December 29, 2010

Article Review on Stephanie Himonidis

Check out this wonderful article about Stephanie Himonidis, one of my self-starters. Her traititude is Vision. Read her amazing story here!

December 22, 2010

Positive Thinking: Part Three

Jack Canfield, one of the self-starters profiled in my book, Secrets of Self-Starters, talks about positive thinking as one of the success principles in his book by the same name. 

He even takes it further to say that positive affirmations reinforce your vision of where you want to go and what you want to do with your life. He stresses that you have to believe that you can achieve what you want in life; but of course, you have to take action for your vision to become a reality.

Positive thinking helps get you there.

Positive Thinking: Continued

Positive thinking is one of the traititudes I personally work on all the time. Going down the dark hole of negativity and pessimism is not a place to be. It does nothing for your health, those around you or to your state of well being. 

One of the self-starters I interviewed in my book, Secrets of Self-Starters, Dave Sabey, makes it a habit that when negative thoughts show up, he leaves the room in which the thoughts occurred and does something to change up the thought patterns. For Dave, it's doing jigsaw puzzles. He then works through the issue/problem/concern in a constructive manner.

What habit have you developed to counter negative thinking?

Positive Thinking: An Essential Trait for a Self-Starter

Reader's Digest (the December 2010 issue) ran an interesting, short article on optimism by Meryl Davids Landau. She lists three suggestions about optimism's principles and payoffs, plus some interesting stats about the benefits of being a positive thinker--longer life, lower blood pressure, less heart disease.

Positive thinking is one of the nine traits of a self-starter. People profiled in my book, Secrets of Self-Starters, kept a positive image of success in their heads even when circumstances warranted giving up. Ginny Ruffner's story is a case in point. She was severely injured in a car accident. Rather than succumbing to a life in a wheelchair, she fought back, never let the image of what success would look like leave her. She's now back on top of the world--a world class glass artist and out of a wheelchair. 

Background: Many studies have been done around optimism and its role in mentally healthy adults. Positive thinking was originally promoted in the very popular book, The Power of Positive Thinking, written by Norman Vincent Peale. Peale has been described as the progenitor of the theory of positive thinking.

So what do you do to stay positive? Share your story so others can gain insight.

December 15, 2010

Online Review of Secrets of Self-Starters

Stephanie Himonidis, one of my self-starters, was interviewed regarding my new book Secrets of Self-Starters. Stephanie's story is profiled in the book; here is a woman of great perseverance. She's amazing! 

You can find the article here!

December 6, 2010

Students Learn from Self-Starters

When we--meaning the self-starters and me--presented to the USC Marshall School of Business, we were addressing those students who are in the Entrepreneur track. Interesting, not all were looking at a corporate role but also thinking hard about starting non-profits to benefit communities.

Here we are:

Professor Mednick, Alex Cappello, Ilona Europa, Jeffrey Kendall Sapp, Rob Ukropina

Dr. Julie Miller and Rob Ukropina

December 1, 2010

Thriving In A Down Economy

The original notion for my book, Secrets of Self-Starters, was to find out from others how they were managing to survive and even thrive in these hard times. Because, trust me, no one has escaped this recession. Some have been hit extremely hard.

But the wisdom, the lessons inspired and motivated me. As I listened to their stories, they shared that when times got tough they dug deep and looked again at their strengths, their talents, their traititudes. They revisited what their original dreams looked like and pushed that self-starter button.

Some just refused to go to that dark, negative place in their head. They surrounded themselves with positive people, whether that was a team of employees OR friends and colleagues. Together they pulled themselves up.

Consider doing the same! Form a group, bond with friends; gather an advisory group to help each other. The synergy, the care, the concern will emanate from the group and move you upward.

November 30, 2010

Kung Fu Panda: A Self-Starter!

Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend how many of you watched the Disney movie, Kung Fu Panda? It is an adorable movie and really a study in perserverance and vision--both Self-Starter traititudes!

Briefly, it's the story of a panda who dreamt of becoming a Kung Fu master. He studied all the moves, all the leaders in the field, all the requisite rituals, and icons. Then he is thrown--quite literally--into the role. He's fat, out of shape, naive but, as Po says, "I will never give up! Po has it all." And he succeeds because he has a vision of what he wants to achieve and the determination not to quit, no matter how tough it gets.

What about you? What movie stars are examples of Self-Starter traititudes? Would love to read your thoughts.

November 26, 2010

Lessons Learned in Graduate School

This past week I had the privilege of lecturing on campus at the University of Southern California. I spoke to graduate business students who are in the entrepreneurial track about the traititudes (my coined term for a blend of attitude and traits), of a self-starter. Their questions were thought-provoking, humble, and serious.

These students are facing an untenable future--careers that they thought were available are no longer, an extremely competitive job market, and fear as to what lies ahead.

It should give us all pause: Questions such as:
  • Am I on the right track?
  • How do I know this path is right for me? How do you handle failure?
  • What drives you forward? How do I sort out what my loved ones, and friends think I should pursue what makes my toes curl?
  • When is linear thinking best and where does creating thinking work?
Do any of these resonate with you?

Expanding Your Comfort Zone

As you go about your networking, building your base of contacts to secure a job, a client, or a contract, I think Jeffrey Sapp's advice--one of my self-starters--is well-given. He believes it's not about getting out of your comfort zone, it's about EXPANDING your comfort zone, thus allowing more ideas, more people, more things to fall into it. Isn't that a great image? Think about that comfort zone as you move forward.

Where have you been forced to expand your comfort zone? Again, we would all love to learn from each other, feel free to share. 

November 23, 2010

Reinvention is Key in Today's Economic Reality

A long article in Pacific Northwest Magazine by Claudia Rowe hit a chord. Her focus was on reinventing yourself as a way of dealing with this crummy economy. Ms. Rowe wrote about those who have built their careers on their strengths; trained all their lives to get where they are, only to see the rug pulled out from under them. And left bereft, anguishing over the loss of their identity, career and livelihood. 

I really believe I am on the right path--helping folks look at their current "traititudes" (my coined term for a blend of attitude and traits), access ones that need honing and push that self-starter button, thus reinventing themselves.

Are you reinventing yourself? Please share your stories so we can all learn.

Self-Starters in the Military

As I sat in the lounge of KASA-TV studios (Albuquerque, NM) waiting for my interview on my new book, Secrets of Self-Starters, I read with great interest an article in USA Today (November 11, 2010) titled, "Wounded Vets Trade Boots for Business Suits." What was so fascinating was how these former warriors became self-starters.

They took their "traititudes" (my coined term for a blend of attitude and traits) and applied them to their new careers. For example, one soldier described, "When you take a hill...some days by inches," you can transfer that perseverance to building a business.

Another told about how she felt her life had purpose when she was in the military. She was able to transfer that belief and become inspired about starting her own business. 

What are you thinking about in terms of reviewing your strengths?

November 17, 2010

The Self-Starter Panel

Here I am with the self-starter panel. I spoke to the USC's Marshall Alumni Assn of Orange County and Marshall Partners. It was standing room only! What a blast. How fun to meet some of my self-starters in person for the first time!

Rob Ukropina, Quy "Q" Nguyen, Dr. Julie, Wing Lam, Jared Greenberg (L-R)

November 12, 2010

New Mexico Style TV Interview

I had a blast being interviewed on a Fox News affliate in Albuquerque, New Mexico this week. The new show will start up on November 29, titled New Mexico Style. They were most interested in learning about my fabulous self-starters and how to turn on the self-starter button.

Here are two photos for the interview. The top one is me with the camera operator, Brian. The one on the right is with the producer, Mary Ann Hachitt and the host, Nikki Stanzione.

November 9, 2010

Here's to the 99'ers!

Don’t give up hope. You have all the traititudes (attitudes and traits) inside you to be successful. You just need to access them. You know how to persevere—obviously, look what you’ve been through thus far. You know how to be creative—obviously, you’ve used creativity to problem-solve your current situation. You know how to be positive—now I know that’s a hard one, as it’s easy to get down. But you need to surround yourself with positive people that will cheer you on!

Read the stories of those who have come before you and be inspired.

November 7, 2010

How Do You Put Together a Life?

How do you put together a life that builds on your dreams? I believe if you combine your God-given traits with the right attitude— I call them traititudes—you will be on your way. Traititudes will lead you to what you want. You will control your destiny.

My book, Secrets of Self-Starters will give you those key pieces to your success. Read the wisdom of those who have done it. They offer you their brilliance.

November 3, 2010

Self-Starters Pam and Rochelle

Rochelle Alhadeff and Pam Gray are two feisty ladies with a talk show (KKNW 1150 AM, King County, WA) that is gaining tremendous momentum. These two women are definitely self-starters.

I mention them not just because they had me on their show recently (blush!) but because they have the same philosophy I have—celebrate self-starters no matter where they work or what they do. Self-starters are those who go for it no matter what; those that take a risk and jump off cliffs growing wings as they soar; those that take the next step towards their dreams.

Ignite the self-starter in YOU and get going! Listen to the interview if you wish. A hint: Find the play button on the page--there's an MP3 logo there as well.

November 1, 2010

Self-Starters Practice Positive Thinking

One of the wonderful parts of having interviewed these amazing self-starters is I can be in their orbit! I’m only a very small particle but it’s still fun to watch their success soar. Check out Ilona Europa—her traititude is positive thinking. Her recognition warms my heart. She was recently featured in a Major Music Magazine.

October 28, 2010

Self-Starters are Creative

Lori Pappas has quite a story to tell! She lives nine months each year in a tent with the last indigenous tribe in Ethiopia, the Hamar. Her traititude is creativity. Read her story in my new book, Secrets of Self-Starters. This video gives you insight into her life’s philosophy and her definition of success.  

October 27, 2010

Ginny Ruffner: Creativity in Bloom

Well, Ginny is at it again. My self-starter, Ginny Ruffner (Traititude: Positive Thinking)was just featured in The Seattle Times (Sunday, October 24). She was profiled in my book, Secrets of Self Starters, which launched last week.

Ginny has an exhibit at the Bellevue Art Musuem. Please go see her glorious work!

October 26, 2010

Secrets of Self-Starters Is Launched!

Hurrah! We're launched. Here I am with Tom Douglas of Tom Douglas Restaurants. His traititude is risk-taking. Read his amazing story in my book.

And here's Sunny Kobe Cook, the mattress queen. Her profile is so inspiring!

October 19, 2010

PNBA Convention; How to Sell Your Book

The book business is an amazing machine. I attended the booksellers' convention in Portland, Oregon in order to pitch my book to independent book sellers and to hear from talented writers such as Ivan Doig. Scads of people were there--authors, publicists, author representatives, etc. It's quite the scene.

October 9, 2010

Welcome to My Self-Starter Blog!

You might be asking yourself, why self-starter? I would like to share my "self-starter story," and encourage you to pursue your dream and maximize your potential. I am an author, speaker and business writing expert whose goal has been and continues to be inspiring people.

Throughout my blog I will introduce key attributes of self-starters, defining ways you can embark upon a path toward achieving your goals! Learning these characteristics will make your life more exciting, fulfilling and lucrative!

For the past 30 years I have taught over 600,000 professionals how to write for a specified audience, utilize concision and ultimately how to be business appropriate through text.

My passion for people is the root of my business; I believe that you have an infinite potential just waiting to be realized.

Ignite your passion today!

October 8, 2010

Book Launch This Coming Week!

Well, it’s finally happened—my book has arrived in Seattle! It will be officially celebrated at my book launch this coming Wednesday. Many of my Northwest self-starters are attending:

Tom Douglas, restaurateur
Arnie Prentice, Director, Kibble & Prentice
Ginny Ruffner, international artist
Dr. Pepper Schwartz, relationship guru
Dr. Gloria Burgess, author and entrepreneur
Francia Russell and Kent Stowell, Artistic Directors, Pacific Northwest Ballet
Kathy Casey, Kathy Casey Food Studios, also catch Kathy on TwitterDishing with Kathy Casey Blog, or find Sips & Apps on Facebook (@KathyCaseyChef),
Sunny Kobe Cook, mattress maven
Dr. Lana Staheli, author and philanthropist
Ricardo Sanchez, LEAP founder
Phil Smart, Sr, Philanthropist
Bob Walsh, Creator of Goodwill Games

October 6, 2010

Pacific Northwest Booksellers Convention

Well, I'm off to the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Convention in Portland, Oregon. This will be my first chance to showcase the new book, Secrets of Self Starters! I will meet booksellers from around the Northwest--this is a huge opportunity and I'm very excited!

September 28, 2010

Ginny Ruffner: A Not So Still Life

I am so excited! A documentary was made about Ginny Ruffner, one of my amazing self-starters. Directed by Karen Stanton and produced by Tom Gorai, this international artist was the focus of the film, A Not So Still Life.

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) will debut this film tomorrow night, Wednesday, September 29th. The film was the co-winner of Seattle International Film Festival Golden Space Needle Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary.

A Not So Still Life peers into the kaleidoscopic mind of Ginny Ruffner, an artist of tremendous artistic reach. Run; don’t walk to see this wonderful film!

September 27, 2010

Seizing Opportunities: A Self-Starter Traititude

One of the traititudes (A blend of trait and attitude) of a self-starter is seizing opportunities. Yesterday, Leon Washington of the Seattle Seahawks showed what that traititude looked like as the team won a hard-fought battle over the San Diego Chargers. Leon Washington was the star of the game. This was a man who seized the opportunities presented to him and went for it.

A year ago, Leon snapped two major parts of his lower leg—the bones even punctured his skin! It was predicted Leon would never make a solid recovery, and even if he did, with a rod in his leg he would never be the same. But he fought his way back, ignored the naysayers, and returned to the team. And what a return it was—two kickoff returns yesterday netted him 200 yards and two touchdowns!

Leon had this to say about it: “Being able to instantly change the momentum, I always relish that opportunity. . . I knew I have to make something happen.” Meet self-starter, Leon Washington.

September 26, 2010

President Obama Recognizes a Self-Starter

One of the biggest thrills for me is to read about what my self-starters are currently doing. Do you love the “my”?! I can’t help it—they’re now part of my life whether they like it or not!

Dr. Roberta Brinton of the USC School of Pharmacy, profiled in my book, Secrets of Self-Starters, was recently honored by President Obama with the 2010 Citizens Medal. This is the nation’s second-highest civilian award and recognizes Dr. Brinton’s twenty-year commitment to improving science and technology education for high school students.

But I was disappointed that no mention was made of her amazing discovery of a new Alzheimer’s drug that has the capacity to literally revolutionize medicine. Her profile is astonishing.

September 21, 2010

Self-Starter Traits

Everyone has self-starter traits in them and by learning from the stories in my book about these amazing self-starters, you can recognize them in you and thus reach your potential, achieve your dream.

But, after you recognize them you have to get going, get moving, take the first steps or the next steps. HOW? By learning, practicing, honing, developing, or imitating the nine traititudes of self-starters.

Which ones do you have? Which ones do you need to acquire?

Ignite the self-starter in you!

September 14, 2010

What Kind of Self-Starter Are YOU?

I bet if I asked, you could name one or two people that you would define as self-starters. I also bet you could call out some traits or attitudes—I call them traititudes—that these folks possess!

Self-starters are the ones to take the first step towards their dream, their vision, their passion. They are the ones who go for it no matter what the costs; the ones who lose themselves in others and create good works or those who risk and jump off the cliff, growing wings as they fall.

What kind of self-starter are you?

September 7, 2010

Secrets of Self-Starters

If I were to ask you to give me one attribute to a self-starter, what would you say? Perhaps words just as someone with get-up-and-go, energetic, passionate. Might those be words that you would say?

This blog is created to share ideas and strategies to help you ignite the self-starter in you. It is also built to share success stories that YOU have experienced. I invite you to share a story of a self-starter here so we can all learn.

PS: My book, Secrets of Self-Starters will be out in three weeks! I am excited to share the stories of these amazing people.

August 31, 2010

A Self-Starter Defined

I have two questions for you to ponder: If I was to ask you to define a self-starter, what attitudes or traits--I call them traititudes-- come to mind? As you think about which of those you possess and can call on to accomplish your goals, what ones bubble up?

In my new book, Secrets of Self-Starters, I look at successful self-starters. Their stories exemplify how one traititude helped them get going, and get doing. They took action. What about you?

August 7, 2010

Writing a Book

You would think since I have written and revised my business-writing book five times, that I would get used to the process! Sigh. It is just a tough slog to get it finished. 

What’s the famous saying about drops of blood forming on your forehead? It’s not just the writing, it’s the other decisions you must make. What font do you want to use? Where do you want the page numbers—top, bottom, middle? How do you want your chapter title page to be graphically displayed? What should the introduction say? What if I forget someone on the acknowledgement page?

Decisions about the cover, the back cover, endorsements, etc. The list goes on and on—especially when you are self-publishing. But, I am very excited to share these stories with others, so it’s worth it.

July 28, 2010

The Book Is Almost Finished!

Well, we're on the final leg of this journey. I am filled with mixed emotions. I am thrilled that I may get my days and nights back--all that writing! I am saddened--it has been truly the most amazing adventure for me. I am a little scared--I wonder if readers will enjoy the stories as much as I do. And I am a  little anxious that the profiles truly represent how incredible these self-starters truly are. Sigh.

July 20, 2010

Self-Starters are Finishers

One of the things I have learned in interviewing 100 self-starters is that they just don't start something, they finish it. As many of them said: The world is littered with self-starters; it's those who finish that achieve success.

July 13, 2010

The Writing Process: Giving Birth

Writing--you can love it; you can hate it. When all is going swimmingly along, you’re on cloud nine. When the muse disappears, all is desolate. Probably a little dramatic, but those of you who have ever written a book—you get what I’m saying.

Even though I have written a book before, you forget—like childbirth—the pain and suffering you must sustain to produce the creation. Details nag at you, words escape you, life intervenes, and you lose your flow.

Is it worth it? You bet.

July 9, 2010

Chat With Women Talking About Secrets of Self-Starters

I had a blast today chatting with two of my favorite people—Rochelle Alhadeff and Pam Gray of Chat with Women (, KKNW 1150 AM, King County, WA.) Those two are a hoot. Here’s a picture of the three of us.

We talked about the nine traits of self-starters (click HERE to hear the entire interview.) We only had time for the first six. If you listen to the interview you can hear a story or two and a discussion of the book—due out in October!

During the interview, I invited people to email me their definition of a self-starter or if they had more traits to add than the six I listed. What do you think?

July 7, 2010

Writing "Secrets of Self-Starters"

I feel such pressure in trying to get these stories right—to share the stories so that these amazing people are celebrated—it's difficult.

Getting the Stories Right

As a writer finding the right word, the correct sentence structure to convey your thought is tough. Though a difference exists between business writing and narrative writing, the approach is the same—trying to figure how the best to present your idea, in my case, the stories. It’s true: you really do have beads of blood form on your forehead!

Meeting the Self-Starters

I love to network and meet new people. I love to hear their stories. I know many amazing people so finding self-starters to interview was not difficult. Finding ones whose stories would inspire and motivate others was a bit trickier.

And what stories they told! Just to give you a flavor of the kinds of people I have met: A former software entrepreneur who spent two months in a tent with the last indigenous tribe in Ethiopia; a young man who raised $2 million dollars to start a foundation against human trafficking; a young documentarian who found himself jailed without any resources in Mozambique.

I am teasing you with these snippets. The book comes out in October! I'll be taking pre-orders in August.

Interviewing Self-Starters

Writing a book on self-starters has been a three-year dream for me. I have been searching for just the right topic that would help others reach their potential and achieve their dreams. Voila! A friend labeled me a "self-starter" and blam!—I was out the door with a plan.
I divided the people into three groups: entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs (those within organizations that self-start) and those in the academic, government and non-profit worlds. And what a group I have met!

These are truly amazing people! And I am humbled. They welcomed me into their homes, their offices, and their world. The kindness, warmth, openness, and generosity leaves me speechless—which is pretty hard for me!