This past week has been tough on former Vice President Joe Biden. Several women have come forward to say they were uncomfortable with Biden’s touchy-feely ways such as hugs, forehead kisses and other instances when he invaded their personal space.
Biden’s response? That wasn’t my intent.
As I discussed in a previous FB live, your intent doesn’t matter.
How your message is received is what matters.
As George Bernard Shaw once said (or didn’t, who knows, but it’s a great quote), “the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
In this case I’d say the biggest problem in communication is assuming other people understand your intent.
We tend to think that intent covers all manner of sins. Listen to kids play (and fight) and you’ll hear, “I didn’t mean to!” as if that makes whatever happen, ok.
Regardless of your intent, if the person you’re communicating with receives a different message, that’s on you.
Great communicators are constantly adjusting their message both in terms of content and delivery. By watching how people respond to your message, you can adjust accordingly. In my work I teach people how to read permission; the nonverbal indicator of receptivity.
And that’s exactly where Joe Biden went wrong. He assumed permission he didn’t have. This is often the case for people in power positions. Because those around them are afraid or intimidated, they don’t often clearly communicate their discomfort or fear. Which is why people in those positions must never assume permission and instead, play it safe.
This, by the way, has nothing to do with being politically “correct.” Regardless of the message or the context, if you want to succeed at communication, you’ll keep an eye on how your listener responds to your message instead of merely relying on your good “intentions.”
Ever since I began working with trial attorneys, I’ve noticed that the journey from “beginner” attorney to “rock star” attorney was circular.
Meaning, when attorneys first begin, they look to the greats and attempt to copy what they’re doing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched a trial attorney come through my office and present an opening statement or conduct jury selection using the same words, voice tone and body language of the originator. Nearly every time it falls flat.
Anyone, in any profession goes through this same learning curve as well. When I first started out, I copied my mentor all the time. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this. It’s how many of us learn.
But it’s not until we come back to ourselves that we finally find what we’re really looking for.
After trying to mimic the people in your life or profession you admire, there comes a time when you must let go of attempting to be someone else and become who you were always meant to be.
It’s no accident that this happens only after we’ve “tried on” other people’s styles. Except for the rare bird that is born knowing exactly who and what they are, most of us have to experiment a bit before we find out how we want to show up in the world.
But find out we must.
Because when you stop searching and realize the person you’ve been waiting for is YOU, everything starts to shift.
You are enough. Just as you are. Are you ready to forge your own path and find your own way? Enough with the copying. Let’s find out what you can do when you embrace who you are, flaws and all.
I’m excited to see what happens. Are you ready?
Join the waitlist on the home page to learn more.
Years ago, I was working with a trial attorney in my office. After several attempts to get him to open up his body language, he still remained closed.
Frustrated, I finally blurted out, “Ok, what’s the story?”
And out tumbled a story about how he’s afraid he’ll say or do something that will turn the jurors against him and how this fear had been eating him alive.
When our communication is “off” there’s always a story behind it.
Body language starts in the brain. What we think gets communicated through our nonverbals.
This is dangerous.
Walk into the break room and see two people abruptly stop talking and you make up a story that they were talking about you.
See a juror frown and you make up a story that they don’t believe you and your version of events.
Your spouse is late coming home from work and you make up a story that they’ve been in an accident.
All of these stories have consequences because we communicate based on our stories.
Think your colleagues are talking behind your back? You’ll start avoiding them and acting strangely when they’re around.
Think a juror is against you during trial? You’ll start getting nervous about trying new things and play it safe.
Think your spouse has been in an accident? You’ll increase your stress and may lash out at your child.
It’s nearly impossible to stop making up stories because the brain is wired to make sense of our experiences. So instead, ask yourself, “Does this story serve me?”
If your story causes you stress, worry or anxiety, it doesn’t serve you. So ditch it. Tell yourself a new story.
Maybe your colleagues were sharing a personal story and were embarrassed if others heard.
Maybe the juror has a stomach ache.
Maybe your spouse got stopped by his or her boss on the way out of the office and didn’t have time to text you before getting in the car to drive home.
Are these stories true? It doesn’t matter. The point is, they serve you and your mindset. If you end up getting more information that gives you a clearer picture, great! Reframe your story. But until then, pick a story that serves you.
Here’s a podcast episode you might enjoy.
Do you suffer from this?
Symptoms include: feeling inadequate, fear of being “found out,” never feeling good enough and a host of other shitty feelings.
I used to say everyone suffers from it, but I’ve recently changed my mind.
No, the only people suffering from Imposter Syndrome are those who are living lives of courage.
Listen, if you’re living a comfortable, cushy life where safety is your primary concern, where making sure you never fail is on your agenda and where you never risk looking stupid, I can guarantee you don’t suffer from Imposter Syndrome.
It’s only when you’re out there living a big, bold life, attempting to realize your potential that Imposter Syndrome sneaks in.
That doesn’t mean you don’t suffer. Pushing the envelope and reaching for the stars can activate Imposter Syndrome and make you feel miserable. The fear that someone will find out you have no idea what you’re doing can eat you alive.
Here’s what you need to remember: you’ll never know “enough.” And that’s because there’s always more to learn! No one ever feels 100% ready when taking on new challenges. And waiting until you do feel ready means you’ll keep waiting and waiting and waiting.
You’re not an imposter.
When Imposter Syndrome rears its ugly head remind yourself this is a good sign. It means you’re stepping out in boldness and living into your potential. Take Imposter Syndrome and flip the script: see it as evidence that you’re willing to feel uncomfortable in order to live the life of your dreams.
Here’s a podcast episode you might enjoy
A week ago, I was speaking at a conference for female trial lawyers called Embrace Your Inner Bad Ass.
One of the lawyers asked a question during Sunday morning’s Q & A. She asked, “Could you talk a little about self-care?”
My answer? “Sure. My tip for self-care is to design a life you don’t want to escape from.”
In other words, self-care shouldn’t be used as an escape from a life that is soul-sucking.
But it’s not always that easy.
It’s one thing to talk about designing a life that you love, and it’s quite another to actually do it.
For example, what about people who don’t feel they are able to “design their life?” Either due to circumstances beyond their control or because they’re in a period of their life that feels overwhelming at best? (Any parents of young kids out there?)
To that I’d say: You still have choice.
Designing a life you don’t want to escape from begins by recognizing that we often aren’t allowed to choose our circumstances, but we can always, ALWAYS choose our response.
I’ve written about Viktor Frankl before. Viktor was a Jewish man held in a concentration camp during World War II. Viktor was, in the most extreme sense of the word, powerless. He couldn’t leave. He couldn’t change his circumstances. He couldn’t do much of anything.
He could control how he responded to the situation.
He had power over his response. He didn’t need to have control over his circumstances in order to own his personal power. He still had choice even when the Nazi’s took everything else away.
You always have choice too, even when it seems you don’t. When the pipe bursts or your kid is suspended or your spouse leaves or you have to declare bankruptcy, you can choose your response. You can decide, right then and there, how you want to be with whatever is happening. And how you want to be will inform what you do next. All doing flows from being.
So the next time you feel powerless, ask yourself, how do I want to respond to this? In that way you can reclaim your power and continue to design a life you love, even when things seem out of control.
Designing a life you don’t want to escape from begins with owning what you can control and what you can’t. Start by controlling your response to your circumstances. That is where the power lies.
It’s been a big buzz word for a while now. Show up. Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to be authentic.
But what does that really mean?
A lot of people hide who they really are from the world, this is true. But I find that even more people use “authenticity” as an excuse to stay comfortable.
I mean, if something is uncomfortable, it’s inauthentic, right?
As we move through life, we create a box marked “me” and rarely deviate from it. Anything inside the box is “authentic” and anything outside the box is “inauthentic.”
But guess what: boxes are limiting. And further, boxes cannot contain the greatness that is you.
We are all changing and evolving constantly. I believe we are here on earth to grow and become the best version of ourselves. If that’s true, then who we are isn’t static. Who you are today isn’t who you will be 2 years or even 2 months from now. Therefore, what’s “authentic” is always in flow.
Change and growth require that you risk, that you be uncomfortable, and that you push the envelope. But you’ll never be able to do these things if you believe that being uncomfortable is inauthentic.
Redefine your definition of authenticity. Instead of using the word as a way to restrict yourself, define authenticity as your process of finding out who you are. In this way, authenticity becomes a journey instead of a destination.
Here’s a podcast you might enjoy on this topic.
In case you live in a cave, I wanted to let you know that Rami Malek won Best Actor at the Academy Awards a week ago.
And in case you really do live in a cave and don’t know who Rami Malek is, he’s the actor that played Freddie Mercury in the movie Bohemian Rhapsody.
Freddie Mercury was the lead singer of the band Queen (again, for you cave dwellers) and had a spectacular singing voice. His range was thought to be nearly four octaves. Normal vocal range is just under three octaves, so...Freddie was pretty exceptional.
So at this point you might be wondering, what the heck does this have to do with me?
Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to start taking singing lessons, but what I am asking you to do is expand your range.
Each one of you has something unique to offer. But most people just hang back and stay safe. Instead of pushing the envelope to see what you’re capable of, you stay comfortable. You play Mary Had a Little Lamb instead of rocking out to Bohemian Rhapsody.
Freddie Mercury had a great singing voice, whether he sang a single note or all 32, but man is the world a better place for having heard his full range. He brought everything he had to the stage, and you must do this too.
Because here’s the thing: you’ll never know what you’re capable of until you push yourself to the limit. That means trying new things, saying yes when you’re scared instead of saying no, and realizing that no matter what, you’ll be ok.
Because you will.
Life is meant to be lived. Fully. Completely. What are you capable of? Expand your range by pushing the envelope. Watch and see how your confidence grows as you rock out on life’s stage.
Last week I finished my book.
I had planned to finish it in the fall, but then I extended my deadline to the end of the year. At the end of the year, I told my publisher I needed one more month. At the end of the month I asked for two more weeks. It was due by 5 p.m. last Monday and I sent it to my editor at 4:59.
The moment I hit send, I started to cough. The next morning, I woke up with a nasty case of the flu.
Yes, it is a bummer, but it’s also my pattern.
Every.Single.Time I push to finish a project, perform a big seminar or just get through a particularly stressful period of my life…BAM my body takes me out.
It would be easy to think that this is “just the way it is” but something is going on. Something I need to figure out.
What’s your pattern?
Maybe you always date men that are mean to you.
Perhaps you quit every job you take after being there a year.
Maybe you start taking care of yourself and then quit a few months in.
My pattern is so ingrained I could set my watch to it. I push push push, and then get sick. Rinse and repeat.
Patterns are dangerous because they’re like computer programming going on under the surface. They run our lives without our input or understanding.
The Amplify Project was born from the idea that we communicate who we are. After years of working with people to help them change their communication I realized that skills were not enough. It was going to take going deeper to really figure out why people were communicating the way they were in the first place.
If you really want to live into your power you’ve got to unearth your patterns. What keeps happening in your life over and over again like clockwork? Instead of letting it run its course uninterrupted, get curious. Knowing your patterns is the first step.
For me, I’m taking my pattern to my coach immediately. I want to untangle this and STOP GETTING SICK. (Ugh. Flu. It’s the worst.)
And good news! For a limited time, we’re offering free Power Up Sessions with Coach Kevin so you can begin looking at your patterns. Start with our FREE COURSE and you’ll get an email directing you on how to schedule your session with Kevin. Already taken the free course? Click here to schedule with Kevin directly.
Bring your pattern into the light. Patterns are a power drain. Disconnect from your pattern and TAP into your power.
Goals are great. Necessary even.
But when you use your goals as way to put off living your best life NOW, that’s when they become a problem.
I love goal planning. In fact, I love planning of any kind. But it wasn’t until I realized that I was waiting to enjoy my life until I hit my goals that I realized this was all kinds of screwed up.
I kept telling myself, “I just need to get through this week,” or, “I just need to get through this month,” and then I finally realized THIS IS IT! If my every day existence wasn’t what I loved and enjoyed, something needed to change NOW.
I’m not suggesting that you must love every moment of your life. There are times you have to do things you’d rather not (like clean the toilet) or deal with people you’d rather avoid (like my accountant.)
But what I am saying is that if you’re putting off your happiness for some imagined future you think is better, you’re wasting precious time.
Life happens NOW, not in the future. Goals are fine, but not if they promise some fantasy life that you think will make you happy while you put off being happy right now.
What feeling do you think your goal will bring you? That’s what you’re really after, not the goal itself.
If you’re trying to lose weight so you’ll feel better in your clothes, go buy clothes you feel good in right now.
If you want to write a book because you’ve got great ideas you want to share with the world, share those ideas right now.
If you want to make more money so you feel financially secure, cut back your expenses and start saving so you can be more secure now.
Buying new clothes at your current weight, sharing your ideas or cutting back your expenses won’t stop you from losing weight, writing a book or making more money. In fact, they’ll probably help. But what they’ll do for sure is put your power back where it belongs: right here, right now.
Screw your goals. Focus on what your goals tell you about what you want, and focus on getting that NOW.
Life’s too short. Live in your power today.
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I had a friend go through a personal crisis this past week.
There were lots of tears, late nights talking about what to do, and many moments where my friend felt utterly powerless.
Then one night, something shifted. After days of confusion and hopelessness, my friend suddenly had a moment of clarity. He made a decision that would shift everything. As he paced my living room, he kept saying to me, “How do I keep this? How do I keep this feeling?” He was so worried he would slip back into powerlessness now that he had finally accessed his power.
That’s when I told him, “You don’t need to try and ‘keep’ this. You’ve accessed your power, and you can do it again. It’s always there, waiting. You just need to TAP into it.”
This is what most people think: sometimes you feel powerful and other times you don’t, and that’s because power comes and goes.
Your source of power is constant. It’s always there, ready for you to TAP into it. It doesn’t wax or wane, go up or down, it’s always ready, always present, always available for you.
The Amplify Project was born from the idea that you are the amplifier. One cord travels to the microphone to send your message out to the world. Another cord travels to your power source. That source is your values, your desires, your wants, and your life purpose. In other words, your true self.
It’s only when you get disconnected from your true self that you feel powerless. When you forget what you want, what you value, and who you are, that’s when you feel the most powerless and wonder where your power has gone.
It hasn’t gone anywhere. You just need to TAP back into it.
As I talked with my friend for many days, I kept reminding him to TAP back into what he wanted and remember who he was. As he walked out of my house yesterday morning, he thanked me for reminding him of his power. A tall guy already, I swear he looked two inches taller.
Have you lost your way? Do you feel powerless? Start by reminding yourself of what you want and who you are. You can do that by taking my FREE COURSE "Three Things You Can Do Right Now to TAP Into Your Power
Sari's passion is to help you TAP into your power from the inside, out. "Power Tools" provides real talk that gives you tools and reminders for tapping into your power instead of giving in to your excuses.