Saturday, October 29, 2005

You Are What You Think You Are

If your sense of security lies in your reputation or the things you have, your life will be in a constant state of threat and jeopardy because possessions may be lost, stolen or devalued. If your self worth constantly fluctuates, you don’t have any sense of consistency or anchorage or selfhood. You are constantly trying to protect and ensure your assets, properties, securities, position or reputation.

What you believe you are you are. How you perceive yourself becomes yourself. If you are your job and you aren’t successful at it, you equate yourself with failure. If you equate happiness and/or success with material possessions and you lose them for some reason, is there nothing left of you? Is that all you are?

Years ago I used to do volunteer workshops with teenaged girls. The first question I asked them was “Tell me about you.” And after they answered me I asked them to tell me about their best friend. The answers were all the same….”She dresses really well” ; “She has a great figure”; “She’s the most popular girl at school”; “I wish I had her hair etc. etc.

I stayed silent for a moment and asked them this “Are you only what you see in the mirror?” They didn’t know how to answer that. And then the conversation began. A few of the girls had little or no interaction with their parents. Their parents were so wrapped up in their own lives, traveling, working, socializing, that they left their kids pretty much to their own devices. A couple of the girls had eating disorders. Their parents hadn’t noticed. All they were to them, to their friends, was their physical presence, not their humanness……their heart, their mind, their passions….

I see it in teenagers and I see it in adults. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve interviewed new clients and asked them who they were only to hear what they do for a living, what they want to accomplish re: their professions, not necessarily one and the same with what they are passionate about in life.

Many equate happiness with the size of their paycheque. Many equate who they are with the level of their position. One is not a leader by virtue of their title or position within the organization. One isn't successful based on the amount of their paycheque. Everyone has a different idea of personal success. To be an effective organizational leader, one needs to be able to bring out the passions, talents and strengths of those around him/her and help them evolve because of them. The leader doesn't need to know how to do everything.....the leader needs to know who can do it and how well.

When someone meets you for the first time and asks you about yourself, do you immediately go into what you do for a living? your work? Is that all that defines you?

The other day I was reading a letter from a Coach in the U.S., Marshall Goldsmith who posed the question, if you had to choose a CEO for a large have X number of applicants with the same credentials, same level of knowledge, intelligence, credentials etc, making it an even playing field, who would you hire? You would take into consideration how those applicants got along with they behaved.

When I Shadow Coach my clients I am able to show them in real time how they behaved, processed, interacted, communicated....what was working, what wasn't.....who they were in the scheme of things. Did they help their staff grow? Hold them back? Were they utilizing the strengths and talents around them? Were they asking for what they thought they could get rather than what they wanted? The last question being very important as if you're asking for what you think you can get, you're assuming you can't have it all....and that demotivates those around you.

Who are you? The question isn't what do you do.....not about your's who you are inside it, besides it, in spite of it in some instances. And if I asked you that question right now.....would you have an answer that would make you smile?

Donna Karlin

*Note: Welcome new subscribers from Pakistan and Columbia, Nassau and Bermuda!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Tools of the Trade

Well after being inundated over the years for resource links for coaches and businesspreneurs, I decided to put them all together in a page of their own to help new and old businesses owners, coaches and trainers on their way to growing their business.

Each of the links I have on there has been tried and true and, when used properly, can grow your business exponentially.

If you have any other links you feel should be included, let us know. We'll review them and, if we like 'em, they'll go up on the site as well.

Here are ten or so to get you started. And remember...if you don't have time to get all this wonderful technology going, hire a Virtual Assistant to get you on your way.

Just click on the graphic and it'll take you right there.

And if for some reason it doesn't
go to


Donna Karlin

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Virtual Assistants

def “A Virtual Assistant (VA) is an independent entrepreneur providing administrative, creative and/or technical services. Utilizing advanced technological modes of communication and data delivery, a professional VA assists clients in his/her area of expertise from his/her own office on a contractual basis."

VA’s are a wonderful invention, or, I should say innovation....definitely a smart and innovative way of working! If you find yourself scrambling to get everything done, working well into the night because you’re not able to get through the administrivia that will bring you even more business, then seriously consider hiring one.

Yesterday I was on an interesting call with two professionals in this field. The first thing that came to mind when I first heard about Virtual Assistants was that FINALLY here is someone to handle all the non-client related stuff I never seem to have time for. The way the VA’s described it was having someone augmenting your business by filtering time-wasters as well as expanding ideas for increased visibility and effectiveness. They can do everything from submitting articles you’ve written to the right places, marketing, creative work, and technological stuff that might not be the most difficult to implement (for some) but certainly are time stealers. These are professionals who partner with you to support you in every way you need. They will free you up so you do what you want to be doing, and doing best; your profession! And they will help you grow your business in the interim.

It’s a way of working smarter, not harder.

In this fast paced world where many people are scrambling to keep up, (me included but you didn’t hear me say that : ) it’s time to take a step back and put processes and people in place to support you where you need it most. As I said to a client just the other day “You are so busy keeping up, that you’re not looking at why you’re so busy in the first place”. That’s where I come in as I 'shadow' them. What are they reacting to instead of responding? What is the bigger picture and what one thing can be put in place right now, so that that ripple effect will automatically put other things in place?”

Support staff, whether VA’s, Executive Assistants, Secretaries, etc, are only as good as the effective communication you have with them. If you don’t communicate your needs you’re not going to be supported. A tug of war will ensue rather than a collaborate effort. Train them to know you well, so they don’t second guess you. They need to know your ways of operating in order to do what they do best.

I can’t tell you how often I’m called in to “DO SOMETHING!” with a support staffer. Most of the time, all it takes is sitting down and expressing your needs and how you want things done. And if it’s not working, then another conversation needs to take place before the relationship breaks down even further. I know….common sense. We all need to be reminded now and then.

Just remember that saying where “It takes less time to just do it myself” doesn’t wash. It takes the same amount of time to show someone how to support you so you can be freed up to do what you have to/want to do. There will be a time when you’ll regret those words, when you feel as if you’re doing the job of 4 people, not just your own. Something’s gotta give and it’ll be you.

Donna Karlin

To find a virtual assistant that’s best suited for you, check out

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Sunday, October 02, 2005


Yesterday a wonderful friend introduced me to a magical place and the artist, John Ceprano responsible for creating it. It’s all about balance. We spoke about that…perspective, balance, impressions, opinions. He creates the unimaginable out of rocks that seem to come to life in form, shape and character, creating a place of peace and beauty in and around the water so people can come and soak it in both visually and spiritually. The sun was strong, the water and sky deep blue and the parliament buildings in the background brought the various characteristics of Ottawa together in one special place.

It was so hard to leave. Something about this place drew you…. invited you to be a part of it and stay a while and, just like life, the rocks, sometimes balanced precariously on top of each other, seemed to find their own stability. Huge round rocks on triangular ones below with tiny pebbles holding them in place, stood strong and still among the geese, moving water and people milling about them. You would think they would tumble easily and yet there was strength and stillness about each statue that was tangible.

I feel very fortunate and honoured to have met the creator of such an extraordinary place. Now that I’ve experienced it, I can’t imagine these majestic statues not gracing the river….and hope John will be there for many years to come.

A place such as this invites you to slow down and take notice, and look at the balance in your own life. As many do balance one part precariously with another, for them the thrill of life not tumbling down around them, keeps them living on the edge….experiencing the ‘thrill of the game’. For others, it’s a way to look beyond their comfort zone into a place where the possibility of one rock balancing and relying on the other for stability and strength shows them there is more to life than meets the eye. Just like testing your footing on a climb, so is life built one level over another, one bit of knowledge expanding your realm and giving you a path towards something much larger.

John demonstrates how the simplest of things, rocks, stones and pebbles can come together to create the most magnificent sight imaginable, one rock at a time. Life too is like that……one experience, one person, one insight at a time. It’s only when you look back at where you were as opposed to where you are now that you might realise how far you’ve come. That too takes time and space to notice.

I encourage you from near and far to come and experience this place of wonder. It’s along the Ottawa River Parkway at Remic Rapids late summer/fall. John calls it ‘Balance in Art’. I call it a place where magic lives. You’ll come and experience the awe of the place and leave, albeit reluctantly, with a smile and a sense of peace that just won’t go away.

Donna Karlin

*Note: Welcome 62nd subscriber from Yemen. Pull up a chair and stay a while. I hope you find much food for thought and welcome your comments and insights!