Monday, December 17, 2012

Power of Influence

As I was writing my next column, about compliments and shoes, I stumbled upon a friend’s Facebook post that stopped me dead in my thoughts.

I typically multi-task when I write: check email, check Facebook, check, check my banking account (yikes!), and so on. This was a typical writing morning. Sitting at the bar in my favorite coffeehouse, surrounded by the sounds of grinding espresso, steaming milk, soft Christmas carols, and joyous chitchat. Pure inspiration.

182 words. Staring at me from the computer. That’s all I had. I was struggling, as I sometimes do…so much for pure inspiration. Then I read a post by a friend on Facebook and I was floored. Now this was inspiration, pure thought-provoking inspiration.

What was I thinking? I’m sitting here, writing about my black patent pumps and two enlightening interactions, but they paled in the comparison to what has occurred in our world. The post was about the massacre at Sandy Hook. It was poignant, well written, exceptionally insightful, emotional, and timely (and I thought I was the writer!). Two feelings jolted through me when I finished reading: pride and embarrassment.

Pride: I’m proud to know this person. Proud he took action and beautifully expressed his thoughts. Proud he woke me up. Proud he showed me what is important, what matters, and who matters.

Embarrassment: That I would brush past the incidents of Sandy Hook and continue with my life like normal, not taking advantage of my position to share insights with YOU.

My friend isn’t a writer. He simply posted his thoughts on his own Facebook page where his 816 friends may or may not read it. That was his platform. And he took advantage. Why wouldn’t I do the same?

So I opened a new blank word document and started writing (this).

Sandy Hook was a horrible tragedy. It is a huge indicator of something terribly wrong with our society. I don’t know the answers, but I do know it can’t be ignored. Maybe that is the answer. To stop ignoring the signs that tell us something or someone is “off.” The gut feeling that tells you something is wrong. Reports quote people who knew the gunman describing him as “disturbed” and “weird.” And my stomach turned when I read, “I can’t say that I’m surprised.”

A very sick person executed the Sandy Hook massacre and no one who knew him was surprised by the actions he took. Yet they did nothing to stop him. They did not speak up. They did not listen to their gut. They did not take action. They failed.

It’s time to start taking actions that will surprise people, possibly even shock them. They may be unpopular. They may not be politically correct. They may piss some people off. But if you look back through history, our biggest change agents never did what was popular, they simply did what they thought was right. And until every single person recognizes his or her own power of influence, nothing will change.

Someone who knew the gunman had the power to influence change.

This is my power of influence. I am blessed to write on a platform with hundreds of thousands of readers. And you have your own power. Do you recognize it? How are you using it? How are you taking advantage of the people you know, the people who listen to you, and the people you influence? How are you using your power to make this world a better place?

Our world has become robotic. Speaking out isn’t encouraged. Raging against the machine isn’t encouraged. But being politically correct is. Screw that. Do you want to be thought-less follower or a powerful influencer?

I have the power.
You have the power.

What will you do with it? Will you use your power to influence and cause positive change?  Or will you simply ignore the calling to use your power for something greater and continue down the PC path? I won’t. Neither should you.

I’m your Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Sales Barista. How may I help you help yourself?

Take Action: Sign the National Sympathy Card for Sandy Hook. 

Read the Facebook post that inspired this article:
With a couple buddies watching football devastated that the Steelers failed yet again to act like a decent football team. As we are finishing beers the night game was interrupted by the president's speech.

Our table went quiet and we listened.

It was very appropriate that football was put on hold and there were no complaints. In fact there were no comments.

Grown men went quiet and thoughtful. We all felt like crying and some of us did.

The speech was exceptional- thoughtful, heartfelt, poignant, & powerful. Politics don't matter now. Perfect little kids without a care in the world except for recess have been murdered in their classrooms in a world that they thought was safe and secure.

They were thinking about Christmas when they went to school for the last time and they hugged their moms/dads and said I love you, see you when I get home.

They never came home.

These aren't my kids. They aren't my friends, they aren't my family. I don't know these kids or their families.

I do know they were innocent. I know they were loved. I know they were American babies at school during a loving & happy time of year.

Those families will never have another great Christmas. Their families will never be whole. This time of year will now just be a reminder of a loss and a heartbreak that can never be healed.

The rest of us will move on. We will survive. We will forget as time passes. Columbine came and went- we were shocked, we felt remorse, we forgot. Virginia Tech came & went and set a new record for horror. The nation again stopped for several days and focused on a campus that had been shattered. Then we gradually moved on again.

This pattern will continue to happen unless something changes. It has happened in high schools, in colleges, in elementary schools. I don't know what the answer is and I am sure evil will continue to exist no matter what we do.

With that said I am feeling both very sad & very stupid. What did we think was going to happen? We make speeches and express outrage and then when it comes time for change or solutions we revert to partisan politics. Whatever your point of view was before the tragedy you revert to that position and start explaining why people that think like you do are not responsible. We blame the other side, we equivocate, we rationalize... And we do nothing. That isn't actually true- we move on from remorse and point fingers at others, we point across the aisle, we point at schools, we point at police, we point everywhere but in the mirror.

We are Americans.

There are not two sides to that statement.

We are ALL at fault because we will not stand together and move forward. We have all forgotten the pledge of allegiance... "Divided we fall"

Our children are being killed in their classrooms.

The president will TRY to change the laws about guns in the near future. If you saw him tonight you can be sure that he wants to do something tangible to try to change our future.

Maybe you didn't vote for him. Maybe you don't like him. Maybe you disagree with his politics, his policies, his point of view.

Maybe OUR American babies are more important than your politics, your policies, and your point of view.

I don't know the answer. I don't know what the president will try and I don't know if it will work. I will support it regardless. I will take the leap of faith because any tangible action is better than inaction. We know what happens if nothing changes- American children die.

We must move forward united, we must not forget, we must not point fingers. Let's try something new. If it doesn't work we can try again. These are OUR kids and OUR future. They are more important than I am. They are more important than you are. There were no shootings of any kind at the schools I attended. I never had to hide in a closet from a madman trying to kill me. Things have gotten worse not better and we have let down the next generation. We have not provided them the same thing that our parents provided us. I am at fault. You are at fault.

What are we going to do now?

United we stand.

Posted by Eric Stilley
December 16, 2012

Stephanie Melish, one of the few, hand-selected, Gitomer-Certified Speakers is the ONLY Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Sales Barista in the world! Stephanie trains, sells, and speaks to companies and associations all over the country. To book Stephanie for your next event, please visit or contact the friendly folks at Buy Gitomer via email at or by calling 704-333-1112. For exclusive content first, follow Stephanie on her Sales Barista Facebook Page.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Jeffrey Gitomer, International Man of Wisdom

Curitiba, Brasil: that is where I was when I realized how blessed I am in my professional life.

Sitting in the breakfast area of the Full Jazz Hotel, I was enjoying the pleasant breeze of a Brazilian morning, noshing on the brightest of fruit, drinking the heaviest of coffees, and listening to the laughter of Jeffrey.

It was our last morning of a five-day trip to Curitiba, where Jeffrey had addressed an international audience of 450 adoring fans. He was happy, content, and in his element.

We were spending the morning working, reflecting on what the past days experiences had taught us, and laughing, because when you are with Jeffrey, laughing is the one constant.

And then it happened. In the quiet after-math of our laughter, the wisdom of my boss, mentor, and friend, emerged. He paused and his tone lowered and he taught me. He transformed from the public figure that most only know him as, to the gentle, wise soul, I so frequently get to see. And in that moment, he took the perfect opportunity to do what only he can do, teach me about me and about who I can become.

You see that is what great mentors do. They teach. They encourage. They share. They enlighten. And they share with you their wisdom and their laughter so that when it seeps into the deepest depths of your soul, you learn.

I am blessed. I have had these fleeting moments of mentorship enough in my three and a half years of working with Jeffrey, that I gobble them up with excitement when they occur. They are my Gitomer Gold Nuggets that I treasure, reflect on, and keep for future use. They have molded me into a believer that I am destined to be more than what I set out for myself to achieve. 

Jeffrey is not a conventional boss by any means. But he has mastered the two elements that allow his people to flourish around him, encouragement and clarifying teaching moments.

Jeffrey writes and speaks on the lost secret of leadership: encouragement. As an employee who has been on the receiving end of leader encouragement, I can testify for him that this is one of his best principles. He encourages me to do more, be better, and try harder. And he does so, with a genuine grace, that the only valid response is a smile, heightened self-esteem, and positive energy. When leaders encourage their people, they will have happier employees producing more.

But more than encouraging me, he takes the time to enlighten me about myself. It’s quite brilliant if you think about it. He is teaching me about how to be better by talking with me, about me. Who doesn’t want to hear someone talk about them (positively)? Jeffrey is a wise observer, who notices the smallest of details, that if slightly shifted, it could change something from good to best. These clarifying teaching moments go something like this:

• We are conversing about something related to him, his company (Buy Gitomer), his writing, his speaking, or his family. Then he will soften and tell me to “take a note.”
• Jeffrey will ask me a question, about me.
• As I answer, he will listen intently.
• Then the magic comes…he tells me his answer. And it’s the best present he can give me. It’s his experience, knowledge, wisdom, and humor all wrapped up with a bow of love. And he gives it to me, unselfishly so that I can unwrap it and use it to make myself a better version of who he already knows I will become.

This is the Jeffrey Gitomer I know.
The Jeffrey Gitomer I work for.
The Jeffrey Gitomer I respect.
The Jeffrey Gitomer I admire.
The Jeffrey Gitomer I soak up.
The Jeffrey Gitomer I learn from.
And the Jeffrey Gitomer I laugh with.

His words always encourage, always protect, and always push me to see what he already sees. And all the while, take note: we never lack laughter or learning.

View a photo album of our trip on my Sales Barista Facebook Page.

I’m your Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Sales Barista. How may I help you help yourself?

Stephanie Melish, one of the few, hand-selected, Gitomer-Certified Speakers is the ONLY Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Sales Barista in the world! Stephanie trains, sells, and speaks to companies and associations all over the country. To book Stephanie for your next event, please visit or contact the friendly folks at Buy Gitomer via email at or by calling 704-333-1112.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Replacement Refs: There’s a Flag on the Play

Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the NFL, had his phone number tweeted by Wisconsin State Senator, Jon Erpenbach on Monday night after the most controversial touchdown call ever determined the outcome of the Packers-Seahawks game. Did you catch that? TWEETED!

After receiving 70,000 direct phone calls and nearly 300,000 angry #MNF tweets, the NFL referee lockout ended. Ironic? Coincidence? I think not. The social media platform allowed customers of the NFL to be heard, and that they were. Chirp Chirp Mr. Goodell.

Wait, there's a yellow flag on the field!

"Illegal forward pass, Offense, 48 game penalty. Replay second down."

Let me break it down for you:
Illegal forward pass - Moving forward with un-prepared replacement referees.
Offense - NFL.
48 game penalty - Games played under the rule of the replacement refs.

Let me break it down for you further.

The NFL hired 135 replacement referees. These guys may have worked in college, high school, or Pop Warner football games. A few were even from the Lingerie League, one of which was fired, bless his heart.

In August, these men were no more ready than I was to referee at the professional level. They were amateurs. And the NFL didn't invest the time or money to properly train them. Shame on you, NFL!

Forty-eight games and one horrific call later, they are finally off the field (and collecting a check for week 4), leaving a lesson in how to run the business of backups.

Here is how you can learn from the NFL's penalty play:

1. Make a Plan B. Things happen. People leave. Computers crash. Money disappears. Contracts fall through. Things happen. One of the major business failures is to not have a Plan B. Elizabeth, the producer of Sales Caffeine, humors our office in regards to executing a Plan B. My favorite line from her, "God Forbid, I get hit by a bus! We need someone else that knows how to do my job." She's right. This is Sales Caffeine Issue #569, which means it has ran for 569 Tuesday's straight. Do you think we aren't going to have a backup plan to ensure the streak doesn't end? What's your backup plan? Do you have people in place to pick up the pieces, to substitute in, and to be the replacement?

2. Invest in proper training. And once you do have the Plan B in place, you have to allow for proper training. The NFL didn't invest in adequately training these refs to be true replacements. A real replacement would have been able to perform at nearly the same level as their predecessor. They would know the rulebook, the penalties, and how to turn their microphone's on without hesitation. Instead, we saw game after game with dazed and confused black and white shirts. All these guys needed was a little TLC; training, leading, and communicating.

3. Support the replacements. Executing your Plan B requires that you support the replacements, whole-heartedly. They may stumble, make bad calls, and cause you to be bombarded with angry tweets and phone calls, but your job, as a leader, is to stand behind your Plan B and your people. Some of you may think I'm batty for saying this after the touchdown call the replacement refs made against Green Bay on Monday night. Well, Green Bay had another bad call on Sunday when running back Sproles clearly fumbled but was instead ruled down by contact. Um, down by contact my rear! Even the "best" will make mistakes.

When you have to implement your Plan B and put a replacement in the game, remember these three things; it's your decision, it's your game, and it's your reputation. Manage accordingly. The time will come for replacements. Are you ready?

I’m your Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Sales Barista. How may I help you help yourself?

Stephanie Melish, one of the few, hand-selected, Gitomer-Certified Speakers is the ONLY Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Sales Barista in the world! Stephanie trains, sells, and speaks to companies and associations all over the country. To book Stephanie for your next event, please visit or contact the friendly folks at Buy Gitomer via email at or by calling 704-333-1112.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lasting Impressionist

New York City. Swoon!

I just spent four days in the city that never sleeps doing what all thirty-something ladies do in Manhattan. Shop, sip and sightsee.

If you have never been to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), I would highly recommend it, specifically the fourth and fifth floors where you will find all of the most notable artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Perhaps the names Picasso, van Gogh, Kandinsky, Chagall, Matisse, Severini, and Monet ring a bell?

When I arrived on the 5th floor, there was one gold-framed piece that was guarded, crowded, and photographed more than any other piece of art, Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. But that wasn’t what garnered my attention and sparked my mind. It was back in a corner, in a separate room, where I fell into the vast heaven of Monet.

There was a distinct air about this area of MoMA. You could sense the awe and wonder as people quietly stood or sat on the benches in front of the sprawling canvases, where two of his Water Lilies series filled two entire walls. You could hear the respect, as this was the quietest place in MoMA.

After I swirled out of the lavender and pale pink trance I was in, I wanted to know more. So I read about Mr. Claude Monet. And was stunned. These pieces took twelve years to create…come again?!

Astonished, I still wanted to know more.  So after my trip ended, and I arrived home via turbulence and oh so friendly TSA, I did what any person who wants to learn more about anything does…I Googled it.

For those of you, who are like me and maybe are not as well versed in notable artists like Monet, here is what you need to know:

• He was 74 when he started his Water Lilies series.
• His eyesight was failing during the twelve-year span that he painted these pieces leading him to be criticized for their blurriness.
• After he passed, the Water Lilies stayed in Giverny for twenty years until they were rediscovered by curators.

Oh Monet, you silly French hen! You epitomized three life lessons that if recognized before you die, can help you live.

Here are three life lessons I learned from Monet:
1. It’s never too late to begin.  At 74 years young, Monet began painting the pieces that he is now most recognized for. I hear people regularly at 34 or 44 or 54 saying “it’s too late." I scoff at them. If a man of 74 with failing eyesight can begin a new project, than why can’t you do anything? Go back to school, change careers, have a baby or travel more.  It’s only too late to begin if you allow it to be too late or if you are dead. Are you dead?
2. It takes time to create a masterpiece. Twelve years for Monet. What about you? Most quit too soon, because it is hard or isn’t producing the immediate gratification society has come to expect. Most won’t continually pursue something that takes months, years, or decades to perfect. Hello diet pills and steroids! The easy road doesn’t create a masterpiece, hard work and time creates masterpieces. What are you working on?
3. It takes time for others to recognize and appreciate your accomplishments. Just because you see the brilliance behind your masterpiece doesn’t mean others will. You may be considered “crazy”, “off”, “nuts”, or “different” (like Steve Jobs was). But with hard work, determination, and passion, your masterpiece will shine for others to admire and appreciate, eventually if not immediately. 

I understand now why Monet was considered the founder of French impressionist painting, because his artwork left a lasting impression on my eyes, heart, and working soul.

See an entire gallery of my favorite pieces from MoMA by going here: Lasting Impressionist Album

I’m your Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Sales Barista. How may I help you help yourself?

Stephanie Melish, one of the few, hand-selected, Gitomer-Certified Speakers is the ONLY Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Sales Barista in the world! Stephanie trains, sells, and speaks to companies and associations all over the country. To book Stephanie for your next event, please visit or contact the friendly folks at Buy Gitomer via email at or by calling 704-333-1112.