How The Best Brands are Like Full-Fat Dairy
20/02/19 Uncategorized

How The Best Brands are Like Full-Fat Dairy

For the past two months, I’ve been working with an amazing new client. For the sake of privacy, I’ll call her Lisanne.

Lisanne is a rockstar leadership coach. I mean she’s got serious chops. Thirty years’ experience, amazing credentials, a giant bag of “ninja weapons” for her clients from formal education in Psychology to Neuroscience to corporate team-building experience to certifications from the most elite and popular coaching programs and gurus. She’s been a life-long learner and performer, and her resume shows it.

This midlife woman, like so MANY that I coach for break-out brands, is literally ON. THE. VERGE. of taking her industry by storm. She is seriously PrimeTime.

But Lisanne had a problem. When it came time to take the next steps to scale her business and brand—which for her were writing a book and speaking from stage–she couldn’t tell me her core message in less than 3,500 words. Literally.

I’d say, “Lisanne, tell me what you do better than any other coach in the world.”

To which she would confidently reply, “I can take a high-performing leader to the next level.”

And, being the branding bitch that I am, I would push her further…

“Those words sound very generic to me, Lisanne. You’re selling me on the concept of coaching, in general. I want to know how YOU make that happen in a way that’s different than any other coach.”

And out would tumble the entire first chapter of War and Peace. If this were her elevator speech, you’d have to ride to the 30th floor with her at least seven times to hear it all.

What’s more, as she was reciting it, she could FEEL that she was getting lost in the words. And it choked her up. It created a sort of panic in her. And then a feeling of insecurity and defeat.

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16/11/18 Uncategorized


Shame lives in our bodies. For me, it lives right at the top of my chest. And sometimes, when I’m talking, I choke on it.

I got my shame from all kinds of places. I can remember—as a little girl—hearing the words, “You should be ashamed of yourself.”

And you know what? Sometimes, I still am.

I wanted to share with you–in a series of posts—my “Lessons from Nashville.” (If you missed Wednesday’s lesson about the voice in your head, you can find it here.) These are four powerful messages that I uncovered during my first experience speaking from stage, in front of a thousand women in Nashville, Tennessee.

And today’s lesson is about shame.

In early October in Nashville, I took a huge risk on stage. I shared my shame. I shared a story about a particularly contentious morning in our house. A morning when I’d felt overcome by menopausal rage, a moment when my need to be a “helicopter parent” stared me right in the face… a moment when I’d said things to my teenager that I deeply regretted. A moment when I felt I’d lost control.

A moment that I’d choked on nearly every day since it had happened.

Here’s the thing about shame: It’s different than guilt. Guilt relates to something we’ve done. We feel regretful about an action or a behavior, and our guilt moves us to take corrective action. But shame is different. Because it’s not about what we’ve done, it’s about who we ARE.

Brene Brown–who’s become the Internet’s foremost guru on shame–says that guilt says: “I’ve done something bad.” While shame says: “I AM something bad.”

As I’d practiced my speech in the weeks leading up to the event, each time I’d come to this story, I’d choked. Many times I’d cried. Pacing in my bathroom, with only the echo of my own voice to keep me company, I swallowed that shame over and over again.

Because here’s another thing to know about shame: It only lives in solitude. It’s only when we speak our shameful moments aloud to others—as we shine light on the shame for others to see—that it loses its power over us.

And so when I got on stage that morning and told my story to a thousand women, I didn’t choke. It just traveled up from my heart, through my chest, out of my mouth… and right into their hearts.

And then I learned one of the most powerful lessons of my life as a leader:

When we share our shame with others and set ourselves free, we give others the chance to do the same.

After I stepped off the stage, I walked outside the conference room where the audience was listening to the next speaker, and I took a deep breath. I got myself a cup of coffee. I allowed myself to come down from the high of the lights and the applause and the music, and I waited for the doors to open, and for the women to spill out for lunch.

And when they did, something remarkable happened.

Strangers began to walk up to me and tell me about their shame. One woman told me that the last thing she’d said to her dying step-father was that his cancer was his own fault. One woman told me she’d over-fed her children, and they were struggling with obesity. Another woman told me she struggled with deep and brutal shame over the shape of her own body. Another told me her husband had left her and she felt horrible shame for not being attractive enough to keep him. The stories went on and on.

I stood with these women and helped them find ways to forgive themselves. I held their hands as they cried. And I hugged them as they found peace.

I have to admit that even after 25 years in branding and marketing, I never anticipated the power of sharing my shame. It hit me like a beautiful, magical ton of bricks.

If you’re on my email list, chances are you came here to learn about branding. You came to learn how to spread your message or put your product out there. How to get people to notice you, to listen to you, to believe in you.

And the biggest part of branding is allowing ourselves to really be SEEN. Because a powerful brand is a REAL brand. An HONEST brand. Dare I say, at the risk of sounding pathetically passé, an AUTHENTIC brand…

And I can’t imagine a brand message more beautifully powerful than one that offers relief from one of the most insidious feelings on earth: SHAME.

I want to be very careful here—lest you think I’m suggesting that you manipulate people with your stories. Because I am not suggesting that for a moment. Manipulation is a sickening kind of branding. An under-handed way of selling.

What I am suggesting, is that you consider a way to share your shame if it will help those who are in your orbit.

If you have a moment of shame that relates to your core message—a moment that kept you in the chains of a horrible belief about who you ARE–then share it.

If you can find the courage to share your own story of shame, it will undoubtedly set you free. And in the process, you may just unlock the door for countless others.

You are beautiful and perfect.
And I am honored to have a moment in your day.

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What’s the Big Idea, Anyway?
14/03/17 Uncategorized

What’s the Big Idea, Anyway?

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to hear the marketing legend, Todd Brown, speak. If you don’t know Todd, he’s a highly-revered expert in the subject of direct response advertising. More specifically, he’s a master at driving consumers through “funnels” that ultimately lead to product purchase – using copy that leads and entices.


Todd’s message at the conference? The Single Big Idea:


“In order for your marketing message to COMPEL your prospects to act, it must be driven by a SINGLE idea, and that idea must be a BIG idea.”


In further detail, Todd says: “You have to find an idea to base your marketing message on that is arresting, compelling, and intellectually interesting to prospects. You have to find an idea that cuts through the clutter, screams of being new, and fresh, and sucks prospects in and makes them want to learn more. And in the process, you have to refuse to settle for run of the mill, mediocre ideas to base your marketing on.”


A big idea. It sounds so logical, doesn’t it? So simple? So integral to the success of any brand or business?


But it is so often completely over-looked.


I have this discussion of the “big idea” with almost every client who comes through my branding course. I call it the “juju.” But essentially, I’m on the big idea boat with Todd. The “big idea” doesn’t ONLY apply to advertising copy. It applies to branding, in general.


If you’re going to release your brand to the world, it needs to be based on something the world can quickly and easily understand – and then get behind.


Most often, when I ask clients what’s unique or special about them, what they stand for, or what they’ll bring to the market, I get a generalization of what they DO:


“I’m a health coach specializing in gut health.”

“I’m a photographer, focusing on increasing self-esteem for women.”

“I’m a jewelry designer who uses ceramic and metals.”


These are all cool professions. They are not big ideas.


This concept isn’t easy to wrap your head around, and I love to use Dr. Barry Sears as an example here, because he turned an everyday ordinary concept into a single big idea, and the world responded.


That big idea? The Zone Diet:


“The Zone Diet ™ will help you shed excess pounds, dramatically reduce your risk of chronic disease, and improve your mental and physical performance while living a longer more fulfilling life.”


If you visit the Zone Diet website and dig a little deeper into the explanation of Dr. Sears’s big idea, you’ll find a definition:


“Balance your plate at every meal with one third protein, the size and thickness of your palm, two thirds colorful fruit and vegetable carbs, and a dash of fat.”


Ummmm…. Did he just say, “Eat a balanced diet?”


I’m pretty sure he did. And that’s not a big idea at all, is it? That’s just good “adulting,” as far as I’m concerned.


Except that’s not EXACTLY what Dr. Sears said.


What he said was, that if you eat this balanced diet, you’ll be… “In the Zone.”


What happens “In the Zone?”


According to Dr. Sears: “If you are in the Zone ™, you have optimized your ability to control diet-induced inflammation.”


And here’s the best part: “This is a physiological state that can be MEASURED in clinical tests.”


The Zone. ™ BAM.


This was Dr. Sears big idea. And by any standard measure, his brand was a smashing success. He sold more than 2 million copies of his hardcover book, made the New York Times Best Sellers list, and was featured on TV shows just about everywhere. They called him the “diet guru.” He had an entire line of Zone-based nutritional products and supplements, as well.


I was in my early 30’s when The Zone Diet books were flying off the shelves, and I had a friend who literally PREACHED about Balance Bars (the pre-packaged snack that got you right into The Zone.) He would buy them for me and hide them in my brief case, because he was so convinced that my day would blow up (in a good way) when I hit The Zone.


So, why did this work? Why was Dr. Sears able to convince the world that a balanced diet was a novel concept?


Let’s break it down, according to Todd Brown’s definition of the “single big idea.”

  1. Did it cut through the clutter? Fo sho. The Zone was on everyone’s lips.
  2. Was it arresting, compelling and interesting to consumers? Hell, yeah! You tell me: Would you  rather eat a balanced diet, or get into The Zone?
  3. Did Dr. Sears settle for a mediocre, run-of-the-mill message, like “I’m a doctor, and I know it’s good for you to eat a balanced diet because it reduces inflammation?” Nope. Dr. Sears did nothing of the sort. He wrestled with his concept, until he turned it into a big idea.


I offer this as a challenge, for you and for your brand. What’s your big idea? How will you compel your prospects to act? How will you get folks to sit up, take notice, latch on, march behind you, sing your song, and shove your version of the Balance Bar into your co-worker’s mouth?


It’s a lot to think about. But then again, it’s everything, isn’t it?

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A Relationship Coach Talks Business: An Interview with Yara Golden
31/01/17 Uncategorized

A Relationship Coach Talks Business: An Interview with Yara Golden

As entrepreneurs and business leaders, we are — first and foremost — relationship-builders. For without our clients, and without our teams, we’re simply lonely folks with big dreams, shouting into big black holes.

Last November, I had the divine pleasure of interviewing relationship coach and founder of Life on Purpose, Yara Golden. We talked about how our relationships in business are really no different than our relationships in “real life.”

We talked about the “L” word. And why Yara believes that love is everything when it comes to our businesses.

And we talked about having the courage to show ourselves completely, so that we may live our lives, and run our businesses, in accordance with our most deeply-held values and in alignment with true purpose.

I am blessed to call Yara a friend. She makes me better.

So I wanted to introduce the two of you. Listen to her message of love and power here.

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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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A Crash Course in the Dream 100. Lesson #3: Spreading the Love
18/01/17 How to Brand Your Juju , Uncategorized # , , , ,

A Crash Course in the Dream 100. Lesson #3: Spreading the Love

Most of us are pretty checked out on how to build love relationships. We begin by anxiously scheduling that first date. Then, over dinner, bowling, or Frisbee golf (depending on how cheap of a date we are), we share our hopes, dreams, beliefs, and values. If they jibe with our companion for the evening, we set that next date. Over time, we build a real relationship, based on the things we share.


As it turns out, we’re not quite so checked out on how to build relationships with our customers. In fact, we often don’t even make it through the first date. That’s because we focus on the transaction; we’re 100% wrapped up in getting to “yes.” But when we convince someone to buy our product, download our content to opt in to our list, or sign up for our webinar, we’ve done nothing more than schedule that date. The part where we share beliefs and values, and build real connection? Screw that. We’ve already moved on to the next potential “yes.”


Imagine what your love life would look like if you constantly scheduled dates, and then never really showed up. It would be a social shit show.


Trust me, the same holds true with your business life. If you want to attract customers and keep them over the long-haul, you have to start thinking about what happens after the transaction. You have to show up, share, and connect.


And one of the best ways to create real connections with your prospects and customers – the kind that lead to healthy, long-term relationships – is to utilize a Dream 100 strategy.


With the Dream 100, you create a list of 100 influencers who share your beliefs and values. Then maximize those relationships to add value to the lives of your customers, followers, fans, or prospects.


For the past two days, I’ve been going super deep into the Dream 100 strategy. First I introduced the what and why (click here to read that), and then I explained just how to provide value to your Dream 100, in order to get noticed (click here to read that).


Today I want to talk about how to utilize the Dream 100 strategy to create lasting connections with your clients – about how to add real value to the lives of people you should care deeply about.


7 Ways to Spread the Love Using Your Dream 100 Strategy


1. Teach.

Give a man a fish, blah, blah, blah… Teach a man to fish and yada yada. It’s the truth, my friend. You will create lasting and enduring relationships by empowering your audience through teaching. I’m doing it right now. I’m showing you how to do a thing. Step-by-step. Bit-by-bit. And here’s the super cool part: it’s not MY thing. I learned it from Russell Brunson (who’s in my Dream 100). And he learned it from Chet Holmes.

I didn’t make this shit up. But I did put my own spin on it. I “private labeled” it with one of my deepest core beliefs: that true connection is created through shared values. Now, you can take these teachings, give credit to me and the greats who came before me, and pay them forward to your audience.

The lessons you’ll provide will have an astounding effect on the recipients. Efficacy – the ability to produce a desired or intended result – is one of the most valuable gifts you can give. And giving is integral to the development of real relationships.

Word to the wise: Don’t skip the “give credit” step when you share the teachings of your Dream 100. And if you’re sharing information that you bought from your Dream 100 – info that’s not available for free to the public – you need to get permission before you do so. Credit and permission are critical in order for the Dream 100 strategy to work. Aside from that, it’s illegal and slimy to plagiarize. So don’t even think about it.



2. Curate.

Curation is underrated. Don’t miss out on an easy-peasy-lemon-squeezey tactic for real and lasting connection. What is curation? It’s the selection, collection and archiving of digital assets. In other words, you pick up stuff from your Dream 100, and you pass it on to your customers, holding it in a well-organized space (like your blog or a social page) for easy access.

What’s the value in that? If I’m part of your audience, I don’t have to search all the hell over the place to get information on something that’s meaningful to me.

Meaningful. That’s the ticket. Everything about my Dream 100 strategy links back to the concept that we create real connections by sharing values and beliefs. So, if you believe in clean oceans, you curate content about the cause. And when I hit your site, if I ALSO care about clean oceans (which makes us fast friends), I can find a bunch of stuff right there in one place, and I can sit back with a cold one, takin’ it all in.

Here’s the best part: once I KNOW that you care about clean oceans, and once I know that you’re gonna curate good shit for me, I’ll keep coming back. ‘Cuz it’s easier for me to rely on you than to do it myself. And that means you’ve done me a big, fat, favor. BAM. Friends do favors for one another. Curation doesn’t rack up as many points as helping someone move, but it’s up there on the list.


3. Motivate and Inspire.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m good enough. There. I just said it out loud. When I have this feeling, I go out in search of motivation, inspiration, and validation. I go to women on my Dream 100 list, like Debbie Phillips of Women on Fire. Debbie lights me up. She lights up thousands of women. And because she does, I pay a membership fee, every month, to have access to her motivational goods.

Debbie understands that by inspiring, motivating and validating me, she does me a service, and she creates a long-term relationship with me, rooted in shared values. I trust Debbie. I like Debbie. I agree with Debbie…. Debbie and me? We’re like THIS.

Debbie is in my Dream 100. Who’s in her Dream 100? I can only imagine. Last month she interviewed Gloria Steinem. It was a “holy shit” moment for me. Gloria Steinem??? So, you see, Debbie is further along than me. Her Dream 100 is full of movers and shakers who operate in a whole different realm than I do. And she shares that with me. She lifts me up. She sets me straight. She provides me with the hope and confidence I need to see myself in that realm, too. She puts me on a trajectory for happiness and success.

Use your Dream 100 to motivate your audience. Give them power. Give them hope. Lighten their loads. Brighten their days. Make them laugh. Make them cry. Share your successes, so they can see their own in the future.


4. Entertain.

My friends are super entertaining. I love their stories, their jokes, their viewpoints. Time just flies by when I’m hanging out with them. And I look forward to the next time I can see them or talk to them. I cherish them, in part because I associate them with such good times.

If you’re going to make friends with your prospects and customers, they should feel the same way about you. So entertain them. Share things from your Dream 100 that fill their time in an easy and joyful way. Connect over something you like.  It doesn’t have to be goofy cat videos (Although it certainly can be. Who am I to say you shouldn’t have goofy cat video producers in your Dream 100?)

Fun is, well… fun. So don’t take yourself, or your Dream 100 so seriously all the damn time.


5. Enhance financial or personal wellness.

One of my favorite wishes for people I love is, “Be well.” Wishing another well is the ultimate in values-based connection. It matters to me that the ones I love are well: financially, spiritually, physically, mentally. And you can easily pass on information from your Dream 100 to enhance wellness in the lives of those you love most: your customers.

There are all kinds of ways to do this. Interview your Dream 100 members about their higher purpose or their beliefs, and pass the info along. Share best practices of your Dream 100. Show yourself, and your Dream 100, in real life. (Snap Chat is an amazing resource for this, by the way.) Create quick tips, advice, quotes, short stories… anything that will help your tribe to “be well.”



This is by no means an exhaustive list. But it should certainly get you moving in the right direction.

As you can see, sharing info from your Dream 100 facilitates real connections on so many levels. It elevates relationships. It moves you past the initial “yes” of the transaction, well into that first date, and far beyond.

They say, “Sharing is caring.” And I find, very often, that THEY are some pretty smart cookies.


If you’d like to work with me in creating your own Dream 100, and writing a strategic plan to positively influence their worlds and those of your prospects, reach out to me a I’ve got a package for you that’s an absolute dream.


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A Crash Course in the Dream 100. Lesson #1: What and Why
16/01/17 Uncategorized # , , , ,

A Crash Course in the Dream 100. Lesson #1: What and Why

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
— John Lennon


Everything about brands that transcend – and businesses that remain in business – is connected to connection. We no longer live in an economy driven by transaction. Today, our economy is driven by experience. And no experience is richer, more fulfilling, or more apt to lead to a next experience than one that includes REAL connection through shared values.


If I believe what you believe, I wanna hang out with you, man. If you believe what I believe, you’ll be singin’ my song by morning. If we bond over what we both feel is true and right, it beats a pinky swear by a clear mile.


Over the course of several days last week, I talked in broad strokes and specifics about how to connect with prospects and customers by sharing your values and beliefs. (If you missed those posts, you can catch the last of them, which includes links to all three, by clicking here.) And one of the specifics I mentioned was the cultivation of a Dream 100 list.


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Manifesto and the Magic of Connection
13/01/17 Uncategorized

Manifesto and the Magic of Connection

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been talking about how your values and your beliefs can become the strongest differentiator for your business and your brand.


I first outlined the danger that Mike Weisman of the Values Institute so aptly described as “capsizing in the sea of sameness,” that arises when we set out to differentiate our businesses solely on pricing or product features. (And how you can avoid that through a values-driven approach to business and branding.) If you missed that, you can read it here.


Yesterday, I discussed how giving your customers something to believe in leads to enduring connections. And I provided Six Ways to Communicate Your Beliefs to Your Customers and Prospects to Facilitate True Connection. 


And today I want to introduce you to the first and most powerful of those six forms of communication: the manifesto.

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Is Your Business Capsizing in the Sea of Sameness?
10/01/17 How to Brand Your Juju , Uncategorized # , , , , ,

Is Your Business Capsizing in the Sea of Sameness?

Motive is a powerful thing.


It’s even more powerful when it’s pulled from the shadows, clearly articulated, and shared with your customers.


We’re taught to believe that motives lurk behind the scenes and hide in our subconscious minds. Movies and media stories are driven by secret or slimy motives for crimes, wayward political careers, and unintentional moments of truth that expose liars and evil-doers.


Motives, my friend, have gotten a terribly unfair bad rap.


When it comes to building a brand, a following, a customer base, or a reputation, your motive is your most potent and effective tool for differentiation.


Small business owners and entrepreneurs so often find themselves in a crippling space of equivalence. We look and feel just like everyone else.


Are you a coach among tens of thousands of coaches? A graphic designer in a never-ending list of design studio choices? A cookie company with access to the same butter, flour, raisins, and cranberries available to every other bakery in the world?

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Starting the New Year on Fire!!
09/01/17 Uncategorized

Starting the New Year on Fire!!

What a kick in the pants it was to be interviewed by John Lee Dumas, of Entrepreneur on Fire.

He asked me to share my greatest A-HA moment, and my worst entrepreneurial moment, as well as some other big value bombs. And I share with him the group of people I’m most fired up about in my career right now.

Click here to give it a listen.

From the heart,


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