Exciting Interview on the Nikki Clarke Show!

I was interviewed by the amazing Nikki Clarke for the Nikki Clarke Network on June 12th. Our engaging interview discussed everything from coaching to how to overcome blocks to success and how people can step into their authentic power as leaders and as speakers. The first part of our interview will be broadcast through her online radio station.

The Nikki Clarke Network was founded by Nikki Clarke in May 2014. The network is a 24 hour inspirational online tv network. The network offers unique programming with informative and entertaining segments in the areas of business, lifestyle, health, wellness, beauty, music and food among many topics.

The Nikki Clarke Show is also broadcast on two television networks: Rogers and Bell Fibe. Stay tuned for Part 2 of my interview!

Lessons in Abundance from Dr. John Demartini

One year ago, I had the pleasure of attending a conference where Dr. John Demartini was one of the keynote speakers. Dr. Demartini is an international best selling author, educator and public speaker focusing on high performance in human behaviour. He helps people develop the mindset and behaviours required to create success. Dr. Demartini started from incredibly humble circumstances and has achieved great success in his life. Recently, I was reflecting on his talk and here are three keys lessons that I am sharing with you. They are:

Our Values Determine Our Financial Destiny

According to Dr. Demartini there are certain characteristics and mindset that must be developed in order to build wealth. One of the main ones is that you must know your values. Your values determine what goals you go after in life. Dr. Demartini posits that our highest values filter i.e. determine our reality. In other words, you will always find the time and the money for things that you value most. For example, if you say that you value health the most, yet you live a sedentary lifestyle and drink and smoke like there is no tomorrow, chances are being healthy is not one of your highest values. More likely you value pleasure and immediate gratification above a healthy lifestyle. People need to look at what they value without judgment. Getting real with what we value and realizing if our lives demonstrate the opposite of what we value, that realization could be a turning point to make change in our lives. Knowing your values is important in goal setting because if a goal is not in alignment with your values, then there is a high probability you won’t achieve it. A big part of goal achievement is setting goals in alignment with our highest values which is important when it comes to building wealth.

Guilt and Shame Prevent People From Receiving Abundance

In my experience, people who are wealthy or affluent are comfortable with making and receiving money. Money is simply a tool that helps them achieve their goals in life. A key part of building wealth is by being receptive to abundance in your life. In other words, do you feel worthy to receive abundance in all its forms? Abundance can take the form of love, good health, wealth, pleasure, friendship and the list could on. People are often comfortable with some forms of abundance but deep down they don’t feel worthy to receive others. You are worthy because you were created by the Divine. If you feel unworthy you will self sabotage or not take the action required to achieve your goals. According to Dr. Demartini you be must be willing to move past, liberate and process any guilt or shame over incidents in your life that have prevent you from receiving abundance. Anything that you feel shame or guilt about find a way to process it in a compassionate and forgiving manner. One of the initial ways that you can start processing these feelings is by writing them down in a journal or diary. You could also speak to a trusted family member, friend or if need be a therapist to help you move forward. Remember that nothing in life is wasted. Through every experience you have been made stronger, more courageous and resilient! For whatever may have occurred in your life learn to love, forgive and have compassion for yourself.

Make a Contribution by Serving Others

While it’s amazing to be able to use or express your gifs, ensure that you’re using them to help others. Be willing to make a contribution to the world, don’t just take up space. Ask yourself on a regular basis, Wayne Dyer’s famous question, “How Can I Serve?” After all, you are as Dr. Demartini would say, “a citizen of the world.” You have the potential to impact people globally not just where you were born and grew up. Sometimes people don’t know how to contribute and the first step is looking at your gifts and figuring out how to help other others. Start generating ideas in order to make an impact. At the conference, Dr. Demartini asked the attendees to do an exercise where they generated ideas to use their gifts to build wealth and help others. He encouraged us to make the following lists. They are:

• List 200 ways that you can benefit by serving the most numbers of people.
• List 200 ways to invest.
• List 200 ways to accumulate a vast fortune.
• List 200 ways to leave a legacy.

Once you have these lists compiled go through them and pick the ones where you feel you can set goals and make the most impact. You will be surprised at how brilliant and creative you are when you generate your lists!

The overall lesson that I took from Dr. Demartini’s keynote speech is that we are here to serve and make an impact. We can let shame, guilt, excuses, unworthiness, failure, family, society among a myriad of reasons prevent us from fulfilling our purpose and destiny. Or we can make the courageous decision to: live our values, deal with our feelings compassionately and use our gifts to fulfill our purpose while helping others. Now that is an abundant life indeed!

Six Tips To Help You When You Are a Panelist

Recently, I was invited to be part of a panel on women and entrepreneurship at an entrepreneurship expo at the Ontario Science Centre. I was part of a panel that included a moderator and two other panelists. The moderator was Katherine Roos, Executive Director – Imagination Catalyst at OCAD University. The two panelists were: Dr. Diana Kraskouskaya, CEO of Dalriada Therapeutics and Chakameh Shafii, CEO and Co-Founder of TranQool. It was a wonderful experience. The moderator asked questions to the panelists for about 40 minutes. Afterwards, there was a question and answer period with audience members.

If you have the opportunity to participate as part of a panel, I highly recommend it. Here are six tips that can help you navigate the opportunity when you are invited to be a panelist. They are:

1. Panel Fit. Before you accept the invitation to be part of a panel, determine if it’s a good fit for you. There are a variety of reasons why you could be asked to be on a panel. You could be invited based on: your expertise, your professional experience, your education, your network, or your profile and platform. Before you accept the invitation, decide if being a panelist is a good fit for you. Take into consideration your professional experience and the value that you would add to the panel. When I accepted the invitation to participate, I decided that it was a good fit. The other two panelists were CEOs and based on my experience as a “solopreneur” in the coaching and consulting areas, I could give a unique perspective. Being on the panel was also in alignment with my commitment to women’s issues, including economic empowerment.

2. Conduct Your Research. In order to prepare properly, conduct research into the following: the organization hosting the panel, the topic under consideration, the moderator and the other panelists. Doing your research in advance will help you to speak credibly to the topic that will be discussed. I conducted research into all the above and it served me well on the panel.

3. Questions from the Moderator. If possible try to obtain some examples of the questions that the moderator might ask in advance of the panel and prepare accordingly. If you are unable to obtain some of the questions in advance, prepare a few sample questions and practice with them. I anticipated what some of the questions might be and some of those questions were asked.

4. Share Personal Stories. You were asked to be part of a panel because of your expertise and professional background. The audience members want to learn about your journey. Be prepared to share relevant, personal stories that highlight your area of expertise. One area where I got personal was when the moderator asked me who my mentor was. I mentioned my mother who taught me the tenacity, courage, perseverance, empathy and compassion that I need to succeed in business and in life.

5. Questions from the Audience. Similar to preparing for the moderator’s questions, anticipate some questions that might come from the audience. When the questions are asked, answer to the best of your ability. I brainstormed a few potential questions in advance and some of them were asked by audience members.

6. Connect with Your Host. Before the date of the panel, ensure that you have communicated with your host well in advance. Have at least one phone call with your host in addition to email communication to determine the event expectations and the venue location/time. If he or she doesn’t do so automatically, ask to be connected with the panel moderator to touch base. On the date of the event, arrive early, connect with the host and make sure that you know where the panel meeting room location is. After the event, thank the host for the wonderful opportunity.

While you may not have participated on a panel (yet), these tips will help you navigate that opportunity smoothly. When opportunity knocks, preparation will enable you to open the door with full confidence!

Insights from Visionary Leader Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Mohammad Yunus

The world needs visionary leaders more than ever. One visionary leader who has changed the world through microfinance is Dr. Muhammad Yunus. Dr. Yunus from Bangladesh is a banker, economist, social entrepreneur and the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Winner. He is the author of several books including, Banker to the Poor.

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Yunus speak as part of a panel at a microfinance and microcredit summit. Dr. Yunus founded the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in the 1980s. Grameen means village bank. Since that time the Grameen Bank has loaned out over 1.5 billion (USD) in microloans mainly to women who are 97 percent of the loan recipients.

In Bangladesh, these microloans are often between $30.00 (USD) to $35.00 (USD) and have helped women start microenterprises. These loans enable women in Bangladesh to change their entire life's trajectory. When they start businesses, the women who are loan recipients are able to pay for their children's education and give back to their local community. Entire villages are improved because of these microloans. The loans also have a high repayment rate of 97 percent.

Since the Grameen Bank started in Bangladesh more than 9 million women have received microloans. These loans have in turn impacted between 40 – 45 million people which includes the women’s families and local communities which is remarkable. The Grameen Bank model is now operating outside of Bangladesh in several cities, including New York City. In the various locations, the model is similar in providing microloans to the poor and people who traditionally would not be able to qualify for a loan to start a business.

There were several major takeaways from the summit. Dr. Yunus spoke about the “three zeros,” which are the targets that the world should be aiming for in order to improve the quality of life for everyone. They include: zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero net carbon emissions. Now these targets may seem like an impossible dream. If we work together as a global community on initiatives to improve the quality of life for every human on the planet who is to say that one day these targets might come true. That is what true visionaries do. They envision possibility for a better world despite what currently exists. Visionaries also take action to make their visions a reality. For the zero poverty target, we all know that there are more than enough resources to go around world wide for everyone. According to Dr. Yunus, people don’t choose to be poor. It is the prevailing economic systems that keep people in poverty even when they are willing, have the skills and want to work. That is why entrepreneurship is so powerful. Starting a business can help lift people out of poverty through their own ingenuity, skills and talents.

One of the major takeaways from the summit was that entrepreneurship is not the purview or the domain of a select few. Another target the world should be aiming for is zero unemployment. Again this is linked back to entrepreneurship. According to Dr. Yunus, “human beings by birth are entrepreneurs.” There is a prevailing myth that only certain people can be entrepreneurs. Dr. Yunus believes that each one of us has the capacity to use our skills and talents to create a business.

In other words, we were not designed for drudgery in a job or career that we don't love or are not passionate about where we can’t make a difference. In Bangladesh, when women were advanced loans they were able to start businesses with no or minimal business training. They used their creativity, ingenuity, skills and leveraged their village network in order to create profitable microbusinesses. In addition to zero poverty and zero unemployment, zero carbon emissions was also a target discussed in order to make our planet a healthier place to live.

The panel was excellent and included leaders from the Aboriginal Community who reinforced the fact that there are so many talented and skilled Aboriginal people, especially youth who are doing amazing things in the community. Microcredit will continue to help revolutionize the developing world and help marginalized people in the developed world. By providing access to smaller amounts of capital, the poor and marginalized communities can start businesses to elevate their circumstances. It was an excellent summit and a true honour to listen to Dr. Yunus and other visionary leaders who are helping to change the world.

Interviewed on the Silver Linings Storycast

I was recently interviewed by Debbie Horovitch who is the Publisher and Editor of The Silver Linings Storybook series. The interview was for the Silver Linings Storycast podcast. In the interview we talk about business, the creative struggle, making an impact in the community and everything in between! The interview is for the Toronto edition of The Silver Linings Storybook series in which I will be a featured contributor. It is a very exciting project as the proceeds will benefit a local charity or non-profit organization. You can listen to the podcast interview here! Silver Linings Storycast Interview

Lessons Learned from Sandra Yancey eWomen Network CEO & Founder

An amazing time was had by members and guests at the eWomen Network Success Summit on Thursday, May 26, 2016. Many new connections were made and attendees had the opportunity to learn from Sandra Yancey, the Founder and CEO of the eWomen Network. It was an honour to meet and learn from her. Through the eWomen Network she has created an empowering environment where women entrepreneurs and professionals can grow their businesses, learn valuable information and make new connections. ‪There were many brilliant takeaways from Sandra Yancey’s talk and here are some of the highlights. They are:

– Nothing happens to me, it happens for me.
– When you are doubting yourself, remember that “every master was once a disaster.”
– It’s not working out because you are aiming too low.
– You were born a winner.
– Success is hard, so is being broke.
– Really evaluate the people you have around you to ensure they are committed to your success because, “Not everyone is designed to travel to your future.”
– Stop spending time with people who misunderstand you.
– You can’t build a million dollar dream with a minimum wage mindset.
– Have your point of differentiation and own it.
– The answer is always no if you don’t ask.
– Give yourself permission to succeed!
– Success is giving yourself goosebumps!

It was amazing to be a part of the leadership team as an eWomen Network Ambassador. Congratulations to the leadership team for organizing a wonderful event. The other members of the team are: Managing Director, Daniela Spirlac, Patti Pokorchak, Duygu Nangir, Kathy Barthel, Nicky Yiannakis, Heather Chernofsky, Debra Wilson and Beatrice Ten-Thye. Bravo!

It was my first eWomen Network Success ‪Summit‬ and I’m counting down for 2017! If you would like information about the eWomen Network, please contact me at deb@deborahangelaustin.com.

Appointed as an eWomen Network Ambassador

I am pleased to announce that I have been appointed to the leadership team as an eWomen Network Ambassador for the Toronto Chapter. I will be working with a talented leadership team to support women entrepreneurs and corporate professionals in the Greater Toronto Area. The eWomen Network is one of North America’s premier women’s business and professional organizations.

If you are an entrepreneur (or corporate professional) who is looking for opportunities to grow your business and network, look no further than the eWomen Network. The eWomen Network has many benefits that can support you as you grow your business. The organization consists of women who support each other while growing their businesses and giving back to the community. If you are interested in joining the eWomen Network, please contact me for further information at deborah@deborahangelaustin.com

Five Tips for Effective Networking

Do you know how to network effectively? If yes, bravo for you. If not, don't be discouraged as this is a skill that can be learned. The reality is if you are an entrepreneur, professional or anyone really who is looking for clients, new business contacts and opportunities, you have to “put yourself out there.” There meaning different types of business and professional events. Regardless of what type of business you have or are in, you are in the sales and marketing business. Networking can play a role when it comes to promoting and making sales for your business.

Networking to me is about building a relationship with someone to see how you can mutually help or benefit each other. It is not a one way dialogue, there is reciprocity involved. Here are five networking tips that I've learned through my entrepreneurial journey. They are:

1. Effective Networking is About Reciprocity
When you first meet someone at an event rather than going straight into a promotional spiel about your program, product and service, think reciprocity. How can you mutually benefit from knowing each other? Is there a resource, book, website or referral that you can recommend or make to the other person. Once you nurture that relationship, then it is possible that the person you met at the event could become your client, business associate or even over the long term friend.

2. Tools of the Trade
If you are going to an event, ensure that you have the tools that you need so that people can contact you. These tools are at a minimum your business card and perhaps a promotional brochure. Even if you don't have a website, it is fine to have cards printed with just your name, your title, your phone number and email address. Also make sure that your business cards present the type of image you want to convey. They don't have to be fancy, just professional. I have been handed business cards that had liquid paper on them, with the phone number whited out and a new number written on top. This does not leave a professional image in your potential business associate's or client's mind. A professional business card is an essential tool.

3. Be a Good Listener
I've been told that I deliver excellent feedback. The feedback could be for colleagues at work, for my coaching clients or for colleagues in my volunteer work. One of the reasons that I am able to deliver excellent feedback is because I am a good listener. When you are at a networking event use your listening skills to the full capacity. Be genuinely interested in the person you are speaking with at the event. Ask questions in a non-intrusive manner. For example, what is their professional background? Why did they start their business? How does their product or service help or benefit people? Truly listen to what the other person has to say.

4. Use Positive, Rapport Building Nonverbal Communication
When you meet a person at an event, make sure that you use positive, rapport building non-verbal communication. What does that mean? For example, when you first meet someone when you greet them make sure that you smile, look at the person directly, deliver a firm handshake and say your full name. Before you describe what you do, let the other person introduce themselves. In general, remember to smile, have good eye contact, nod from time to time (so that the person knows that you are listening) and have relaxed body language. You want your body language to convey that you are confident and attentive to the other person.

5. Go to the Event Early.
Even though it may be fashionable to arrive late, when you attend networking events, arrive early. When you go to networking events you can make some of your best connections early on at the event. Also at the earlier stage of the event, it is not as noisy as there are less people so you can have longer conversations.

BONUS TIP

Follow Up
When you meet someone new at an event that you are interested in keeping in contact with, follow up. Whether it is for a potential client, business associate or potential friend, make contact with the person as soon as you can. In an ideal world, follow up should happen the next day. Sometimes though that is not possible, try to make contact as soon as you can. You can send an email or call to follow-up on the interaction that you had at the event where you met.

For the more introverted among us, while networking is not the easiest skill to master, it can be learned. Networking effectively can help you promote your business, makes sales and gain new clients. Happy Networking!

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Join Associations Like eWomen Network

When you are embarking on a new endeavour in life, it makes sense for you to join groups, associations and organizations to learn from people who are further along the path in terms of where you ultimately want to be. In my life, I’ve been blessed to have mentors who have shared their time, wisdom and experience with me to help me grow in different areas. In turn, I’ve mentored and coached people along their life’s journey in specific areas.

I recently joined the eWomen Network (Toronto Chapter) an organization that supports women entrepreneurs through events, networking, and other resources. The eWomen Network was started by Sandra and Kym Yancey over 15 years ago and has chapters across North America. Each chapter is unique and the members come together to network, learn, support and make business connections with each other.

I’m inspired by the members that I’ve met at the Toronto Chapter who have encouraged me. Thank you especially to Daniela, the Managing Director of the eWomen Network (Toronto Chapter) who is inspirational, has encouraged me with words of wisdom and has been supportive as I move forward along the path of my entrepreneurial journey.

If you are interested in learning more about the eWomen Network please feel free to email me at deborah@deborahangelaustin.com.

Are You Ready to Pay the Price for High Level Results?

When it comes to achieving success, do you truly believe that successful people are just lucky, rich, had the right breaks, are attractive, or have a great network to leverage? All of which may or may not be true. There may be a percentage of people who have achieved success the so called easy way (what way that is, I don't know).

The reality is that the majority of successful people have worked hard to attain success.  And yes, they may have leveraged their personal and professional connections, their education, financial resources and “lucky breaks” (also known as opportunities) that came along to achieve their success.  They also would have worked hard, set goals, overcome obstacles and pursued their goals with  tenacity.

Think about yourself for a moment and the skills that you've developed throughout your life.  Whether it was for a new venture,  learning a new language or instrument, or learning how to parent, wasn't there hard work involved to be successful in that specific area. There was a major commitment of time, energy and money to study, train  and gain the required experience and skills necessary to be successful. You may have “failed” or have been unsuccessful several times before mastering the skill you needed to learn. If learning the skill or achieving the goal was important enough to you, I bet you did the required work to learn the skill or achieve the goal. In other words you “paid the price.”

The truth is some people just aren't willing to do the hard work required to achieve high level results. For example, if you want to have a bikini ready body, that would mean that you would have to workout consistently (at least one hour per day, maybe more),  eat a healthy diet on a regular basis and forgo many high calorie treats. Some people are just not willing to do that type of work to obtain that type of body. Which is perfectly fine. What about being an entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur involves long work hours, reduced family time, and unpredictable income with no guarantee of success. All of which are totally reasonable in the entrepreneur's mind (at least in the short term) because having a successful business will eventually lead to (in the future) more financial freedom, more family time and possibly living a location independent lifestyle. With up to 80 percent of small businesses failing within 18 months (according to Bloomberg), the majority of people aren't willing to do the hard work required to become a successful entrepreneur. They don't want to gamble with their time, family or financial resources, which is perfectly understandable. The rewards though for the successful entrepreneur can be substantial so the work involved to achieve that success is more than justified.

The next time you encounter successful people who you believe have obtained success (or a specific result that you want) the so called easy way or “overnight,” reflect and think about what really went into building that success. The answers you come up with will be very illuminating. As an exercise, creatively reverse engineer how the successful person achieved that high level result by working backwards. For example, if an actor you like won an Academy Award and you have acting aspirations, what are the steps that would have led him or her to that stage? If someone you know just launched a tech start-up, what are the steps required to launch a tech business? If you know someone who is an outstanding parent who has raised children who are now wonderful adults, what are some parenting strategies you could adopt that can help you with your young children.  When you do an exercise like this you soon realize that behind any successful person there are many factors that contribute to their success. It was rarely “easy.”

Success is not achieved in a vacuum. There are many factors that contribute to being successful in life. Many successful people had to study, train, gain experience and fail many times before achieving their definition of success. In fact, failing numerous times is a common trait among successful people. The difference is successful people do not allow their failures to define them or allow failures to distract them from achieving their ultimate goals and dreams. People who are successful and achieve high level results think and act differently when it comes to commitment, discipline, focus, surmounting obstacles and pursuing their goals with determination. The so called, “Overnight Success” rarely is and has worked for years (often decades) setting the foundation for the success that they end up bringing to fruition.

In a future post, I look forward  to examining  the mindset of  successful people and high achievers. I look forward to sharing tips with you on how you can learn to develop that mindset.

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