Thursday, June 23, 2011

How To Get In the Summer Mode

Summer always excites me. 

There is a renewed energy - birds are more lively, the sun is blazing, the blue sky is brilliant, and the air has a certain "summery" scent to it.

Kids are out of school, so their play days start earlier. There are less cars on the road. More people are lounging at cafes and coffee shops.

Priorities shift. 

In the American culture, we are so accustomed to being productive. We are constantly working, trying to do more, hit our goals, hone our craft - we are always in the "busy" mode. Unfortunately, trying to get into the "summer" mindframe can be hard to do.

How can we break out of the busy into the summer mindset? 

Think like a kid.

1. Anticipate - Kids work hard during the school year. And they look forward to summer break. Since summer comes at the same time every year, start gearing your mind and heart toward it. Look forward to days of fun and relaxation.

2. Get active - Look for summer events, concerts and activities to do your community. Take a walk after work to decompress and refresh. Explore a new trail on your bike. Find a fun dance class like salsa, swing or the tango. Go to the water park with your little ones. Set up a badminton net on your front lawn and toss the birdie around.

3. Enjoy the outdoors - Remember the days when you and your friends played outside until the street lights came on or your mom or dad hollered your name to come in and eat dinner? Summer is about being outside - not cooped up indoors. Dine outdoors: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Get your grill in gear and cook on your patio. Picnic more. Take a nap on a chaise lounge or a blanket laid out on the grass.

4. Be giddy! Kids embrace the energy and giddiness of summer. They don't stress over school, how they should have done more extra credit work, written a longer essay, drawn a better picture, joined more clubs and organizations - they tend to let the pressures of school go. They get that summer is about relaxing and having a fun time - not being tense and uptight.

I know - you have a job to go, a business to run, and/or a household to take care of, etc. In the midst of those responsibilities, you can still let lightness and life flow in your daily "work". Allow the season of summer to lift some of those grown-up "burdens".  Luxuriate in all that the summer season embodies: sunshine, blue skies, brightness, and recreation.

You will find yourself more refreshed and more productive in the daily work stuff.

Don't let busy fool you. Summer is here! Let the kid in you come out and play!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Goal-Setting? Piece of Cake (One Piece at a Time) - Part 2

Last time, I shared with you the "setting-up" stage for setting your goals. I want to share with you my practical tools to make progress toward your goals.

Get your head in the game. So often, we get stuck in the planning stage and never move on to the actual doing stage. It is just a matter of jumping into it and making the decision to do something today.  

1. Write it. I am an advocate of writing everything down. Writing down your goals is the first step in make them a reality. There is something mystical about putting a heart's desire, vision, plan on paper. It is a commitment to yourself. Like a contract, once you have set pen to paper the things you are planning to do, you have set things in motion. You have made yourself a promise. Writing it down not only clears your thoughts, but gives you a clear vision of what you are working toward.

2. Use a calendar. I tend to be time-oriented, always marking how long it takes me to drive somewhere, to write a blog, to read a book, etc. Marking your goals in a calendar, is again a visual tool to help you stay on your mark, and it also helps you to adjust, if necessary the reality of your goal being met. Perhaps  your 20-year high school reunion is a year away, and you want to get into shape. Putting your goal-markers on your calendar will help keep you in line with your exercise and eating program. And if you reach your goal early, that's a feat! And on the flip-side, if you've experienced a bit of a set-back, you can modify your goal end-date. 

Use whatever type of calendar system works for you. Maybe it is a planner, a year-long wall calendar, or perhaps you are a techie and prefer an online calendar or the smart calendar on your iPhone or Blackberry. Use the tools that suit you and your personality. 

3. Seek a partner to motivate you. Some people need a coach, a trusted friend, or a pacing partner to help them stay focused. An accountability partner will keep you on track, and help you when you feel stuck, get frustrated, or are tempted to throw in the towel. A friend who cheers you on toward your goals will help you stick to them. For example, having a business mentor or coach can help an entrepreneur navigate the waters of business, providing tools, resources and connections that may help you stay on track with your business or enterprise. 

Goals are not meant to be faraway, someday fantasies. They are also not scary, insurmountable tasks that we keep putting off. Achieving our goals is truly life-changing! Not only do they bring us closer to those things we seek or are dreaming about, but they also build our character and work/ business ethic.

What are you goals for 2011? Just because it is not the beginning of the year is it too late to set some in place. 

Let me know what some of you are working toward!

Looking forward to hear from you. 

Press on! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

10 Words That don’t Mean What You Think They Do

This was originally posted on by Mark Nichols. 

As English evolves, word meanings shift and turn, sometimes reversing themselves altogether. These 10 words have shifted their senses over the years.

In some cases, we are wise to likewise be flexible; in others, we relax our vocabulary at the expense of useful distinctions:

1. Decimate 
The literal meaning of this word, as all you lovers of Latin (not to be confused with Latin lovers) know all too well, is “to reduce by one-tenth,” supposedly from the punitive custom of selecting one out of 10 captives by lot and killing those so selected. But the senses for this rhadamanthine Roman policy have proliferated, so that now it means “tithed,” “drastically reduced,” or “destroyed” as well.

2. Disinterested 
Commonly employed to mean “not interested,” disinterested has a precise, useful meaning of “neutral, unbiased.”

3. Enormity 
Some people would reserve this word to mean “monstrously wicked,” but it is properly invoked to refer to anything overwhelming or an unexpected event of great magnitude, and thus it need not be invariably corrected to enormousness.

Refrain, however, from diluting the word’s impact in such usage as, “The enormity of the new stadium struck them as they approached the towering entrance.”

4. Fortuitous 
This word means “occurring by chance,” but its resemblance to fortune has given it an adopted sense of “lucky.”

For meticulous adherence to the traditional meaning, use fortuitous only in the sense indicated in this sentence: “His arrival at that moment was fortuitous, because her note had not specified the exact time of her departure.”

Nothing in the context qualifies his arrival as fortunate; the sentence merely states that he arrived in time without knowing that he would do so.

The informal meaning is expressed here: “His fortuitous arrival at that very moment enabled him to intercept the incriminating letter.” In this sentence, the time of his appearance is identified as a lucky stroke.

5. Fulsome 
This term originally meant “abundant, generous, full,” but that sense was rendered obsolete when the word acquired a negative connotation of “offensive, excessive, effusive.”

Conservative descriptivists rail against the use of fulsome in a positive sense, but the cold, hard fact is that this sense has been increasingly resurgent for many years, and the adulatory meaning is now much more common than the condemnatory one.

If you wish to stand fast before the tsunami of inevitability, be my guest, but fulsome as an exquisite insult has been consigned to the dustbin of history. Some commentators recommend that because of the word’s ambiguity, it’s best to avoid its use altogether. If you insist, make sure the context is clear.

6. Ironic 
The impact of ironic has been diluted because many people use it to mean “coincidental,” when its traditional definition is “counter to expectations or what is appropriate.” For more coverage on the improper use of "irony," read here.

7. Literally 
Some folks get exercised when this term is used in place of its antonym, figuratively. However, in a hyperbolic sense, that meaning is justified. Unfortunately, that sense is literally overused.

8. Notorious 
This term is occasionally used in a neutral sense. That’s not an error, but the word literally means “known.” However, its dominant connotation is that the fame is a result of infamy.

9. Peruse 
This victim of definition reversal literally means “to use thoroughly,” and its first sense is that of careful steady or attentive reading.

However, many writers (myself included) have employed it as a synonym for scan—enough writers, as a matter of fact, that its second sense is “to look over or through in a casual or cursory manner.”

Unfortunately, these mirror meanings mean that if you use the word, I advise you to support it with context that clarifies the intended sense.

10. Plethora 
Plethora originally referred to an excess of something, but that usage is rare now, and more often the sense is simply of abundance. The medical meaning of swelling caused by an excess of blood is all but unknown.

A version of this story first appeared on

Friday, May 6, 2011

Goal-Setting? Piece of Cake (One Piece at a Time) - Part 1

I know - that's a very heady headline, but how many often do we go through life putting off goals and end up floundering because we don't take the time to organize and set goals?

This is part 1 of goal-setting. This speaks about my own experience with goals and my to-do list, which I have found very helpful for me over the years. 

As a fairly organized person, I realized that once I started my business, I had to bring the art of organization and goal-setting to a new level. This is a task that is fairly easy once you begin to look at it as parceled segments.

The process of goal-setting can be in three phases:
1. Declutter - Throw everything out that you do not need, have not touched, or looked at for the past year. Simply put, this means tossing the previous years' to-do and goals lists so that you can start fresh. Getting "stuck" in a goal or a task that you never got to will give you a headache. It is best to crumple that piece of paper and throw it away. A fresh start gives you a fresh perspective, and the energy to start anew.

2. Divide and conquer - Break down your tasks and to-do's into bite-size chunks:
Things that require immediate attention or things that you need to do right now. If you just started a business, your immediates would be: file your business name with the registrar's office, set up your website, order business cards, set up your home office, etc. The "preliminary" aspects of whatever is your Big Audacious Hairy Goal/ Dream is simply getting down to the basics.
Things that can wait another month or so for you to tackle. For your business, these are things like purchasing all-new office equipment. Whoa, tigeress! Before you get uber-excited about looking like a "legitimate" entrepreneur, first assess the needs of your business. Maybe you can do with your current laptop and cell phone. You also do not need to be on every single social media tool out there. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, Vimeo - these are amazing tools and resources. But does it make sense for your type of business? Get your feet wet in your new venture and "test" what works or doesn't. You will save yourself a lot of needless set-up and purchases if you give yourself a one-month grace period to tinker and toy with your business needs.
Things that you can work toward for the next 6 months. Education, networking, researching, connecting are all moving parts of your business that can you do not have to jump into at the onset, but with deliberate planning, are vital aspects of your business goals. Planning out what you will attend, what group to become a part, and who you are willing to align yourself with takes time. Do not think that you should do all these things in the first month of your goal-setting. That is guaranteed burn-out, and send you reeling in frustration and not accomplishing any real thing.

3. Execute - Once your tasks and ultimate goals are compartmentalized into smaller doable tasks, it is time to start doing the work. This can be the hardest part. There is sometimes a long, rickety bridge between wishing something and actually doing it. Just like exercising, you just have to throw on the shoes and go outside and start running! And at the risk of sounding cliched, as Nike so aptly put, "JUST DO IT!"

Stay tuned for part 2 next week!

If you have any feedback or comments, I would love to hear from you!

Friday, April 29, 2011


Feature Article
The New Rules of Marketing
For many years the traditional methods for building a brand and getting the word out about your products or services consisted of spending a lot of money on advertising campaigns and  even more on a public relations firm to pitch the media on your behalf and hope for the best. Well my friends, the rules have changed. Today you have much more control over your message and who you are able to reach.
Consumers appear to have little patience with traditional advertising such as billboards, television commercials, newspaper ads and messages that pop up in taxi cabs, movie theatres and bathroom stalls. But now you have a tremendous opportunity to publish great content and connect with like-minded networks of people online to build your own buzz, establish yourself as an authority in your industry and attract more clients than ever before.
Never has there been a better time to harness the power of the Web and “Word of Mouse” to propel a brand to seemingly instant recognition and success. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you can easily turn into a household name overnight, even though to others it might appear that way. As we know from Malcolm Gladwell in his book, The Tipping Point, trends that seem to come out of thin air were actually manufactured in a very strategic manner by people working diligently behind the scenes.
The new rules of marketing put the power back into your hands. You have before you an incredible opportunity to tell your authentic story the way you want it to be told. You have the ability to reach thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people who want to hear your message. Understand these new rules and you’ll be well on your way:
1. Static vs. Fluid
The traditional methods of telling your story were static – a marketing brochure or pretty website with information about you and your company. To survive in today’s overcrowded marketplace, your marketing needs to initiate a conversation. Videos, blogs, Q&A’s, interactive tools etc. all get the conversation started between you and your target market. If you aren’t fluid enough to engage your market quickly, you will lose them to others who offer more flexibility, content and interesting options.
2. Print vs. Electronic
Gone are the days when we get all of our news and information from the newspaper and morning show. Everyone has moved online, including all of the media giants. Claim your online space now and make sure people will want to talk about it. In other words, offer something interesting and valuable. Having an opt-in box on your website that says, “Sign up for our newsletter” isn’t going to cut it anymore.
3. Advertising vs. Authenticity
Unless you are Coca Cola, NBC or Apple, which have established name recognition and substantial advertising budgets, it doesn’t make sense to allocate your hard-earned dollars to advertising when there are other, more effective ways to get noticed. Today’s consumer is so overwhelmed by information, that the first thing she turns off is the advertising messages. What she’s really looking for is authenticity. If your story is compelling and you are able to touch her in a meaningful way, then you are much more likely to count her among your tribe.
4. Networking vs. Connecting
While you still may be attending a weekly networking breakfast at the Chamber of Commerce and are probably making some great connections through your non-profit board, it’s just as important today to spend time connecting and networking online with groups of people who can help you take your brand and your message viral. New marketing is about moving beyond hundreds of people into the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. Resources like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Squidoo and millions of blogs make this possible.
5. Expert vs. Authority
Anyone can call themselves an expert. However, there has never been a better time to plug into the power of the Web to go beyond the expert realm and establish yourself as an authority with your message. The powerful combination of Web content such as blog entries, videos, article submissions and more, plus a network of people to share and pass along your message through social media platforms, can quickly spread like wildfire.
6. Word of Mouth vs. Word of Mouse
Having other people tell your story creates a domino effect to success. The power in “Word of Mouse” is in both the sheer volume of people that your message has the capacity to reach on the Web as well as the speed in which it can be delivered.
Even though the Web and all of the options available can appear overwhelming, don’t be intimidated. It’s really a matter of just starting somewhere. Pick something that resonates with you, whether it’s blogging, submitting articles online, adding video to your website or setting up a page on one of the social media sites, and just start there. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

©Liz Dennery Sanders 2011
Would you like to use this article in your newsletter, blog or website? You’re welcome to share this article. When you do, you must include this complete copyright blurb:
Liz Dennery Sanders wants you to build your buzz and be successful beyond your wildest dreams. As the CEO of Dennery Marks Inc., a brand development and celebrity outreach firm, she founded SheBrand, to help female entrepreneurs build powerful personal brands, attract more clients and position themselves as experts in their industries.  You can reach her directly at or

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

You Are Your Brand

The other day, I was walking through the halls of work, my heels clickity-clackity on the hard floor. 

Someone in the inner offices asked, "Who is that with the heels?" 

The response, "It's Donina, of course!" 



Chew on that for a bit....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Stand By

It's been a while since I've posted. 

But don't worry

I haven't quit. 

I am currently in the process of combining my website, On High Heels and this blog, Blogging On High Heels, onto one WordPress theme.

On High Heels is simply revising and redesigning.

So - please stand by!

Thank you!