Nicki Anderson
Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Start With Why is the Secret to Success

By Nicki On February 1, 2015 No Comments
Simon Sinek coming to Naperville, May 5th, 2015.

Simon Sinek coming to Naperville, May 5th, 2015.

For those of you that have children, or who have worked with children we know all too well that “Why?” seems like the only word in their vocabulary.  For a parent, the 300th “Why?” can make us crazy, but after reading Simon Sinek’s Book, Start with Why, perhaps  children are way ahead of the game. Instead of questioning them, “Must you ask why again?” we may think about praising them as they simply try to gain a better understanding of the world around them.

I am looking forward to starting our first Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce Book Club. The goal is to focus on books that shed light on some of the most challenging areas of business, leadership, management, marketing and effective communication, just to name a few. I selected Start with Why for two reasons, one because we don’t ask why, typically we start with what.  What do I want to do? What do I want to sell? What does my customer want? Second, my goal is to help others ask the right questions so they can discover success.  I have learned, that going back to the instinctual question of why, is really the litmus test of feasibility. In other words, asking why may lead to the realization that your product or service needs changing or is simply irrelevant.

When I started my business back in the early 90’s, I innately asked, “Why?” I knew what I wanted to do.  I wanted to start a fitness business that spoke to the millions of women that were suffering from low self-esteem and unrealistic fitness expectations. But why did I want to start my fitness business?  To ensure that women would have a safe place to learn practical health strategies to improve the quality of their life, because they deserve it.  Because I knew the why, the how and what came very easily. I knew then and have been affirmed by this book, that asking why is simply the best strategy to create allure and loyalty to your product or service.

In Sinek’s book, he discusses something called the Golden Circle. It’s brilliant. The Golden Circle is in my mind, the best way to start a business plan. It should serve as the foundation of any business decision. However, it can be used personally as well which is what I love about it. Whether you’re looking to start a business, grow a business or start a new life for yourself, starting with why will surely assess the relevance and passion of your goal.

I’m very pleased to announce that Simon Sinek will also be coming to Naperville, May 5th at 7:30 a.m. The event will be hosted by the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. We are excited to bring such a visionary to Naperville who has inspired millions of people simply by challenging them to ask, “Why?”

 

Here’s to never wishing for time, rather making the most of it!

Nicki


It’s a Sad Year When You Don’t Learn Something New!

By Nicki On January 1, 2015 No Comments

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My Grandfather always used to say, “It’s a sad day when you don’t learn something new.”  As one who loves to learn, I remind myself of this on a daily basis. I try and learn something new every day.

When we celebrate New Year’s many people are reflective, and I am no exception. Although I am not one who regrets, or wishes I’d done something different (after all, we learn best by our mistakes) reflecting on the New Year allows me to take stock of the things I’ve learned and incorporate them in to my life moving forward. Life lessons equate to wisdom, at least that’s my thinking.

I was recently having dinner with a friend who is about 10 years younger than I. We were talking about the aging process and I shared with her, “My 30’s was still about trying to impress people while making everyone happy yet not having a sense of who I was. When you enter your 40’s there’s this surge of confidence where you begin to realize there’s nothing you can’t do, however, wisdom hasn’t settled in yet, so some decisions are questionable. But when you hit 50, it seems like everything finally comes together. 50 brings confidence without arrogance, security without naivete, compassion without pity, insight without assumptions, experiences without expectations and relationships without conditions.

Last year was a year of new beginnings almost every day. I entered a new position without a clear understanding of what I was getting in to. Each day I learned what needed to be done and I set out to get it done. Each day, I realized that I had a choice to play the blame game, or to figure out what I was going to do to turn the ship around. Each day, I got to know the people around me and learn who was ready to go on this ride with me, or those who opted out. Some days were amazingly rewarding, while others were very, very difficult. Fortunately, I have an incredibly supportive Board and staff who believe in my ability to take the potential of the organization and run with it, without looking back.

So, there’s the conundrum, looking back. After all, isn’t that what the New Year is all about?  Looking back and reflecting?  Well, if you’re looking back to see how far you’ve come as well as lessons learned it’s healthy. If you’re looking back with the attitude of, “shoulda, woulda, coulda”, that will not assist you at all in moving forward. You’ve got to assess and progress.  I look back simply to marvel at what life tosses our way and how, more often than not, we can surprise ourselves with what we’re able to handle. And with the things that aren’t handled well, it’s a learning moment, never a regret. Regrets do nothing more than set a roadblock for self-forgiveness.

With all that said, what did I learn this year? Here’s just a few of the many things I learned.

1. Never assume. Life is full of surprises so hone your flexibility skills and move along.

2. Communication is King. Unfortunately, not everyone communicates the same way so the best way to communicate starts with listening.

3. It’s never too late to change something that isn’t working.

4. Trust your gut, most often it’s right. Especially as you get older. (One of many perks of getting older).

5. It’s not how hard you’re working, it’s how much you accomplish.

6. If you trust someone enough to hire them, trust them enough to get the job done. (That’s under delegation 101)

7. Leadership can be lonely, surround yourself with great people. “Being a leader means finding the right solution, not the easy one.”- Kate Stull

8. Always remind your staff that their ideas and insight matters, they forget.

9. Steve Jobs said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

10. Working hard doesn’t always mean working smart. Assess your work and ask yourself, “Does this matter? Is it getting me closer to my vision while aligning with my mission?”

I could go on and on with all of the things I learned, or was reminded of that really matter in life. I suppose, aside from the top 10 things I listed, I have to address the many wonderful people I have met. People are amazing and there’s no better learning opportunity than meeting new people and listening to their story. So I suppose, if you’re not learning, perhaps you’re not listening- bonus tip. 😉

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Here’s to an amazing 2015.

 

Nicki


Don’t Let Good Health Prevent Good Judgement

By Nicki On November 23, 2014 No Comments

db498f33f4d50ec73cdf69af8bb89ba1For those of you that have followed my blog, you know that I have a strong commitment to my health. I eat well (most of the time), exercise as often as I’m able (not as much as I’d like), and I stay focused on the positive. Throughout most of my life, I have experienced few health issues other than pregnancy and delivery and few minor things here and there. However, a couple of weeks ago, I found myself in a situation where I listened closely to my body and realized it wasn’t happy.

Since starting my job last February, there is no doubt my activity level isn’t where I’d like it to be, but I squeeze in exercise 3x per week. I have held pretty tight to eating well, though many meetings that include eating out make it tough, even if I feel like I’m making the right decision. There’s been stress in my life, recent passing of my Dad and situations at work that come with the territory, but all in all, I feel pretty good. However,  two weeks ago, that all changed.

 

I woke up and found myself nauseous and dizzy. Dizzy spells are not uncommon with me, I blame it on the barometric pressure. But nausea never accompanied my “dizzies”. I sat down in front of my make-up mirror and felt clammy. Not hot flash clammy, heart attack clammy and then I looked at my clock radio and couldn’t read the time. I knew something was wrong. I said to my husband, “Something is not right, something is not right.”  We immediately went to the ER. By the time I got to the hospital and into a room, my speech was all but gone and my body felt like dead weight. I could barely move my legs, arms and head. Panic set in and I knew I was likely experiencing a stroke. My grandfather suffered a stroke in his latter 30’s and part of my commitment to health and fitness was to avoid that scenario, but here I was.  The nurse kept asking me questions and my effort to say one word was the most difficult thing I can recall doing in recent history. And then the thoughts started going through my mind, “I’m never going to walk again. My husband is going to spend the rest of his life taking care of me, and I’m the healthy one!” Every negative scenario ran through my mind. I’ve never been more frightened than I was that morning.

I had a CT scan, MRI, loads of blood work, and on and on and they found nothing. By late afternoon, my speech was back to normal and my strength had returned as well. What happened?  What caused it? The fact that the weakness in my body wasn’t bilateral ruled out a stroke. Ultimately the neurosurgeon called it a, “Seizure phenomenon.”  Hmmm, well that doesn’t tell me much other than they don’t know what caused it. I ran a half marathon two days prior, could it have triggered something?  The stress over the past year, could it be that?  Who knows?

What I do know is that I didn’t ignore symptoms just because I take care of myself. We know that women die more often from heart attacks and strokes because they ignore the symptoms. No matter how healthy you are, listen to your body, pay attention to abnormal feelings and get them checked out.

The one thing that was found was a bump in an artery in the brain scan they want to check out. But I’m also following up with an internist per a suggestion from a friend that isn’t happy with the “phenomenon” diagnosis and thinks I should exhaust all avenues. Likely not a bad idea.

I have always taken pride in how I care for my health, but we know many people that have been as healthy as a horse yet dropped dead of a heart attack or some freak accident. So, was this a life altering experience?  Will I start paying closer attention to my bucket list? Well, yes and no.

1. I don’t do bucket lists because I spend too much time stressing over checking things off!  I’d rather follow what’s in my heart and make it happen.

2. I realize that the stress in our lives is often brought on by assumptions and unrealistic perceived outcomes.  Reduce stress by reducing assumptions and stop trying to write the future.

3. I realize that no matter how healthy I am, the body gets tired and high intense exercise and a strict diet isn’t’ always what’s best for the body or mind,  it needs a break from time to time.  I need to know that taking a walk instead of heading out for a run is fine too and some days better for my mind/body. That gelato, or chocolate that I’ve been avoiding is not the end of the world if I cave in and enjoy. I’ve been teaching for years that moderation is the best way to live. I need to heed my own advice vs. my all or nothing compulsions. images (1)

4. Tell your family you love them every day and try to spend more quality time with them. My kids spent two solid days with me at the hospital. We played games, we reminisced and laughed, a lot. If you haven’t downloaded the app from the Ellen Show, Heads Up, do it today. It’s a blast for all ages.

5. Slow down! Even as I type, I type fast and hard. My personality is somewhat like a bull in a china shop, not always, but more often than not. I push hard and when I have a task to complete, I give at least 100%. I need to learn that slow and steady works sometimes too. Assess situations, and don’t view every task as a crisis that needs immediate handling.

6. Ask for help. Women are the worst at that. I have always been someone that would rather do it all myself, despite the challenges. Heaven forbid I should look weak, right?  Well actually for me it’s not the   case. I’ve been on my own for so long, I just learned to do everything myself.  Life is give and take. I can’t do it all and I shouldn’t expect to do it all (See #2).  Ask for help and offer help, it’s a pretty solid way to live.

7. An attitude of gratitude. I have written in many of my blogs my gratitude for being able to go out and run when I feel like it, or exercise whenever I want because I have full use of my body. How lucky I am. After this recent scare, now more than ever, I am incredibly aware of how grateful I am for the ability to speak (maybe my family doesn’t love that one!), the ability to move without restriction and the strength to do every day tasks without limitation. I’M THE LUCKIEST GAL IN THE WORLD!

Moral of the story: No matter how healthy you are, especially women, never, ever ignore unusual symptoms. Your body is trying to tell you something, LISTEN! There is no guarantee that being healthy means you’re immune from illness or disease. Live every day like it is your last, love with your full heart, be kind to yourself and others and move your body because you can.

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.

Nicki


Take a Risk and Embrace Your Purpose

By Nicki On February 8, 2014 4 Comments

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A few weeks ago, I was given an opportunity for a new job.  The challenge is that I was working a couple of other jobs and making my own schedule. This made the idea of a 9 to 5  j-o-b less than appealing. When this position became available, a few people reached out and told me I’d be perfect for the role. I highly doubted I was their ideal candidate. However, my curious nature nudged me into researching the position more thoroughly. The more I learned and read, the more I realized that perhaps this was that time in my life where I had an incredible opportunity to marry my passion with my purpose. However, the 9 to 5 idea was far from tempting and  I remained skeptical.

I loved my life, after 20 years of business ownership, I was able to create my own schedule. I could either accept or turn down freelance jobs and my time was completely my own. I was able to spend the entire summer gardening and cooking, running on a whim, (versus getting up at 5:30 to get it in before work), and actually having friends over to enjoy a leisurely dinner. I loved it. But the truth is, I had this pull in my gut to seek out every  opportunity that came my way.

I don’t do well when I’m not seeking out or fulfilling my purpose. Although I dove in with freelance work and volunteering with two of my favorite charities, I still grew restless. The idea of sleeping in every morning didn’t appeal to me, a loosey-goosey schedule didn’t go well with my ADD and I found myself desperately seeking out “my place.”

Over 20 years ago I had a dream to start a business. I remember not sleeping at night just thinking about bringing my dream to fruition. My purpose and passion was crystal clear, I loved inspiring people and felt I was pretty good at it. I took the dreams and turned them in to reality and before I knew it, I had a thriving personal training business with staff and great clients. I was able to travel all over the world and share my insight on how to start or grow a business. I loved doing that. Talking to entrepreneurs and assuring them that with hard work, clear vision and excellent customer service, you can’t lose.

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Teaching business skills in Durban, South Africa

I have always said that as long as I wake up every morning excited about the day ahead, I’m on the right track and in my  place. A few years ago I woke up and I didn’t want to get up. In almost 17 years that had never happened. I knew something was amiss. It was like realizing you’re in a relationship that’s no longer working, it takes a long time to admit it and then do something about it. That’s exactly what happened to m e. I somehow felt guilty about not loving my business anymore. But I had also realized that I did what I came to do and now it was time to walk away and leave room for someone else. Fortunately, that someone else showed up and took over my business allowing me to go out and find my next place.

It took me almost 2 years to find my place. Steve Jobs sums it up. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.”

Looking back and connecting the dots pointed to this new position. All those years of giving business lectures to hopeful entrepreneurs. All those years of consulting and assuring weary business owners that failure sometimes happens, but it simply gives you what you need to build stronger and avoid the same mistakes. All those years learning the importance of networking and business building. These were all dots connecting me to this position. It became very clear that this position was to be my new place.

As of February 2, 2014 I took on my new role as President/CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. You might wonder why that after y ears of fitness? Check t his out for a better idea. But the truth is once I decided to accept this position, quiet confidence became my best friend. Typically women focus on the doubt and miss all the possibilities. As the first woman CEO of this organization, you can bet I went forward with trepidation. I also went forward with excitement and when people asked, “Why?” I simply responded, “Why not?”

I have written more than once about the beauty of hitting your 50’s. In our 50’s we’re more willing to take chances (which seems ironic), we’re more confident in our abilities, we are better able to listen versus trying to constantly get our two cents in. And,  we easily walk away from things that offer us little in the way of positive growth.

I just finished my first week in my new position. There were some amazing things as well as some tough decisions. But I’m up for the challenge and most importantly I have found my place. Every day I get to advocate on behalf of business owners, big and small. I get to find ways to help make other people successful. That is truly my purpose and I am passionate about moving that purpose forward.

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My first speech as NACC President/CEO

Some people search forever to find their place, but very often that place is where it’s been all along, in our heart and mind. It’s taking what’s in your heart, combining in it with your intellect and creating magic.  I see all to clearly now how my dots connect and I am happy to say that I really like my new place.

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!

Nicki


Save Your Dollars and Sense- The Real Scoop on Weight Loss

By Nicki On January 6, 2014 6 Comments

 

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O.K, I have to admit that every January I cringe when I see the ads for weight loss. The miracles abound and the “real” answer to weight loss woes are simply a click away. Too  much belly fat? There’s a program for that.  Excess holiday weight gain? There’s a drink for that.  Get abs of steel with 4 simple steps. My response to all of those secrets to success is bull$&@*!  After 30 years in the health and fitness industry I ask that you read the rest of this post knowing that what I’m sharing with you is fact. No hype, nothing earth shattering simply the honest to goodness truth about weight loss, why people are overweight and ultimately what the ONLY solution is.

First, let it be said that I made the conscious decision to sell my fitness business and walk away from the industry after 30 years. I was fried, frustrated and felt it was time to move on and find my passion and purpose somewhere else. I’m sharing that with you so that you understand I have no ulterior motives other than to motivate you to walk away from any “too good to be true” ads and prevent you from parting with good money for bad solutions. So, here we go.

1. Diets don’t work, period. Yes, yes, yes, we’ve all lost weight on them, self included but for the long-term they do not work. What works is CHANGING your diet. Each day,bit by bit, small change by small change.

2. Say good-bye to fried food, fast food and fake food. You can’t expect to make these changes over night, but I can assure you, if you get rid of the 3-f’s your body will respond in kind, i.e. you’ll drop some lbs. and feel significantly better.

3. Ignore the television ads and 3 minute solutions in magazines. Here is what you should always remember, if there were truly a drug, vitamin, piece of equipment that really helped you lose weight successfully, it would be on every news program, on the front of newspapers, etc.  There isn’t one so the next time you see an ad that shares “Millions of people have already bought our product and been successful” they’re likely lying.

4. Here are the ONLY things you need to know to reach a healthy weight, reclaim your health and potentially get off of medication:  Eat less, move every single day (even if it’s only 15 minutes), drink more water, limit alcohol, get a decent amount of sleep and love yourself.  That’s it, that’s the secret, that’s the miracle.

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Books, magazines and ads can spin weight loss any way they want to, but the truth is #4 is the ultimate solution. Of course, your expectations need to be in line with your lifestyle. In other words, if you like having that occasional glass of vino, you know that exercise daily may not happen and you still love your Friday night pizza, don’t expect miracles. But if you’re still eating better, drinking more water, moving more consciously (even if it’s getting up from your desk every 30 minutes to grab a drink of water) you’ll be ahead of the game by years end.

O.K. I feel better. Do you?

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it. Happy 2014!!

 

Nicki

 


Au Revoir 2013 ! Welcome 2014! A Look Back

By Nicki On December 31, 2013 No Comments

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2013 was less than dull,  and my hunch is 2014 will be just as full.

As I look behind to write this post, some things were dreadful, while others I loved most.

Mother Nature took her toll reminding us all  that when push comes to shove, she makes the call.

Sadly war continues in far away places, though a different kind of war lives in U.S. spaces

Hunger and homeless claim innocent lives, while soldiers keep dying despite children and wives.

Celebrities still influence in ways I don’t get, while reality television remains stations best bet.

Finally marriage is equal to all, yet plenty are opposed shouting, “It’s a bad call.”

A new Pope believes love is free and equal, and reminds us the importance to be a giving people.

Beloved athletes made their cheating known, while some celeb slurs created a nationwide groan.

Miley Cyrus made a scene with a simple foam finger and claimed to the world, “I’m a serious singer.”

There were people who passed much too young as well as others whose praises we sung.

As I look back there is plenty of  pain, but sole focus on those would leave nothing to gain.

Therefore I say, “Au revoir” to ’13 and open the door and welcome ’14

No matter the year good comes with the bad, the joy and celebrations so many we had.

As we look forward to this new date, there’s so much good to anticipate.

We all have the capacity to love and learn, the desire to give and accept our turn.

We all have the ability to choose good over bad, and make solid choices we’re lucky to h ave.

No matter what comes the world will go on,  just keep kindness and love as your number one.

Here’s to an amazing 2014.

Nicki

 


Why I Love Nelson Mandela

By Nicki On December 8, 2013 2 Comments

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I live in Chicago, a very long way from South Africa.  About four years ago I had the privilege of visiting South Africa and it was there that I learned a lot more about this incredible warrior and liberator, Nelson Mandela.

I’m embarrassed to admit that in 1993, I was so busy raising my children and starting my business I didn’t pay close attention to Mandela’s greatest milestone, fighting for and guaranteeing full rights for all black citizens. When I visited in 2009 there was no sign (to me) of apartheid. People compare Nelson Mandela with Martin Luther King, Jr. for their unwavering efforts to give all people of color the right to live freely in a country that touts justice and liberty for all.

With the recent passing of Nelson Mandela I couldn’t help but think back on some of the amazing forces that have fought for human rights and inspired me. Going as far back as Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and of course Rosa Parks. There is Desmond Tutu and one of the more recent, young activists for human rights, Malala Youzafzai. 

The common denominator amongst this group of  individuals, (yes I know there are many more), is leadership. Taking the risk for something they believe in and doing whatever it takes to bring justice to fruition.  These individuals took the helm at a time where death was always a potential outcome yet never wavered from their convictions. Compassion is also a strong part of their DNA. Because of their personal struggles, they rose above to save others from the same fate. Humbles me just thinking about it. Risking ones life to save another.

I have always been drawn to those individuals that lead with integrity, honesty and passion. It is empowering to see that because of people who dared to dream and take the risks to make it a reality our world is a better place.

There is no doubt Nelson Mandela has touched an infinite number of lives, mine included.  How lucky for those that knew him personally.  He was a force to be reckoned with if he wanted change yet he was a consummate peacemaker.  How one can combine those qualities and create the changes he has can only be explained as extraordinary.

My feeble attempt at honoring a man who is responsible for positively changing so many lives is shared below.  Please enjoy some of my favorite quotes by not only Nelson Mandela, but the others who also fought for the rights of so many. As a mom, woman, business owner, community advocate, and volunteer these quotes and many others, have helped me become a better person.

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“A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.” -NM

 “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” – NM

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” MLK

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” MLK

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” AL

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”  – AL

“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” – FD

“Without struggle there is no success” – FD

“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right. ” – RP

“Each person must live their life as a model for others.” – RP

“Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.” – DT

“When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.” – DT

“I speak not for myself but for those without voice… those who have fought for their rights… their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.” – MY

“The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born.” – MY

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.

Nicki


Charlie Trotter’s Quiet Inspiration

By Nicki On November 7, 2013 4 Comments

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Over 10 years ago I bid on and won an auction item that made a dream of mine come true. I won a day in the kitchen at the infamous Charlie Trotter’s restaurant. I felt like I had hit  the jackpot.

I showed up at  the restaurant at the requested time,  11 a.m. I was expected to work until 8 p.m.

When I walked in to the restaurant, I gave them my name and I was brought up to Charlie Trotter’s office. I’m thinking I’m going to be vetted or something to make sure I wasn’t some lunatic coming in to the restaurant. To my surprise, in walked Charlie Trotter.

He extended a hand and  half jokingly asked, “What made you want to pay for a day in my kitchen?”  I told him about my love of cooking and how I admired his journey and accomplishments. I finally confessed, “I’m just a big fan and wanted to see the inner workings of your shop.”  I then went on to share that I owned my own business and was hoping for some business insight. When he heard it had to do with health and fitness, we chatted about that.

After a few minutes I was escorted out to change in to my new kitchen attire. I felt so important, so cool. Once in the kitchen I felt almost as happy as I am at the beach. Water and food, two of my favorite things.

By 8:00 p.m. I was exhausted. The kitchen was tense, constantly busy and I learned more about cooking in those 9 hours than I ever did in any cooking class or “how-to” cookbook. It was incredible. I couldn’t wait to get home and try out some of the things I learned.

At one point, Charlie came in to the kitchen and the yelling started. But what I found interesting was when he left there was no rolling of the eyes or disrespect. Charlie Trotter demanded perfection because he wanted his guests experience to be perfect.tour10

At the end of the day, Charlie Trotter was dedicated to people having a great experience. He knew they were spending a lot of time and money there and he wanted to make sure they would leave anticipating their next visit.

A couple of years later, I repeated my Charlie Trotter experience. He was even friendlier the second time around. I was able to attend their staff meeting, (that was interesting) and interact with some of his chefs. I wonder now, what chefs I might have been working with back then that went on to greatness because of Charlie Trotter? Charlie made me feel comfortable and welcome. I’ll never forget that.

When I owned my studio, I would always tell my staff that if you go off and open your own studio, or become a great trainer, I will be proud of you. I will be proud because I hope that it was something you experienced under my tutelage that made you better, stronger, more business savvy and successful.

That is what Charlie Trotter did for me. In just two visits to his restaurant and my brief conversations and full day observations I was reminded what a brilliant talent he was, not only as a chef, but as a  businessman and philanthropist.

I will treasure  my conversations with him and my time in his kitchen. I will always admire his ability to change the rules and make them his own with the end result being satisfaction for his customers, staff and hopefully for himself. Her deserved that.

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.

Nicki


The Harsh Truth- Not Everyone Wins

By Nicki On September 11, 2013 11 Comments

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Let’s stop the whining and the “its not fair”, and get on with it!

 

When I was raising my kids there was this disturbing culture in children’s sports, everyone wins. As a young, naive Mom I went along with it. No matter what happened during a game, no matter who screwed up, everybody got a trophy or ribbon. WTH?

If there is one thing I regret as a parent it was raising my kids with the everybody wins BS. What a disservice to my kids and all of the other kids that grew up believing no matter what, they will always win. Wow. And some people freak out about the Santa Clause myth.

A friend of mine recently shared a link (if you’re offended by foul language I encourage you to let it go and read it), it inspired this blog.  Reading it I was reminded of two things. First, I wished I raised my kids with the understanding that there are winners and losers and there is a direct correlation between the actions of both.

Failure

Second, winners know failure is part of the success equation and they take failure as a lesson versus their fate. Losers give up based on the belief  that failure is their fate.

Personally, I, we, can get awfully comfortable. When I do that I forego my innate desire to push forward and make an impact, a big one. This article reminded me to re-energize, re-focus and hop back on that horse. These two words jumped out, giving me a much needed swift kick to the head. Bitter vs. motivated, wow.  The writer went on to say, “….largely determines whether or not you’ll succeed in the world.”

Think about it. All those kids raised to believe they automatically win are likely bitter that the world didn’t deliver. Hopefully there are those that escaped never-never land and realized you win when you exhaust all avenues and continue full speed ahead. They also likely recognize failures even if they briefly divert their efforts as simply lessons in what not to do and move forward.

I think success is also a matter of action versus reaction. Winners constantly take action willing to risk failure because they know its temporary. Losers react to the negative letting it permeate their psyche ultimately stifling growth of any kind.

Aside from getting a good laugh at Lenny Kravitz’s expense, this article made me think and inspired me to do what I do best, full speed ahead, filling voids, making a difference with ‘ner a thought of the f-word – failure, just to clarify.

If we look at the 18-30 year old kids that we raised with the “everyone wins” mindset, they were set up for failure. For those that have figured it out and moved onward and upward, good on you. For those that haven’t here’s my advice:

1.Read the article again.

2. After you read the article, stop making excuses for your failures and recognize and embrace your talents, perfect them, find a void and fill it, keep pressing on.

3.  Remember the only way one can win is to rid themselves of the belief that everyone wins just because. It’s that thinking that will hold you back and prevent you from being an authentic winner as a result of hard work, focus and the desire to positively impact your world. You don’t just get to win, you have to earn it.

Do you think success is a right or a privilege?

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.

Nicki

 


If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands!

By Nicki On August 25, 2013 No Comments

Voltaire

This past week I had a very dear friend come and spend a few days. The few days she was here were precious to me. There is truly no greater laughter than between two good friends that know each other so well.

I find that over the years, it is laughter that tends to direct me. Although life certainly has it’s share of tears to hand out, I take on what’s necessary and  rid myself of what is not. Laughter is welcome anytime, anywhere and never gets old. I believe without question that the secret to staying young and healthy comes from laughter.

According to Helpguide.org, laughter has many benefits:

  • Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
  • Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
  • Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Just think, when you’re with family and friends enjoying one another’s company and having some great laughs, you’re also improving your health as well as the ones  you’re with. You get what you give!

I have heard people say, “No one is that happy all the time!” I have to disagree. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”  Each and everyday I choose to be happy.

I also choose to surround myself with people that share happiness and generously pass it on. There are certainly times where happiness in  my life takes a break, but it’s usually a serious life challenge or tragedy that removes my daily dose. However, even with tragedy come insight. With insight comes a sense of purpose and with that comes a better understanding and ultimately happiness.

When my friend and I spent two days together we reminded one another that the best part of hanging out is the great ab workout we get from laughing!  I’m grateful for friends and family that bring laughter so easily into my life. I’m grateful for the ability to choose happiness over sadness. With each new day brings an opportunity  to choose and I choose happiness. You?

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Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!

Nicki