Why You Want to Be the 1%


“99% of failures come from people who make excuses.”
― George Washington

I am not talking about the political sparring of the have’s and have not’s and spreading the wealth here. I am talking about leadership. Those who rise above and take challenges head on. Unfortunately it is a small amount.

Leaders do not back down and find excuses. They don’t wait till tomorrow. Leaders set an example of achievement; confidence. Leaders don’t wait to see what kind of reaction their decisions will bring. They make the calculated risk and do it. Leaders create a culture of togetherness and value their employees. Do you think George Washington could have led his men without having that confidence, encouragement and appreciation of his team? Heck no. Leaders have the courage to fail.

Washington’s message is echoed in BlogHer Founder Lisa Stone’s rules to live by: “Confidence is the heartbeat of beauty. The trick? To get there we have to fail and change. The courage to fail is irresistible to me.”

How do you describe yourself? The time is now to be that 1%.

If you are inspired by what you read pls click here and order your copy of Opportunity Knocking.


The Pitfalls of Accepting Status Quo


There is one thing to roll with the punches and another to give back a knock out blow. I love this quote from Warren Bennis. Leaders do not accept things especially status quo. If that was the case there would be no innovation and change. Leaders don’t sit back on the laurels. They want to be the disruptors in their respective industry and set the course.

The three founders of BlogHer, Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort Page and Jory DesJardin have never rested on their laurels and I can tell you “status quo” is definitely not in their vocabulary! If that was the case, BlogHer would have never been created and they would still be at their “status quo” jobs in silicon valley, broadcasting and publishing (yawn).

Lisa Stone, Jory Des Jardins, Elisa Camahort Page

Status quo is “safe”. While yes it also means less drama and uncertainty the only way to thrive in today’s world is to mix it up. You need to have the courage and conviction to evolve. You need to challenge yourself and not be afraid to fail. You have to constantly ask yourself are you being the absolute best you can be? If you sit back and participate as a spectator you will never get ahead. As DesJardins said to me, “It is a constant tapping process. And while we may have become more comfortable in our business and how we run things, we are always refining our own processes, seeing what’s out there. That’s why I always say you can’t get too wedded to what something will look like. You just have to go with change while remaining true to your mission. Give up on what it looks like, and let it grow.”

So the next time you feel complacent think twice. A wonderful opportunity may be passing you by.

If you are inspired by what you read pls click here and order your copy of Opportunity Knocking.

Strategies to Test Your Limits

how far

Do you hesitate when presented with an opportunity? Do you have the courage to try something? All leaders take calculated risks in order to achieve success. When I came across this quote I had to write about it because it is one of the drivers behind my motivation in writing my latest book, “Opportunity Knocking”. I show you that while the book focuses on leaders in diverse industries, it unveils the seven strategies they all use to achieve success. And you know what? Those strategies are inside you!!!! Each went through the same critical decision-making process in building each layer of his or her Opportunity Pyramid. Here is a snippet of the genesis of the pyramid and the journey you will embark on in the book:

Remember there are seven layers in the opportunity pyramid:

• Fortify your foundation—know yourself
• Build your knowledge
• Define your opportunity strategy—and stick with it
• Fuel your passion
• Stay the course
• Execute—pay attention to the details
• Think ahead—world domination

Fortify Your Foundation—Know Yourself
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for success. To start the process of building your pyramid, you need to know yourself, so you can identify
your strengths and weaknesses and can decide if you have the competitive edge when assessing a certain opportunity. How can you distinguish
between a good opportunity and a bad one if you don’t know what you want to achieve or how you are going to go about it?

Define Your Opportunity Strategy—and Stick with It

The knowledge-building process leads directly into the next layer, defining your opportunity strategy. What does opportunity mean to you?
You may be at a crossroads in going to the next level of your business, career, or aspiring career, so defining a strategy may mean taking radical
steps to reset your course. You internalize whatever life lessons and experiences come your way, so garner from them the courage and the
conviction to define your opportunity strategy and stick with it.

Fuel Your Passion
Passion is the fuel that keeps you going and inspires you on your way, but being passionate is not the same as being impulsive. The thrill of
knowing you are on your way can become intoxicating. You must be sure that your execution is dead on. You can’t let the emotional highs
and lows cloud your judgment.

Stay the Course
When you set a course, there may be naysayers who doubt you. Hear them out if you respect their opinions, but if you don’t agree with them,
don’t be swayed. Remember, this is your life and you are accountable for the decisions you make. If you want to home in on your passion and
build a business, you need to be comfortable with the path you take. Who cares what the others think? You will see examples in this book
of people who went against those who disagreed with their plans, staying the course to come out on top. Remember that in the end, it’s your
blood, sweat, and tears that are woven into the fabric of your business or idea.

Execute—Pay Attention to the Details
If you want something bad enough, you have to make sure you execute effectively. If for some reason it becomes clear during the execution
process that a plan will not work, you have to make sure your backup plan is clear immediately. As Dagfinn Lunde, transport banking financier
extraordinaire and member of the board of managing directors for transportation lender DVB Bank, once said to me: “The backup plan has
to be clear immediately because, when you sit on that tipping point, you can’t wait. Sometimes you have to give up the first plan and go to
your alternative plans. You do not want to fail. You just have to find the right way to execute and work on those alternatives to prepare for such
an occasion.”

Think Ahead—World Domination

All this preparation is fortifying you for what BlogHer founders Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort Page, and Jory Des Jardins call “world domination”—
whether that comes in the form of expanding your business, getting a job promotion, or leaving your job and embarking on a new
career or business. Your apex is what you want it to be. “World domination” could be considered a hefty description, but your definition of
world domination will definitely be different from mine. It’s just about being the absolute best you can be.

Building Blocks for Success

All of these levels fit together perfectly and erect a strong structure to guide you in your pilgrimage to success. Throughout the layers of the
opportunity pyramid, the cement that binds each pivotal step is honesty. All of the leaders in this book are brutally honest with themselves.
If you do not know yourself, including your strengths and weaknesses, how can you define opportunity? How can you distinguish between a
good opportunity and a bad one? All too often we let the fear of failing get a grip on us. We don’t want to try because we are afraid we will fall
short. Don’t let that fear immobilize you- embrace the fear to make those calculated risks. Soar to your potential and dreams. You deserve it!

For more inspiration, leadership strategies and lessons? Please order a hard copy or Kindle version of my book Opportunity Knocking Lessons from Business Leaders.

Leading Through Listening


We have all heard about the power of the written word, but what about the power of listening? We have all had “conversations” with individuals who are so preoccupied on what they are going to say next in response to you that they literally do not listen to your part of the discussion at all. This lack of connection greatly impacts their productivity and contribution because they are so wrapped up in themselves, they don’t know how they can contribute.

Listening is crucial in connecting with someone.

For example Ralph Schlosstein’s ability to read people has enabled him to become a powerhouse recruiter for Evercore, specializing in the firm’s hiring of senior-level management.

All good leaders will tell you they lead by listening.
That’s how Ron Kruszewski of Stifel Financial fixed the problems of the company when he was hired. He sat there in a meeting, had his team tell him what was wrong and then he empowered them to fix the problems.

Lisa Stone, Jory Des Jardins, Elisa Camahort Page
Lisa Stone, Jory DesJardins and Elisa Camahort Page of BlogHer all stress they lead by listening to their community members so they evolve the BlogHer environment based on the needs of the community. Schlosstein listens to his team and then evaluates information he receives to see if it makes sense to make a particular investment

The relationship between company and customer is critical not only for success and longevity, but also for the company to stay adaptable and innovative. In the end it’s the consumers who dictate what they need, want, and purchase. It’s imperative for companies like Ford to listen to what consumers want so they can build a product that meets demand.

Listening is also necessary to effectively service customers. How can you fulfill the needs of your customers if you don’t know what they want? Or, to consider it from a different perspective, do employees want to work for someone who doesn’t take the time to hear what they are saying? Taking the time to listen is a huge morale booster. Nothing is worse than working for someone who doesn’t listen to you because they think they already know everything. The same goes for the employee- if you are not listening to your boss how can you deliver? You can’t.

Listening is an essential ingredient for anyone who wants to succeed.

For more inspiration, leadership strategies and lessons? Please order
a hard copy or Kindle version of my book Opportunity Knocking Lessons from Business Leaders.

Why Failure Helps You Savor the Sweetness of Success

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” ― Truman Capote

In Opportunity Knocking I write there are seven steps to achieving success. Since I’m a cook, this quote from Capote struck a chord with me. I view the opportunity pyramid as meal satisfying your goals and dreams. I want you to view the seven steps as your ingredients to your recipe of success. In fact, these “secret ingredients” to your recipe of success are things you already have in your personal pantry!!!


Just like making a red sauce, the ingredients you put in will be slightly different from mine or the next person but the end product will most likely resemble the same. The strategies I have laid out in the pyramid are all the same but the way you tweak them will set you apart from the next person.

When you set out to make a meal, you need to have your basic ingredients in order to make your recipe for success. To make your opportunity pyramid you need these vital ingredients: Honesty, Courage, Passion, Focus and Knowledge. Without these your recipe will be a flop.

Honesty: Why is honesty so important? Because you have to know what your good at in order to seize on an opportunity. You have to be realistic in the environment you are working in or want to work in.

Knowledge Do you have the expertise to dominate and set yourself apart from the competition? How can you rise above? You need to be able to assess the needs of the market place or business and see where you can set yourself apart. Leaders never stop learning. You learn from books, real life experience and your mistakes. Learning what you did wrong and how not to do it again is just as vital.

Courage- sometimes you have to leave your comfort zone in order to succeed. The three founders of BlogHer, Elisa Camahort Page, Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone all left successful careers to create one of the most powerful social networking sites in the world. WHy did they leave their 9-5 jobs? It’s because they viewed them as a “job”. It wasn’t their passion. It didn’t give them the juice, rush, the zest for living as creating a community of women bloggers that would turn the way consumer product companies would approach consumers on its head. You need to believe in yourself and your abilities because you know what? There are a lot of naysayers out there and you need to believe in yourself. You have to be in your corner because in the end its your reflection you see in the mirror every day. Do not live your life out of fear of pleasing others. You must live your life for you. You can’t be afraid to fail. As Elisa Camahort Page told a woman thinking of leaving her job to start her own business, “A job will always be waiting for you”.

Passion: Passion is the zesty spice that kicks you into gear. It supports you when times are down. You need to wrap yourself in a blanket of passion. If you are not passionate about something it shows in your actions, your product. Passion is infectious. Passion people inspire others, they rally the group. Have you ever met a leader who was not passionate? I haven’t!!

Focus Keeping on task and constantly going back to your mission statement and carefully evaluating each and every opportunity to see if it makes sense is pivotal in reaching your apex of World Domination (success). If you do not keep focus, your plan of execution will be all off. You have to stay true to what you are trying to achieve. Now that’s not to say what you are doing will not evolve. All good businesses and leaders are nimble. You can’t be set in your ways because one day you’ll wake up and find your company or your skills are outdated.

Remember success is a byproduct of your achievements and mistakes you need to embrace both. Just like a little dash of salt and pepper, but ingredients are needed to compliment the dish.

Please order a hard copy or Kindle version of my book Opportunity Knocking Lessons from Business Leaders.

The Courage to Believe in Yourself

Success is not easy but it is not impossible. Most of the time the biggest obstacle in your way is yourself. Yes, you read that right. You. We are our biggest critics. “I feel fat”, “I don’t like this”, “I would but I don’t have the time”. Stop the excuses and just be. You CAN do it!!!

The world can be a very unforgiving place, so why should you beat yourself up? Believe in yourself!! Personally I love BlogHer founder Lisa Stone’s words of wisdom in this area: “Confidence is the heartbeat of beauty. The trick? To get there we have to fail and change. The courage to fail is irresistible to me.”

(from left to right: Elisa Camahort Page, Lisa Stone)
(from left to right: Elisa Camahort Page, Lisa Stone)

Courage is the byproduct of believing. Start believing in yourself and fuel the fire in your belly. Don’t extinguish it with negative thoughts or excuses. You deserve to be happy and reach your apex of success. Good things will come. Will it be an overnight success? Most likely not, but enjoy your journey. Its your life’s story. Enjoy every detail, detour and cliff hanger. Only you have the power to say “The End”.

Please order a hard copy or Kindle version of my book Opportunity Knocking Lessons from Business Leaders.

Embrace Fear

“If you are afraid of making a mistake and losing money, then you can’t
be in the deals world.”– David Rubenstein, “The Carlyle Group” Co-Founder and Managing Director

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can stop you in your tracks, but you know what is even more devastating? Complacency. Being “comfortable” is a motivational killer. Yes it is great to be happy, that’s what we should all be striving for, but if you want to be the best you can be, you need to break out of that comfort zone. You need to embrace your fear.

All good leaders take calculated risks. They have to in order to be at the top of their game. You need to do your research and vet any possible outcomes. Will you be on top every time? Who knows, but as your mom or dad once told you when you were little, “You won’t know until you try”. About 16 years ago I was working at WFTV in Orlando as the night side assignment editor and produced on the side for them investigative series. I loved it. But an opportunity came my way that was so amazing, it sent me on an emotional cliff- leaving my comfortable, satisfying job to start a business show from scratch. I remember when I was offered the job, I was pumped, but also terrified. I would be leaving for a start-up show and I would also be in charge of getting it syndicated, something that I’ve never done. I remember sitting at the kitchen table that night with my husband who is in radio and turned to me and said, “You could always get another TV job. This is something you have always wanted to do and you are good at it.” It was great to have such support. I left my comfort zone and went for it. That decision change the entire course of my life and I can directly connect the dots of my success at my present job at CNBC, writing books to that monumental decision. I never looked back.

I was lucky I had someone in my corner cheering me on. Not everyone is. You need to love yourself and believe in yourself first and foremost because let’s face it, you are your biggest champion. Earlier this week, I met one women at my book signing who has a great job at a Wall Street firm but wants to spread her wings as an entrepreneur. She told me her family is not supportive of her dream and told her to be happy with what she has. “Why mess with it?” She asked for my advice. I told her when it comes to naysayers you respect- hear them out but in the end tell them while you respect their opinion, this is your life and you want to be happy. Happiness like opportunity is defined differently. How you go about it will definitely be different the person next to you. I then told her to speak with Elisa Camahort Page and Lisa Stone of BlogHer who were both sitting with me signing books at the book signing. Elisa said in her classic straight to the point way, “A job will always be waiting for you if you decide to go back after you tried.”

Profound but oh so true. Who wants to live their life for a “job”. You want to live and be happy working in a career you love. We spend most of our lives working so why not be happy? Will you be thrilled each day? Probably not. Will co-workers get under your skin? Most definitely- but if you are doing what you love that’s the greatest gift of all you can give yourself. You deserve it. If you are an entrepreneur will there be tough days? You betcha. No mater where you are in the food chain you want to be at the top of your game doing something you love.

The time is now to look into that mirror, get to really know yourself and figure out what will make you happy. Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself. Remember you’re not looking to impress anyone here. You are looking to start your path to world domination- being the best that you can be. Only you can define that. Embrace that fear and get a move on!

Please order a hard copy or Kindle version of my book Opportunity Knocking Lessons from Business Leaders.