Opportunity Knocking: Manifesto to World Domination

When my publisher Agate asked me if I could write a “manifesto” in how to achieve world domination for 800 CEO-Read, I jumped at the chance. Not only did it sound like fun but as a journalist I love breaking down information in a nice “news you can use” format

I think all too often we complicate things. Being successful is hard work but it should not be that complicated. It boils down to honest, determination, the insatiable appetite of no fear and passion.

Here is the link to the manifesto. Enjoy!!

If you are inspired by what you read pls click here and order your copy of Opportunity Knocking for more leadership strategies on being the best YOU can be 🙂


Fortune Favours the Bold


In order to succeed you need to have the courage and conviction to be bold and “stay the course” in your pursuit for success. This is what is needed to make this level of the opportunity pyramid work. It is fortified with your foundation of knowing who you are and the knowledge you have learned over the course of your journey. Today I’m going to do something a little different and break it down in various categories to show you that no matter where you are in the food chain you can master the secrets to success:

The following is an excerpt of “Opportunity Knocking”

If you are a business owner or manager:
Ron Kruszewski exemplifies how important it is to lead with confidence. Staying the course can be difficult if those around you don’t understand your goals. Kruszewski stuck to his core principles and educated his board about where he wanted to take the company. Another trait you will need at this level of the pyramid is the ability to look at your faults or shortcomings. Everyone I interviewed for this book agreed that good leaders recognize areas in themselves that could use improvement. For Kruszewski, this area was his ability to listen; when he started at Stifel, he made it a point to strengthen his listening skills. By doing so, he was able to fix problems plaguing the organization. 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. Not only that, but by showing he is open to suggestions and change, Kruszewski is also setting an example for the organization’s culture. How would you characterize your style? Is it open, nimble, and empowering like Kruszewski’s? When you take the time to listen to your employees you help build up their confidence. Not only does this foster a positive environment, it can also help improve productivity. Listening and responding are ways to show you care. As Kruszewski puts it, “You have to invest a lot of authority with your key people. You motivate them, and they like it. This positive reinforcement builds the culture.”

If you are an employee:
You can help stay the course by listening to your superiors and executing to the best of your ability. If you are a service-based company and
you work directly with customers, have an open dialogue with them. Don’t be afraid to ask if there is anything you can do to serve them
better. Questions like this can give you insight into how to improve your services. You might also gain repeat customers because they feel
you value their opinions. This can open up areas of opportunity: if customers are complaining about a competitor and you find out why, you
might be able to turn that into an opportunity to take away some market share from them. Remember that the decisions you make and your execution will also impact your own career. If you are looking to move up, ask yourself: Will this help me achieve what I want in my next career move? If you are delegating and offering up new ideas, can that help you with a promotion?

If you are an aspiring entrepreneur:

Listen to what’s going on around you. Talk to customers and find out what they are looking for. This knowledge can help you prepare for opportunity.
Be nimble—this is one of the assets that helped Kruszewski take advantage of opportunity. Recall Kruszewski’s advice that good leaders are always evaluating, and they have a good business structure and expense model in place so when an opportunity presents itself, they are ready. Are you?

Final Thoughts

The “staying the course” layer of the pyramid is where the previous layers begin to really cohere. Defining who you are and solidifying
that definition with your mission statement help you boost your confidence and stay the course. Your knowledge in your field, coupled
with the listening skills Kruszewski has spoken about, also reinforce this layer. With these different elements coming together, you are
ready to embark on the next level: execution.

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

Blog Tour

Thanks to the evolution of social media, the community in which we communicate in literally stretches around the globe. I was offered an amazing opportunity from my dear friend Laura DeAngelis who I have known since I had my second television internship 22 years ago. Laura is a well-known fitness blogger and she invited me to participate in a Blog Tour. I figured, why not?

1. What am I working on?

In addition to promoting my book “Opportunity Knocking” through my writings and speaking engagements I am one of the producers of CNBC’s flagship show Squawk Box. After months of preparation we are launching this morning our new Squawk Platinum Portfolio Club where we have hand selected 12 of the top stock pickers in the country to give us their three stock picks. We will have them on one a quarter and we will track the stocks performance. All of their picks will create the Squawk Platinum Portfolio. I came up with the idea over a year ago and I am so excited to see the project come to life!

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I am a people person and after my 10 years working all over the country in local news and 14 years at CNBC I have been able to get into the minds of many people. It doesn’t matter if you work at the corner deli or a billionaire– we are all people. We have bad hair days, get runs in our stockings and put our pants on one leg at a time. I treat my contacts the way I want to be treated. Over the course of my career the approaches I have heard other journalist used to getting a story is more of an “us vs. them” approach. That doesn’t mean I’m a wimp. I’m just not an arrogant ass. For me that doesn’t work. I do not like to be an adversary. Why do my contacts call me at all hours of the night when they are making billion dollar deals? Because not only do they trust me we have a mutual respect for each other. I do not put them on a pedestal, I merely treat them like a regular person. I show manners like walking them to the door when they leave the building(I recently had someone ask me in surprise that I actually did this. It’s what all good leaders do. Do you wave goodbye from your couch when friends are leaving or do you walk them to the door?) My reputation as a trusted journalist has helped me become known the “producer with the trillion dollar rolodex”.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Since I am lucky to have gained nuggets of wisdoms from some of the most successful people in the world I want to inspire and share that knowledge. My goal each and every day is to pass along positive actionable advice on success. You are no different than self-made billionaire Wilbur Ross (who by the way went out on his own at the age of 64 and made his way onto the Forbes Billionaire List at the age of 66). Yes his bank account is way larger than yours and mine but the strategies he employs in making his decisions in leading and investing are no different than what you most likely do. A fat bank account doesn’t mean you are a leader. It’s your values and how you act that make you stand out. What separate the leaders and mediocre apart is their self-awareness and the polishing of their strengths and minimizing their weaknesses. We can all do it, we just have to want to.

4. How does my writing process work?
My approach to writing is very organic. I am inspired by what is around me. I guess that is why I have never had writer’s block. Inspiration is all around you, you have to have your eyes and heart open for it. It also comes sometimes from unlikely sources. Just wait till you read my post tomorrow. You have to tap into your inner eight year old!! 🙂 In order to be truly successful you have to be happy. Success doesn’t mean being rich monetarily. You have to be rich in context of loving what you do and being the best you can be. Not everyone wants to be the end all be all in business but you do want to be happy and good at what you do. That’s what life is all about. I hope my writings help you focus on the essence of you so you can achieve all your dreams and what I like to call, “World Domination” 🙂

Who’s On Deck…

Matt Barbis, founder of The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation. I may be on the non-profits board but their blogs I believe are essential for anyone who wants to protect children. Their writings provide up with the latest in stranger safety news. They’re advice on teaching the lessons in protecting our children are online for 24 hour access. This is a blog that is a must read in my book 🙂

Everyone into the kitchen
Looking for a little spice and sass to your cooking? Melissa Marks-Shih shares her culinary expertise with a side of recipes along with “child” stories to not only satisfy your taste buds but also your funny bone 🙂

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.

Embracing Mistakes

photo (7)

Let’s face it, when you a make a mistake how many of us think it’s a blessing in disguise at that moment? Not many. But on the road to success there are potholes and detours on our journey. A mistake can be one of them but they are essential in the building of your pyramid to being the best you can be. How can you achieve world domination without a lesson or two?

My daughter got this fortune last night with her birthday dinner. She is eight years old. When she read it at first she didn’t understand but my husband explained it to her and she immediately got it. “I got a great fortune!”. Maybe sometimes we really do need to tap into our inner child!!

All of my contacts who are successful have admitted they are not perfect and have made mistakes. You know the old saying: when one door closes, another opens? For Steve Case that was what happened after he left a stable Fortune 100 job to move to Washington DC to work for a company called, Control video. When he had his first board meeting, he knew something was wrong, “At my first board meeting, one of Control Video’s investors
looked at the weak sales and quipped: ‘You’d have thought they would have shoplifted more than that.’ The company was collapsing.”

Did that deter Steve? Heck no!!! Instead of going back to a safe job,Case and a few of his team members started a new company called Quantum Computer Services in 1985. The company eventually became America Online. Case told me he values the highs and lows in life, “We were taking lessons learned from our GameLine experiences and focusing on PCs instead of video game machines. We learned the hard lesson about bringing a product to market
in a consumer world where it’s very expensive to build a brand and get distribution and so forth, so we decided to partner with PC companies
and use their brands and have them take the lead and spend the money. I think it’s safe to say that without the failure of GameLine, there would have never been the success of America Online.”

Let’s be honest, no one can really predict the future. If we could, we would all be billionaires!! There may be signs of things to come, but sometimes we are blinded by our passion to succeed. It is a powerful force within us. We need to learn to keep our eyes open, and, if we make mistakes, learn from them. Case is no different from you or me in this respect. “In retrospect, the company [Control Video] made a lot of mistakes,” he explains as he looks back, “but out of those mistakes, and that failure, I learned a great deal about what to do, and what not to do. Those lessons helped teach me how to start a company, how to grow a team, how to build partnerships, and much more. I believed so passionately in the promise of a new interactive medium that I wasn’t ready to give up just yet. So I said, ‘Well, let’s figure out another way to come at this.’”
Case could have tucked his tail between his legs and gone back to corporate life, but he didn’t. Instead, he and the former GameLine crew
figured out the way to tap into the consumer by partnering with PC companies, leveraging the PC brand names and money in order to create
the online community they were striving to build. They saw something and learned how to achieve success through experiencing failure.

What you can learn from Cases’s story? It doesn’t matter if you are an entrepreneur like him or you are working your way up the corporate ladder—passion and fearlessness are two key ingredients to success. Success can be born out of failure. Leaders face adversity head on—they know what they’re up against and acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses. Today, Case invests and advises some of the upcoming and successful entreprenuers like Brandi Temple of Lolly Wolly Doodle.

lolly wolly
Remember to always pay forward! 🙂

So that’s what my daughter is doing today. Sharing her good fortune with you this morning to remind you that hey, it’s ok to make a mistake. Learn from it and grow!!!

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

The Difference Between the Successful and Unsuccessful

“The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is successful people do all the things unsuccessful people don’t want to do…when an opportunity presents itself. It is those who take action—time after time—that finally succeed, regardless of the adversity that presents itself. Lori Ann LaRocco breaks down these differences nicely in her book, Opportunity Knocking.” —John Paul Dejoria, CEO & Co-Founder John Paul Mitchell Systems and CEO Patrón Spirits Company

When author’s write books they seek out endorsements. Even if you know the person it’s a little nerve-wracking. John Paul is a contact and business leader I have admired for years. His personal story is compelling living in a car for a year while trying to sell his John Paul Mitchell Systems products to salons. His determination, passion and belief in his products and himself got himself through a very rough time.  When he found out I was writing “Opportunity Knocking” he wanted to read the book.  I was excited at the chance to have a successful self-made leader read my book. But to be honest I was a little nervous.  Writing a strategy, inspirational book is a personal process especially when you are writing about your own thoughts and beliefs. There is no curtain separating you from the reader. You are all out there. It’s not like you are writing a fictional character that you can hide behind.  I am a journalist and I love the thought process of leaders. What makes them tick. How similar they are to you and me.

When John Paul wrote an endorsement, his thoughts leaped off the page for me. He hit the main topic that I hammered on throughout the book. Hard work.  That’s the glue that solidifies the Opportunity Pyramid together.

pyramid pic

You have to want it so bad you are willing to work your butt off.  You want to be the best you can be,  you take an honest look at yourself: you strengthen what you are good at and you try to better yourself when it comes to your weaknesses. You learn as much as you can and when you set your sights on your goal you stick with your game plan.  Your passion and drive keeps you going in times of hardship, disappointment and jealousy when things come easier for others and you are breaking your back trying to get where you want to go. Finally, you reach your goal. YOUR world domination. But I can tell you from my interactions with leaders like Alan Mulally of Ford, the three founders of BlogHer to private equity titans Ralph Schlosstein of Evercore Partners and David Rubenstein of The Carlyle Group- just because they are at the top of their game doesn’t mean they are complacent.  They are constantly asking themselves how will they continue to better themselves? How will they continue to raise the bar and remain relevant.?

Being the best you can be is a journey that you continue to fine tune. It never stops. When you look back at yourself say 10 or even 20 years from now you want to see how you’ve grown.  I equate it to going back to your high school reunions. There are those who peaked in high school- forever stuck remembering times of old and have not done anything with their life and then you have those who have made their mark in the world, living in the present. Were they the most popular in high school? Who knows, but they are the success stories of today and tomorrow. They never got complacent.

The way you live your life is your decision. The perception and energy you bring out in your job is in your hands. The question is how hard do you want to work?

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

Kick Off to World Domination!!!

Monday officially kicks off the launch of “Opportunity Knocking” and I’m very excited. The responses I have received from my BlogHer interview, the four-star review from Success magazine and my  thestreet.com pieces were fabulous. For those interested, here is a list of my appearances this coming week so far:


Monday, March 17th, CNBC Squawk Box 6:50amET

Monday, March 17th, “Car Concerns” 9:30amET (nationally syndicated or click on link to listen live on your computer!)

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: WCBS 880am- “Women in Business” at 9:51amET (if not in Tri-State area, click on link to listen live on your computer!)

Thursday: WOR 710am- “Money Matters” at 2:22pmET  (if not in Tri-State area, click on link to listen live on your computer!)

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