sure you do. I have developed a thicker skin to rejection. I have a 5-minute pity party with myself and then pick up the phone again. I get rejected a lot. What sustains me is the clients that I do work with and how much they believe in the value of the work. What also sustains me is that every time I do a training or a presentation I’m contacted by people who tell me I helped them, or that I made a difference, that after they heard me or I was in their workplace, they contacted the resources I provided and got help; and that they would not have done that before I was there.

Is there a hero in your workplace like Stephanie Angelo?

If you've ever witnessed a domestic violence situation in your workplace, did you know what to do? Maybe Angelo can help.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thoughts on leadership

There's not much about leadership I learned in a book or in a class. Most of what I know about leadership I learned after a wedding.

Take, for instance, my first marriage. I was a teenage bride who married because the baby was due in a month. Of course, I didn't see it that way at the time. Back then, I was in love! Yet when I finished high school and was ready to move on to college, my husband didn't want me to. We had an understanding, but he reneged, so I had to let him go. I left the title of wife behind for "single parent" and led my two kids off to college. That was the beginning of what I would come to understand as my learning to lead years. Those were tough years ahead for the three of us, but I knew I was modeling my first lesson to my "underlings"--the importance of education.

Then, there was my second husband. We dated in college and married a year after graduation. When he died not two months after the "I dos," I played follow the leader this time, as my new in-laws led me and my two kids directly to their house one state away to begin rebuilding a life that never even had to chance to be. Six months later, I took over from there, as it was time to move on and really start over. I led my kids back home to Phoenix and taught them this: hard times do not keep you down. Only you can do that.

This time, I had a degree and a little financial security to take with us. We were fine till I met "third guy's the charm." He happened to be everything but, and I married him anyway. We stayed together for about 13 years, till I found out he lived secret lives with other women. Instead of falling apart, I had to take the lead in this game as well, leading our butts into divorce court where everything--for the most part--was split 50-50. The betrayal left me with one of the hardest lessons of all: man does not always play fair--so you have to try your best to stay ahead of the game.

It's been five years since then, and I've since gone on to avoid those partnerships with might include me at the alter. Still, through all of my trials and errors, otherwise known as marriage, I've learned this about leadership:

_Leaders make mistakes, but more importantly, they overcome them.

_Leaders are kind to their underlings, but also firm, so the job gets done.

_Leaders can be late. They can procrastinate. They can even miss a deadline. But they cannot make excuses.

_Leaders know communication is a two-way street, but that it just takes one of you to open the dialogue. Leaders go first.

_Leaders understand boundaries: which ones to cross and which ones to avoid.

_Leaders are naturally drawn to people who will help them succeed.

_The best leaders care enough to listen, and they don't get involved in projects or people they're not passionate about.

_And leaders know when it's best to step aside.

Having learned from your own partnerships, do you have anything to add?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Question of the Day!

Feeling a little angst? Having difficulty moving forward? If you want to get unstuck and release unnecessary stress, it might be time to call your advocates?

Which brings me to the question of the day:

Do you know who your advocates are?

According to author and motivational speaker--who may be a new client of mine--Ed Robinson, your advocates are the gatekeepers to your success. They are the people who can help open doors for you and make things happen. But you have to be willing to ask them for help. Are you willing?

If you don't know who your advocates are, or are unsure, it's time to make a list of all the people you know who have some kind of connection that you need in order to move your business or your life forward.

Once you know who your advocates are, you can then decide how they might be able to help you. You can begin to find new advocates the next time you are at a networking event. If you make a connection with someone at this event, after you get the person's business card, be sure to schedule a meeting. Spend some time getting to know this person one-on-one. Focus on listening to what this person has to say. Maybe there's something you can offer this person first. Maybe this person will become your advocate.

To move away from what might sometimes seem like a scary place in the corner where you're all by yourself, feeling alone and unsure, you have to be willing to ask for help. That's using the E element of your mental BIKE, that Expressive voice--the part of you that knows (because of your Killer instinct) where to locate the help you need. You are naturally drawn to the people you need to meet, the places you need to be, the things you need to do. Your advocates are waiting for you.

And, if Robinson is right, they will listen.

So who's on your list?

(Above photo taken by Jackie Dishner at the Asylum restaurant in Jerome, Ariz., 2009.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

I quit!

Have you ever been involved in a job that became so frustrating, so agonizing, so detrimental to your personal well-being that just wanted to, well, quit?

I run into such jobs every now and then. I can recall one from a few years back that I just knew left the bridge burning behind as I walked away. Later, I found out it didn't.

But, at the time, I sure thought that was the case. But it had to be done. Here's why:

I was working on a trend story for a business publication about building and office security systems. The editor had assigned me a story that just wasn't there. Every source she gave me, and every source I contacted either wouldn't provide information, discuss the idea, or wouldn't respond at all. I'm talking associations and everything. It was frustrating.

And in the middle of trying to track down sources, information, quotes, and a story line that would fly, I was sick with the flu.

C'mon! I just needed 800 words! I had all the background detail. I just needed the quotes to personalize the story and a few anecdotes to help illustrate something. Anything. I felt desperate!

Then, I finally got a source. I finally felt like I could get somewhere on this story. So I sent him questions by e-mail, his preference. He answered them promptly. But at the very bottom of all of his lengthy responses, he wrote this: "I don't want to be quoted, and I don't want you to use this information in print." What?! This wasn't a top security issue. It wasn't even going to cause any kind of embarrassment to anyone or any thing. There was no crisis involved. He knew I was interviewing him for a story. I just didn't get it. The story was about a current trend and what the industry was doing about it. I was left wondering: Then why on earth did he respond at all?

But I didn't take much time to ponder that. I was sick. And I was tired. Without thinking about it too much, I immediately sent an e-mail to my editor. I'd been corresponding with her off and on for two weeks, keeping her updated on the progress, mostly lack thereof, questioning whether we'd get a story at all. But she just kept urging me to go on. Trust me. The pay was minimal. And my next action was imminent. I told my editor she could have the story back. I could no longer spend time on it. It was beginning to affect my bottom line. Or, I wrote something to that effect. In other words, I quit.

Not surprisingly, I never heard back from her again. And I had to be okay with that, because the job really wasn't helping me to grow my business. I didn't need the clips. I needed income. After several years of freelancing for this publication, I had come to the conclusion that I could simply move on and find higher paying assignments elsewhere. I did that. When I later reconnected with this editor, she never mentioned this story. Maybe she got it, after all.

The point is, there are times when you need to let go of those business relationships that aren't moving you forward. There are good times to quit. And successful people do this frequently, says Seth Godin, marketing guru, author, and popular buisness blogger.

In Godin's 2007 "little book that teaches you when to quit (and when to stick) called The Dip, that's exactly what he says. You have to have the guts to know when it's time to move on. A lot of people in my business don't know that. We think we have to keep doing something for the wrong reasons: for clips; for the chance to have a job; just because we started it; for the publication credit; for whatever. But if the job you're doing isn't moving you in the direction that you know you want to go, in the direction that fuels your focused and well-thought out goals, then you might need to pay more attention to Godin's advice about the concept of "strategic" quitting:

_Ride out the dip--the parts of a job that may seem less than thrilling--if the end result gets you where you want to go. It will likely pan out, Godin says.
_Get out of the dead-end job, or what Godin calls the cul-de-sacs, quickly. Then you can focus your direction more accurately.

The bottom line: Never quit when the finish line is in sight. But if you don't see it coming at all, seriously consider this contest may not be for you. Godin says, the key is to "quit the right stuff at the right time." It could affect your well-being to do otherwise.

What are your thoughts? Do you think I quit the right job at the right time? Have you ever quit a job when you thought that was the best you could do? Post a comment and share your story. I'd love to hear from you.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Think you can THINK your way to success?

Every time I spot a bike in a public setting, it makes me smile. It reminds me of what has continued to move me forward in what could have been a broken down life back in 2002. My dusty old Huffy, propped up by its rusty old kickstand in my garage for eight years, doing nothing more than taking up space, called out to me when I needed it most. A devine calling is what I refer to it as, my lifesaver. When I had to replace that old thing with a Trek, it was still a bike that brought me to where I am today--a successful and spirited entrepreneur who helps others move their lives forward as well. Therefore, how could the image of a bike NOT put a smile on my face?!

I was thinking about that when I met a woman this afternoon at a networking event. Before we sat down and the meeting began, she cornered me in back of the room and asked if I knew about The Secret.

"Yes, I know about that. I'm not a subscriber, though."

"But don't you believe in the power of positive thinking?" she asked.

"Well, of course," I responded, "But I don't believe you can just think your way to success."

For the next several minutes, while I fidgeted, looking for my escape from this woman who was pushing personal boundaries to the limit, she tried to convince me why she was right. I've explored The Secret. I read parts of the book when it first came out a few years ago. I've discussed it with friends. I've seen the reviews. I'm just not a fan. No big deal, right?


For the rest of the meeting, she made sure to extoll the virtues of her beliefs on the rest of the group, proclaiming, "I teach that," every single time she had the chance.

Now, hey, I'm not one to avoid or chastise self-promotion. It's how we attract people to our products and services. Marketing is necessary and who better to sell what you're selling than you. That's true, provided you don't have to force feed your audience. Any time you feel you must do that, no matter how passionate you may be, it seems inauthentic to me, and I don't trust it. If, while you're talking to me, I'm backing away, it's a good clue I'm not interested. It's not personal; it's just that I draw the line at open-mindedness when I've already explored an idea and rejected it. No use covering the same material all over again.

Besides, it's not that I don't believe in the Law of Attraction. I do. I do think that like attracts like. In fact, I met a man once in a bar where I was having an early dinner. The guy sat right next to me, so I engaged him in conversation. We wound up talking about our divorces. He from his spouse. Me from mine. Then, all of a sudden, he invited me to a singles outing and followed that up with this line: "Like attracts like, you know." Oh, geez. "Check, please," I called out to the waiter, ending the conversation. This couldn't possibly go anywhere good, I thought.

So certainly your thoughts affect your actions, and that's my point. They should be well-thought out thoughts, and they should be followed by well-thought out actions. The Secret, in my opinion, leads one to believe that all you have to do is think you'll have success and there it will be. For as long as it's been around (She claimed, "6,000 years."), I'm just not a believer.

I don't think you can think your way to success or riches or whatever drives your passion. You must do what another speaker I know teaches and take steps to move forward. Thoughts are barely the beginning.

That's why the image of a bike is so moving for me. It reminds me that there is action left to do, that there is movement yet to occur, that what I want is there for me if only I reach out and do something to make it happen. Thus, my thoughts can lead me to success, but only the planning part. The real success comes with that forward movement, taken one turn of the wheel at a time. It's how I've gotten through a difficult childhood, the death of a spouse, a complicated divorce from another. It's how I deal with whatever challenges me now.

If you're looking for a tool or a mechanism to help you map out your success today, I hope you'll consider adopting my special brand of BIKE and make it your own. Yes, there's work to do. But stick with me, and I'll keep leading you onward. You can ask me questions. You can hire me to coach you through it. You can come riding with me, if you like. I'll lead the way. That's what my 8th grade teacher told me to do when she autographed my yearbook with this inscription, "Keep leading them on!" I didn't quite understand what she meant back then. But if I could see her now, I'd let her know I'm finally following her advice.

What do you think?

(Photo above taken by Jackie Dishner, Jerome, Ariz., 2009.)