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Confessions of a Chronic Giver Or Why I’m Focused on Asking for Help in 2018

By Emily Crookston

So I usually don’t get personal and touchy-feely on this very business-y, snarky, and super wise blog. But I’m finishing up a 90-Day stint with my peer coaching “circle” with Savor the Success and I’m in a reflective kind of mood. Also, it’s still the beginning of the year, so I’m considering milestones from last year to inform my business strategy for 2018.

Plus, I like to list the things that I’ve learned more than I like to create new goals. Both are important, but actually learning and embodying the knowledge of the big lessons in business and in life are crucial to deciding what to learn next.

My list from 2017 is less of a list and more of a single declaration, though: Ask for help.

You can read self-help books, spirituality books, business books, superwoman and superman books. You can learn from business and life coaches. But if you really pay attention, a lot of the same stuff rings true. You hear it over and over again: Ask for help. And receive help gracefully.

The real power of Give. Give. Get.

The Savor mantra, which I love, is Give. Give. Get. I like to give generously when I can—and I do—and I know that there is a giving back, as I have received. The problem is, because I am a chronic giver, I have the tendency to NOT receive real well, if I’m not working on it. I prefer to give. It makes me feel important, powerful, stronger than I am perhaps. But if receiving is a problem, then my giving is out of control, and it took me until pretty recently to realize it.

I’d suggest that most people (especially many women-type people) are chronic over-givers. Martyrdom is a serious problem for humans. We like to think that we are going to “get back” when we give. And no matter how much we tell ourselves we are giving and letting go, there’s still that little piece of us that suggests the universe or the business world or our families or our partners OWE US.

“An eye for an eye” and all that. But...that’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

When the “getting” doesn’t happen, people like me (and there are tons of us out there—shout out to the chronic over-givers of the world!) SHUT DOWN. We get frustrated. Clarity declines and there is a tendency to wallow in the misery of “it’s not fair.” Meanwhile, most of the time, if I would have just hung on for about 5 more minutes before falling into the depths of despair and railing against the universe for its tragic injustice, I would have seen the benefit of my efforts in giving.

And this is how I understand the real power of Give. Give. Get. In order to reap the benefits of what we give to the world, we have to be open to receiving—whatever that means.

Because it’s not a simple thing to do! Hand-in-hand with martyrdom often comes passive aggression and being passive-aggressive is a terrible, cowardly way of relating to people.

How often do you want people to just know what you want?

How often do you expect people to just read your mind, figure you out, and give you what you need when you need it?

And how’s that working out for you?

From passive aggression to confident assertion.

In the business world, this approach is an absolute killer.

Successful people are decidedly not passive-aggressive. Success comes from an unfailing faith in yourself and the confidence of knowing that nothing can get in your way. Their confidence becomes a beautiful, contagious source of energy and elevation. We trust people who are confident. We question people who are passive-aggressive.

You know what else success does for you? It gives you the confidence to ask for help. Asking for what we need from the world, rather than giving in the hopes that we’ll get the same in return, is turning passive aggression into confident assertion.

And it all comes back to learning how to gracefully ask and receive.

When you are strong and respected, when you create bright boundaries, when you inspire and motivate people because you are amazing in your amazingness, people want so badly to help. They want to participate, they want to play a role in lifting you up and in contributing to your greatness.

Chronic givers tend to be better at seeing exactly what others want, swooping in at the exact right moment to give it to them, and then feeling depleted as a result of all of the work and perceived underappreciation. Then when depletion sets in, we don’t ask for help. We wallow in the injustice.

So instead of wallowing in the mud of chronic giving, I’m working on pulling back on the reins a bit. My next 90-Day Vision is going to be all about setting bright boundaries. I’m going to focus on pausing before I jump in with the offer to give. I’m going to look at my own well of resources before giving out or taking in. I’m going to make this a daily practice. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here’s my best practices list for learning how to gracefully ask for help in business and in life:

1. Before you give, look at what you have.

You can’t give what you don’t have—seems obvious, right? And even if you “know” exactly what someone else needs in any given circumstance, make sure that you really have the stores of resources (time, energy, money, whatever) to give. You’re not going to give someone something and immediately have it restored for you.

And if you feel that you don’t need whatever you’re considering giving away, second guess yourself. Every. Time. Resentment sets in strongly when you give and later regret the obligation you created for yourself. There’s a good reason you put your oxygen mask on first.

2. When you realize that you are missing something, reflect on it.

This does NOT mean blame yourself or someone else for whatever you are “missing.” It is a part of being human to be missing something. There is no such thing as perfection. There is no such thing as never screwing up. We’re here to learn. Admit that to yourself. Say it outloud if you need to. So you are able to stay clear enough to actually solve your problems, rather than just wallowing in them.

Most often, high-functioning people think they’re invincible and forget to take care of themselves. Take care of yourself. Eat breakfast. Savor your down time. Spend time with people you love. Exercise your body and mind and emotions so that they are effective for you as tools, rather than obstacles.

The more you take care of yourself, the more aware you become of what you need, what you don’t need and what you’re missing. It changes daily. There’s never a precipice of “I’ve gotten there, and now I get to just be here in perfection!” Instead, work on maintaining being in a good space and knowing it so well that you know exactly what you need…and what you don’t need.

3. Ask for help.

High-functioning people can also tend toward narcissism (eh hem)…and we forget that we can’t actually hold up the world’s business on top of our little shoulders all alone. There are 10 billion other people in the world and I know most of the time it feels like they are just here to get in our way. But we’re actually incredibly powerful helpers for each other—if we we allow it to be—if we learn how to ask for help when we need it, in clear, compassionate, expressive language.

Delegation is from B-School 101. Part of being a great business person, and a successful person in general, is finding the best people to support you, and to trust and rely on them with all you’ve got.

There’s somebody in the world that you’d trust with your life, your kids, your checking account, your health, your will. Trust more than just that somebody. Trust a whole bunch of people with that stuff. The more incredible people you have in your life, the better things are, and the more you are capable of handling the stuff that truly only you can handle.

4. Choose the right team, then let it go.

There’s a good bit of letting go in all of this. You’ve got to let go of thinking that only you can manage your company, only you can orchestrate your people, only you can parent your children, only you can handle your finances. This is stuff that everybody does. So if you can’t trust the best of the best of the people you pick to be on your team, then you’re simply overinflating your own importance in the world…and that leads to…well…becoming just like the crazy cartoon characters (AKA politicians) in the news.

So recruiting the best team of people you can muster is huge. Your support system, your board, your partners, your chief information leaders…cultivate them as family. And then lean on them when you need to. Know yourself, your work, and your dynamics well enough to know what help you need and when you need it. There’s not going be just one person you should rely on for everything…that’s unreasonable. Instead, look at the strong, bright and unique strengths of the people you trust and assign them to do that very thing for you, so you don’t have to do it yourself.

Ultimately, asking for help makes others feel important and more valuable, especially when their unique talents are being used in a spectacular way that maybe no one else could see. Asking someone to use their most favorite and underutilized gift makes her feel seen and heard in a way that solidifies personal bonds and makes people feel good about what they are doing.

And if it just so happens that what they want to do is exactly what you need at any given time, you’ve got yourself an incredible value that hasn’t taken away from anyone or anything. Instead, it has lifted up everyone and builds a team that is unstoppable, dynamic, and inevitably, very profitable.

Here’s to profitability paired with higher perspectives and a bigger picture of growth, where the money and the energy follows the goodness. I’ll keep you posted about my next 90 days. I have a feeling the best is yet to come!

If you’re ready to ask for help, I’d love to be on your unstoppable, dynamic, and inevitably, very profitable team. Contact me today and let’s chat!

[keyword: ask for help]

Look Beyond Busy-Shaming

 By Emily Crookston

The end of the year is the perfect time to Look Beyond. As our work lives start to slow down and our personal lives begin to ramp up, we naturally begin projecting all of our hopes and dreams into the year ahead. But it’s never a good idea to look beyond, without first looking back. It’s so crucial to take time out to reflect.

So, I’m taking a moment to reflect (in front of all my closest friends in Internet-land, of course).

In the past, a chaotic week like this would have left me feeling drained, overly anxious, and feverishly reading articles about the possibility of time travel being invented in my lifetime late at night, while desperately trying to escape the clutches of insomnia (so many low-ranking feelings).

But despite being busy and missing some opportunities to channel my inspiration into creative outlets, I don’t feel frustrated or stifled. I feel free and calm and present.

I’ve been reflecting on this change in myself and wondering what it means for me moving forward and what I might have to share with you. Because don’t we all want to know the secret to feeling more free and calm and present?

Psst, my secret is…I feel free and calm and present.

That’s it. That’s my secret.


I know you’re thinking there must be more to it because I’ve been thinking there must be more to it and we’re all taught there is more to it. We’re all taught to believe if we just make it over the next hurtle or beyond the next obstacle, then we’ll feel satisfied and we’ll finally have arrived wherever it is we’re supposed to have been going for so long. But somehow we never quite make it. The goal posts keep moving.

What if, instead, we all just decided to be where we are right now?

It’s better.

I swear.

And…you know it’s better.

So why is it so hard to DO it?

Answer: We have been assimilated into a culture of busy-shaming.

I’ve been feeling this for a while and now it seems science has gotten around to backing up that feeling. A study conducted by researchers from Columbia University, Georgetown University, and Harvard University concluded that a busy and overworked lifestyles has become an aspirational status symbol for Americans. The perception is that a busy person possesses desired characteristics (e.g., competence and ambition) and is in high demand in the job market.

The moral of the story? If you want to be in with the cool kids, make sure you make a show of being busy (and put away that resting bitch face, while you’re at it)!

So much ink has been spilled over the “Trap of Busyness.” It seems that everyone has something to say about what busyness really means, how to avoid falling into the non-productive type of busyness, or how to get beyond the fog of busyness.

But here’s the thing: we’re chided for filling our lives with tedious, superficial, boring tasks that make us unhappy. At the same time, we are bombarded by pressure to be more productive, more efficient, and to do more with less. Feeling busy seems like a perfectly rational response to such pressure.

And the last time I checked, shaming people into changing never actually succeeds as a motivational tactic. And believing that it might is a definite sign of one’s privilege and mean girl (or guy) status.

Consider this post a public service announcement: I refuse to participate in this busy-shaming culture. I believe feeling busy is a choice because I have chosen feeling busy over feeling free before and I have used being busy as an excuse to avoid doing things I was afraid to do before. And I know (and in my finest hours, I even manage to remember) if you want to stop feeling busy, you need to stop being busy.

To make this change, you don’t need me to bully you into believing that feeling busy is a low-ranking feeling. You already know. You don’t need me to bully you into believing that being free and calm and present is better. You already know.

When I think about what it means to Look Beyond, I think about what it means to say STOP. What it means to change our perception of ourselves and our lives and our businesses. What it means to find new ways to solve problems we didn’t even know we had.

Limited thinking stops us both from honestly looking back and boldly looking beyond. So here’s to more unlimited thinking in 2018. Will you join me in feeling more free and calm and present?


Emily Crookston

Emily Crookston is the owner of the Pocket PhD. She is a content marketer, ghostwriter, former professor, and pocket resource for your business. When she’s not writing intensely, she’s most likely practicing yoga intensely. She lives for coffee shops that play great music to write to and desserts topped with *real* whipped cream.


Website: https://www.thepocketphd.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thepocketphd/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emily-crookston-b94956b1/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EMCrookston


Quieting the Inner Critic Or How I’m Teaching Myself Self-Compassion

 By Emily Crookston

“Come on, idiot, what are you doing?”

“Pay attention! Stop being stupid!”

“Stop wasting time and get to work!”

“Well, you’ve screwed up again. Surprise, surprise!”

Good God, this person is a jerk. Who is saying this stuff? Who in the world would speak to someone that way? Is that your boss? Is it your parents? Is it your spouse or your best friend?

Maybe, but a greater likelihood, especially if you’re reading this blog, is that it’s your own inner critic. Yikes! How does anybody live that way? Well, shoot. So many of us entrepreneurs do.

We want to play bigger. We want to work harder. We want to shoot for the stars. We want to hold ground and demand presence in the strongest kind of way. But then, in aiming for the stars, we blow out our rocket boosters before we’ve ever even gotten off the ground.

Now go back to the first questions here: who in the world would speak to someone in this fashion? We would never speak to others that way. We would never be so rude or harsh, especially as women to each other—no way, (wo)man—we would much prefer to be passive aggressive about everything and then go home and beat ourselves up. Ugh.

And then the inner voice starts again with its down-putting meanie-pants running commentary because it knows what it sees here is true. Okay, now, stop, drop, and roll...

Here’s the thing: when we spend time and resources beating ourselves up, rather than making an effort to shift and grow and change, we get really tired. And then we beat ourselves up more. And it’s pretty counterproductive, but it’s societally ingrained. It’s normal and we don’t openly talk about it this way. It’s not culturally expected to offer ourselves love, forgiveness, and compassion, or to bring softness to the everyday business mindset.

It sucks! But it can help to remember that EVERYBODY feels this way to some extent. Stop. Just STOP! Let’s make it trendy to take care of ourselves for crying out loud!

There are many many tools that are available for everyday use that we neglect. And sometimes we even go to business seminars where there is a keynote speaker, offering the “novel” concept that we are flawed humans who make mistakes, but the whole point is to learn from them and move on. We listen, we smile, we nod our heads, we agree in our heart of hearts, and then we go on to the next scheduled task and go back to beating ourselves up again.

So offering ourselves compassion and in so doing, quelling the inner critic, is a daily practice. It’s a focused mindset. Just like there’s no such thing as dieting to lose weight. It’s all about making lifestyle changes, which requires a new way of thinking. But it’s really hard to change the way we think. And it’s an inside job.

So first, we have to acknowledge that we are hearing the inner critic. I’m reading an amazing book called Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead by Tara Mohr and learning a ton!

For example: How do you know if you’re hearing the inner critic?

Here are some red flags that let you know your inner critic is taking the lead, that inner voice is:

1. Harsh, rude, mean.

2. Binary (a black-and-white thinker).

3. Masquerading as the “voice of reason.”

4. The voice of “You aren’t ready yet.”

5. The voice of “You aren’t good at math/negotiating/technical stuff.”

6. The voice of body-perfectionism.

7. The tape (running automatically in your head).

8. A broken record.

9. Irrational, but persistent.

10. The one-two punch (attacks with criticism, and then shames you for having those exact thoughts).

11. Takes inspiration from critical/judgmental people in your life.

Okay, so don’t fret. If you recognize this inner voice, it’s great! It means you’re seeing things clearly and you’re ready to grow from this place! It’s not about seeing what you want to see. It’s about seeing what actually exists. This seeing what actually exists without being upset by it is the highest form of self compassion. It’s the only place from which we can grow.

So the first step in quieting this inner voice is, recognizing it, labeling it, and knowing that it’s there without freaking out about its own realization and reflection.

Next is committing to working with it in a way that offers encouragement and self-respect. If you wouldn’t speak to someone else this way, then you sure as hell don’t need to be speaking to #1 this way, right!?! This is a difficult task, as most humans have difficulty looking at their own self-sabotage. It’s okay. We all do it. Take a breath and keep on keeping on.

Daily Practices to Quiet the Inner Critic

Here are some practices (to be practiced daily!) for the increase of compassion and the decrease of the harsh tones of your inner critic. And know, this is a lifelong practice for many. Let’s support each other rather than sweeping it under the rug!

1. Label and notice: As soon as it happens—there it is, my inner critic speaking to me in a way that I would not speak to someone I respect or love.

2. Separate the “I” from the inner critic: Step back from the inner critic. If you are observing this, then it must not be you, it must be separate from you. Perceive the voice as if it was a stranger criticizing you without knowing a thing about you. Disengage from it and move on.

3. Create a character that personifies your inner critic: Give him/her a name and visual image. This way, you can truly see the critic as someone separate from you...there she/he is, Oscar the Grouch, that stranger who thinks she can just bust on in with advice and criticism without knowing a thing about what’s actually going on here.

4. Compassionately see your inner critic’s motives: Ask your critic about its intentions. What exactly is the goal behind all this? Are you trying to help me? Appreciate the help, truly, and then respond sincerely, “Thanks so much for your input, but I’ve got this!” Then, watch it, visualize it, see it actually move out of the way. Just like anyone or anything, when you bring love and compassion to any table, it will respond accordingly.

5. Look for the humor. How hilarious is it that I give rise to a grumpy character named Oscar that is on TV to illustrate how silly it is to be a jerk! Oscar the Grouch is really goofy. Laughing at that scene is a great way to chill.

6. Remove your critic from the scene: Sometimes when it’s really necessary, you’ve actually got to escort the jerk out of the room. You can do this with someone you trust or love and you can do it by yourself. Watch you and your support person get up, walk over to Oscar the Grouch, take him by the hand, thank him for his help and graciously send him out of the room. And lock the door. If he throws a tantrum, refer to #5.   :)

7. Journal/Contemplate. Here are some great ways to get to know your inner critic:

• Write down some of the things your inner critic says. What are his/her commonly voiced beliefs?

• Sometimes our inner critics take “inspiration” from people in our lives. Does your inner critic echo any of your external critics?

• Sometimes our inner critics have cultural sources, e.g., “the perfect Southern wife.” What cultural archetypes does your inner critic embody or ask you to live up to?• Looking over your inner critic’s common narratives, brainstorm 5 adjectives that describe your inner critic’s personality, e.g., hyper or anxious or people-pleasing or stubborn.

• Envision a character. Bring your inner critic’s voice to mind. From there start to imagine: if your inner critic were a person, what kind of person would he/she be?

• Notice how personifying the critic lightens his/her influence and help you take him/her less seriously? How does it help you see the critic as one voice within and not the whole of you or the real you?

• If you’re motivated in part by your inner critic, look back: When in your life did you experience a lot motivation that didn’t come from fear and self-doubt? What motivated you then? How did acting from that place feel, and what were the results?

Ultimately, one of the most hostile and violent things people do is offer unsolicited advice. Perspectives are all different. Ideas and motives are different. And offering unsolicited advice to another person is essentially telling someone that they’re not good enough. It’s asking someone to accept your ideas, based upon your own perspective, as better than anyone else’s.

It’s like telling mud that it should instead be sunshine. Mud is great. So is sunshine. Their uniquenesses are what make them important in the world.

So, what’s the lesson here? Don’t give yourself unsolicited criticism that is irrelevant to what is actually happening. There’s a great quote that is attributed to someone, somewhere, and it goes something like this: “Eventually, you need to look at what is actually happening, rather than what you thought should happen.”

And this is the absolute best way to quiet the inner critic. The inner critic is always on about what “should” be, but if we’re always operating in “should” mode, then we can never actually see in “reality” or “is” mode. And reality is where life happens.

Need a hand escorting your inner critic to the door? Give me a call! I’m a lifelong pro, and I’m happy to offer Oscar a hand or a swift kick in the you-know-what. I always hated that damn trash can anyway!


Emily CrookstonEmily Crookston is the owner of The Pocket PhD. She is a content marketer, former professor, and pocket resource for your business. She loves to help small business owners create books, blog posts, articles, email marketing campaigns, and website page content that start conversations. When she’s not writing intensely, she’s most likely practicing yoga intensely. She lives for coffee shops that play good music to write to and desserts topped with real whipped cream.

How to Successfully Practice Acceptance and Participation In Business

By Emily Crookston

Acceptance? What exactly does acceptance mean anyway? Accepting situations as they are without judgement is a good and healthy practice, but how is that possible in the business world? And what about participation? Is participation and brand loyalty a leveraging of acceptance on some level? Or is acceptance a radical delighting in what is a willingness to participate with enthusiasm?

As business leaders, our work depends on acceptance AND participation in whatwe do. And it’s really all about having an abundance mindset.

Have you noticed how our biggest difficulties in life come from situations we either do not accept or feel forced to accept? So we lack enthusiastic participation…or what’s worse, we are forced to participate. No abundance there.

In the business world, the need for an abundance mindset is even clearer. It’s essential to have a mindset that is abundant in doing its thing and doing it well, no matter what the outside world is doing. But it’s also important to recognize that accepting doesn’t always mean participation.

When we lead from a place of abundance, rather than the need to thrill everyone, we find our niche, and we grow brand loyalty so that repeat clientele become family, swear by what we offer, and truly see the value in our product or service.

A Mini Case Study: Harley Davidson

To illustrate this, let’s look at Harley-Davidson, the author of the book on marketing and the understanding of brand loyalty, community, and repeat business based upon radical acceptance.

From the very beginning, Harley-Davidson has been a pompous rebel. A friend of mine worked in the marketing department of one of the individual dealerships as an intern and then as a marketing assistant in her 20s. As a marketing student, it was fascinating to her that everything she had learned about getting more of the market share was out the window here.

Harley-Davidson University suggested that success wasn’t necessarily about getting a larger quantity of customers. It was about creating an awareness of loyalty so that existing customers would become repeat customers, their children would become customers, and everyone at Harley-Davidson was focused on the quality of the customer.

In operating this way since the mid-1900s, Harley has taken its time to create a subculture of clientele who identify with buying high-end motorcycles, as well as all the parts and accessories that we know as Harley lifestyle goods. Indeed, there are people within this subculture that buy very little anywhere other than at a Harley-Davidson dealership.

And just so everyone is aware, the average end price (with parts, accessories, rain gear, boots, etc.) for a first-time Harley buyer used to be around $40,000. The typical customer trades up on their motorcycles every few years, as if it’s a subscription. So basically where Apple has made buying phones sexy, trendy, and a lifestyle component where spending $400 (okay, $800) on a new gadget every year or two is the norm—the “I’m an apple person” scenario—Harley has been doing this for decades on $40,000 gadgets.

Interestingly, Apple stock is valued at about 3 times Harley’s stock, but the difference is that Apple is targeting everybody in the whole world. Harley markets to its family and extended family. At a HOG rally, you’ll talk to people who love their bikes like some people love their pets (or kids). Their bikes are central to the world as they know it.

In other words, the marketing and customer brand loyalty of both radical acceptance AND enthusiastic participation creates a very different way of looking at business or branding. Whereas I can participate in playing with my iPhone without accepting it for what it is or for how much it has become a part of me, loyal Harley drivers BOTH participate and accept how the Harley brand shapes their lives.

Marketing Lessons from Harley-Davidson

So how can we market our products and services in a way that creates brand loyalty? How do we create an intelligent, charismatic beautiful family that both radically accepts and enthusiastically participates with what we are offering for a fee?

The interesting aspect of this is first and foremost that what we offer is the cream of the crop. It’s the best, and as business owners, we value it beyond measure. We have experienced the benefits of our product or service to have come to a place where we both radically accept and also enthusiastically participate in what we offer as well.

Then radical acceptance + enthusiastic participation, AKA really super awesomely good brand and subculture marketing is the perfect scenario. It’s a grassroots effort, but it can be done. And when it’s done well, you’ve got yourself a solid following that you can really rely upon in the long term.

So what are all the things that Harley-Davidson does to market its subculture to its international business family?

Here’s the short list:

1. They have really good products that no one else comes close to offering, and their business model has great intentions behind it. They make everything in the USA, so their profit margins are slightly lower than some, but their reliability of cash flow is always there because they have a sustainable clientele. They do well in the world by helping their local economies and stimulating local growth wherever they host events. They are good to their employees, who are treated as part of the family too, after all. They’re loud, they’re proud, and they’re good for business everywhere they go. And, they often pay in cash!

2. They know their clientele inside and out. And they seek daily to get to know them better. Personally. They do more of their market research in a personal way than you’d imagine was possible. This is old-fashioned facetime. There’s no one that does better market research than Harley. When you have a big family, word spreads fast and like any good family, they support each other in doing good stuff, so there is constant communication.

3. They are heavy into event marketing. Anything from little dealership holiday open houses to week-long events in various areas of the country where a half million bikes obnoxiously roll into town (yeah, I used to live in Myrtle Beach where locals planned their vacations around Bike Week). When they do this, they bring people and other businesses together.

4. They write and are interviewed. A lot. Blogs, books, content, magazine article placements, video, radio, and TV placements, stunt rider promotions on TV—you name it. In the motorcycle industry, no one wants to leave out Harley.

5. They are relaxed. Employees wear jeans everyday. They appreciate their employees and show it. They don’t move fast. They are patient and trust their efforts.

6. They know that their trustworthy clientele is going to participate, but they don’t require it. They’re too cool to be needy. They do everything that they can to market their products as fabulously as possible and then accept the outcomes of their efforts, no matter what happens. They accept their clients as they are giving off a cool and often slightly arrogant “we are the best” vibe. And by offering the coolness, their clients want to participate as much as they can. That’s brand loyalty in a nutshell.

It’s wonderful to be “seen” for what you are, to be accepted for who you are, and it is the ultimate in relating to people when acceptance turns into participation...the perfect recipe for a successful high-quality business.

If you have some great ideas for marketing your business in a special way, give me a call. I’d love to participate in what you’ve got going on!

Bio: Emily Crookston is the owner of The Pocket PhD. She is a content marketer, former professor, and pocket resource for your business. She loves to help small business owners create books, blog posts, articles, email marketing campaigns, and website page content that start conversations. When she’s not writing intensely, she’s most likely practicing yoga intensely. She lives for coffee shops that play good music to write to and desserts topped with real whipped cream.

Defying Well-Rounded Thinking: Capitalizing on Strengths In A World That Focuses On Fixing Weaknesses

By Lauren McGhee, Founder and owner of Lauren McGhee Coaching and a Gallup-certified StrengthsFinder Coach

“To be successful, you have to be a well-rounded person.”

At least, that is what I was told throughout the entirety of my teenage years and early twenties. Candidly, I whole-heartedly disagree.

As a Gallup-certified StrengthsFinder coach, it is my job to help my clients and their teams/staff unveil, understand, and successfully utilize their most natural talents and abilities. In short, we talk about their top Strengths. The beauty of Strengths conversations is that you become fully aware of the talents that you bring to the table, and those talents are the only thing we focus on in coaching sessions. However, I, along with thousands of other Americans, grew up under the teaching that to be truly successful, you must identify your weaknesses, focus on them, and fix them. Sound familiar?

The problem with trying to attain a ‘well-rounded’ persona is simple: none of us are well-rounded individuals. On the contrary, the chances of you having the same top 5 Strengths in the same order as another human being is 1 in 33.3 million. Wait, what?

I am not a math genius by any means. Unfortunately, school systems are primarily set up in a way that if you are not excelling in math, you will be put in more math classes, be paired with math tutors, and take math practice tests for you to get better at it. (Caveat: basic math skills are essential. This is just an example.) But I never got much better at it. You know why? Because when we focus our energy on fixing something that we are not naturally great at, it will just make us really average at that one skill. In contrast, when we put effort and investment into something that is natural for us, it will take us from great to exponentially better than the majority of those around us. Essentially, when we capitalize on our Strengths as opposed to dedicating ourselves to fixing our weaknesses, we are no longer well-rounded individuals; we are incredibly talented individuals.

Seeing our world through a talent filter is not only beneficial to ourselves, but it additionally creates an instinct within us to find the talents within those around us. Your co-workers, employer, spouse, and kids will be thrilled with this new habit of yours.

Give yourself a break, analyze what talents you have to offer the world, and do yourself and those in your life a favor: invest in those incredible talents of yours.

“We cannot be whatever we want to be. We can, however, be a whole lot more of who we already are.” –Tom Rath

History of Monogramming

By Barbara Davidson

Monograms first appeared on coins, as early as 350BC. The earliest known examples are of the names of Greek cities who issued the coins, often the first two letters of the city's name.

Monograms have been used as signatures by artists and craftsmen on paintings, sculptures and pieces of furniture.

Christograms appeared in biblical times and Royal Monograms were used by monarchs as part of the insignia of public organizations in kingdoms, such as on police badges. This indicated a connection to the ruler. Royal monograms often appear on coins, frequently with a crown.

Countries that have employed this tradition include Great Britain, Russia, Sweden and many German states.

Individual monograms

An individual's monogram is often a very fancy piece of art used for stationery, for adorning

luggage, for embroidery on clothing, and so forth. These monograms may have two or three letters.

A traditional three letter monogram has the initial of the individual's last name (surname) set

larger, or with some special treatment in the center, while the first name initial appears to the left

of it and the middle name initial appears to the right of it. For example, if the individual's name is Mary Ann Jones, and Jones is the surname, then the arrangement of letters would be M J A, with the surname initial set larger in the center, the M for Mary to the left and the A for Ann to the right.

Married or engaged couples may use two-letter monograms of their combined initials. Married couples may also create three-letter monograms incorporating the initial of their shared surname.

For example, the monogram M J A might be used for Michael and Alice Jones. However, monogramming etiquette for the married couple varies according to the item being. Monograms can often be found on custom dress shirts where they can be located in a number of different positions.

Corporate logos

Some companies and organizations adopt a monogram for a logo, usually with the letters of their acronym. For example, as well as having an official seal, and the Texas Longhorns logo, the

University of Texas at Austin uses a "UT" monogram (in the same color as the Longhorns logo, burnt orange). The St. Louis Cardinals baseball team also uses a monogram on their ball cap insignia. The Consolidated Edison logo, with a rounded "E" nested inside a "C" has been described as a "classic emblem”.

Embroidery For You!

St. Louis, MO 63129
(314) 956-1963

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3 Ways to Create Resolutions that Stick

By Lori Bruhns

90 days from today it will be February 8, 2017. So what?

Well, we all love to make New Years resolutions, right? In fact, you probably already have an idea or two in mind about changes you want to make. Maybe you want to lose 50lbs next year, or quit smoking, or get your Etsy shop up and running, or finally quit that dead end job.

Now, ask yourself how confident you are that you will be able to keep that resolution through February 8th. That’s just over a month into 2017 and it’s an important benchmark.

Let’s consider some relevant statistics:

• Only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolutions.

• Only 64% of people are able to maintain their resolutions past the first month.

• While people in their 20’s achieve their resolutions 39% of the time, people over 50 achieve their resolutions only 14% of the time.

So why is it so hard to make changes stick? Why are we so bad at keeping our resolutions? What can you do now to ensure that you are part of that elite 8% next year?

Here’s the problem with the way we normally create New Years resolutions: we set these goals for ourselves without putting any thought into the steps needed to get there.

Too often, we resort to the “cold turkey method.” We think, “On Jan. 1, 2017 I will wake up and magically be the kind of person who exercises and eats well.” As a result, we set totally unrealistic expectations or we are simply caught off guard when the old habits start to creep back in.

Instead of setting the intention to quit an old habit cold turkey, how about if you focus on creating routines that will remain and help you achieve your goal?

Here are 3 ways to create Routines that Remain:

1. Breakdown your resolution into 3 parts and work on one each month.

For example, if your goal is to quit smoking, spend the first month visualizing the benefits of being a non-smoker. Really feel yourself inhabiting the body of a non-smoker and concentrate on how different you feel.

During the second month, start reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke. The change shouldn’t be too drastic, even skipping one smoke break a day makes a difference. And focus on how even this slight change makes you feel better.

Finally, in month three, make the lifestyle changes that are necessary to become that non-smoker you want to be. Replace your smoking routine with something else that makes you feel good. And celebrate your success instead of dwelling on the negative.

2. If you falter, don’t give up!

The beauty of the 90-day routine, as opposed to the cold turkey method, is that you don’t have to think of one slip-up as failure. If you have a lapse in your routine, get back on track as soon as you realize it.

It’s okay to falter, but don’t let these lapses become habits of their own. If you are tempted to “cheat” on your diet plan, for example, consider what about your routine isn’t working for you and make the needed adjustment.

3. Make your routine a priority!

Don’t sabotage yourself by letting your routine fall by the wayside just because you are having a bad day. If you are vigilant about sticking to your routine, it will give you comfort during times when those old habits try to weasel their way back into your life.

Start to implement these 3 easy steps today and you’ll be on your way to crushing your New Years resolution.

On February 8th, 2017, you’ll be able to look back on today as the day when you joined the New Years Resolution Revolution and discovered how to make meaningful change a reality in your life.

So, leave the cold turkey for the day after Thanksgiving and get on the path to becoming your most Productive You? Contact me TODAY and let’s get you started on your 90-day routine!

Ready to Make A Change??? Do something you HATE!

By Lori Bruhns

Yup, you read that right.

I know what you are thinking: “Lori has finally lost her mind completely.”

Nope! I didn’t.

Let me tell you why I say this. On Friday I decided that I was ready to make a change in my life.

I have been consistently working out for about a year, but have recently plateaued. I am ready to see more growth and so I reached out to my friend Allie who is a runner. What?! If you know me, you know I HATE running. If you don’t know me, all you need to understand is that I seriously only run when I am being chased and yes, when I was in high school, I ran from the cops. But that is a story for another time.

The story for today is that sweet Allie came right over to encourage me and together we ran over two miles. Not bad for someone who hasn’t gone for a run in over two decades, right?

Let me tell you the best part. I felt so good after the run. Not only did I prove to myself that I can silence that annoying voice in my head telling me to lay around, drink wine, and be fine with where I’m at, I learned (again) that making a change really is as easy as getting up, getting out, and making it happen.

So, if you are also ready to make a change for the better in an area of your life, you might just have to do something you HATE.

Whether you want to lose 20lbs or gain the confidence you need to tell your boss that you want a 20% raise, chances are there’s something you are dreading that has prevented you from making your goal a reality.

The first step is figuring out exactly what it is you’re avoiding. Maybe it’s feeling hungry when you need to be feeling your best. Maybe it’s feeling your boss’s eyes on you as you tell her why you deserve to be paid more. The next step is to imagine yourself living through that moment and then rationally drilling down into it to discover what about it scares you the most.

I find that most of the scariest moments in life go back to personal insecurities and worries about failure. But here’s the thing, failure is more about your perspective than anything else. What if instead of worrying so much about the worse case scenario, you considered what you could learn in the process?

Because the thing is, once you decide to just do that thing you are dreading, the future will be so happy. The only thing that’s really standing in the way of you making that big change is fear and I bet once you get over that hump, you’ll see that the fear was way worse than actually doing the thing you were avoiding.

Here’s a good example of what I’m talking about. I have been working with clients in the multi-level marketing industry, at companies such as Rodan and Fields, Herbalife, and Beauty Counter. The one thing I’ve noticed that all of my clients have in common is that they absolutely HATE the idea of picking up the phone and getting out from behind their computer screens. They are understandably afraid of having to actually face people who might turn them down. But here is the crazy part, once they do it a few times, they actually enjoy it and IT MAKES THEM MONEY!  CRAZY!

On Saturday I spoke to the Association of Clinical Research Professionals. This group of highly accomplished and unbelievably brilliant scientists came to me wanting advice about increasing their productivity. I told them the same thing that I tell all my clients: communication in person,not by email, is the one thing they need to do differently to make a big impact when it comes to personal productivity. Why?

Well, just consider some of the ways email communication reduces productivity:
How often have you or someone receiving your email misread the tone of an email?
How often do you send an email because it’s easier than having a difficult face-to-face interaction?
How often would a conversation resolve an issue more quickly than going back and forth via email?

I’m not saying that these scientists are afraid of in person communication, but it is all too easy for us wrapped up in our digital world to forget that there is still a lot to be gained from sitting down with someone and having a real live conversation.

So, I told these research professionals: you are experts and there’s no better way to convey that to others than by talking with them in person. There is a good reason many influential people avoid email like the plague. You don’t have to take my word for it though. The next time you really want something, why not try asking during an in person conversation? You might surprise yourself.

I surprised myself by going for a run and actually feeling great afterward. And I love helping others surprise themselves by achieving more than they thought possible. If you are looking for some additional motivation, contact me and let’s talk about how I can help you improve your productivity.

We all have something we are avoiding doing that we know will totally change our lives. So today I say: Go do something you HATE! You will thank yourself later.

Don’t power through your slumps! Make them work for you!

By Lori Bruhns

Huh?....What is she talking about? Don’t power through my slumps?

I’m talking about getting to know your body and figuring out your circadian rhythm.

What the hell is that?

A circadian rhythm is a roughly 24-hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings including plants, animals, fungi, and cyanobacteria (cyano-what? It’s a kind of bacteria that lives in the water). Circadian rhythms are important in determining the sleeping and feeding patterns of all animals, including human beings. There are clear patterns of brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration and other biological activities linked to this daily cycle.

Think of your circadian rhythm as your internal clock. If you learn to work with this internal clock, you will be more productive and feel great. Unfortunately, most of us ignore our internal clocks or try to shock them by forcing them to adjust to our crazy, busy schedules. So today I wanted to teach you how to use it to your best advantage.

When it comes to productivity, you probably already think of yourself as either a morning person or a night owl. But what does this really mean? You might think of it as just a simple preference, but the reason you like to be up at 5am, so you can review that report and send important emails by 6:30am, probably has more to do with your body than you realize.

If you like to get work done early in the morning, it means that’s the time when your mind is on. This is me. I am a morning person, so you will see me up at the butt crack of dawn smiling and ready to go. But if it’s after 5pm, don’t come near me because I won’t be able to concentrate on you (or anything else for that matter).

Okay, but what the hell does this have to do with productivity?

Here’s the point: whether you work best at 2am or 2pm, you can use this to your advantage.

If you are a night owl and your brain is in full swing at 10pm, then that’s when you should be doing “productive and mind energizing tasks.” At 7am, do “mindless non communicative tasks” (I know you night owls don’t want anyone talking to you before 9am). Your body, mind, and those around you will thank you for it.

Now, what if you have a job that requires you to work at certain times? What if naturally you’re a night owl, but you have to be a morning person because you have to be at your desk working at 8 or 9am? Well, one thing to consider is that if you want to have a side business to pick up some extra cash or if you want to start a business of your own, you are perfectly positioned to do this. You can work on your business when you are at your sharpest.

But you can also still make the 9 to 5 thing work without hurting yourself in the process.

Night owls, here is what your day should look like:

1. Respond to emails first thing. Check email and respond as soon as you get to your desk, so you don’t have to speak to anyone right away.

2. Do easy, like able tasks early in the day. Save the stuff you hate for later, when you’re feeling more awake and “on.”

3. Plan ahead. Look at your day the night before to find tasks that will be mindless, but effective to do when you aren’t feeling at the top of your game.

Morning people, just reverse this! It really is that simple.

This won’t come easy. It will require some adjustments, like training yourself to go to bed at the right time so you get the right amount of sleep. But if you get into a routine and stick with it, you can be more productive while working with your body, instead of against it! Go with your inner flow people!

So what if you want to become a morning person? (Okay, I’m not sure why you want to do this. Morning people are pretty crazy, but I can help.) First and foremost, you can’t just instantly be a morning person when your body is a night owl. Sorry... you can’t just shock your body into it.

What you can do is gradually work your way into it.

Here’s how:

1. Get up 5 minutes (yes, just 5!) earlier than you normally do for 1 week straight.

2. Go to bed 10 minutes (yes, just 10!) earlier than you normally do for 1 week straight.

3. Then after the first week, add another 5 minutes and 10 minutes respectively for the next week. Repeat, until you get to your desired wake-up and sleep times.

If you try to do more than this gradual increase at this pace, you will shock your body into an unnatural rhythm and you will pay for it down the line. For example, your immune system won't function as well because your normal hormonal and metabolic functions will be interrupted. So, not listening to your circadian rhythm can lead to more sick days.

Shocking your body can also cause sleep disorders like Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS), where your body takes extra long to fall asleep, or Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome (ASPS), where your body falls asleep early (for example, between 6pm and 9pm) and wakes up early (for example, between 1am and 5am).

The next time you feel yourself in a slump, consider your circadian rhythm.

Study your body and figure out what time of the day you feel the most energized, the sharpest, and the most like yourself. Once you’ve figured out your inner clock, plan around yourself. If you can stick with it, you will be as productive as possible. Make this the week to get started!

Want more help working with your inner clock and learning how to be your most productive? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 919-606-7170, and I’ll help you make the next 90 days your most productive yet.

Making Back to School Count

When you search “back to school” the results will be articles, like the ones I used to write, that are focused on the child’s success: stress, sleep, healthy lunches, bullying and more. However, this return to school is also a transition time for adults. The return to routines, schedules, and extracurriculars, marks a new beginning not just for the child but for the whole family.
Do you, like me, fantasize about how you’d like things to be better or different this school year? Have you thought, “I’m going to get up earlier for some me-time” or “I’m going to make time to exercise this year?” or “I’m going to use the school time better and … (maybe find a job or start a business)"

Let’s use this Back-to-School momentum to give you some tangible, positive change that sticks. After all, a goal without a plan is just a wish

5 Steps to Maximize the Back-to-School Season for YOU:

1. List 3 things that you’d like to breathe new life into this school year. Is it a career, hobby, exercise, relationship?

2. Choose one to focus on for a week. You can choose the most challenging or the one that will make the greatest impact.

3. Get clear on your WHY. For example, if you are looking to bring some extra money into your family, know why. What will you do with the money? How will it change things for you and your family? Do you want to work standard 9-5 or shorter hours with more flexibility? Personally I like to have time to workout, write, and meditate after my kids go to school and before I go to work, so part-time work that’s flexible yet still allows me to make a substantial income is key.

4. Tell someone your goal and allow them to support you and hold you accountable. Be sure to choose someone who has enough distance that they won’t have a conflicting self-interest and unintentionally sabotage your plans. Choose a friend, colleague, family member, or accountability partner. Not sure who to tell? Tell me. Supporting women and holding them accountable is my super power.

5. Make your mornings count. Mornings are a powerful time of day. It’s the time when we set the tone for the rest of the day, so be mindful of the thoughts you think and the stories you allow yourself to believe. Start your day with a dose of centering and positivity! This could be quiet time with a cup of tea or writing morning pages or reading positive statements, meditating/praying,  yoga or running.

These are some of the same steps I incorporate into my life and work. I lead a large team of smart, savvy women, who were drawn to our business and my team for the flexible, part-time work hours and the incredible compensation plan, all while doing meaningful, impactful work. I tell my most successful dynamos that taking 30-60 minutes everyday to center on you and your goals will be the best, most productive 60 minutes of your day. I encourage you too to make them happen!

If you would like to hear more about the business I run, the team of women I work with, the substantial compensation, or the advocacy work that Beautycounter is so devoted to, please send me an email to let me know and look at what we’re up to here.
Emily Geizer is Senior Director at Beautycounter and a certified Holistic Health Coach. She’s on a mission to help women feel beautiful from the inside out. Learn more: www.emilygeizer.com

Having a Strong Brand – insights by Embroidery For You!

By Barbara Davidson

Branding seems to be a buzz word when referring to your company’s marketing.

The core of your branding starts with a logo design that will be the image of your company. While all the talk of branding may seem like a buzzword, or a trend, it isn’t. Having a well-designed logo that makes an impression on people is essential to your business’ success! Typically, people have a difficult time remembering names of people. You know what they do remember though?

Logos! Having a logo that catches the eye, will “brand” you in their brain. That is the entire point! You want, and need, to make it so that when it comes to your product or service, people wouldn’t even consider using your competitors. The goal is to dominate your sector, in the eyes of your target audience. This is the measure of effective branding.

Not sold on why you need to brand your business yet? Here are 8 reasons why it is paramount to your success:

1- Credibility - Having an established brand makes you more credible. This is why the notion that branding is for large, corporate companies, with large budgets, is false. If you’re a new business, the last impression you want to give people is that you are “new” or inexperienced.  Having a brand makes you look more professional.  It also shows that you are dedicated and invested in your business.

2 - It shows what your business is made of - It can be viewed as the DNA of your company. It tells people what you do, how you connect and interact with people, and what you want to accomplish for them.

3 - Attract more clients - It is not uncommon for people to make buying decisions based off of the look and feel of a company. If a person is researching a particular product or service online, and there are a plentitude of buying options, they are going to go with who makes them feel good. If you don’t have a brand, you will be quickly swept to the wayside.

4 - Stand out from competitors - A logo helps you stand out from your competitors. If you spend the time to come up with a unique logo and branding strategy, you will find a way to stand out from competition.  A tag line, an image, and color scheme are all things that make you unique.  When you have a clearly defined strategy and brand in place, you will recognize when something doesn’t fit. This can save a lot of time on pursuing other marketing avenues.

5 - Your brand helps you connect with your customers emotionally -  After you have built trust and recognition through your brand, your clients will start to connect with your brand emotionally. This is similar to developing any type of friendship or relationship with a person. Once clients get to know you, they start to like you.  Then they begin to trust you. When this happens, they begin to connect with you on an emotional level and this is when customer loyalty begins.

We are all familiar with the adage that people do business with people that they know, like, and trust.  This still holds true today, and even spills into online marketing. People do business with people that they know, like, and trust as a brand, even when shopping online. Whether it’s online, or in person, there is a fourth factor that should be added to the end of that adage. People do business with people they know, like, trust, and connect with emotionally.

So how do you go about accomplishing that? It’s not really that difficult. The problem lies with business owners being willing to dedicate dollars from their company to the investment in their branding.

6 - Brands help describe a typical line of business - With so many people putting forth effort to hone in on their niche areas of business, sometimes it becomes a bit difficult to quickly grasp what it is a particular product is helpful for, or how we could benefit from a specific service.

If you have a “descriptive” logo, meaning visually descriptive, it makes it much easier for people to quickly grasp what it is you are offering, and how it is that it could help them!    Embroidery For You! has purple for its “corporate color”.   

We never attend a design session, client meeting, or networking event without wearing our signature purple apparel with our embroidered logo in bright colors.   

7 - It supports advertising - Advertising is part of your brand too. Where companies sometimes fail with their branding is when it is too narrow, or too broad; both have huge negative effects. Having a demographic that is too narrow can result in not being able to expand into other avenues to grow your business.

This is commonly referred to as being, “pigeon-holed”.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, your brand can also be too broad. When a brand is too broad, it makes it almost impossible to create a good or lasting impression. Having the proper branding makes it much easier to pursue the correct advertising avenues.

8 - Brands inspire employee loyalty- There are hundreds of jobs or careers people can choose to pursue to earn an income. So why work for you? Why care about what you and your company value? The average person needs more than just a job description to feel passionate and motivated about helping your business succeed. Having a logo and strong brand helps inspire employees. It gives them more than just a paycheck. It gives them something they can feel good about, and proud to be a part of. There are numerous studies that show when employees believe in the products or services they provide to people through their work, they are not just happier, they are also more productive!   

So what does this all boil down to for you, and your business?   We know the most critical element of branding is the logo, but it doesn’t stop with a well-developed logo. After that, you have to actually do something with it. You need to create a brand strategy and develop promotional lines.

At Embroidery for You! We always say that your left chest is prime real estate.

The left chest of business apparel is an easy way to display your brand and company name or logo.  It shows that you are proud of what your company represents. We embroider work shirts, jackets, and an assortment of other apparel to help brand awareness.  Customers love to receive “stuff” or swag.   Simple promotional items such as can or water coolies, a golf towel, or tote bag is another easy way to display your logo and brand.   

All of these things are important to your company’s success, and even contribute to the level of pay someone is willing to give you. If you’re not dressed well, or you have business cards that are printed off of your home printer, you’re not conveying the strong, established, and reliable message you want to convey.

Take a minute to think about the types of companies that you give your business to. Are they well-established? Do you instantly think about their logo, or a catchy tagline they have? I bet the answer was yes! Take a look at what message your business is currently conveying.

If you’re looking to appear more established, or build morale within your company, feel free to reach out to us for quote on custom embroidered apparel!    

We look forward to “Embroidering For You!

Embroidery For You!

Barbara Davidson

WPN – South County Chapter, St. Louis, MO

What's the Use in Crying

 By Elaine Bayless, Organizer for the North Raleigh, NC Chapter

It’s time to talk about sadness. This is a difficult emotion to discuss because it is not pleasant. While some people understand the power of a good scare or adrenaline rush, very few people want to feel sorrow, sadness, depression, or agony. Sadness is an emotion that is often classified a symptom of mental illness (bipolar disorder, clinical depression). But sadness, like all the “dark side” emotions, is more than just a symptom or a feeling to avoid.

I’m not talking about pain, because that is its own entry. I am talking about the emotion of sorrow. We grieve for many reasons, but grief is not often allowed in our culture or our day to day lives. Many years ago, after a rough breakup, a friend advised me to try going on an antidepressant. Yes, I was very sad. But an antidepressant wouldn’t have resolved my sorrow. To quote Alanis Morissette, the only way out was through.


Sorrow is valuable because it allows us to process change and transitions.

Learn more . . .