19/11/18 Personal Juju


In early October, I tumbled helplessly down a rabbit hole in a little bar called Robert’s Western World. I’d gone to Nashville to speak at an event, and that first night, my friend Carla and I were itchin’ to get a taste of the Nashville scene.

(Side note: this is the third of my four “Lessons from Nashville.” If you missed the others, you can find them here on the Strategic Juju blog.)

If you’ve never been to Nashville, you should know that one of the most remarkable things about Broadway—the street that runs through the center of town—is how CLOSE you can get to the music. Immensely talented musicians pour their hearts out just feet away from you in a beautiful transfer of energy that’s a gift beyond belief.

I’m not gonna lie, I am not a fan of country music. But the live music in Nashville is so good, that the genre is entirely irrelevant.

Robert’s is a honky-tonk. Wooden floor and bar, stools that are bolted to the floor. There are rows of cowboy boots for sale on dusty shelves and posters tacked to every inch of the walls. There’s a sign behind the bar that says: “Dumb-Asses This Way.” Back-to-back people—almost all of them shockingly friendly—in boots and jeans and leather vests, holding Bud Lights and nodding to the music, let out an occasional whoop or an “aaah, yeaaah.”

There’s nothing fancy about Robert’s. But it’s got a vibe that just won’t quit.

I fell down the rabbit hole that night at Robert’s when I saw a 19-year-old guitar player named Luke McQueary. And I went on a journey with him that shocked the sh*& out of me, and kept me thinking about it for days.

I was mesmerized by Luke McQueary. I could not take my eyes off of him. He played in a four-man band. But I could only see Luke. I was totally lost in his world for nearly three hours.

Now, lest you think I’m a lech or a cradle-robber or a stalker, I promise you this had nothing to do with me wanting Luke, or being attracted to him “in that way.” It had everything to do with his unwitting invitation to lead me down that rabbit hole.

Even though I immediately recognized his talent as a guitar player (it was impossible NOT to see or hear), all of my attention was on Luke’s face. His facial expressions were like none I’ve ever seen. It was as though he was using his lips, his cheeks, his eyebrows, his chin to FEEL the music. The music flowed through his guitar, but his countenance was inextricably tied to every note.

After the first twenty minutes or so, I realized that I’d become so lost in Luke’s performance… because Luke was so lost in it. He was captivated by the moment. Entirely swept away by what he was doing. Completely unaware of what people around him were thinking.

And in seeing him that way, I felt that I was taking part in an intimate moment. Like he had laid himself bare.

And I immediately felt protective of him. I had his back. I followed him. Because he had been so honest with me. Because he had been so raw before me.

I wanted—simultaneously—to keep the discovery to myself and to share it with the world. I suspect that every single person watching Luke felt what I felt that night.

This was a one-way moment, #NAME#. Luke didn’t even know I was there. (I feel 100% positive he’s not writing an email to his friends about ME this morning.) And that’s what makes this all the more remarkable. He just gave what he gave naturally. Without expectation. Without a need for validation or connection.

He just loved what he did, and so I loved what he did.

Carla and I went back to Robert’s three more times that week. The vibe was so intensely beautiful, that we couldn’t resist the draw.

In Luke McQueary, I found a golden lesson. I learned that when we surrender to the beauty and power of what we’re doing—when we allow ourselves to fully FEEL our expressions of creativity, or love, or desire—others can’t help but to be drawn in.

I also learned that it’s the striving, the posing, the caring about what others think that ultimately drives them away.

And so I invite you, today, to show yourself to others in the throes of doing what moves you. Don’t try to fix it or clean it up or make it presentable.

Just love what you do in the presence of others.

And invite them right down into your rabbit hole.

From the heart,

P.S. I took a video of Luke that first night at Robert’s, and I watch it sometimes now, before I write. If you want to see what I saw in Luke, I posted it here. But I warn you not to steal Luke’s energy without giving something back. Follow him on YouTube or Facebook. Buy his CD or go see him in Nashville and give him a big tip. It’s a circle, this kind of giving. You have to participate in the circle if you want to continue receiving…

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LESSONS FROM NASHVILLE: Wasted Days and Wasted Nights
14/11/18 Personal Juju

LESSONS FROM NASHVILLE: Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

In early October, I stood in the back of a room filled with a thousand screaming women. They were dancing, shouting, hollering, clapping, laughing… for me.

And as I paced behind the rows of chairs, ready to step onto a stage for the first time in my life, I had a moment that I knew would change the trajectory of my entire career. And—if it’s not too dramatic to say—change the world.

Let me back up just a second. I know it’s been a while since I’ve written here. If you’ve been following me on other platforms, you may know that I launched my book and have been on a bit of a “tour,” inspiring women to step up to the second half of life. As part of that process, I was invited to speak–from a stage in Nashville–to a thousand “Lady Bosses.” I was invited by Kaelin Tuell Poulin, a fitness guru with more than 85,000 women in her private program.

It was a real boon, lemme tell ya.

I busted my butt preparing for LadyBoss Live. I got a masterful coach who helped me to prepare a kick-ass talk. I practiced the talk every day, first memorizing 35 minutes of text—90 seconds at a time—and then walking through it again and again to feel comfortable with my gestures, walking the length of the stage, calling the audience to respond. I spent hours choosing the right clothing and smiling at my reflection in the mirror.

LadyBoss Live was the kick-off for my speaking career, and I was determined to feel 100% READY when I got on that stage.

And then the “morning of” arrived. I showed up in the Green Room for hair and make-up, forced down my oatmeal, ran through my talk, and walked through the door of the room where I was to speak.

And there they were. A thousand women… on fire. Pumped and primed and totally open for new ideas and inspiration and leadership. They were practically begging me to step onto the stage…

When someone started whispering this in my ear:

“What are you gonna do if you forget your lines?
What if you trip on the way up the stairs?
What if they hate you?
What if they laugh at you?
What if you’re too much for them?
Too big?
Too aggressive?
Too full of yourself?
What if this is your last chance to ever speak again?
How are you gonna feel tomorrow after this all blows up in your face?”

Can you imagine ANYONE who’d say such horrible things to me in the literal moment of my big break? I’ll bet you can. Because I’ll bet that you have a brutal critic exactly like this one.

Right inside your head.

In the past, this nasty little bit&% has taken me down. She’s beaten me up. She’s sent me right through doors crying and left me in bed with the covers over my head.

But that morning, I was ready for her. I knew she’d come along with me to Nashville. She was chattering through the whole flight and chewing gum in my ear when I checked in at the front desk. She was “checking” me in the days before my speech. Making sure to remind me how small I was, and what a bad idea it was to try to go big.

So I knew that morning she’d be screaming over the voices of all those women. I knew she’d be jumping up and down and pointing her finger in my face.

But I made a conscious choice.
To THANK her.
To RECOGNIZE what she was trying to do for me.
And then to politely tell her I just didn’t need her that day.
That she was welcome to watch, but not to make decisions.

And I gave respect, instead, to the truth about what would happen if I gave in to her:

If I missed that moment…
If I missed out on a thousand women screaming my name…
I’d just keep doing it.
And all of my time preparing would have just been wasted days and wasted nights.

And so I told myself what I knew to be true:
I’d done the work, so the words would come.
The message had come TO me, so it was mine to share.
And this was my moment.

And I stepped onto that stage…

It was the most rewarding moment of my professional career. They laughed at my jokes and clapped at the right times and leaned in and listened… and TOOK NOTES! (Can you imagine? Someone taking NOTES when you talk?? What a gas!)

And I saw, right from the stage, that my words were changing them. Some women cried. I could see them lay down their defenses right before me, and take in the message that they were PERFECT. And that they were in for the best part of their lives.

And then, they gave me a standing ovation.

The voice in my head? She didn’t even congratulate me. And she learned NOTHING from the experience.

She’ll be back next time to shoot me down and suck the life out of me. After all, that’s her job, right? To keep me safe?

What about the voice in YOUR head?
What’s she telling you?
How many “back-stage” moments have you had when she’s cried out, and you’ve decided to pay respect to her nasty diatribes?
How many times has she told you what you’re worth, and you believed her?
How many times has she knitted you a sweater of shame, and you put it on?

Here’s the trick.
And listen up, because it’s a life-changer.

She’s not going away.

And believe it or not, although she’s 100% full of bullsh%&, she’s actually on your team.
So treat her like a team member.
Acknowledge her.
Thank her for her warnings.
Recognize her for her commitment to your “safety.”

And then make the conscious choice to just IGNORE everything she says.

Just nod. And then do whatever you want.

Listen, there’s a very good chance that the voice inside my head is actually the SAME voice that’s inside yours. And I can tell ya, she’s a playground bully. Push back, and she’s got NO GAME.

Here’s to your next back-stage moment.

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Are You Denying Your Inner Chunky Monkey?
01/03/17 Good Juju and Brands that Have It , How to Brand Your Juju , Personal Juju # , , , , ,

Are You Denying Your Inner Chunky Monkey?

Yesterday I had a wonderful question from a participant in Unforgettable U, my online branding program. In effect, she asked, “Juju, what if I tailor my branding and my message to a specific audience, and in doing so, I push away everyone else?”


In essence, she asked, what if I limit my possibilities with my brand?


I love this question, because it gets straight to the heart of truly powerful branding.


Developing an effective brand is an act of bravery.


It involves looking deeply inside yourself – and your business – to identify what you believe, what you stand for, and what you can bring to the world.

It also involves looking deeply into the specific hopes, dreams, fears and frustrations of potential clients or customers.

And most importantly, it involves making a promise that what you deliver will be designed to address those very hopes, dreams, fears and frustrations.


When you do that, you’ll be a serious turn-on for a very specific group. Others will feel lukewarm about your promise or offers. While still others will be turned off, or entirely repelled.


But there’s an important lesson in this:


You will go further, faster, with a smaller group of raving, loyal fans who are committed to you and your message, than with an enormous group who could take it or leave it.


Great branding is kind of like ice cream…


Nearly everyone likes vanilla and chocolate ice cream. If you bring either of these to a birthday party, just about everyone will eat the cake – with the ice cream – and be fine. They may even be satisfied. But they’re not going to talk about the ice cream. They’re not going to say, “Oh, my God!! Who brought the vanilla?!! I love vanilla! I haven’t had vanilla in ages!”


You feel me here, right? No one ever created a “moment” with vanilla ice cream.


On the other hand, if you bring Chunky Monkey (Ben and Jerry’s banana ice cream with fudge chunks and walnuts), there will be folks in the crowd who RAVE over the ice cream. They will come back for second helpings. They will BOND with you over your ice cream choice. They will tell you stories about the first time they ever had Chunky Monkey and how they sneak away to eat it. They will make the most guttural sounds of delight and satisfaction as they lick their spoons and wink at you.


Other people will look at you as though you are insane. They will say things like, “Banana ice cream with cake? Seriously??!! Whose idea was that? Why not just a simple vanilla or chocolate?”


Now, here’s what you need to understand:


You ARE Chunky Monkey. You were BORN Chunky Monkey. We’re ALL Chunky Monkey. Each of us, and each of our businesses, is chock full of DIFFERENCES. Quirks. Specialties. Back stories. Personality characteristics. Beliefs and values. Crazy combinations of FLAVORS!


And If you search deeply enough, and show yourself completely enough, you will likely become polarizing. Some are gonna love ya. Others are gonna leave ya.


You can pretend that you are not Chunky Monkey. You can pretend to be vanilla. Or chocolate. You can water down all the interesting flavors in the hope (which will undoubtedly go unfulfilled) that you will please everyone and offend no one.


But you know what? No one will talk about you after the party.

And the next time you meet the guests who thoughtlessly gobbled your vanilla… they won’t even remember you.


So I invite you – I IMPLORE you – to get your Chunky Monkey on. To work toward ATTRACTING those who love your particular flavor. And to cater JUST to them. You’ll be narrowing your crowd for sure… but they’ll be telling everyone about your exquisite taste long after you’ve left the room.


And if you want to learn more about attraction – more about how to BRING your Chunky Monkey to the party – meet me at a live webinar tomorrow morning (Thursday, 9:00 a.m. Pacific.) We’re going to talk about how to make your target audience LOVE and CRAVE you. Click here to register.

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AC/DC and the Black Keys — Through a 50-Year-Old Audio Filter
25/01/17 How to Brand Your Juju , Personal Juju , Uncategorized # , , ,

AC/DC and the Black Keys — Through a 50-Year-Old Audio Filter

Last Sunday night we barbecued a beautiful steak dinner – in the pouring rain – to share with a group of folks we love and cherish. Our gorgeous friend, Norm, who has been a Broadway performer for many years, encouraged our 15-year-old son, Christian, to bring his electric guitar downstairs to play for the group.


Christian has only been playing guitar for about a year, and he’s not altogether comfortable with performing. But with Norm’s encouragement he became emboldened, and we were treated to some super cool riffs and some full-length songs, as Christian covered the Black Keys, Pink Floyd, the Violent Femmes, and AC/DC.


While Christian played, each of us became lost in a different head space, while Norm looked on, fascinated. When Christian was finished, Norm praised him, and then said, “That was unbelievably cool. And the coolest thing about it was how each of you experienced it.”


He went on to explain:


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Calling it Quits on Sales Shaming
10/06/16 How to Brand Your Juju , Personal Juju , Uncategorized # , , , ,

Calling it Quits on Sales Shaming

I grew up surrounded by the car business. My dad was an old-school car dealer. The kind who would say to customers things like, “Whaddya think, we plug these lights into the moon?” or “Whaddya mean you have to ask your wife? What kind of sissy has to ask his wife if he can buy a car?”


He carried a wad of cash in his pocket with a rubber band around it, instead of a wallet. He wore Sansabelt slacks that coordinated perfectly with matching polyester-blend golf shirts and pullover v-neck sweaters with little penguins embroidered on the left breast. He golfed 18 holes most every afternoon, and spent his evenings in lounges with high-back red leather booths, velvet wallpaper, and great big porterhouse steaks… a glass of something clear, amber, and on the rocks invariably in-hand.


In the 1970’s he broke Nissan’s sales record for the most new vehicles sold in a single month. (They were still Datsun then.) When he died in 2008, the record still stood.


When I was a little girl, I thought my dad smelled like 50% perspiration, and 50% California sunshine. I thought he could make money rain from the sky.


But I never wanted to be a car dealer.


Sales? Ewwww.
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Great Story, Dude.
24/05/16 How to Brand Your Juju , Personal Juju # , , ,

Great Story, Dude.

As marketers, we brand our businesses and brand ourselves through stories. We tell the world how we got to where we are today…


What private hells we endured in the honing of our crafts,


What it took for us to finally create the solutions to the nagging problems we now can solve for the rest of the world,


Or of the pivotal days that pushed us – unceremoniously — off the ledge, and qualified us to talk other potential jumpers down from that very same ledge.


These brand stories represent our ascent into the world of entrepreneurship. And they create bonds with our customers that lead to sales… that foster success.


But what about the stories we don’t tell everyone else?

What about the stories that we tell ourselves, instead?

The ones that hold us back? Hold us down? Hold us hostage to our own self-sabotage and destructive habits?

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Ever Try Too Hard?
20/05/16 Personal Juju , Uncategorized # , , , ,

Ever Try Too Hard?

I haven’t been my consistent wordy self on the blog for the past few weeks, because I’ve been trying.


I’ve had my head down, trying to make something work.

Pushing. Pressing. Testing. Tweaking. Wiggling. Testing.

Sighing. Crying. Laughing. Singing. Then sighing and crying again…


I did my very first yoga video just after I turned 40, almost ten years ago. It was Baron Baptiste’s “Journey into Power.” Everything about yoga was new and weird and amazing for me, and for long moments I just sat and stared at Baron.


But when he said, “Don’t try hard; try easy, “ I had to stop and rewind.
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Anatomy of a Good Brand, with Mihai Herman
17/03/16 Personal Juju , Uncategorized # , , ,

Anatomy of a Good Brand, with Mihai Herman

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Mihai Herman sat me down for an interview. Mihai is a business coach for creative entrepreneurs – and he lives in Romania. He’s young. He’s ambitious. He’s a firecracker. He’s got a social following of more than 30,000, and he’s a regular contributor for the Huffington Post. And what I like most about Mihai is that he’s looking to learn and improve every chance he gets.

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How to Handle the Haters? What to Do About Negative Online Reviews and Comments.
14/03/16 How to Brand Your Juju , Personal Juju , Uncategorized # , , , , ,

How to Handle the Haters? What to Do About Negative Online Reviews and Comments.

In my last two blog posts, I introduced you to some friends of mine – business owners who were blown away by a brutal online review from a high profile client. And how this review started a downward spiral for my friends that resulted in them losing enthusiasm for their business, then losing actual business, and then sliding into a dangerous sea of inactivity.


In the first post, I addressed the inactivity, and what to do when you feel like doing nothing. (You can find it here.)


In the second post, I addressed the issue of how my friends allowed someone or something outside of them to define them — and their brand. (You can find it here.)


And in today’s post, I want to address something less emotional, and more pragmatic:


How do you deal with critics, angry customers, and haters online?

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How Do You Deal with Failure?
25/02/16 Personal Juju # , , , , ,

How Do You Deal with Failure?

Today, I was interviewed by a friend and colleague, Mihai Herman, for a piece he’s featuring on his business coaching blog. And he asked me an interesting question:


“How do you deal with failure?”


It was a surprise question, and I’ll admit, for a moment it gave me pause.


All kinds of thoughts ran through my head: How DO I deal with failure? I suspect I don’t do it very gracefully.


But as I answered the question, I came to the realization that my definition of failure has changed over time.


And it’s not so much how I get over the failure – but what I refer to as failure – that’s been the mark of progress, and a move toward happiness, in my life.

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