Rita’s Column

Fear: dark room that develops your negatives. Turn the lights on!

  Fear and faith both project into the future and what we say is what we get. 

          You CAN overcome the fears of rejection, failure, other’s opinions, your feelings about your education or finances or a myriad of other areas.  Bring the unseen into the Seeing realm, so to speak, by continuously visualizing what you want to see manifested in the next six months, then a year from now. This requires planting positive seeds of work, love, focus, and action. Feed positive thoughts, words and endeavors into the lion within you. You shape your life by the choices you make. Ask yourself: which emotions will I allow to be stronger? The more fervent ones win! Cross over out of the wilderness into the land of Transformation. For starters, you may claim “I am healthy, wealthy and wise…and greatly loved”! Take like a medicine as often as needed.

          Start journaling. Create positive thoughts where frustrating circumstances emerge. “I get to plan my day because I am in charge of what happens to me”. (Oops, here comes one more unexpected event to my day). However, I will deal appropriately with anyone or anything that seeks to upset my day. This is my day and I can overcome! God created me and He will strengthen me, give me wisdom (ask for it), and make my path straight.” Can’t you just feel your chin lift, the corners of your mouth turn up in a smile, even if just a little? Do you detect a refreshing deep sigh of relief? Ok, show your day who’s boss…you!!!! Smile!

Taken from Creating Your Own Destiny: Power Steps for Mind-Body Renewal

What “Color” is Your Mind?

      Our minds are amazing! They can entertain good thoughts or bad; happy thoughts or sad; loving thoughts or angry and unforgiving ones. “Out of the abundance of the heart…the mouth speaks.” Are there times when we forget that we are designing a great portion of our lives by what we are speaking forth? We magnetize what we dwell on…prosperity, successful career, heartache, the treatment from others (that one can be so rewarding or so detrimental). Is it time to change out some puzzle pieces?      

      Think of your words as pieces of a puzzle, or the colors of paint you would use in creating a beautiful picture, or of the type of decorative items you put into your home. Are they colors and items that make you feel good (yes, it can greatly affect how you feel), or are they black, white and gray, lifeless, filled with hurt and disappointment? Music also affects us. Fun, venomous, beautiful, full of life, screaming, relaxing. Words–sights–sounds definitely affect what we are creating. Think about how they make you feel.

      Even in illness or lack, we can say “NO, I am not dwelling in this state. I am determined to design, in my heart and mind, what is good, constructive and beneficial to the rest of my life!” Your Creator designed you with His heart and His mind and His abilities. It doesn’t get any better or stronger than that! Be “positively” spunky and determined to raise your thoughts where necessary, and change your world!

Taken from Creating Your Own Destiny: Power Steps for Mind-Body Renewal

The Transforming Power in Our Belief System!

          “The thoughts we entertain, the words we speak, and the things we write have much to do with how we handle the daily environment we live in. Our belief system either helps us remove hindrances and prepare our wings for flight or keep us down and defeated. Our views and opinions of ourselves (self-perception) and of the immediate world around us create the way we experience reality. We devise in our minds, and then follow through with our actions, whether we become successful or live with continuous failures, whether we have uplifting or degrading relationships, whether we have a career we enjoy or mainly work to survive. Even in the most devastating of times, we can call forth peace, new friends, new opportunities, and the necessary support to make it to the other side.

            I have lived much of my life like this even when it seemed like the walls caved in on top of me. It is still something that is critical to overcome on an almost daily basis. But focusing on the fact that we are made in the image of our Creator changes our perception, gives us hope, renews our spirit and causes our demeanor to bring forth positive changes and people. This, in turn, will influence others to hire us for a new and better position, build community and foster healthy relationships. When we replace the words we think, write and speak, science has proven that we literally change how our brain works and the kind of outcome our thoughts, words and actions bring about. That, in turn, greatly impacts our lives–for the better. In the positive way we deserve. Shift!!

Taken from Creating Your Own Destiny: Power Steps for Mind-Body Renewal

Life Changes May Require Image Changes

Sometimes, life’s changes and challenges can be tough, disappointing and confusing. They may come on so quickly we wonder “what happened” and “how will I ever manage beyond this?” They can also open the door to so many new and wonderful possibilities. Release, rebuild and raise up your inner architect and create impressive new images from the puzzle pieces of life. Explore ways to thrive and excel.

Following are suggestions to recharge your battery. Please take time to carefully examine each point to determine:

• “What is the most important area that I would like to change as far as the perception I am giving to others?” Could it be getting in better shape to appear more energetic and feel better about myself? Ask yourself: “Would I want to do business with myself? Why or Why Not?” How about a new professional image in appearance, communications and outlook?                          (I can help you make powerful transformations that will last a lifetime!) 

• Would it be helpful to make simple changes in my demeanor and body language such as a more confident handshake, erect and confident posture and good eye contact, or remembering to smile more and center myself to be calm if I am a bit nervous?
• Could a few adjustments in grooming show others that I take good care of myself, therefore, I will also take equally good care of them, their business and relationships?
• What would make me “feel” more confident in my exciting new card game of life? Shall I take a class in public speaking, get a makeover, or join an organization or committee where I will make new friends and gain new skills?
• What kind of image am I formulating in the mind of others by my attitude, energy and appearance? Write your answers in a journal for a time and notice any patterns that emerge. Team player Tom? Negative Nancy? Tired Tonya? Happy and confident Harriet? Super Smart Sadie?
• What kind of energy am I projecting? Is it positive, negative, forceful, supportive? Energetic or tired? Hopeful or hopeless? Determined or deflated? Ask a close confidante for feedback. If it resonates with you, make some changes. Get a second opinion if necessary from someone you know you can trust! You want positive feedback that builds you UP!

As Jim Rohn said: You can’t change your ‘destination’ overnight but you can change your ‘direction’ overnight. “Later” is a dream killer. So…think about creating your own growth plan! That’s what new days are for!! Rita Rocker, Transformation Academy, LLC

Engaging Presentations: How to “silently” talk to your listeners

Every day we present our thoughts and ideas to business prospects, teachers, parents, and organizations. Our first interaction can leave a lasting impression! Since 55% of our message is non-verbal, make sure your body is relaying the same message your mouth is. Whether you are giving a sales presentation to a large number of individuals or sitting across from two people at a table, use the following tips to ensure you have engaging presentationsto bring the success you are looking for. The more positive and confident your interactions, the greater your success in building a relationship that will last for many years. Following are signals that can either enhance or destroy, future business.
 
Your energy. Be aware of the energy you are transmitting! Is it motivating, positive, exciting, confident, worrisome, pre-occupied? Set a positive tone with your facial expressions, sincere eye contact and friendly, yet controlled body language. Signs of defiance, angst, fear or frustration will send the listener packing, even if your words are saying something entirely different!
 
Hands. It is said that eyes and hands are open and closed with the person’s mind. They tell so much about your current state of mind. Hands should face palms up with fingers open (welcoming them to come into your “space”) or at your side. If you are new at speaking and feeling uncomfortable, hold a pen in one hand. Having one hand in your pocket briefly is acceptable but both hands in your pockets give the impression of either being arrogant, lacking confidence or hiding something.
Pointing. Pointing a finger or a pen in someone’s general direction immediately puts them on the defense. When asking an individual a question or to sign a paper, hold your pointer or pen like you would if you were writing, at an angle. It seems like a very small matter but can give a strong message subconsciously.
Touching. A friendly touch on the shoulder is often meant as a welcoming gesture, however, note their response. If they recoil, smile and back away. Touching sometimes reminds individuals of an unpleasant experience and is not anything personal against you. We just always want to be respectful of their reactions.
Eye contact. In the U.S., eye contact is a necessary for honest, productive conversations. In some other countries, looking someone in the eye could be considered disrespectful. Good eye contact gives the impression that you are trustworthy, confident, credible, and serious about your conversation or presentation.
Your eyes. Avoid darting eyes, scanning people’s shoes, or any eye messages that give the impression you are not completely engaged in a conversation with them.
Statements or questions. When people raise their voices at the end of a statement, it sounds like they are questioning themselves rather than making a statement. The listener may think, “If you are not sure of what you are talking about, why should I take your seriously?” Result? You can be overlooked in business meetings and presentations. Approximately 80% of voiceovers on television are done by men because of their lower pitch which lends to their credibility.
Letting others finish your sentences. If individuals in your audience interrupt, your first mode of defense is to raise your volume slightly. If that does not work, hold up your index finger while slightly raising your volume. If they didn’t get the message, raise your hand in the “stop” position. As a last resort, hold your hand up in the “stop” position and say, “Excuse me, I wasn’t finished yet.” This act should keep you in control and maintain your composure.
Adjust your mode of speaking. According to the type of group you are talking to. Be more energetic if talking to someone of like manner and do not overwhelm someone with a strong voice if they are quiet and reserved.
Non-verbal messages can diffuse hostility by maintaining a composed demeanor. Restraining your own body language when someone is angry with you can actually have a calming effect on them. Keep your voice low and limit gestures while preserving a relaxed posture to discourage others from a potential rant.
 
Bottom line: always check to ensure your body is saying the same thing your mouth is. Your goal is to have the clearest, concise, confident message possible.

Business Social Events–Tips for Standing Out in the Crowd!

There are a myriad of helpful business  and social etiquette tips for greater confidence, engaging conversation and a winning demeanor . Here are a few techniques to keep you out in front:

At business social events, you are still under scrutiny.  Your attire should not be too casual or revealing as that impression will carry back to the office and can affect promotion opportunities. You still want to be remembered as the polished (and fun) professional, not for what you wore. Have extra clothing in the car (dressier/more casual/different accessories or shoes,etc.) to make a quick change if need be to fit in more comfortably with the crowd.

Don’t want to attend an event? Go anyway! Spend at least 30 minutes making the rounds, shaking hands and being seen by as many people as possible. That way, you will show your interest in the company and the attendees in the most favorable light. Later, just slip out quietly. Be sure to discuss the event, thank the organizer, etc., the next day. They will appreciate it and you score points for being so engaged in the process.

When in a networking environment with food and drinks, avoid trying to talk to individuals while holding one in each hand. It can be awkward and messy trying to talk while juggling your hors d’oeuvres. Eat at a standing table first, then go out on the floor and concentrate on those you meet, giving a warm and confident handshake.

Always hold your glass in your left hand when mingling so the right one is dry and free to shake hands. No switching!

Have a glass of water or coffee between alcoholic drinks to maintain a sharp, professional conversation at all times. If you are socializing with upper management or clients who are not drinking alcohol, it is usually better to abstain during your conversation with them. This may sound old fashioned but it shows you are respectful of their time, preferences and totally engaged in your conversation with them.

Make it a habit to introduce yourself to at least five people you don’t know to build up your network and make new friends and associates. Always focus on them (which also helps if you’re self-conscious talking about yourself). If you want to talk with them again, ask for their card first rather than hand them yours. This is primarily “social” time, not business development time. You can then set a time to meet for more in depth conversations.

At social events, your date is also under scrutiny. Adults never want to introduce someone as “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” but rather just offer their first and last names. If it’s your spouse, provide that designation.

Help your date be more comfortable by telling them as much about the people they will meet while on your way to the event. Knowing what subjects are good and which ones are off limits makes for a more fun (and profitable) event.

Always thank the host or hostess and let them know how much you appreciate their hospitality. Handwritten thank-you’s are a nice touch for more formal parties. Even an email can show you are thinking about them and their thoughtfulness.

When attending an event at someone’s home, a small gift life a bottle of wine or box of chocolates is usually a welcome gift to show your appreciation for all of their work.

If at a sit-down meal, follow the host/hostess for when to put your napkin in your lap and begin eating.

Wait until they begin eating in case they want to ask a blessing or make a toast. It is embarrassing to begin and then put that fork down.

The lady should sit to the right of her male date/partner.

Look around to see if someone needs an item in front of you and pass them as soon as you have used them: salt and pepper, cream for coffee, etc.

If the host/hostess does not have professional help for their event, it is a very nice gesture to gather plates, glasses and other items you notice laying around. The harried host can then enjoy more time with guests and it only takes you a couple minutes of thoughtfulness.

Never plank your knife between plate and table. Set it across the edge of your dinner plate or bread & butter plate if you have one.

Your bread and butter plate is on the left! Liquids on right—solids on left.

Place your napkin on the back of your seat if you get up briefly and lay it back on your lap as soon as you return. Old order etiquette says to lay it in your chair but think about that…who wants to put it back to your mouth? 

When you are through eating, you are “finished” and never “done.” (My elderly mentor used to scold me about that and said, “Meat is done, you are finished.”)

Good manners and engaging conversation are always a hit!!! For more valuable tips, check out my book “Guide to Marketing Yourself for Success” at https://www.amazon.com/Rita-Rocker/e/B00B788DIU/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1518195479&sr=1-2-ent

 

The Meet & Greet – You Had Me From Hello!

As we know, that first impression is made in as little as seven seconds when people are checking us out physically (demeanor, handshake appearance, our-non-verbal signals) which makes it more difficult for someone to remember our name if given immediately. They haven’t quite started “listening” yet. Before we have said a word, judgments can start forming about our own self-image, outlook on life, economic and educational levels, social position, trustworthiness and future success. Sound like a bit much? Yes. Has research proven this to be true? Yes. Sigh! Here are a few quick tips to keep the conversation going in a relationship-building manner:

At business social functions, shyness may be misunderstood as being socially unskilled so try introducing yourself to as many people as possible. Even if you really don’t want to be there, stay at least a half hour and make the rounds before leaving. This can keep you in the winner’s circle by exhibiting a team player attitude and is beneficial for your work and social relationships.

Why is it so hard to remember someone’s name? As mentioned above, during the first seven seconds we meet someone, we are checking them out visually (looking at their clothing (wow, nice, organized or oh no), hair (just get out of bed?), grooming (gardening this morning?) or a myriad of other things) before we start listening…so we aren’t really hearing them! The best way to introduce yourself, particularly in a large group of people you do not know where you have about ten seconds to stand up and sit down, is to say 1) what you do, 2) for whom, 3) then your name.  Example:  Hi. I provide rapid results programs in professional communication, image and career development with Transformation Academy. My name is Rita…Rocker!  Take a slight pause between your first and last name, adding emphasis (giving a little punch) to your last name. By then, the person should be more focused on listening to you versus giving you the visual once-over.

When shaking hands: Women usually offer their hand first but either gender is welcome to initiate the universal greeting of the handshake. Take the other person’s hand with medium pressure, palm to palm, in a vertical hold and pump 2-3 times, leaning slightly forward. If you can tell what color their eyes are when shaking hands, you have completely connected. If someone takes your hand and turns it horizontally (yes, that really happens), just keep smiling and turn it up in a vertical hold again.That keeps you on a more “psychologically” level playing field! Turning your hand horizontally is a silent signal saying they have “the upper hand” and seek to control the direction the conversation will go. Now, go out and enjoy networking. It’s a wonderful way to build new relationships! And one more thing…if you’re shy, seek out those standing alone. They will welcome you gladly.

While talking, stand approximately 18? from them in order to respect their “space.” Only hold your beverage in your left hand so the right one is free to give your impressive handshake. Find out what “they” do first. Ask for their business card first (if you want to give them yours). Find out what kind of connections they are seeking to enhance their business or lives. Erect, positive, confident and engaged demeanor and posture goes a long way in making lasting relationships. Go for it!!

Rita Rocker, International author, speaker, consultant, Transformation Academy, LLC

Unleashing the Powerful Phoenix Within Your – Rise!

Greek mythology has a very important story that most of us can relate to at one time or another in our lives. Something devastating happened to a creature called Phoenix (a powerful bird) that destroyed it and burned it to ashes. We can often compare such a tragedy to something that has happened (or is currently happening) to us and see the Phoenix as a representation of our own life. Know that there is a new beginning, that no matter how bad (hot) things may get, you will get back up on your feet and once again rise from the ashes. Allow this to be a time for your strength to increase. Make it a permanent mindset that a Phoenix always rises from its own ashes. Let this be your new mantra: you can, and will, always pick yourself up when you are down, broken, used and abused or just plain worn out! Let this picture be absorbed into your mind! Feel Power! See Victory!

While you are allowing your life, mind and body (the physical, mental and emotional you) to rebuild, know that it is okay—actually a very good thing—to back away (avoid negative encounters, words and harsh treatment), in a sense and for a time, so your wings can be strengthened, grow bigger and stronger and take flight. Allow yourself the opportunity to heal from wounds to your mind, body and soul—from the once devastated Phoenix you may have been that possibly crashed and burned…temporarily. Never feel guilty—ever!! Is it time for restoration from a wounded body or spirit? Take refuge under your Creator’s wings. Let His breath sustain you as you rise again so you can then, with a renewed spirit, burst forth with unapologetic passion and strength. Rise Phoenix and soar to new heights. Look back at the picture again. Feel your strength rising!

As legend goes…when the Phoenix rises from the flames to the life it was originally created for, it is so much more powerful than it was before!

(from Rita’s book “Create Your Destiny: Power Steps for Mind-Body Renewal”)

10 Tips to Becoming a Super Presenter

Need to speak to 5, 50 or 500 people? It is said that most people would rather get a root canal than speak in front of a group. Aarrgghh! With adequate preparation and practice videos from your smart phone or laptop, you can create presentations that make people want to come back for more! We will be covering more tips over the next few weeks. For starters…  

  1. Begin your preparation early.

Start developing your talk sooner, not later. Your thoughts often evolve over time so you will likely want to edit and “tweak” before you go live. The more time you have to prepare, the more confident you’ll be…the more you can watch yourself and have a close confidante also watch (go ahead and send them a short video clip). This also helps not leaning hard on notes or PowerPoint slides.

  1. Research your audience.

Find out everything you can about WHO you will be speaking to. What do your audience members have in common? What are the challenges they face? What is their education level? The more answers you have to who they are, what they are all about and what their need/pain is, the more you’ll be able create a presentation that they will want to hear. The shorter the allotted time, the more “meat” and less “fluff” is critical.

  1. Don’t worry about being original.

When you speak passionately, from your heart, and believe what you say, it doesn’t matter if you’re the first person or 15th to speak about your particular subject. The originality that you provide is your 1) voice and your 2) passion.If it is not your favorite subject, learn why it is so important to those you will be speaking to!!

  1. Keep it simple.

Smaller, shorter chunks of information are easier for audiences to absorb. Again, it’s the meat of the subject that can be turned into valuable bullet points if the time of your presentation is limited.

  1. Make them an offer.

Offer your audience a solution to a problem, a challenge to how they think or act, or an opportunity to learn something new. Create your Presentation around that offer (“Today I’m going to give you 3 tools to eliminate procrastination from your life forever…”). Wow, I’ll listen to that! The audience is all about WIIFM…What’s In It For Me. It is very important to switch the camera from the “selfie” mode to them!

  1. Create a conversation.

Instead of creating a “Presentation,” develop your talk as a conversation between you and the audience. Quickly determine by their attentiveness, facial expression, body language, etc., if they are engaged. Try to determine ahead of time if they are a group involved in fnances (state the facts ma’am, just the facts) or if they are a happy marketing group wanting great human interest (but definitely applicable) stories and some warmth included. It really makes a difference! Watch and respond!!

  1. Involve the audience.

To create that sense of conversation, interact with your audience if possible. Ask them questions (“How many of you would agree with that?”). Give them things to do (“I want you to write this next fact down…”). Being interactive helps retain engagement.

  1. Listen to yourself.

How your Presentation sounds is much more important than how it reads. Create your Presentation for the ear and make sure your body language is speaking the same language. If you are speaking on a product or program where you provide services or items, remember “Only sell what you would be willing to buy yourself!!!!

  1. Rehearse. Revise. Repeat.

Practice your Presentation as much as possible, revise it continuously so that it’s just the perfect Presentation for YOU to deliver.Years ago I noticed excessive eye blinking on camera. Smart phones and laptops are great for eliminating those signals before you are upfront.

  1. Have fun!

Keep the process of creating your Presentation simple and light. If you make the process fun, your Presentation will reflect that. Remember all of the outtakes (bloopers) that you sometimes get to watch after a movie? Well, that’s what practice and rehearsals are for. Go for it!

Contact me if you would like private or group coaching on presentations. Rock it!!

Stay tuned for more tips on reading your audience and what a confident demeanor can do for you! Rita Rocker www.transformationacademy.com

Creating Your Destiny Through Trials

(part 1) Change can be daunting and many will stay in the state they are accustomed to instead of yielding to the process of change. We want to soar but are afraid to get off the ground, so we hang on to the vine where it feels secure (although so uncomfortable and restricting) instead of pushing out and flying up where we belong. When we allow God, He will lovingly put all the pieces together so the newly created you can come forth. Let’s get started.

            I know all too well what can happen when life kicks us hard, over and over again, having grown up from an early age of five believing I was of little to no value. That mindset as a little girl (my emotional storage unit) steered my life in a very defeated direction. After all, why would dad take mom and I to the doctor when I was really sick because he was not about to miss going out of town to a horse race? “Take her on the bus. I’m busy.” In my little mind, horses were of so much greater value than my life and health. So mom took me, very sick, on the bus. That experience, although not as emotionally painful as many have experienced, planted a seed of worthlessness deep inside of me along with a large helping of fear of rejection and failure. Those two clinging fears caused me to sabotage just about everything I did for the majority of life.

Later, my spirit and well-being were torn by two domestic violence marriages filled with fear and destruction, being occasionally homeless and needing to start over, losing my son for many years, getting caught up in drugs and alcohol to numb the pain and try to escape reality for the moment. Then in recent years, experience the trials of eight surgeries in two years including brain and jawbone tumors, a shunt and titanium implant in my head to attach a bone-anchored hearing device as Meniere’s disease stole my hearing on one side and left me with balance and severe nausea issues. Then two back surgeries two months apart under the rods and screws, a ruptured colon, and another long-term broken relationship. Why would I think I was smart, worthy of good things and good friends, or the ability to grow into an international author and speaker and former Mrs. America contestant? However, my heart was, is, and always will be to educate, inspire and guide others to a life of freedom to be their awesome selves. To encourage them to go after their heart’s desires and not be “stuck” where they may have been…or are currently. To provide others with new life and career development tools to help them reach their full potential. DETERMINE TO USE YOUR TRIALS TO HELP OTHERS GET THROUGH THEIRS! It gives you such a sense of freedom and joy as you see others set free as well!

Stay tuned for more steps from Creating Your Destiny: Power Steps for Mind – Body