Author Archives: Stephanie Hawk

Naikan and Three Questions

Our world has become such a rush! We jump from one thing to the next. We are trying to manage meetings, work schedules, kids, spouses, and a myriad of other things that demand our attention and efforts. The stress of daily life is taking its toll on us physically, emotionally, and mentally. The ability to step back and reflect is more crucial than ever before in our world. The Japanese have a psychology called Naikan that challenges an individual to self-reflect. The idea is based on the psychology of action, which means doing things you can control and letting go of things you cannot control. We live in a complaint-based life. We complain about people, work, situations, the world, and even the drive to work. Where you focus is where your mind is. When we think and talk negatively, guess what you become – negative. The challenge in the modern…

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Jumping the Chasm

History is replete with businesses that could not adapt or change to stay relevant and make money, such as Sears, K-mart, Blockbuster Video, Service Merchandise, Pier 1 Imports, Toys R Us, Payless Shoes, and the list goes on. So, what happened? There are varying degrees of issues: too much debt, not making critical investments, or losing sight of customers. All of the above businesses had intelligent people running them, but there comes a moment when things change. I call the moment “jumping the chasm” when a dramatic change or risks has to occur, or failure and demise is the end game. Human nature allows us to get comfortable with the status quo. Things are working fine, money is being made, customers are walking in the door, and good things are happening. Then slowly, or sometimes instantly, change starts. Change is hard. If we do not build change into our DNA…

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My Parents Didn’t Love Me

Growing up, I was convinced my parents didn’t love me. They were not much into “wildly praising” how smart I was, or how great I was, or even some of my significant childhood accomplishments. Sometimes I would get a polite nod or smile, but not much more. I don’t think my parents were much into developing my “success ego.” I don’t think my parents loved me. At the age of 11, my mom informed us kids she would no longer do our laundry. She explained to us that white clothes should be separated from the colored clothes, and you should not wash white clothes and colored clothes in the same load. After I turned my underwear and socks pink a couple of times, I learned to wash my whites and colored clothes separately. I don’t think my parents loved me. In middle school, my mom stopped making our lunches. She…

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Why We Lack Focus

We are distracted people. We are becoming more distracted and less satisfied with what we are doing and how we are doing it. We see evidence of our distraction with the growing epidemic of depression, despair, dissatisfaction with work, dissatisfaction with relationships, and questioning our very purpose. One of the biggest challenges to our ability to focus is how to “quiet” all the technology we have at our finger-tips.  It is easy and enjoyable, in one sense, to jump from our computer to our smartphone, to Facebook, to an app, and then back to our computer. We have developed a “hyperactive mindhive.” We think multitasking is the way to be successful in the 21st century. We jump from task to task, thinking we are getting a lot done, but we are just making ourselves miserable. The reality is we are busy, but not getting anything of importance done.   Focus. The…

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Living Intentionally

Are you living life intentionally or just coasting? It can be a hard question to answer, especially during a pandemic that has turned our daily lives and connections and relationships upside down. These eleven months have forced me to examine how I live and what I think. What I have learned and thought about these last 11 months is that “stuff” doesn’t happen all of a sudden.  It happens little by little, and then the wheels come off. Think about your health, your relationships, your work. You don’t walk into your job one day and find out you are fired. You don’t one day wake up and suddenly have a heart attack. It is little things that have been happening day after day.  You are missing deadlines, not being a team player at work, difficult to deal with, or eating large amounts of fats, sugars, and not exercising, and then…

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The Story Behind “I Have a Dream” Speech

This past Monday, our nation celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day. The day is a moment to recall how far we have come as a country and to reflect on how far we still have to go in dealing with racism. If the United States has a legacy sin – it is racism. The greatest speech Dr. King was known for giving is the “I Have a Dream” speech. Surprisingly, it did not become a defining speech of his legacy until after his death. With time, the “I Have A Dream” speech has grown in significance and impact. Many people don’t know that the “I Have a Dream” part of the speech was not originally included in the prepared text for his speech at The Freedom March on Washington in 1963. It would be the first time the nation would hear a full speech given by Dr. King. The…

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Six Principles of Persuasion

I am always amazed at people who have mastered the art of persuasion. Persuasion and buy-in by people work far better than force. The successful business or organization understands how persuasion works so much more effectively than cramming a new program, product, or purpose down someone’s throat. By mastering the power of persuasion, you get more commitment, greater engagement, and a positive attitude.  To understand the power of persuasion, it is useful to understand the behavioral principles behind it. The principles are simple, but powerful, when used in combination by a person who has mastered the art of persuasion. Here are six fundamental principles of the art of persuasion: Personal Relationships. If there is one underlying foundation to the power of persuasion it is the concept of building and maintaining personal relations. Building personal relationships takes time and energy, but it pays enormous dividends. I have watched dozens of people…

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Three Things to Consider as You Lead

As business leaders, it is more critical today for leadership in your business or organization than ever before. There have been so many changes and pivots in the local markets over the last ten months that many businesses don’t know what to do or where to look. And that is where business leaders can step forward to lead and make a difference. Everything has shifted rapidly in the last ten months, and leadership is needed desperately. Here are three critical things to consider: 1. Leading in uncertainty. As a business leader, your big challenge is making sense of everything that is happening. There is so much uncertainty about what can happen next and what opportunities are all around you and your business. The challenge for you as a leader is leading during ambiguity and chaos. Decision making and outcomes are going to be uncertain and trying. A strong leader is…

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If Life was Only Like an Etch A Sketch

When I was a kid, one of my favorite toys, besides my army men, was my “Etch A Sketch.” You remember, the toy in the red box with the silver screen and two white knobs. You could almost draw anything with the “Etch A Sketch.” I could play for hours with the toy. Over time, I could draw houses, circles, my name, and mountains or hills.  What I liked best about the “Etch A Sketch” was that if I made a mistake, I could shake it and start over. I had a clean slate; fresh and brand-new, with no evidence of my past mistakes. It would be neat if life was like that “Etch A Sketch.” We could start over and totally erase our mistakes. Here are some of the things I would erase:  Erase past failures. I would erase past failures and the times I really messed up: the…

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Two Things Customers Want

The last eight months of COVID-19 have posed challenges, as well as opportunities, for small businesses on so many different levels. One key question we get asked many times is, “How should I continue to do my marketing, and should I be marketing at all?” Marketing is storytelling and branding, and branding is critical during tough times. What it all comes down to are image and one critical question – what do your customers want?  So how you talk to your customers and who you want to gain as a customer are important and more critical today than ever before to your success. Humans are complex creatures who may not articulate precisely what they want or what they are looking for, but know it when they experience it. So, it comes down to doing two things for your customers:  THEY WANT THEIR PROBLEM SOLVED THEY WANT TO HAVE A CUSTOMER…

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Sally Fraustro Guerra

If you don’t know Sally Fraustro Guerra, you are missing out on someone who always sees the best in people and situations and someone who knows how to connect with a wide range of people. Sally has been involved with the Chamber for 25 years. She is a person who has a passion for her businesses and her charitable efforts. Sally is a “go-getter.” We all want good things to happen. Sally understands the “Slinky Effect.” We all remember the childhood toy, the Slinky, the wired metal wrapped in a cylinder, that when you would set in motion down a staircase, it would fall and fall over itself down the stairs. Sally knows working and spending time investing in people will pay off; maybe just not immediately.  Just like the Slinky, the efforts Sally makes create the energy, and the results follow. Sometimes things happen slowly, and Sally understands, better…

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Click and Collect Business Model

For the last five months, I have written about the emerging role of online sales for small businesses. The survey the Chamber has conducted shows local retail stores that had an online sales platform saw an 18% increase in sales. The COVID-19 pandemic created an urgency for small retail businesses to create another business model of online sales. So how does a business blend brick and mortar with online sales? Click and collect. Click and collect is a strategy where shoppers order their items online and pick them up in the store. Retail businesses that have had several business models have found that sales due to click and collect has grown 155% in the last four years. Also, over 33% of shoppers this last holiday season were click and collect customers. The click and collect model allows for a more integrated shopping experience, plus creates a more seamless process. Here…

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532nd Article (2)

The retail landscape is changing because of COVID-19. The future has arrived sooner than scheduled. As businesses move forward, there are going to be opportunities and challenges to finding the right business model. The fundamental truth is that things have changed in the last six months. The hope of returning to “the way things used to be” is not going to happen. Understanding what is happening and where the shifts are occurring are the first steps to help position your business for success. Here are six things that will be impacting businesses in the next 12-18 months. Spending. As jobs are lost and unemployment grows (McAllen’s unemployment is 10.4% for June), discretionary spending is going to be reduced. With economic uncertainty, people tend to hang on to their money longer. The impulse purchases that happened last year will be fewer. For businesses, there is an opportunity to begin analyzing what…

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