The Back Story

In May 2017, I attended the STC Summit. I expected the keynote speaker to focus business relationships. Seth Mattison’s content surprised me. Yes, he covered business relationships. Yet I heard tips about personal relationships. Seth targeted the key to building relationships: Clear, honest communication. With a prerequisite: Activate a mindset, actually three mindsets.

Vintage Telephones

Vintage Telephone, Pixabay: Alles

The Mindsets

Be Intentional

  • I want this relationship.
  • I want to communicate clearly.
  • I want to support this person.

Be Interested

  • Ask open-ended questions so you can learn about the person.
    • Seth’s example: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
  • Listen to the answers.
  • Repeat ask/listen; dialog grows.

    Man Standing on Stones

    Pixabay: jingoba

Be Present

  • “Be where your feet are.” (Seth Mattison)
  • Get away from devices and other distractions.
  • Focus on this conversation.

How do we snap into these mindsets?

  • Deep breath in
  • Slowly exhale
  • Focus

Before each conversation, I try and ask myself:

  • How can I be intentional, show interest, and be present?
  • How can I help shine this person’s light?*

*“Everyone shines given the right lighting. You want to be the guide for the right lighting.” (Susan Cain, Quiet Revolution.)


A few weeks ago, Lizzie Davey sent her weekly motivational email and asked this question.

…And, while it WAS my most successful week financially so far, I didn’t feel any different at the end of it. I didn’t feel the high I got when I landed my first client. I didn’t feel the joy I feel when I can get out the house in the middle of the day for as long as I want without having to answer to anyone.

I felt exactly the same as I did at the beginning of the week.

And now I’ve figured out why I wasn’t ordering in the champers and donning gold chains around my neck. It’s because money doesn’t equal success for me.

For so long, I thought I’d feel “complete” and “happy” when I earned X amount each month. But when I reached that and exceeded it, I just felt the same as I’d always done.

Success for me is about personal achievements: getting great feedback from a client, landing a job I absolutely love, and being able to create a schedule where I have the freedom to come and go as I please.

Then Lizzie asked her readers, like me:

What does success look like to you? How will you know when you’ve “made it”? Is there a financial amount attached to it, or is it more about time and inner achievements for you?


I emailed Lizzie, thanking her for bringing up this topic. She challenged me to define success. I responded that I wanted to explore my thoughts in writing. While I don’t yet have a complete description of success, I have made progress in the definition.

Success ≠ my bank account. While I need money to give and live, my bank account does not define success.

Success = achievements? Others consider someone successful if that person is an Oscar-winning star, or has won awards. That would mean that only if I achieve something you recognize, then I’ll be successful. That means you’re judging me on what you see me do. What about the inner conflicts and challenges I overcome? Someone on the outside doesn’t see those, and those achievements may be even more powerful than what I show on the outside.

Success defined by outside visible actions doesn’t define what success means to me.

To paraphrase Lizzie, getting great feedback from a client or landing the job are achievements from the outside. I may look successful. But the process—inside work—is what really led to the success. I built on the talents I was given and worked on the confidence to become the person who could achieve the goal.

Overcoming the inner challenges is the success; the job/client/kudos are manifestations of the inner achievement.

As Lizzie said “But when I reached that and exceeded it, I just felt the same as I’d always done.” In part, I agree. I did the work, performed well, and achieved a payment. Yet I don’t feel the same inside. I probably faced some inner conflict while working on the job/client and I overcame those challenges. Now I feel grateful for the internal accomplishment, for the Divine assistance I received that led to the external payment.

The internal accomplishment is my success.

On the Creative Freelancers Unite (Facebook community) we talk about wins. I learn to define an action as a win even if it’s small and I don’t attain the ultimate goal.

A publication may reject my submission. Does that mean I wasn’t successful? No! The action of submitting is a win. I overcame the fear of submitting an article, I overcame an internal obstacle and was successful in that battle!

Inside-Out. Perhaps success starts from the inside and moves out. I need to feel positive inside for me to be successful from the outside. My internal accomplishments are my successful wins!


What’s your definition for success?


Ralph Waldo Emerson had some thoughts many years ago:

On True Success

To laugh often and much;

to win the respect of intelligent people

and the affection of children;

to earn the appreciation of honest critics

and endure the betrayal of a false friendship;

to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others,

to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child

or garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

to know even one life has breathed easier

because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.

–I truly hope I leave the world a bit better because I have lived!


Last week I searched for networking events in Greater LA. I figured it’s time to get out a meet more folks. I wanted something energizing and inspiring – and a convenient time and in a comfortable place. I came across an announcement that Chellie Campbell would speak on a Sunday afternoon (today) at a hair salon about 20 minutes away! My favorite business/finance motivational speaker and author … presenting on a convenient day … at a comfortable place. JACKPOT!

I’ll admit I’ve never been to a hair salon for a networking event. What a great relaxing venue! Chula, the salon’s owner, was a terrific, friendly, and a gracious hostess. I felt at home in the comfy salon chairs, surrounded by upbeat people. As Chellie says, “My People.”

Chellie shared her story of how she published The Wealthy Spirit. Although I’ve heard the story before, I enjoy her bubbly presentation of challenges she faced. And I heard something new this time … believe in your goal. Her smile is infectious – I smiled and laughed along with her. My face got an aerobic workout! (I wonder how many calories we burn doing “facial aerobics”!)

In her signature gold sneakers (now she has a pair with leopard spots – one of her favorite designs), Chellie energized the room and reminded us to:

  • Swim with dolphins (they communicate, swim in schools, and protect each other)
  • Say your affirmations daily (“I am a marvelous, creative person, and wonderful opportunities await me!”)
  • Send out ships (affirmations are great and we need to back them up with actions)
  • Focus on your goal, yet enjoy life along the way
  • Be grateful for everything in your life

And if someone rejects your book, article, or idea, repeat this catchy four-letter word…NEXT! (Chellie thanks Jack Canfield for that tip!)

As I walked out, I wondered, Can I really dust off that article draft and revise it?

Sure I can…just need to find some dolphins to help me focus on my goal.


“Something wonderful is happening to me today – I can feel it!” (Chellie Campbell, The Wealthy Spirit).

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

More about Chellie on this blog:

Jan. 6, 2011

July 22, 2009

Does it really take me only five minutes to email a network colleague? Does that include writing, editing, and proofreading? And what if I want to include a link to an interesting article? What about networking meetings or interviews? How long is the meeting? What’s the travel time – both ways? Does that shopping errand really take ten minutes?

I don’t know about you, but I notice I don’t always look at the whole picture when I figure the time for a task. A two-hour network meeting can really be a four-hour block of time, when I include travel time (especially here in Los Angeles)!! And that five-minute email may actually take me fifteen minutes. And I need to remember that the ten minute shopping errand is almost never ten minutes!

Do I want to “do lunch” with a friend? Sure! I simply need to figure travel time and time at the restaurant.

I need to look at the whole picture when I’m scheduling my day or a specific activity. That way I notice what’s realistic. And once I allow for the right amount of time, I will be on time, won’t feel rushed or overloaded, and if it’s a social event, I’ll enjoy my friend’s company.

How long does a task really take? That depends on several variables. If the task is a meeting and I’m driving, I need to factor in travel time (to and from), as well as time at the event. If it’s a business meeting, include networking chat. And if it’s a mundane task like shopping – remember that the check-out lines take time!

What are your tips for scheduling your tasks?

Early on in my career search, I often heard, “turn over every stone.” The phrase made sense to me. As a kid, I had taken part in many nature scavenger hunts where we literally turned over every stone to find the clues. So I understood this metaphor to mean tell everyone I knew I was searching for something. Share the information with everyone meant exactly that – all family members, friends, the hairdresser, grocery cashiers, people in the line at the bank, and anyone else I could think of.

Over time, I stopped hearing this phrase, and forgot about it. Concepts like “network,” “use social media,” and other technologically oriented terms are prevalent now. Yet, recently, I remembered the phrase, “turn over every stone,” and applied it to my life.

While searching for new living quarters, I mentioned to each manager/landlord/owner that I was looking for employment. I described the types of positions I would consider. One day, a long-time friend called me because she had heard I was back in town. She had an opening in her office and wanted to know if I’d like to work with her. How had she heard? Through the owner of a place I was considering! (No, I didn’t take the apartment, however, yes, we are going to work together!)

Turn over every stone…I like that phrase. It has a natural (pun intended), calm sound.

We read about it often – grow our network virtually by meeting people online. By connecting with others in different areas of the country – or the world – we can meet new people and garner new projects.

There’s another benefit. Different time zones allow us to connect with our network and support system almost 24 hours a day (depending upon where they live). Personally, I don’t want to work 24/7 – I strive for balance. Yet there are times when I do want to chat with someone at an odd hour – say midnight my time. That’s what happened last week. 

It was midnight and I couldn’t sleep. Reading, relaxing, and yoga breathing didn’t work. Who could I call at midnight? I have friends overseas and it’s morning there. I tried a few – no one was home. Oh well; I tried breathing again. Didn’t work.

Wait! Maybe my friend in Hawaii is still awake? She was! We caught up on each other’s lives and exchanged ideas. She provided the much-needed support I sought. After an hour’s conversation, I relaxed and was ready for sleep. What a gift to have a support people in different time zones!

I moved to Cleveland, Ohio in the Fall of 2004. Knowing only a handful of people and nothing about the area (except that it snows a lot in the winter), how was I going to find employment? The concept of networking for employment was new to me. Since I knew so few people, just how was I going to build a career network?

I started close to home: my husband introduced me to his uncle who actively advised career seekers. Uncle introduced me to another person, who gave me several colleagues to contact. A couple of colleagues shared some of their colleagues’ names and a job-seeker group. Through that group I met like-minded folks, learned new job-seeking tips, and found a job search mentor. Through other groups, I connected with writers, editors, graphic artists, and instructors. People with generous with their knowledge and their time.

Some months into my Cleveland days, I found part-time work. I met more people, was active in my professional association, learned new technologies, and my network grew. Ultimately, I landed a full-time job in my field. And I stayed active, discovered I could write and present, and began sharing my job search knowledge and time.

Cleveland has been a great place to test the networking waters. It’s been a wonderful place to grow my skills. And the folks are down-right friendly.

To my Cleveland network buddies…THANK YOU!

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