Do I Know You? 

Ever been hanging out with a group or a friend and have a moment where you’re thinking, “Do I know You?” You know that you share the same contacts and move around in the same circles but you’re asking yourself, “What do I know about these people or that person beyond six degrees of separation?” 

Developing meaningful relationships is a challenge in a technology driven, fast paced society. Everyone’s making power moves to advance their careers and the pursuit for the next big score could be in the next person you connect with. So every every encounter we must have our elevator pitch in our holster and ready to fire off once we’re past the unpleasantries of having to make small talk and the dreaded eye contact that accompanies it. 

We both fire off our “who are you’s” and “what do you do’s” and ding, ding, ding, we’re a match! I know who you know, bada bing let’s do lunch. Oh the adrenaline rush from the hunt is addictive, isn’t it? However lunch isn’t about getting to know “who’s” seated across from me. It’s a recon mission of getting to what and who you know and what resources you have that benefit me

We continue to connect but it’s on a superficial level because the foundation of the relationship is built on what this person does and not who they are. I’m not saying we need to have a kumbaya moment with everyone we meet however, I am saying that we need to be intentional with who we connect with and identify the acquaintances that lead to long term relationships that are mutually beneficial. 

Collaboration is necessary for many entrepreneurs but most fail to successfully integrate skills, knowledge and experience for mutual benefit because the time was not spent in developing a meaningful relationship from day 1. This level of superficiality is great for networking events and connecting over drinks but it can be disastrous if we’re required to collaborate on an opportunity and I learn we both have AI personality traits and both are determined to be like Sinatra and will only “do it my way”.  

The next time you’re networking or just looking to meet new people be intentional. Make an effort to get to know who the person is beyond what they do. 

  • Connecting with someone soley on brand recognition will not validate YOU. Who you are and what you represent has value. Be excellent and consisten in your work and efforts and the right opportunities through the right relationships will come. 
  • If connecting on social media, move the conversation offline and meet in person. If they’re not local, Skype or FaceTime. Social media is virtual and many create the persona they know that will attract people who chase titles and access over character and abilities. 
  • Take your time. You don’t have to build deep personal relationships with everyone you meet or do business with. You must however, develop a vetting system to mitigate risks. You must have set qualifiers that you don’t deviate from to determine if the relationship is a good fit and if collaboration is a goal, you both benefit. Synergy matters. 

Trust is built when time is spent building meaningful relationships within your circle. Knowing one’s character and level of integrity can save you from unethical behavior and decisions that can traumatize you and cause irreversible damage to your brand. If someone has been in your circle over 6 months and you are asking yourself, “Do I know you?”, now is the time to develop or dismiss. 

Making Moves And Going Nowhere

You see the post and you’re thinking, “They’re at all the right places with all the right people, they’re making BOSS moves.” This virtual world allows anyone to create any persona they choose with a snapshot that measures a moment in time of what the account holder wants you to see. The narrative of “I’m grinding”. 

Social media can be a tricky place. Many interchange motion with progress and being busy with being productive and believing it’s a formula for success. Wouldn’t that be great if being busy was the key to success? One could arguably state that one determines their own success. There’s some truth to this however, all success has outcomes that are evidence of productivity.

The difference between a real boss and a social media BOSS is that a real boss MUST deliver and they carry responsibility for those who that work for them and if they’re a great boss, they invest in their human resources. 

So let’s BOSS up! Every decision you make as an entrepreneur must be intentional. From your social media post to the people you seek to network and collaborate with. You can get off the treadmill and have your motion count for more than exhausting your finances and resources. You can have measurable outcomes and experience success that shows up in your bank account. After all, this is the goal of being your own BOSS. 

Here’s some tips to help you make diamonds from your grinding. 

  1. Be Strategic. Plan and don’t stop planning. Your actions, relationships, social media content, events and most importantly create an action plan with your business plan. How you spend your time and who you spend it with must be intentional and always with the end in mind. 
  2. Implement your plan. A plan is worthless to you if you don’t implement. Before implementing, break your plan down so that you aren’t overwhelmed. Create actions steps that lead to monthly goals being reached. “Mini successes” motivate. Celebrate completing your actions steps and check them off your list. It keeps you dreaming big when you see the needle moving toward your plan materializing. 
  3. Don’t be distracted. Distractions will come, I promise! Opportunities to “do lunch” or “we need to do something together” are distractions if they’re not parallel to your plans. Every task or action on your plan is intentional and every detour is a delay. Bosses deliver. 
  4. Who’s in your corner? I’m huge on support systems. Having someone in your corner who believes in your ability to build a successful business is important. We all need a cheerleader. There’s more no’s than yes’s and more disappointments than incremental victories, so find an accountability partner who will hold hold you accountable and motivate you the days you can’t motivate yourself. 

Make your efforts matter. Don’t be in a perpetual state of continuous motion with no productivity. Newton’s Cradle is mesmerizing to watch but moving and not going anywhere is a death sentence to your business, so BOSS up! 

Words Frame The World You Live In

“The power of life and death is in the tongue” ~ Proverbs 18:21

My mom is 93 and a committed Christian who talks the talk and walks the walk. So much so that there were times I thought she was losing it because no matter what we discussed she would only speak to the situation using scriptures. Not just any scripture, scriptures related to faith. Never doubt.

As children, we thought it, believed it and we spoke it. We had the power! The power of life and death IS in the tongue. It’s not the words alone that give us the power. What we say gives life, it’s the conviction behind what we say that activates the power in what’s said. “Faith without works is dead”.

So it’s no surprise that as a child, I believed I could do whatever I set my mind to. Think about when you were a child. Way before the cares of adulthood, marriage, kids, bills…life clouded your psyche and began feeding us pessimism from society. What happened in your life to cause you to no longer have that tenacious faith in yourself that what you said was real and possible? Did you give in to life? Did you give in to what was said to or about you and not what was IN you? Did you think those things were true because “everyone is saying it”?  This form of doubt and interruption of faith can come in the form of family, friends, and society.

According to an article on Mental Health Promotion in Public Health: Perspectives and Strategies From Positive Psychology, Learned optimism is not about looking at the world through rose-colored glasses or having unrealistic or self-deceptive expectations. Instead, it is about teaching skills needed to promote mental health and to avoid excessive worry, rumination, or spirals of negative thinking.

Therefore speak life, not death. blessings not curses, be an optimist vs a pessimist. Postive affirmations rewire your thought process. Believing your affirmations lead to activation. So if it’s a personal goal, aspirational career goal or maybe you’re reinventing yourself after a life experience that transformed you, the power to see the manifestation of what you speak in your life comes when you act on it. Do your homework. Research and create a plan to reach what you’ve spoken. Implement and believe regardless of obstacles, challenges, set backs or people. Find a support system of people who think like what you want for yourself and believe if you spoke it, IT is so.


Are You Your Toughest Critic?

I learned that I am my toughest critic. For those who know me, you know I was on 10 last semester concerning my classes. I’m tough on myself because I am at a constant state of self-awareness. I know my potential and I expect to excel in what I know I should excel in. However, I took a class with an instructor who gave no feedback, dialogue or resources that were deemed valuable or useful for the online course I was enrolled in and I felt I was totally lost and possibly failing the class until I read an email from my school I received congratulating me for achieving academic honors for the past semester.

It feels good to work for something you believe in so much and you excel beyond that you ever expected. I was a high school teen mom with dreams of going to college, pledging a sorority and having the whole college experience. I thought my pursuit of a degree eluded me when I became pregnant. But God…

When you know your purpose and you plan properly to pursue it, NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE! It will only be a matter of years before you can call me Dr Michele Santiago.

Always remember YOUR why. Gladiator mom, signing off!

“BLACK STARBUCKS” of CHICAGO! Black Owned and Delicious!

I love a great cup of coffee. Can’t wait to visit when I’m in the city.

The Hungry Black Man

outside-sip-and-svor Outside of Sip and Savor @ 5301 S. Hyde Park (Del Prado Building)

As soon as we landed, we needed to get warmed up, and what better place to do that than in a cozy coffee house with delicious hot chocolate, coffee, lattés, and expressos. Sip and Savor is a true hidden gem with unrivaled customer service.  Black people are no stranger to coffee given that the plant itself is AFRICAN!

Coffee originated in Ethiopia, where its popularity was widened by Europeans who became familiar with it during the 11th Century.  The plant itself is quite beautiful with a white blossom that smells like jasmine and a red, cherry-like fruit. Many Europeans felt the plant was a “magical fruit,” which they boiled in water resulting in a concoction that was thought to have medicinal properties.  In certain cases, many of us still feel coffee is magical – transforming us from…

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Lost In Translation 

It’s day one on your job and you’re excited to start. You’ve had your orientation with HR and you are introduced to your department. Your manager greets you and begins the run down on how to do your job. They are done talking, you go to your desk and you have no clue to what they told you to do.

Not to worry, it’s not you it’s them. George Bernard Shaw, a playwright was quoted saying, “The greatest problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished”. As a former manager I find this to be very true.

Communication only happens when the information which has been given by the sender has be understood by the receiver. When you are in leadership or supervisory, role it is your responsibility to make sure the receiver has decoded (comprehended) your message, information or instructions. This can be done by having them give you feedback (encoding) on what they’ve told or asked to do. If they can not do this, then the message was never communicated.

I had to learn this the hard way.  I was constantly frustrated with my staff not following through or delivering expected outcomes. I was able to correct this problem by asking my staff to tell me what they were asked to do. If they couldn’t, I would find a way to communicate it differently until they were able to tell me with comprehension.

Speaking the language of your staff, team or coworkers and allowing time for mental modes and jargon to be learned removes barriers to communication often experienced by new hires or new team members.

I learned a few lessons from this experience.

  1. Talking is NOT communication. Just because you ask for it to be done, it doesn’t mean it will be done right.
  2. No matter how big your vocabulary may be, it’s all lost in translation if who you are communicating with doesn’t speak your language. Lose the jargon!
  3. If there’s no feedback, you’re assuming you were understood. We all know what happens when we assume…
  4. Speak with the receiver in mind and how they interpret information and use the best channel to communicate to the receiver.

I Haven’t Started My New Year’s Resolution!

The first week of January has come and gone and many are moving along with their New Year’s Resolutions and Goals. That is, if you’ve started…

Making the decision to start new endeavors or break old habits is easy. It’s beginning the process that many find difficult to do especially if this is your first attempt to make the new year the time you make changes in your personal or professional life.

If you are one of the individuals who have not started and you’re feeling you’ve failed before you even got out of the starting blocks, STOP! You’re not a failure. Setting New Year’s Resolutions and Goals to kick off your new year is great because it’s a great way to mark time and measure your growth. There’s no cardinal sin in starting the second week of January.  The decision to take action and make changes in your life that produce positive outcomes is a plus and the first step to improving your quality of life and the first sign that you have already changed your old way of thinking by acknowledging the need to for change or improvement. So let’s figure out “where do I begin?”

Here’s some tips on how to get “unstuck” and begin seeing the change you desire to see if you find yourself setting goals you can’t seem to reach.

  1. Set realistic goals. If you work part time, are in extra curricular activities, enrolled in school part time and your goal is to earn a bachelor’s degree, setting a deadline of 3 years is setting yourself up for failure. Audit how your time is spent within a 24 hour period and plan how and when you’ll have the time to commit to your goal. Until this goal is met, stick to your plan.
  1. Be truthful about your abilities. If you’re impatient don’t set long-term goals. You’re setting yourself up for failure. If you must set a long term goal, make the steps to reaching it a “micro goal” with a short term deadline of 30 days or less. Micro goals are satisfying and effective. They keep you motivated as well as giving you a sense of accomplishment needed to work toward the larger goal.
  1. Tell someone. Accountability works. You must also give this person permission to call you to the carpet when you are off course. Thinking about what you want to do is just a thought or desire. Once you say it to someone and share the action steps you’ll take to reach the outcomes desired it has now become an actual goal.

I wish you much success in pursuing your resolutions and goals. If you are need of a certified lifestyle coach who is trained and provides resources to assist you in setting attainable goals feel free to call my office at 630-296-4630. Initial consultations are free.